Sunday, 14 August 2016

They laughed as I howled at the moon...

Make no mistake; I can take anything that the vampire world has to offer. Bring on crucifixes and coffins, and juicy garlic necklaces adorning Ruritanian cottages. I thrill to rising mists in overgrown graveyards, bats a-flapping against church roofs, and wolves howling as a black-clad count lauds his cheel-dren of the naaaaa-ightt….aaaaaaah! What’s not to love and when I saw the jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, head-spinning, sense-dimming Vampire roller coaster wheeling across the mock-Transylvanian town at, er, Chessington World of Adventures, I was sold.
It began well; queuing in the atmospheric forest with snippets of bat lore posted along the way, cartloads of screaming rollers coasting overhead at intervals. I simply couldn’t wait to get up there and experience a gentle fantasy of flying bat-like over rooftops and about the trees. Presently, we entered a darkened tunnel and descended to a subterranean terminal bathed in red light, a grey-haired automaton drawing subsonic sounds from the mock-organ – cool, oh so cool… At last, Elder Niece and I attained our carriage. Secured in our seats by plastic cages, the ride began - and my gentle fantasies blew away in the giddying, nauseating and utterly terrifying experience that followed. As the ground yawned underneath and trees and rooftops veered ever closer, I lost it. I wept and howled, shut mine eyes and prepared to die. Once, I opened them, only to see a pine trunk moving ever closer.
It’s all over, I sobbed.
My life was about to end in an ignominious splat on the side of a tree in a hokum, amusement-park forest. I wept and howled and wept and howled again, and waited for the smash. Every moment turned to infinity, my only connection with the real world being the reassuring grip of Elder Niece on my hand, like a nurse bringing a psychiatric patient through a bad dream. Eventually the whirling stopped and the carriage came to a halt.
Are we alive? I whispered, as we arrived in the subterranean terminal. We climbed out of the shadows and into the sunlight, my jelly legs aided and abetted by the staircase railings and indeed, terra firma had never looked so beautiful. Sitting outside and recovering, the overhead hollering alerted me to a cartload of screaming rollers coasting overhead…oh, my gosh…I want to go up again....

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