With Sergeant MaKan heading the investigations Zak ventures into the realm of danger to fill his column Zak Vancura Mysteries.




Blackthorn Hollows/ Episode 2

She said, “I read everything you write Zak Vancura and I think I have a story you might be interested in. It’s a mystery, a very dark and scary one, but you must come to Blackthorn Hollows to investigate.”

It was a soft, childlike voice and the owner did not ask to go inside. When she finished she slipped away down the alleyway between the joined office and laundromat and the clothier shop next door.

“Wait. Who are you?” I called after her, but the effort was fruitless. I went inside, shivering, partly from the chill in my bones and partly from the thrill of having a potential exciting headline for my paper.

The hollow feeling in my stomach was replaced by the vibration of anticipation as I checked the virtual map on my computer for Blackthorn Hollows, a place I had heard of once, long ago, when I first came to Twin Bluffs Harbour and started my newspaper editor/owner/ writing life. Hidden from the archives in a moldy old, forgotten file I had found back then, a dark and dreadful story about Blackthorn Hollow. Now it had been brought back to mind only this time, beckoning me to its hearth. But before I relate my mere part in all this I will describe the more recent events of this isolated hamlet, now mostly just and over grown memory, though the Manor now The Blackthorn Hollow B&B had been kept in good repair and rented annually to various haunted house enthusiasts who manufactured their own little ghostly appearances tales and objects floating about and of course things that go bump in the night and over the decades like most such places a legend of hauntings about mayhem and murder that accounted for the abandonment somewhere just after world war one, which most agreed was the downfall of the Hollow because most of the young men had gone off to war and never returned, at least not in the physical world. But it was the story of murder that attracted the ghost hunters and thrill seekers.

Those who actually owned the manor were in themselves a bit of a mystery, heirs still carried the name Belmont, of which there remained only two, Edward, first in line to inherit the estate and Ry Anna, second in line, both unmarried and well off, it was said in their own right.

They were waiting for Uncle Seymore to die. At 85 he didn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, but the two cousins were responsible for the up keep. It was never to be sold off and was managed by the estate executor Simon La Florin, who had himself inherited the client from his father and grandfather before. La Florin was responsible for renting the manor throughout the year and did so moderately successfully drawing enough revenue to maintain the place, pay the taxes and pay the grounds keeper who also did most of the direct renting, showing the place when potential clients arrived, and his wife cooked the breakfast when B&B guests stayed.

They resided on the premises. This particular incarnation of seasonal guests began in the spring of this year in the city of Toronto when a group of would be, recreational ghost hunters, mediums and amateur parapsychologists discovered the long lost legend of murder and mayhem at Blackthorn Hollows. It all began like this, seemingly an innocent venture into the wilds and mysteries of lost and nearly forgotten villages on the largest fresh water island in the world. It Began: In a little café, its name forgotten now, seven enthusiasts of what might be considered a spooky nature, gathered in conversation as a group to discuss their next adventure into the Debunkers, which was the name of their club.

They were accompanied by two guests who had approached the club to go off on an expedition to Blackthorn Hollows, where they would most certainly find the real thing. I should state that the group was actually made up of very level headed professional people who searched out these ghostly place to debunk the legends that be-shadowed them. Cousins Edward and Ry Anna Belmont, the last living heirs to Blackthorn Manor wanted the group to once and for all prove the hauntings were real by the victims of a gruesome murder that happen long ago, soon after the close of world war one, now a hundred years plus in the past.

The cousins believed the place would be worth a fortune if the hauntings could be substantiated. It would bring hundreds of guest to the B&B.

“We could rename it, ‘The Blackthorn Manor Haunted Bed and Breakfast.” Ry Anna announced excitedly. One member of the group, Rendall Comvy replied emphatically,

“We do not prove that these places are haunted. We prove that they aren’t.”

“I am sure you will be disappointed,” said Ry Anna. “Besides, if this group can’t disprove the haunting, since you are well known, it will put us in an even better light.”

“Let’s do it.” Tammy Lowen another member of the club, who half believed haunted houses did exist, chirped excitedly

“I’m in.” Landon Ford raised his arm enthusiastically followed By Rees Morton, Weland Brin and Syndi Welsh making the vote unanimous.

“I’ll get my cameras together..” Weland Brin, the clubs photographer and videographer announce,” then said, “This place does have electricity.”

Ry Anna answered, “Of course. It has all the modern conveniences though it all works off a generator."

“That makes it perfect,” Tammy Lowen the clubs chronologist and secretary, cheered. “We must have our expenses covered.” Club President of the Year Rendall Comvy insisted.

“Of course. Your rooms and meals will be provided as well as travel expenses, gas and ferry fees and such.” Replied Edward, (Eddy), Belmont.

“And funeral expenses if necessary.” he added in a little dramatic humour at which no one laughed.

The meeting ended on that note. Eddy placed a business card on the table and the owners of the Blackthorn B&B slipped away without further conversation.

“I do believe we have a project at last. It has been too long since the last one.” Said Rendall. To Be Continued.

Welcome To Blackthorn: Visit If You Dare

Blackthorn Hollows

Episode One

In a perfect world, the kind that those fools living under the veil of Utopia, never having seen the reality masked in the light of censorship by those who don’t want the world to see beyond the reality they create, we are led to believe that the wars and tortures and evils of the corporeal being are the true horrors of with which we live, and true it is that these things, the crazed murderers, the mad scientists, the creators of weapons of mass destruction, the slaughters are indeed a kind of evil to send our minds into the chaos of fear. All these things are, for the most part, for the most people, just words on a page in a book, or newspaper, magazine or radio and video news broadcasts washed and cleansed before our ears and eyes can consume them and deliver them to are brains, pasteurized and fictionalized into a world of the darkest mayhem that exists outside our Utopias, seldom and/or never to touch us.

But the real horrors are the ones that touch only a few, those who can see beyond the censorship, beyond the veil, into that place we call the supernatural, the paranormal and the depths of fear. But in truth these and other horrifying elements are as real as the censored reality, merely an alteration seen by those who are capable of adjusting their mind to view juxtaposed images of reality, both or the many unscathed by the censorship of, “It doesn’t really exist.”

I lingered before my laptop, at a small round table, gazing out the window of my room in the Blackthorn B&B, out over the dimly misted sun lit street of the ghostly remains of Blackthorn Hollows, wondering if the thrill of horrors that befell this quiet over grown hamlet would ever leave my mind or if the icy chill would melt from my veins. At that moment I thought not, but too, I lent my focus to getting the story down before it faded, and my internal censor washed it clean of its reality.

My name is Zak Vancura. Beware of messengers in the storm who tell you tales of darkness and beg of you to venture out to unmask an evil devouring the souls and spirits of…

There was a rain drizzling from the dark clouds of the mid-spring sky, lingering longer than usual over Twin Bluffs Harbour. The memory of the murders that shook the foundations of our town was still vibrating faintly in the back ground of our collective minds.

Monday morning. I sat at my desk typing out a story to go with the photos of the Twin Bluffs Harbour Maple Festival. It was a delight to be writing something light and airy after weeks of those dark times of winter. Yet something inside of me had been awakened and though as tragic and even horrifying as the fall from innocence had been I found the whole adventure exhilarating and a part of me longed for more, though maybe not with the wraithish aftermath we had endured, and in part still did.

After a dozen paragraphs, all bright and cheery, congratulating the organizers on their success and the tappers for their delicious offerings I found myself in need of lunch, my stomach grumbling like it hadn’t been fed in days, even after a big breakfast.

I wriggled into my parka and shoved my feet into my wellies and lifted my big black umbrella from its hook and finally ventured out into the rainy cold, a shiver searching down my spine. It seemed, just as I closed the door a huge bolt of lightning struck across the sky, simultaneously with a crack of thunder that seemed to shake the whole town in a way that could have been mistaken as a small earth quake. When I looked around I saw others who had ventured out into the weather, glancing around anxiously, up and down the street and at each other, then in a burst of relief they all gathered in a laugh, myself included.

I decided our nerves were still a little on edge. I turned left at the bottom of the steps descending from the walk way from my office door only because it put the wind and rain at my back and made my way to The Harbour View Restaurant to find something to fill that hollow in my stomach that felt like hunger.

It wasn’t.

The feeling was still there, and it had been all day. The thing is, I should know better. This hollow feeling has happened before, not long ago and many times over my life as a reporter, the feeling when something I have seen or heard or maybe read that warns me that there is a story looming on the horizon of the near future, and the feeling is never wrong and not always good, or bad. I never know until I get there. But on this occasion as I wolfed down a hungry man’s lunch and filled in the spaces with sweets and was still hungry I realized as the coffee washed it all down I was being warned once again.

Of course, most people who don’t get these premies, don’t believe in them and so I keep it to myself and just follow the lead. It happened to be a cold wet stormy day this time, but it can come on those wonderful, bright sunny days of summer too.

After paying my bill I headed back to the office, walking into the wind now, blocking the rain with my umbrella like a warriors shield against a foe and watching the lightning flash across a dark gray sky. I wasn’t surprised when I climbed the steps to my office door to find someone pushed into the corner out of the wind and rain hidden under a dark purple hooded rain coat, waiting for me. The cowling hung down over her eyes and a scarf covered her chin leaving only pale thin lips showing. It seemed almost natural to find her there.

She said: ... To Be Continued Next week.

Get The Book

Mystery Of The Great Blue Heron

At Your Favourite Ebook Store


Nestled between the golden glow of the mid-morning sun and the dark blue scape of Lake Huron the ferry from Tobermory docked and in minutes released a jam of disembarking vehicles and walk on passengers like ants emerging from their hill. Among them came a personage whose fame in certain quarters of society was renowned. Our paths had cross on small occasions when I was in the south of the province following a lead on an old adversary.

Get your copy now: