‘So, where shall we go for some fun tonight? Do you fancy somewhere rich and sumptuous or cheap and cheerful? Although I have to say the latter is just not true. Cheap is usually cheerless. Come on then, I’m raring to go so make a decision.’
‘I would, George, if you paused for breath. I’m not keen on going anywhere we’ve been in the last year or so. If we’d really let rip last time they’ll die of fright before we begin.’
‘Ok so what about Craggy Castle? Or would you like somewhere more modern?’ asked George.
‘No, that‘s a good idea. I love dressing up in period costume, specially Tudor; I look really fetching in a ruff.’
‘That’s settled then. We just need to find out who lives there and then we can plan our display.’ George put Craggy Castle into a search engine and soon came up with information.
‘Listen to this Maude. Craggy Castle, nestling within it’s moat, is not open for visitors. This small, authentic castle, dating back to the fifteenth century is privately owned by, Sir Malcolm Frenshaw. He is a wealthy recluse who made his fortune in commodities.’ Whatever they are. Anyway he’s perfect. We can wind him up and watch him run around in circles. I can’t wait.’
Maude nodded her agreement and they rested until it was dark and close to midnight; then they set off for the castle.
They arrived and circled the moat, deciding where to enter. There were no lights showing so, hopefully, Sir Malcolm and any staff he had, were asleep.
There was no back entrance so they slipped through the front door and glided upstairs, looking for his bedroom.
‘This is a piece of cake,’ giggled Maude, who always got excited and silly when they went out for the evening. ‘You can almost feel that thunderous snoring. Bet he’s lying on his back. Can I go first?’
‘Why not? Anne Boleyn is it?’ George watched, indulgently, as Maude grew in stature arrayed herself in Tudor costume and removed her head.’
‘With her head tucked, underneath her arm, she walked the bloody tower,’ sang George. He watched as she approached the four-poster bed, moaning loudly. The man in the bed did not stir. She tried an agonised scream or two but it had no effect. She took her head in her hands and held it close to him. ‘He’s alive, just, really ancient and must be completely deaf. How disappointing. You’d better have a go.’
She retreated to the back of the room, sulking, and watched him evolve until he towered over the bed. His decaying body oozed puss, maggots fell off him and wriggled on the bedspread. There was a disgusting smell of rotten meat as he leaned over the old man looking through one eye, the other a gaping socket, and bellowed like a bull about to be slaughtered.
Sir Malcolm sighed and turned over, smacking his lips as if dreaming of food. George shrank a little and looked at Maude. ‘Unbelievable; I’ve never known anyone sleep through that. What shall we do now?’
‘I suggest you go back to wherever you came from,’ said a child’s voice. ‘This is my house. I’ve haunted here for the last two hundred years and you are definitely not welcome!’
‘Can you wake him up? asked Maude. ‘If you can I’d like to se you do it.’
‘I might have died young but, as you just heard, I wasn’t born yesterday. You just want me to wake him so you can frighten him to death. He’s not got much longer to live anyway, so that would be no great achievement. So, go away!’
Maude responded by returning to her usual state, dressed in the style of mid twentieth century and George did the same.
‘I must say, giggled the child, appearing before them now hovering, protectively at the end of the bed, ‘you look much better like that. I’ve become fond of Sir Malcolm but I hate his housekeeper, Maggie. Would you like to have a go at her, with me, before you go?’
‘Lead on and you can explain how best to scare her. Should it be Tudor woman and the un-dead or something different?’ asked George.
‘I usually do the crying child bit. Most women wake up at that and then I appear with some hideous wound and scream.’
‘I know what we can do. What about enacting your murder. I could hold you, screaming and George…… Sorry should have introduced ourselves. I’m Maude, he’s George and you?’
‘I’m Jonathan and I like that idea. Let’s go back to my era. I loved the satin breeches and ruffled shirts. You could be my mother,’ he said, ‘and you try to stop George, the murderer, from hanging me. There’s a perfect beam in Maggie’s room.’
It looked like there was to be some fun that night after all and they enacted their charade with gusto. Maggie was so frightened she fainted and they retired to the front door, satisfied.
‘That was the best haunting I’ve ever done. I ‘d like to do it again sometime. How is it you two can wander about but I can’t leave this castle?’
‘You probably died here. We were in a car accident and found ourselves dead by the roadside, so we have the whole planet to inhabit.’
‘You’re the first ghosts I’ve ever met but from what I can understand I’m a child but I’m two hundred years older than you. Isn’t that weird. Will I ever grow up?’
George struggled to reply. He didn’t want to hurt the lad. In the end it was Maude who explained that whatever stage you were when you died you stayed that way.
‘But, you have the ability to change what you look like. This means you can appear grown up and even get a deep voice to go with it. You just have to practice when you’re out of body.’
‘Thanks I will. It’s almost dawn so you’d better go. Thanks for coming.’ His voice faded and he disappeared.
‘He’s a great kid,’ said George and he sighed. ‘If we’d have been sober we might have had one of own. Still we can come again and help him grow as a ghost.’
‘I’d like that,’ said Maude, now just a shapeless, ectoplasmic mist. They glided away and George’s singing, ‘she walked the bloody tower’, faded into silence.