The Sasquatch heard the vehicle before he saw it.
It came in fast, swerving through the trees that lined the gravelled road that led to the Hairless One’s house deep in the swamp. Stones flew into the trees from its tyres on each bend and he swiftly swung himself higher into the large sentinel tree to get a better view.
The Hairless One rarely received visitors, and when he did the animosity towards them was plainly obvious in its body language. From up here the Sasquatch had a clear view of the house and the extensive food forest that surrounded it. The Hairless One was in its herb garden, a wide, tattered straw hat perched precariously on its head like a thin, floppy mushroom.
It stood up and rubbed its beard thoughtfully as the vehicle slowed, the black tyres crushing the dry summer grass as it came to a stop in front of the house. The doors opened and out stepped two crisp looking men in uniforms. Each had guns on their hips. Their voices carried clearly in the morning air to where the Sasquatch squatted in his tree.
‘Mr Good? Are you Mr David Good?’
Even from here the Sasquatch could see the Hairless One’s eyes narrow in distrust, ‘Who’s askin?’
‘Mr Good, my name is Mr Smith from the Department of Agricultural Resources. This is my partner, Mr Williams,’ The men flashed some badges.
‘What do you want? I’ve paid my license fees.’
‘Mr Good, some time ago one of our associates paid you a visit… a Mr Henry Allsoft. Do you recall?’
The tall Hairless One scratched at its beard again, ‘Don’t get many visitors out here, and those that come don’t hang about long.’
The Sasquatch noticed how both the men in suits kept their hands close to the weapons on their hips and were separated, boxing the bearded Hairless One in between them.
‘So you recall his visit then?’
‘Yeah, I recall him. Arrogant little brat he was. Tried to tell me my pond was illegal.’
‘That’s correct Mr Good. All water holding facilities must be approved by the State under the Act.’
‘My pond has been here longer than my house… which was here when I was forced to come back to Florida after the war of 2023! You can’t make an already existing pond illegal!’
‘We can do whatever we want Mr Good. Especially to citizens with a level 3 rating like yourself.’
‘Level 3 rating… what a crock of shit. You can’t rate citizens like livestock!’
‘Mr Goode, we’re not here to argue with you. Nor to fine you for an unapproved pond. We are here because our fellow agent, Mr Allsoft has gone missing.’
The bearded Hairless Ones eyes narrowed, ‘So? What’s that got to do with me?’
‘Well Mr Good, Agent Allsoft’s driverless vehicle returned to the office without him in it a few months back. We have been looking through his assignment back-trail and discovered he had been scheduled to visit you again to enforce the Infringement Notice placed upon you.’
‘Do you mind if we have a look around, Mr Good?’
‘Yes I damn well do, but you’re going to anyway aren’t you? Don’t suppose you have a warrant?’
‘Mr Good, under the Constitution Modernisation Act of 2024 we do not need a warrant… but I’m sure you know that already, don’t you?’
‘Well I’m coming with you to make sure you don’t plant something on my property.’
‘That’s fine. Shall we start by investigating your orchard?’
The Sasquatch watched the men move slowly through the food forest until they disappeared around the corner of the house. Dropping out of the sentinel tree he swiftly made his way through the forest on the edge of the swamp to where he could see them again.
‘Mr Good… I am impressed. How on earth do you manage to grow so much food in this soil?’
‘With good compost. I wrote several books on the subject back in the day.’
‘Oh yes, that’s right. Your record shows you have a semi-successful YouTube channel and website…’
‘Had. The purge of 21 wiped that out.’
‘Yes, I suppose it did, didn’t it? Every citizen on the record as voting for the Usurper in 2020 had their influence removed. I remember those days. Anyone could say whatever they want and vote for whomever they wanted… dangerous times for the State indeed. You are lucky. I heard many were forced into Re-education camps.’
‘I would have been too but I wasn’t in the country back then.’
‘Ah yes, South America wasn’t it? Why did you ever come back?’
‘Had to. After the war of 23 all ex-pats were forced to return to their own countries or face arrest.’
‘Yes, a bad business. Bad times too. Thankfully today wars like that are impossible, thank the Saviour.’
The bearded Hairless One gritted his teeth and held his tongue. From his position in a new tree the Sasquatch saw him struggle with strong emotion and wondered at it. One of the uniformed men was holding a large device, sweeping it back and forth all around. As they walked towards a large compost pile that had been dug deep into the sandy soil he noticed sweat beading on the bearded one’s face. The talkative one did not seem to notice, ‘You must agree, Mr Good, if The Saviour had not taken Her rightful place as President of the State the entire world would have fallen into darkness.’
The bearded one's face went red with barely controlled anger, ‘Some would say it fell into darkness when she did just that, Mr Smith.’
‘Oh come now, Mr Good. The world back then was out of control, people doing what they wanted whenever they wanted. No wonder social discordance was so high. The Saviour's iron fist not only saved the social order from chaos but saved the world environment from total destruction as well.’
The bearded Hairless One didn’t seem to be interested. Its focus was intently on the other uniformed one scanning around the compost bins. Finally it stopped its scanning and moved away, further towards the forest that bordered the garden. The Sasquatch made sure to stay perfectly still as it slowly approached, scanning the ground as it moved.
The bearded Hairless One visibly relaxed a little as it and the other followed, the other still talking, ‘Mr Good, I cannot help but notice how much food you are growing here. Are you feeding a community? The records don’t show a large family… at least not anymore?’
The bearded one turned and faced the agent directly, its face unreadable, even to the Sasquatch, ‘No, its just my wife and I now. I have no idea where my children are… haven’t heard from any of them in years.’
‘Then why so much food, Mr Good? And why so much corn, squash and beans planted so far from the house… right on the edge of the forest.’
The bearded one looked at the uniformed man for a long time, considering his answer. Finally he sighed and spoke quietly, almost under his breath, ‘It's for the Bahfeemus.’
The uniformed man’s eyes widened and he coughed a laugh, ‘The Bahfeemus? Mr Goode, I have taken the opportunity to dig up your old banned videos. I know your Bahfeemus videos were a joke, a sad attempt at gaining views by experimenting with videos as an art form. I will give you one more chance before I order your entire garden destroyed for breaching the Food Production Laws… why are you growing so much food? Nobody loves gardening enough to put in so much work for food you can never eat, especially at your age.’
The bearded one straightened his shoulders, ‘I know I made up the name Bahfeemus, but it suits as well as any other. Perhaps you would prefer I call it the Swamp Ape?’
The smile faded on the uniformed man’s face. The other one finished his scanning and walked over to stand behind the bearded one, ‘The scanner didn’t pick up any sign of our lost agent sir. Perhaps he never came here after all?’
The other man’s anger was obvious in his reddening face. He almost shouted his reply, ‘We know from his vehicle records he came here.’
His eyes bored into the bearded one’s, ‘You killed him, didn’t you Mr Good?’ The bearded one didn’t reply but shook his head in denial. ‘Yes you did. He came here to order you to tear down your pond and your garden and you killed him to avoid doing so! I know you did! I can see it in your eyes!’
The bearded one shook his head, his face paling, ‘I didn’t! I would never do such a thing! It was the Bahfeemus! Your agent started tearing up the corn stalks and the Bahfeemus killed him! Not me!’
The uniformed man’s laughter was vicious, ‘Don’t take me for a fool Good! You are under arrest for growing an unapproved garden, having an unapproved pond, and for murder!’
Ducking under the reaching arms of the man behind him, the bearded one ran for the trees.
‘Stop!’ Shouted the uniformed man. His partner pulled his pistol and fired a shot, the bullet missing the bearded one by inches as he dove into the thick bushes. Both men rushed after him but stopped short of entering the trees.
‘Goddam! Now we gotta go after him!’ shouted one.
The other took a deep breath and replied, ‘I’ll get him. He is unarmed and can’t go far. You start pulling up the corn and squash vines. We’ll come back with a dozer and deal with the orchard later.’
Grimacing, the man entered the woods, his pistol held high.
The Sasquatch watched as the man disappeared into the dark undergrowth. The other man started tearing up the corn. As he watched the Sasquatch felt his face start to burn with anger. He and his small troop had enjoyed the bearded ones efforts, always leaving the plants closest to the house for him and his mate. Now this Hairless One was taking their food! Exactly like the other had done a few moons ago. A growl started, deep in the pit of his stomach. At first the Hairless One was oblivious but the growl grew in intensity and volume until it paused in its destruction and looked around, eyes wide. The growl grew louder and it pulled its weapon from its hip. Its eyes panned back and forth across the trees but the Sasquatch perfectly blended into the trees with its long shaggy hair.
The growl grew until it burst forth from the Sasquatch's massive lungs in a roar that filled the forest with its ancient rage. He leapt from his place in the tree, landing only paces away from the now white-faced man. For a moment it just stood there, eyes wide and mouth open in its blood-drained face in shock. Then it raised its weapon and fired… but too soon in its panic for the bullet bit into the ground behind the Sasquatch’s feet. He leapt again, and before it could fire its weapon a second time it was sent flying backwards, its head landing several feet away amongst the torn up corn stalks.
The Sasquatch moved to stand over the body, watching the blood pump from its neck into the sandy earth.
There was a shout and he turned to see the other uniformed Hairless One emerging from the trees. It lifted its weapon and fired, the bullet slamming into his shoulder. The Sasquatch roared again, his blood instantly boiling in blind rage at these destructive creatures. Another bullet hit him in the chest and he launched himself forwards. In two bounds he was upon the Hairless One, a massive hand grabbing its head while his other swallowed its hand holding the weapon. He felt it fire inside his grip and the sting of it was instantly relieved by the warm blood of the Hairless One's hand bursting in his grip.
It screamed, a distant, muffled sound inside his other hand, which completely enveloped its head. He roared again, squeezed and wrenched its head free of its body, tossing it away to land near the other. The body slumped to the ground, its limbs twitching, legs catching in the ruins of the corn stalks and the blood pumping from its slowing heart to enrich the soil some more.
For a long time the Sasquatch stood there, staring down at the destruction. He knelt and tried to replant some of the stalks but they fell over as soon as he let go to replant another. Frustrated he stood and strode back into the forest. The bearded Hairless One would fix them somehow.
He moved quickly through the trees to another sentinel tree and climbed high into its branches to watch.
By the time the bearded one came back the sun was lowering into the western horizon.
It spent some time carefully replanting some of the torn up corn stalks. Some it rejected as too damaged and tossed into a heap near one of the compost piles, shaking its head in disgust.
The Sasquatch watched as it then dragged the bodies over to the biggest compost pile and dug deeply into it. Stripping the bodies of the clothing and gear it rolled them in and carefully covered them with dirt rich in worms and tiny forms of life.
Then it walked over to the vehicle they had arrived in and pointed something it had taken off one of the bodies. A door opened and it tossed inside the clothing and gear, being careful to wipe down the weapons and gear it had been forced to touch.
Stepping back it pointed the thing it held at the vehicle once again and tossed it in as the door closed. The vehicle purred into life and started off, back down the overgrown track it had come in on. The Hairless One watched it go before turning to look around into the trees.
The Sasquatch knew it could not see him. All Hairless ones were blind to his natural camouflage… unless he moved.
For a long time it stood, trying to see him in the trees. Eventually, as darkness began to fall it turned and walked away, back through the masses of fruit and nut trees to its house.
The Sasquatch changed his position to watch the moon rise above the swamp. At first it was filled with the blood of the day. But it slowly washed clean of her face as she rose higher into the darkening sky. The forest slowly came to life as the hot summer air cooled and night fell.
In the pond the frogs celebrated its return with their peculiar songs.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SASQUATCH SAGAS:
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