Excerpt from Chapter 3 of HorrorScope by Gian J. Quasar
“Silence of the Peacocks”
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
Fireworks burst over the shipyards at Mare Island, off San Francisco Bay, over a regatta of ships in the estuary. The detonations lit the sky. The house tops of Vallejo glowed many colors and then retreated back into dark silhouettes. Cheers rose with every burst, awed praised cooed with each fabulous sequence of explosions. Sparklers sizzled in driveways. Whistling petes shrilled through middleclass neighborhoods. Barbeque smoke and its flavor— hotdogs, ribs, hamburgers, Americana— mixed with the heavy smell of cordite. It was late night 4th of July in Vallejo.
Americans had much to celebrate. July not only marks high summer, vacations and fun, but America was still supreme. She was leader of the free world. Despite the anti-war protests and strange counterculture, Americans still basked in their glory of having won WWII and in continuing to keep the “Reds” at bay in the current Cold War. The Great Generation was firmly in charge. Shaking its collective head at the youngsters of the baby boom, it was still very tolerant. Even hippies were celebrating. Maybe they weren’t too “far out” yet. Perhaps the antiestablishment mood had made the founding fathers even more appealing. They too had been rebels. All Americans were excited about the upcoming moon walk. Man was about to take a giant step. And it was an American step. It was a time to party, and everybody likes that.
Vallejo was a blue collar town, but it was also a city a on the bay, which gave it a little more opportunity for pageantry. Vallejo always sponsored a boat regatta and a massive firework display. There was little fancy in Vallejo, but it was an old town tied to the ship building yards at Mare Island, the Navy, and a way of life geared with the rustic fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area.
At an opposite to the tempo of men, ships and the sea, were the surrounding grassy foothills. One of Vallejo’s major landmarks was Blue Rock Springs Park. As a therapeutic destination, the springs went way back in popularity to the 19th century. A cultivated green park had been built around the springs. In summer time it was a green oasis amidst the golden chaff of summer’s dried grass. Giant and ancient eucalyptus flourished by the springs, and oaks dotted the brown hillsides like giant green umbrellas.
Aptly named Springs Road was the main road east of Vallejo to Columbus Parkway. Even in 1969 there was little out here. The main destination was always Blue Rock Springs Park or the new golf course built almost across from it. Turn north at Columbus Parkway, pass the only other crossroad out here—Lake Herman Road— and soon a grove of giant eucalyptus formed a canopy over the road by Blue Rock Springs Creek. Light filtered wildly through the shadows of the rustling leaves. Then there was a brief clearing. On the left, there was the new two story golf course clubhouse. Wisk like a dragonfly over knoll and descend into a cleft in the bosom of the foothills. Here under another canopy of clutching eucalyptus was Blue Rock Springs Park on the right.
Nestled within the grove of trees was the parking lot. It was more or less just a wide spot in the road. Two rows of cars could fit, back to back. It was completely open to Columbus Parkway.
Beyond this Columbus Parkway held nothing. The road climbed the slope of the foothills and eventually came down toward nothing but a convenient half cloverleaf in Highway 80 on the outskirts of eastern Vallejo, the main highway from the Bay Area to Sacramento inland. To the south of the park Columbus Parkways was a long snaking tail that wound through the brown, dry grassy hills and meadows to finally end at an onramp to Highway 780.
In summer everything was dry and natural out here except the green vistas of the golf course or the wooded serenity of Blue Rock Springs Park.
At night the area had a foreboding air. Darkness clutched the road under the canopies of eucalyptus. Within the curve of the road, in the cleft of the bosom where the park was located, a car would sink into darkness, its headlights retreat in the inky pool over the road. There was a lamp in the park near the parking lot. It stood out like a weak lantern pestered by the shadows of the eucalyptus leaves dancing with the foothill’s bay breezes.
Festivities were ongoing this night, so that the park was neither quiet nor foreboding. There was more than room. Any major outdoor event was centered at the park. The park was huge. The slopes of the foothills here were green and manicured. Winding paths led to more stands of giant eucalyptus. Up on the slope was an old wooden house, now used by the caretaker. Peacocks nestled up here. They sat on beds of dried eucalyptus leaves and mewed over the vista. Pools of the springs were deep green. Their bottoms were impenetrable to the eyes because of the blurred reflections of more giant eucalyptus. One pool was spanned by a fancy wooden walking bridge. It was rustic and meant to be rustic. The tarmac of the parking lot was edged with uncut, raw boulders. It was a rustic, country park, outside of town and sporting an old style timber sign with the park named painted in golden yellow.
As it grew late this night the partiers at the park had thinned out. Columbus Parkway and the park grew lifeless and dark. The brown hills sank behind the ink of country night. The clusters of trees strengthened their clutch over Columbus Parkway. Soon the plaintive cry of the peacocks faded.
* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.