By Tara Roberts
The sasquatch doesn’t drive it, but tosses it up in the air and pokes at its shiny fake chrome. I realize he’s probably never seen a car before. Who knows how many humans he’s even seen? Maybe he only knew his captor. And yet, he seems to trust us.
“He needs a name,” Jamie says.
“He looks like a … Bartholomew?” She makes a face. “Stanley? Arnold?”
She rolls her eyes and kneels on the floor near the creature. She coaxes the car from his hand and shows him how to push it across the floor. He hoots and chases it under the couch across the room.
“How about Melvin?”
“Seriously, Rose, it’s a miracle your kids have normal names.”
“Joey is named after my grandpa and Maggie is after Mike’s grandma,” I say. “We kept it simple.” I feel a tug in my chest as I think of the kids at home, probably getting in bed right now, Mike reading them a story. I’ve never been away longer than a night before. And I’ve definitely never been away in a dark forest in a blizzard with a sasquatch, and with who knows what else lurking around outside. But thinking of Maggie and Joey warm and happy makes me feel a little better.
Jamie sits in the middle of the floor and stares at the sasquatch, who is lounging on the couch, driving the car and humming. “It doesn’t really matter what we call him, does it? We can’t keep him. But what are we supposed to do with him? Whoever had him tied up is still out there.”
The same questions have been on my mind, but I’m not yet prepared to handle them. First I need more food, and probably a good amount of sleep. “Wait, I’ve got it. What’s the name of the guy you dated whose family owns this cabin?”
She laughs. “Andy?”
“Andy. Let’s call him Andy.”
The sasquatch rolls onto his back and stretches his long, furry limbs. He sure is a cute little guy. He must have a family out there missing him, right?
Jamie scoots closer to me and I slide to the floor to sit beside her. “Andy,” she says. “It’s perfect.”
The roof trembles as thick, wet snow begins to hammer against it. The wind howls, and I’m reminded suddenly of the Hoodoo Mountain Howler — the whole reason we’re out here in the first place. It’s certainly not this tiny, playful creature.
But is it like him, or is it something else entirely?
Andy yawns, showing blunt molars and long, sharp canine teeth. He rubs his fists on his eyes. “Good thinking,” Jamie says. “Let’s get some sleep.”
The couch pulls out into a rickety bed, and Jamie finds quilts and soft down pillows in a closet. We lie on either side of Andy, who begins breathing deeply moments after we turn out the lantern. Jamie does too.
Exhaustion soon takes me out, but my mind keeps spinning in my sleep. I jolt awake just after 4 a.m. with a plan in motion. I move silently to avoid waking Jamie and Andy, slipping back into my snowsuit and boots, then heading out into the still-dark morning.
To be continued next Thursday …
Coming next week
Part 9: The Confession
Roberts is a writer and mom who lives and works in Moscow and is very slowly pursuing her master’s degree in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.