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 THE CREATURE finale

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Ann
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PostSubject: THE CREATURE finale   Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:39 pm

By quitting time Monday evening Tim and Joey had my water feature set up with running water, The pump was working wonderfully. Tomorrow, I’d add the rocks around it and include the floral, some waterlily that would survive and a few plants. Both Tim and Joey agreed to scrapping the house and all three of us stayed busy most of Tuesday on that. I was excited Tuesday night, Derek should come back tomorrow and I was anxious to see what he thought of my garden design. For some reason, I found his opinion mattered; I wondered about that but refused to give it more thought. I prayed he wasn’t lying somewhere in those woods injured and in pain. Wednesday morning made me even more anxious about Derek, it was a light misty rain coming down so when Tim and Joey showed I advised trying to paint would be pointless. I didn’t want them roaming around the apartment with all of Derek’s things inside. So painting in it wasn’t an option. I told them to return tomorrow. Hopefully, Derek would return and I wouldn’t have to head into the woods tomorrow and would be here to oversee them painting. I wasn’t wanting to leave them climbing ladders without me here to supervise so I decided to head into town to see if I could find reasonably priced scaffolding for us to use. I knew I’d be able to write it off as business supplies to. I called Tim and asked if he could stop by the hardware store and pick up the scaffolding Thursday morning before he came to work. He agreed to do so. Tim had a truck and the box the scaffolding came in wouldn’t fit in the trunk of my car but could be managed in back of his truck. Wednesday afternoon my heart raced as I sit on my swing and saw Derek come from the woods, laden with his backpack and camera equipment. I could see he was happy to be back also. He dropped his backpack on the porch and plopped into a chair. His boots were mud logged and his pants wet and muddy. “I take it the downhill was a bit taxing,” I teased.
“Yes, that damn backpack was heavy as hell and I slipped a couple times causing it to slide sideways on my back and pull me down.”
“You haven’t mentioned it, I said later after he’d showered and warmed up from being soaked. “So, I’ll ask, how was the creature hunt?”
“No go, he replied, I didn’t get anything and no footprints that I didn’t recognize were found. I wonder how an animal that allegedly has a goat like face and a long horn protruding like a rhino horn can live in trees, but I wondered if that was why no prints have been seen anywhere this creature has been heard.”
The people who claimed to sight it, said it was in the woods staring at them. Maybe they saw what they wanted to see and therefore he was on the ground.”
Derek shrugged. “Makes sense to me but I know what I heard and it wasn’t anything I’ve ever heard before. And it sounded low to the ground coming through the woods, not high.”
“I agree with that assessment.”
“I absolutely love the garden. You have been super busy.”
“I had help,” I said and told him about Tim and Joey.
The bank agreed to loan the money I needed for the business and I was thrilled. My first customers would be the owners of the new homes. I would be able to run it from my home for now so I got busy buying all the office supplies I’d need. And printed out some business cards with the name, ‘Sam’s Garden Creations’ on them along with a phone number, a new one I’d gotten for the office and business use only. I wasn’t trying to deceive anyone by use the name Sam and not Samantha, but that was my name and what all my friends called me. Friday I went into town and purchased a SUV. I’d asked Derek to go with me thinking with a man with me the dealer wouldn’t try and gib me. By the next week I had my business up and running. My shed was full of gardening supplies. Tim and Joey was thrilled to become full time employees and I’d hired his dad to dig the water features when I needed them. He had also agreed to help with tilling and other work when I needed the help. The Anderson family had wanted it all in their two acre garden, large concrete statues, small statues placed in the areas with low to ground border plants and seats they could take advantage of to admire the view placed in their garden. I designed the garden to include those features. I had to travel a few miles to find a place that sold the large concrete statues and benches they wanted and make two trips to get them all back. But I’d be reimbursed when the job was finished and I gave them a copy of all the receipts. This job would give me a nice start to my business. Derek came and took pictures and made some pictures of my own garden to include in an online business site. The site was barely up and running when I had a call from a nearby town. The pastor of a large church wanted to talk to me about the graveyard. It seemed the founding fathers of the church and indeed the town were buried in that graveyard, along with the original inhabitants and generations on through the years of those families. So I left Tim, Joey and a couple other men at the second new home taking care of planting and decided to give it a look. Once again Derek traveled with me, the idea interested him. The graveyard was incredibly old with some of the most beautiful headstones I’d ever laid eyes on. I knew I wanted to attempt this job and immediately began designing in my head. Derek photographed the cemetery for me to use in making my design and the pastor gave me a picture of it as it was before it fell into more weeds than grass and plants. He showed me the graves without headstones hoping I could come up with something to perk them up. The town’s tricentennial was nearing and the church wanted to celebrate. The whole town was in process of sprucing up. People were clearing lawns, painting homes and cutting overloaded limbs from trees. Apparently the national media would be in town to film some of the celebration since one of their founding fathers was a great grandfather to a nationally known politician. And the family had been in politics throughout the generations. I had a month to get it done. I figured it could be finished in two weeks tops which would give me time to finish the second home I was working at this week and look for all the statues I needed for the cemetery. Derek grilled for us while I worked on the design. He suggested I get concrete crosses for the older graves without headstones and tell the pastor the church could get small foot plaques to give the family name of deceased with year of birth if known and year of death printed on them. I though his suggestion was awesome so I included the crosses in my estimate of cost. I was thrilled the business where I’d purchased concrete statues before had given me a pamphlet of what they carried as well as their online site that was accessed daily to update what was in store. I ordered several online with the option of pick up instead of mailing which was incredibly expensive and carried a risk of breakage on arrival. I decided to buy most of the plants and floral from the local shop in Moore where the church graveyard was located but did purchase some from my hometown also. Making the purchases now gave both businesses time to order what was needed and give plenty of time for the orders to arrive.
Derek and I had gotten use to each others routines and had set into enjoying each others company for the evening meal. Sometimes we had breakfast or lunch together. He had wanted to make another trip into the woods and wanted me to go with him but the huge job at Moore caused him to decide to wait until after it was finished. After the church I only had a couple small gardens to design and knew I could trust Tim and Joey to carry out the work without supervision. Both of them were excited about the graveyard job. They made jokes about ghost coming out and watching us as we cleared brush and placed concrete and stone statues all over the place. The job was completed in time for the centennial and the town was in awe of how beautiful the graveyard looked. They promised to keep it neat and organized from now on and to make sure the media who showed up to film knew Sam’s Garden Creations was responsible for how it now looked. I was thrilled and hoped it would bring in more business. I had four employees but had hired a couple of the Moore teens to help with clearing brush and other heavy jobs. The two small jobs I had was easy to design and after I’d taken Tim and Joey to the sites and explained what had to be done, they were eager to do them alone. Proud of my trust in them they set out to show me they were reliable. I left to head into the woods for a week with Derek and left them to handle the jobs assuring them when I returned I’d check their progress. Derek had decided to take ice in with us this trip and carried it in a sack draped over his backpack. A small cooler was already at the cabin so we’d have a place to put it once we arrived. The trick was melting. But we were lucky that the temp in the thick woods was a few degrees lower than the open area of my home. Derek had considered using an atv to come into the woods but we’d decided it was best to trek, it was better for the forest floor and foliage to keep it as undisturbed as possible. It felt good to me to be back at the cabin. I had enjoyed the few days I’d spent here with Derek and knew in the future I’d think of him when I came back. As we had before we unpacked and rested the first afternoon. Derek took off to set snares, he’d told me he had managed to get three rabbits in his week alone and was hoping to be as lucky this trip. He came back with a couple fish. I smiled over at him, “Nice catch, I’m not real hungry so fish sounds good. They won’t take long to cook and will go down easy.”
The fish tasted divine but I was yawning soon after we ate. When Derek left to check his snares and cameras I prepared for bed. I was snug under the cover when he came back. He laughed softly and turned off the lamp beside the bunk so it’d not shine in my eyes. A few minutes later we were in complete darkness and he, too, was under his cover. Only the sound of the wood crackling in the stove could be heard. That was okay by me, I’d rather get a full night sleep and knowing I didn’t have to dig up and pull on weeds tomorrow made me feel at ease and helped me relax. The night was uneventful and we were up at four the next morning. Derek put water on for coffee and left to check snares and cameras. When he came back I had eggs cooking along with link sausage we’d brought with us. I had also taken the burger buns we’d brought for bread and buttered it and had toasted a couple.
“Wow it smells awesome in here, you must have woke as hungry as I did. Look at what we have,” he showed me a cleaned rabbit. While he wrapped the rabbit in foil and slipped it into the cooler to keep, I dished up the eggs and sausage and poured us coffee. After breakfast we cleaned the dishes and went outside to trek the nearby woods, Derek had his camera and along the way photographed a few birds and squirrels. We saw a young doe and knelt down behind a fallen tree to watch it. He snapped a few pictures of her and of her mother when she appeared seemingly from nowhere. He was excited about the pictures he made so far. A little later we saw a fox and once again tried to stay behind cover so not to frighten it away while Derek snapped pictures. He said I brought him luck but I felt we had simply become more aware and in tune with our surroundings. It was well after lunchtime when we arrived back at the cabin. Derek went out and lit the fire pit and put the rabbit on to cook. The stove had a small fire lit so I decided to put it to use and threw a couple potatoes on to bake and had some fresh green beans steaming. And began the process of frying bread in a pan on top the oven. We’d have a big meal, one I felt we both needed after our trek. And the food would have plenty of time to settle before bedtime.
“Wow, you are cooking up a feast,”he bent down and kissed my cheek, “this is going to be a meal to enjoy.”
I smiled up at him, “I think we deserve a good meal after the trek we had and all the magnificent photographs you took today. Sorry we didn’t see any unusual tracks though.”
He shrugged,”you know, I don’t think the stay here would be as enjoyable the next time if I did see the creature, what would there be to look forward to and hope for?”
“Snaring a pig or one of those deer?”I laughingly said.
“I suppose that would be good, but I haven’t got pig traps set. And after seeing that beautiful doe and her mother, I’m not sure I have the heart to kill one of them. I figure, rabbit and fish along with the beef we brought with us would suffice this trip. And I can use my rifle to kill a pig if we need one here or at home.”
“I am with you on the deer sentiment,” I replied. “And you can go pig hunting any time later, not necessarily this trip. We don’t need extra baggage load on the way home, especially if it rains again.”
Our meal was filling and afterwards I lay down and fell asleep within minutes. When I woke, Derek was beside me and asleep, I stayed quiet and still. The feel of his body next to mine was phenomenal and I savored the feeling. I dozed off again and when I awoke it was to the smell of hot chocolate. “That smells delicious,” I said.
“Good, because I was hoping you’d wake before I drank it all. He poured me a cup and brought it over to me. “I have a confession to make, “while you slept I curled up beside you and fell into a deep sleep. I’ve only been awake a few minutes, long enough to make this chocolate.”
“I know, I woke for a couple minutes and you were sound asleep.”
He grinned, “at least I wasn’t awoken from being rolled onto the floor.”
“The thought never crossed my mind actually, though it might have if I’d stayed awake longer.”
He looked over at me and I saw light glowing in his eyes that was creating feelings in me I wasn’t wanting to analyze.
After we drank our chocolate I went with Derek to check his snares and change tapes in his cameras. Since the sky was darkening, he put protective covers on them. We made popcorn and talked that night, he told me about some of the places he’d been filming wildlife and making stills of locations and the people he met on his travels. We talked more about the creature and he again made the comment it’d be a disappointment because it would mean he had finished his mission. He had come to like Preston and was continually thinking he wanted to settle here permanently. His memories of the time in Preston with his grandfather was the most enjoyable memories he had. His dad was always traveling and missed so many special occasions he felt he couldn’t rely on him, therefore his dad wasn’t a major influence on him like his grandfather had been. Grandfather Terry was patient and listened to him, gave him attention a young boy needed but mostly he gave of himself, his time, like taking him on the survival class with my dad. Derek had shown an interest in filming at a very young age and his grandfather encouraged him to follow his dreams, be what he wanted to be and not what others expected of him.
“That sounds like Mr. Greer, he was always there for kids at school too. He didn’t brush us off like we were nothing more than a nuisance, he listened when we told him a floor needed cleaning or a bathroom commode was stopped up and any other thing we complained about. He protected us too, didn’t rat we out when we pulled pranks.”
“He was a good man, I wasn’t in the states when he died so I missed his funeral, my sister handled the details. She was surprised with the local turnout for the service, but I wasn’t.”
“I came home to pay my respects and went to the funeral with dad. He spoke at the funeral, and gave a very moving eulogy.”
“Thank you for being there, somehow that makes me feel better about not being there myself.”
I slid back on my bunk glad dad had replaced the old fold up cots with wooden beds. Something I hadn’t known before coming here with Derek a few weeks ago. He had told me he was going to make beds for the cabin before I left for college but we didn’t discuss it again after that, not even during the months I cared for him. I told Derek about that too. He laughed and said he’d forgotten I’d originally told him it was fold up cots in the cabin. “Maybe he decided to leave it as a surprise for you when you came back in the woods.”
“And that sounds just like something he’d do; sadly, I couldn’t come back with him.”
Before the week was over we’d slid the two bunks together and had made love.

When we made it back home I had several messages on my business phone requesting I come and look at gardens and ascertaining why the plants were dying. I also had several request on my website, advising they’d seen my work in Moore graveyard on the media’s live broadcast of the celebration. My business was taking off and I was loving it. Tim and Joey had completed the two small gardens and done a wonderful job, the other employees had bragged on them telling me the two had been well organized and great to work with as managers. I praised them and gave them a bonus in their next paycheck.
Two months later Derek and I were planning to get married;. I was in heaven and happier than I’d been in all my life. My business had taken off and Derek had some travels planned by his producer to photograph wildlife. We were married in a small ceremony by end of year and trekked through snow and ice to go to the cabin where it had all begun, for our honeymoon. This time Derek killed a pig, he was still antsy about killing a deer. The creature didn’t make loud noises in the night, and our time together was bliss but I was so thankful for the creature that brought us together and told Derek.
“Did he mean it?”
“Did who mean what?” I asks.
“Your brother, when I talked to him on our wedding day, he said when he pops in for a visit if you have so much as a broken nail or frown on your forehead, he’d take me into the woods, let me go so I’d have a head start and hunt me down like the wild animals I search for only the only shooting will be from his very powerful gun.”
I laughed uncontrollably, “he just told you what my dad would have said to you too.”
“Well, he is a marine so I guess I better make sure you don’t have worries with your business that could cause wrinkles on the forehead and I have to make sure you use proper gloves and handle heavy statues with care so you don’t break a nail,” he laughed.
You also need to assure I have morning coffee this morning,” I said, and lifted up my cup for a refill while laughing with him harder than I ever had.

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Boli Shagnasty
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PostSubject: Re: THE CREATURE finale   Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:21 pm

I am laughing because this work certainly did not end like I expected it to. This was an excellent read and thoroughly enjoyable. The characters are vivid and alive and seem like people you would want to know. The pace of the story is well crafted. This has become one of my favorites of your stories.
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Barbi



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PostSubject: Re: THE CREATURE finale   Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:39 pm

OMG I was so expecting Derek to end up a bad guy or get attacked by the creature and look at you! This story flows so smoothly and is awesome! I loved reading it. Would love to read an update story on these people. Like does he ever get to see the creature? Is it mean or what.
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