A loser from Victoria once told me that because I live in Sooke, I must be either a witch or a Jehovah's Witness.  I beat him up, but it's true we've got lots of JWs up here.  I don't know any witches, but maybe that's true as well.  I do know that this is the place to party, because we can get away from the cops, out on the logging roads.  We've got the pot farms out here, and mushrooms when it's the right season.  We've got all the coolest people, too - mostly.  On the other hand, we've got Davie.

I don't know why I let him talk me into taking him up Boneyard Main on Halloween.  I guess I figured it would make him stop pestering me, and there would probably be so many losers up there anyway that nobody would notice one more or less, and if I stayed away from him all night maybe nobody would figure out who brought him.  I'm not such a nasty person that I would think it would be fun to watch him make a fool of himself, but some people might appreciate that.

I picked him up on the side of the road just out of sight of his house.  Seriously considered just driving on past when I saw him standing there with the reflective trick-or-treat bag, but he looked so pathetic I had to pull over and let him on.  He was wearing some kind of brown thing that looked like a toddler's playsuit, and cardboard antlers.  Davie pointed up at them as he got in and carefully did up his seat belt.  "I'm horny!" Yeah, whatever.  I turned up the radio, hit the gas, and we bounced off into the hills.

We started passing cars on the side of the road long before we actually got there, but Steve and Mike had saved me a parking space, fighting off the losers whenever they tried to move in.  There were a hundred people or so in a huge clearing just above the road, and already a fire burning in a pit in the middle.  The whole place was pretty dark and the wind was rustling the tree branches.  I had to admit, it was spooky and cool and just right for Halloween.

Some people were cooking hotdogs and marshmallows, but I came to drink.  Opened the trunk and got out the beers I'd scammed from my parents.  Someone handed me a bottle of Everclear and I took a big swig.  Davie had disappeared into the crowd, which was just as well.  I found a place where I could stay warm and listened to the girls gossiping around me.  Apparently, someone's boyfriend had stood her up because they had planned to go skiing and he got arrested the night before and couldn't go, the cops were surrounding his house with big searchlights on all the doors and windows and so on, drugs I guess although they didn't say, and "Anthony isn't even the one they ought to bust, they ought to bust Rick, he's into way more stuff than Anthony".  I love listening to people like that.

Everyone was there, all the kids from school and some others who I later found out were from the Christian school and some blonde chick in a white dress, maybe dressed as Diana before the crash or something, standing around waiting to get drunk and a bunch of losers from town grinning to themselves, also waiting for her to get drunk.  I saw Marina in a witch costume and wondered if I might be able to get blown this fine Friday evening but when she saw me she turned her back.  Damn.  Someone offered me a puff on a cigarette and I took it.  It tasted weird, almost like pot but it wasn't pot, only a cigarette, and I was letting the place get to me.  The wind was picking up even though the trees were mostly sheltering us, and I shivered.

People kept arriving, most of them in costume and some who weren't but looked like it anyway.  Skaters and goths and your general dregs of society.  Mostly kids, but I saw a bunch who looked thirty or forty.  Over to one side, several chicks in witch costume were stirring something in a pot on the fire.  I saw one pour in an envelope of white powder, and made a mental note to steer clear of it.  Steve and Mike set up a ghetto and were playing "Am I Evil", cranked, and singing along.  I looked out at the crowd and saw nothing but black and white to the edges of the clearing.

What can I tell you?  It was your basic party.  We drank a lot, a couple fights started and got broken up, people kept slipping into the woods and coming back looking a lot happier, all that sort of thing.  A lot of guys were pulling leaves off the salal bushes and throwing them in the fire where they snapped and popped like firecrackers and made a lot of smoke that got in my eyes, which is how two of the fights started.  Eventually the losers switched to real firecrackers and then everyone was doing it and pretty soon there was a battle going on, rockets shooting back and forth across the fire pit.  Everyone was yelling at everyone else.

I finally saw Davie again - he was right in the middle of the war zone, with firecrackers going off at his feet and surrounded by sparks, turning in every direction like some kind of dance.  The ghetto was blasting out something I didn't recognize, with a chick's voice sailing out high and clear in what sounded like Japanese, over top of the guitars.  It was so loud that the whole ground seemed to shake with each beat.

Someone handed me a bottle and I took a swig, but it wasn't Everclear, and when I turned around there was nobody there but Davie with those stupid horns falling off his head, he wasn't in the war zone at all.  One of the losers lit some kind of "silver fountain" firework then and in the sparks I saw that it wasn't Davie they were shooting at, just a guy wearing the kind of horned mask that Davie must have been trying for, and the chick in the white dress fucking, no, they were fighting there beside the fire, rolling around kicking and scratching as the rockets shot past and the wind started blowing harder, raising the ashes up in a cloud so I couldn't see them anymore, just the sparks and flashes from the fireworks.  There was a roaring sound that got louder and louder and when I turned around I saw lights coming up the Boneyard and figured it was the cops coming to shut us down.

But when they got closer I saw they were on motorbikes and it wasn't cops at all, it was Hell's Angels and they really looked like it, long beards whipping back in the wind and the firework-light flashing on the chrome, a dozen of them or one more, and I saw them swerve off the logging road and come bouncing up the hill straight at us but then everything happened at once, because Davie had mooched a strip of firecrackers off someone, which he lit and threw down the hill with a crazy giggle as if he'd finally gotten the point of Halloween, and as they started going off there was this huge yellow light like the fire was suddenly flaring up, and the whole scene was lit up brighter than day and I heard the losers yelling and letting off a shitload of firecrackers and Mike and Steve was singing along with "Seasons in the Abyss" and the bikers scattered off into the salal and when I looked I couldn't see where they had gone.

The fire went out and the roaring noise stopped and I guess everyone ran out of fireworks because suddenly it went pitch black and dead silent.  After a moment some people got out flashlights and starting packing their shit together.  Nobody seemed to want to talk about it, and everyone seemed to agree that the party was over.  I couldn't find the chick in the white dress or the guy with the horns anywhere, only Davie with a strange smile on his face like he knew something nobody else knew.  He kept reaching up and fingering the cardboard horns that had flopped down his face.  We all got into the cars and left.  No sign of cops on the way home.

*

The Sooke News Mirror [1] for Wednesday, November 5, reported that two RCMP officers on their way to investigate a reported out-of-control party in the Sooke Hills shortly after midnight on Halloween were delayed when a cougar leaped out of the bushes and into the road.  It sat directly in their path, staring at them with bright orange eyes.  By the time they maneuvered the police car past the huge cat and reached the site, it was deserted, and they found only empty liquor bottles, tire tracks, and the ashes from a bonfire.  Animal control officers searching the area were unable to locate the cougar, but considering their funding level, that's not unusual.

The News Mirror didn't mention it, but the police tried firing their guns to scare the animal away, with no effect.  Even when they shot directly at it, the huge cat appeared not to notice the bullets.  Therefore they had a hard time filling out the paperwork they were required to do whenever they drew their guns, but they eventually were able to tell their superiors a plausible story at the cost of pretending to be lousy shots.  They never told anyone that instead of the usual tawny colour, this cougar was pure black.

[1] The Sooke News Mirror is "a News Group publication".  Really.

Notes

I originally posted this to talk.bizarre on or about October 31, 1997, but my under-the-table batched NNTP feed burped about that time, and so it never propagated past my local system.  Then I reposted it, and although that one propagated, it never made it into the voting archive, and DejaNews (we curses it, precious!) subtracts all the interesting headers and adds a lot of advertising garbage.  Therefore, this copy is derived from the original file before I posted it, and lacks news headers and signature and so on.  If you have a good archive of talk.bizarre, you can pull the November 10 repost using message ID <N879201065.26416@ruby.ansuz.sooke.bc.ca>.

I think Cross Product may be set in the same slightly alternate Sooke Hills as this story.

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