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26 Sep

Episode 12 – Mission: Ireland – by Eugeniusz S. Lazowski

EAGLE ROOM – MORNING

The meeting to organize the first official visit abroad of President Daniel Kramp’s government was coming to an end.

“Well, gentlemen, I would say that we have established the essential points of our journey to the Republic of Ireland.”

“Exactly, Blanco.” Bell agrees. “Our two countries haven’t officially met for more than twenty years now, this event is necessary, given the strong bond that unites us”.

“Yes,” explains Wright, “there are many people of Irish descent throughout North America, both here and in the country of our neighbor Donald Trump.

“We will stay five days,” says Blanco, “during which time we will stay in the village of Malahide, north of Dublin.  In this way it will be easy to reach the capital for official engagements”.

“For the first two days, however, we are staying in Darknight Castle, which the Irish are very fond of. It seems that the castle played a fundamental role in the Irish medieval history”.

“I have heard that the castle is among the most beautiful in Europe…” remarks Bell.

“One of the oldest…” adds Wright.

“One of the most bewitched…” concludes Moore.

For a few moments in the hall, no one speaks.

“Bewitched?” Bell’s voice breaks the silence.

“Yes,” continues Moore, “it’s said that many ghosts haunt the castle, the spirits of those who have been killed or walled up alive…”

“Gulp!” swallows Bell. “Walled up alive??”

“And not only. It seems that at night one can hear strange sounds, voices, sometimes even music…”

“But what’s this,” Byjove says, “a castle or the Woodstock festival?”

“General,” says Wright, “he’s talking about one of the oldest castles in the world…”

“In fact, over a thousand years of history,” adds Moore, “during which many events have followed one another within those walls: cruel murders, torture, mysterious disappearances, curses…it seems that some alchemists and sorcerers have also been guests of that castle…”.

“Gulp!” swallows Bell again. “Excuse me, but isn’t there a simple and comfortable hotel over there?”

“Bell,” tries in vain to calm him Moore, “you will not have fear of some legend?”

“Don’t worry,” Byjove intervenes, “I’ll take care of it, don’t worry.”

“What do you mean?” asks Blanco.

“That I’m coming to Ireland in a warlike manner. An automatic pistol, a machine gun, a rocket launcher, some grenades…”

“General,” says Blanco, “this really would be a courtesy visit, not an invasion…”.

“Better safe than sorry!”

“Calm down, calm down.” Super Dan intervenes. “I’m sure that these are only legends without foundation…aren’t they?”

“Actually,” answers Moore, “many of them are based on facts that have actually happened…”.

“Listen,” suggests Bell, “but is the presence of all of us really necessary? After all the President alone would be enough…”

“What?” jumps Super Dan. “Alone in that bewitched castle? Are you joking? Ehm…I wanted to say that by now in Ireland they are expecting a representation of the entire government, not only the President…”

“Mr. President,” Moore teases him, “you’re not afraid of a ghost, are you?”

“Our President is not afraid of anything!” defends Byjove. “And in any case, those white sheets would have to deal with me!”

“I insist on the hotel…” says Bell.

“I insist on government representation…” says Super Dan.

“I insist on arms…” concludes Byjove.

“I insist that the President go alone…” adds Bell.

“I insist that Bell shut his mouth…” comments Super Dan.

“Excuse me,” asks Blanco interdicted, “can we conclude this session, or does someone else want to insist on something?”

“Blanco is right!” says Byjove with his chin up. “We’ll all go to Ireland in that damn castle and keep our country’s honor high!”

“What if some of those legends turn out to be true?” Bell asks fearfully.

“Bell,” exclaims Byjove, “for an ectoplasm like yourself, it shouldn’t be a problem to communicate with your fellow men!

Bell looks for his inhaler in his pockets.

“General,” says Blanco, “please leave Bell alone. So, can we put everything on record?”

“On the record!” declares Byjove. “Mission: Ireland!”

“And all together!” adds Super Dan.

“In a haunted castle…” Bell mutters. “May God help us…”

“All together?” replies Moore. “No, may God help Ireland…”

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – ONE WEEK LATER – CASTLE DARKNIGHT.

The representation of the government of Mont of Groovia is escorted to Darknight Castle, where the local authorities, all present, from the President of the Republic to the mayor of the country, await them. Around the castle the security service is impressive.

“Welcome to the Republic of Ireland!” is warmly welcomed by the Irish President.

“Who gave birth to so many of our illustrious citizens,” answers Blanco courteously.

They enter the castle, are made to sit in the huge main hall, finally they go to their rooms to refresh themself after your journey.

“Ms Brontenserious,” recommends the First Lady, “don’t forget to give my husband the spare toupee.”

“Jahwol!” replies the housekeeper of the Big House promptly.

After an hour the group goes down for a lunch, during which the conversation between the representatives of the two countries takes place with the utmost cordiality. Then follows a short visit to the village, which allows the representatives of Mont of Groovia to get to know the hospitality of the local inhabitants.

Back at the castle in the late afternoon, the most important Irish politicians leave the castle, making an appointment for the following day, while the mayor of the village, James Doherty, and the councillor for culture, Cillian O’Brien, stay a little longer with the guests.

“Gentlemen,” Doherty takes the floor, “before saying goodbye to you, Councillor O’Brien and I have prepared a surprise for you.”

“A surprise? I love surprises…” exclaims Super Dan, thinking of Irish beer.

“To me you’re telling it? ” echoes Byjove.

“Usually for the tourists who come here during the year,” explains the mayor, “a short tour is reserved only in some areas of the castle, during which the guide tells a brief summary of the history of our manor.”

“But for you,” continues Councillor O’Brien, “we have called an expert in medieval history, Professor Moriarty, who will show you every corner of the castle, including the places usually denied to the public.”

“Ah…” exclaims disappointed Super Dan.

“No beer…” mumbles Byjove.

A lugubrious figure, tall, dressed in black is arriving in that while.

“Gentlemen, may I introduce Professor Moriarty. I leave you in his wise hands. We are going to meet again later for dinner. Good-bye.”

The group stays with the professor.

“Well, gentlemen,” begins the expert, “If you’ll just follow me, I am sure that you won’t forget this tour…”

The professor leads the group into the basement of the fortress, and begins to dispense gruesome stories…

“I chose to start the tour from the dungeons of the castle, and then go up again,” Moriarty begins to explain, “because over there, over the centuries, many people were locked up and the torture rooms, today they have become the Museum of Prison Memory…”.

“Torture?” sighs Bell.

“Oh, yes, you have to know that many of the people who have stayed here have finished their days down here…”

“Stayed?! Stayed like us now…?” exclaims Bell.

“Finished?!” echoes Super Dan.

“That’s right,” continues the professor, “life was really hard in those days…”.

“Yeah, but today, it’s a different story, isn’t it?” Bell stammers with a forced smile. “…isn’t it?”

Moriarty doesn’t respond and continues undaunted.

“Well, gentlemen, in this room there was an illustrious prisoner, one of the greatest scientists of the 1700s, Liam Murphy, alchemist and sorcerer…”

“Sorcerer?!” asks Byjove. “But where the hell are we, in Africa?”

“…who was left here to die of hardship, while continuing to perform experiments, and whose spirit infests the cell where he died…”

“The spirit haunts…?” whispers Super Dan.

“It haunts, it haunts.” confirms the lugubrious professor. “Another eminent prisoner was Connor Walsh, a great doctor and alchemist. It seems that he was also a body snatcher…”

“What? Body snatcher?” shudders Super Dan.

“His goal was to bring back to life the dead, creating an elixir that would give immortality, and to do so, he used body parts…”

“What kind of place is this?” mumbles Byjove. “The castle of Frankenstein?”

“And did he succeed? His elixir…did it work?” Bell asks fearfully.

“He died in 1713 after drinking one of his potions…”

“A true genius of chemistry…” comments Moore.

“Oh God …” sighs Bell looking for the inhaler.

“Now, gentlemen, it’s necessary that we use these…” says Moriarty, grabbing one of the torches attached to the wall.

“You see, in some parts of the castle there is no electricity, so at nightfall we walk by the light of the torches…”

“But are we back to the Middle Ages?” Byjove slams. “Are we in Ireland or in a third world country?”

Moriarty continues impassive.

“The castle was also the scene of the bloodiest episodes in the history of the country…”

“That’s it,” commented Moore, “a little blood was missing…”

Bell is attached to the inhaler.

“Local legends say that at night the souls of all those killed here complain, having never found peace,” continues the professor indifferently. “But you don’t have to pay attention: it’s probably the wind whistling through the trees, creating peculiar sounds…”

“Probably…what does it mean…?” asks Bell with a thread of voice.

“Probably…” Moriarty reiterates, while their shadows stretch out over the walls and stairs, drawing disturbing figures…

“Oh God!” cries Bell.

“What’s happening?” turns Byjove, unsheathed his saber.

“The shadow of the ghost…” whispers Bell.

“Where are you? Come on, spirit of evil!” warns Byjove, ready to fight.

“Gentlemen, a little calm,” resonates Moriarty’s deep voice, “they are our shadows, we have torches, don’t forget that…”

“That’s right, shadows…” confirms Moore. “…and the rounder one seems familiar to me…”

“Moore …” jumps Super Dan already nervous.

“Calm down, gentlemen, calm down.” Blanco intervenes. “Let’s follow the professor; please, go ahead.”

“I was saying that according to local legends the souls of all those killed here complain at night…”

“But in short,” Byjove says, “all the people who killed, tortured and walled up here, couldn’t they bury them somewhere? Then their souls would find some peace.”

“In fact, the luckiest of them had precisely that destiny…” answers the guide. “Around the castle, before the forest, there is in fact an ancient cemetery…”

“Exactly,” says Blanco, “we missed the cemetery…”

“Bell,” advises Byjove, “if you ever feel sick, you know where to go…”

“General,” Wright remarks, “please, this doesn’t seem like the time…”

“But these lamentations…” Wright asks with apprehension, “are they heard every night or just a few times?

“Oh, no, not always…” replies Moriarty.

“Ah, well, I hope so…” sighs Wright.

“The most propitious moments to be able to witness phenomena of this kind, in haunted castles,” continues the professor, “are certainly the solstices and equinoxes, already known to the most ancient peoples…”.

“Gulp … What do you mean?” asks with heart in the throat Super Dan.

“Tonight falls the autumn equinox, September 23rd, and the dimensional barriers, for reasons as yet unknown, would be thinning…”

“Dimensional barriers?!” mumbles Byjove.

“This would favor the perception of paranormal phenomena and therefore also the vision of spirits or extradimensional beings. You’ve come at just the right time, you’re really lucky…”

“What luck, right Bell?” says Moore, while Bell starts sweating.

“Barriers, my ass!” exclaims Byjove.”I was right to bring a little artillery with me!”

“What?” exclaims Blanco. “But, General, we told you that this was a diplomatic visit…”

“Diplomatic? But have you heard what happens to those who come here? They kill them, they cut them into pieces, or they bury them alive!” resounds the general’s voice within the ancient walls. “Well, it won’t be easy with me, because I’m going to sell my skin dearly!”

“Gentlemen, I invite you to remain calm…” it’s the cavernous voice of the professor. “These are events that belong to the past. Rather, if you have any questions to put to me, any doubts about what I’ve been saying so far, please ask away.”

“Yes, I have a question…” hisses the trembling voice of Bell.”Could I sleep in the general’s room tonight?”

“But what are you saying, Bell,” replies the soldier, “you have a cemetery at your disposal…”

“Please, General,” Blanco says, “let’s finish the tour and go back to our rooms.”

Professor Moriarty continues to lead the group through the meanders of the fortress.

“Here, this is the violin room. A young Italian violinist was once housed here, who died of a long and painful illness, but it’s said that the violin begins to play alone at night, even from inside his showcase…”.

“The violin plays alone?!” jumps Super Dan.

“Yes,” continues Moriarty, “a long, squeaky sound…”.

“I’ll give it the sound!” replies Byjove. “Continuous and hammering: that of my machine gun!”

“General!” this time the First Lady reprimands him.

“You should know that in the 1700’s the owner of the castle loved to have séances with her lover, and legend has it that the spirits they evoked often decided to stay…”.

“Oh yeah?” stammers Super Dan with a pulled smile. “What a nice habit…”

“What is known for sure is that the two lovers went mad. After a short time he disappeared, but he hadn’t gone as many believed: he was dead, but she had walled up his body behind a fake wall in the cellar to keep him close for eternity. A gesture of extreme love, don’t you think?”

“Eh, sure…” says Super Dan.

“But it’s not over yet…”

“No, eh?” the President interrupts him. “Well, I’d say that’s enough even so…”

“But how, Mr. President,” says Moore, “just when the story becomes interesting? Go ahead, my good man, go ahead…”

“During a period of famine a tragic witch hunt was started, during which hundreds of women were imprisoned and beheaded throughout the region, some within these walls.  It’s said that many ghosts haunt the castle, and because of this bloody episode one of its nicknames is “The Castle of the Witches”…”.

“The Castle of the Witches??” sighs Bell.

“Exactly. And it’s not finished here…”

“It’s not over yet…” emphasizes Moore.

“The heads of the decapitated witches, it’s not really known what happened to them, so it’s possible that they may have been walled up inside the castle…”

“The heads of witches?” exclaims the First Lady.

“Yes, they could have been walled up anywhere, even in your rooms…”

“Oh God …” jumps Bell. “Gentlemen, why don’t we all sleep together in the great hall tonight?”

“Corpses torn to pieces, people walled up, violins playing themselves, severed heads scattered here and there…” Moore intervenes. “Is there anything else on the program for tonight?”

“It really isn’t over yet…” replies Moriarty with a gloomy smile. “As well as being home to a coven of ghost witches, it seems that the castle is also home to a werewolf…”

“What?” squints Super Dan’s eyes.

“All we needed was the werewolf…” sighs Bell, now exhausted.

“During the 1800’s, Darknight Castle saw a sudden death of cattle, found mutilated. Deer carcasses were also found. As a result of this, several residents of the village were tried and imprisoned as werewolves.But among all the ghosts, the Count of Malahide is considered the most famous ghost of the castle. The Count was a prisoner of his own castle, where he died beheaded in 1452. It’s said that on some particular nights his headless ghost appears, riding his horse, in the courtyard of the castle, and some guests claim to have heard the sound of hooves…”

“A ghost on a horse?!” asks Wright worried.

“Without head?” asks Super Dan.

“Yes.” confirms the professor. “Bells were also heard ringing in the middle of the night. So, gentlemen, don’t be frightened, sometimes it happens, you know what these ghosts are like…”

“The violin playing,” Byjove says, “the souls of the dead complaining, the bells ringing… I told you that this was the Woodstock festival…”.

“You must know…”

“No!” interrupts him abruptly Super Dan. “We don’t have to know it, we can also avoid it…”

“But it’s important, Mr. President.” the guide insists. “This is one of the first ghosts sighted in the castle: a headless man, seen in the castle’s halls since 1312…”

“Ah, that’s it,” Bell murmurs, “now I feel better…”

“Other famous ghosts are that of Lady Judith, accused of witchcraft in 1426 and burned at the stake, in front of her family, and a bagpipe player who often appears on the walls to play a sad melody”.

“How sad?” Wright asks.

“The funeral march.” answers the guide.

“I said it: Woodstock in funeral version…” comments Byjove.

“Well, I would say that the visit was exhaustive…” Bell intervenes, trying to conclude the tour.

“And speaking of the decapitated ghosts,” continues the guide undaunted, “there is the famous drummer without a head…”.

“Here,” says Super Dan, “this is to say good night…”

“Gentlemen, I have a recommendation to make to you: it would be better that you avoid going to the prison tower…”

Quiet, everyone stare at the guide.

“Why….?” asks the trembling voice of Super Dan.

“Legend has it that a ghost knight, with armor and weapons in his fist, protects the prison tower, jumping on visitors and terrorizing them.”

“General,” Super Dan promptly orders him, “erase the prison tower from our map!”

“Obviously I will leave out the most recent events…”

“That’s it, good, forget it…” says Bell.

“In various rooms of the castle…”

“But shouldn’t he leave it out?” mumbles Super Dan.

“…several skeletons in the floor, in the walls and in some secret rooms that were discovered during the various renovations carried out during the 20th century were found…”.

“Excuse me,” asks doubtful Moore, “are you trying to say that in one of our rooms, behind a wall, or maybe in the floor under the bed, there might still be some skeletons hiding?”.

“In all sincerity,” answers the guide, “I don’t think that all of the corpses buried in this castle have been found…”.

“Gulp…” swallow in unison the President and Bell.

“…without forgetting the heads of the decapitated witches…”

“If I’d known,” mutters Byjove, “I’d have brought a bulldozer with me, so I’d finish the excavation and we’d be done with it.”

“Oh God, where’s my inhaler?”

“Well gentlemen,” concludes Moriarty, “the visit is over. Thank you for allowing me the honor of illustrating the long history of this famous castle and I wish you a good evening.”

“We really thank you for this unforgettable guided tour…” Moore replies ironically.

After a few steps the guide…

“Oh, I forgot, one last recommendation…”

“What, the extreme unction?” puffs Byjove.

“General…” Blanco reprimands him, while she supports Bell, by now staggering.

“After what he has told us, it’s the only thing that’s missing…”

“If you see strange phenomena, don’t pay attention to them…” advises the guide, who turns and moves away.

Silence.

“What…what phenomena…?” stammers Wright.

“It’s said that quite strange things are happening…” the guide goes on to explain.”In recent years many people have sworn that they have witnessed inexplicable phenomena: objects flying through the air, furniture in motion without anyone touching it, beds unmade where just before they had been put in order, doors and windows slammed violently without wind, a profound feeling of uneasiness and a feeling of terror which transpire at every corner of the castle…well, I wish you gentlemen a good evening.”

“Likewise, peckerwood.” replies Byjove. This time no one reproaches him.

“Objects flying through the air?” Bell asks himself, with the inhaler in his hand.

“Furniture moving around the room?” asks Super Dan.

“Don’t worry, my President,” says Byjove with his saber out. “Whatever moves tonight without my permission, I’ll tear it apart with my saber, so we’ll get it over with.”

“For once I fully agree with the general…” Bell murmurs

“Well,” Blanco tries to shake up the environment, “we can also go back to our rooms and get ready for dinner, what do you say?”

“Finally some good news,” replies Byove, “after so many misfortunes.”

The group goes upstairs and down after half an hour, welcomed by Mayor Doherty and Alderman O’Brien.

They headed towards the salon.

“Gentlemen,” Doherty goes to meet them, “I hope the visit to the castle has been interesting…”

“Like a wedge in a buttock…” mutters Byjove.

“How?!” asks O’Brien.

“The general said that it was very interesting…” Blanco intervenes.

“Oh, well,” smiles Doherty, “we are delighted. You know, our castle is a source of pride for us…”

“I’ve never heard anyone brag about a cemetery…” mumbles Byjove.

“What?”

“The general has heard that there is also a cemetery nearby…” tries to remedy Wright.

“Of course it does. Our fortress has its own cemetery…” explains O’Brien.

“I didn’t doubt it…” comments Super Dan.

“In what sense?” asks Doherty.

“Well,” Gwendoline intervenes this time, “my husband had no doubt that such a manor also had its own cemetery…”.

“Oh, our “old rock” really has it all,” says O’Brien proudly, “it doesn’t miss a thing…”

“The cemetery, people walled up alive, knights without heads…” Moore intervenes.

“That’s right, you can say it loud and clear…” declares Doherty.

“…beheaded witches, a werewolf, furniture that moves itself…” continues Moore.

“I see that you have followed Professor Moriarty’s explanations with interest…” observes Doherty. “Are you by any chance a lover of ancient manors?”

“No,” Byjove says, “of horror films.”

“What do you mean?!” O’Brien replies, surprised.

“Nothing”, he tries to rectify Blanco, “during his visit, the general observed that this place would be a perfect location for a film…”.

“But do you know how many proposals we have received over the years from film companies who wanted to make their films right here?”

“And which one?” asks Super Dan. “Psycho?”

“No, I think they have the wrong industry…” says Byjove.

“In what sense?” asks the confused mayor.

“In the sense that you have to focus on the music sector more than the film sector…”

“Musical?!” question Doherty lost.

“The bagpipe player playing on the walls,” continues Byjove, “the headless drummer, the violin that starts playing alone at night, the bells ringing alone…have you thought about organizing a new Woodstock festival?”

“General!” Blanco intervenes desperately. “You see, gentlemen, earlier we were thinking that this magnificent castle would be suitable for music concerts, don’t you think?”

“But do you know that we, too,” answers O’Brien, “were thinking of organizing some classical music concerts?”

“Yes, Mozart’s Requiem.” says Moore.

“I beg your pardon?!” O’Brien’s astonished questions.

“Verdi’s Requiem?” continues Moore.

“I don’t understand…”

“Chopin’s funeral march?” the British insists.

“For once I agree with Moore…” comments Super Dan.

“Gentlemen,” the First Lady intervenes, trying to change the subject, “what do you say we sit down at the table, so we can continue the conversation…”.

As soon as the group heads towards the table, Gwendoline’s elbow hits her husband’s belly, who finds himself flanked by Ms Brontenserious.At the table his fate is sealed: his wife on his right and the iron housekeeper on his left. Goodbye Irish beer, goodbye dreams of glory…

“Well gentlemen,” begins the mayor, “Councillor O’Brien and I have taken the liberty of choosing a menu composed of the most renowned Irish specialties. We hope that you will find everything to your liking”.

“We hope it’s not like the guided tour…” Bell mutters.

“…otherwise we will find lizard broth and bat legs…” adds Moore.

“Oh God….” murmurs Bell, who is about to vomit.

The waiters begin to bring the first trays, the dinner is really sumptuous, the conversation is constructive, except in the moments when it falls on the afternoon visit. Along with the specialties can certainly not miss the Irish beer …

“You know,” Moore intervenes in a provocative tone, “our general is a great admirer of your beer…”.

“Really?” Doherty question. “We are flattered.”

“Well, that’s it,” answers Byjove, trying to to enhance his image after emptying a dozen of dishes, “I’ve actually always had a sincere admiration for your beer, I can’t hide it…”.

“And don’t hide it, General,” continues Moore with a mocking smile at Super Dan, “don’t hide it. Gentlemen, is it possible to taste your nectar of the gods? You would make the general a happy man.”

“We had already thought about letting you taste some of our beers,” answers the mayor, “Well, let’s hurry and get this started!”

Doherty nods to the waiters, who start bringing mugs of beer, placing them all over the table, even in front of Super Dan.

A vegetable broth, a grilled chicken breast and a small salad, that’s all the President has eaten, under the watchful eyes of his two guardian angels.

Everybody tastes the delicious Irish beer, while Byjove, like a stationmaster, conveys around him as many mugs as possible, which he promptly empties, between one dish and another.

“General,” notes Councillor O’Brien, “I see that you really appreciate our beer. We are honored.”

“And if you bring a dozen more mugs, you will see how much more honored you will be, won’t you, Mr. President?” Moore intervenes with a smile.

“Moore,” mumbles Super Dan mad with rage, “I don’t…”

“…I don’t know how to thank the mayor and the Councillor for the splendid dinner.” his wife interrupts him.

“Fantastic!” exclaims Byjove with the mug still in his hand.

“And you’ll see how it goes with the roasts that are about to arrive.” says O’Brien. “We recommend our red beer, it goes very well with the roast.”

“Did you hear that, Mr. President? It goes very well…” comments the smiling Moore, looking at Super Dan.

The President is about to explode, but the pincer grip of his wife’s hand and Ms. Brontenserious’s whip force him to silence.

The guests now appear to be rehearsed from the long day and full of local specialties. The dinner now seems to be coming to an end. It seems…

“Well, gentlemen,” the mayor takes the floor, “I hope you have enjoyed the dishes of our ireland, as well as our finest beers…”.

“You can say it loud and clear, boy…” Byjove intervenes, now tipsy.

“I beg your pardon?!” Doherty is startled.

“Ehm,” Blanco intervenes, “the general wishes to express to you all of his appreciation for your splendid dinner…”.

“I appreciate, I appreciate …” mumbles Byjove.

“…and wanted to thank you for your hospitality…” continues Moore.

“I thank you, I thank you…” continues mumbling Byjove, flush, red around the ears.

“…and tell you how happy I am to have come down here to your splendid country, the land of writers, castles and…”

“Whiskey!” jerks Byjove sobbing.

“What it takes to finish this magnificent dinner,” continues Byjove, “is some good old Irish whiskey!”

“Oh…of course,” replies Doherty, surprised, “our whiskey is appreciated all over the world…”.

“That’s it, precisely…” replies Byjove, “we appreciate, we appreciate…”

“Dios mio,” Blanco whispers to Moore, “he’s drunk, what a shame…”

“Well,” the Chief of Staff tries to reassure her, “at least he hasn’t unleashed his saber or threatened to kill Bell. Let’s say we limited the damage.”

The waiters serve some of the finest Irish whiskey at the table. Byjove grabs a bottle and fills the glass.

“Here it is, the nectar of the gods, as the Mayans used to say! Cheers!”

“Actually it was the ancient Egyptians…” Doherty points out.

“And what did I say? Cheers, all in one breath!” continued Byjove.

“Stop him,” whispers Wright to Blanco, “he’s completely drunk…”.

“Well, General,” Moore intervenes trying to put an end to the embarrassment, “and now that we have worthily honored the Irish table we can retire to our…”.

“Retire us??” Byjove slams down. “This never. I have never retired in my life, remember! Cheers!”

“Look that Moore meant to say that perhaps it would be the case that all of us would return…” tries in vain to explain Bell.

“…in his loculus!” Byjove slams down. “Bell, go back to your burial place, and stay there! Cheers!”

While drinking his third glass of whiskey, Moore turns to Super Dan. “Mr. President, and you don’t want to taste some Irish whiskey?”

“No, thank you, Moore.” The First Lady intervenes. “My husband enjoyed the chicken breast and salad, didn’t he, dear?”

“Of course, dear.” replies Super Dan red in the face, perhaps more out of anger than his wife’s hand squeezing a thigh under the table.

“I understand,” sighs Moore, “of course it’s not for everyone to drink all those glasses of whiskey…”.

“Yeah, that’s right,” slams Super Dan, angry at the general who enjoyed all the delicacies of the dinner. “Well, gentlemen, I think we can retire to our rooms, General…”

“At your orders, my commander!”

“Forward march!”

The general staggers up, supported by Wright and Moore, while Blanco, President Kramp and his wife thank and greet the mayor and theCouncillor.

Once in their rooms, the shadows of the evening slowly spread, while the silence takes over the castle, except for one room…

The grumbling of Super Dan’s stomach is reminiscent of a tank crawler, hunger grips him, he remains alert and motionless, waiting for the First Lady to fall asleep and then sneaking out of the room. Only one idea passes between his brain and the toupee: to find the kitchen of the castle.

The time has come: the First Lady is now resting, Super Dan gets up slowly trying to avoid any noise. The robe, a pair of sneakers and away, in search of the lost kitchen.

A circular shadow begins to slide over the ancient walls of the castle, stopping in front of every door that can hide the kitchen.

Super Dan jumps silently, agile as a rhinoceros, while the moans of his stomach resound in the castle.

One door, then the other, nothing. The round shadow stretches out in the corridors, occupying it entirely, until it stops in front of the door of hope…it enters, tasting the flavors only smelled during dinner. He comes out with a bucket on his head, rags on his head and a broom in his hand: it was the closet…the curse continues here in Ireland.

The search continues…

In the meantime, in the presidential room Gwendoline, asleep, turns over in bed, but her arm ends up on the empty mattress, not on the big, soft belly of her husband. Her eyes open wide…where is her husband’s belly?

After two minutes she and the faithful Austrian governess leave their respective rooms for a night mission: in search of her lost husband.

In the hallways of the manor the grumbling of the belly shadow’s stomach spreads, but the search remains fruitless: no trace of the kitchen.

In Bell’s room, meanwhile, his occupant, after unpacking his luggage and putting everything in order, notes that the most important thing is missing, the indispensable element without which his own life would be meaningless: the medicine suitcase. Now the panic crisis is total.

“But where did I put it, where did it go?” the Secretary of the Treasury desperately asks himself, turning the room upside down.

Then a doubt assails him…what if it had stayed down at the entrance? Yes, it must certainly be that way. He grabs his robe and rushes out in the dark. A candleholder found in the hallway is all that illuminates his footsteps…

A few minutes earlier, in another room, Chief of Staff Moore can’t to get to sleep, and is restless about General Byjove’s condition.He puts on his robe and goes out to make sure of his condition and to can to sleep peacefully.

Walking down the hallway, he sees a round shadow not far away, taking possession of the floor and wall. An elephant in an Irish castle, the British wonders? He hides behind a piece of furniture, until the moonlight reveals the mystery: it was not a pachyderm, but President Daniel Kramp.

But what was the first citizen of Mont of Groovia doing wandering around at night? It’s better to warn Blanco, still restless, about Professor Moriarty’s stories and the general’s foolishness at dinner.

The two of them retrace the hallway previously occupied by Super Dan’s shadow, now vanished, when suddenly two other shadows invade it. Hidden behind an armor they wait, until the two dark silhouettes reveal their faces: the First Lady and Ms Brontenserious!

Moore and Blanco look at each other puzzled, then come out into the open to follow the two women, when unexpectedly a dim light comes from the other side. Rushing back into hiding, they wait for the faint flame to reveal the face of the wearer… Bell!

“The General was right,” whispers Moore to Blanco, “the President, the First Lady, the housekeeper, and now Bell: it’s the Woodstock festival…”

So they decided to go knocking on Wright’s door to ask him to join the search for the other ones, the mystery of all that nocturnal movement had to be cleared up.

The young Home Secretary joins the two in pursuit of the other members of the group.

In the meantime, in another room…

The general just can’t get to sleep, after gorging himself with all good things and drinking whatever liquid element was brought to the table.

“Probably the salad must have been left on my stomach… here I need a good digestive.” mumbles Byjove, still shaky on his legs. “But not those fizzy pills for schoolgirls, that stuff is good for Bell.”

With an uncertain step he lights a cigar, grabs his saber and leaves the room. “A digestive for real men: a nice glass of aged Irish whiskey! Hic!”

Byjove starts off in the semi-darkness without having the slightest idea where to go, with more alcohol than blood circulation and the pace of a drunken hippopotamus. Only one concept shines clear among the few remaining functioning neurons: whiskey.

When its undulating shadow floats in the meanders of the castle, a single sound echoes within the walls: “Hic!”

Meanwhile Super Dan is dancing in the dark, looking for the kitchen.

Squeaks of ancient armor, the hiss of the wind in the trees, everything seems a threat to the President.

He stops sighing in front of yet another room, will it be the right one? A sudden noise pushes him to enter, seeking refuge…what if he is one of those spirits? The lunar glow reflects on all the ancient armor in the great hall, and fear pushes Super Dan to rush towards one of them. He grabs a spear, a shield and a helmet, which he slips into in a hurry. He pushes, but doesn’t get in, his head is too big and the toupee, which he forgot to take off, blocks the helmet. He pushes, puffs, his neck veins are swollen from the effort…

Meanwhile Bell, with uncertain pace, goes around looking for his medicines, a trembling candle in his hand and the faithful inhaler in his pocket. The temperature has dropped, the fizzy air tickles his delicate nose and… Achoo! Bell takes his handkerchief and blows his nose…the sneeze’s rumble is followed by a second much more roaring. At the same time…

“Did you hear that?” says the First Lady to her faithful housekeeper. “Could it be one of those ghosts?”

“Nein, if he comes, I’ll take care of it!” SWISH!

Byjove, in another corner of the castle, look at the stairs that lead to the ground floor…is the whiskey downstairs? Suddenly he jumps, surprised by the two noises.”What the hell was that?” he cried out, unsheathing his saber. “What the hell was that?” he cried out, unsheathed his saber. “Spirit of the devil, come on down!”

Half drunk, butchered in the dark, hitting a piece of armor, which is falling apart: the metallic roar resounds everywhere, some pieces roll down the stairs.

The noise immobilizes Super Dan…first the noises of Bell, now the armor destroyed by Byjove. Panic assails him, he starts pushing the helmet with all his might, his belly almost explodes from the effort, until the helmet suddenly enters, protecting the presidential head. Super Dan breathes a sigh of relief, now he feels safer, opens his eyes and…dark, he sees nothing! Not taking off the toupee created two serious problems: the helmet got stuck and the toupee slipped forward, on the eyes, making him almost blind.The noises outside the door, the helmet stuck and the sudden blindness make Super Dan furious, every effort to take off the metal headgear is in vain.

Sweating, panting, scared, he approaches the door, opens it and, protecting himself with a spear and shield: “Is someone there?”

But his voice rumbles inside the helmet, coming out altered: now it really sounds like the voice of a spirit. He leaves the room, advancing into the hallway, irradiated by the lunar glow and obscured by the wig over his eyes, with uncertain steps, spear and shield slamming on the stone walls, the grumbling coming out of the helmet like the cries of an animal…

In the meantime Moore, Blanco and Wright continue their search for the others to understand what is happening.

“Moore,” whispers Blanco, “but why did you leave your room?”

“I was worried about the general, I wanted to make sure of his condition before going to bed.”

“An admirable thought, but…”

Bell’s sneeze paralyzes the three, followed by a second rumble. They look at each other… a metallic thunder makes them jerk, the armor destroyed by Byjove looks like an explosion. They sneak behind an antique piece of furniture, not knowing what to do, when a shadow appears in the distance, stretching out on the floor. The shadow advances threateningly, but whose will it be?

“Perhaps it’s the President…” whispers Wright.

“No,” says Moore, “It’s too slim…”.

The shadow has passed them, so they come out into the open, follow it and… Byjove? But then is it really Woodstock?

In another meander of the fortress, Bell, with the shaking candle holder in his hand, advances desperately for his medicines, when a metal smash freezes his blood: the armor demolished by Byjove has terrorized another victim.Jumping around in panic, he hides behind a suit of armor. Who will it be? The headless horseman or the witch? “Oh God, I’m sick, my inhaler…”

Bell begins to suck hard, making a sound reminiscent of the horn that starts the fox hunt.

Super Dan, meanwhile, blinded by his toupee, staggers forward. “Take this damn thing off my head!” is the thunderous wailing coming out of the helmet. The spear and the shield bump into the furniture and armor in the hallway, causing metallic noises and screeching.

“The voice of the spirits, the professor had said so!” says Bell, jumping in search of a hiding place, his hand trembling, spreading a crazy light over the surrounding walls.

“Aahhh!” is the cry of the First Lady and Ms. Brontenserious, who arrived at that moment.

The first jumps backwards, but the Austrian housekeeper reacts promptly: SWISH! With a whiplash she chases back the “ghost” Bell, who, frightened, runs away screaming. His cry echoes throughout the castle, while he runs aimlessly through the dim candle light. Panting, he bumps into a piece of furniture and stumbles. The candle holder flies away, while he crashes into an armor, which falls apart.

Suffering, he tries in vain to get up, emitting moans of pain, while on all fours he advances until he finds something to hold on to: it’s an ancient wall tapestry, which, torn from the wall, falls on him.

Bell, tries to get up, swerves, entirely covered by the tapestry, emitting only muffled sounds: now he really looks like a ghost.

Gwendoline and Ms Brontenserious arrive at that moment. “A ghost, there really is a ghost!” they shout when they see the tapestry stirring. “Nein, don’t be afraid!” says the housekeeper, advancing towards Bell. “I’ll take care of it: attack!” SWISH! Poor Bell, caught up on his back, is running away, stumbling and skidding against furniture and walls.

“By a thousand bayonets,” Byjove’s voice resounds powerfully in another corner of the castle, “what’s that noise?” He staggers forward, saber in hand, looking for spirits and headless knights. “So who’s next in line? ghosts or witches!”

Confused by the alcohol and the pale moonlight, he begins to pull slits right and left, tearing to pieces an antique piece of furniture, then an armor and finally some antique hunting trophies hanging on the wall. As the noise spreads throughout the fortress, it continues to advance like a stone crusher, until it sees a shadow.

He stops motionless, crouching behind a wall tapestry and waiting for the enemy…here he is, he’s coming. It’s Bell, the “ghost,” who is running around, waving under the tapestry, mumbling.

Byjove suddenly appears with a saber in his hand. “I’ve caught you, ghost of hell, come here, I’ll send you back where you came from! Attack!” he cries out, slashing everything around him, except Bell, who continues to terrorize his escape. But from that crazy tapestry, only a suffocated sound comes out, while he continues to run and hit everything he encounters.

Moore, Blanco and Wright, more and more agitated, hear noises caused first by Bell, then again by Byjove. “You don’t believe the stories told by that professor, do you?” Wright asks shaken Wright. Silence, they look at each other. “No, don’t you?” answers Blanco, intimidated. Their glances fall on the furniture and the surrounding walls and the common thought is one. So here they are grasping everything that can be used as a weapon: an old candelabra, an old crossbow and a sword.

Now the trio advance slowly, in the silence of the night, abruptly torn apart by Bell the “ghost”, who appears before them unexpectedly. The three of them turn around and begin to run away screaming.

Super Dan, meanwhile, is desperate, the helmet and the toupee have made him almost blind, he proceeds to grope in the dark, getting closer and closer to the stairs. “Damn this pot I stuck in my head! I can’t see a damn thing…if I could at least manage to take it off…” he says, making yet another useless effort, pulling the helmet with all of his might, while he puts his foot down. He flies down the stairs with his spear, shield and helmet, like a hippopotamus rolling in the mud. The metallic roar and the screams amplified by the helmet spread everywhere, his landing downstairs resembles a demolition iron ball used to knock down old buildings.

Super Dan is all aching, his cries sound like the heartbreaking cries of a living walled soul the guide had spoken of. Upstairs…

“What are these cries?” cries Byjove. “Bell, where are you? Are they by any chance relatives of yours?”

The general prepares himself for the worst, saber in the hand. “Come on, come on, you ectoplasmic bastards!”

Byjove begins to beat the air, trying to chase away the alleged spirits, with only the pale moonlight to cleave the darkness. He cuts a large curtain, which flies in the air and falls on him, covering him entirely, while he continues to advance, screaming and waving his saber.

He collides with Bell, like a bulldozer collides with a bicycle, making him tumble down the stairs. What lands at the end of the stairs, near the President, is a bunch of sloping bones, wrapped in a tapestry.

“Aaahhh! A ghost!” cries Super Dan.

Bell barely moves away from the tapestry, just enough to see Super Dan. “Aahhh! Frankenstein! Connor Walsh’s monster, the one who brought the dead back to life!”

Upstairs…

Moore, Blanco and Wright are walking scared and armed. From a window they notice a light stronger than the moonlight…and now, what else will it be? They approach fearfully and look…

At the same time, in another part of the castle, the First Lady and her faithful governesses notice the same phenomenon…but what’s happening?!

Outside the ancient walls of the fortress, there is the cemetery of which the guide spoke, and now, at night, a light appears. Perhaps a dazzle? Fear grows in the souls of the unsuspecting spectators, when a second glow is added to the first one. In a few minutes the lights increase…and now they also begin to move….

The cemetery, ancient and disturbing, seems alive, animated by the mysterious dancing lights.

Wright, frightened, moves away from the window, retreating back to the wall, where he inadvertently leans against the wall candelabra, which lowers, spinning the wall. The young Home Secretary finds himself on the other side of the wall, in the darkness of a secret passage…

“Wright! Where is Wright?” asks Blanco, distressed.

“He has disappeared…” whispers Moore, restless. “I didn’t want to believe it, but then it’s all true…”.

At the same time, Byjove continues to agitate himself under the tent, struggling against imaginary spirits. “Come on, you marranos, where are you? I’ve stuck more of them with this saber than a spit of meat in a barbecue!”

“Oh God, the ghost without a head!” cries the First Lady, who had arrived at that moment in front of the General.

“Ja, knight without a head!” adds Ms. Brontenserious.

The two women escape, looking for a safe haven, until they reach the stairs.

“Down, quickly, to the salon!” cries Gwendoline.

General Byjove, meanwhile, continues to stir, trying in vain to free himself from the tent. Just around the corner, Blanco and Moore are arriving…

“But what is this racket?” Blanco sighs in horror.

“I dare not imagine it…” Moore replies. “What do we do, turn the corner and find out?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea…” remarks Blanco. Too late, Byjove comes out of the darkness, making the two unfortunates jerk off, who start running, bumping everything in their path, until they reach the staircase.

Meanwhile Wright, terrified, proceeds in the dark with his hands outstretched forward, looking for a way out. “Here is still the wall, here seems to be a corner, and now…aahhh!”

The long stone spiral staircase sees Wright roll down with painful tumbles, down to the lower floor, where he lands against a wall, which turns, catapulting him into the main hall, right on Bell.
“Aahh! another ghost! Help me, call an exorcist!”

At that moment, the First Lady and her housekeeper come down panting. “The headless ghost! The ghost without a head!”

Upstairs, in the meantime…

“Downstairs, soon, downstairs!” exclaim Blanco and Moore, pressed by the “ghost”.

They are just in time to descend the first few steps, when Byjove, behind them, ends up tumbling down the wide staircase, overwhelming them both like a high mountain avalanche.
The landing of the three in the downstairs salon makes the walls of the entire salon tremble.

“More ghosts!” cries the First Lady.

“More ghosts?” cries Byjove, coming out of the tent with a saber.

“Where are they? Leave them to me!”

“Ghosts?” slams Super Dan, with a dented shield, spear and helmet. “Where are they?”

“Frankenstein! The monster of Connor Walsh! It’s him,” Bell screams, pointing at Super Dan.

“Where is the monster?” yells the general. “I’ll take care of it!”
“The monster??” cries Wright. Still shocked by the adventure in the darkness of the secret passage, he instinctively throws the dart of his crossbow towards “the monster”, hitting him in the buttock.
Super Dan’s scream far surpasses Tarzan’s, shaking the castle to its foundations.

The lights come on, the service staff rushes into the hall, stopping in amazement in front of the scene.

The terrified First Lady, the housekeeper with curlers on her head and whip in hand, Wright sitting on the ground with a crossbow in hand, Bell covered with a tapestry with only his head out, Moore on the ground in pain, Blanco unconscious next to him, Byjove, with a tattered curtain on him, holding the saber, and finally the President Daniel Kramp on the ground, with a dented shield, a broken spear, a deformed helmet on his head and a dart in his ass…

A few minutes later.

The President was taken to the castle infirmary.
“But no one has explained it to you,” the butler of the castle respectfully observes, “that according to an old tradition, just these days, after sunset, the villagers come here to the cemetery to lay garlands and candles, and stop in recollection to remember their missing loved ones, and their prayers seem like voices in the wind? The forest lights up as if by magic. That’s why the cemetery seems almost inhabited…”

“Then the dead have not come out of the graves…” sighs Bell.
“If they are, there’s no problem,” mutters Byjove, “I’ll send them right back to us!

“General!” exclaims Bell.

“Why, Bell, since they are your relatives, do you want to talk to them?”
“Oh God….” murmurs Bell, already strongly felt by the night.
“The cemetery is there…” continues Byjove. “Bell, if you wish, you can have a family reunion there…”

Bell grabs his faithful inhaler.

“What’s wrong, Bell? Homesick?” continues Byjove. “Look, my good man,” says the general to the butler, “you can use the cemetery as a guesthouse. You’ve already got the first one!” he concludes with a pat on Bell’s shoulder, who’s weeping on the ground.
“General,” says Wright, “what are you doing? Don’t you think Bell has been through enough tonight?”

“Silence! You should be tried for attacking the sacred presidential ass!”
In the chaos of the discussion, Blanco, recovering from shock, and Moore whispers on the sidelines.

“Of course, every time Ireland is involved, a catastrophe always happens…” remarks Blanco.

“Yeah,” agrees Moore, “like that time on St. Patrick’s Day,

remember?”
The minds of both of us fly back a few months…


to be continued…


See you next week. Ending theme!

Super Dan
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