Mandibles of death

December 14, 2005 at 2:25 pm (Uncategorized)

They say the creature stands nearly as tall as a man. It has fangs like daggers and eyes that will stop your heart. When the beast screams, the heartiest of men will freeze in their tracks and whimper like children. It’s too late to scream, though. The creature is fantastically fast and astoundingly agile. Above all, it is hungry. No one and nothing is safe from it’s mandibles of death.

I really miss that ferocious, dog-eating monster. Last summer, I got weeks worth of stories from it and I wanted more.

People everywhere were reporting their sightings to me: “I saw the beast crouched next to a road in Poland. It was hunched like a gargoyle and it looked like something that would bite your arms off and then go looking for the rest of your family.”
“I saw that monstrosity in my back field out in Greene just a week ago. I once rassled a black bear just for sport, sonny, but I’ll tell you right now… One sight of that maneater and I wet myself like tot.”
“I saw it. You bet I did. It was out along the power lines along Old Greene Road and it looked mean as anything. Meaner then my missus, even. I ain’t ashamed to admit I got to drinking.”
Nearly two dozen people called or wrote to report their sightings. They swore something strange and terrible lived among us.
Skeptics chortled and said with lofty conviction that they knew exactly what it was that so spooked normally sane men and women. And on and on it went. I milked it for all it was worth, went searching for the killer and tried to milk it some more.
Then it was winter and there was nothing further. Surely, I thought. Surely it is only dormant for the season. The beast will be back come summer and I’ll plan my days and nights around it.
But no. Like criminals who get caught too soon, the fanged, fabled fur ball faded into obscurity and never returned. Flea bag. But I miss him so.
In case you missed it last summer, here is a recap.
The scream that pierced the night was so chilling, the woman almost immediately sold her home and never went back. She doesn’t like to talk about it much. Who wants to talk about a beast that doesn’t belong in this world? Who would believe a story about a creature with cold, shining eyes and a fanged mouth curled in an evil, animal grin?
It could be in your backyard this very moment. It might be growling low in its throat, staring through your window with cunning and hunger.
Or it could be just a raccoon looking for your scraps. Who knows? Not me.
A couple of weeks ago, a Doberman pinscher was mauled by something nobody has been able to identify. It’s surely not a wolverine, say the wildlife experts. We don’t have them here. It’s probably a fisher, the same experts say. Those buggers can be pretty mean.

A fisher? Ha! So say more than a half-dozen people who have contacted me. “There’s been talk of a strange animal out here for years,” said Steve Theberge, who lives in the Wales area. “They say it stands about 4 feet tall. I hear it’s a pretty strange-looking creature.”

Theberge is not making this up. His father-in-law has seen the creature. His son has seen it and his wife had an up-close look six years ago.

“This thing, it just hopped over the road and then it stood there,” said Brenda Theberge. “It was tan and gray and it had these weird eyes. It was sunset and those eyes were just glowing.”

It had the physical characteristics of a hyena, she said. It stood maybe 4 feet tall and it stared with those glowing eyes in a most menacing way. It was almost hairless.

“It was definitely scary to look at,” Brenda said. “It was like the size of a pony.”

For all his fascination with the creature, Steve has never seen it himself. But he says he was treated to the chilling scream of the beast just a short time ago. It sounded like a baby at first, then the creature began to growl and it was like no sound Theberge had ever heard.

Shortly after hearing the spine-tingling scream, Steve found tracks through dirt and mud in his yard. The tracks were bigger than his hand and bore the imprints of three claws.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the Maine woods,” Theberge said. “I’ve never seen a track like that.”

When confronted with something that seems alien in the familiar surroundings of our homes, a primitive chill crawls up the spine. As evolved humans, we are at once terrified and fascinated by the unknown. We are a superior species, we reason, and thus we have control over our wildlife.

So when Leo Michaud reported that something had crept from the woods behind his Wales home and killed his Doberman pinscher, wildlife experts nodded knowingly. It was a fisher, they said. A small but vicious animal with a nasty reputation in the Maine woods. It was certainly not some exotic beast that crept down from the mountains.

Calls and letters about the mystery creature have been coming in since a story about the Doberman appeared in the paper. Almost nobody believes the ferocious, but relatively wee fisher, is responsible for the attack. The mystery creature of the Wales woods is the No. 1 suspect.

I know what you’re thinking. You live in Lewiston where the only wildlife to be seen is in the downtown area, right? You scoff. You mock. You laugh until coffee comes out your nose and hum the theme from “Deliverance.”

Don’t get too comfortable just yet, naysayer. A letter-writer named Jamie Tapley tells me he has twice seen a large, fearsome creature in his Sabattus Road yard. He reported the sighting and a Maine Game Warden called him back. The Warden’s guess? It was a fisher.

“I researched fishers online and this thing is bigger than a fisher,” Jamie said. “This thing is nearly as tall as my collie.”

Earlier this week, I was talking to Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout about a completely unrelated matter. I happened to mention what I was hearing about this mystery creature. Strout turned quiet a moment. As it happened, he had received a call earlier that day from a woman on Old Greene Road in Lewiston. The woman had seen a strange creature near the power lines by her home. The critter was at least 18 inches high with a long tail and she wanted to know what it was.

“She drew me a picture,” Strout said. “It didn’t look like anything I’ve seen before.”

The number of reports alone is enough evidence for me. I’m thinking I should take a week off, pitch my tent in the Wales woods and wait for an encounter with this mystery beast. Sooner or later, it would find me. If the creature were really mean, I might not be back. But I’m pretty sure I know what it would say in a news story about the tragedy.

“It looks like LaFlamme was eaten,” said wildlife experts. “It was probably a fisher.”



  1. Nails said,

    It’s a giant mutant river rat that fed off the residue of Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and drank from the Androscoggin river.

    Beware — I’m sure he is starved for contamination and is on the hunt…try looking in the sewers, or even the septic system in your own back yard.

    Wait…I think I hear it now…

  2. LaFlamme said,

    Oooooh, be careful out there Nails. Beast like that will swallow you whole.

  3. Nails said,

    Bring it on baby! Been known to prowl the streets at night myself in search of…well, lets just say my fangs are probably bigger.

  4. LaFlamme said,

    Ahhhhhh. I remember you now. You’re the toothsome one.

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