„How did it go Ivan. Have you signed the contract.“
“Yes master, there was no problem. As you instructed the deposit was transferred from your Swiss bank account yesterday to the lawyers and the property is now ours, sorry Master, I mean yours of course.”
“Show me Ivan” and Ivan gave the document to his master for his approval.
“Contract between Duke Colossky and lawyers Crumble and Crumble
for the sale of MacMillan castle. The rightful owner now being Duke Colossky etc. etc.”
The Duke was pleased. He had been living in a draughty church vault up to now, for lack of finding something more suitable. It was on one of his nocturnal expeditions that he saw MacMillan castle from afar. His faithful servant, Ivan, was instructed to find the owners of the castle and it happened that since the last Lord Macmillan died it was in the hands of the lawyers to be sold. This was wonderful news for the Duke. At last a place to live, honouring his rank in the world. A Duke should not spend his days sleeping in the vault of an old church but amongst surroundings worthy of his ranks. That morning Duke Colossky retired to his coffin feeling satisfied with the world as he knew it.
In the meanwhile Mathew Crumble was sitting in his office glad that he had at last managed to sell MacMillan castle. He was about to finalise the contract when he suddenly felt most peculiar. Somehow he had a stabbing pain through his arm and the lights went out. Well let us say they went out for Mathew Crumble. His brother Mark found him two hours later and called for the emergency, but unfortunately too late. Admittedly Mathew was not the youngest any more, but Mark was a little shocked that his 75 year old brother had to die so sudden and alone. It was now Mark’s responsibility to carry on the affairs of Crumble and Crumble. Two weeks after the demise of Mathew Crumble Mark was in the office sorting documents when the telephone rang.
“Am I speaking to the lawyers office Crumble and Crumble?” asked a feminine voice on the telephone.
“You are, Madam” answered Mark recognising the American accent that the female on the telephone seemed to have.
“I understand that the property MacMillan castle is up for sale and you are handling the business. I was touring Scotland and saw the castle. I just fell in love with it at first sight. Could we arrange a sightseeing visit, perhaps this afternoon? I would be very much interested in buying the castle.”
Now Mark Crumble had no idea that a few minutes before his brother Mathew had his heart attack that the sale of the castle had already been completed, so of course he gladly made arrangements to meet the American lady in his office. She introduced herself as Barbara vanBelt and was so captivated by the fact that she could own a castle in Scotland she signed the contract for the castle in the office without even seeing the castle
They then visited the castle later in the afternoon. “By the way, you can call me Barbara and cut the Mrs. vanBelt thing. No need to look for a Mr. vanBelt, he died a few years back, but luckily left his money behind.”
Mark was not really interested in the private life of Mr. vanBelt, or Barbara, as he could call her, but was glad to have a solvent customer for the castle.
“OK, Mrs. vanBelt, Barbara, then let’s enter.” They walked through the gates to the old oak door. Mark opened the door and they entered.
“This is fantastic” said Barbara “just what I was looking for; a nice quaint old castle in Scotland. “Doesn’t the Queen of England own a few castles around here?”
“Well, yes, she does have one in Scotland” answered Mark, but that would be a bit nearer to the town. This castle is a bit isolated up on the moors.”
“But that is the beauty of it, just what I wanted. Is there someone moving around in that room over there.”
“The castle is empty at the moment, but yes I can hear some movements as well” said Mark and they both walked over and entered the room, which was the so-called banqueting hall. The table was set with a plate, knife and fork and on the plate were the remains of a dinner, which looked liked it had been a chicken, although only the bones were left.
“May I ask what you are doing here?” said a voice with a strong east European accent and Barbara and Mark turned to see a man at least seven foot tall, dressed completely in black. His complexion was rather pale, which made even a stronger contrast to his general appearance.
Mark was completely surprised “I think the question is mine, what is your business in this castle?”
“My master is the owner.”
“The owner since this morning is Mrs. vanBelt”
“It sure is” chimed in Barbara “so who is this master person you are talking about?”
“Duke Colossky, it is he that owns the castle.”
“Do you have any proof of ownership?” asked Mark.
“Naturally we do” and Ivan showed Mark the contract. Barbara vanBelt showed her contract and Mark was completely surprised. Of course he saw that the Duke’s contract had been signed by his brother Mathew and slowly realised what had happened.
“I think we must have a talk with Duke Colossky. Is he available?”
“My master is resting at the moment, but will be at your disposal in the evening. If you would care to stay so long, I can serve you a meal.
“What do you think Barbara, would that be ok with you? It would take another hour to drive back to town and we would have to come back again tomorrow afternoon to sort this problem.”
“My master is not available during the afternoon” answered Ivan “but only in the evening. He has important business to settle during the day.”
“In that case I think we will stay, if that’s all right with you Mark.”
Mark really had no choice. There had been a dreadful mix-up and he was still wondering how to solve the problem. Two contracts had been made for the same castle. Basically the whole business would cost the lawyers company Crumble and Crumble a lot of money, especially if one of the parties would decide to go to court.
In the meanwhile the surroundings of the castle plunged into a thick yellowish mist and crows began sweeping around the towers, calling to each other with their hollow sounds.
“Good evening” said a voice from a dark corner of the room and a man approached them. He too was extremely pale in complexion. He spoke with the same accent as Ivan and Mark assumed that they came from the same part of the world, thinking probably all people had such pale complexions in that place.
“My servant Ivan has informed that confusion has arisen according to who the rightful owners of this castle would be. I am sure that we can sort the problem somehow. Ivan, bring a bottle of wine, the special one from our old country” Ivan left the room descending to the cellar where the wine was kept. It was indeed a splendid wine and Mark and Barbara enjoyed it. They actually spent a pleasant evening with the Duke, who was not at all angry for the mix up with the contracts. He even suggested to Mark and Barbara that they should stay the night in the castle, as after drinking so much wine it would be wiser not to drive. Mark and Barbara accepted and were escorted to two large bedrooms where they spent the night. They had troubled dreams that night, both of them. Visions of the Duke Colossky appeared in their dreams. He seemed to be standing over them, and it seemed that he was no longer as pale as they thought. His complexion became quite rosy and his lips so red.
The next morning Mark and Barbara slept on. Actually Mark did wake but was so blinded by the sunlight streaming through the window, he had to hide under the bed. Ivan came into his room and said if there was too much light, he would know a more comfortable place to sleep. Mark was glad and followed Ivan to the cellars of the castle. He found Barbara was already there, as she too had problems with the sunlight. Actually there were now three coffins there. One for Barbara, one for Mark and the biggest and most luxurious occupied by Duke Colossky. Ivan did not need a coffin. After all someone had to look after the castle during the day.
Rita's "Riting" Challenge #10 - The Castle