Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Hunt for the Outcast

The outcast hangs on my wall. It took me years to track it down and find it. All but ready to give up, I enlisted the help of an experienced guide; Addy is what he told me to call him. He spent day after day tracking, while I spent dollar after dollar just making sure he would keep tracking day after day.

Up to my ears in debt and applying for yet another loan was when the phone call came in, “CJ, I’ve found it, I think we’re ready – pack your things and be at Black Bone Lake by tonight. I’ll be there to pick you up.”

A week off of work last minute really pisses the boss off, so my way around that was to deal with it once I returned, I shoved a note into his hand on my way out the door. I couldn’t get out of the parking lot fast enough. Sure enough within five minutes my cell was ringing.

***

I’ve been searching for the outcast since I saw it on a camping trip when I wandered off alone-I was about six. My dog stood between it and me pushing me back towards camp. I became obsessed with finding it again. Each year I desperately searched, and each year I was sorely disappointed. I searched every part of that mountain that I could think of and never saw anything like it. I had sketched it from memory for Addy, and by god, this phone call was just what I have been waiting a lifetime for.

He met me on the dock of Black Bone Lake, a small fishing boat tied to the dock. “Glad to see you made it.”

“I wouldn’t miss this if my life depended on it.”

After riding the ATV for a day and a half, we hiked further into the backwoods than I had ever remembered going. Miles and miles passed under us as he led me deeper into the darkest parts of the woods.

“I have had to leave visual markers for me to find my way back, this place is so uncharted that I haven’t been able to put it on my GPS, in fact something strange happens here and it messes with all my electronics. Kind of like a magnetic zone.” He whispered, indicating that I should do the same, and from here on out it was the utmost importance to talk as little as possible so as not to hinder our search.

It was the fourth day before we got to a wall of lava rock and from here I was told to take as little equipment as possible. That meant food / water in a backpack, and my bow. I followed him as he hopped from rock to rock climbing our way up the wall. Exhausted and knowing that I probably had lost all the tread off of my favorite pair of hunting boots we settled down just before dusk about fifty yards from a large cave opening made entirely of lava rock.

The wait was intense but I knew the money I had spent on Addy was well worth it when I saw the outcast. An immense beast, crossed between what looked like a bull and a man with horns on its head. I pulled back my bow and shot, hitting it in the lungs first then following up with one in the heart.

I felt the ground shake and my vision go blurry as the body of the beast finally released its soul. I clamored over to the beast knowing it was dead. It was like a character out of a story book, I sat there amazed, petting its fur, and examining every part of it.

***

People ask me at parties and events hosted at my home where I found someone who would create a lifelike replica of a creature such as the outcast. They don’t believe me when I tell them that I shot it in the deepest part of the Rockies.

I believe that if the outcast can exist, so can other mythical creatures. Hmmm I wonder if the storyline in InkHeart is true?

It’s something I ask myself every day when I look at the outcast, the Minotaur, hanging on my wall.

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