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Mystery in Hazzard Swamp

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*Did I not secure it good enough?" Bo questions as he watches Jesse resecureing the boat as he forces himself to think of what Jesse had said. "Guess I should thank you for your brave and smart action that you did to help your brother. I guess my dad," Bo states awkwardly as he follows Jesse, taking everything in as he goes along, "and if you don't mind me stating, I don't care how well accustomed you are to the swamp, the swamp is still a horrible place." Bo goes silent and allows a small distance to grow between them.*

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*After slowly walking through the swamp for nearly an hour, Jesse stops and turns around to look at Bo*

"Come up here Bo. You've gotta see this!"

*Jesse gets on one knee and looks at a set of tracks on the swamp floor that are huge and are clearly not human*

"This here should destroy any doubt about the monster's existence"

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*Bo eyes the tracks for a long moment and nods slowly before standing back up, his mind instantly returns to the bow and arrow set he had left in the boat. Cussing himself out silently at his own stupidity, he eyes the tracks once more in thought of what he could do to stop something that seems to be so unhumanly big.* "Didn't mean to doubt your monster story. Gotta admit it seems unlogical. What now, Uncle Jesse?

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*Jesse speaks while transfixed by the tracks. He studies them closely the whole time he's talking about their next move*

"Well, if ya look close, ya can see that there's more than one set. It looks to me that the other sets were made at different times and this here path is pretty wore. It looks to me like it's the same creature and it's crossing here every day....once heading north and once, south. I'm not sure but judging by how these tracks are at different stages of deteriorating, that's what I'd guess.

I reckon we have two choices. Set a trap and wait fer it to come by...or follow the tracks."

*Jesse pauses and then looks Bo in the eye*

"What do you think?"

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*Bo eyes the tracks for a long quiet moment, thinking of what Jesse had said and of the choices he had been given. Looking up at his uncle, Bo confidently states, "Well if you're sure he passes here regularly, perhaps daily," he pauses dramatically, "then I'd say the best choice would be to lay and wait for him. Otherwise we try following after him, we may startle him without realizing he's there or we may be following him for a long time before we finally find him." Bo eyes his uncle closely before kneeling down and running his long fingers across the muddy tracks in awe of such a huge beast before thinking he will be facing it sooner or later. Fighting back the chills, Bo stiffly stands back up to glance around the swampy land.*

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*Jesse stands up, groaning at the stiffness in both his old knees. He looks around in all directions at the ominous looking surroundings*

"All right then. We stand our ground. Now it looks like we have another decision to make. I have a net in the backpack. It might be big enough to catch him but I ain't sure. It's a lot bigger than the size I used to use to catch revenuers and wild boar.

We got two problems though. It takes awhile to rig it up and I ain't sure if we got time before he comes back. That's not the big worry though. What happens if he gets out? I'd rather fight him when he's calm than mad and he ain't gonna be none too happy when the net falls on him."

*Jesse stops to think awhile*

"Well, I vote we try the net. What do ya think Bo?"

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*Bo nods. "The net will be fine if we have the time to set it up. Otherwise, we get caught in the middle of the act we may be in for a rough time. But it is better than nothing," Bo shrugs as he looks around, "I ain't got the bow and arrows, but we could collect big rocks in case he does escape. Something that ought to knock him out if need be." Bo goes silent as he shrugs awkwardly, unsure what his uncle would think of his idea, knowing his uncle frowned on violence as well as hurting others. Though technically, his uncle had been labeling this beast as a monster, not a man; so maybe he would feel differently.*

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"Well, if it comes to it I always got the shotgun here but I hope it doesn't come to it. Okay, let's get the net set up and find a place to hide and watch."

*The net takes an hour to get in place with Bo doing a lot of climbing at Jesse's instructions. After Jesse is completely satisfied that it will work he follows his nephew behind an area of thickets where they hope they won't be spotted. Jesse whispers to Bo*

"I sure hope his sense of smell isn't strong."

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*Brushing off the swamp moss and other things that had collected on his clothes from his climbing, Bo silently nods as he attempts to get comfortable in his crouching position. "Well," Bo slowly whispers back, "perhaps if he's as big as you make him sound to be, he won't be -" Bo cuts himself off as a loud rustling sound pierces through the thick silence of the swamp and Bo quickly glances around, hoping to find a big animal or an alligator. Not seeing anything, turns to Jesse, attempts to hide his emotions and whispers, "What was that? Is that him?" Silently looks around, in hope of finding the beast, if it's him, before the beast finds them.*

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*Jesse looks in the direction of the sound. He tilts his head left and right while he watches intensely.

The area goes silent for a few moments and then a young deer slowly meanders out of the thick brush. While it munches on some leaves, a second appears and finally a third.

Jesse focuses on them with a smile on his face but his smile quickly disappears as the three deer turn in unison and look behind them. Immediately, they scatter in three different directions. Luckily none of them tripped the wire that would have released the net*

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*Feeling embarassed over just little deer, looks away momentarily while upetset at himself for allowing his emotions to get a hold of him. Looking back in the direction of the deer, is startled once again just as the deer are startled and begin to run. The tree branches and thicket begin to move and a loud and heavy breathing and grunting sound pierces the silence from within the darkness of the thicket. "That ain't no deer. . ." Bo whispers to his uncle, his eyes glued at where the sound is coming from.*

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*The thick brush parted and it appeared.....

The Duke men marveled as the monster slowly walked toward them. It was just as Jesse remembered it and how Andrew Harkness, Swamp Molly and Cousin Alice had described it.

The beast looked 10 foot tall as it got closer. It's leathery looking hide was blotchy with various shades of black and dark green that looked much like alligator skin. It's eyes were red. What looked like dried blood was all over its chest. It walked like a man and was cautious as it approached.

Then, it stopped. It grunted and looked up at the net, too far away to be standing in a position where the net could fall on it. The monster tilted his head and looked confused.*

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*Bo watched the monster half in awe at it's size and shape and half in fear of all that the monster could do to them and he once again wonders if this will be the last moment of his life. If that ugly beast would be the last thing he'll be seeing before he is swallowed by blackness and taken into death. Swallowing heavily, he whispers, "Luke ain't never gonna believe this," he forces himself to breathe as his eyes remained glued on the beast, wondering what the beast will do now that he has obviously noticed the net. "what we do if he don't fall for your trap, Uncle Jesse?" he whispers again, whispering silently as to not to be heard by the monster.*

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*Mesmerized by the monster, Jesse doesn't even respond to Bo.

The beast looks at the net for quite awhile.

Jesse studies it curiousely, wondering if it is intelligent enough to sense a trap.

Then, without warning, a wasp plants his stinger into the back of Jesse's neck. Jesse slaps it and yelps at the same time*

"Ouch! dad nabbbit!"

*The monster looks toward the two Dukes and runs away in the direction he had come from*

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*Bo eyes the beast in anticipation of what it will do. Half sitting and watching as if watching an old action movie and half ready to jump up and run if need be. Though as Jesse jumps and yells out, it makes Bo jump up startled before the beast catches Bo's attention and he silently watches the beast return to where it had came from; squelshing all hopes of catching it easily within the next few minutes. Sighing heavily he glances over at Jesse with great concern, "What's wrong? You OK?"*

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*Jesse remains silent for a moment while checking to see that the beast has gone for good*

"I'm alright. I just got stung by something."

*He rubs the back of his neck and looks troubled*

"I guess I'm just thinking about Andrew Harkness's grandfather. I don't think I told you but it really wasn't the monster that killed him. Old Man Harkness had a heart attack and died the instant he seen him."

*Jesse paused for a moment*

"But don't worry about me. My ticker feels fine. Ya wanna follow him?"

*Jesse clinches his shotgun tightly*

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*Bo eyes his uncle questionably as he allows the information to slowly sink in and his worry for his uncle to raise within him once again. After a brief hesitation, Bo nods, excited at the thought of being able to follow the beast just so he can move around and do something and perhaps to see it once again. "If you're sure you're alright, I'll be more than glad to follow that thing. Just tell me what you want me to do with it if and when I meet up with it." Bo goes silent waiting on word from Jesse. This was Jesse's adventure and is apparent to Bo that it is something that Jesse feels strongly about emotionally. Bo knew better than to follow his own hunch and do what he wanted to do, that it'd be best to follow Jesse's lead and do what he wanted to do with the beast.*

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*Jesse smiled*

"I didn't mean just you. I meant both of us. Come on, let's go."

*Jesse corrected Bo when his nephew took the lead on the path*

"Settle down now. I'm the one with the shotgun."

*Bo moved over with a smile on his face and let his elder get ahead.

Jesse walked at a snail's pace looking in all diections.

They were less than a quarter mile from where the trap was when Jesse stopped in his tracks. 50 feet in front of him, the thick brush rustled with the sound of something large. Jesse wondered to himself....deer, wild boar....or the swamp beast?*

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*Following Jesse at a snail pace had only gotten Bo uptight and frustrated with it all and he is left missing the freedom that seems to be within the speed that comes from driving The General Lee. Despite the huge beast and their unimaginable concequnces for following it, Bo finds his attention drifting through the swamp land and his mind wondering back to the fight he had with Luke. So when Jesse comes to an abrupt stop, Bo stumbles to a stop as to not to run into his uncle before his attention is drawn upon the moving leaves up ahead. A moment later the same huge beast that Jesse had scared away moments ago steps out from behind the trees, his large eyes pegged angrily upon them before he takes another large threatening step towards them. "You said you're the one with the shot gun. So use it." Bo hisses into his uncle's ear before looking around for any large rocks that he could throw at the thing. Refusing to be scared away by the beast.*

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*Jesse aims the shotgun at the monster's head hoping it wouldn't take another step closer to him and Bo.

He clicked the safety switch off so the double barrel 12-gauge was ready to fire but the monster stopped.

Jesse stared into the beast's eyes for 10 seconds. It seemed like 10 minutes to the old ridge runner.

The silence was broken by a distant scream. With the sound, the beast ran off in the same direction he had been traveling after he initially saw Jesse and Bo.

Jesse lowered his weapon, relieved he didn't he have to use it*

"Thank the Good Lord we lived through that."

*Jesse looked in the direction of the scream.*

"It sounded like that shreek was near our trap. We best git on back there."

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*Bo eyes the empty space that the beast had been standing only moments ago, wondering if they'll ever catch the beast or get it contained in some way so they'll be able to go home. Sighing heavily, Bo glances over at his uncle who is now walking away from him toward where ever the scream came from. "Wonder who else is crazy enough to be out here," Bo mumbles under his breath as he allows Jesse to gain distance from him, but within eye sight.*

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*Bo catches up with Jesse on the path to the trap where it sounded like the scream came from.*

"Bo, I think it'd be a good idea if you went on ahead. Somebody up there might be in trouble and yer a lot faster than me. Here, take the shotgun. I'll be fine. Now git on up there and see what's a goin' on."

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*Without saying a word, Bo takes the shot gun from Jesse and moves his way past his uncle and toward where the scream had come from; hoping that whoever it was that screamed was not hurt. After a brief moment, he makes his way up the hill where he finds Cousin Alice tied up in one of the nets that Jesse had Bo make up for the beast. "Cousin Alice!" Bo exclaims as he makes his way to the net, searching for a way to put the net down without hurting her, "What are you doing up there? I mean here?"

Cousin Alice says something but through her horrified muffles, Bo is unable to interpret what she had said. Nodding to himself, Bo sets the shot gut down besides a tree before beginning to climb the tree to the top where the net holds Alice. "OK Alice. It don't matter right now. Right now, you need to listen and do as I tell you to do. I'm gonna have to cut the rope," Bo looks around before he climbs onto the thick and large branch that holds Alice's rope. Sighing heavily he lies down on the branche and holds out his right hand to see if he could reach her through one of the gaps. Nodding he states, "Alice, sit up and grab my hand as tight as you can. With both hands if need be," Bo pauses, wondering if he'll be able to keep his balance once he has all of Alice's weight onto his arm; but he couldn't just let her fall either. After Alice grips tightly onto Bo's forearm, Bo continues, "Very good. OK, I'm going to cut it and then you'll have to try climbinb onto the branch with me. You understand?"

Cousin Alice eyes Bo with frightened eyes, reminding him of that deer he had hit in highschool when it's eyes caught the headlights of Luke's truck. She nods and Bo forces a smile at her before taking the knife part out of his pocket knife and quickly cuts the top of the net and he hears himself grunt as the net falls and takes his knife with it onto the muddy ground. Bo grabs tightly onto the branch with the hand that had held the knife, steadying himself as he tries to help Alice up. As Alice climbs up onto the branch with Bo's help, Bo looks up to see Jesse standing below, seeing him there for the first time.

Looking back at Alice, Bo asks, "You OK?" Alice silently nods, gripping tightly onto Bo's arm despite being safely onto the branch. "OK, we'll have to climb down the tree. I'll go first so I can help you down." Bo slowly backs himself to the trunk of the tree and climbs down with Alice following him down onto the muddy ground. "There we go. You OK?" Bo asks again, only to recieve another silent nod from Alice. "What in the world are you doing here like t his? That was set for that beast of a monster!"

Alice looks fearfully at him and then over at Jesse. Looking back at Bo, she stubbornly speaks up for the first time, "I'm not telling you. Molly should never went to town. Never should have brought all this attention to the swamp. Sorry Bo, but I'm not telling you nothing. You know nothing about my life. About the swamp. Nothing. You don't deserve to be here. You don't deserve to be involved in such a great mystery as that thing. You need to go back to where you belong."

Taken aback, Bo glances at Jesse, and then back at Alice. "Well can't say I'm too thrilled to be here to begin with, but especially if my help is unwanted," Bo spits out before bending down to grab his pocket knife out of the mud, standing back up he calmly states, "I don't get you. Guess I never have or probably ever will. You all act scared to death of that thing, we come and help and now you don't want it? Think you're too good for our help? Or is it just my help? Don't know what I did that was so offensive to you. Maybe you can let me in on what I did that made you so upset so I can apologize and move on from it."

"I'm not talking to you, Bo," she stubbornly states, "you need to get off our swamp. We don't need your help."

Bo eyes Jesse as he fights with his emotions and his temper. Looking back at Alice, he says the first thing to come to mind, "You don't need my help? I thought you said, you weren't talking to me."

Alice crosses her arms across her chest and shoots Bo a hateful and angry look before looking away and stepping away from them.

"That's enough, Bo. Why don't you go take a little walk on your own for a bit," Jesse speaks up after grabbing the shot gun from the tree. As Bo goes to argue, he states, "Don't argue with me. Go on. Just watch yourself and don't get too far away, ya hear?"

"Yes sir," Bo hesitantly states as he turns away and begins walking back towards where he had came from feeling alone and rejected.

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*Jesse takes Alice down the path a little ways, far enough so that Bo couldn't hear them. He then moves her behind a thick tree so she couldn't see Bo either. Jesse then sat down on a nearby log and spoke in a calm, understanding voice*

Jesse "Are you alright?"

Alice "I'm okay, I just want the two of you out of our swamp"

J "But Alice, we're trying to help. I thought that's what you wanted. We seen this monster close up. He could do some damage to you and Molly."

A "We can handle it"

J "That's not how you were acting the first time you mentioned the monster"

A "That was before......."

J "Before what?"

A "Never mind.....we'd better git on over there to make sure Bo's okay"

J "Oh.....so that's it. You don't necessarily want me out of the swamp. You want Bo out 'cause you're worried he's gonna git himself hurt."

A "Ummmm, maybe."

J "Well I can understand that. If I had a sweet spot fer someone, I wouldn't want 'em in harm's way."

A "I ain't got no sweet spot fer him"

J *smiles* "Now Alice I've been around long enough to know better"

A "So, ya gonna tell him to leave then?"

J "Nope"

A "If anything happens to Bo I'll never forgive ya Jesse"

J "I wouldn't forgive myself." Now why don't ya go on over and say good bye to Bo and let us git on about our business."

*Alice leaves in a huff and walks over to Bo*

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*Bo slowly and silently makes his way down a thin path he had found to take in the swamp. He's been here a time or two, but has always kept away with any chance he had found and figures now that he has been shoved away and happens to be stuck here, he might as well as take it all in. His thoughts go from the monster, to Alice, to the argument he had with Luke before he had left; only to make him wonder if Luke would be able to forgive him by the time him and Daisy got home.

Walking along while looking into the thick brush on his right, he feels himself jump in surprise as a loud snorting sound interrupts the silence of the swamp. Coming to a quick halt, Bo looks forward to see the beast standing tall only a couple of feet in front of him, looking at him with his dark threatening eyes. Bo swallows heavily as he eyes the beast for a long moment who stares back at him before Bo breaks eye contact to look around the swamp in search of a way to escape. Jesse had the shot gun, Bo was left with his bare hands and his dull pocket knife that would only infuriate the beast more than he already is. Looking behind him, he sees Alice at a dead halt on top of the hill with a look of horror wrote across her pale face.

Bo's head jerks forward as he hears the beast move only to see him walking towards him and Bo instinctively slowly walks backwards as he feels his heart race rapidly within him. Staring at the beast and taking a step backwards, Bo thinks of turning and running only to have second thoughts in fear of any quick movements angering the beast more so. Taking antoher step backwards, Bo trips upon a sharp pointy rock that lies propped up in the mud and Bo lets out a yell of pain and surprise as he falls back into the mud, sharp piercing pain bolts down the back of his right leg where it had hit the rock. "Damn it," Bo cusses before looking up at the beast who cocks his head at him and lets out another snort before taking another large step towards Bo, halting a half foot in front of Bo, looking down at Bo while his large thick arms swaying angrily only a couple of feet in front of Bo's face.

Swallowing hard once more Bo scoots himself back a little bit before grabbing another big rock that lies loose and as the beast moves towards Bo, getting closer to him, Bo throws the rock at the beast and the rock hits the beast powerfully in his thick chest. The beast lets out a holler of anger, his arm goes to his chest before he angrily snaps off a thick branch off of a tree. Looking at Bo, he snorts and throws the branch at Bo. Bo yelps out as he rolls away from the branch only for it to scrape him on the back of the head to inflict more pain. Holding his head he looks up at the beast who goes to break off another branch and Bo is quick to jump onto his feet and a wave of dizziness hits him and he struggles to stay on his feet; the pain on the back of his right leg worsens with the pressure. As the beast goes to throw the branch, as if a stick,at Bo, Bo turns and runs away from the beast and the branch lands on the ground a couple of inches behind Bo.

Up ahead, Alice remains standing frozen in place with a look of horror on her pale face. "Bo!" she finally states a moment before Bo is harshly thrown back onto the muddy earth as the beast swings his arms at Bo, hitting him solidly in the back. Bo lets out another yell and Bo feels the beast's breath on his back and he igores the pain as he pulls himself forward and rolls himself into the wooded area and welcomes the darkness before he finds a couple of large rocks and he quickly crawls over to them to hide on the other side of the rocks in hope of the beast giving up pursuit in such a thick wooded area.

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