A heavy rain poured in the dead of night, frequent flashes of thunder and lightning lit up the sky for a few brief seconds before the darkness covered the landscape of Papua New Guinea once more. The tropical trees shook and their branches swayed over the strong wind, many of the animals weren't particularly active, taking refuge from the dreaded storm. The locals were especially scared, this weather shouldn't be anything new but in recent events this storm incited danger for them. Two cryptozoologists: Lucas Taylor and Heath Brown ride on a boat in one of the mangrove swamps, accompanied by a reluctant fisherman who begged for them to abandon their search in fear of what would emerge from the water and drag them down. In the aforementioned swamp, two of their fishermen were recently attacked on the shoreline. The survivor recalls a slender creature breaching from the water and grabbing hold of his leg, his companion tried to help him but in return was dragged into the water instead; all that emerged from the water was a severed arm surrounded by a pool of blood. The locals address the killer as the Abaia: a giant freshwater eel who guards the aquatic life in its domain; the locals even suggest that these severe rainstorms are a punishment by the Abaia for fishing in its home.
"Please, we need to leave! Before Abaia gets us!" Cried the fisherman in his native tongue.
"This storm is growing too great, if we stay longer, we'll anger the great eel even more!" Said the fisherman.
"I'm afraid we can't." said Lucas. "The ecosystem in your country seems to be getting in a far worse state, several animals dependent on these waters have vanished and are growing fewer in numbers, you are unable to go fishing to feed your families and there have been reports of something in these and many other bodies of water killing both people and animals alike, we're not leaving until we find the source!"
Despite it being portrayed as a being that cares so deeply for its freshwater ecosystem, whatever this Abaia is, it's certainly causing problems. Following the frequent sightings of this creature as of late, especially in Papua New Guinea, several herpetologists, ichthyologists and cryptozoologists visited the island nation to investigate. What they unfortunately noticed was the lack of activity and numbers of certain animals. While your average tree kangaroo, bird of paradise and cassowary fared marginally well being the terrestrial and arboreal creatures they are. Most animals that rely on the rivers and swamps haven't had it easy. Saltwater crocodiles have all but disappeared from Papua New Guinea, it's hard to conclude whether the population in the region died out or if they simply departed to other nearby regions. The New Guinea crocodiles are barely holding on, it didn't take long to already find a few mutilated carcasses. Luckily some living specimens were found but it's hard to determine how long this species will last. Unfortunately there have been no sightings of the Northern or the Speartooth river sharks; ichthyologists began to fear the worst, maybe the river sharks in Papua New Guinea became locally extinct, it's now only a matter of time till the populations in Western Australia suffer the same fate.
"Maybe we should've done this another time, mate?" Said Heath with his broad Australian accent. "I can't see shit!"
"Quit your whining and keep searching goddamn it, the sooner we find this thing, the better-and turn on your fuckin' headlamp, you'll see shit better!"
Through the pouring rain and the roaring wind, they hear a massive splash, as if something emerged from the water, in anticipation, they move on the right side of the boat from where the sound came to look and to their disappointment: "Fuck! it's just a croc." Said Lucas, frustrated with the find. "Hold on, mate!" Heath said, "I see something, underwater!" He points to an object floating beside the boat, the light of his headlamp illuminated the further details of this creature.
"What is that?" Said Lucas in awe of what he was witnessing, the fisherman whispered, "Abaia!" in sheer horror as the creature nawed at the side of the boat, thrashing it's slender figure, splashing water at the cryptozoologists. "Heath! Heath, get the bloody noose." Yelled Lucas. Heath moves to the other side of the boat, the fisherman scooches back to give him room, picking up a pole with a noose tied onto it, he stretches it out to him. " Hey Lucas, maybe we should've brought a fishing rod with us? You know, something more useful for a situation like this." Said Heath.
"Bloody hell mate, did you not hear the story. This thing breached onto land like a bloody orca, whether it's a fish or not, it seems to be able to breathe on land pretty well. It'll be like snaring a croc, it shouldn't be hard!" Said Lucas. Heath moves to the left side of the boat where the creature's maw was facing, biting down onto the exterior of the wooden boat. Lucas slowly lets the noose submerge underwater before coiling it around the creature's neck; the noose tightens and the animal thrashes in a panic. "Help me, dammit." Lucas grunts, tightly gripping on the pole as Heath grabs hold of the animal trying to restrain it. In the midst of a struggle, they feel a strong pull from below, through their headlamps, they could see that a crocodile had grabbed hold of the strange animal. "Shit!" Said Heath.
"Don't let it drag the bloody thing under!" Yells Lucas as the two wrestle with the crocodile over their catch. The crocodile shakes its head left and right, its teeth digging deeper into the creature's flesh as the noose tightens even more on its grip, slowly choking the animal. "Jesus Christ, drop the pole!" Yelled Heath, Lucas tried desperately to hold on, in the struggle, he repeatedly grunted, It's slipping, it's slipping until he inevitably lost his grip on the pole, it flew off his hands and plopped into the water with Lucas falling in himself as the crocodile swam back with the suffocated animal still in its jaws, before turning around and darting away fast. "Darn that croc, took away our catch!" Said Lucas, stroking his arm in the water to keep his head afloat. "Better than you choking the poor thing to death!" Said Heath, "That was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen you do to an animal."
Lucas didn't reply back, just remained in the water, watching as the crocodile swam away with its prey with resentment and rage in his eyes. In an instant, another splash occurred and a large maw emerged out of the water enclosing itself around the croc. Then in an instant it was gone with the croc. Lucas and Heath remained still for a second, before the shock kicked in and Lucas scrambled back to the boat. They quickly rowed back to shore and ran as far from the boat, their boots sinking into the wet surface, they must've fallen in the mud at least a few times trying to run as far away from the water as possible should whatever that thing was, breach and drag them into the murky depths .
Hours passed and the storm faded, the sun rose back up, lighting up the swamp. The mangrove erupted in activity, hornbills and birds of paradise flew from the branches and by the water; water rats, cassowaries and echidnas cautiously approached the water while the tree kangaroos and the cuscus had very little to worry about, the trees have never been a safer place till now. The fisherman's boat was fortunately untouched by whatever killed that crocodile, aside from bite marks caused by the smaller specimen, it was still in mostly good enough condition. Lucas and Heath spent their few hours of the morning helping the fisherman pull his boat back to shore. Lucas was the most infuriated: "Can't believe we fuckin' lost that animal."
"I can't believe you were being that cruel to the animal!" Said Heath, "Fucking choking the damn thing."
"The croc was pulling it away I had to-"
"You had to,what? You honestly thought that was going to go well? It's a noose, you can kill somebody with that!" Said Heath.
"We had to catch that thing, in the name of bloody science, mate." Said Lucas.
"I signed up for this gig to discover new animals, not to torture animals to death like some loathsome poacher!" Said Heath.
The boat was successfully pulled to the muddy terrain when the fisherman dropped to the ground and crawled back in sheer panic. "Abaia! Abaia!" he cried out, Lucas and Heath quickly looked over to the shoreline and there lied a strange carcass. They went closer to investigate, the fisherman begged for them not to come closer but they ignored his pleas. From the crocodilian bite marks on its torso and the outline of a bloody wound around its neck.
"Is that?" Heath muttered.
"I'll be damned." Lucas muttered. He right away realized that this was the small creature they tried to wrestle into the boat. It was quite the strange find, it had the body of an eel but it had so many bird-like features; flippers, penguin-esque feathering and a freakin' beak complete with teeth, it also had pelvic spurs like a boa or python as opposed to still maintaining back legs from its ancestor-whatever its ancestor was anyway.