Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | March 6, 2008

The Creature

Hancock, New Hampshire. July 27, 2006.

July 2006 Nubanusit

If you ever find a pinkish-blue creature hiding in a mess of ferns in the woods, don’t touch it.  Believe me, it could save you a world of trouble.

I thought it was a chew toy.  I really did.  Princess, she’s our dog, she leaves those things all over the place.  Sometimes she hides one somewhere and then finds it again a year later, all deformed and muddy but she carries it around anyway for a whole week like it’s a congressional medal for dog heroics.

“Hey Princess!”  I called, “look!  Here’s a toy!”

She came trotting over, sniffed the thing once, then proceeded to bark louder than she barks at the UPS truck.  And believe me, that UPS truck is Princess’ one true mortal enemy.  It doesn’t even come up our driveway anymore — they started leaving our packages with the neighbors after the day Princess punctured a tire.

Anyway, Princess was barking and that chew toy jumped out of the ferns, straight towards me!  What was I supposed to do?  I caught it like a football and squeezed it tight under my right arm.

“Princess, down!”  She was bouncing like a pogo stick, and the pinkish-blue thing was nipping my elbow.  It felt itchy, like poison ivy.  The lake was right there, and the only thing running through my head was get this thing off me!  So I threw it in the water.

Gone.

Or so I thought.

Princess swam after it, then around and around in circles, but all that remained of the thing were a few bubbles on the surface.  I tried to forget about it, and hoped I’d just imagined it, but the rash on my elbow took three weeks to heal.  It’s hard to be cool and collected when you itch like crazy.

And it was impossible to pretend I didn’t know anything when people started talking about the monster lurking in the lake.  It had big pink tentacles, they said, and blue spots.  Everyone said they were crazy, until they saw the thing themselves.

Uh oh, I thought after I heard the story for the fourth time.  The rash was gone, but I rubbed my elbow anyway.  Princess barked happily.  She was ready to go pink-poison-ivy creature hunting.

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