“Tourist Family disappear in Loch Ness Mystery,” read the editor of the Burningham Bugle as he sat in his chair with his feet resting on the table at the article in the Inverness Recorder, the Scottish sister paper of the Burningham Bugle. Glancing at the ‘Nessie sighted again’ story. Ian MacDonald looked puzzled the house was on a high bank and there wasn’t a fire?
“Angus get in here,” boomed the tall thin man with forty years of journalistic experience under his belt.
The young twenty-year-old reporter leapt from his chair sending it backwards and thudding to the floor as he entered the editorial room, just as he was finishing a story from someone who had written to the paper about solving the mystery of Atlantis.
“It was Pompeii,” said the reader. “Sure,” thought Angus with contempt. “It was the volcanic pumice burying Pompeii in a sea of rock. With the gates of Herculum or Hercules before Pompeii.”
“Bet you know what the ‘Holy Grail’ is too,” Angus aid to himself with a sneer at the original letter on his desk.
“I want you to go up to Scotland and this story. I want you to look into it,” continued MacDonald with eyes fixed on his rookie hack. “There’s something fishy about it.”
Angus almost laughed at the unintended pun. He nodded and made his way to the local rail station not far away. The cold platform made him shiver. The station was one of these modern ones, all concrete no heart or history. Suddenly there was a snort of diesel fumes as the sleek ultra modern train slid into the platform like a metallic snake winding it way on iron tracks.
It stopped and Angus entered and sat in his seat for the long journey to Loch Ness.
“I wonder if I see the monster,” he thought as the train pulled out with a snort of disgust that it had to pull passengers again. He looked up to see the large cylindrical building of the rounder, one of Burningham’s famous landmarks. The young hack sat back in his seat and read the report himself.
“The house was wet through out from top to bottom,” he read. “The house which was on a high bank was dry on the outside.”
“Must have been a central heating tank leak,” he concluded throwing the paper to his right.
Angus lit his sidelight on the night sleeper. He groaned, impatiently. “Just a wild goose chase on behalf of his editor,” he thought as he glanced at the time of three o’clock. The sun peeped through the thin edge of the blind that covered his window waking the correspondent. He yawned, stretched and then dressed. The train stopped at Inverness. Within a few minutes the old Victorian façade of the Inverness Recorder came into view. He entered and faced the editor. Suddenly he was on the road again. The house-looked ordinary enough he concluded as it emerged out of the low mist. Angus could just make out the fabled loch, a few hundred yards away looking calm and mysterious.
“No monster, then!” he said to his Scottish counterpart sarcastically. “Don’t say that,” came the reply from the slightly rotund journalist. “What’s with him,” Angus thought.
“You don’t know what goes on around here,” Jack McManus said looking all around him.
“People and things disappear around here!” Angus laughed it off. “What are all the spooks and spirits going to get us,” Angus replied waving his arms about. Jack didn’t smile.
The front door of the house was dry as a bone. They entered the hallway. The house was still dripping in water.
“Must have been the water tank,” put in Angus. “What from the attic, which doesn’t have the tank! Which was also empty!”
Suddenly Angus noticed the long path that leads to the infamous loch. “Let’s look at the loch,” he said from the attic window.
“There was a man around here that wouldn’t go near the loch, or even have a bath,” McManus replied with another spooky story.
“ ‘fraid of the water!” laughed Angus. Then he noticed his colleague was serious. “He completely disappeared a few weeks ago.” Angus was puzzled.
“He said he knew the secret of the loch.”
“It’s just the loch ness monster,” Angus said reassuringly. “The monster can’t get you. It doesn’t exist. It’s just a fable.”
“But,” Jack tried to say as this Burningham hack that just turned away from him not listening.
He shrugged his shoulders and walked down the stairs to the ground floor following this impatient Englishman. Both went outside and walked down the path to the loch. McManus walked slowly behind him. “Must be scared of the loch,” concluded the Bugle reporter. The loch rippled gently on the sand. The young Scottish reporter joined his English sceptic.
“Look’s calm enough,” said Angus.
“Come on Nessie, here Nessie,” shouted Angus jokingly across the loch.
Suddenly the Bugle’s latest recruit face dropped as a wall of water rose into the air, higher and higher it rose like a living tsunami. He looked up at it and it seemed to be smiling.
“It must be forty feet high!” he exclaimed.
“Run!” shouted McManus at the top of his voice as the tsunami wave crashed to the beach without a sound.
Angus looked back to see McManus dissolve into nothingness silently. He gasped, trying to catch his breath, as his lungs wheezed for air, just as he reached the top of the path. He looked back in horror. The loch was still after him; as a torrent of water raced towards him. It was gathering more and more speed, it wasn’t going to let go that easily of an easy meal. Suddenly the house began to dry as the water within it began to seep down from all the walls and from every nook and cranny. To emerge as a flowing river that turned onto the path towards the loch. Angus looked in terror as the second torrent of water met his eyes. He was trapped. Suddenly he jumped out the way as the embankment came into view just in time. He looked back to see both rivers converge into a white water cacophony of water. He scrambled up the grass bank to see the loch, now bigger race towards him like, a living predator after its prey. He reached the house, just. Then he knew. The loch had got the family and he was next. He raced to the car almost breathless. He frantically opened the door to escape the loch. Somehow he managed to get it the car started. He raced down the long road to the Recorder with dust roaring behind him in a cloud of speed. The loch stopped. Angus looked in the rear view mirror. It seemed to be smiling. A horrible thought entered his mind just for a second. The car screeched to a halt on the Inverness Street, leaving a trail of burnt rubber behind it. David McTavish the Inverness Recorder editor roared with laugher as this Sassenach English reporter told his story.
Angus sat in the ‘Sanctuary’ his local pub in Burningham with his lager half drunk. He gulped as he remembered the lake. Suddenly he had a terrible thought. Water is carried over mountains and falls as rain creating lakes! Suddenly the hairs on his neck began to rise; he turned to see that it was raining outside. He was safe in here wasn’t he? It couldn’t travel could it? He said to himself slowly, as a mysterious story had appeared in the ‘Manchester news’ about a couple that had disappeared from their new home next to a small flowing picturesque stream. Where nothing else had been touched and was dry except for a few drops of water. Even all their pets had gone including the pigs and chickens on the outside! His eyes almost popped out of his sockets as he peered over his pint and the lager inside. It seemed to be smiling!
Angus looked in horror as the face turned to a smiling Halloween pumpkin face, grinning like a Cheshire cat! Suddenly the pub exploded into water, every room filled to the rim to the ceiling and floor. Angus tried to swim to escape, the Loch Ness Monster, but it knew that he knew. He struggled in despair; his arms seemed to be like lead. His eyes focused on this new horror. As in the silence people were dissolving before him floating with arms out and going into unconsciousness. He checked his hands. They had almost gone, nothing was there. No pain. Nothing. But silence.
‘What’s going on here!’ said the voice of a lone copper on his night shift round as he entered the pub. ‘It’s passed closing ti….’ he said slowly at the Mary Celeste pub. No-one was inside; no-one at all, except a couple of puddles of water near a table, where a sodden reporter’s notebook lay open. ‘Loch Ness …’ he read.