LEE A. WOOD
Though I have lived in Vancouver for nearly ten years and have walked Stanley Park innumerable times I have never ridden the train in the park. Last night, October 31st, was not a good time for a first trip.
We had tried all week to attend but because of the inclement weather and other commitments were unable to make it.
The streets were alive with ghouls, devils, hobgoblins, and gobhoblins.
You do know the difference between the last two don't you? A hobgoblin is a mischievous elf or goblin, an evil sprite, while a gobhoblin is a sailor with a peg leg. It was a night for laughter and enjoyment, two angels directed us to the parking area. The Sunday night skies were alive with stars, the wind was dissipated by the trees, all was serene, until we entered the park.
We had barely entered the gates when horror fell upon us. A ten foot bat swooped down, but I dodged aside. Grabbing my wife, by her arm, I led her around the evil creature while it was occupied by other victims.
Inside the gaily lighted entrance we had a choice of taking a late night stroll, carrying metal reflectors containing candles, or riding on the train. As the train was what we had gone to see it was our choice and luckily the lineup wasn't too long.
We were ushered aboard the train by an evil looking devil who wanted to shake my hand but I declined as I was afraid he might have ulterior intentions.
After we were aboard, my suspicions were confirmed when the devil came back to talk to us again, but it was only to distract us while an evil crone attacked us from the other side of the train. Luckily the engineer was not asleep at the switch and he soon had the train rolling, taking us away from these apparitions, though we soon realized that we may have been safer staying at the station.
The trees blocked out what little light there was from the stars and we entered a stygian blackness surrounded by the howls of banshees. Off in the distance we could hear a second train, its passengers screaming in terror.
We entered a tunnel of dead trees and living hands that reached out to grab us as they cackled like demons. My wife clung to me and we scrunched into the center of the car. The Engineer, stout fellow that he is, stayed at the controls and we managed to escape their clutches.
We passed over a bridge with a lovely water fall on one side. On the other side, two swans drifted lazily about a placid pool, wondering what strange creatures these were that disturbed their nocturnal peace, while we stared in awe at the even stranger creatures in the middle of the pond.
A moose with eyes that blazed bright red and upon its back a skeleton. Luckily the train sped across the trestle and back into the safety of the darkness. Or was it safe?
A serene little cottage, nestled beneath the trees, and an old crone who gestured for us to alight. But were her intentions honourable?
We sped past a clearing where skeletons danced. But not human skeletons. Skeletons of horses, foxes, and, not being a person familiar with bones, I had no idea what the four legged creatures used to be nor had I any desire to remain and ask. They howled at us as we sped away.
We passed by row after row of trees, stumps, and low banks all bearing jack-o-lanterns with grotesque faces And laughing at us as though they wanted us to join their group by becoming one of them.
A tunnel of utter blackness and a tunnel of blood red lights.
Coyotes howled in the distance and we approached a deserted cabin. Ghosts heard us coming and were waiting on both sides of the tracks, dancing eerily, but we made it past without being seduced to leave the train.
Tall glowing roses lit up a clearing and the entrance to a chapel. But not a church where I would want to be a member of the congregation. Two ten foot skeletons, dressed in wedding attire marched towards us but the bride and groom stopped to embrace while organ music filled the night.
Another clearing, filled with fog and tombstones. A skeleton stood amongst the graves. He took a puff on his cigarette and began to cough.
Though we could see the lights of the station we were not out of the woods yet. No pun intended. We were attacked by creatures half man and half alligator brandishing brands of fire.
As we alighted from the train we were greeted by the same devil who had put us aboard but again I managed to avoid his outreaching grasp.
As we left we were spared a repeat attack, the bat had been replaced by a ten foot dragonfly, she wished us well.
Rest assured, the next time the Parks Board puts on a train display I shall return, provided it is not Oct. 31st.
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