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The Castle and Stumps


As everyone left and wished us good luck we wheeled our bike into the bar and propped it up against the counter. Fogget washed the glasses and generally tided up.

Joe suddenly had a thought that this is just one big wind up by the village for strangers like us. Fogget ask him what he meant. Well everyone was in such good humour said Joe that he had a suspicion that after we were locked in for the night and gone to bed, all the lads from the village would stand outside the window rattling chains and making strange noises. Fogget laughed it was a good idea but told us there would be no need for them to do any of that, that anyway we would not be locked in.

With some confidence that we would not stay long he told us that he lived in the cottage just across the green and that he would leave the light on and door open. When we wanted to get out we were to make for the light and go in.

" Confident aren't you." I said.

It was only as Fogget lifted a hurricane lamp from a hook behind the bar to lead the way upstairs that it dawned on me the place had no electricity. I grabbed the bicycle lamp from the front of our bike as we followed Fogget up the small staircase behind the bar. The staircase followed the curve of the outside wall and opened into one large room on the first floor.

This room was mostly filled with a large four poster bed which had a huge red velvet canopy, the walls were covered in dark wood panelling. The ceiling had dark oak timber beams radiating out from the centre of the tower holding up the roof. The wooden floor had no carpet just a couple of rugs and the only other furniture was a large wooden chest at the bottom of the bed and two wooden chairs. The medieval theme from down stairs had been carried on up here, even to a single picture of an unknown knight on horseback.

Fogget waved the lamp and told us this is where we were to stay all night to win the bet. So far so good I suggested and Joe said he was dead beat then threw himself on the bed, wake me up in the morning he shouted.

Fogget smiled saying there would be some sandwiches and a drink in his kitchen table. He hung the hurricane lamp on a hook beside the bed and then went back down the stairs. There was some banging about the sound of glasses then the sound of the large front door closing. Then it was quiet, very quiet, very very very quiet.

" It's rather quiet." said Joe.

" What shall we do." I said.

" Go to sleep." said Joe.

" Do we blow out the lamp." I said.

" Have you got some matches to light it again if we do." said Joe.

" Yes." I said.

" I'm tempted to say leave it on but I can't sleep with the light on." said Joe.

" Neither can I." I said. " Unless we sit up all night."

" Put it out." said Joe.

I turned the bicycle on then blew out the hurricane lamp. We took off our shoes and got under the cover of the bed. I switched off the torch and tried to go to sleep.

From where I was laying I could see a single shafts of light coming from the small slit window on the opposite wall. The silvery white light came from the moon and shone across the floor, as time ticked away the light gradually crept towards our bed.

Joe was fast asleep, I was just about asleep, when I heard it. Brrrrr, brrrrr, brrrrrrrrr. It was like a giant butterfly flapping its wings. I could have almost ignored this if the scraping had not started.

Scrapppppe... scrapppe.... Like somebody dragging a heavy wooden box across the floor. I was wide awake now, there was a heavy boom boom boom, I knew what that was, that was my heart beating.

Then Thud.... Thud.... Thud.... Thud....


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Short Story Series - Abridged from the book - The Tatty Nickers Tony on the Moon