Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Great Wiener Mystery, Part III

[Part I, Part II]

Night was falling fast, the gloam engulfing the ghostly pirate ship so quickly the vessel might have been sailing full speed to the bottom of a well. The sudden darkness was as thick as Bartleby's black coat, a black coat that, if you looked closely enough, you would see was trembling in fear.

Sensing his companions' distress, and figuring it was as good an opportunity as any to distract the Captain's attention long enough to steal some delicious pie, Tomás ventured forward. "Excuse me, kind, gracious, beautiful lady sir, b-b-b-but, who are you? And what is this ship?"

The pirate captain flashed a wicked smile, her jagged teeth pale with reflected moonlight, her one bright eye shining with vengeance. "I am the Dread Pirate Roberta," she said, "and this is my ship, the Jolly Blogger." Her haughty voice hung in the air, now filling with fog, as though it had been building up inside her this whole time, waiting for its chance to escape the foul trenches of her lungs. "Every hundredth Halloween my ship and I sail the seven seas in an eternal quest to hunt down and kill the Great Pumpkin, who has neglected his duty faaaarrrrrrrr too long."

Her longing was palpable; faced with such a terrifying specter Tomás forgot about the pie as the dog, the cat, and the rat huddled close together.

The Dread Pirate Roberta quickly shook off her reverie and turned to the stowaways before her. "Aye, pray tell, who are you, and what are ye doing on me ship?"

The Dachshund took a timid step forward and bravely proclaimed, "I am Danny, and I don't want to be a Hallowiener anymore."

Cowering slightly behind Danny, the cat raised his voice and declared, "My name is Bartleby, and I don't want to be a fraidy cat anymore."

Emboldened by his new friends, the smallest of the three yelled to the night air, "My name is Tomás, and I am not a mouse!"

The Dred Pirate Roberta eyed the dog, the cat, and the rat before her as the mist continued to thicken and swirl around the Jolly Blogger. "Arrrrgh, you yellow-bellied landlubbers," she barked, "if ye hope to join my crew you'll have to earn your stripes."

"Shall we batten down the hatches?" asked Danny.

"Swab the poop deck?" interjected Bartleby.

"Eat that pie?" Tomás suggested hopefully.

"No," the pirate answered sharply, sending shivers down the young animals' spines. "No, to join my crew you must go on a quest, one that will test your courage and committment to the Halloween spirit." With a snap of her long, bony fingers the ship was instantly illuminated, every torch and lamp mysteriously igniting at the sound. But rather than lifting their moods and brightening their spirits, the ship's lighting somehow made the looming darkness beyond the bow far more brooding and oppressive.

"Come with me," the Dread Pirate Roberta commanded, and the dog, the cat, and the rat had no choice but to obey. The Captain led the trio to a moldy, storm-weathered dinghy and gestured for them to take their seats. Immediately the small craft floated into the air, hovering before a purple velvet bag that had magically appeared from the fog. "Take this candy corn," the pirate instructed. "Look deep into your heart, Danny, and you'll know what to do."

Without another word the boat sailed gently through the air, landing with a soft thud upon the surface of the dark and roiling ocean. And as quickly as it had first appeared, the Jolly Blogger beside them vanished, taking every last flicker of light with it....

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