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The Lunatic

A short story by Francis Gibbs

On the first day of December, when the cover of Winter had only just begun, an ageing man had finished filling his stores with ample amounts of firewood for the numbingly cold season ahead. This was his favourite time of year. Aided by the thought that he himself was entering his own state of hibernation, the snowfall encasing his dwelling presented the rare opportunity to contemplate anything he wished.


Having been outpaced by the methods of the future, the man preferred a simpler life that resembled the pre-internet era. He remained immune to change, and given such circumstances, neighbours likened him to a relic of the past. Despite his outdated way of life, the town in which he resided was close-knit - and as a result - knew him as a humble and welcoming presence who wouldn’t hesitate to offer the assistance of small repair jobs to those in need of his expertise. He found value and purpose through his family, and as a proud Grandfather, would carve sculptures to gift to his Grandchildren.


In the warmer months, he was a laborious worker, however, Winter was a time of relief in which he earned the fruit of his labour. The frequent visits from his family were reduced to one time of the month - Christmas Eve – most of that time was spent bound to his favourite leather armchair. A glass of port on his left. Newspapers and an antique radio on his right— Its signal would often falter. Everything was positioned to a tee so as to reap the full benefits of the wood heater without obstructing his window view of the Canadian wilderness. Days upon days were spent bearing witness to an ever-transitioning backyard scene. Deer, elk, and rabbits were common sightings— Occasionally the curiosity of dumpster-scavenging bears would lead to frighteningly tense stand-offs. Indubitably, the man was well-equipped with cans of bear repellent and needless to mention, a 25 Cal hunting rifle. However, these threats never prompted the firing of a single bullet.


If the man could deter the wood’s deadliest beast, one might expect his fears to be negligible. Perhaps he was so contented with his life that even the prospect of his own death could be readily accepted.


Until one early evening - when the sun was on the cusp of setting - the Grandfather’s dozing was disrupted by an obscure noise that could no less be described as a high-pitched yelp so menacingly loud that the house’s panes reverberated. He arose, alarmed and back-hurt, made for his rifle, and turned daringly to the window. What he saw at that moment etched a scar on his mind so unmistakable and traumatizing, that he could hardly move; potentially riddling enough to change the core of one’s perception of the world. The dark figure clearly outlined in the snow was in the process of disappearing into the lining of the woods. A humanoid being. The folklore that he had been told as a child had become reality; And to his immense disbelief, the fifteen-foot tall creature - executing a lousily conducted heist of the man’s shed - was none other than the legendary Bigfoot.


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