What Should Stay Hidden
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In the middle of the Umatilla National Forest of Oregon and Washington, more specifically the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness; an occurrence took place that not many will forget, and it will be marked as an occasion that will change the total point of view of not only the entire nation, but the entire world.

Wenaha-Tucannon is an expanse of land that covers an astounding 177,423 acres.  The climate and geography of the location does vary depending on the specific location, but the most prominent category of land being forest.  The forested areas are dotted with evergreen pines;  Lodgepole, Subalpine and Ponderosa being the most common species.  They are accompanied by carious vegetations too numerous to name in specific detail.  Even with all of the green covering the stretch, rocky beds and rough surfaces are abound. Canyons are nothing short of copious in this wilderness.  It is quite a sight to behold when witnessing the canyons and the vegetation covering them decorate the entire landscape.  They hold a certain beauty as well as a mysterious malevolence that would keep the wary at bay for fear of unearthing something that we should not be pedantically acknowledged, nor heard of.  The land hasn’t always been as corrugated as the land that exists today, but a more flat and smooth surface existed prior to imminent erosion of the land.
Temperature is usually high in the wilderness, but some of the winter months bear with them abundant snowfall and chilly weather.  In that amount of time, some of the wildlife becomes less visible than beforehand, for obvious reasons.  It is considered a rare and remarkable sight when a Bighorn Sheep is seen here; after snowfall, sightings become even more scarce.

Even with all of its wildlife and unexplored terrain, it is not bereft of the occasional human gathering.  While nothing large ever takes place as part of routine or tradition, the typical activities are performed quite regularly.  Hiking, fishing, camping; they are all fairly common things to do in that forest.  Hunting, specifically for Elk, is a favorable project as well.  It is a frequently populated forest in truth, but as with all locations, there are areas that have gone unseen by human eye, and should remain that way.
In the small town of Ukiah, Oregon.  A young man of infinite curiosity for outside exploration had alerted some friends of his future whereabouts: The Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness.  It is standard practice to alert friends or family of where you’re going if you should enter the wilderness of your own accord, for the possibility of complications to arise is reasonably high. This man’s name was Garret McGregor, a postman in a town of less than 300.  These conditions allowed him free time on a regular basis, to which he would use as ample opportunity to explore the wilderness that was near.  Mostly just an observer of wildlife, he rarely prepared himself with little more than binoculars and water, as well as a sidearm for emergencies.

He could see the forest past a long clearing from his rural neighborhood, so the need to go into those woods was always prevalent.  The anxiety to participate in his hobby had gotten to him of recent date, and he had to go.
He entered his truck and drove through the grass and near the trees.  He stopped the car in a very visible location, as safety requires, and proceeded on his own.

Once he entered the maze of bark and leaves, he felt that coveted sense of wonder he had longed for minutes prior, then continued.
He climbed a large Ponderosa tree and found a perfect place to balance and watch the world proceed without him.  He couldn’t hear much, and the winter air blowing in his face muffled the sounds of the wildlife to a point where only the chirping of birds became audible, as they always were.  The best he could do was look through his binoculars and observe the long empty terrain be occasionally treaded across by the occasional rabbit or moose.
Though it may seem like it was a boring day to the ignorant sense, this was most entertaining for him.  Only the sights and sounds of nature could he sense, and that was just enough for him to enjoy every minute he could spend outside.  He had grown restless in his current spot, as he often does, and continued to another location.

The sounds of leaves crunching from under him, the chirping of birds and the noises of other animals had distracted him just enough that he found himself stumbling over a log of some sort.  He had regained his footing before falling to the ground, and out of sheer reflex did he turn around to see what had almost caused his fall.

The object he had apparently tripped over had immediately shocked an terrified him upon his witnessing.  It was long and thin.  On one end, a red spot surrounded a long white article protruding from the rest of this pole-like thing.  The white part appeared to have been broken off of something, snapped in two like a twig.  On the other end of the object, three long appendages grew out of a spherical shape; each was half the length of the rest of the object, and appeared to have three joints in specific places.
That’s when it occurred to Garrett that he had found the severed arm of an unknown creature.  The growths were fingers.  Three long lanky fingers, each finished off with a sharp claw that encased the entire tip of each one.  Two fingers were each of the same length, roughly the size of paper towel tubes; the other finger appeared slightly smaller than the others, it is presumed that it acted as the opposable thumb of the hand.  The thumb lay to the left of the hand, while one of the fingers lay adjacent to the thumb.  One was at the top, the first joint facing a vertical level and then descending into the ground.  The claw of that one was partially buried by soil.  The whole thing was a grayish color, resembling the bark of a long-dead tree.  It was covered in scales, but had the texture of a typical gecko.

When Garrett moved it, he saw that post-mortem lividity had set in.  It was very prominent, as the bottom of the arm was perfectly flat.  Garrett knew this meant that the arm was only there for twelve hours or so.  The same day that it was severed, was it found.  It sent a chill down his spine to acknowledge that fact.
It was at the moment that realization came to him that he realized there was most likely a blood trail.  Upon digging through some of the leaves that had fallen near the arm, he noticed his suspicions were correct.  He almost got up to follow the trail, but a part of him had terrified him to a point where his curiosity came second to getting out of the woods as soon as possible.

Not wanting to touch the arm, he took off his coat and wrapped the arm in it.  He rushed back to his vehicle, wary of the dangers that may be lurking about.  Within a time span of about 10 minutes, he was in his truck and speeding back to the small town with news that would soon change the world.
Once he had reached his destination, he had no idea who to inform first; it became apparent that the mayor would be the best choice.

.    .    .

The small community was shaken, guns and ammunition became much more common in an already well-armed town.  Fear of the unknown creature that was obviously of considerable size if its arm were to compare to that of a 6’2” man’s arm.  Its claws were definitely used for ripping and tearing through tender flesh, and the flesh of man is not far from soft.
News of the discovery swept the nation like a plague.  After a matter of days, composite sketches of the creature were produced.  None of them were certainly a 100% accurate depiction of the beast, but some things were obviously true.  It walked on its knuckles, much like a primate would.  This signified that if the creature evolved as it should have, the hind legs would be considerably shorter.

Its lack of webbing in between the fingers indicated that it wasn’t amphibious, but a strictly land-dwelling animal.
It most likely had no tail, as tails are normally used for balance or for prehensility.  The creature was obviously not arboreal, so it would have no viable need for a tail.

Zoologists and herpetologists alike came to the conclusion that the creature was most definitely related to the Komodo Dragon.  Their composites were made to strongly resemble the creature, but could not get the proportions to be plausible.  The creature (if it was related to the Komodo) would have to be much larger to accommodate the fact that its front legs were much greater in length when compared to the Komodo Dragon‘s.
Its claws lead researchers to believe that it was predatory, as most lizards are.  With the predatory build came the assumption of prognathism.  Teeth were assumed to protrude from the lower mandible to a point where they became visible.  However, the head of the animal was assumed to resemble a chameleon’s more so than a crocodile’s simply for the points of balance and discretion.  As it could not conceal itself by use of murky water, it had to camouflage itself with other parts of the environment; a long snout would make that more difficult.
Other than those assumptions, the rest of the traits of the creature remained debatable.

What baffled researchers and citizens alike is the location in which it was found.  The Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness is not known for any reptilian inhabitants, let alone Komodo Dragons and Crocodiles.  Why the process of evolution allowed for this creature to evolve to a state similar to those animals, yet live in a habitat that is so radically different from the habitats of those animals remains unanswered.

.    .    .

Although immediate in-depth scans of the area were performed, the searches ended up being unsuccessful.  No other subjects were found and no evidence of their existence was ever discovered.
Rumors began circulating about a government cover-up.  As it was the government who first came forward with the news of one of the biggest zoological discoveries in recent memory, they were immediately seen as liars.  Some suspicion was shifted to Garrett, who was accused of feigning the whole thing for attention, though the government had discredited any theories corresponding with those accusations, wariness was still practiced when listening to Garrett’s testimony.

Stories also circulated about the arm being that of an extra-terrestrial being.  As expected, people began to suspect the government was covering up the “truth” and this was a repeat of the Roswell, New Mexico conspiracy.  Mere weeks after the arm was found, minor riots ensued demanding the truth.  Fanatics were attempting to summon aliens by use of signs and commands being directed toward the empty sky.  People spending days at a time in the wilderness with others, begging to be abducted by the unknown creatures.

Some people went so far as to state that the discovery was a sign from God.  Reasons were mixed, but most centered around the assumption that God was trying to keep people from believing  aliens, and that we’re just accompanied by animals that are so rare that when sighted, they are perceived as extra-terrestrial beings.
Tourism sky-rocketed in the town of Ukiah.  Much to the towns approval at first, but was slowly began to be perceived as more of a blight more so than a stimulator for the community’s economy.  Tourists were crowding the town and it became so severe that some tourists couldn’t reside in the town, but had to go to neighboring towns and the like to seek temporary residence.  Some of the permanent citizens of the town lived there for the quiet that the community came supplied with, when the tourism boom had not diminished in severity over the course of two years, some moved away.  Some tourists dedicated so much of their lives to finding the monster for themselves, they took up residence in the abandoned houses.  Soon, property demand was so high the town had to be built on.  It slowly grew in size until its population grew from 240 or so to thousands over the course of several years.  The small close-knit community was no more, and it kept growing.  After a while, people stopped moving to the town for a chance to see the fabled beasts, but instead for the typical reasons that most people would have to move to a new town or state: Jobs, new community, a chance to start over, etc.

The forest that neighbored the town was cut into to accommodate the growth in numbers for it.  Activists protested, but to no avail.  The federally protected land slowly grew smaller and smaller.  A park was eventually built into the middle of the forest, and it expanded to the very edges of it.
A statue of the fabled beast now stands in the center of the park, though it was never found.