By Katrina Alexis
I have just come from one of the most entertaining episodes of my stay here in the castle. All day it snowed up a storm. I didn’t write. Delighted, I just sat in front of my window and watched it fall. I was going to go to the café for dinner as usual, but Judy was worried and pressed me to stay indoors. Dinner was a sad affair with everyone complaining about the weather.
“Isn’t it great?” I finally erupted as cheerfully as I could muster.
They all stared at me as though I’d just descended from another planet. Sarah, however, stared at me as though I’d just become infected with the world’s deadliest virus. Satisfied with the results of my comment (no one mentioned the weather again), I sat back to enjoy the home-cooked meal in peace. Shortly after, Adam announced that he would be making a fire in the library hearth if anyone wanted to come and join him there. I wasn’t sure, but after I’d retired to my room, I decided to at least check it out. If the lights were off, I could seclude myself in a corner and pretend that the fire was the only thing keeping us all from freezing to death. I know, it was a romantic notion, but the castle has that effect on me.
The library is a good walk from the girls’ wing. As I exited my room, I saw a nose next door slip quickly back out of sight. When I was most of the way down the hall, I heard a door close, and glancing over my shoulder as I turned the corner, I saw Sarah following.
As I reached the end of another hall, Sarah was still the same distance behind. Then it happened. I don’t know whether it was because of the blizzard outside or because of a God in heaven who heard my wish, but the house went black. I heard a screech behind me, and I admit, I wanted to laugh. It was like being in a haunted house. I was going to go on, but then it occurred to me that Sarah might be truly terrified.
“Sarah?” I called out.
“Sarah, are you hurt?”
“Sarah, I’m coming. Hang on.” I heard a thud and then a scrambling noise as though someone were trying to get up quickly and could not get traction beneath her feet. “Sarah, is that you?” I asked, confused at the sounds.
I think she tried to respond. The dark must have scared her out of her senses. Anyway, I heard a squeak. Then I heard running footsteps. I reached the place where I thought she’d been, and my fingers found a corner, a hallway I’d passed moments ago. Sarah had just run down it. I could still hear her footsteps, stumbling along. Does she know where she’s going? I thought.
I sighed and gave chase. The girl was near frantic with fear, and running about in foreign, dark passageways was going to get her hurt.
“Sarah, wait up!” I shouted. “Heavens, I’m not a ghost. I’m just Kat! Didn’t you see me walking ahead of you to the library?”
A door slammed.
“Good grief,” I muttered. As I began rattling door knobs (most were locked, and I was disappointed), I thought of a game I used to play. One person would hide. Then everyone would look and hide with the first until all but one were squished together in the hiding place. What fun it would be to play that in the castle, especially tonight! I made a mental note to make mention of it if I ever reached the library.
I found a door that was unlocked and stuck my head in the room even though I still couldn’t see a thing.
“Go away!” I immediately heard. The sound was muffled.
“Goodness, Sarah, what’s this about? Are you okay?”
“What’s this about? What’s this about?” The voice was hysterical. “You tell me! What do you think you’re doing running after a girl in a darkened house? You’re creeping me out!”
“Sorry,” I said, taken aback. “It’s not that scary, Sarah,” I felt compelled to point out. “It’s an adventure.”
“Well, I–” she sputtered. “I don’t want an adventure.”
“You could have fooled me,” I retorted. “Anyway, you’re lost, I think. I know the way back to the library. Let’s go.”
“What? Go with you? N-N-No, you go ahead. Don’t wait. I’m not lost. I left something in here.”
“Suit yourself,” I said, realizing belatedly how embarrassed I might feel to be caught running from a nonexistent ghost. But, hey, most people would get spooked in a dark house this big. I’m just not most people.
I walked into the library a second before the lights came back on. Everyone else was there, and they turned as one at my entrance.
“Oh, I’m glad you made it,” Judy said. “I was worried you’d be a little frightened in this big, old house with the power outage.”
I smiled politely. “Thanks, but no need. I rather enjoyed it.”
“Have you seen Sarah?”
“Yeah, I think I killed her.” No one found that near as funny as I did. “She’s on her way,” I revised.
Since I’d just arrived, I didn’t see how I could very well explain going back to my quarters right away, so after an awkward moment of deciding which side of the room I’d be most unnoticed on, I chose a seat near Robert.
Sarah walked in shortly after (I noticed she was empty-handed), and at a lull in the conversation, I remembered my game.
“Hey, does anyone want to play Sardines?” I asked.
“No!” Sarah’s outburst took everyone by surprise, including me.
“Perhaps not tonight,” I said.