Norfolk castle

Amid the lush, vibrant greenery of Cork stood the Norfolk castle- contrast to the landscape. The brick red huge three storied building, its solid high rough brick wall, its barren compound –all announcing that the castle is devoid of God’s bless, still and stubborn as death.
It’s where we’ve been invited by Neil-the last descendant of the family. He’s unmarried-a gentle, well mannered chap who teaches biology in the nearby high school. From Barron to teacher- it’s a strange transition indeed. But ever heard life to flow in one direction?
Anyway, that’s our first .journey to his barony-a visual treat all around-through magnificent oak rows with occasional sprinkling of elm and birch. It’s early September-an aroma of mist is all around that for the time being we forgot all about our destination-only enjoying the feelings through every pit of our body. The silence is seldom broken with the chirping of the bird or the continuous pecking sound of the woodpecker. The road is deserted-with one or two strangers occasionally coming in front of our car We’ve heard that since times abode the castle and the baronetcy to be the centre of many a tales-some glorious, some sad, some supernatural, some horrific and some all mixed in one. The founder of the barony was a supporter of Mary and Williams during glorious revolution. Neil always used t0 tell that the founder of dynasty was a ruthless and cruel ruler. Many a mystery tales still shroud him. His successors were no different-tales of cruelty still haunts the country people.
‘He saw the miller’s wife one day and looted her to the castle. When the helpless woman refused to oblige, he ordered to smear her all body with honey, hanged her from the wall so that honeybees can string her to death’-Neil once told about the third Baron in the line.
This is our first time to the castle-it around six in the afternoon and although there is plenty of light all around, we started to wonder when the castle, so vividly described by Neil will be visible. We came across a stream. An old washerwoman was washing clothes there. We asked her-“how far is Norfolk castle, grandma?’
She continued to wash the blood red clothes piled in front of her. When we asked her the second time-amid disgust, disgusted because we’re hungry and thirsty all around, she looked at us. oh, what a face. Pale as if her whole body blood has been drained out. She’s wearing a white dress, her rough hair is all snow white and she’s terribly thin, she silently pointed to frontward direction, keeping mum and continuing her washing. Anyway, after another half an hour journey we finally arrived at our destination.
Soon Neil arrived at the gate, calling his butler to take away our luggage, when we finally managed to look at him, we’re shocked. His jovial character has now been replaced with a morbid nature-or what our first impression told us.
‘So, you folks are finally here. Welcome, hope that you had a pleasant journey”-he told.
We narrated our experience including that of the old woman. He was startled.
‘So, you mean to say that she’s washing blood red clothes and didn’t answer you’-he asked.
Such incidences are common. So, it was not clear to us why he’s putting such importance to this insignificant matter.
After the dinner, we thought that the darkness is getting clearer.
‘My days are getting numbered. Maybe within a day or two you’ll find me dead. That’s why I have called you all, my friends”- his voice sounds terrifying,
We looked to him in disbelief. He’s not the same Neil known to us.
“Why, why you think so?”-I asked finally.
“It’s the curse of our dynasty, Careen”-he continued-“My great grandfather, the late George Evans was attracted towards a lady. She was of exquisite beauty. And probably has oriental blood. When he saw that with neither bullying nor inveigling failed to produce any effect on her, he killed her husband mercilessly in open daylight one day and took her to the castle. When that demon like person, who somehow happens to be my great grandfather approaches her, obviously with an intention to enjoy the oriental beauty, she took out a sharp knife and put it into her underbelly, nobody knows how she’d managed it. Legend says that blood oozed out like a fountain and he got drenched up in her blood. Just before her death, she cursed our family, prophesied that she’ll come again and again, spelling the death of his successors, in blood strains.”
“But in this twenty-first century……absurd”-somehow Bill managed to say.
‘It’s not the end of it my friend’-continued Neil-“You know my father was a lawyer. One day he’s returning from court to the castle. On his way home, he saw a beautiful woman circling round near the castle, clapping and chanting some hymn in a completely unknown language. When he tried to ask her who she was and why she’s doing such strange acts, behold your breath,,,, she is there and now she’s not, vanished like camphor. He wrote about the incident in his diary. I was mat the boarding school at that time. On the same night, he was cleaning his rifle and accidentally fired his gun to kill self, you know folks, I’m bachelor and with my end the spirit of the killed woman will have her revenge”-he completed, exhausted.
When I looked around, I realized that his fear is transformed inside me. Everything can happen in this castle, with its gothic style pillar, huge oak windows; the vast rooms are a mix of light and shadow. As if we are off in a time machine to the medieval world where from witchcraft to tyranny -everything can happen. We’ve felt a nameless awe is gripping us coldly.
. Suddenly a witch can appear in front of us and suck all our blood. But nothing happened. We’d a sound sleep that day and the day after. Well, there were significant matters. Bob murdered two ducks, me one and we’ve started joking Neil about his superstitions and blind faith. Then something happened in the weekender for which we’re not prepared.
After the dinner-when we’re trying to have a good night sleep- an eerie wailing sound Sliced through the silence of the night.
We all grew pale. Cry was just coming in waves after waves. Suddenly a shrill cry and unfortunate Neil tumbled through the low railing and fell on the ground. All of we went to the ground floor. His neck’s had been broken.
I looked at the sky. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seemed that I saw the shadow of a winged creature, covering the moon. If Neil has to be believed, that creature had flown for the last time. She’d her revenge. The last time she’s in action and now she’ll be in eternal peace.
Doctor came immediately and examined Neil. ‘He’s dead’-declared he.
‘He must have tumbled as he’s out of balance’- we all thought. All this misty tales were rubbish, without any explanation.
We thought so, but somebody inside my mind still believed that there are many things in earth, that your science can never explain.
Or perhaps explain….

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