(Sky trains passing by) (Dogs barking) When I was a kid in the suburbs of Chicago, adventure meant Quetico Provincial Park Up on the border of Minnesota and Canada, the name implies the place was small, the Quetico is a million acre nature preserve. So big you could go days and days without seeing another soul. We would go on camping trips up there: weeks of canoeing and portaging, seeing bears, and moose and deer, sleeping under star soaked skies. The park was isolated and so pristine you could actually drink the water straight from the lakes. But I won’t be going back to Quetico anytime soon, not after what happened to a girl named Francis Brandywine. Francis was 17 at the time. Black haired with a reckless nature. Determined always to leave the well trod path to break new ground and be alone. A few years ago, Francis was up in Quetico with her family. They were in a remote part of the park, camped on the shore of one of the deeper lakes. A lonely body of water, carved millions of years ago by a passing glacier. The deep part of this particular lake was rumoured to be about 300 feet. (loud noise) One night after her family went to bed, Francis took the row boat out, planning to find a quiet spot in the middle of the lake, lay on the bench of the boat, look up into the sky, and maybe write in her journal. So she left the shore… rode for about 20 minutes. When she felt satisfied that she was over the lakes deepest spot, she layed down on the bench, looked up to the night sky. Stars were very bright and the Aurora Borealis was shimmering like a neon lasso. She was feeling very peaceful. Then, she heard something strange, it was like a knock. (knock-knock) She sat up, guessing that the boat has drifted to shore among the ground. And she looked around the boat and she was still half a mile from shore. She leaned over the side to see if she has hit anything, but she saw nothing. No log, no rocks. She layed back down. She told herself it could be any number of things, a fish, a turtle, a stick that has drifted under the boat. She relaxed again and soon feel into a contended reverie. She had just closed her eyes when she heard another knock. This time it was louder and crisp. (Knock-knock-knock) Like the sound of someone hard knocking on a wooden door. Expect this knocking was coming from the bottom of the boat, now she was scared. She leaned over the side again. It had to be an animal. But what kind of animal would knock like that? 3 quick loud knocks in rapid succession. Her mouth went dry. She held onto each side of the boat. And now she could only wait to see if it happened again. The silent streched out. (…) A few minutes passed. And just as she began thinking she imagined it all, the knocks came again. But this time louder. (KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK) She had to leave, she lunched for the oars. She got them to place and began rowing. The water was very calm so she would have made quick progress. But after rowing fivireshly, she looked around and she realised, she wasn’t moving at all. Something was keeping her exactly where she was. Again, she tried rowing, and she rowed and rowed on the verge of tears. But… she went nowhere. She stopped, she was exhausted. Her heavy breathing filled the air. She cried, she sobbed. But soon she calmed herself again and the boat was silent again for 10 minutes. And 20. Again, she tricked herself into thinking she had imagined it all. But just like before… Just when she was begining to get a grip on herself, the knocking came again. This time as loud as a base drum. (BAM) (BAM) The floorboards of the boat shook with each knock. Now she was so shaken she started making questionable decisions. The first was to lower one of the oars into the black water trying to feel if there was some land bass, even some creature she could touch. Soon as the oar broke the water surface though she felt a strong silent tug at the other end. And the oar was pulled under. She screamed, she jumped back and now she had no options. K N O C K All she could do was sit and hope and wait. Wait for the morning to come. Wait for whatever was going to happen… …to happen. And knocking went on through the night. She passed the time writing in her note book. And it’s only because of this notebook that we know what happened that night. Francis can’t tell us. She was never seen again. The boat was found on shore the next day, empty, but for the journal. On those pages were her frantic jottings, all writing in her destinctive handwriting. All but the last page. When the journal was found, that page was still wet. And on it were 4 words, looking as if it been written quickly with a muddy finger. They said: “I did knock first” THE END.