Chapter 34:     Aftermath

ART writes--

We were still at home, trying to find out what was going on by 
telephone when the police arrived.  In several cars, blue lights 
flashing everywhere.  Then others showed up, civilian vigilantes 
after the Wild Bigfoot Threat to Decent Folk. Soon there must 
have been 50 people there, most of them with guns.  It got 
pretty ugly.  

The story got pretty twisted as well.  We heard different versions, 
such as that Adam was attempting to rape Melly and Peter had 
heroically defended her honor and of course who could fight a monster 
like that without a gun?  The most common supposition being that 
Adam was jealous of Peter and had come to Big George's for a 
showdown and that Peter had grabbed a "luckily handy" pistol in 

The only consistent feature in the stories was the gun: there HAD 
been a gun fired.  There were also several reports of blood dripping 
from Adam, confirming that it was he who had been shot.  

The police were saying that Adam had resisted arrest, assuming that
he was therefore guilty of something.  But they weren't sure of what,
perhaps the attempted murder of Peter--or even Melly!   

Elaine was trying to call Melly's cell phone, but there was no 
response there.  I was telling reporters "No comment".  Police were
walking around with high-powered rifles.  A shot went off behind 
the house and everybody ran around to see what had happened.

It was a deputy with a shotgun.  He was flashing a light into the
woods. "I thought I saw him," he said with excitement in his voice.

I went up to that deputy and kneed him in the crotch.  He went down
and I took the shotgun as he fell.  "You son of a bitch!" I 
screamed at him, "What if it HAD been him?  You're no jury! Get 
out of here, all of you!  Get!  Go!"  Then I noticed that the 
other policemen had their weapons pointed at me, so I unloaded the 
shotgun and tossed it from me.

Chief Chesterson considering arresting me for obstructing the law,
but he agreed that the officer had been completely out of line by 
firing at anything that moved and we all tried to cool down.

I then reminded them that they had no warrant, that Adam was my
legally adopted son and a human being, not some wild animal, that 
they were behaving like wild animals themselves and were a danger 
to the safety of my family.  I threatened to sue the policeman 
who fired the shot and alluded that the IPR Center would back me 
up with legal clout and ordered all of them to leave immediately.

"Well, what if Adam comes back here tonight?" Chesterson asked.

"If he does I don't want any gun crazy sasquatch hunters hanging

"You know, Art, if Adam has gone bad, you and Elaine could be in
considerable danger..."

"Not from Adam.  He's my son!  I don't believe any of this shit
I've heard tonight, everybody's just GUESSING.  If he's wounded,
he'll be scared, he needs help and we want to give it to him.  But
if your goons hang around he'll never come in.  So go away!"

I tried to sound very calm, reasonable and logical.  "Look, if he
does come in, I'll bring him in myself.  He'll come, he's a good
kid.  I wouldn't be surprised if someone scared him into running by
overreacting in the first place.  Go home everybody, we'll handle 
it from this end.  Thank you, good night."

Melly finally called us from the hospital.  It was hard to 
understand what she was saying, she was crying so much and seemed
confused, as if under the influence of a drug.  We picked up that 
she had been at the party and Adam showed up, looking into the 
window at her and Peter having sex.  She was obviously feeling so 
guilty about what had happened that she was being ruthlessly 
honest about it all.

You've read her version of the incident in the precious chapter, 
so you know more than we did after trying to decipher her story
through all the sobbing and babbling. But we managed to comprehend
enough of it to get the major points of what had happened: that
Peter had deliberately shot Adam; that Adam had hit Peter, who was
maybe dead; and that Adam was gone, his blood everywhere.

Melly was almost hysterical, so we didn't press her for details
over the phone just then, even though Elaine was getting just as 
upset as Melly.  We concentrated on worrying about Adam, stayed up
all night.  

Every so often I would go out and call his name.  I wasn't sure 
that there weren't some police hiding in the woods, or worse yet
some vigilantes, so it was with mixed feelings that I called him,
afraid of leading him into a trap.

The next day the news media went insane:
There were television crews out here to interview us. I carefully spoke with them and the police about establishing a sane approach to the situation. I took leave from work, spent the whole day trying to find out what I could about what had actually happened, Peter's condition and about the gun. "If Adam is the villain here," I was asking everyone, "why did Peter just happen to be ready with such a high-powered pistol?" I was busy, functioning with a purpose, but all the time, in my mind, I was Adam: bleeding and hurt and frightened, clawing my way through brush and berry vines, staggering faster than a normal man can walk or even run, but hurt, hurt. Up into the cool Cascades, that's where I'd go. Not to Hacienda Forest, that's where they'd look for me. Up to the snow line, I'm a sasquatch, I like the cold. Up to where it's clean, away from stinking lying humans and their idiot prejudices.
Back at our end of the world, Peter did not die after all, so Adam was not a murderer. And Melly gave sworn testament that it was Peter who had deliberately planned to kill Adam with the pistol he had hidden under the bed, unknown to her. She also swore that Peter had aimed at Adam as he was leaving, not attacking, so that Peter began beating her to provoke Adam into protecting her and then Peter shot Adam in cold blood. He would have finished Adam off with a shot in the head if Melly hadn't distracted him and then Adam hit Peter once in self-defense. It was Peter who was guilty of attempted murder, not Adam. The pistol was a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle Mark II, one of the most powerful handguns available, registered to Felix Sinsley, who had to admit that Peter had borrowed it for the weekend, but only for target practice. However, once the police found extra bullets in Peter's jacket pocket, each scored on the tip for maximum lethal spread, there was little doubt of premeditation. But no one knew why. Not even Felix Sinsley, who was quoted in Newsweek: "My son knew that bigfoot had it in for me, but I never thought he would go this far to solve MY problem." Peter himself was not talking. He had been in a coma and remained so for over two months. When he finally did awaken to the world again he could not speak, nor did he appear to understand what was being said to him. He had multiple broken ribs and sternum, having been hit square in the chest by one blow from a 527-pound sasquatch's fist. There had been massive internal bleeding and he had not died only because the hospital had kept him alive. Peter was not exactly a vegetable when he was released from the hospital. He was not speaking, although he seemed to understand what was said to him. He could hobble along and he could eat food. He was like a baby, or fate being what it is, an animal. Melly came to see us. When she told us what had happened, we all ended up crying. She spared herself no criticism for her part in the episode. When she left Elaine and I were both concerned about her, she wanted to atone and sacrifice so badly that we were afraid that she might do something drastic to herself. We missed Adam and worried about him, but none of us believed him to be dead, although we had to admit that it was possible. It was certain that he had indeed been shot, many witnesses had observed that and there had been blood on his trail as far as the local police could follow it. But then he had run up into the Cascades, too far and too fast for anyone to follow or track him, using creeks and rivers to throw off any pursuit. It didn't seem like a dying man could do those things and since no one knew how badly he had been wounded, we kept hoping that he was basically intact. We didn't understand exactly why Adam was running away until we found out that other shots were fired that evening as well. There were several guns at that party, Big George's friends were the tough element around Monroe and they all knew that Adam was there to cause trouble for Peter, so that made him fair game once the shooting started. Big George fired at least three shots at Adam, but couldn't take proper aim in the stampeding crowd and missed. And when local police officers arrived to investigate gunfire at the party, they were told that the local bigfoot had gone crazy, so when they saw Adam staggering toward his car parked just inside the city limits, they got excited and shot at him too. Naturally, why not? Several witnesses had also reported that Adam had actually tried to surrender to the police when they called out to him, but that at least one of the vigilantes had dropped to one knee and fired at Adam, who was already standing still with his hands up. So Adam ran again and then a few other policemen also opened fire after him. Of course Adam was running: he was being hunted by everyone, even policemen, who were shooting first and asking questions later. I really became an outraged citizen about then. Monroe Police Chief Chesterson was also enraged about the incident, especially after it was confirmed that Peter was the guilty party, not Adam. I got pretty hot, tried to ascertain the names of all those who had shot at Adam, civilian or police, but nobody was talking. I was certain one of them had to be Felix Sinsley, but no, he was working a night shift on the switch yard in Everett that evening, so he was innocent for once. The events of that evening became public entertainment on the national level for weeks. Time, Newsweek, Sixty Minutes, all major television networks wanted to do feature stories about the latest Adam Leroy Forest drama. They were especially after Melly--"the blond and beautiful daughter of tragically killed Academy Award winning actress Sally Rathers..." The scandal tabloids were quite interested in the "jealousy" angle between Peter and Adam and speculated about an "unnatural erotic" relationship between the "beautiful young blond girl" and the "huge hairy half-human brute". What they really wanted was an "exclusive expose" about something so SHOCKING as a "bestial" inter-species affair. Fortunately, Melly composed herself enough to stick with the "Big Twin Brother" story line, for which there was so much confirmation, or they would have made a big media scandal out of her feelings for Adam. Even so, we did get some anonymous hate-mail from white supremists who took umbrage about “reports” they had heard of how “That Hairy Animal” had been seen being “naked and obviously intimate” with Melly, making threats against Adam if he ever showed up again. It seemed that someone in the Naked Lake crowd had said too much, whether deliberately or by a slip of the tongue we never learned. However, most of the mail we got was supportive. I took advantage of the media's interest to get some air time and make public statements to the effect that Adam was not a dangerous animal but a large boy who had been shot, an innocent victim, who was frightened and hurt. "Do not shoot him again," I insisted and asked that any information be channeled to the IPR Center at the University of Washington, which was sponsoring a search. Again and again, I tried to call Adam's cell phone without result, although after several weeks I hardly expected to come through, his battery had to be dead long before then. But I thought: what if he'd turned off his phone to save the battery, planning to turn it on when he came near a relay tower again? Even though I knew that if so he would have called us first thing. But I still kept on trying anyway. I found out that Felix Sinsley had taken two weeks off work and gone up into the Cascades on a hunting trip. He had three friends with him and they all had high-powered rifles. It was not hunting season. I waited anxiously for them to return. But when they did return there was no way of knowing if they had found Adam or not, they certainly wouldn't tell anyone if they had. But a week later, Elaine saw Sinsley prowling around our house with a rifle in his hand. That frightened her, but he did not come inside or bother her in any way. He only looked into the windows, decided that Adam was not home and then left. I called the police about that, took him to court for attempted assault and trespassing, but could not press charges of armed threat because he had not aimed the rifle at us. The court fined him $50 and that was that. But at least I knew that Sinsley had not found Adam on his hunting expedition.

Chapter 35

Adam out of Eden