Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:
Case File No. 47-203
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Where We Left Off:
February’s relentless snow took its toll on the humans, the cats, and even the machinery.
Ollie had predicted an early spring. Gus was ready to get outside and enjoy it. We had some days above fifty which was when it felt the most perfect for me and Gus. The snow needed to melt more and when it did, we finally got to expand our outside patrols beyond laps up and down the driveway.
We got lucky when the Grumpy Old Man used the snowblower to carve a path across some of the lawn. This allowed Gus to have a little more room to play. I was able to utilize that path to throw birdseed close to some of the trees in lieu of trudging through two feet of snow to reach the bird feeder.
Another week passed. Dead grass and tons of pine cones appeared. The fairy lights were finally able to have their solar panels charged during the day and have power for the nights. The US Flag and its pole had to be replaced from the storms. Gus navigated through Oliver’s patio looking for signs of damage or critters coming out of hibernation.
As previously noted in our case files, we also discovered many piles of poop. It was all over the place — as were tons of branches of all sizes. We stumbled up an area bordering Oliver’s patio, that was damaged. Part of the fence previously warped was now on the ground. Our new case presented itself: was the fence damaged by storms or did someone/something break down the fence?
This wasn’t an area Oliver could inspect so Gus activated his Super Smeller to get to work. He could tell that the general area had been visited by white-tailed deer, Jersey devil-deer, lots of birds, and not much else. The bear creatures have not come meandering out of their dens yet. We needed to brainstorm what beings were up and around while Gus buckled down looking for more clues.
Gus has allergies which make him sneeze and have a little bit of eye boogers. Oliver gets much worse eye crusties. This is important to the case. Outside, Gus’ sinuses were nice and clear. When he said he detected fresh water diatoms, he had my attention. Here’s the expert poetic definition:
Diatoms are algae that live in houses made of glass. They are the only organism on the planet with cell walls composed of transparent, opaline silica. Diatom cell walls are ornamented by intricate and striking patterns of silica. — diatoms.org
A few months ago, I received an exciting email asking me if I’d like to have a skull and a leg to add to our collection. The offer came from a Qi Gong teacher in our wee village. He and his wife live on a small pond at the end of a road that’s barely more than a trail. Gus took that adventure with me and the Butler. He took various samples of soil, water, flora, and rocks back to Oliver for analysis and documentation. We also noticed which birds hang out over in those woods and sometimes fly over the road to scout out the estate looking for food. One of the birds is a sometimes-terrifying hawk.
I don’t think the hawk intends to be intimidating towards me and Gus. I do think, it’s expecting Gus to do all the hard work of pulling rodents out of the ground so it can then steal them for meals. That would be a great system as long as Gus and the raptor don’t fight with each. I don’t have much information on the bird. Not even a confirmed species. I kind of think it’s a red-tailed hawk as they seem to be prosperous in the area. We did receive a photo from a neighbor of an adorable baby hawk sitting on their decorative flag pole during one of the snow storms. I uploaded it and iNaturalist people said it was most likely a red-shouldered hawk. I’m still not sure. We might have several interesting species of hawks here anyway.
Gus and this bird had an exceptionally quick conversation. I can’t be sure there wasn’t more telepathically communicated. According to this hawk, the pond through the other forest is the home to our own watery monster. Now this is a pretty small pond so there definitely isn’t anything as notable as Nessie or Ogopogo. Not even the Fouke Bog Beast would fit in this large puddle. This beast was drawn out of its home by the high wind. Our theory is that the wind provides an opportunity for the creature’s scent to be disguised or in some way confuses its prey allowing for better chances at finding food. It’s possible that during the winter, the creature can hold its breath for prolonged periods of time and stay under ice. Under the ice and at the bottom of the pond is a possible food source: turion, a wintering bud that falls off a water plant and stays at the bottom.
Although New Jersey does have ample swamps, we will leave the exploration of those beasts to our compatriot, Sir Thomas Pluck. The little pond we’re investigating here does have some swampiness to it, but it’s actually the remains of a canal no longer in use. The creature is likely the size of a halfling or child around the age of eight if it fits comfortably in the timber and mud of the pond. I doubt the pond itself is deeper than knee-high. I can remember looking for crayfish and newts near that area when I was a lonely child.
Oliver noted that there were no muddy handprints on the broken fence. It certainly would have been interesting if we had discovered the first case where a beast had unique fingerprints. No such luck this time. The fence was dirty, no longer gleaming white. It’s hard to say if anything in Oliver’s patio had been knocked over by a creature or the wind. One thing we had plenty evidence of were tracks in the snow and mud. Unfortunately the area was a common destination for all kinds of creatures and discernable tracks were hard to study separately. Plus, if this pond dweller is humanoid in figure, its tracks might blend in easily with my own and the other humans here.
What Oliver is draw my attention to was two strands of hair. Shockingly, they weren’t mine; all the men are bald; and, The Cook hasn’t spent much time outside in the winter. We definitely had a clue. It was time to create a profile of the local creature, Criminal Minds style.
A newly discovered bipedal creature broke through our fence and left behind a hair sample. Though we are classifying this being as bipedal, it likely is comfortable on all fours much the same way bears or gorillas are switching when necessary. We think it may be freshwater dwelling or aqua adjacent living in structures disguised from human observation. The subject is probably 36-46 inches when standing at full height at maturity. If we are the first on record to identify such a creature, we are classifying it as Pondo sapien. We’ve closed the case on the broken fence, but will keep looking for P. sapien evidence when possible.
Case Status: Closed