Scared Silly: A Zak Vancura mini-mystery

by Donald Roberts

Hallowe’en. All Hallows Eve. Call it what you will and have fun shelling out to all those little urchins dressed up like monsters and fairies, beasts, and super-heroes. That’s what its all about, isn’t it?

Maybe for most, but for me it was all about taking a walk along the docks before winter set in and catching the last rays of the sun setting over the bay. I was getting ready for a special autumn edition, especially with a couple of pages of grand and beautiful fall leaves.

I got one perfect shot of the last evenings’ sun rays then settled back to watch the Hallowe’en full moon rising, I brought my best camera, my patience and a bit of panic. It’s not every Hallowe’en that the full moon rises over Twin Bluffs Harbour.

I was surprised I had the boardwalk all to myself. Maybe at that point I should have realized there was a reason for this odd phenomenon. By the time I got it, I was too late and I am darn lucky I got out. One wrong move and I could have ended up playing tag with the grim reaper.

I decided to head down to the quay that jutted a hundred yards out into the bay. What better spot could there be? There was nothing to block a good shot and once again I had the place to myself. Well almost.

I was just getting my tripod up and the camera fixed when the water around me started to gurgle. I recall my words were, ‘Man, that’s gotta be one big fish to do that,’ But when I looked into the inky black water, I couldn’t see a darn thing.

Another few minutes passed. The full moon was rising and the sliver highway it cast upon the water was glimmering like diamonds on black velvet.

Suddenly, two of those precious glimmering moon diamonds turned red and a huge head rose out of the bay attached to a long neck writhing like a snake.

I am not a particularly super brave guy but since I had my camera set up, I started taking shots of the beast. But when I was absorbed in my work, out of the shadows beyond the growing silver moon highway a ship, a ghostly thing, sailed just above the water and was coming straight toward the quay.

I switched my camera to video and started filming. And as I did, something incredible happened.

The beast turned and saw the ghostly ship. Then it shot out of the water, showing off its porpoise-like body leaping high into the air then diving deep into the deep dark water and then disappearing into the depths.

Someone called out from the ghostly ship, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I think it was French. But then I saw the name of the vessel and could hardly believe my eyes. I really thought I had gone completely over the edge of insanity. It was the Griffon. Really. I mean, it was ghostly but real all at the same time.

I was just getting my camera lined back up when the red-eyed beast rose out of the water with its neck flailing and its eyes blazing like fire! I thought for sure it was going to destroy the Griffon, but just as it crashed down something touched my shoulder and when I turned, I found myself surrounded by ghosts, witches, goblins and every other Halloween creature you can imagine swirling about me  and clawing at me, hissing and wailing, screaming, and laughing hideously.

My heart was pounding in my chest like a jack hammer and if I could have screamed I would have, but nothing would come out.

The last thing I remember was turning and watching the Griffon and the beast explode into the most glorious fireworks I had ever seen. At the same moment, the ghosts, goblins and demons rose into the air and raced to join in the fireworks, vanishing into wafting tendrils of rainbow coloured mist.

I woke, still sitting at my desk in the office. The hour was striking midnight and outside, the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled. I breathed a sigh of relief. A Hallowe’en dream had scared me silly.