Five young women walked on a dry dirt trail in the shade of spindly
lodgepole pine. Theresa McKiernan was breathing hard, sweating, taking
big gulps from a stainless steel canteen. She was dressed
inappropriately for the heat, in a pair of khaki cargo pants, green
Chuck Taylors, a long-sleeved flannel button-down. She was out of shape,
soft everywhere -- skinny, but with a round belly and oversized ass.
The other girls were far ahead. They were all husky, firm water polo
players with lungs like cantilevers. They had legs like steel struts.
had dragged Theresa along. They shared a dorm room. Vanessa said
they'd have fun, that Crater Lake was a behemoth wonder of the natural
world. Theresa was a little apprehensive, but agreed. It was labor day
weekend and she had nothing better to do, nowhere else to go, no
boyfriend aside from a six-inch piece of plastic, no job. The walk was
just a warm up for a hike to the shore of the crater. Theresa felt a
little ashamed when she saw Vanessa walking back to meet her. She
was a muscled black tigress.
"Are you OK?" She asked.
Theresa answered, "I'm fine. I guess I'm just not so rugged. Cigarettes can't help."
Vanessa put her hand on Theresa's shoulder, rubbed it a little,
asked "Do you want me to walk with you, Princess Tiny Tears?"
"No, I think I'll just head back," Theresa shrugged.
Vanessa screwed her brown lips into a pout."Red Beauty, Red Beauty, are you positive?"
"Yeah, I"ll be fine. I'll read a book or something. Maybe I'll blow
the greasy, mustachioed park ranger who took our entry fee. Maybe this
is the beginning of the rest of my life. Soon I'll be eating, praying,
"Are you sure? The creek is supposed to be nice at the bottom."
Theresa answered, "Yeah, I'm sure. I need to save my energy for the Lake. That's how exercise works, right?"
Vanessa swatted Theresa's ass. "Yeah, sure. Make sure to lick his balls very well."
Theresa giggled, walked off, swung her arms a little.
When she was half way back, rounding a switchback along the
creekside hill, the temperature fell ten degrees in seconds. She began
to sweat and hugged herself. picked up her step. There was shrill
whinny. She gasped. turned around, searched for the source. She heard a
rustle in the thicket where the trail curved. "Who was that?" She said,
turning back. She screamed.
A frail, balding deer stood just inches in front of her, eyes wide,
motionless except for its chewing. Theresa asked it, "How'd i miss
you?" Something struck the side of her head. She felt trickling over her
check. All went white before she hit the ground.
The top of her skull felt like shattered glass. Her right temple
felt molten. She felt the need to vomit and felt a strain on her arms.
She felt an intense heat all around, and dripped sweat. Her eyes
cleared and then popped wide. She was in a gray, granite cave. A high,
pine-smelling flame flickered just a few feet in front of her. She wore
only pink hipster underwear and a black bra. In the far corner, a nude,
hairy man crouched in front of a pile of clothes.
But it wasn't a hairy man. Theresa screamed.
"Help! Bigfoot!" She wailed. "BIgfoot is going to molest me!" She
pulled up on her chains, rattled them. The beast turned, roared, threw
down the pants, galloped toward her on all fours. He stood up on his
hind legs. They were face to face. His eyes were red. He had the
mandibles of an insect and a mouth full of sharp, black pihrana teeth.
He cupped his hands over his lips, moved a finger across his neck.
Theresa gasped, quieted herself.
Bigfoot walked slowly back to the pile of clothes. He sat
cross-legged, picked up the pants again. He pulled out Theresa's
wallet, opened it, removed the money. He tossed the wallet over his
head.He put the money aside. He sniffed a pant leg, quickly drew his
nose up to the crotch, let out a few excited grunts, rubbed his penis a
little. He tossed them off, picked up Theresa's shirt, sniffed it,
He walked over to the fire. He picked up a stick, used it to push at
burning logs. Satisfied, he threw the stick down, knelt in front of the
flame and warmed his hands.
Theresa teared up. "Bigfoot," she whispered. He looked up, cocked
his head. "Yeah, Bigfoot, it's cool," Theresa cooed. Bigfoot toed toward
her on all fours. His aggression had vanished. Theresa pushed her head
forward through taut arms. "You don't want me. Let me go, Bigfoot. The
other girls didn't have cottage cheese thighs, remember?"
Bigfoot squatted at her feet, sniffed around her knee caps. She was
frozen. He sneezed violently, sprayed at a cup full of snot onto her
shins, lost his balance and fell to his back. Theresa tried to flick
the slime off, yelled
"Cocksucker!" He bounced back to his feet, stared
at her. Theresa held her breath. His eyes flipped from red to blue. He
smiled. His mandibles clicked back and forth. He scampered out of site,
behind a cave wall. Theresa exhaled. He returned with a bright purple
flower in hand. He was still smiling.
"Do you have a flower for me, Bigfoot? That's very nice. You can let
me go. That would be nice." She tilted her head up at the chains,
pointed with her nose. Big foot shook his head, shrugged his shoulders.
He placed the flower on her belly button. Theresa gasped and went rigid.
He drew it up along her chest, to her nose. He smiled again.
"Do you want me to smell it?" Theresa asked, forcing a smile. She
pulled her leg back, ready to kick him in the balls. The Bigfoot
pressed the flower against her noise, grunted. Theresa inhaled. "Hey,
that smells pretty `good. A little bit musty, but sweet and tart like a
cran-cran-cran----" Her head fell, limp.
Theresa drooled from the corner of the her mouth. Her cheek rested against wood. She could feel splinters digging in.
She remembered Bigfoot. She opened her eyes, whipped her head up,
whimpered at what she saw. He was seated across the table. He looked
dandy. He wore a powder blue top-hat, a grey morning coat, and a white
dress-shirt with a ruffled breast. All were filthy, moldy.
Theresa had also been dressed. She had on an old grey dress that
looked to her like something a nineteenth century milkmaid would wear.
It was dirty, rotted in places, sizes too small, probably intended for a
short pre-teen girl. The back of the blousepiece was left open to allow a fit and the hem
ended high on her thighs instead of her calves. She wanted to turn over
the table and run, take her chances, but her hands were tied together
with shoelaces and her ankles were hobbled by a three-foot tar-soaked
In the center of the table was a corroded silver tea set. Bigfoot
poured a cup of hot liquid for himself, poured another for Theresa. He
made a thumb-and-finger drinking motion with his right hand, grunted,
pointed at her.
"Oh, no, I've been around this merry-go-round before," Theresa said,
shaking her head. "You go first." She mimicked Bigfoot’s motion with
her tied hand, then pointed at him. He shrugged his shoulder, took his
tea between thumb and forefinger, sipped elegantly. He pointed back at
She took the tea with trembling hands. She drank. It was piping hot,
nicked her tongue. It tasted like pine and blueberry, had a hint of
lemon. She said "This is pretty good, Bigfoot," and smiled at him. At
this, his mandibles fluttered. He bounced up and down in his chair, let
out a series of short, rapid grunts, licked his teeth and brown lips
with a fat, gray tongue. He took another sip. So did she.
"Are you alone, Bigfoot?" Theresa asked.
Bigfoot set his tea down, held up a single finger. He stood up from
his seat, went under the table. He surfaced with shimmering necklace.
The chain was silver. The medallion piece was die-cast gold lettering,
studded with diamonds and backed by a polished brass pate. It read
"Moroni". He sat down, pulled it around his neck, fastened it.
"Moroni?" Theresa asked. The creature nodded, bounced up and down
some more, grunted some more, pointed to himself excitedly."Nice to meet
you Moroni," Theresa continued. She extended her bound hands. Moroni
took them in paws that felt like tarantulas. He shook Theresa's hands
with vigor. released them. He turned his back, and beckoned Theresa with
a wave of his hand. Theresa took a long breath, followed.
They'd walked some ways. The monster had led her through a hole in
the granite cave wall , down a long stretch of stone stairs lit by blue
torchlight. Drawn on the walls in crude chalk were mandibled stick
figures spear-hunting and gathering around big fires. Theresa was
huffing when they reached bottom. They stood in front of a golden door
dotted with silver circles and small rubies. Bigfoot pressed a few of
them with his thick forefinger. They moved inward and made a beeping
noise. After Moroni pushed about ten of them, he put his hands on his
The door opened inward silently. Theresa said, "Oh my god." Inside
was a square room about the size of a barn. It was full of messy, high
piles of treasure: gold coins, silver coins, rubies, sapphire and
diamond. The polished brass walls were almost completely obscured by
vines of black silk ribbon. The ceiling was red stained glass, and
inexplicable light streamed through.
In the very center of the room, in a darker space, on a white marble
pedestal, there was a book. Bigfoot walked toward it. Theresa knew to
follow. The pages were plates of gold. They were bound by three thick
silver rings. Bigfoot pulled a leather-hilted knife from behind the
pedestal. As he stood, he held up his left hand palm first and to show
that he meant no harm. He pointed at his wrist, then made a sawing
motion with the knife. Theresa inched forward, holding her hands out.
Bigfoot nodded. He freed her wrists, and then her feet.
Theresa stood over the book. "Would you like me to do something with this Bigfoot?" She picked it up.
Bigfoot unclipped a oval, clear stone from behind his medallion. He
held it out, placed it over his eye like a monocle, jerked it in
Theresa's direction. Theresa nodded. "Oh, I see. Bring it here,
Bigfoot." She took the stone from his hand, placed it on top of the book
cover. She turned her eyes to slits, pretended to care. "Bigfoot,
could you come closer?"
Bigfoot obliged. He stood over her. He smelled wet.
Theresa looked up at him. His eyes were pink now. He looked
concerned, and was smiling.Theresa said to him,
"Fuck you Bigfoot."
Bigfoot cocked his head "Aroo?"
She slammed the book against his head and he went down. She dropped
the book, picked up the loose knife. His eyes fluttered. His mandible
had been chipped at the the end. He rolled around on the ground,
convulsing. Theresa ran out of the room.
It was noon and the sun came hard. Theresa had crashed for hours
through the thick wilderness and hadn't seen anything resembling a
trail. She was cut up everywhere, her feet bled, and her dress was
torn in two at the front. She caught a flash of red to her right. She
stopped, crept closer.
Two tents! Nearby, a pair twenty-something blond men cooked on a
small green propane stove, sipped cans of Orange Soda. They were
greasy-haired, dirt-faced, dressed in white t-shirts and track pants.
They'd hung a couple of red canvas sacks in the trees from yellow nylon
ropes. Theresa burst through the woods into the small clearing. The men
stood immediately. The shorter one dropped his soda. She shouted, "You
two! Help! I've been kidnapped! You have to help! He's coming! He's
bigfoot! He's Moroni!" She hugged the taller one instinctively.
He spoke. He had blue eyes. "Gosh. You look terrible. Let's get you
to the trail-head. There's a ranger station nearby. Can you walk?"
"Yeah, yeah, lets go!' She pulled her chest away.
The short one, also blue-eyed, said, "I'm John, that's Hiram.
"Yes, lets go!"
Hiram put his hands on her shoulders, said "I have some extra boots
and some socks. They're big, but they should help your feet. Longjohns
too. You look a little indecent. I'll give you my jacket."
Hiram retrieved the boots and longjohns from his tent, and John
didn't say anything, stood with his thumbs in the waist-band of his
pants, looking down. When Hiram returned, he dropped the items at
Theresa's feet, removed his coat. They turned dutifully while she
pulled on the longjohns, took the jacket around her shoulders, tugged on
the socks, laced up the the boots.
They walked for about an hour. The landscape was homogeneous. They
could have been going in circles. Theresa told them everything. They
responded by nodding or saying "No way?". They were from Idaho, she
learned. They were backpacking enthusiasts. They were touring the
country. They'd been to twenty national parks. All had been beautiful,
serene, good places for men to think.
They came to a clearing where only browned, sickly weeds grew. In
the middle was a circular hole wide enough to swallow a car.
"We're here." Said John
"Where?" Theresa felt sick.
"The trailhead," said Hiram.
She stepped back, shouted, "This isn't a fucking trailhead! I know what a fucking trailhead is!"
"Well, it is in a sense. We're going to throw you in. This is
really going to be the journey of a lifetime. We really mean it."
Hiram picked it up."Anyway, please don't curse. We'd prefer that you
didn't curse. Its a little indecent There are standards and values."
"Fuck that! Fuck you!"
"Don't worry, the fall won't kill you. We're going to throw in some
glow-sticks too. You'll need them to find your way around.
She turned to run, but they grabbed an arm each. She kicked her legs
and screamed while they dragged her back to the hole. They turned her
around and stood her at the lip. Theresa whipped at the duo with her
restrained elbows, kicked at their shins, cursed them.
"On three," Said Hiram.
"Fuck you both! Fuck you both! Fuck your standards and values!"
They counted, "One, two." and threw Theresa face first into the hole.
She felt weightless. She spun. She splashed down head first into a
pool of deep water. Her extended hands didn't touch bottom. She opened
her eyes and swam up toward the green light of the sticks. She surfaced,
sucked in air. There was an outcropping. She swam toward it, grabbed
on, pulled herself up. She shivered like a tuning fork. In front of her,
built into the granite, was a large, red brick archway that lead to a
wood plank tunnel. She walked in.
Classically rendered oil paintings hung along the wall to her left.
She studied them as she tip-toed forward.The subject of the
first was a woman, red-headed and pear-shaped like Theresa. She held a
glass of red wine, a delirious look on her face. She stumbled through a
blue-green eden and a flock of small birds burst at her feet. In the
next painting, the woman's eyes rolled into the back of her head while
she was taken from behind by a tall, muscular black man and smoked a
cartoonishly large joint. In the third, she was running through a
cracked red desert in a skimpy leopard-print loincloth, pursued by wild
boars. The final image was at the tunnel's dead-end. In it, the woman
stood atop a white pedestal, in a red robe, a mass of similarly dressed
worshipers at her feet. A halo surrounded her head and the sun was
Theresa cried and touched the painting. She heard a sharp series of
clicks. The boards opened up at her feet. She landed hard in mud,
sprained her ankle. She wailed, picked up her glo-stick, saw four holes,
picked one, limped toward it. Moroni appeared in the opening, growled.
His mandible was wrapped in a white athletic bandage. His eyes were red again. She yelled, "Stay the fuck away from me!" Three more Bigfoots
appeared in each of the other doorways, identical to Moroni but with
different colored fur. Their pendants read "Nephi", "Peter" and "James".
Theresa fell onto her backside, dragged herself backward until she
hit a wall. They surrounded her. They each took their pendants in hand,
unclipped glass stones.