Iktomi crouched behind the conjoined pines again, watching the human female. As she seemed so apt to do, she had, once more, begun speaking to herself while she stood before an odd device. This one appeared to be a slightly larger variation of the oily black thing she had clicked at the footprints. It balanced atop a trio of slender black artificial sticks.

"While these tracks aren't the best," she said, "they're the first ones I've found in years, and not for lack of looking, either! Unfortunately, the footprints were too old to get any real detail. So, no dermal ridges, or anything like that from these. Still, they're clear enough to tell that these were made by a living foot."

She lay the copies of the tracks on the ground, in the order she had found them—right foot, left foot, and then another right footprint. Removing the device from the sticks to which it had been mounted, she fiddled with it while focusing on the brief trail.

"Note the toes, which are curled a bit, digging into the earth. This is a common feature in many sasquatch prints that have been found. One theory is that the creatures grip the ground with their toes to gain additional traction.

"Also notice the outline and shape of the tracks. Look closely at the two prints made by the creature's right foot. We can see how the foot flexed and moved from one step to the next. This is evidence of anthropoid morphology, rather than a hoax. Anyone faking such tracks would be far more apt to use a simple wooden cutout, or something similar, strapped to their feet. Such an appliance would be too rigid to demonstrate such flexing and motion.

"It's too bad I didn't find these prints sooner. Had they been fresher, and clearer, they may well have contained dermal ridges. A number of such footprints have been found over the years. Sadly, I've never personally discovered any of those."

She paused, standing still, aiming the device in her hands at the footprints. Iktomi watched closely, attempting to divine her purpose. However, her actions continued to mystify him.

The faint snapping of a twig caused him to slowly crouch lower. Iktomi sniffed the air tentatively. The piquant stink of a second human—this one male—caused his hair to ruff up involuntarily. Making a conscious effort to smooth it back down, he held still otherwise.

Leaves scuffed as the newcomer approached. He seemed to want his advance to be clandestine. A glance at the female told Iktomi that she remained oblivious to the other human's presence. Iktomi refocused on his progress as an acorn skipped off the side of a stone. Like most humans, this new one didn't seem to be nearly as stealthy as he obviously wanted.

Another twig broke, much closer to the female's camp. Finally, she became aware of the nearness of the second human. She froze briefly, before moving slowly to return the device in her hands to the top of the odd trio of sticks. When more leaves crunched, she held her breath, and picked up her gun.

She inched close to the black device again. "Something is in the woods, near my camp," she whispered. "What I'm hearing sounds like two feet—something bipedal—as opposed to a deer, or some other four-legged animal."

She inhaled deeply, sampling the air.
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Hidden Tribe

Sasquatch—they live peacefully in the forests, and woodlands. They want little, or nothing, to do with humans, and our civilization. As a whole, sasquatch are tranquil, quiet beings who live harmoniously with nature, and avoid us.

But what happens when humans refuse to return the favor?

Researcher Alexia Hollander is about to find out. When she ventures into the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, seeking evidence of the elusive species, things quickly get out of hand. Another researcher deliberately gets in Alexia's way. Campers, and hunters bumble in, adding their own disruptive presence to the quiet work that Alexia wants to perform.

With their home territory invaded by humans, a mated pair of sasquatch keep the intruders under close surveillance. They aren't happy about the presence of the trespassers, and want them gone. Just how far will these normally restrained beings go to protect their family, and themselves? Alexia, and her unwanted companions are about to find out!
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