Disclaimer: The guys from Emergency! don’t belong to me, of course. But I certainly do have fun sending them on their little adventures.
Quest on the Queen Mary:
A Halloween Adventure
By: Vanessa Sgroi
“Man, Chet, I can’t believe you talked us all into this.” Johnny grumbled as the A-shift of Station 51 made their way down the narrow corridor.
“It wasn’t just me, Gage. Marco made the phone call and won the contest. I just agreed it would be fun. That’s all.”
“Still—you talked the rest of us into doing this. I can’t believe we’re staying on the Queen Mary—the HAUNTED Queen Mary—on Halloween.”
“You won’t be saying that when we win the money and the other prizes. Besides, it’s just a ship that’s been turned into a hotel. That’s all.”
Johnny just continued to grumble under is breath as they all drew to a stop.
“Gentlemen, if you please,” announced Greyson Goddard, the hotel manager, “Here is the first room, Number A-208. Which two of you choose to stay here?”
Hank and Mike volunteered and entered the room to drop off their overnight bags. They then rejoined the group as originally instructed. The entourage stopped again at the end of the long corridor, and Goddard opened another room.
Johnny and Roy chose this room before the group continued on. They turned a corner and continued down yet another hallway. For a final time, Goddard stopped and opened the door to Room A-303. Chet and Marco quickly stashed their bags.
“All right, gentlemen. Now that room assignments are out of the way, I will show you the additional hot spots you must visit tonight in qualify for the prizes being awarded by the radio station. Please remember that I will visit each area at a pre-designated time during the hour you’re required to be there.” The manager’s lackluster monotone matched his cadaver-like appearance. Johnny shivered as they moved on.
The manager led the group of six men to five different areas of the ship: the engine room, the first-class swimming pool, the Queen’s Salon, the front hull, and the third class children’s playroom. Each of these areas were said to be hot spots of paranormal activity as were the three first-class suites where they were staying. At the end of the tour, each pair was given a map of the ship and the instructions they needed to follow to win the prizes. Ultimately, the six men needed to stay on the Queen Mary until 6:00 a.m. the following morning. If they failed, no prizes were awarded.
“Gentleman, dinner will be served to your rooms in one-half hour. Afterward, the rest of the staff will leave the ship, leaving just the seven of us. I will remain in my quarters at all times except for the designated check-in times. I will leave you now to find your way back to your rooms. And may I say ‘Good Luck’.” With that, Greyson Goddard, turned and hurried away.
A quick look at the maps showed that they were at the opposite end of the ship from their rooms. Since dinner was going to be served soon and they were all hungry, the firefighters started heading that direction.
Glancing around at the period interior decorating, Johnny mumbled, “Man, this place is creepy.”
Stoker, who was directly behind the dark-haired paramedic, growled, “I agree.”
They finally made it back to their rooms, each pair dropping off at their suite.
In Room A-235, Johnny picked up his overnight bag and flopped down on the bed with a grunt.
“Huh, at least the bed is comfortable.”
Roy grinned over at him. “Well, don’t get too used to it. The way you’re talking, you won’t make through long enough to see it again.”
Gage threw his partner a dirty look. “Well, ya have to admit, this place is creepy!”
“Johnny, it’s just an old ship that’s been turned into a hotel. That’s all.”
“Yeah, you say that now. Wait till later. You’re going to be every bit as scared as the rest of us.”
A knock at the door interrupted Johnny’s warning. Roy answered the door to find a young woman on the other side, bearing a cart containing two silver-domed plates, a basket of rolls, a bottle of sparkling water with two glasses, and a small plate holding dessert. She quickly entered the room and set out their dinner, and just as quickly disappeared without ever uttering a word.
Roy and Johnny both sat down at the table. They lifted the silver lids off the plates and savored the delicious aroma wafting up from their dinner.
Johnny grinned in appreciation. “All right! Surf-n-Turf! At least we get a good dinner out of this deal!”
Sharing his exuberance, the blond-haired paramedic picked up his fork and prepared to dig in. Just then, another harder knock sounded at the door. With a sigh, he put the fork back down and got up to answer the door. He was mightily surprised to see an empty hallway when he pulled the door open. Puzzled, Roy stuck his head out and peered first one way and then the other. The entire corridor was empty. With a shrug, he returned to his meal.
“Hmm--weird.” Gage mumbled around a mouthful of food.
Cutting into his perfectly done steak, DeSoto relished his first bite. He paused long enough to butter a roll before turning his attention to a piece of succulent lobster meat. Again a loud knock sounded at the door. He groaned.
“I’ll get it. I’ll get it.” Johnny bounced out of his chair and opened the door. An empty doorway greeted him. As his partner had done, Gage looked up and down the hallway, noting its barrenness. A shiver danced down his spine. He spun around and returned to the table.
“Still nobody there. It’s gotta be Chet playing a trick.”
Roy gave Johnny an uneasy half smile. “Yeah, it’s gotta be Chet.”
* * *
Meanwhile, in Room A-303
“Man, Marco, this food is fantastic.”
“I can’t wait to claim those prizes in the morning. This is gonna be a cinch.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that, mi amigo. We have a long night ahead of us.”
“C’mon, Marco. You’re not scared like Gage and Stoker, are ya?”
“No. No. I’m just saying we don’t know what lies ahead, that’s all.”
The two men turned their attentions back to their meal. After several long moments, Chet looked up with a frown.
“Hey, did you mess with the air conditioning in here? It’s getting awfully cold.” Kelly rubbed his hands up and down his arms.
“Not me. I didn’t touch a thing in here except for my bed. But you’re right, it’s freezing in here.” As Marco answered, he was surprised to see his breath turn to white vapor.
Chet groaned. “Great! Just great! We get stuck in a room with a broken air conditioner. I should complain to what’s-his-name Goddard.”
Despite the continuing drop in temperature, both men sat down to try and finish their meal.
* * *
And in Room A-208
Hank Stanley slammed down the telephone for the second time. He and Mike had sat down to enjoy the sumptuous meal delivered to their door by a very pretty, though silent, young lady. They’d no sooner sat down and began to eat when the phone rang. Hank had quickly answered it, only to discover no one was there. The open line hissed and crackled, but no one answered the captain’s hail. He had returned to the table and picked up the conversation with Mike when the phone rang again.
Once again, he stalked over to the table. “Must be a crossed line or something.”
Stoker swallowed a mouthful of butter-soaked lobster before answering. “Yeah, or maybe one of our buddies in another room is joking around.”
Hank chuckled. “You could be right about that. It would be just like Chet, wouldn’t it?”
The phone rang for the third time.
“Oh, for God’s sake.” Pushing back his chair, Stanley hustled over to the phone, determined to give the person at the other end a piece of his mind.
“HELLO? Who is this? Chet, if this is you playing a joke, you better remember I’m your captain. You’ll have latrine duty for a year. HELLO?” The same hiss and crackle echoed over the line.
Hank hung up the receiver and then quickly took it off the hook. Satisfied with this solution, he turned and strolled back toward the table. Just as he was about to sit down, the telephone started ringing again. Captain Stanley and Mike both looked at the phone in disbelief and dismay as the hair rose on the backs of their necks. One thought raced through their minds. How could the phone be ringing when it was off the hook?
* * *
At 8:00 p.m., the three pairs of men gathered together in the hallway. They all looked slightly spooked but determined not to show it.
Hank was still hearing the echo of that phone just ringing and ringing. It had finally stopped, allowing the two of them to finish their dinner. Eight o’clock could come quick enough for him. Used to taking charge, he spoke up. “So where are we supposed to head first?”
There was a brief rustle of paper before Marco spoke up.
“It says here that we should go to either the Engine Room or the Queen’s Salon.”
“Which is closer?”
“From here? The Queen’s Salon.”
“Well, I say we go there. Any objections?”
“Cap, shouldn’t we . . .” Johnny started to say, stopping when his Captain threw him a look.
“Uh . . . no. No objections.”
Maps in hand, they searched out their first destination.
They entered the Queen’s Salon and looked around, taking in the elegant period décor.
Chet let loose with a low whistle. “Man, will you look at this place? The rich sure knew how to travel. So, what do we do now?”
Marco glanced down at the papers he held. “It says here that we have to spend at least a half hour in here. If we experience any phenomenon, we document it here on the paper.” He looked around. “I guess we can just sit here and talk.”
They made themselves comfortable in the richly upholstered chairs. After several minutes of small talk, the men grew quiet. Each man jumped when the door to the Salon creaked open. Goddard poked his head inside the door.
“Ah, good, you’re here. I will sign your verification and leave you in peace.” Moments later, the eerie hotel manager was gone.
Conversation picked up slowly and turned toward a comfortable subject—work. As they talked, the guys from A-shift continually looked around the room.
Suddenly, Mike gasped.
“What is it, Mike?” Cap queried.
“Oh, my God. Over there. Over there in the corner. Don’t you see her?”
Five pairs of eyes swung in the direction Mike was staring.
Five simultaneous voices questioned, “See who?”
“T-the woman. She’s dressed in a fancy white dress, and she’s dancing. You guys can’t see her?”
“Nope, don’t see a thing.” chimed Johnny.
“Well, I’m not crazy. I see her plain as day. Write this down! Write this down!”
Marco obediently documented the sighting in the space provided on their paper.
“She’s gone. I can’t believe no one else saw her!”
The rest of their time in the room was spent discussing Mike’s experience and no additional sightings occurred. At the appointed time, they left the Salon and headed for their next stop, the Engine Room.
* * *
Their next two stops, the Engine Room and Third Class Children’s Playroom, proved uneventful. Though left unsaid, they were all a little relieved. By the time the group made it to the First Class Swimming Pool area boredom had set in, allowing a bickering match to start between Johnny and Chet.
“I’m tellin’ ya, Gage. This is all a set up, and we’re the stooges.”
“And just how is it a set up? There’s no one else here but us – and that Goddard guy.”
“You don’t know that. They could all be hiding. I bet the radio station doesn’t want us to win anything.”
Having listened to this argument for the last several minutes, Mike interjected at this point. “Well, I don’t know how they would have pulled off that woman in the salon. I could see her clearly, even though she was kinda transparent.”
“Mikey, it had to be a hologram.”
Stoker glared at Chet for calling him Mikey. “A hologram? You mean like on Star Trek? Chet, you watch too much television.”
“I’m telling ya . . .”
“Gentlemen,” interrupted Captain Stanley, a distinct grumpy edge to his voice, “can we please call a truce.”
“But . . .”
“That’s an order.”
The arguments died away as the guys found chairs and sat down. They were prepared for another quiet period. Greyson Goddard made his familiar appearance, said nothing, and left.
Never quiet for long, Johnny looked at the empty pool with its elaborate decorations and commented, “Man, can imagine traveling like this? Sure must have been something.”
His partner nodded. “Yeah, especially if you were in First Class.”
Conversation turned to speculation about what it would be like to travel from Europe to the United States on an ocean liner.
Johnny opened his mouth to comment when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head, he felt his jaw drop open at the sight that greeted him. Two women were wandering the deck near the pool. The young women were dressed in odd, old-fashioned bathing costumes that covered them from neck to knee.
The dark-haired man elbowed Roy and nodded toward the sight. “Do you see them?”
Now it was Roy’s turn to nod. The rest of the crew also turned and looked at Gage’s words. Each face reflected shock as they glimpsed the two apparitions.
Jumping up, Chet whispered, “I’m telling you it’s a trick.” With those words, he charged forward straight toward the women. They passed right through him as if he wasn’t even standing there. The bathing beauties glided a few more feet until they gradually faded away.
The other five men jumped up and ran to where a silent Chet Kelly stood.
“Hey, Chet, you okay?” Marco’s anxious voice held the slightest quiver.
Kelly gave a small shudder and muttered, “I’m fine.”
“Uh, guys, look!” Johnny choked out. He was pointing at the floor. A trail of wet footprints snaked across the deck and led to the changing rooms.
Johnny looked at the completely dry pool and back at the footprints that were now slowly disappearing. “Chet, if it’s a set up, how do you explain that?”
Chet, too, was staring at the dry pool, his face pale. “I . . . I don’t think it’s a set up anymore.”
* * *
Their last stop was deep inside the front hull of the ship in an area called the Bosun’s Locker. The six firemen were quiet as they made their way inside. There were no chairs here to sit in, so they stood and leaned against the walls. Not one of them felt like talking so the room remained soundless except for the occasional sigh or clearing of a throat. Time crept slowly onward.
Johnny glanced at his watch and sighed in relief that their required time was almost up. The sigh had barely drifted away when the screeching sound of tortured metal filled the room.
“What the . . .”
The wrenching sound died away as quickly as it started. Silence reigned again for a few moments, and then the pounding started. It started out as a low hammering, like a fist connecting with the wall. The thumping grew louder and louder and yet louder until the six men were forced to cover their ears. And yet the noise continued to increase in volume. The men were forced to their knees as pain exploded in their eardrums.
As quickly as the pounding had begun, it stopped. The A-shift crew remained on their knees for a few moments, allowing the ringing in their ears to fade. They all slowly climbed to their feet.
Chet was the first to speak. “I think we should get out of here.”
“Yeah, let’s go back to our rooms.” Marco agreed.
“No. I don’t mean out of this room. I mean out of here—the hotel.”
Johnny nodded vigorously. “For once, I agree with Chet. Let’s get out of here.”
When no one else agreed, Gage looked around, astonished.
“You guys don’t agree?”
Roy looked at his partner.
“Well, we’ve come this far. All we have to do now is go back to our rooms and sleep.”
“Sleep! You can sleep after this?”
“I can try.”
Realizing they were outnumbered, Johnny and Chet gave up the fight, but not without a lot of grumbling.
Each pair returned to their assigned rooms.
* * *
“I can’t believe you wanted to stay.” Gage was still grouching.
His partner sighed. “Look, can we just go to bed.”
“Fine. Just fine.”
Johnny crawled between the sheets fully clothed. His left arm was over his eyes before Roy even turned off the lights.
Despite his conviction that he would never rest, the dark-haired paramedic started to slip into sleep. Just as he started to drift off, he felt a tugging at the bedding.
The tugging came again.
“Roy, what do you want? Why’re you pulling on my blanket?”
“Johnny, what are you mumbling about over there?”
“Why were you pulling at my blankets?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m in bed on the other side of the room.”
Now fully awake, Johnny realized that Roy’s voice was indeed coming from the other side of the room. A shiver quaked down his spine.
“That’s it! That’s it! I’m outta here.” Flying out of bed, Gage flicked on the light and started searching for his overnight bag.
“Are you coming? I’m not staying here. Something was tugging at my sheets. And . . . and I don’t want to find out what it is.”
Tying his shoes in record time, Gage was out the door before Roy even sputtered his answer.
Halfway down the hallway, Johnny ran into Chet. Literally. The shorter, mustached man was looking over his shoulder at the open door to his room and didn’t see Gage coming.
“Ouch. Watch it, Chet!”
When Kelly didn’t respond, Gage looked closely at his face. Chet looked terrified.
“Chet, what’s wrong?”
“I . . . I . . . I’m leaving. I ain’t stayin’ here.”
“Well, so am I.”
Within moments, the two men were joined by the rest of the group. Johnny noticed that everyone was carrying their overnight bags.
“Let’s get out here.”
The six men rushed down the corridor. Behind them, the sound of three slamming doors punctuated their retreat.
They reached the front doors and rushed through. As the last one of them cleared the threshold, Johnny swore he heard laughing.
* * *
Greyson Goddard stood in the lobby doorway staring out at the six departing souls. An evil grin crossed his face.
“I told you all they wouldn’t make it through the night.” As he spoke, he turned and looked at all the spirits hovering around him. “These mortals never do.”
With that, he faded away. Disappearing—just like the rest of the apparitions.
An ill wind gusted at that moment, rattling the “Closed” sign hanging on the door.
* * * The End * * *
Author’s Note: Want to read more about the haunted Queen Mary? Here are a
couple of websites: http://hotels.about.com/library/haunted/blhaunted-queenmaryhotel.htm and www.ghostsandlegends.htm
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