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The ghost of rednight castle

My family and I spent our last winter vacation at my grandparents' village in Yorkshire, in the village of Maywoods, on the bank of River Thames. It was a sweet little village with lavender, rosemary and bluebell bushes all around the lanes and streets. Ivy and roses covered the walls of the little cottages and honeysuckles covered the porches. The villagers were awfully nice too. In the past, I loved to come and spend my summer and winter hols there but little did I know what nasty surprise awaited me there the last winter hols.

On the other side of the river stood the ruins of Lord Albert's castle. Lord Albert was a rich baron who lived there about nine hundred years ago and had built the castle on the banks of the Thames. The locals called the castle, Rednight Castle. As a castle built over nine centuries ago, it stood as a tall sprawling structure, rather gloomy and frightening, with many turrets and towers. Today, most of it, except the towers, stands in ruins. The villagers thought that in one of these towers, Lord Albert's wife was murdered. Ever since then, the baroness' restless spirit haunted the castle in search for the criminal who had murdered her. It is also said that, whoever went into the castle disappeared from the face of the earth forever and would never return. Also, after midnight, strange noises could be heard and a strange lady-like figure could be seen prowling in the towers. Of course, I didn't believe this ridiculous cock-and-bull story, and therefore, didn't pay any heed to it.

Days passed by quite peacefully. It was about a fortnight before my holiday ended that I could not help feeling a tickling doubt that there might be something in the villagers' story. Some nights ago, I had to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom. It was over midnight and I was coming up the stairs when I happened to look out of the window on the landing, which was facing towards the river. My grandparents' house was very close to the river, and one could see Rednight Castle quite clearly. Suddenly, I stiffened. I had distinctly seen a figure walking in one of the towers. It wasn't a normal figure, there was something eerie about it. It seemed to be gliding. Then I thought I had heard a distant voice scream. Of course, it might have been my imagination, but I couldn't help having a feeling that it was coming from the direction of the castle.

I stood rooted on the spot, trembling, cold sweat beginning to form in my face, even though it was mid-winter, my eyes fixed towards the castle. So there was something in the villagers' tale after all! I thought I must have been dreaming. Could this be true? Was there really any ghost in Rednights Castle? With these questions whirling in an unpleasant manner in my mind, I managed stagger back to my bed, my whole body drenched in cold sweat, and the lower part of my body weak and wobbly. Even when I climbed into my warm bed, I could not get rid of the picture of that strange figure, gliding amongst the towers and that faint scream still in my ears. Between all these thoughts, I could not help wondering if I had just dreamt or imagined it all, and slowly, I slipped into an uneasy sleep.

The next morning I resolved to go and tell everything to Victoria. After breakfast, I proposed to her to go for a walk with me down the village. It was a lovely, sunny morning, and while strolling down the narrow village lanes, I told her the events of the previous night. It was rather difficult for me at first, but when it ended, I felt much better. Victoria listened to my tale attentively without interrupting. After the tale ended, she remained silent for a while, before drawing in a sharp breath and saying, 'Eli, you don't think you just dreamt it all, do you?'

I had expected this. 'No, Vick, I know didn't dream a bit of it. Each bit was real.' I answered firmly. Victoria considered for a while. 'Well then, there is only one way to find out for sure. We have to go to the castle and see for ourselves if there is any ghost there, or not.' She said. I was horrified. 'You've got be kidding!' I exclaimed. 'You don't really think I'm going there after all this, do you?' 'Well, I don't see why not. I think you have just dreamt it all. Anyway, lets go there for an adventure. I'm getting bored around here.' 'No way,' I said, shaking my head vigorously. 'Come on Eli! You're not a coward, are you?' That stirred me up. If there was one thing I hated, that was being called a coward. I didn't consider myself a coward. I decided to show Vick that I was no coward, and therefore, gave a huge sigh and nodded my head. Victoria smiled. 'That's the spirit.' She said, looking pleased, clapping me on my back. I tried in vain to smile.

We planned to go on our expedition that very night. Sometime before evening, Victoria went to see James the fisherman and asked if we could hire a boat for the night. 'Now, why might thee be wanting it for?' he said (he spoke in a Yorkshire accent) 'But thou may have it anyway.' Victoria promised to return it the next morning.

As night approached, Victoria and I started preparing ourselves for our night's adventure. We didn't take much, only two torches and one extra battery. At around eleven, we set off towards the river. It was a dark, moonless night, so we took out our torches. After two-and-a-half minutes, we reached the river and found the boat tied to a rock, bobbing up and down on the water. There were two pairs of oars, so we each took a pair each and started rowing. After rowing for about seven minutes, we reached the other side. We jumped out of the boat and started walking towards the castle, shining our torch ahead of us. The great ruin seemed to have a gloomy and forbidding air about it. As we approached nearer to the great, sprawling structure, the narrow slit-like windows seemed to frown down at us, sending a chill right down my back.

After arriving in front of the great ruin, we stood looking at it in awe and wonder. How old it must be! Most of the castle was in ruins. Only the towers were still undamaged. The forbidding air about it seemed to have grown denser. I was extremely hesitant. I had a nasty premonition that something dreadful was going to happen to us. Vicky paid no attention to my fears and entered through the broken down gates. Little did she know what danger awaited us in the towers of Rednight Castle.

After entering through the gates, we followed a path that led to a courtyard. The balconies were all in ruins. In four corners rose four sets of stairs, leading to the towers. Three of them were in very bad condition. Only the staircase on our right was in better shape. That was the staircase leading to the tower in which I had seen that figure. Therefore, we started climbing the steep staircase, rather carefully, because some parts had crumpled away. It was rather damp and smelly, and occasionally we saw a rat or two scampering past us. After climbing the stairs for what seemed to be a long time, we arrive at a large wooden door. An ugly skull was fixed on the door that seemed to be leering down at us. Just as we were about to decide whether to go in or not, the door creaked open by itself. We were very startled. Nevertheless, we stepped in and found ourselves in a large, spacious room with tall cone-shaped roof down which hung a tall rope tied into a loop at the end. A skeleton hung down the rope, swinging gently to and fro. Not only that; lying on the cold stone floor, there were heaps of bloody dead bodies with their blank, staring eyes turned upwards.

We were horrified. On the other side of the room, with her back to us, stood a tall thin woman with long shiny silvery hair that fell to her feet. We were about to hide, when suddenly, she whisked around. Her thin gaunt face looked worn out with age, but her eerie scarlet eyes held a look pure hatred and fury but there was also a look of great remorse and pity in them. When she spotted us, her eyes gleamed, and her thin lips broke into a slow, cruel smile.

‘Nine hundred years I have waited. For nine hundred years, I have endured this pain. I knew my patience was going to be rewarded someday. I knew that you would come, Miss Elizabeth and Victoria Watson. Now that you have finally arrived, it is time for you to meet your final destination.' and with that, she gave a loud ruthless high-pitched cackle that rang throughout the room and throbbed in our ears. My whole body became numb; cold sweat drenched my whole body. Victoria gripped my hands still more tightly. We both realized that our end was approaching fast. As soon the laughter stopped, we heard another sound; an ear splitting scream of a woman, a young woman about to die, the same scream that I had heard from my grandparents' house last night. All the hair on my body was standing on the end, when suddenly, the unpitying, merciless laughter of dead spirits arose and engulfed the place… My vision became blurred and I lost control over myself and dropped on the floor. Images of my life began to flash before me; playing with Victoria, chatting with my parents, playing and laughing with my friends. I didn't know I would die so young. After all, I was only thirteen-and-a-half. Then I heard a distant voice, that of Victoria's, screaming 'Elizabeth! Nooooo!' I just managed to whisper 'Victoria.' before I passed out.

I remember nothing more.
I never found out how we escaped from the castle. All I remember is waking up in the hospital two days later and my whole family weeping over me.

Even today, when I remember that dreadful night, I feel all the hair on my body standing on the end and goose pimples rising behind my back. I still have nightmares on that horrible night in Rednights Castle. Even today, I feel a chill going down my back when I recall those eerie scarlet eyes of the Ghost of Rednight Castle.

By Ashabori


 
 

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