Men of science

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Two men hunt a mysterious creature in the name of science.

Submitted: October 20, 2017

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Submitted: October 20, 2017

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The wind echoed gently through pineway park, the large coniferous forest on the edge of Pleasance, Washington. The forest floor was covered in dead leaves, pine cones and the intermittent puddle left by an earlier rainstorm. The crickets were no longer chirping and the nocturnal rodents were no longer scurrying. All was calm and all was quiet with the exception of two sets of shuffling feet treading through the center of the forest. Leading the way was an unkempt, middle aged man and following ten paces behind was an exasperated, nervous child.

Both had flashlights and backpacks though neither were dressed like usual ccampes. The boy wore a pair of torn jeans and a tattered sweater. The man was dressed in a wrinkled dress shirt and stained khakis, appearing like a cross between an academic and a homeless man. For ten minutes they walked in total silence before the boy finally opened his mouth and spoke. “I don't want to do this anymore Mr Roberts” he whined.

“Why not” Mr Roberts replied.

“This whole thing is getting a little scary for me.”

“Oh Billy, You're just being a nelly.”

“I thought we were just going hiking and studying flowers, why didn't you tell me we were going monster hunting, you could've at least told me!”

“Goodness Billy, always being such a little nelly.” Replied Mr Roberts who managed to keep a scolding tone without turning away from their path.

“Stop that!”

“Stop what?”.

“You always call me a nelly or a gringo when i get scared, i think it's perfectly reasonable to be scared out here.”

“Goodness Billy,” said Mr Roberts, finally turning to face the boy behind him, “were supposed to be men of science and you're acting like a scared child, that's hardly acting your age, wouldn't you say.”

“I’m only twelve!”

“And im only 43, there, seems like a real waste of time pointing it out, huh?”

There passed a few moments of silence. “What?” Billy finally interjected.

“See, your logic comes undone in the face of reason.”

“But that doesn't-”

“Shh, did you hear that?” Mr Roberts interrupted.

Billy stopped to listen. “No”

“Exactly Billy, why is it so quiet? This is a huge forest after all.”

“I guess I just didn't notice.”

“But now you do notice, and you can never un notice. It must be something special to scare an entire forest, what do you think it is Billy?”

“I don't think i want to know” Billy replied nervously.

“But to know is to learn and if you have the strength to seek the truth then you must also have the courage to accept it.”

“But I didn't seek the truth.”

“But I did Billy, and I brought you along, no need to thank me though Billy, as men of science, fresh wisdom is our only reward.”

“There's no wisdom in dying.”

“But there are mysteries in living Billy, and what is a mystery without an explanation?”

“I guess, but what if-”

“Mysteries Billy, mysteries! Now follow me!”

“I think I just wanna go home.” He whined.

“Don't whimper Billy, where one journey ends, another must begin, just as a laugh must also follow a frown, HAHA!”

“Alright” Billy sighed “what do you want me to do?”

“Follow me through those bushes” Mr Roberts exclaimed as he pointed excitedly to his right. Billy looked and began walking towards a benign group of soft, feathery leaved bushes when Mr Roberts suddenly exclaimed “no, no, not those, the others!” Billy looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a bigger, darker group of bushes, filled with vines, mosquitoes and jagged thorns.

“No” Billy exclaimed, “what's the point of going that way? That could kill me!”

“HAHA, Billy there's a lot of things in this forest that can kill you. I mean we're going monster hunting for God’s sake and you're worried about a bush! HAHA, oh you silly Billy.”

“But why can't we just use the other bush, it looks safe.”

“ Billy, it stands to reason that whatever's in these woods is expecting reasonable men, so we must be unreasonable, within reason of course.”

“But it just seems dangerous and unnecessary.”

“What?”

‘I said it just seems-”

“I heard you” Mr Roberts interrupted “now, onward through the bushes, HAHA!”


 

After a long, and painful, journey through the thorny bushes, Mr Roberts and Billy reached the very center of the forest. Upon exiting, Billy immediately began inspecting his legs. Mr Roberts, coming out a few minutes later, starting inspecting the area. It wasn't long before he found what he was looking for. As he stood, eyes transfixed, he began slowly walking toward what caught his gaze. He turned toward Billy but before he could speak, Billy cut him off. “God dammit Mr Roberts, I sliced my knee open!”

“Billy-”

“I told you going through that bush was a stupid idea!”

“Billy-”

“You never listen, you just fuck around and-” before he could finish, Mr Roberts, reaching into his backpack, took out a large pocket knife, plunged it into his own chest and started screaming. Billy began shouting even louder “oh my God what are you doing Mr Roberts, what are you doing!?” But Mr Roberts just plunged the knife deeper and kept screaming. Billy fell to his knees and crying “why are you doing this!?”

Suddenly, Mr Roberts stopped screaming and lowered the knife before asking Billy “there you go, are you calm yet?”

 “What?” asked billy, still crying.

“HAHA, it's just a joke knife billy, I didn't really stab myself in front of you, it was just a trick to get you to calm down, see, now I'll bet you hardly even remember a scraped up knee. HAHA no harm no foul.”

“What the hells wrong with you!”

“Just look over there Billy” he said pointing at a clearing.

Though still angry, Billy instinctively looked in the direction he was pointing. Immediately, he’d forgotten his anger and grown mesmerized by what he was seeing.

Through a clearing in the trees, perched on large stone was a gigantic, birdlike creature. It had the head of a falcon with a large, curved, imposing beak but it's body had a bizarre, almost mammalian appearance. It had a large torso and four legs with a long, bushy tail. It's front legs were definitely smaller than it's back and attached to its front forelimbs were two massive, golden wings.

“What is that?” Billy asked, transfixed by its terror and it's beauty.

“Billy, I think the beast we seek has so been sought.”

“Mr Roberts, I don't think that makes any sense.”

“That's right Billy, now let's slowly walk towards it.”

“How did you know it would be here Mr Roberts, have you been tracking this thing for years or something?”

“HAHA Billy, I have no clue what that thing is, in fact up until a few hours ago I didn't even suspect it existed, I just didn't hear any crickets chirping and knew something was up.”

“Then how did you know to come to the center of the forest.”

“Oh Billy, that's basic dungeons and dragons right there. That which you seek is always at the center of the forest, or the bottom of a dungeon or the bottom of a lake. Gosh Billy, what i wouldn't give to be so young and naive again, hahaha.”

“So you just guessed?”

“Yeah essentially. Now, let's go!”

“Are you gonna try to kill it?”

“No! We are men of science, of art, of class; we observe and report what we see and study all what we find with open minds and passive hands! But yeah if it gets too close we might have to, keep that pistol I gave you handy.”

“I told you I've never shot a gun before!”

“Haha, I told you Billy, it's easy, just point it at something and pull the trigger, you don't need to be an expert marksman you crazy kid.”

“But I've never killed anything before.”

“And I've never seen whatever the hell that is, so I guess it's gonna be a night of firsts for both of us.”

“But-”

“HAHA hurry Billy, crouch down and move slowly.”

“I don't know about this” Billy said as he crouched down.

“Neither do I, that's why we have to get closer.”

As they approached, Billy felt his stomach drop as he looked ahead and saw the eyes of the creature staring at both of them. “Mr Roberts,” Billy said nervously “I think it knows were here.”

“Billy i know it does.”

“What?”

“Oh yeah, this thing's probably sensed us coming for miles, not to mention all the screaming we just did back there by the bush, yeah i'm positive it knows we’re here. And the fact that it hasn't moved means it's not scared of us at all, which means it’s either very peaceful or uncontrollably violent.”

“Then why are we still moving closer to it!”

“Because billy were men of science”

“But it could kill us.”

“And that's a risk i'm willing to take.”

“But-”

“Come on Billy, let's roll those dice, together.”

“But i don't wanna die.”

“Billy, how can you even think of passing up this opportunity! I thought you wanted to be a scientist!”

“Yeah, I do but I wanted be like a chemist or a physicist or something.”

“Do you think it's that easy? Do you think a chemist doesn't risk his life every day, every time he tests a new formula? Do you think a microbiologist doesn't risk his life every time he works on a deadly new strain of disease? And physicists, well they're just pussies Billy, you don't want to be like them.”

“Well, I guess i never thought of it like that.”

“ Haha, man rarely thinks of the strife and peril that fuels innovation, Billy great reward only comes with great risk!”

“Alright Mr Roberts,” BIlly sighed “you've convinced me, i'll go with you.”

“HAHA, that's the spirit Billy, now you approach it from the front while i flank the rear.”

“Wait, what?!”

“You know Billy, classic military strategy.”

“Why would we do that?”

“Because we have the numbers on our side Billy and we’d be crazy not use them to our advantage.”

“But why can't i flank him?”

“Because Billy, i have to approach him in a way that's less stressful on me, i mean my goodness Billy, when did you become so selfish?”

“But it-”

“HAHA, that's the spirit, now you keep moving and i'll take my position, i might not hit him at the same time you do but keep moving, i'd hate for him to see me before i'm in my position, good luck Billy and God speed.”

“But I-”

“HAHA GOD SPEED!” Mr Roberts screamed before rolling down a small path. Billy,now alone looked up and saw the creature get up and quickly approach him. Billy reached into his backpack as fast as he could and gripped the small pistol Mr Roberts had given him when the creature stopped in front of him and kneeled it's head. A few minutes passed, neither Billy or the creature had moved, though the creature would occasionally raise it's head and look at Billy before returning it's head to a downward position. Billy felt he knew what he should do but was hesitant to make a move. So they both stood their grounds until finally, Billy took his hand out of the backpack and extended it towards the creature's head and began petting it's soft, feathered crown. To his surprise, the creature reacted positively to this.

“Hey, he's really gentle!” Billy exclaimed “Hey Mr Roberts, it's okay to come out,where are you?”

From the bushes, Billy heard Mr Roberts voice, “hahaha”, as he jumped onto the creature and planted a large knife into the side of it's head.

“What are you doing!?” Billy screamed out, horrified at what was happening “he wasn't going to hurt us!”

“Haha that's what he wanted you to think” said Mr Roberts, still plunging his knife into the peaceful creature's skull “Oh no Billy, he's fighting back harder than i expected!”

“Why are you doing this!?”

“Hurry Billy, the pistol, grab the pistol!”

“He's not a threat, he’s-”

“There's no time Billy for the love of God Billy shoot it!”

“There's gotta be someth-”

“Shoot it!”

Billy pulled out the pistol, aimed for the creature and tried as not to aim at Mr Roberts, who was hanging on it's back with his hand on the knife on the side of it's head. Billy closed his eyes, squeezed the trigger and heard a loud bang followed by a deafening ring.


 

“Good job Billy,” Mr Roberts said “right in the face! HAHA”

“But why did you have to attack it, it wasn't gonna hurt us?”

“Because Billy were men of science”

“But i thought you said we were just supposed to observe and report!”

“Haha, Billy this was different, we really needed proof we saw it.”

“What?”

“Yeah Billy, we'd look like God damn fools if we went back with stories about this thing and no evidence, they'd think we were insane, you know, like bigfoot hunters or some stupid thing like that, no we needed proof for this one.”

“But couldn't we just have taken a pic-”

“HAHA, now hurry Billy, grab his legs so we can pull it into town.”

“...”

“That's the spirit Billy, seriously though,let's hurry, i doubt there's only one of these things and It's only a matter of time before it's family notices it's missing and comes looking for it, so i think we'd better get the fuck out of this forest.”

“I thought you said that knife was fake.”

“Huh?”

“The knife you pretended to stab yourself with earlier, I thought it was fake.”

“It was.”

“But the knife you just used looked exactly like it.”

“Yeah, i guess it does, huh?”

“What if you had grabbed that knife earlier instead of the fake one?”

A long moment of silence passed before Mr Roberts, having thought about it, answered “haha well, i guess you would've had two stories no one in the world would've believed.”

“.....”

The End


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