Welcome to another FREE story — the latest in the saga of the Canoe Cops vs. the Mummy. Don’t forget you can hear Christopher R. Mihm read these chapters on his monthly podcast. The more patrons we get, the faster the chapters (and new stuff like Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors) come out! So, it’s a great time to click the link below and pledge a buck or two! (Such a deal!)
And now, the story continues! (After this brief commercial message.)
FINAL INCIDENT REPORT
“Safe & Sound”
SERGEANT GUSTAV GUSTAVSON – Canoe Cop
My dear Commodore, it’s so glad to finally get you on the phone. I know that you’ve called and left several messages. I’m sorry we’ve been unable to connect previously, but things have been a bit… frantic around here lately, and—if I may speak candidly—the Danish help in our Phantom Lake offices is sometimes not the most… helpful.
Yes. I understand that you’ve been quite concerned.
I don’t blame you.
Oh? So you heard about the explosion on Phantom Lake?
No. No, I’m not surprised. It was quite spectacular. I knew it had graced the local news, but I had no idea that it had made international headlines as well. How is paddling on Lake Lucerne?
Yes. I’m sorry. I realize that you didn’t call all this way just to talk about your vacation in Switzerland.
Well… I am happy to say that initial reports of the incident were inaccurate—exaggerating the fatalities (among other things), as the news media is prone to do.
Yes, there have been casualties, I’m sad to say, but…
It’s a lot to explain.
Perhaps if I start my narrative at the point of the disaster…
The whole of Lower Phantom Lake lights up with the explosion.
Out near the center of the lake, I can see the hulk of the Lady Newbury, still burning, its blackened timbers looking like the skeleton of some leviathan resting atop the moonlit water.
“Paddle faster!” I command the crew I’m leading, which includes Officer Sven Svenson in my canoe, those Danish ne’re-do-wells Uli and Lars in a second craft, and Officer Tor Torson—who is quite a large fellow—bringing up the rear in his own conveyance.
Frankly, I would have liked to have had more patrolmen at hand, but…
Yes. I’m sorry. Back to the story.
All of us paddle furiously toward the site of the burning wreck. “There may still be survivors!” I remind everyone.
Naturally Lars and Uli soon fall behind.
Before we can reach the Lady Newbury, though, in barely more time than it takes to tell it, the entire ship sinks into the deep.
Zip! Right down into the inky waters of Phantom Lake, as if it had been pulled down from below.
“Keep looking!” I call to my crews. “Don’t give up!”
My keen eyes scan the water all around us, looking for any sign of Lieutenant Agar or his friend Julie Browning, whom we’ve come to rescue—or anyone else, for that matter.
At first, none of us sees anything, and all of us nearly lose hope.
But then a voice drifts to us across the now-still waters of Phantom Lake.
“Hey! Over here!”
“There they are!” Sven cries, pointing at a patch of dark water between our canoes and Jackson Island.
All of us hasten there and Sven and I quickly pull Lieutenant Agar and Miss Browning into our craft.
“Are there any other survivors?” I ask.
Lieutenant Agar and Miss Browning both shake their heads, exhausted.
“The rest of you, scour the lake for debris and clear the boating channels,” I command. “And drop a hazard marker on that wreck!”
“Aye aye, Sergeant!” Tor replies. The Danes, naturally, merely grumble.
“What in heck happened?” Sven asks as he drapes blankets around the waterlogged pair we’ve rescued.
“The mummy kidnapped Julie,” Lieutenant Agar replies. “I went to rescue her.”
“Dr. Hawas was in on it,” Julie adds, “as well as this witchy ghost of an Egyptian princess. So we kind of had to rescue each other, Rich and me.”
Lieutenant Agar puts his arm around her. “That’s right,” he says. “Neither of us would have made it if not for the other. Say, Julie… How did you know that smashing that ruby ring would release the mummy from Hawas’ control?”
“You’d be surprised the tips you can pick up by playing possum when you’ve been kidnapped,” Miss Browning replies. “Thank heaven for talkative psychopaths!”
Lieutenant Agar nods in agreement. “And thank heaven we’ve seen the last of those two—and that crazy princess, as well!”
“You bet,” Miss Browning agrees. “Unless that mummy learns to swim.”
“If it does, I hope we never find out!” Lieutenant Agar opines.
Yes, Commodore, “mummy” is what they said.
I couldn’t tell you if it was some mad scheme dreamed up by the Egyptian or not. Several other members of the department claim to have seen the creature as well—as did the acting chief of police, Nikki Sheridan, who is recovering nicely, by the way.
In any case, when we reach the shore, the movie producer who staged the showboat exhibition—“Wild Bill” Corman—is pacing furiously by the edge of the water.
Needless to say, he is thrilled neither with the burning of his attraction, nor with the tale that our two survivors have to tell.
“That’s the biggest load of bull-feathers I’ve ever heard!” Corman blusters. “A living mummy! An ancient curse! Reincarnation and body snatching! What a crock!”
“Sorry, Mr. Corman,” Miss Browning says. “That’s just the way it happened.”
Maybe it’s the sincerity of her voice, or maybe the way she bats her baby-blue eyes at him when she says it, but Corman’s demeanor immediately softens.
“Well…” he says, rubbing one big hand through his thinning hair, “I guess things could have turned out worse. Good thing I have insurance. And you know… this gives me a great idea for a movie!”
After that, things returned to normal around Canoe Cops HQ fairly quickly.
I’m sorry that Lieutenant Agar isn’t here to take your call, but he’s taken a couple of personal days off to recover from the ordeal.
And, between you and me, I think he’s spending a lot of that time with Miss Browning.
I can hardly blame him.
What’s that you say?
What caused the burning hulk of the showboat to founder so quickly?
Well, Commodore, I can’t really say for sure…
But ships tend to sink with amazing rapidity around these parts, and there are more unexplained incidents on Phantom Lake than one would expect for a body of water this size.
Which is, of course, why the International Order of Canoe Cops established a base on these very shores to begin with.
So, though the insurance company may favor the explanation that the sudden sinking was caused by an explosion of improperly stored cooking fuel aboard the Lady Newbury’s kitchens…
I think it was probably just the Monster of Phantom Lake.
Nothing out of the ordinary at all!
Extra-special thanks to these wonderful patrons at Credit Creature level and above:
Shawn P. Conlin – Wolvesbane Accademy
David Lars Chamberlain
Rich Chamberlain – Monster Movie Kid
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