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  • Writer's pictureCharles Zitta

Season of Shadows (Chapter 12 - A Sudden Gust)

Updated: Mar 19

The two mysterious ladies at the Liberty Tree Tavern were not the only ones to take interest in the boys that evening. Captain Plank and his two trusted spies, Jolly and Smith, had witnessed the entire scenario from just a few tables away—unbeknownst to the boys.

“Give me yer ideas boys,” said Plank. “We needs ta be com’n up with somethin’ good to get them two young fellas into Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.”

“So that’s why we’re here?” asked Smith. “You want us to come up with an idea that’ll get them boys into the Halloween Party?”

Jolly rubbed the stubble on his chin, then said, “I don’t get it Cap’n, we went through all that trouble to disguise ourselves as common guests of the Magic Kingdom, booked reservations to eats here, and now we needs to help them two brats so they can go to a party?”

Plank snarled then shin-kicked Jolly, who grunted in pain. “No, you idiots. We’re not here for the boy’s well being, we’re here to find a way to get them to that bleed’n party so they can be taken out of the picture.”

“What picture is that?” said Smith. “I reckon we could get the job done properly. Why don’t we just do it ourselves?”

The captain looked down at his dinner plate, shaking his head. He looked up, eyeballing Smith over the rims of his sunglasses with his one good eye. “Cause, you fool, the Queen and her Dark Thorns have bigger plans.”

“Plans for what?” said Jolly.

“Plans that don’t involve the two of youse, block head,” said the captain. “Well, at least not yet. Ya see—” Plank caught himself in mid-sentence—slamming his fist on the table, he stared the spies down. “Anyway, I shouldn’t be havin’ to explain meself to the likes of you two jellyfish. Do as yer told, and ask no questions. Or, if ye be feelin’ lucky, I can always arrange for ya to take a swim with me twin tiger sharks. They always be lookin’ for a good snack. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

“Uh, no thanks, Cap’n,” said Jolly. “I don’t know about Smith here, but I prefer to keeps all me fingers and toes.”

“That there be a wise choice,” the captain replied. “Now then, put those noggins of yours together and tell me and idea that’ll get them boys to the Halloween party, while I enjoys me grub.” The captain took a big bite of pot roast smothered in gravy, which ran down his chin, as he chewed intently—giving his men a stone-cold stare.

“How about we just grab ‘em when they come arounds a corner,” said Smith.

“Yeah, we can grab them two little worms, tie their arms behind their backs, then makes ‘em go to the Halloween party,” added Jolly.

“That would do it, mate,” said Smith.

The two nitwit spies broke into laughter.

“What? Did you get that idea from a monkey?” said Captain Plank, very disappointed in their hair-brain answer. “You’re gonna have to do better than that, fellas, if ya don’t wants ta be shark snacks.”

“Oh, I know,” said Jolly. “What ifs we hypnotize ‘em? You know, then tell them they have to go to the party.”

“A righteous idea, mate,” said Smith. “We’ll uh…we’ll uh…say, which one of us is gonna do the hypnotizin’?”

Jolly paused, scratching his head in brainless thought, he stared up at the ceiling.

“Yeah, why don’t ya tell ‘em, Jolly. Who’s gonna do the hypnotizin’?” asked Plank, though he already knew the answer.

“Well, uh…” Jolly was stumped by the captain’s question. He struggled to find an answer suitable enough for Plank to accept.

“C’mon, out with it mate,” said Smith. “I know you gots somethin’ in that head of yours worth saying.”

“Uhh,” right. I got it,” said Jolly. “Captain, you’re the smartest one of us three, it only makes sense for you to hypnotize them boys. Right?”

Plank looked at Jolly, beside himself from the stupidity his two best men had laid before him.

Feeling internally proud from the answer he had given his captain, Jolly said with a great big smile, “Well, Cap’n, what do ya think?”

Plank’s face boiled red, his temper about to blow. But instead, because he did not want to give away their cover to the boys, the captain thought himself back to normal. Then quietly said, “Jolly, me boy, ya really needs ta work on that their space between your ears.”

“Space between me ears, Cap’n?” said Jolly, confused by Plank’s reply. “I, I don’t get it Cap’n?”

“Exactly,” the captain replied.

“Oh…so, what about me idea, Cap’n?” Jolly asked again.

Plank gave his spy a look of mixed feelings. On one hand, he wanted to wring his neck. But on the other, he knew that this, unfortunately, was the best help he could muster up within his crew. “I think we be leaving that idea of yours on the table, Jolly. There be sometin’ better yet to come.”

“Like what, Cap’n?” asked Smith.

Plank sat back in his chair, looking up at the ceiling, then towards Charlie and Michael. “Let me see…ahh, yes.That’s the ticket” said the captain.

“What ticket?” asked Jolly.

“Or should I say…tickets,” Plank said.

“Tickets? Tickets for what?” said Smith.

“Have ya ever known anyone to turn down somethin’ free mates?” said Plank.

Jolly and Smith turned and gave each other a blank look.

“Don’t hurt yer selves gents,” said the captain.

“So what do we need tickets for, Cap’n?” said Smith.

“The Halloween Party, in the Magic Kingdom, mateys,” said Plank. “We disguise ourselves as cast members and gives them two boys and their parents free tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for tomorrow night. Get it?”

Smith and Jolly’s faces lit up like someone had just turned on the lights.

“Oh, Cap’n, that’s a good one, that is,” said Smith.

“Yes, I know it is, Smith,” the captain replied, “which is precisely the reason why I am in charge, and you two are—”

Suddenly, a strong wind kicked up and began to blow around the restaurant.

Plank and his men grabbed a hold of their table to avoid being blown away.

Only their table and the boys appeared to be effected by the winds. The other guests carried on as if nothing strange was happening. It was an isolated storm of dark magic. A temporary shadow cast within reality of the Liberty Tree Tavern.

“Where it be comin’ from mates?” asked the captain.

“It appears ta be comin’ from that table over their, Cap’n,” Jolly said, holding down his baseball cap—pointing to a table where two ladies were seated.

“Aye, matey, that it does,” shouted Plank.

The winds continued to strengthen, as the room grew dark—blocking out the boys table, as well as the table where the two ladies were seated.

“Me can’t see a thing, Cap’n,” said Smith.

“Aye, Smith, a mysterious darkness appears to have blocked our sight lines. All we can do now is ride it out, boys,” said Plank.

All three men continued to hold on tightly to their table, taxing every bit of strength they had.

“Can ya see anything yet, boys?” asked the captain.

The room had grown even darker, the only thing Plank and his men could see was the flickering light swaying in the wind above their heads.

“No Cap’n, nothin’…wait, hold on a second,” said Jolly, struggling to point out what he had discovered. “I’m not quite sure what it is, but it looks like two green lights cuttin’ through the darkness. Right over there, Cap’n.”

Plank fought to shield his vision with his left hand, while continuing to hold on tightly to the underside of the table with his right. “Aye, Jolly, I see it too. And if my sense of direction serves me well, I’d say that’s just about where them two ladies was sittin’.”

“I see ‘em too, Cap’n,” shouted, Smith. “Wait, what just happened? Where’d they go?”

The green lights suddenly disappeared, as did the wind and darkness. Everything returned to normal.

Captain Plank and his men released their grips from the table, and returned to their normal, upright, sitting positions. Looking around, they were bewildered by what had just happened.

“Holy mother of pearl, Cap’n! What was that?” said Smith. “It’s like we was out at sea and a storm snuck up from behind.”

“And a mighty powerful one at that,” said Jolly.

Captain Plank turned away from the boys, then said to his spies in a soft, gravely voice, “Me eye tells me that them two ladies hav’n dinner was just a couple of regular, everyday guests. But, me gut says otherwise.”

“Like, why was the outsider and his brother lookin’ at ‘em so hard?” said Jolly.

“They did seem to take a strong interest in those ladies, didn’t they,” added Smith.

“The way the younger lady was staring at them kids just before everything went dark was rather peculiar as well, now wasn’t it boys?” said the captain.

“And did ya see how them two boys reacted?” said Jolly. “It looked like they was sucked into a deep, dark trans.”

“Yeah-yeah, mate,” said Smith. “They couldn’t take their eyes off of her.”

“It’s as if she was speaking to them without words,” added Plank. “I hear what the two of ya is saying. Them two ladies over their by the window—”

“Uh, Cap’n,” said Smith.

“What now, Smith? How dare ya interrupt me when I be speak’n,” said Plank.

“They’re gone Cap’n.”

“Who’s gone?” said Plank.

“The two ladies, sir,” replied Smith.

“What do ya mean, they’re gone? They be sittin’ right over there by the window, matey,” said the captain—pointing towards the corner table.

“Smith is right, “Cap’n, them two ladies ain’t sittin’ over there no more,” said Jolly.

“I thinks the two of ya has lost yer bleed’n minds,” said Plank as he turned to confirm his belief. “Why—”

The captain was instantly silenced by what he saw. Or better still, what he did not see. The two ladies were indeed…gone.

© 2024 Charles E. Zitta. Charles E. Zitta and Disney and the Wonder Within blog novels are in no way part of,  endorsed or authorized by, or affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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