There was a
biting chill within the air that night. The sky was
clear and there wasn't even a hint of a breeze but
the cold had teeth and it bit through my tunic as
though it had fangs. My cloak was worn and moth-eaten
but it was my favourite item of clothing which I had
possessed since childhood which incidentally felt
like an age ago. The rest of my clothing, my tunic,
trousers, undergarments and neckerchief were of
impeccable quality, made of the finest silks and
cloths. I was a man of refined taste and was proud of
my handsome features. Even my beard was neatly
trimmed without revealing a spec of protruding
Resting my hand
against the top of my hat I continued at a fair pace
as my sturdy boots trod heavily against the frozen
clumps of mud, on the outskirts of Tulcea village. I
was heading for the local inn to collect their due
rent and no doubt a free drink, something to warm the
As I traversed
down the narrow lane I could make out three figures
ahead. They were dawdling as though they had nowhere
to go, and it was too cold a night for standing
around. One of the figures was sat upon a farm gate
while the other two leant against it.
I called out while tilting may hat as I casually
gentleman," the one on the farm gate said as he
jumped down and hurried over to me.
The other two
dark figures followed the other. All three of them
were rough unkempt males and stank of stale booze.
The one in front appeared to be their leader of sorts
as it was him that did all the talking while the
others had a contorted expression of frozen smirks
upon their faces.
"You off to
town then?" The man standing directly ahead of
me asked while rubbing his facial stubble.
off to the inn," I said in a confident tone,
"You're welcome join me and partake in a
beverage or two."
I hoped the
offer of free booze would calm the tension and allow
them to let me pass, but it was clear they wanted
something far more valuable than a free drink.
heavy purse you got there," the man said, "Maybe
we'll just relieve you the burden of carrying it an'
One of the other
men at my side pulled at my cloak attempting to get a
closer look. Within a flash I yelled out a curse word
and pushed the man ahead of me to the ground. I then
turned on my heels and ran into the forest.
I heard one of the men yell from behind.
2 - Hide & Seek
The frigid air
of the night filled my lungs as I ran at full pelt
into the darkness trying my best not to slam into a
tree. The undergrowth and thicket crunched against
the underside of my heavy boots with no way to hurry
in silence. There were also the sounds of the men
hurrying behind me. They were surely intent on doing
far more than steal my monies after what I had done,
they would likely beat me or worse, and I so deplored
around 'ere somewhere I can hear his footfalls,"
one of them said.
I couldn't see
them but knew they were very near. My heart pounded
and it was difficult to catch breath. I needed to
rest but there still wasn't enough distance between
us, if only there was a place to hide. I ran as fast
as the forest would allow me taking care not to trip
hoping that my wouldbe attackers would take a tumble
of their own.
The old castle
came into view ahead of me, I couldn't believe I had
caught up with it so quickly. I knew of the rumours
about who once lived there and hoped the men giving
chase knew of them too. Dashing out of the thicket
and into clear view I hurried across a field heading
for the stone path that led to the castle gates.
I heard a voice from behind.
back, and with all my will forcing my tired legs to
run faster, I dashed towards the open door of the
castle then as silently as possible hid among the
My hunch was
right and my wouldbe attackers didn't follow, however
they stood outside daring one another to enter and I
knew it would only be a matter of time before one of
"Go on, you
a chicken or what?!" The leader of the group
crazy? It's cursed. There's a werewolf that lives in
there everyone knows that!" Was the reply form
blood sucking vampire not a werewolf you nutter!"
Said the other man.
it is I'm not going in there, you go if yer so brave!"
Replied the man.
continued to and forth while I crouched panting
heavily trying to regain control of my exhausted body.
I wished I could just jump to my feet rush over to
the door and slam it shut, but the huge oak door on
its rusted hinges would be an impossible task
especially in my condition.
within the shadows of darkness I slowly crept across
the floor over to the staircase making my way
upstairs. Each footfall caused the dilapidated steps
to creak making it all too obvious where I was
heading. I cursed myself for doing such a thing but
there was no turning back.
3 - Brave Fools
"Well if he's
not afraid then neither am I," said one of the
men as he entered the castle.
I crouched then
tried to move as silently as possible continuing up
the stairs upon my hands and knees, but it was
obvious from the creaking steps as to my location and
as each step flexed beneath me I knew it wouldn't be
long before the men followed.
shut up!" One of the men said as the other two
made their way into the castle.
I stopped moving,
imagining I was a little mouse, breathing shallow,
forcing myself to remain as quiet as possible. The
only sound was dripping water which eerily fell at an
inconsistent pace. Drip, drip, drop, drop... drip,
drip, drop, drip. I hoped it would spook them,
causing them to flee, but alas they had a sudden
spurt of bravery.
cunning blighter's gone up stairs, get after him!"
The leader of the group shouted.
All three of
them hurried toward the stairs causing me to jump to
my feet and run in the darkness. Their footsteps were
heavy but alas despite the ruined state of the stairs
it still wasn't enough for them to break beneath the
men's feet. There was a room at the far end of the
landing to which I swiftly dashed slamming the door
closed behind me. It was only moments before all
three of the men figured where I was hiding and they
burst open the door with one forceful kick.
The moment my
wouldbe attackers entered the room they were greeted
with the flickering light of an oil lamp illuminating
the small room. A number of chairs and a small table
had been arranged as to greet the new guests. I was
I said calmly, "Make yourselves comfortable."
going on 'ere?!" One of the men moaned, "Bash
his head in and grab his purse."
I stood up and
walked across the room causing my shadow to remain
motionless before swiftly catching up with me. An
illusion caused by the oil lamp perhaps but enough to
install a chill down the spine of even the bravest of
familiar with the works of Mary Howitt?" I asked
calmly knowing full well they were uneducated
All three of
them looked at one another wondering whether to
attack or turn and run, each wishing someone would
make the first move, all sensing looming danger.
I took a step
forward and proceeded to speak, "Will you walk
into my parlour said the spider to the fly, 'Tis the
prettiest little parlour that ever did you spy, The
way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I've
many curious things to show when you are there."
The door behind
them slammed closed of its own accord leaving them
looking bewildered and trapped within the room.
my parlour," I said calmly, "This is my
castle, and you're my next meal."
ecstatically while they clambered at the door in