The day had started out very strangely indeed. Harold had always held a deep rooted fondness and fascination with the place The Machine had sent them to. Savannah, Georgia was where they’d found themselves and he couldn’t help but to wonder why the only piece of information he’d received, was an address for an old converted cotton warehouse on River Street.
“There has to be a reason, John,” he’d said just a few hours earlier while they were standing in the library.
“Well, I guess we’ll see when we get there.” John couldn’t say he minded getting out of New York for a while. Their caseloads had been hectic and they both needed a distraction from the stressful jobs they’d been handling lately.
Harold had been to Savannah before, but it was a first for John and the former op had fallen in love with the place, just as Finch had done before him, the moment he set foot in the beautiful, historic city.
The part of the centuries old brick building they’d been sent to had been completely empty when John jimmied the lock from the rear and they let themselves inside. There was absolutely nothing in the large space; not a thing to indicate why they were there and they quickly determined that there were no leads to follow.
“I’m at a loss,” Harold remarked, confused as to why they were there.
John shook his head and looked around the huge empty room. “You don’t suppose your machine is playing a trick on us, do you, Finch?” He chuckled, “I mean it has to know that you love this city and the holiday after all.”
Harold scoffed, “Please, Mister Reese. I hardly think it’s become a prankster. I didn’t program it to perform such annoyingly human behaviors such as that.
“Well, it sent us here for some reason and…” They’d started to walk back the way they had come in the room, when they spotted a man in the doorway facing towards them.
They were taken completely aback by his appearance and if it weren’t Halloween night, they would both have sworn that he'd stepped straight out of the Revolutionary War. He was dressed head to toe as a Redcoat, complete with flintlock drogoon on his side and a musket with a very intimidatingly long bayonet in his hands.
They stood, transfixed, until the man turned and stepped outside and onto the long stretch of rough, uneven cobblestone alleyway behind the elongated buildings.
“Hey wait!” John called after the man, but he didn’t acknowledge him and they lost sight of him until they got to the doorway and outside.
Dusk had descended swiftly while they had been inside and they followed behind the man until his form slowly dissipated and disappeared into the ether along Factor’s Walk.
John stopped dead in his tracks. “Finch… did you see what I just saw?” he asked incredulously.
“If you just saw a ghost vanish before your eyes in a matter of seconds, then yes, Mister Reese. I saw it too.”
They looked above them to see the shadowy form of a large stone griffin the size of a small car, standing above the cobblestone streets. A silent lion headed sentinel reigning over the long, narrow expanse of the alleyway. It made for an eerie spectacle under the moonlight, with its wings pulled inward against its muscular feline body.
John suddenly shivered and took Harold by the elbow to lead him back the way they’d come, “John, slow down. These cobblestones are hard for me to walk on.”
“We’ve got to get back to street level, right now,” John replied anxiously.
“Alright, just go easy.” Harold was having a rough time of it. The horribly uneven pathway was hard enough for a fully capable person to walk, and he could almost envision twisting or breaking an ankle being urged along and rambling over it.
“John, what is it?” Harold asked breathlessly when they got back on level ground and away from the eerie spot they had been in.
“Harold, I just saw something I can’t explain. We need to get away from here.”
“What did you see?” Harold asked curiously.
“It doesn’t matter, Finch. We just need to leave now.”
Harold looked up at his spooked partner dubiously, “That’s very funny.” he scoffed. “But I’m not that gullible, I know what you’re trying to do.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” John replied and continued to pull Harold along.
“John just stop for a…” Harold went still and his eyes went wide as he stared behind John, to the space they had been in just two minutes ago.
John swung around quickly, moving to reach for the gun at the back of his waistband. He didn’t see anything, “What did you see?” he asked nervously.
Harold shook his head and was now directing John away from the area, “Finch, what was it?” he asked again urgently.
“I just had cold chills run through me,” Harold replied out of breath, but not willing to stop, “I saw three men in a tunnel entrance John. They were dressed the same as the man we were following and… I could,” he swallowed thickly, “I could see right through them and their eyes were trying to bore into my soul. I could almost feel it…”
John didn’t tell his frightened partner that he’d seen the same thing. They were both appropriately freaked out by the experience.
“I think I’m inclined to just go with your proposition from earlier,” Harold said hurriedly. “Let’s just agree that The Machine has played a decisive role in scaring the bejesus out of us both for Halloween and get the hell out of here.”
“I’ll go with that, Finch. Let’s come back on a day that’s not so scary.” John suggested eagerly, looking behind them continuously.
“Agreed, shall we say… St Patrick’s day?” Harold offered, “They have a wonderful celebration here every year and if we do it properly, we’ll be too drunk to care if we run into any ghosts
“I like your style Finch, March 17th it is!”