an-so-sasquatch
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May stepped out of the musty, crowded Greyhound bus and took a deep breath of the fresh Washington air. She grinned, grabbed her bag, and set out towards her goal.

The ride had been long, bumpy, and full of uneducated people who were so eager to cast judgment on her. She had tried to illuminate the darkness for them; to let them know of what lay just beyond the veil. The intrepid AN-SO photographer had proudly declared her goal of photographing the elusive Bigfoot to anyone who would listen, though it had proven to be a conversation ender whenever she brought it up (frequently). Despite the reactions, she would not be deterred.

On her march towards the woods, May spotted a small camping supply outlet. She decided it would be a good idea for her to grab some supplies, so she corrected her course towards the shop. A bell rang as she entered, summoning an elderly man from the back room who quickly brushed crumbs off his flannel shirt.

"Oh goodness, I must have forgotten to flip the sign again. Anyway, hello young lady. Is there anything you need help with?" His voice was gentle and tired, and his bespectacled eyes were full of kindness.

"Hi! I'm looking for some trail snacks and water. Do you have any big canteens? I plan on being out a bit!" She was bouncing with excitement.

The proprietor took a moment to examine his over-eager customer. She only held two bags, one of which was very small and seemed to be designed to hold cameras. The second, though larger, appeared to only hold clothes and other small items. "You said you plan on being out there for long? How long did you have in mind, miss?"

May started looking around the various displays in the shop, eyeing an assortment of nuts and candies at a bargain price. She set down her camera bag and took the foodstuff off the shelf before answering. "As long as it takes! I'm not leaving until I can take pictures of Bigfoot!" Her red locks bounced as she cheerfully grabbed another bag.

"Bigfoot?"

"Yes! I'm a photographer for a cool new paranormal publication, The Weekly Exposé! We're trying to get the world to open their eyes! There's a lot of weird stuff out there, and we want to make you aware of it!"

The old man blinked with a mixture of silent pity and surprise. "W-well, miss… if you plan on being out there for long you're going to need more than just some nuts and water. I've been camping and hiking for 50 years, and if you'd like I could get together a list of supplies you'll need; I'd hate to know you got lost out there." He approached the counter, grabbing a notepad and pen.

May shook her head, her arms now full of bags containing nuts and candies. She approached the counter and dropped them all off before running to the back of the shop and picking up a canteen she had spotted earlier. Now satisfied with her haul, the photographer waited to be rung up.

Once more, the shopkeeper was momentarily at a loss for words. "Miss, I can offer you some sunscreen, a sleeping bag, or maybe even a compass? Do you at least have that?"

"No can do! I've gotta get going, so if you could check me out that would be great."

"Very well…" He wearily began tallying up the total on a calculator. The foodstuff was affordable enough, totaling $30 for 15 decently sized packages, but May's eyes nearly jumped out of her sockets when she saw the total shoot up to $65 with the addition of the canteen. She rummaged around her pockets and produced the meager $150 AN-SO had allotted for her photography excursion. She still had to pay for her bus back down, and the Lyft to AN-SO headquarters…

Sheepishly, May looked down at the gentle old man. "What is your store's return policy?"



Day turned to night, and May the intrepid AN-SO photographer had yet to see a single Bigfoot. She could hardly believe it. So many sightings had been reported in that area over the last few years and she had found nothing. To make matters worse, her pale skin had burned in the hot summer sun, leaving her face and arms as red as her hair. The only relief she had was the cool Washington nighttime breeze soothing her seared skin.

"Ow… Ow…." She pouted, sitting on a boulder. May did her best not to move her arms to avoid triggering the stinging sensation caused by her sunburn. With nothing else to do, May began to think.

Maybe she had gotten too caught up in her desire for whimsical adventure. Maybe she had gotten herself in too deep. She could already see the disappointment in Sean's face as he declared her mission a failure. Maybe there weren't any sasquatch, Bigfoot, or yeti around. Maybe the world really was as plain as everyone else thought it was.

But it couldn't be.

She'd seen the Patterson film! She'd heard Chad talk about a moth trying to sell him a helmet! She'd seen Valente's pictures of that sea serpent made of thousands of little fish! Hell, she had even seen Georgia's footage of a car acting like a predator! The world was weird, and she knew it, so that meant Bigfoot had to be out there somewhere!

May thrust her arms to the sky as she rose to her feet, proudly declaring; "I'm coming for you, you big hairy apes! I'm gonna show the rest of the world you're here and I will not give up until I do!" She cheered into the moonlit night. The young woman's second wind was short-lived, as the pain of moving her scorched arms and shoulders stung with the viciousness of a furious wasp. "Ow, ow ow…" She winced, sitting again.

A pair of eyes lurked in the treeline ahead, observing the human. Their owner took a long, lurching step forward, both orbs firmly planted on the comparatively small subject ahead. It contemplated for a moment just how easy it would be to reach out and rip her to shreds. All the years of forced isolation… but it didn't matter. Killing the human wouldn't fix anything. The observer reflected on what she had said about showing everyone about 'Bigfoot.', as they called the rest of its kind. It took another step forward, and another, and another until it was out in the clearing.

"Ow… I should have taken him up on the sunscreen… Ow…" May bemoaned her condition as the moonlight overhead was suddenly darkened. She stopped, slowly glancing up to spot a pair of piercing yellow eyes directly overhead. Her shrill shriek could be heard over in Clackamas County, where it sent hundreds of birds flying in a panic. But May's scream was not one of fear, but of excitement. She immediately reached down for her camera and began snapping picture after picture, the flashes illuminating the hairy and massive body of her new large-footed companion.

"Omigoshomigoshomigoshomigoshomigoshomigoshomigosh!" She exclaimed excitedly, trying to move and get a better vantage point to take more photos. "I knew you were real! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! I can't wait to show everyone back at AN-SO! And then the world! They're going t-" She was silenced by a massive hand clamping down on her face.

"STOP!"

The beast's gruff, guttural voice called out, its accent heavy with a tongue long lost to humans. "I talk. You listen." Its grasp on English seemed to be cursory, only barely capable of formulating sentences, but its voice was drenched in a strange air only an ancient being would possess.

"Why you come here, looking for us?" It questioned, a violent and angry snort punctuating its question. The beast then took a deep inhale of May, her hair lifting at the powerful inhalation. "You no smell of the murderers and jailors. You… Who?" The woman struggled to speak at first, not due to lack of confidence, but because the hairy beast's grasp on her was quite strong.

"I-I'm May Waters, AN-SO reporter on the scene! I came here to talk to you and show the world that you're here, you're real, and we should welcome you into our world!" She managed to free an arm from the gargantuan hand wrapped around her, then gave the Bigfoot a thumbs up and a confident wink. "I'd love to sit down and talk with you if you'd allow me to!"

The Child of the Night set May down out of sheer curiosity. Perhaps he had made an ally for his kind; one that they could trust. One that wouldn't forsake them to the Jailors, like Tim Wilson did many moon cycles ago. He remembered it well, for he had been the one to scrawl the message onto a trunk for the human. As his father had passed, it would now be his duty to carry the children of the night towards their goal of retaking the world, starting with one last attempt at mercy. The beast unhanded May and the two's eyes remained locked for a moment before she grabbed her notepad.

"What is your name?" She readied her pen, looking up to her companion with a wide smile. The massive beast responded in its native language, one beyond comprehension. May blinked, trying to scribble the best phonetic interpretation of what she had heard. "I see, I see. Now is that 'Guraghaanarak' or 'Ghooraghanurak'?" She questioned, only to be met with silence.

"Nevermind. So, umm… Can I call you Bigfoot?" Again, silence. This interview wasn't going too well at all. The two stood, mute as stone for fifteen seconds until the redhead opened up again. "I'll just… Call you 'G.' So, G, what can you tell me about you and your kind?" She readied herself for a story of apes gaining sentience, a great underground society of giant humanoids traveling between the American North West and Nepal, and maybe even some insight as to why they were so elusive.

What she got instead was a story of war, humans overthrowing them, 'children of the night', and something about some sort of forest trickster god. Though it was at least interesting, it didn't really make a lick of sense. May finished up her notes, and just as she was getting ready to stow it in her bag, G stopped her.

"You tell everyone, let us back in. Time is done. No more chances. We will take back our world if not welcome soon."

May nodded. "You bet! I'm gonna tell everyone! And now I have pictures! I have proof you're real! Don't worry, we'll let you back in, I promise you! I'll come back and tell you after we publish the newest Weekly Exposé! Oh my gosh, I need to get back home NOW!" She exclaimed, turning around and fleeing back into civilization; small yelps of pain from her stinging sunburn escaping from her mouth the whole way down.


Three days later, May had made it back to AN-SO HQ and had just finished announcing her massive success and interactions with Bigfoot. For once she felt as if she had been able to successfully contribute and the smile on her face was contagious. Everyone was gathered around her computer, eager to see pictures of the legendary beasts. The file transfer finally completed, and everyone watched with bated breath as May opened the newly created folder on her computer.

"Read 'em and weep!" She spun her chair around to face her co-workers with her arms folded and a smug grin on her face. May shut her eyes, ready to bask in praise and accolades but wasn't even met with crickets. Her left eye peered open, darting around to see the faces of Nicolas, Bryanne, and Chad. Why weren't they saying anything? Why did they look so unphased?

Nicolas leaned forward, taking ahold of May's mouse and clicking around. "Hmm. I mean, if I turn my head, and squint a little, and imagine there being a picture of Bigfoot then yeah it does look kinda like Bigfoot."

Bryanne put her hands on her waist and cocked her head to the side, frowning slightly. "Are you sure you went to a journalism school?" She commented, unenthused.

May was panicking, breaking into a sweat as the bizarre comments came in. She blubbered incoherently, trying to find words while flailing the sleeves of her AN-SO sweater about. "W-what are you talking about? I took pictures of him! I talked to him! His name was… Gh… Gaaa? His name was G!" The young woman turned around to see a pure black image on her screen. Her eyes went wide, and she wrestled the mouse away from Nicolas as she started clicking through the set. All of them, black.

The sudden realization that she had forgotten to remove the lens cap from the camera arrived at the same time as tears did to her eyes. She hung her head in defeat while the others exchanged looks of disappointment before starting to slowly back away.

But then she had an epiphany. She had interviewed G! She interviewed Bigfoot! The Bigfoot! With the swiftness of lightning, she rummaged through her bookbag and produced her notepad.

"Wait! Look!" She called out to the three, who stopped to look back at May. "I interviewed him! He told me about how his kind are called 'Children of the Night!' They had a society just like us that was super advanced and like, really high-tech, while we humans were like an endangered species or something! And then for some reason, we attacked them! With the help of a God!" May pleaded, going reading out her notes on G's story as a last-ditch attempt to earn the respect of her peers.

Chad exhaled sharply."May, you are actually crazy."

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