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The Castle

A man sees what no man should see.

The night sky was black, no clouds in the sky, the only light I had was from the moon. There had been recent fires in this area. I could still smell the fresh burnt wood. I don’t really know why people like me would walk through these woods but, I find it like this thing we call life...imperfect.

I followed the scent of the fresh burnt wood and found an outcrop with a pond. This place looks like it hasn't been touched by man. I stopped by the pond's edge, I figured that it was fresh water. I knelt down on the ground and splashed my face, then I filled my bottle. Upon drinking some of the water I noticed that it tasted...different, not how pond water should taste. I dismissed this rest under a Willow tree.

After a few minutes of wondering thoughts, I stood-up and looked around. I was a little tired, but alas I disregarded the feeling. I noticed a path that seemed to be man-made because, fires don't make flat paths. I decided to cautiously investigate the path with my machete drawn. I found a castle of sorts at the end of the trail. The castle was covered in vegetation. I didn’t want to go in the castle but, by the time I decided to turn back I was already in the castle walls with my machete back in its sheath. I was 30 feet away from the biggest doors I had ever seen.
"There's no turning back" I thought to myself continuing down towards the foyer through the door. I took my machete back out of its sheath. The castle was dark, huge, and poorly lit. The air had the stench of mold. Water made a "drip" "drip" "drip" "splash" sound as it trickled off the celling.

I had told my wife not to wait up for me that I would most likely be back the next day. I glanced tiredly at my watch. The digital readout glowed green. It flashed 12:45am. I couldn't make it back home in the dark so I decided that I had to spend the night. I had to find somewhere to crash till it was light enough to see. After searching for a bit I came across a stair that led to a corridor that looked like it could have been servant’s living quarters. All the rooms where small with small bared windows. Only one room in the back had anything that resembled a bed. So I plopped down and fell asleep.

I was suddenly awoken by a loud thud sometime after the sun came up. I jumped to my feet. I grabbed my machete and slowly crept outside the room and down the stairs. I looked ahead and saw a faint glow, maybe from a candle? One, two, three stairs. "Squeeeeak" I stopped in my tracks immediately. I slowly bent down to look through a small crack in the floor to a room below. I'll never forget what I saw that day. I saw something that no man should ever see. That day I witnessed a murder but, It didn't have the "murder's normality" to it. A poor excuse of a man was torturing another man who looked like he was dressed in monk robes but, maybe he could be the caretaker of the castle? He kept yelling the same question over and over again.

"Where is he?" He hovered over the monk with sharpened bamboo reeds in hand.

"I don't know.... What you are talking about!" The monk cried under labored breaths. Under the nail of one of the monks hand were more bamboo reeds, blood dripping from the end of each one.

"Not the answer I was looking for!" The guy screamed as he pulled up the monk's hand and slowly pushed another reed under his nail.

“No more please! I’m telling you the truth!” Cried the monk.

Now the man bound the monk man's feet and hands with rope. Feet bound to a hook in the floor and his hands to a loop in the ceiling connected to a winch. "pop" "pop" "pop" To many pops to count. He was stretching the poor guy. Joints popping out of place. Blood curdling screams left his mouth and slowly died as he did. I gasped as I watched the life slowly drain out of his body. The man cursed under his breath as he turned and saw me. I ran back to the room I slipped in and gathered my stuff. I ran like I've never ran before to the opposing side of the castle. The other guy stormed up the stairs and into the room I was in. I ran out of the castle. I had to pass the poor guy that was just brutally murdered. There was blood everywhere. I couldn't stand the sight or smell of the corpse.

Outside I ran and ran until I thought I was safely away. I put my stuff back on and realized that I forgot my ear buds back in the castle. I stopped under the Willow tree again to catch my breath. I cursed under my breath. "He couldn't find me by just my ear buds could he?" I thought as I drank some water from my bottle. I was dead wrong as hands wrapped around my neck and mouth.

The man choked me, he knocked me out due to lack of oxygen. He drug me back into the castle. He dropped me on the table, he shackled me on it. I woke up. He already took the monk man's corpse off the wrench. I thought that he would put me on it. He asked me why I was in "his" castle.

"Who was the man you just killed?" I asked him.

"I ask the questions! Now why were you in my castle?!" The man yelled.

"I needed somewhere to sleep for the night," I said.

“I guess we need to do this the hard way.” The man sighed.

He had a table of tools next to him by his table. He turned around with his back towards me. I had long enough legs to kick him in the back but, I had to contort my body to do so. I kicked him. The man fell. Needing to get out of the shackles I had to break one of my thumbs. I got a paper clip out of my pocket. I tried to pick the lock, success. I got out of them. I grabbed my stuff, with my now bloody hand. I ran out the large doors. The man’s face was covered in blood from his tools. He tried to follow me.

I ran far beyond the Willow Tree, I stopped at a road. I was there for five minutes waiting for a car. A car came down the road at about 4:30 in the morning, it was a semi-truck driver, he was heading east. I waved him down.

“Excuse me what’s your destination?” I asked him heaving not only because of the running but, because of the torture I endured.

“East to town,” the truck driver said.

“I was going to ask you if you could take me to town, I can pay,” I told him.

“No need to pay,” he said.

“Thank you sir, you don’t know how much I needed to get away from the forest,” I told him.

I got in the truck.
The man kept looking at me then back at the road. ”So how did you get those scrapes and cuts?”

“There was…I tripped.” I lied to him.

“You know I can tell when people are lying,” he stated to me.

“Even if I did tell you the truth you wouldn’t believe me,” I said with a sigh.

I told him EVERYTHING. How I saw the murder, how when he was dead I ran back upstairs and grabbed my stuff. Then how I got knocked out and woke up being shackled to
a table. And how I slipped away from the murderer.

“Huh… are you going to turn him in?” he asked.

“I don’t really remember anything, I don’t know his name, and he wore very concealing clothing… as in I could only see his eyes… all I know was he was white, grey eyed, and about 35.” I told him.

There was a long silence. By the time he spoke again we were already in the town of Gold Hill.

He wanted to drop me off at my house but I declined the request. I told him to just drop me off at Fredenburg street, and he did just that without question.

“Thank you for the ride into town,” I said.

“Uh-huh,” the truck driver said. Then went on his way.

I tried to remember where I lived. “Fredenberg and…fredenburg and…” I hit my head with my hand. “Fredenburg and 5th!”, because I remember that the middle school and high school is on 6th. I walked down the street to try and find 5th avenue. Now I needed to remember the color of the house. “I think it’s…white?”, there was only one white house on the intersection of these two roads. I ran up to the door and tried my keys. After searching for the right key I came across the key, I entered the house with my pocket sized flashlight on. I looked on the walls to see if there were photos on the walls, there was one photo, it was of him and his wife on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, in July. I walked back to the door and locked it.

He was so tired. He glanced at his watch and at 4:45am he just fell on the couch, and looked out the window for five minutes and just when he fell asleep, the man showed up at the window peering at him….

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