It was an engaging, interesting and informative disappointment. The tour guide took us down into the dark dank dungeon chambers of the castle, the winds breaking upon the ancient stone fortress wailed throughout the structure as leaks dripped from the ruined ceiling. It had all of the hallmarks of a legendary ghost tour—the guide even had one of those old fashion oil lanterns—there was just one, small problem.
“And you see through here is where the dungeon master would do his rounds, ensure that the prisoners under his charge were well fed and kept to proper. He took his role handling custody very seriously.” Our guide, Phillip spoke well and enthusiastically about the history of the castle, down to the minutia of daily life that the denizens back in the day would have experienced.
But it just wasn’t spooky enough; there was no mention of tortured spirits, no talk of foul energies or hauntings. Just run of the mill history.
“Now make sure you stay close,” he said as he led Gary and I up the spiralling stairs out of the dungeon. “I have the only key to get out, and you do NOT want to get locked down here at night, gets dreadfully cold.” He jangled the old iron keys on a large black ring for effect.
“That’s it,” I said, halting our private tour several steps from the exit.
Phillip paused before placing his key in the hole and turned with a quizzical expression. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes. Look, sorry Phillip, this has been a great tour. But Gary and I booked a ghost tour. We wanted to be scared out of our wits. So far you’ve just done a . . . regular tour.”
Phillip scratched his head and looked around, “What do you mean regular tour?”
“What Sam is trying to say, Phillip,” Gary cut in, “Was that we were expecting actual ghosts, or ghost stories, or, something.”
A wash of realisation rolled over Phillip’s expression like a wave and he laughed, “Oh I’m so sorry, there must have been some sort of misunderstanding.”
“You think?” I said, crossing my arms. “We would like a refund.”
“Oh no, that’s not what I mean.” Phillip straightened up with his fists on his hips, looming over Gary and I, the light in the lantern flickered and waned. “This is a ghost tour, just not the kind you probably expected.”
The air suddenly grew cold.
“H-how so?” I mumbled.
“Well, this is the tour, I’m the ghost.” He said.
Goosebumps rolled down my back, Gary laughed awkwardly. “Heh,” he said, “Good one, Phillip.”
“Oh you don’t believe me?” Phillip asked.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, “We don’t.”
“Very well,” Phillip sighed, “Watch closely now.” He flashed a wicked grin, and faded from view—his lantern dropped on the stairs and smashed to pieces.
Gary and I were left in the cold, dark dungeon, locked from ever escaping.
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