River Monster

Artist credit: Dan Duford, www.poisonedplayground.com



Robert Wells surfaced after he swam the Columbia River near the Hanford site.  “Huh… I feel fine.”

He faced the media covering his 1960 pollution protest.

They screamed.

The River Monster was born.


This is my response to Trifecta’s weekend prompt, which was to “give us the 33 words that follow this illustration.  What happens next?”

I normally don’t do ‘creepy’ but I’m making it my challenge this year to get into the Halloween spirit.  For those not familiar with the Columbia River or the Hanford site, here’s a bit of what I found on Wikipedia (click here if you want to read more:)

Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project in the town of Hanford in south-central Washington, the site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world.  Beginning in the 1960s, scientists with the U.S. Public Health Service published reports about radioactivity released from Hanford, and there were protests from the health departments of Oregon and Washington.  In the 1980s, Hanford Health Information Network reports concluded that residents who lived downwind from Hanford or who used the Columbia River downstream were exposed to elevated doses of radiation that placed them at increased risk for various cancers and other diseases.

68 thoughts on “River Monster

  1. meganorussell October 4, 2013 / 8:13 AM

    Have you heard of the musical Zombie Prom? I feel like the idea must have come from that river.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:12 PM

      I have not heard of the Zombie Prom. Maybe the river was an inspiration? Thanks for stopping by to read this, Megan!

  2. Mike October 4, 2013 / 8:22 AM

    So that’s how it all started! I enjoyed your short tale.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:13 PM

      🙂 I guess this could be America’s version of the Loch Ness?

  3. Debbie October 4, 2013 / 8:34 AM

    I wasn’t familiar with that story, Janna. Thanks for educating me — in such a memorable way, ha!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:14 PM

      I don’t know how much of an education this was, Debbie! The pollution in the river is real, but as far as I know, there isn’t a river monster. With all that nuclear waste, I don’t think I’d want to comb the waters to make sure 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:15 PM

      Thanks for reading and reblogging, Duke!

      • 1959duke October 7, 2013 / 12:03 PM

        you know for you I will do anything.

        • jannatwrites October 7, 2013 / 8:53 PM

          I appreciate your support, Duke!

  4. nrhatch October 4, 2013 / 8:59 AM

    I bet your sons loved this one!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:15 PM

      They might, Nancy…I wrote it after they left for school, and they haven’t seen it yet 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:16 PM

      Thanks, Vishal! I appreciate you taking time to read it 🙂

  5. Tonya R. Moore October 4, 2013 / 9:20 AM

    This was a fun little read. Nice!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:16 PM

      Thanks so much, Tonya! I love the 33-word challenges 🙂

  6. Valerie October 4, 2013 / 9:40 AM

    Hmmm…I live not too far from the Columbia River. From now on, I’m only going to take pictures of it;) Great little piece, Janna!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:17 PM

      Oh, I’m sure it’s safe Valerie…they say it’s all cleaned up now 🙂

      On second thought, appreciating from a distance might be safer!

  7. Kir Piccini October 4, 2013 / 9:52 AM

    Oh my, well I guess I’ll just be sunning myself on the sand of that River….you did a great job with getting us into the “spirit!”


    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:19 PM

      I’m not sure I’d trust the sand, either 🙂 Glad you stopped by, Kir!

  8. Catherine Johnson October 4, 2013 / 11:05 AM

    Brilliant! And that picture is really helpful because I am struggling with my zombie faces. I find it hard to draw them at a distance and it not just look like a green blob of goo 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      The artist did a good job on the picture. (I don’t draw or paint much, so I doubt I could do it!) Good luck with the zombies, Catherine. Hope to see them spooking your blog sometime this month 🙂

  9. Glynis October 4, 2013 / 1:26 PM

    It seems you can’t go swimming any where any more. I loved this.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:21 PM

      Well, there might be a “Swim at your own risk” sign – they really mean it 🙂 Thanks for reading, Glynis!

  10. Suzanne October 4, 2013 / 5:16 PM

    Love it! Great take on the prompt. Poor Mr. Wells. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:21 PM

      Thanks, Suzanne! He went to drastic measures to prove his point 🙂

  11. Imelda October 4, 2013 / 7:25 PM

    I like your take on the prompt. It’s got oomph! .! Poor Mr. Wells though. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      Yeah, the swim may not have been the best idea, but it got attention 🙂 Thanks for reading, Imelda!

  12. Neetika October 5, 2013 / 5:31 AM

    That was fantastic Janna! The poor guy… I’m sure this is how most monsters are born 😉

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:25 PM

      Thanks, Neetika! We must be careful where we swim 🙂

  13. Draug419 October 5, 2013 / 6:08 AM

    Funny with a touch of truth. Great job!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:25 PM

      Thanks, Draug! It was fun to learn something new while I researched this one.

  14. margitsage October 5, 2013 / 9:23 AM

    Cute. I like the historical significance.

  15. Cobbie's World October 5, 2013 / 12:05 PM

    This reminds me a lot of the Seinfeld episode where kramer began swimming in the polluted Hudson River for exercise. Needless to say, it did not turn out well. Your story turned out well. Good work!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:28 PM

      Oh, I remember that episode. Kramer wasn’t normal to begin with and those swims sure didn’t do him any favors 🙂 Thanks for reading, Cobbie!

  16. ivymblog October 5, 2013 / 2:36 PM

    Holy moly! The true aspect of this really adds to the creepiness.

    FYI, I was really hoping you would use this promp to do another installment of Darlene’s story–the zombie dude could’ve been her dead husband. Lol!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:30 PM

      Stories based loosely on truth are creepy to me, too, Ivy! Good idea about Darlene’s husband. Too bad I didn’t think about that 🙂

  17. Lance October 5, 2013 / 7:03 PM

    wow, an entire story in 33 words. amazing.

    You will be getting a vote from me this weekend, *fist bump*

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:31 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Lance! Thanks for reading 🙂

  18. Eric Alagan October 5, 2013 / 7:42 PM

    Good one, Janna.

    Quite often the monsters swim within us – from the food, water, air etc that we consume. Genetically modified – a nice word for ‘crap’ I reckon.

    Peace and blessings,

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:32 PM

      I try not to think about that, Eric. If I spent too much time contemplating the pollutants, I wouldn’t be able to find much joy in life at all 🙂 As always, thanks for reading and for offering your thoughtful comment.

  19. El Guapo October 5, 2013 / 7:51 PM

    A truly brilliant response to the challenge!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:33 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, El Guapo! I have to say your contact lens take was quite creative 🙂

  20. Nea October 5, 2013 / 10:28 PM

    Wow that is some imagination! The Columbia River (i wasn’t aware about it) makes a great twist to this 33 word plot!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2013 / 10:34 PM

      Thanks, Nea! I didn’t know about it either until I did some research on pollution. (When I saw the photo, I knew I wanted to go that route.)

      • Nea October 5, 2013 / 10:40 PM

        Cool research 🙂

        • jannatwrites October 6, 2013 / 9:20 PM

          Thank you, Nea 🙂

  21. ewdupler October 6, 2013 / 6:16 AM

    Headline: Robert not so “Wells” After Swim

    Awesome job with this prompt.

    • jannatwrites October 6, 2013 / 9:22 PM

      Haha, true- he was not well at all! Thanks for reading, Gene 🙂

  22. trifectawriting October 6, 2013 / 10:46 AM

    Great take on the prompt Janna. Love it when we learn something, too. Nice write! Thanks for linking up!

    • jannatwrites October 6, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      Pollution = bad 🙂 Thanks for reading, Bjorn!

  23. pattisj October 6, 2013 / 7:31 PM

    It was just a science experiment, right? Some of the things we learn–creepy. I liked your story.

    • jannatwrites October 6, 2013 / 9:24 PM

      I’m glad you liked it, Patti. He was an environmental activist before it was “in” to be one!

  24. Michael October 6, 2013 / 7:59 PM

    Bit hard on poor Robert, being a river monster and all. C’est la vie.

    • jannatwrites October 6, 2013 / 9:25 PM

      Well, not as high-profile as the Loch Ness, but it’s not a bad gig 🙂 Thanks for reading, Michael!

  25. atrm61 October 7, 2013 / 4:26 AM

    A lesson there eh Janna?We are creating river monsters and other monsters everyday by polluting our environment mindlessly-loved this take on the prompt-apart from it being very entertaining,it had a moral too:-)

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2013 / 9:03 AM

      Thank, Atreyee! Yes, I try not to think about all the pollutants I’m exposed to every day. However, it could make a valid excuse for some of the odd stories my mind comes up with 🙂

      • atrm61 October 17, 2013 / 5:26 AM

        Lol!Glad that your mind latches on those “pollutants”-readers like me reap the benefit 😉

        • jannatwrites October 17, 2013 / 5:46 PM

          Aw thanks, Atreyee. I hope I’m not poisoning your mind 🙂

        • atrm61 October 18, 2013 / 12:17 AM

          Ha!ha!You think that is possible Janna 😉

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