A Castle’s Secret

This is a personalized short scary story for my sister, Tina. It was a pleasure writing this story for her, based on her answers to my four questions. She gave simple answers to those questions. Then, I let my imagination run with them and this is the story that came of it! So fun! Check the information at the bottom of this post if you would also like a Cynthia Seer story written just for you based on your answers to my story prompting questions.

Christy’s family walked slowly up the grand driveway to a majestic castle overlooking the beautiful countryside in Ireland. This trip was at the top of their bucket list and a once in a lifetime opportunity for their small family of three. Christy and Scott saved up for the last ten years to make this trip possible and were thrilled to include their eight year old daughter, Emma, in the experience. The sights and sounds and foods were all so amazing. They only had this day and the next day to finish their sightseeing before they would fly back to their lower middle class lives in the states. But, for almost a week, they were taking in the history around them and enjoying every moment of it.

Listening to their tour guide as they ventured toward the castle entrance, all three of them were captivated by his story of the haunted castle. Christy only hoped Emma would be distracted enough by the rest of their day so she would forget this particular story and be able to sleep that night.

“It’s said the daughter of Lord O’Fearghail was a beautiful young woman by the name of Duvessa, which means Dark Beauty. She fell in love with a poor man in the village and longed to marry him. The Lord would hear none of that and forbid her to see the man any longer. When she disobeyed and snuck out with the man one night, Lord O’Fearghail was furious and had the man murdered and dumped in a field outside of town. The news devastated Duvessa and she threw herself from the tallest window of this castle, just up there.” The tour guide pointed up towards the highest room of the castle while finishing his tale of love lost in the now creepy looking castle.

“You’d all better hope you don’t hear her wails or, worse yet, see her wandering the halls of this castle. Nothing good ever comes of an encounter with the beautiful Lady Duvessa.” the tour guide finished as he ushered everyone into the giant main doors of the castle.

In a much more chipper tone, he continued, “Off to your right, you’ll notice a beautiful receiving room where Lords and Ladies would greet their guests.”

The tour continued through one enchantingly decorated room after another, each with ropes just inside the rooms to keep guests from disturbing the ancient furniture and décor. Emma was mesmerized by each space they visited, having already expressed an interest in being an interior decorator when she grew up. Scott and Christy thoroughly enjoyed witnessing their daughter’s smiling face throughout the trip. These were memories they would cherish always.

As they were leaving one especially elegant dining room, the tour guide gestured towards a smaller entrance and indicated it was a passage for servants who worked during meal times. Christy turned in that direction and then stared at the old wooden door, sure she could faintly hear someone on the other side. Faint at first, it sounded like singing of some kind. Christy squinted her eyes as she listened intently until Scott nudged her to continue walking with the rest of the group. She’d been so focused on the sound, she hadn’t noticed her family leaving the room. Just before she stepped out of that room, she glanced back but no longer heard the sound. Odd, she thought, but she brushed it off as a echo in a large castle.

The tour continued until it reached the top bedroom of the castle, normally devoted to servants but apparently used by the Lady Duvessa on the fateful night of her death. Their tour guide spoke briefly about her tragic leap and pointed to the window she’d used. Christy was struck with curiosity and raised her hand to ask a question.

“Yes, my lady?” the tour guide asked her.

“I just wondered why that window is now fastened shut? It doesn’t look like it opens anymore.” Christy asked.

“Ah, good observation.” the tour guide said. “For a hundred years or so after her demise, it was thought that Lady Duvessa would lead people to jump from the window, just as she did. There were a large number of suicides from this very window. In an effort to stop the deaths, the family chose to seal all the windows in this room, not just that one. Deaths did slow down in this castle after that but there are still many deaths attributed to Lady Duvessa.” he said as he looked down towards the floor.

“Does she drive people to kill themselves?” Christy asked.

“There is much debate about that.” the tour guide began. “Some say she drives them to it. Others say she simply warns when a death is about to occur, as if she wants to stop it from happening but can’t.”

“Oh. How sad.” Christy whispered to Scott as the tour guide motioned toward the next door the group should go through. Scott stepped into the stairwell, followed by Emma. Christy lingered for a moment, taking in the sadness of the room and giving a moment of silence to the souls who died there. Her steps towards the doorway were met with a faint sound, however, that caused her to pause again. This time, it sounded much closer to crying than singing and seemed to come from the same stairwell she and everyone else were entering.

Christy stepped quickly into the stairwell and looked around at everyone else, trying to determine if they were hearing it, too. No one looked as though they heard anything. Everyone continued down the stairs, speaking softly about the space they’d just left. Christy, however, was sure she was hearing crying now, as it seemed to be getting more noticeable.

“Does anyone hear that?” she said, loud enough that the rest of the group would hear her. Most people mumbled a No in response with a few joking that maybe it was the ghost coming to get her. The tour guide, however, stopped in his tracks for a moment and looked back toward her, as if to see who’d asked the question but not to answer it. After only a brief moment of eye contact between the two of them, he turned ahead again and continued down the stairs towards their next destination in the house. When the group arrived at a quite large wine cellar, the guide waved everyone in but pulled Christy aside as she began to enter.

“Might I ask what you thought you heard on the stairs?” he asked. Christy suddenly felt silly for ever having mentioned it.

“Oh, I don’t know. It was probably just an echo. I thought it sounded like crying or moaning but I’m sure it was nothing.” she answered.

“I don’t know you and it’s not for me to say, but you may want to speak with your loved ones very soon. Ask them how they’re doing and be a support to them. It may mean nothing at all but sometimes, well, just check on your friends and family. That’s all.” the man said as he waved a hand in her direction and started back into the room with the others.

“What do you mean?” she called after him.

“Nothing, miss.” he called back.

By the time she caught up to him, he was beginning another talk about the wine cellar and how the occupants might have used it. Christy’s mind was consumed with what she’d just been told by the evasive tour guide. Had she actually heard a ghost? Was he trying to imply that she’d been warned of a coming death? While she stood at the doorway of the room pondering what on earth was happening, the slight moaning crept back into her ears, this time coming from the hall outside of the room. Christy turned and began to follow the sound this time, desperate to discover what she was hearing, if for no other reason than to insure that no one she cared about was truly in danger.

The long, dark hallway was a bit dank and musty smelling. They were in the lower part of the castle, after all, so everything had a very damp smell and look to it. She followed the crying until it seemed to be shifting to more of a wail. Whoever was making that noise sounded pained right down to their very core. Christy’s heart began to race with the thought that a real person might actually need help. How could it be that no one else was hearing this and searching with her? It was getting very loud.

Rounding a corner of the hall, Christy froze in place as her eyes fell upon a woman at the far end of this stretch of hallway. She wore a long dress that seemed to flow back and forth as if it was tossed about in the wind. Of course there was no wind to be had in the dark passageway. Her hair was long and dark while her skin was pale and fair. Her face wore the most distressed look while she moaned and cried, making direct eye contact with Christy. It was only then that Christy realized this woman’s feet weren’t on the ground, if she even had any. All Christy could see was the bottom of her dress, which faded into nothing before it reached the floor.

“Lady Duvessa?” was all Christy could think to say. She felt frozen with shock and fear. As she stood staring at the strange woman, Lady Duvessa’s face distorted even more as she let out a sorrowful and distressed moan that shifted to an ear piercing cry. Her flowing body shot toward Christy at lightning speed. Christy let out a blood curdling scream and fell to the ground, hoping to avoid an impact with the crazed spirit.

Unbeknownst to her, Scott was walking up right behind Christy, searching for her since she’d wandered off a few minutes ago. When Christy hit the floor, Scott took the full impact of the spirit as she passed right through him and disappeared just a few feet behind him. Christy turned around in disbelief and called to her husband.

“Scott! Oh my god, are you okay?” she yelled.

“What in the actual hell was that?” he yelled back. He’d only caught a glimpse of the figure that had knocked him off his feet but he wasn’t thrilled about what little bit he did see.

“I think it was Lady Duvessa.” Christy said while she crawled over to where Scott lay. He sat up slowly, trying to catch his breath. It felt like someone had sucker punched him right in the gut.

“No way that just happened.” was all he could think to say in that moment. “That looked like a demon from a horror movie.” He stood up, still dazed, as Christy helped him to his feet. Emma entered the hall with the tour guide just as they were standing.

“What happened?” the tour guide asked in a concerned tone.

Noticing Emma standing there and not wanting to frighten her, Christy said, “I got turned around and Scott came to find me. I guess we bumped into each other, right Honey?” Scott muttered something in the affirmative and they walked back to the group with Emma and the guide.

For the last hour of the castle tour, Christy watched Scott closely. Every glance he made or sigh he voiced was analyzed in her mind, searching for any sign that he might have been affected by the spirit passing through him. Christy had never seen anything like that. Surely, there would be some adverse effect.

As they browsed the gift shop at the end of the tour, Christy realized she hadn’t heard any other strange crying or moaning since the spirit had encountered Scott, which only made her worry more. What if it was in him, whispering sadness and longing into his soul? She began to watch him even closer, almost forgetting their daughter was with them at all.

“Mom, are you okay?” Emma asked, as her mom stared at her dad. “You’ve been acting weird.” Emma continued.

“I’m okay, sweetie. Maybe I’m just tired. This is a big castle after all. Lots to take in, ya know?” Christy answered, feeling guilty for ignoring Emma like she had.

“I guess so.” Emma replied. “Dad’s acting weird, too. Maybe we should go back to the hotel after this.” Emma showed real concern on her little face. Christy hated that her eight year old felt that kind of noticeable concern for them and tried her best to snap herself out of it. It was, after all, completely bizarre what had happened to them but that was in a haunted castle. A haunted castle that they were now leaving.

“We’ll be fine, sweetie. Besides, our next stop is a fancy dinner and then a walk in a giant hedge maze! You know how much we love corn mazes back home. I’m sure this maze will be just as fun!” Christy said in an attempt to change the subject and leave their strange experience behind them.

Dinner was amazing and before long, they were back on the tour bus and headed toward another castle, this one known for its hedge maze. Emma was noticeably excited by this point which made Christy very happy. Scott still seemed a bit dazed after their encounter but she hoped he would loosen up once they were moving about and concentrating on solving an enormous maze. Corn mazes were one of their favorite fall activities. So, this hedge maze promised to be one of the highlights of their trip.

Getting out of the bus and signed into the maze, Scott stood back and let Christy take care of those things. He definitely felt out of sorts but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. There was a distinct melancholy that he couldn’t understand. Everything around him felt bland. While he could see that Christy and Emma were having a great time, he was merely following them because he knew that’s what he should do. Aside from that, he was just taking up space. Going through the motions.

Christy grabbed Scott’s hand as they neared the maze entrance. “Does anyone need to use the bathroom before we go in? This is the biggest maze we’ve ever done!” Christy excitedly asked.

“Nope! I’m ready!” yelled Emma in reply. They both looked at Scott, no doubt waiting for a reply but getting no reaction at all. Just a blank expression stared back at them.

“Honey, snap out of it.” Christy said, trying not to alarm Emma.

“Sorry. What did you say?” Scott finally replied.

“I just asked if anyone needed the restroom.” Christy repeated.

“Oh, no. I’m good.” Scott said.

“Are you up for this?” Christy asked, secretly hoping he would not request they skip it. She knew how much Emma had been looking forward to the hedge maze.

“Yeah, I’m good. Just tired, I guess. I’m fine, though.” Scott managed to answer while they crossed the threshold into the maze. An employee handed them a map but they decided not to open it unless they really needed to. Emma was practically bouncing down the first passageway and they quickly had their first decision to make. Left or right. A pretty basic maze decision. Christy and Emma giggled as they chose the family’s direction. Scott quietly followed behind them.

After about 20 minutes of walking through the maze, Christy began to hear a familiar sound. Soft crying. When she tried to distinguish where it was coming from, she realized it was coming from behind Scott, in the direction they’d just come from. She walked past Scott to follow the sound only to discover the sound was not coming from behind him. It was coming from him. Christy forgot she was trying to be discrete and not scare Emma. She let out a startled yelp and Emma turned to see what happened. Scott stopped walking as soon as the yelp came from Christy. He just halted and stood facing forward, not saying a word. Tears welled in his eyes. Christy grabbed him by the shoulders, desperate to wake him from whatever trance he was in. The crying grew louder but Emma still didn’t seem to hear it. She begged her mother to tell her what was going on but Christy had no idea what to say or do.

From the path in front of them, an older woman burst from around the corner and stopped in her tracks.

“I’m sorry it took me so long.” she said, completely confusing Christy and Emma. Scott didn’t seem to notice anything happening around him.

“I could hear her wailing the moment you got here but I had to find you in this damn maze.” the old woman continued. Christy was baffled and had so many questions but there didn’t seem enough time to deal with that now. Scott was slowly backing away from her. She had no idea where he might be trying to go or why. Nothing made any sense.

“What’s his name?” the old woman quickly asked, barely looking at Christy or Emma. She was focused completely on Scott.

“Scott.” Christy answered, although she still didn’t know why.

“What’s wrong with my dad?” Emma stammered. She was truly frightened now.

“Your dad has an unwanted and uninvited guest and we are going to make her leave.” the old woman said with confidence. It wasn’t until now that Christy noticed the woman’s appearance. She had seemingly long, gray hair that was in a single braid down her back, although the length of it wasn’t obvious because of the black, floor length cloak she wore. Her dress was a bit tattered but well mended just the same. She wore many different charms and trinkets around her neck and on her bracelets. A brown satchel was draped over her neck and shoulder and she currently dug in it for something that seemed important at the moment. All the while, Scott, having backed several steps away from Christy, turned and began walking at a brisk pace in the other direction. Where he was going, his family had no idea.

“Do what you can to slow him down but do not anger her. She may lash out.” warned the old woman.

“Anger who?” Christy asked as she moved to catch up with Scott.

“She says her name is Lady Duvessa. She’s a sorrowful soul who knows nothing but sadness and destruction. I think she was trying to warn you about something and became trapped in Scott.” the old woman explained.

“Oh my god, I saw her at the castle! She was screaming and crying and flew right at me. I ducked but Scott was standing right behind me. She went right through him!” Christy yelled as she realized what must’ve happened.

“She didn’t go through him. She’s still there. Her sadness is overwhelming him. He intends to harm himself. If I can just find…” the woman trailed off as Christy tried standing in front of Scott to slow him down. He simply walked right into her and kept going.

“I’ve got it!” the old woman shouted as she held a crystal into the air that was as big as her bony, old hand. The quartz crystal was entirely clear, as see through as the cleanest spring on the highest mountain. The old woman began walking directly toward Scott, who’s back was turned to her as he walked quickly towards whatever demise Lady Duvessa intended for him. As the old woman neared him, he swung his arm around and caught her right across the face. The old woman was spun around by the impact and hit the ground hard.

Surprisingly, she didn’t stay down long. Quite the opposite. She rose, not to her feet but up above the ground. Her feet dangled at least two feet off the dirt and grass as she floated, suspended in the air. The small crowd that had gathered because of all the commotion stood in stunned silence, watching this unbelievable event unfold before them. Quiet chanting could be heard coming from the old woman as the crystal in her hand began to glow a bright white light. The old woman clasped the crystal in both hands and pointed its tip directly toward Scott.

As if by some trick of magic, a pale woman with striking, jet black hair emerged from Scott as his body crumpled to the ground. Her hair and dress flowed just as it had before when Christy saw her in the castle hallway. She slowly turned to face the old woman, whose eyes were totally white as she continued to chant softly into the evening breeze. Lady Duvessa screeched and thrashed as she was drawn closer and closer to the old woman. It was quite a sight to see. Both women were floating above the ground but a rumble could be felt through the feet of all the onlookers, as if some great energy were being exerted.

Lady Duvessa became more and more agitated the closer she got to the old woman and her glowing crystal. Once the tip of the crystal touched the translucent spirit of Lady Duvessa, a great explosion of white light forced everyone to look away and shield their eyes for a moment. When they looked back, the old woman was on her hands and knees on the ground, with the crystal laying just in front of her. Only, the once clear crystal was now solid black in color with only the tip of it being a dark gray. Emma stayed with Scott as he began to wake from his comatose state while Christy ran to the old woman.

“What was that? What did you do to her?” Christy asked between racing breaths.

“She is a banshee that overstepped her bounds. I had to trap her to save your husband. Normally, she should only warn of death coming but she tried to cause it. Who knows how many times she’s done that and been successful.” the old woman explained while still gathering her strength to stand.

“Thank you so much! How can we ever repay you?” Christy asked with tears in her eyes.

“There is no thanks needed, young lady. This is what I do. It’s my life’s work.” was the old woman’s simple reply.

“Surely there is something. I don’t even know your name and you saved my husband’s life.” Christy answered.

“You may call me Alice and help an old woman to her feet. That’s all the thanks I require.” Alice said as Christy helped her to stand and gather her things. Christy started to pick up the now black crystal when Alice shouted for her to stop.

“Don’t touch that! No one must touch it directly, not even me.” Alice said. With great care, she pulled a cloth out of her satchel and picked the black crystal up while simultaneously wrapping it in the cloth.

“What will you do with it?” Christy asked with great concern.

“She won’t hurt anyone else from within this crystal. I’ll keep her safely tucked away.” Alice replied with a slight smile on her old, withered face. Christy cast an exhausted glance at Scott and Emma before turning her gaze back to Alice, who was now slowly walking away from them. As she rounded the corner from which she’d appeared, she picked up a cane she must’ve dropped in the commotion and hobbled out of sight. Everyone stood or sat in the grass, gathering their thoughts. Shock was settled on every face present and no one said a word. Slowly, the crowd began to dissipate and Christy got Scott back to his feet. They immediately opted to use the map to make their way back to the entrance and leave the maze. Rest was the only thing each of them desired now. Rest from a reality that felt more like a bad dream.

Alice used her black cloak to her advantage and disappeared into the treeline once no one was looking. She made her way back to her little cabin where she knew she wouldn’t be bothered. She knew this because no one would be able to even see her property, much less enter it. The protection and cloaking spells she cast on her land were powerful and had kept her safe for many centuries. Once she was safe in her home, she allowed her illusion spell to fall from her, exposing her true appearance. Alice was a young, beautiful, red head with eyes as green as the thickest forest. After a deep sigh of relief for having dropped all the defenses she’d held, Alice took the black crystal from her satchel and carefully placed it in a glass jar that she then sealed with her own hand made cloth and candle wax. After placing it with the other jars on her shelf, she sat back in a chair and admired her collection.

“I have many plans for you.” Alice muttered with a sly grin on her porcelain face.


If you are interested in your very own personalized short scary story from Cynthia Seer, for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, email Cynthia@TrueHauntings.com for information on packages available and pricing.

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