Over the last couple of weeks, eyewitnesses in the Willow Creek area have reportedly spotted several loping, bipedal mammals which they believe to be harbingers of End Times. Many locals, noting similarities to Biblical prophecies, have concluded that the mysterious creatures must be the Four Bigfoots of the Apocalypse.
"Oh, they're definitely 'squatches," said local celebrity researcher James "Bobo" Fay. "I been 'squatchin for 25 years now, and this here's the real deal." Fay, best known for co-hosting the Animal Planet program "Finding Bigfoot," followed this pronouncement with his impression of the elusive beast's vocalizations. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he emitted a long, mournful bellow. "Kina like that," he said with a faraway stare, "like a sireny kinda sound."
The first reported sighting happened two weeks ago along the banks of the Trinity River, not far from local bookseller Bigfoot Books. "That's not a coincidence," said store owner Steven Streufert. "I see 'em around here all the time."
But this Bigfoot behaved differently than any the bookseller had seen before.
"He was aggressive," Streufert said. "He conquered that picnic table over there. Picked it up and tossed it like a toy. In fact, he seemed intent on conquering stuff. Conquered a propane tank over at the hardware store. Conquered a little freckly kid, and then just took off into the woods, conquering everything in his path."
The second sighting came last Thursday when a Bigfoot reportedly ransacked the campsite of a family visiting from Red Bluff. "He run off as soon as we pulled in here," recalled Joseph Logan, whose wife and daughters declined to be interviewed. "Weird thing is, though, as soon as he disappeared into them woods all the other critters started attackin' each other." Logan said that dogs from a neighboring campsite began fighting, followed by the birds in the trees and the creatures of the earth.
"And lo, we hightailed it out of there," Logan said. "Place done turned evil."
A third reported sighting happened just two nights later, when McKinleyville resident Rhonda Simmons had to swerve off the road to avoid what she called "a friggin' huge black Bigfoot."
"It just stepped into the middle of my lane and stared me down," she recalled, her voice quavering at the memory. "My headlights -- they made his eyeballs glow this creepy blue. He was looking right at me." Simmons said she screeched to a halt beneath a billboard that read "Nothing's too hard for Jesus" and looked back to see the black beast running straight toward her.
"It was breathing heavy and growling," she said. "And I know this sounds crazy, but it sounded like words, like ‘one two, two one,' over and over." Simmons believes that the Bigfoot was referring to the date of Dec. 21, which ancient Mayan calendars and the Internet have designated as doomsday.
On Monday afternoon, outside Ray's Food Place, the Journal spoke to a glassy-eyed kale farmer named Pete Moss and a rotund biker who gave the name Hollis "Jumbo" Hell. Moss wore only a bejeweled trucker's cap and green corduroy overalls while Hell was dressed in flip-flops, black jeans and a puffy gold 49ers jacket. Both men said they'd come to town in hopes of spotting a Bigfoot. "Plus I'm in Dutch with the wife," Hell admitted.
Moss leaned on a stack of plastic-wrapped firewood bundles, an American Spirit in one hand and fried chicken-on-a-stick in the other. "They're naturally shy," he said, referring to Bigfoots, presumably.
Just then, a towering figure, covered head-to-toe in matted yellow fur, emerged from behind the outdoor ice machines. Moss, Hell and this reporter stared in disbelief at its distended burlap fingers, its wet, staved-in nose and the clouds of hot breath rising from its sallow lips.
The immense beast -- a healthy male, we couldn't help but notice -- was fixated on an apoplectic terrier yapping in the back of a nearby Subaru. Hunched and wheezy, the Bigfoot smelled of vomit and brewer's yeast. Distracted by the slavering mutt, the golden Sasquatch ignored us -- until Hell, trembling with excitement, fumbled his bag of Skittles and sent a rosary of rainbow candies clattering to the asphalt.
The fearsome blond Chewbacca did a double take and, with a panicked fart, turned on his leathery heel and sprinted east, taking huge, bounding strides through the parking lot of the Raging Creek diner. Moss dropped his meat stick and ran after the creature shouting, "Behold, a pale Bigfoot!"
And the smell that rolled off him was death.
And Hell followed with him.