Roger and the castle.
One Saturday morning Roger woke up, got dressed and went downstairs only to find Mom and Dad already eating breakfast.
"Hi Roger," said Dad, "we've got a big surprise for you today."
"What is it?", asked Roger excitedly. "We're going to the seaside." said Mom.
Roger was delighted. He loved the smells, the sounds, making sandcastles on the beach, donkey rides, eating hot dogs and paddling in the clear, warm water. He loved everything about the seaside.
But Dad continued, "We don't have to come home tonight. We're going to stay in the big, old castle on the hill." he said.
"Yippee!" cried Roger. This was going to be the best trip ever.
Roger had often looked up at the castle on his trips to the seaside. He imagined what it was like inside, with kings, princesses and jesters, and huge feasts. But now he would finally get the chance to see for himself.
They all got into the car and set off for the seaside. It was a lovely sunny day and just about lunch time when they arrived. They sat down on the beach to enjoy the picnic Mom had brought.
After that Roger spent the afternoon paddling in the sea, building sand castles, going on a donkey ride and eating ice cream. Roger and Mom and Dad took turns at burying each other in the sand.
Just as the big clock tower chimed six o'clock Dad said to Roger, "Come on, now for the second part of your surprise." They all got into the car and drove to the big old castle. Roger felt so excited that not only would he get to see inside he would also spend the night there.
Dad parked the car and they knocked at the huge wooden door. It was opened by an old man in a smart suit who introduced himself as Charles.
Charles gave them the keys to their rooms and showed them into a giant hall where he introduced them to two other families who would be spending the night. He served everyone with drinks and took their orders for dinner. Roger ordered fish and chips.
Despite the ancient stone walls the hall was very comfortable and had a massive TV for watching movies and playing video games. Roger played with the other children while Mom and Dad talked with the adults.
When dinner arrived it was delicious, the best fish and chips Roger had ever tasted.
After dinner they went back into the giant hall where they played and chatted and relaxed until everyone started yawning.
"Who's for bed?", said Dad.
"Me." said Roger and Mom together.
They all went upstairs and found their rooms. Roger's room was just across from Mom and Dad's.
Mom tucked Roger into bed and kissed him goodnight. "See you in the morning." she said as she switched off his light.
Roger was very tired but try as he might he couldn't sleep. He turned from one side to the other and back again. Then, all of a sudden, he heard a noise. Knock, knock, knock... went the noise. Roger sat up with a start. The he heard a gruff voice, "This is my room, this is my room."
Roger was so scared he ran across to Mom and Dad's room. "Mom, Dad," he cried, "there's a ghost in my room, I just heard it."
"Don't be silly." said Mom, "There are all kinds of noises in an old castle like this, and you've had such a busy day. It's just your mind playing tricks.". Mom took Roger back to bed and tucked him in again.
Again Roger tried to sleep, but still he couldn't. Then he heard the knocking noise again. Knock, knock, knock... it went, and again the gruff voice, only this time it sounded louder and angrier. All of a sudden Roger felt his blanket being pulled from the bed.
"Mom. Dad." yelled Roger as he burst into their room, "There IS a ghost. It jut pulled the blanket from my bed."
This time Dad tried to reassure him. "Don't be silly, son," he said, "it was just a dream. We won't let you watch any more scary movies on television."
Dad took Roger back to his room and this time they looked together for the ghost. They looked in the wardrobe, behind the curtains and under the bed.
"See, no ghosts." said Dad as he switched off the light, "Sleep well, breakfast is at eight tomorrow morning."
Roger tried to sleep again, but try as he might he just couldn't drop off. And then the noise came again, but this time it was really loud. Knock, knock, knock..... "This is my room. This is my room. Get out. I'm tired and I want to sleep." said the voice. When Roger opened his eyes there was an old man dressed in old ragged clothes sitting on the edge of his bed. Roger ran to Mom and Dad's room screaming.
By this time Dad was fast asleep, so Mom took Roger by the hand and led him back to his room. When she opened the door she screamed too. For there in the bed was the great big ugly ghost. He was fast asleep and making the most fearsome snoring noise.
Mom and Roger both ran back and woke Dad. They all grabbed their things and ran out of the castle back to their car to look for a hotel where they could spend the night in peace.
And after that Roger never again wanted to spend the night in a big old castle.