Castle

๐Ÿ“… Published on April 24, 2021

โ€œCastleโ€

Written by Soren Narnia
Edited by N/A
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

๐ŸŽง Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

โฐ ESTIMATED READING TIME โ€” 15 minutes

Rating: 9.75/10. From 4 votes.
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My last name is Forcz, and people often ask about my nationality. I tell them I’m Romanian-Hungarian. Several years ago I became very interested in the history of my family, a phase a lot of people go through. I actually hired a genealogist to help me trace the family tree; she was able to take it back about 200 years. The person I was most interested in was my great-great-grandfather, Ascherl, because I already had the most information about him. He lived in Romania all his life and had been a carpenter. He’d never left Europe. With the help of the genealogist and a cousin of mine in Lancashire, England, who I visited specifically with the purpose of finding out more about the family, I tracked down my great-great-grandfather’s old books and papers. Quite a few now survive in an old storage facility, where we keep a lot of family heirlooms for posterity. Going through all those old papers, I came across a diary he kept from the age of thirty-nine until he was about forty-two. It was written in Hungarian, and unfortunately my Hungarian is incredibly thin. I did manage to finally get through the diary though, and about twoโ€‘thirds of the way through it, I came across about twenty-five pages that absolutely stunned me. The contents of those pages are what I want to relate. They are not dated, but from context I can tell the events took place around the year 1893. Here is what Ascherl Forcz wrote back then of one particular long winterโ€™s night:

โ€˜We met at the southern end of the Bergel. For Hardisch and I, it was a single dayโ€™s journey by horseback. For the policeman, Clemendrada, it was another day by train from Bistritz. I consider Hardisch to be one of the bravest men I have ever known, a true war hero, and it saddens me that most people will never know the depths of his courage. I do not know this Clemendrada at all, this policeman. I believe his motivations on this night are due mostly to the cache of silver he expects to recover from the castle. He says that he does not believe in old wives’ tales. He’s very obese, and quite profane.โ€™

There’s a gap here in the diary. The rest of Ascherl’s account was written after the night he speaks of was finally over:

โ€˜We met at the inn and wasted too much time planning, and with Clemendrada haggling over the price of the carriage, which had suddenly risen. We had agreed that we would tell people we were surveyors. Hardisch was very edgy from the beginning, even more so than myself, although it was I who had the most rage in me. We eventually settled the price of the carriage and went off. I carried a single stake in my bag. Hardisch had a stake and a pistol and a very long iron bar. The policeman Clemendrada had two pistols and that was enough for him. I was also carrying along as many matches as I could. It was very important that I protect them. The weather was very, very cold. It had already begun to snow and we weren’t certain how this would affect our journey.

โ€˜It was an hour and a half until we came to Todezto. It was only about eight o’clock at that time, but in the village there was not a single light to be seen anywhere as we went through in the carriage. Clemendrada asked Hardisch, when he thought I could not hear him, which house had belonged to my wife’s sister. Hardisch pointed it out. It was one of the smallest houses in the village, now very dark. I knew, but maybe the policeman did not know, that Todezto was always like this even before Isa had been abducted. She was 21. Clemendrada was stunned that no one walked down the road and that not even the pub was open for business, as if everyone was hiding. Of course, that’s exactly the case in Todezto, cursed by geography.

โ€˜The snow continued to fall, but it didn’t seem like it was going to be a real problem. We rode on past that point for another half an hour, not speaking much. Once in a while Clemendrada would say something, ask about the area, which was very foreign to him, and Hardisch answered those questions. I could say little or nothing. The pass narrowed at one point, as we knew that it would. We had been there before, but it had been quite a while. Hardisch had the horses going at a solid trotting speed when suddenly he cried out and got them to stop very quickly. We couldn’t see very well. There were woods on both sides of us. It was quite dark. Clouds in the sky, blocking the stars. When I got out of the carriage, I saw what Hardisch did, which was that an enormous pit had been cut out of the pass. A pit about ten meters across and as much as two meters deep in some places, dug out messily, blocking the road. Had the horses not been urged to stop, they might have gone into it. That would have been a terrible accident. We walked around and around the pit. It was obviously an intentional construction, not an accident of nature. We were trying to figure out how to get around it when Hardisch said to me, ‘What is that over there?โ€™ We could see through the gloom that there was a man sitting slumped at the base of a nearby tree, and we could see that there was a shovel sitting next to him, leaning against that tree. I walked over to him. It was too dark to see his face. I asked him if it was he who had made this pit, and if so, why he had done it. It must have taken him hours and hours, if not days. But from this man came no response, though his head did tilt upwards. I reached into my pocket and pulled out one of my matches, and I struck it and held it up toward the man, hoping that the snow would not snuff it out. I saw him fully. I was disgusted and horrified at his incredibly white, grayish pallor. The bones of his thin face pushed out grotesquely, and he gazed up at me with lifeless eyes. His mouth opened and closed as if to speak, but no sound came out. I saw that on the left side of his neck was a grouping of garish, very slowly healing wounds, spreading out several inches in every direction, as if he had been bitten by some animal, not once, twice or even five times, but methodically chewed at over the course of time. Hardisch and Clemendrada had stepped up beside me. Clemendrada poked at the man with his finger, demanding an answer, but it was obvious that we would not get one. We decided to unhitch the horses. I and Hardisch would ride on one, Clemendrada would take the other and we would simply move on. We had no choice. The carriage had to be left behind.

โ€˜Eventually we came to the river. We tied up the horses at the place we had arranged, and our raft was indeed waiting for us, the one we had paid the gypsies for. It was fully prepared, though there wasn’t much to prepare. We climbed onto it. The wind was getting higher and the cold had sunk into our bones, but we were still dry. Hardisch pushed us off and the current took us from there very slowly eastward. There was nothing to do then but hunker down and wait. We looked up at the sky and said nothing. My matches were still dry inside my coat, close to my heart. It was ninety minutes of drifting down the river, woods on either side of us. The mountains seemed to come nearer and nearer. At one point, Clemendrada lifted an arm and pointed into the distance. We looked up and we saw the silhouette of the castle there. I could not take my eyes off it as we got closer and closer until the raft took us finally to our place of disembarkation. We tied it up to shore and started to make our way through the woods, which began just a little ways up the bank.

โ€˜We went past the corpse of a horse that had been bled dry, so much so that it seemed to have shrunk. Under the moonlight it appeared quite white, almost hairless. There were punctures all over its body. We tried not to look at it too carefully. As we made our way to the castle the structure grew larger in our vision, and we used it as a guide, making our way through the trees, our feet crunching in the snow. It was only another mile until we emerged from the trees and were virtually on the castle grounds. We climbed a very steep hill, our breath coming in short spurts, all of us beginning to pant from the effort. I looked straight up. The castle was right before us, reaching up into the sky. I made a great effort not to look up toward any of the windows, lest I see faces looking down at me. Instead, I concentrated on what was immediately in front of us.

โ€˜There was a wall that blocked off a courtyard. I pressed my hands against the stone, and was amazed to feel how incredibly old and crumbling the castle truly was. It was in terrible, terrible condition. Mossy rot was growing everywhere, over every stone. It felt like the entire edifice could come apart in my hands. Hardisch spotted a hole at a spot high on one of the walls, and began to clamber up toward it. It was about eight feet above our heads. When he reached the hole, he told us that he could see into the courtyard and he looked down into it. We followed. Clemendrada climbed first and I came after him. Then the grass below our feet had been replaced by stone. Where we stood there were two very large doors leading into the castle, both bolted. Hardisch went up to the one closest to us and bent to examine the lock. Clemendrada gave him the iron bar that he had been carrying. We all looked at each other and knew what had to be done. Haddish positioned it against the lock in such a way that he hoped to break it with one swift motion of the iron bar. We shrunk against the thought of the sound it would create. On some silent count he went ahead and tried to shatter the lock. It did in fact come apart very easily, but the sound was like a shot in the silence. We stood for a time, looking up and around us, all three of us lost in the shadows of this enormous castle. We waited for some sound, some vision to emerge from the darkness.

โ€˜Hardisch pushed the large door inward. Its creak echoed across the stones beneath our feet. He pushed himself through and we followed. Then we were inside the castle. It was pure darkness. All three of us lit matches. It seemed that the air was so heavy that their light would only last for bare seconds before fading and dying. We saw in front of us that there were three pathways, almost like fate, three ways to go and three men. Clemendrada wished to go into the longest passage. He believed it would lead deeper into the castle and upwards. Hardisch and I allowed him to make his own decision. Hardisch would go toward the right where it was darkest and no turns could be seen, and I would go to my left, toward a tunnel that seemed to slope downwards, which would take me below the earth. We all looked at each other one last time and decided to go our separate ways. My companions both disappeared quickly into the darkness. It was incredibly cold in the castle, the stones conducting the cold all through me.

โ€˜I did not want to use any more of my matches than I had to, but it was simply too dark. I lit them one by one, taking them out of my coat to guide my way. The tunnel that lay before me did in fact curve downward. There was moss under my feet, making my steps virtually silent. I had to bend over slightly as I made my way. The rock walls on either side of me were ancient and crumbling. There were huge gaps in them at various points. I thought I could hear the scurrying of rats. My eyes tried to adjust to the darkness somewhat, but it was very difficult going. I walked for about five minutes, gently descending underneath the castle.

โ€˜At some point I began to hear the trickle of water. As I kept going, the trickle got louder until it was almost as if there were a stream running nearby. I ducked into a very narrow passage, took a right turn, and the passage became very thin and filled with crumbled rock, as if there had been some sort of effort to break down another portion of the castle and put the leavings in here. As I went through this passageway, I saw running water against what I thought was the north wall of the castle. Yes, it was a stream, a very thin, black stream trickling past me. I stood for a time watching it, wondering where it was coming from. As I stood there, something appeared in the water, moving along very slowly. I got closer to the stream and I saw that it was vellum, pages that had been torn from a very large book, two pieces, then five pieces, then twelve and then those pages were gone. Before the last one could get past me, I reached out and touched one of them and picked it out of the water, which was icy. I folded the piece of paper and took it. Even now I’m not sure why I did that.

โ€˜The air in the castle seemed to be becoming heavier and heavier with each passing minute. I got my pocket watch out of my coat and I checked the time, and I was confused by what I saw. It told me that I had been in the castle already for thirty minutes, but that seemed impossible. I felt lightheaded and strangely warm inside my skin. It was as if the air was poisoning me little by little.

โ€˜I had crouched down to reach into the stream, and now I stood up and decided to keep going downward ever further. At my rate of descent, I judged I was probably forty or fifty meters below the earth. Around one more curve there was a dead end. I was in a large room, and I had more space to breathe, and felt not so claustrophobic. I lit a new match and looked around me. There were objects here lying against the walls. I saw that these were stone coffins, incredibly ancient. Most of them broken, pieces missing, various colors of rot streaking their surfaces. There were larger stones embedded in smaller ones inside the walls, and these had markings on them in a language I didn’t understand. I was surrounded by a ring of eight or nine coffins, resting vertically against the stone walls as if some sort of rearrangement was underway, as if they were being moved from one place to another. I did not have the courage to investigate these coffins. They struck me as being so old that I was looking perhaps at the entombed mummies of ancient ancestors.

โ€˜There did not seem to be anywhere for me to go. I had reached a dead end. As I stood there wondering what to do next, there finally came a sound of human presence. It was of running feet very, very far in the distance, running feet on a stone surface high above my head. The sound was conducted through the castle’s mysterious passageways for about five or ten seconds, and then it stopped. I stood for a time, waiting to see if they would come again, but they did not. I had no way of knowing whose footsteps those were, or exactly how far away they were. I intended then to turn and head back, but I found myself powerless to move. My limbs felt so heavy, my brain in a fog. It was that air, that castle air and some sort of evil mixture of age and corruption sinking into me. When I checked my pocket watch again, it told me that I had been here for one hour and fifteen minutes. I felt my memory slipping. Finally, I shook myself out of this trance and began to walk back the way I had come, hoping against hope that I remembered how to get back above ground.

โ€˜There were a few turns, and the castle’s passageways guided me back. The most difficult part was entering a narrow passageway where the ceiling suddenly became much lower to the ground, and I had to bend over halfway, hunched. I was running out of matches, and I felt I could go through the passage without the aid of any sort of light, but halfway through I became very frightened, so I struck one.

โ€˜Looking ahead toward the end of the passage, I saw an object on the mossy ground. It was a human hand. I believed it was severed. I had somehow walked right over it as I’d gone deeper into the castle. I walked closer to it and knelt down. But it was not a severed hand I was looking at. Instead, it was connected to some living being I could not see, and it was simply protruding from the tiniest of holes in that mossy floor. The hand had reached up through this hole, and now lay dormant but slightly twitching, as if it were waiting for something to pass by that it could seize. The fingernails were painted. It was of incredible age, so withered by years. Something compelled me to reach out to it. I touched the tip of one of its fingers, and when I did so it withdrew an inch, but it did not retract into the hole. That was enough to send me onward, not looking downward anymore.

โ€˜I went through that tunnel and I kept on my way, trying to remain focused. I tried to picture my wife’s sister, her face. She was the reason I was here. I heard the trickle of that stream again, and I moved past it, and I felt myself moving back upward, and I finally did come once again to that joining of three dark passageways. We had agreed to meet right here, but there was no one. It was only me. I listened for footsteps. I decided to exit through the door from which we had entered. I pushed my way out and was struck by a blast of cold wind. It was still snowing. I took a few steps out into that barren, cramped courtyard. I looked up at the rising wall of the castle, and I saw, in the moonlight, from a window cut into the stone high above me, a rope dangling downward. Tied to the rope, hanging upside down, was the policeman Clemendrada, motionless, his face pressed against the stone of the castle wall. More rope stretched from his wrist, and this piece was tied to the leg of another man, who was also dangling upside down, gently nudged by the wind. This was Hardisch. They were too high above me to see faces, but I could tell they were dead. They had been pushed out that window and left to hang.

โ€˜Instead of running away, I found myself turning very slowly, losing all hope and knowing that I was going to die on this night. A greater man than I would have been pushed toward greater vengeance, energized by this sight, but not me. I am weak. I lost the last of my light at that moment. I knew I would never see my wife again. I climbed up the rock that we had scaled almost two hours before, and I went through the hole, and I dropped out of the other side into the grass. I was outside the castle, and I stumbled toward the woods very slowly, waiting for anything to come along and kill me, put me out of my considerable misery. Step after step I crunched through the snow, through the woods beyond the castle. Only because nothing stopped me did I go on, not thinking about the sharp wooden stake I had in my pack, but thinking only of those bodies tied up to hang outside the castle as a warning, as a sign, or simply out of convenience.

โ€˜The next thing I remember, I was on the raft. I untied it and lay down upon it. Without Hardisch or Clemendrada, I had no chance to row upstream against the current, so when I pushed off I merely drifted east even further, not exactly certain what lay beyond. I lay on my back and looked up at the cloudy sky, and cursed my life. The time passed as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

โ€˜It was shortly before dawn that I found the strength to sit up on the raft as I drifted. I looked down the river and I saw that I was coming to an embankment, and that soon my progress would be stopped by this sandy bank, but it was not empty. There was someone standing knee-deep in the water.

โ€˜I drew closer to the tall silhouette of a man, a man in some sort of cloak standing and waiting for me to approach via the tide. Beside this man was another figure, a much smaller one, which struck me as feminine, though I couldn’t quite see. Seeing these two figures frightened me so badly that I laid back down and closed my eyes, and only waited. The minutes passed, and I finally felt the raft bump against the shore. Looking up, terror engulfed me as I saw a figure standing to my left. It was a woman, and as I rose to my feet to look at her, I saw it was Isa. She was alive. She was shivering in the cold. She spoke my name. She seemed so pale and thin. I threw my arms around her and began to cry, and the last glimmer of sanity I possessed left me just enough reason to pull back at one point and look at her neck. There were no markings there, and no wounds. I was looking at her as she truly was. After so many months, she was alive.

โ€˜I will not say in this diary how I came to return her to her home in Todezto. I will only say that she has no memory of her time away from us, no memory of the night seven months ago when she was stolen. We are simply grateful for her return. The doctors examined her and found nothing wrong with her except for her emaciation and dehydration, and a brain fever that had stolen her memory. Why Isa was returned to us, we will never know. My wife is grateful to me for what she considers heroism, but I am sure I will always live in shame for my inaction after I saw the bodies of Hardisch and Clemendrada. I should have gone back into the castle to kill its lord, no matter the threat, as I had meant to when the night began.โ€™

That is where my great-great-grandfather’s diary ends. It resumes again on completely unrelated matters, in the summertime. I possess today one other document of note. Only because the style of vellum and the handwriting upon this single page are so different from anything else that we found at my great-great-grandfather’s home do I assume that it’s the object that Ascherl brought back with him from the castle that night. It is the piece of vellum that he reached down and took from that strange, cold stream running beneath it. Because it was soaked by that icy water, of course, the ink had faded to almost nothing, but after some reconstruction I was able to read most of it. It was written in Hungarian in a flowing, archaic script, and it’s little more than a listing of the physical details of the land around that area, as if these details were being transcribed for some sort of real estate documentation: harmless, nothing strange.

When I think that the letters on this piece of paper may very well have been scrawled by that evil creature of legend, it makes it all seem so real to me. More real, somehow, than if I had found the wooden stake that Ascherl had taken into the castle with him. This piece of vellum is something I have with me all the time now, its very innocuousness somehow proving that every word written in that diary is true.

Rating: 9.75/10. From 4 votes.
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๐ŸŽง Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Soren Narnia
Edited by N/A
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

๐Ÿ”” More stories from author: Soren Narnia


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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