Sam's Journal Entry:

Journal Entry 3 - Knight Surfing
Written by Bryan Mero
Illustrated by RC de Guzman

I love clam chowder on a cold and overcast day. I finally feel warm again from the inside out. I'm sure when people see movies about California they think 'fun in the sun.' When I rolled into that little beach town I probably had the same idea, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

I was heading down Hwy 1 when I noticed Michael swooping down in front of me. He would have smashed me head on if I didn't swerve onto the next exit. The wingspan on him is huge and I could feel the wind as he swooped by me. The off ramp was for a beach town called Lost Cove. The key word here is 'lost.' It's hardly a town at all…just a surf shop and combination café and grocery store. I pulled in front of the stores and looked out over one of the most beautiful views I'd ever seen. Waves were rolling in from left to right and they were perfect for riding. I stopped by a couple of picnic tables as a man was taking pictures with an obscenely huge telephoto lense. He was taking pictures of a single surfer.

I surfed a little back in high school and college. I was never that great but good enough to keep up with the studs of the group. I really wanted to hang out at the beach to meet girls and in fact, that's where I met my wife. Where we had our first kiss…we were so happy and I blew it.

Anyway, I struck up a conversation with the photographer. Todd Jenkins was the owner of the town's surf shop and told me of the town's trouble. About a month ago the place was crawling with surfers and business was doing great. Then the wipeouts started to happen. Anyone in the water ended up either with a broken board or broken body. The word started getting out that the beach was cursed. It sounded like a bad plot from a Scooby-Doo episode…the haunted beach or something like that. Todd was hoping to capture the surf culture on film and become a professional photographer. Once the surfers stopped coming to town there weren't many pictures to be taken. He was on the brink of shutting down the shop, leaving Ms. Barbra and the café as the only thing left in town.

As we talked and looked down to beach I had a feeling I needed to stay there for a while and shut off my bike before it shut down on its own (see my last two journal entries). Mr. Jenkins snapped picture after picture of Chad White out in the waves. Chad was the local beach bum who was living here before the 'curse' drove the others away. He cut through the waves with ease. How could a place like this be cursed or worse…and then it happened. Chad's board seemed to just be grabbed out from under him and he went flying in to the break water. Mr. Jenkins stood up after a couple seconds and commented that Chad wasn't coming up. His broken board popped to the surface but no surfer. I jumped off the bike and ran across the beach stripping off my clothes as I went. Down to my t-shirt and jeans, I jumped into the cold water. I could hardly take a breath as the cold went right through me. It had been a long time since I swam last, especially in the ocean. I kept swimming until I found the break water and dove under. I could hardly see a thing but my next dive I found him. He was snagged by some coral and unconscious. I pulled him loose and we both started to bob to the surface when I felt something bump into my side. I looked down but could only see a blurry dark figure swimming away. It easily could have been a shark feeling around with his nose. I was glad he didn't try a bite or two. Chad's wet suit made him nice and buoyant on the surface as I hauled him onto the beach. I started CPR and with my first push to his chest water gushed from his mouth and he started coughing.

Needless to say, Chad and I become good friends very quickly. Saving someone's life will do that. Mr. Jenkins asked if he needed an ambulance but Chad would have nothing of it. We walked up away from the beach. After meeting Ms. Barbra and drinking some hot coffee, Chad invited me back to his place. I was hoping for maybe a hot shower but instead Chad took me out on the local bluff to his campsite. It was his home for the last year or so. His 3-person dome tent was surrounded by clotheslines with hanging t-shirts, wet suits and other clothes. He also had three other surfboards.

Chad explained his situation like this…he had been accepted to college and took out a bunch of student loans to pay for it all. He thought he could live on the beach cheaply and go to classes. College was not working out for him and he decided he'd use the money instead to live on the beach and follow his dream of being a professional surfer. He was on the verge of being discovered when the 'accidents' started to happen in the cove. Once peopled stopped coming, the town started to die and Chad was stuck because most of his money was dwindling away. Chad and Mr. Jenkins were trying to work together now to take photos of Chad taking on the cursed waves of Lost Cove but so far there weren't any magazines interested in either of them.

He was a good kid with huge ambition and willing to take the extra, extreme step to get it. Unfortunately, extreme steps will sometimes leave you with only a tent, some clothes and a surfboard to your name. That's when I felt something strange. Like I've tried to explain before, the tingling in my hands started and I took them out of my pockets and could seem them start to glow a bit in the darkness. I could tell Chad had had enough for the day as our fire started to die. Chad invited me to sleep in the tent but I declined thinking I'd rather take on whatever is here out in the open and not stuck in a tent. I had my roll from the bike and Chad threw me an extra pillow and I bedded down next to the cooling embers of the fire.

I lay as still as I could. It was probably about a half hour later when I heard the first twig snap as someone or something approached. My hands glowed brighter and I could sense them at the edge of the camp…then I heard the whispers…

"He still does not leave and now there is another…"

"This is not another surfer…I believe this is the Spirit Knight we were warned about."

I was ready to burst out of my sleeping bag at any moment as they went on…

"He seems way too small to pose any threat to us. Let's kill them both now!"

"No! We cannot risk exposing ourselves. We must continue on…let the demon slayer sleep, but next time he's in the water, we will make sure he does not survive."

My hands started to dim and I could hear them walk away. I prayed for protection and strength that night. I remembered reading a verse a day or so ago and looked it up:

Psalm 5:11 - But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

I hardly got any sleep until the sun finally came up. Luckily Chad was not an early riser. When he did get up, he made us some breakfast over the fire and got ready for the beach.

I asked him if he wanted to skip the beach today since his accident the day before but he wanted to get back on the horse…back in the waves. I could tell I wouldn't be able to stop him so I asked if I could tag along. I never saw a smile so big as Chad picked out a surfboard and wet suit for me. This old man was going surfing. Some say it's like riding a bike…it's more like riding a big wet bike with no peddles or brakes screaming down a hill in San Francisco. I tried trailing Chad on each wave thinking I could protect him somehow. Chad was so good that he'd just leave me in his wake. I did finally start catching a few good rides and we were having fun. I noticed Mr. Jenkins taking pictures from the shore. As I think back now, I hope no one recognizes me from the photos.

Then it started. I let my guard down while having such a good time. I took the next wave as Chad watched. It was a nice size, left to right wave creating a perfect tube. I hung back in the wave and let the water rush all around me. I looked to the wave to see a dark figure lunging at me and I instinctively cut back on the board and onto the lip of the wave letting the demon seed pass below me…it had flippers, webbed hands and greenish skin that blended perfectly with the water. It rolled out in front of me and I took my best shot. I fell off the lip and hit the creature right in the middle, driving my surfboard fin into it…causing me to fly off my board. I must have severed it in half because as I looked back I could see two halves floating and then dissolving into two dark plumes. It was good to know that even underwater demon seeds still turn to ash.

I pushed off the bottom trying to recover my board when I was grabbed by the ankle. Claws dug into my leg and drew blood…I could feel the sting of the salt water. I was still in the breakwater and my board had been quickly pushed to shore. I tried kicking with my other leg but it wouldn't let go. I was able to breach the surface and take a breath. As I took my breath I could see Chad coming down the face of the next wave. I could only hope that Chad knew my fate. I dove to the bottom and pushed the demon seed above me to the surface. What I saw from underwater was Chad making a big turn at the bottom of the wave and cutting back towards me. As the bottom of the wave rolled by us I was able to expose the demon seed out of the water. Chad charged like a rhino! The tip of his board tore into the monster from the back and from what I could see there was a big puff of black smoke as my ankle was finally released.

As I sit eating my chowder, I'm reading a local newspaper article titled "Lost Cove, Found." There's a pictorial of Chad and our encounter on the waves. Apparently the expose has brought a ton of attention to Chad and the town. They were using Mr. Jenkins' photos. He caught some of the action on film. Apparently the TV shows 'Monster Quest' and 'Destination Truth' were battling on who would get to do research first, Mr. Jenkins will be publishing his photos in Surfer magazine next month and Chad "The Slayer" White has been picked up by a sponsor and will travel with the surf tour next month. I'm sure Ms. Barbra can't keep up with the tourists and monster hunters but that's a good thing.

Maybe I am doing something worthwhile. It was nice to go back to the beach but I think I'll stay out of the water for awhile. Where am I going next? I have no idea…and right now…I'm ok with that.


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