Mystery of Castle Hamlock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Amaryllis Lynn and her friends explored the woods lead by Cadex one fine camping day. The unsuspected morning walk soon turned into a discovery of an ancient curse, a curse to last for a million years old.

Submitted: April 26, 2015

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Submitted: April 26, 2015

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I layed down on the hammock, which was a fusion of orange and brown batik design. There were sounds of crickets and the only light came from the flames of the orange yellowish glow campfire glow. I watched the flames crackled as I swung the hammock slightly to and fro. 

I saw him sitting alone beside the fire. He was having a distant look in his eyes. He had dark brown eyes and hair. He looked about sixteen and I thought that he was cute. He seemed to be staring at the fire and thinking about something. 

I decided to get down from the hammock and approached the boy. He didn't seemed to move until he heard my boots crunching on the patchway full of leaves. We decided to camp here because it was a private clearing in the forest. There was ample space to camp and gather firewood. The woods were dark now and the air was fresh but cold. Some of the trees were bare and it looked eerie at night. 

The campfire was the only glow available and I squatted down beside him. He gave me a look and carried on dazing at the fire. I cleared my throat. "Are you alone here?"

The boy looked at me with amusement and he smirked. "No, I'm Alan. I lived nearby. I came with Cadex."

I felt surprised. Cadex was the boy who always wore a cap in our group. He was always the active one and we heard that he had a younger brother. "Oh, are you his brother?" I tried to recall whether he had a younger brother who was still a teenager.

Alan smiled and shook his head slightly. "Nope, I'm just his neighbour. I'm here to keep him company."

I shook my head in disbelief. Cadex wouldn't have needed company. He was the outgoing one who was courageous and always determined to do things which others wouldn't even think of doing.

The night was still and the others were still not back from gathering firewood. I fell asleep earlier and just woke up on my hammock. Soon, I heard the sound of footsteps and laughter. The group was on their way back with Cadex on the lead and Sarah, my cousin was helping him carry a load full of firewood. Colive, Ryan and Tedd were also arriving behind and most of them brought back extra twigs just in case the fire dies down.

"Hey guys. What took you so long? What were you guys doing deep in the woods?" I said as I helped Cadex carry the firewood and threw it in a pile for extra supplies. We were going to camp here for about two nights so we needed extra supplies, just in case.

"We were wondering the woods and guess what? We saw a castle." Ryan mysteriously brought up the topic.

Colive elbowed him, "No, that was nothing. It was just an ancient castle. I bet nobody stays there."

I looked at Tedd who was strangely kicking some soil with his sports shoe and called out, "Hey, Tedd. What's up? What are you doing dirtying your new shoes." The rest of them started giggling and I couldn't help but wonder, what was wrong with Tedd today.

Tedd didn't utter a word and stood in the dark. Sarah started to panic, "Tedd, are you alright?" 

He didn't reply and Sarah went forward to check out whether he was okay. Suddenly, Tedd pounced on her and started laughing. Sarah screamed and punched him lightly. "That was scary, you shouldn't have played a joke." The others were laughing as I stared wide eyed at Tedd and Sarah. I shook my head slightly.

"Ok, guys. Back to work. Let's build up the tents for tonight." Ryan who was ex-leader of the boy scouts team at high school barked out orders. Cadex stood with his hands folded and walked over to me. "Hey, Lynn. You look as if you are thinking about something. Anything on your mind?" I smiled and shook my head gently. Soon, droptles of rain fell from the sky and one fell on my face. I brushed it off and noticed that Alan was missing. 

"Hey." I called out to Cadex who was busy gathering firewood to the tents. 

He turned around and gave me a puzzled look. "Have you seen Alan?" 

A string of lightning flashed in the sky and thunder sounded a few seconds later. My voice seemed to have been drowned by the thunder. Soon, it slowly started to pour. My dark leather jacket soon started to get wet but I was lucky that it was fake material and yet waterproof. Cadex hurried up and threw the remainder firewood into the tents while I rushed over to help Sarah set up a tent. Ryan and Colive were busy with the other tent while Cadex had succeeded putting up the spare one and rushed on to help Tedd set up theirs. 

Our tent was soon done and I decided to check out the others to see whether there was any extra help needed. Cadex was now lying in his tent while Tedd was reading a book. Colive and Ryan disappeared into theirs with only their flashlights on. I entered the tent and Sarah was busy reading a magazine. "Are you okay, you looked a bit in a daze ever since we came back. Did you sleep well?" She eyed me lazily as she lied down and read her magazine. "Yes, I'm fine. I was just puzzled. Who was that boy back there, the one named Alan? He said that he was Cadex's companion. I just saw him at the campfire and he disappeared a while ago when you guys came back." I voiced out my suspicion about the boy I just met.

"Alan? There was nobody there. It was the six of us all the while. There is no Alan, Lynn. Are you sure you weren't dreaming?" Sarah looked at me knowingly. "You must have been ill or hallucinating, if you weren't dreaming." "Perhaps I might be, I didn't seem to see him later. People don't just vanish." I smiled and flipped over. I took off my wet jacket and changed into some long sleeved comfortable warm shirt and long leggings. Sarah had changed into her grey shirt and black track suit pants. We switched off our torchlights and decided to get some sleep. 

I slept through the night and woke up early the next morning. It was 7:00a.m. and Ryan was outside cooking some chicken potato porridge with carrots and onions. He was a good cook. He cooks at home and his mum had praised his cooking skills. My mouth watered at the smell as I neared his cooking area. "Hey, watch it. You don't want to spill over the porridge." Ryan woke up and was brushing his teeth. I decided to take a morning walk in the woods nearby. "Hey guys, anyone of you ready for a short morning walk?" Ryan whistled after gargling his mouth with some water. "Oh ya, why not. Let's go." Sarah peeked out of the tent, "Hey, wait for me. I need a minute." I smiled. My morning walk today would be most enjoyable.

The air was fresh and the sky was clear without a cloud in the sky. The neighbouring mountains were covered with snow and I could imagine how chilly it would be to stay somewhere nearby that area. I remembered Tedd told me about the ancient castle and how mysterious it was. I was deciding to pay that a visit someday.

"Hey, let's go." Ryan grabbed his knapsack and hurried past me. I was waiting for Sarah and she grabbed her bag and trailed after him. I walked slowly behind them. "Have fun, breakfast will be done in five minutes." Tedd continued stirring the porridge while staring at the beautiful white sky.

We followed the trail to the woods uphill. The path was made by travellers or other mountain climbers and we didn't have difficulty walking through the woods. "The hills here are very steep." Sarah muttered as she had to cling onto a tree branch to help herself uphill. "Yes, I agree. Need to be careful of wolves around here; especially at midnight." Ryan sounded grim then giggled. Sarah gave him a soft kick and he yelped, pretending that it hurts.

I smiled and continued my focus on our surroundings. The trees were bare and there was little light coming in the woods. The ground was mostly soil and there was not much grassland around. "Everybody okay? Do we need to take a break?" Ryan turned and asked us. "No, we are fine." Sarah grabbed her water bottle and drank thirstily. I didn't want to stop. I was amazed with the surrounding of nature. 

Suddenly, it became very dark. The little lights in the forest seemed to have faded away. Soon, I was having difficulty seeing in the dark. "Ryan? Sarah?" I realised that I couldn't hear their voices anymore and started to panic. I was afraid of darkness, especially when I can't see clearly at night. Suddenly, I heard footsteps coming my way and a torchlight flashed on my face. I blinked hard when the bright light shone into my eyes. A man with dark brown hair stood there. He had a chubby face and was staring at me with an annoyed expression.

"What are you doing here in the middle of the forest? It's dangerous. You might get eaten by wild animals." The man questioned me with a harsh tone. 

"I'm sorry but me and my friends came here for camping. We were taking a short morning walk through the woods." I replied and tried to cover my eyes from the strong blinking flashlight. The man was silent for a while and he pointed to the direction on the right. Suddenly, I heard voices calling me. Soon, Ryan and Colive came running towards my direction from the right. I blinked hard this time, the man had disappeared and so did the darkness. The woods were now a little bright as usual. 

"Where in the world did you go? We were frantically searching for you." Sarah slapped me lightly on the shoulder. "I was here all the while, the lights were blocked and it went suddenly pitch black. I couldn't see anything or hear your voices. I couldn't move." I narrated the story that happened to them but none of them seemed to believe me. 

Colive looked at me sceptically, "Lynn, there was no pitch black darkness in the forest. We were behind you guys at a certain distance. I was surprised that Colive and Tedd had tag along. "Breakfast done?" I playfully asked Tedd who was looking at me worriedly behind Colive. He muttered a soft 'yes' and turned back towards the earlier direction to leave. 

"Wait." I nearly yelled at him. "We need to get out of here quick, a man said the forest will be dangerous and might be filled with wild animals." I repeated what I heard from the man who warned me earlier. Tedd stopped dead on his tracks and look at me. Colive was looking at me strangely too. This time, Sarah was looking at me angrily and Ryan was looking at me with his eyes narrowed. I could tell that Sarah was worried so I said, "Okay, guys. I might have imagined the whole incident again." 

I stopped short on my tracks again when suddenly, I realised that time seemed to have frozen. Nobody moved and there were flecks of snow all around everyone's faces. I was the only one who was moving. I glanced around alarmingly when suddenly, the man appeared again. "I have warned you, not to stay in the forest. He had a loud booming voice and it seemed to have echoed among the trees. 

The forest started growing darker again and it started getting colder. I was glad I had on my furry jacket but it was not enough to keep the chilling cold away. I hugged myself and also felt the chill in my thick boots although I was wearing thick woolen grey socks. 

The loud booming voice carried on and echoed in the woods. "You shall now pay." The voice of the man was immediately interrupted by the voice of a young boy. "Leave her alone, she has nothing to do with this." The voice sounded familar and soon, I saw Alan stepped into the forest into the pathway in front of me. The man was glum and nodded, he replied in a cool icy tone, "As you wish, your majesty." 

I was shocked. He called the boy 'your majesty'. "I turned to Alan and whispered, "Your majesty?" Alan chuckled and replied, "Yes, missy. I am the prince of the ancient castle which your friends saw. It was cursed for a million years by a witch, my parents and I were also cursed to remain our age forever. I just turned sixteen when the curse took over. It's been almost a hundred years now. Every traveller who passed by the forest was devoured by wild animals and never seen again. The man over there who warned you, his name is Benn. He was the chief guard of the castle. He was trying to protect you guys from harm. However, you happened to speak to me yesterday. I was watching over you guys to ensure that none of you escaped to tell the story. I was observing you from afar all the while. You happened to notice me. I don't know why. Nobody could see us since the curse was cast. Nobody at all was supposed to see us." The prince looked grim as he told his story. His beautiful brown eyes looking distant again and his long eyelashes seemed to give him an aura of extraordinary beauty. 

The air grew colder and I started shivering. "We must go now. It isn't safe to be in the woods for long." Prince Alan grabbed my hand and pulled me up the pathway. The pathway was steep but now, it suddenly felt easygoing. I hurried along with him, "What about my friends? What is going to happen to them? Are they going to be devoured by wild animals?" I nervously tried to loosen his tight grip on my wrist. "Cadex will save them." Prince Alan said without hesitation. 

 Cadex? Where was he? Is he safe back at his tent? He must be? Hopefully he can wake the others from the spell and take them and leave. I started to recall Alan telling me that he was a neighbour of Cadex? Was Cadex a prince too? Thoughts started to form through my head and Prince Alan, who seemed to be able to read my mind; whispered gently in my ear. "Let's talk about this more when we get back." His voice seemed to have a matured tone and was strangely attractive. I brushed the feeling aside and hurried up the pathway leading to the ancient castle as was told by Tedd. 

The castle walls stood tall and illuminated a little bit of moonlight. It was strange but it was oddly dark in this area. The wind started howling and I tightened my grip on Alan's arm. He gave me a reassuring smile and I felt better. The wind started howling again and we hurried up the stone bridge to the castle. I haven't been to any castle before. This was the first one in my whole entire life and it was an ancient cursed castle. How odd and scary. I didn't know whether I should be impressed or scared out of my life. 

As we hurried up the stone bridge. I noticed that the sky started getting greyer and greyer. Soon, it started getting dark and storm clouds were seen looming above on the horizon. There was a loud rumble of thunder and I jumped at the sound of it. On the contrary, Prince Alan appeared to be relax as he fasten his pace and I tried to keep up with him. There were no castle guards around and we were alone on the bridge. The stone bridge seemed to be never ending and finally, when I thought that I could collapse from exhaustion; or should I say in shock after what recently happened to my friends; Prince Alan took a turning and pointed to a pair of huge gates which were opening at the sight of us. Oh, I should say; the sight of him

The gates were opening wide by the time we reached it and we walked quickly passed the castle gates. The castle looked ancient and there was nothing much out of splendour to admire. It's yellowish walls seemed to be crumbling down at any time and it looked almost dirty. We stopped in front of a normal size white door. Prince Alan opened the door and it was dark and the ground was full of bumps. I nearly trip on a bump and fell but the prince grabbed my waist and secured me as we walked our way through. I felt heat on my cheeks as I felt his body warmth against mine. What was wrong with me? Why am I focusing on the young prince beside me and not in saving my life and getting to rescue my friends who are frozen in trouble.  

The castle was very dark. Why didn't they switch on the lights. Then I remembered, a cursed castle might have not have much or any lights. In fact, it might be in total darkness all day long. I tried to keep myself calm and refrain from thinking about bats or vampires lurking in the dark. The thought of an ugly creature standing in the dark and watching us made me shiver. In the dark, I could feel the young prince looking at me, he gave a low chuckle and it echoed throughout the castle walls. "You are safe, dearie. This is just the way from the dungeons. You will reach the castle soon."

I nodded and swallowed hard. The dungeons? The place where they keep prisoners? I looked around but there was no sound or sight of any criminals. I couldn't even see anything, let alone hear the sound of chains clanking in the darkness. I steadied my steps every time I hit a bump. With every step I took, my heart would beat faster. When I felt that I was stepping on an hour's long of stones similar to foot reflexology; except the fact that I couldn't see a thing and it hurt if I kicked a stone; Prince Alan pushed open a door and it creaked slightly. There was some light and I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the brightness.

There was a long flight of stairs up a stone grey staircase. "Up you go, missy." He smiled as he let go of my wrist and motioned me to go upstairs. I walked up the staircase and realised that it was very long. It wasn't winding but just endless. Finally, I saw a well dressed butler waiting at the end of the staircase. "Your majesty, Benn has told me that you were going to be late and you are having a guest." The butler looked polite and gentlemanly. He looked young and he had a smile in the eyes. I smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Amaryllis Lynn." The butler extended his hand and shook mine, "I'm Buston".

"Oh, he is a good friend of Benn." Prince Alan, who was quiet all the while, suddenly spoke up. 

"Do get her some fresh clean clothes. I'll see you for dinner later." Alan gave Buston some instructions and later said goodbye to me. He walked down the stairs and was later out of sight.  

 


© Copyright 2020 SaraEloyce. All rights reserved.

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