WHAT IT IS
He worked the roads around Beaver County for over twenty-five years and in that long span of productive time Ned Doucet never once took a proper vacation. In fact, he has spent all his vacation days re-working old unsolved cases from around the county. Ned was particularly fascinated by the off beat cases; the witch from Ambridge who police shot seven times after she ran amok in a backhoe smashing into cars parked along the main street…the bullets did not stop her…she just ran away. Or the gym teacher outside Midland who robbed a bank and made a successful getaway on his son’s tricycle. This year Ned decided to poke around an abandoned rail yard and gravel pit near Beaver Falls where Cricket and Sapphire were found after being kidnapped by Wagner and Lehman. Ned always had doubts about this crime, a feeling that there was more to the story than a straight up kidnapping, so to satisfy this hunch he decided to revisit the area.
Ned lowered himself into the steel Costco shipping container via a rope ladder left there by the FBI after they wrapped up the investigation. Walking around the cavernous container listening to the sound of his footsteps bouncing off the walls, along with the shear emptiness of the steel structure, led Ned to believe he would be wasting his time going down this particular rabbit hole.
As he returned to the ladder, his flashlight quit and he was thrust into total darkness, save for a small square of daylight at the top of the ladder. Shuffling toward the daylight, he caught a glimpse of an eyeball in the dark recesses in front of him, then a dry, cold presence brushed up against his leg. Ned froze and the whatever vanished.
WHAT IT IS NOT
They scattered like specks of dust catapulted into a ferocious wind, their tiny tails raised straight up as they bolted toward the closest tree trunks. The chipmunk’s minute claws tore off bits of bark as they ascended the trees and their grey bellies were soon covered in pine sap. Once high in the trees, the branches became a munk’s highway and Stacks McDonald watched as his three liberated mates high-tailed it further into the forest.
Stacks knew the three chipmunks’ near fatal brush with INSECT would create a state of hyper vigilance among them, so he waited a few days before going after them. It is legend in the munk community that the pine cones along the Mattawa River are the best in the country, and after a week of searching, he found the three munks near a gorge not far from the river. It took a few days of clever convincing, but the munks agreed to accompany Stacks back to Beaver County where an entourage of dragons would provide the munks with twenty-four hour protection.