Mark Barlex | If a Cryptid …

Big Foot exists.

She appears two hours, nine minutes and forty-one seconds into Song Sparrows of Tillamook State Forest, least watched video on the rarely accessed Indigenous Birdsong of Oregon YouTube channel.

Belonging to Bryce, whose heart hadn’t been in the project for a while.

And had taken to leaving his camera locked off and running in the same clearing three miles south of Jordan Creek.

Because song sparrows were going to sing whether he was there to hear them or addressing a hangover in his SUV.

And who, once he’d retrieved his kit, only cared enough to check the start and the end of the recording, but not the middle.

And gave up on key words and good search engine optimisation when describing it.

Meaning it appealed to only a handful of his three-thousand, eight hundred and four subscribers.

Who, it turned out, listened rather than watched anyway, using it as ambient, auditory background while they worked on tax returns.

Except Janet, who’d finished hers, had time on her hands, made a point of watching videos all the way through, but went to the toilet two hours, eight minutes and fifty-three seconds into this one, only coming back after a female gigantopithicus Americanus (seven foot tall, reddish brown, hands like snow shovels) had slid through the milkweed into view, spat, scratched a nipple, passed wind (softly), and slunk out of shot as if she’d never been there (which, given no-one saw her do any of those things, perhaps she never was).

My name is Mark Barlex. I began writing fiction in 2021 after short courses at City, University of London. My stories have been featured in Bandit Fiction, Flash Fiction North, Your Fire Magazine, Scribble, and in two Bath Flash Fiction print anthologies. They have also been performed at two Liars’ League events in London, where I live.


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