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The Ancient One

The creature had lived in Maple Rapids all his life, even though he did not know where he came from, did not know how he came to be. He lived in the roots of a large tree. The tree sat next to the Maple River, the roots were partly underwater. What no one knew, there was a small cave under the tree in which he resided.

Nobody knew he existed, nobody even gave him a second thought; the tricks he played on the anglers were just strange things that happen, and that was all that they said about it. The ancient one did not have a name, he just lived. He was part human; had two legs, two arms, torso and a head. That was all the resemblance to a human there was. He was about four feet long and weighed about seventy pounds.

His skin was the color of the murky waters in which it swam, which may explain how no one saw him. It was rough, scaly and slimy; he had webbed feet and hands. His head was small, the shape of a coconut; his eyes were two very small, brown circles. His nose was two holes in the middle of his face. His mouth was a small oval with two sharp teeth on the bottom and four sharp teeth on the top. He had no hair on any part of his body.

The old one never harmed anyone; his diet consisted of fish and worms he would swipe off peoples' fishing poles. He was very old and wise; he knew and observed the people around him.

He would spend his days swimming up and down stream, finding victims for his practical jokes. He would steal the bait right off the hook of the unsuspecting fishers; or he would hold onto the hook in addition, pull on it, as if they had caught a fish. The angler would reel it in to find nothing, no fish and no worm. The angler would assume that a big fish had got away.

One of his all time favorites was while the trolled was reeling in; he would grab the line, pull it to the bottom of the river, and put the hook on a snag. He always enjoyed their quizzical faces when he had done that.

For many years that was the way, until something happened to change the way he felt for the human. One day when the sky was overcast and rain was moving in, he went for a swim. He began chasing a Carp around, he was hungry; something on the bank had caught his eye, and he moved in a little closer. He never left the sanctuary of the water before, so he was surprised by his own actions.

The item on the bank was silver and he found rare finds fascinating. He moved closer, until his head, arms and upper body was out of the water. He moved and studied the object closely; it was what we call a dime. Entranced by the finding, he did not notice the man who walked out of the woods.

“What the hell are you?” The man said.

The ancient one’s eyes rose up hesitantly from the silver. He had never seen a human this close up before, there was something in the man’s hand. It pointed at him; it was silver. The old one looked at the strange thing that aimed at him; it was fascinating.

“Get the hell outta here, freak!” The man screamed with his .357 Magnum aimed at the creature before him.

All the old one did was stare at the beautiful piece of silver in the human’s hand. There was a loud explosion and pain tore through his arm. He flew back and looked down; there was a hole in his shoulder and a brown liquid oozed out. There was another explosion, this time a hole appeared on his side and brown seeped out. He screamed. Quickly he retreated to the water and toward his home. Behind him, he heard the explosions faster and they ricocheted off the water with a splash.

The medieval one made it to his cave, under the roots of the big tree. He put a salve on his wounds; the mixture he always used when the Gar Pike and the Snapping Turtles had gotten too close. Soon the holes would heal, but not his mind. Hate began to etch its way into his heart.

Once he had fully recovered, he again began to swim. There were days when he saw the humans fishing and he would let them be. There were times, though; he would see something that would catch his attention and the pain he felt before would begin to surface into his mind again. He would attack them before they would have a chance to get him.

He would creep out of the water and sneak up to them. They would sometimes see him and freeze at the mere sight of him.

He would grab both arms and rip them off the stunned human. With his six sharp teeth, he would bite into their foreheads and rip the faces clean off; all that would remain would be the skeletal face. He never digested the skin and tissues of his victims; he did not like the taste.

He would leave the face lying next to the body and arms. Then he would retreat into the river.

No one in Maple Rapids could figure it out, only a select few were found armless and faceless. The police found no patterns to the murders. People became more and more frightened, especially residents of the small village. Less people went fishing on the Maple River, which to the ancient one was just fine. That meant less silver he would have to see, for he did not like silver anymore. If the police were more intelligent, they would see a pattern emerging. They would notice a silver object of some kind lying next to each victim.

My advice to you, if you really want to go fishing and have nowhere to go but the Maple River, is do not bring anything with silver. Because he sees it as something, that can hurt him and he is going to get to you before you can hurt him again.

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