2008 Halloween Story Contest : Showcase : The Old Foamy Adventure
Halloween Creative Writing Story Showcase
The Old Foamy Adventure
By C. Turnage, PhD
Every city has its own urban legends. Jarian and Epsel, two middle schoolers from Cleburne, Texas who were aspiring detectives, had heard of Cleburne's goatman a thousand times if they heard it once.
Everyone told how you could go out to Old Foamy Road where the water crossed the pavement at night. Then, you just waited until midnight with the car lights turned off. At exactly midnight you honked your horn three times and counted slowly to ten. Then, you flashed your lights on and you would see a seven and a half foot tall monster, half-goat and half-man. Usually he was chewing on some kind of dead animal which he would automatically throw at the car. You had to put the car in reverse and pull out really fast or he would jump on the car, rip the top off, and eat your brains.
They knew from the way the tales grew there was no way it could be true. That was until Jarian's dad came home from work with the strangest tale of the theft of his fellow foreman's valuables. Sam Carter came home from work to find his house broken into. All of the guns in his gun collection were missing. Outside of the house, he found lots of huge footprints with six toes on each foot leading off into the woods. The police came out to investigate and followed the trail into the woods only to lose the trail in the waters of Old Foamy.
The next day, a neighbor of his came home from working the graveyard shift to find all of his cash and jewelry missing. Again, the police found huge six-toed footprints leading down to the creek. This time they followed the stream of water a ways and found a gold watch lying in the bushes about a quarter of a mile down. This was only a few hundred yards from where the monster had entered the stream from Sam Carter's place.
The whole thing sounded suspicious to Jarian. That evening when Epsel came over to work in the office and input data from the newspaper he mentioned it to her.
"What would the goatman monster need with guns, jewelry, and cash?" She asked. "That doesn't make sense. He hasn't stolen anything before, assuming he's real. There has to be more to the story."
"Just what I was thinking," Jarian piped in. "It's only a mile or so from the school. We can ride our bikes down there and check things out after we get out. Maybe we'll see him if we're lucky!"
As planned the two middle schoolers prepared to investigate the mystery. Their excitement made it hard to concentrate on classes all day. In fact, Mr. Turnage saw them squirming around all class period. When the bell rang he called them to his desk and asked, "What are you two investigating now?"
The two were shocked. How could he know? Jarian asked as much.
"The only time you two squirm like this in class is when you're working on a mystery," the teacher observed.
"Oh," They declared in concert.
Jarian added, "We're looking into the goatman thefts."
"I should have figured on that. I saw it in the paper and automatically thought of you. It must have slipped my mind."
The two preteens headed out of the room when he waved them off.
After school, they fled the building like it was on fire. The two unchained their bikes and raced down the road for the creek. When they reached Old Foamy the pair slipped their bikes into the brush up the hill and away from the street. Then, they stalked from shadow to shadow down the bank of the creek looking for tracks. It was not long before they found some fresh tracks not more than a couple of hours old. They were monstrous feet with six toes on each foot. And . . . the trail led straight to the creek. Jarian grew excited. He just knew he was going to see the giant monster close up today.
As he scurried along, he thought back to the Hardy Boys book he had read called The Secret of Skull Mountain. In the book, the boys kept following the trail of a mysterious figure whose footprint was missing a toe. The boys searched all over the mountain, but could not find where the trail led. Then, by happenstance, they were chasing a smoke column and found the mysterious man of the mountain. This led to their solving the case.
Jarian just knew this would be the case now. He would get to see a real live monster and solve the greatest mystery of Old Foamy. He could see the newspaper headlines now; "Local Teen Uncovers Urban Legend". His face stretched out in a smile so big it hurt his face.
"Focus," Epsel called out.
They followed the stream down to where they estimated the man-beast would have gotten out. Along the way Epsel thoughtfully remarked, "Doesn't it seem odd the monster is trying to cover his tracks? A real monster wouldn't worry about that. He wouldn't have the thinking ability for it."
When they got a few hundred yards upstream of Sam Carter's house they saw a thin trail used by animals that led away from the creek. There at the edge was a ten-dollar bill. Jarian looked at it before pocketing the tender. Then he stalked the shadows until the footprints ran out about thirty yards up the path. Up the trail a little bit, Jarian discovered the imprint of a muddy work boot near a smeared goatman footprint. Immediately, he snapped a photo with his cell phone. Tangled in a mess of thorn vines were a number of heavy tan threads that appeared to have been torn away as someone ran by.
"Oh, snap," Jarian mumbled. "I know who did it."
Epsel surveyed the evidence and nodded in agreement. She too had figured it out.
The demoralized pair wandered back to their bikes. They pedaled toward the school and found Officer Bishop, the School Resource Officer, on her way to her car. She could tell by their approach they had come up with something serious. She leaned against the Chevrolet pick-up waiting for them.
"What's going on, kids?"
"It's not the goat man." Jarian notified her.
"We didn't think so. Who do you think it is?"
"Sam Carter. I'll bet you'll find out he's in need of money. You'll find homemade shoes with the big footprints in his house, probably under the bed. He didn't do too good a job at covering his tracks. He threw this bill out just like he did the watch to throw you off the trail. Still, the trail he chose leads to the road about a hundred yards from his house. Here are some clues to help out."
"Good work guys."
An hour later, Sam Carter was in custody. The police found the jewelry, the money, and a pair of wooden "shoes" with a broken strap that tied onto Sam's boots under his bed, covered in mud. Jarian and Epsel stood by a squad car witnessing their success. Suddenly, Jarian jumped when he heard branches from the nearby woods accompanied by a horrendous growl. Epsel ducked down in fear pulling on Jarian's sleeve.
Their eyes met. Together the kids whispered, "Maybe the goat-man is real after all." •
© 2008 C. Turnage, PhD, Wheat Middle School.