3 Sleeps Til' Xmas

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Albert Scrooge

The castle wasn’t actually that far away. It was situated on the other side of the great green hill that overlooked the town. Grim was able to transport his castle where he wanted to but he’d never actually tested it before as the need had not arisen. He was glad of it now though as this was a very special occasion. He hadn’t been able to visit Stoney Tor for decades and he wanted the dungeons close by. When he had finished he would put it back in the middle of a barren desert somewhere people never went or could possibly survive and he would enjoy listening to the moaning souls in his full dungeons. He rode the cart to the large wooden door leading to the soul cells and it opened automatically for him. The dungeons were lined up along the right and left walls. Grim unloaded the souls into the last dungeon on the left and began to unharness Nightshade. David and Maisy had jumped down and hid on the other side of the cart.

“You have done an excellent job.” Grim said as he stroked the horse’s nose. Nightshade neighed thanks then he trotted back to his stable for a rest.

“Not like you two.” Grim shouted at the dogs, who jumped down from the front of the cart and ran off through the door that led into the castle. Grim followed them complaining about ungrateful mutts who didn’t know when they were well off.

* * *

David and Maisy jumped up as soon as Grim had gone through the door. They walked past the four soul cells looking for their parents and found them in the last one. Many of the souls were floating around aimlessly inside the cells. David looked for his Mum and Dad and found them sitting on the floor at the back of the last cell holding one another. David looked around to make sure Maisy was behind him and then turned back to look at the worried pair.

“Mum.” whispered David. She didn’t hear him.

“Mum.” he shouted a bit louder but she did not respond.

“Hey.” shouted Maisy loudly. David nearly fell over and instantly the ghosts all stopped floating and moaning and looked right at her. Jack and Flossie floated over to them followed by Maisy’s parents.

“My Baby! You’re okay.” said Flossie wanting to put her hand through the bars to touch David but remembered she couldn’t. She looked worried.

“Don’t worry Mum.” said David. That made her even more upset. She buried her ghostly head into Dads ghostly shoulder.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get out of here,” Said Dad, “I’ve tried everything I can think of.”

“We can’t break through it.” said Tom.

“You need to get out of here. It’s not safe.” said Mary. David stood back and looked at the cell doors. There wasn’t even a lock that he could try.

“Mum we may be able to find a way to get you out of there.” Quite a few ghosts that were nearby shook their heads sadly.

“It’s no use.” said one.

“We’re dead as dodo’s. I knew it was something bad. You’re Mums medicine finished me off.” Mr Donut floated away fast as Flossie turned around and glared at him.

“We’ll be back soon. Just hold on.” said David.

They only had a short time now to get the souls of the townsfolk back to their bodies. It was already getting late. There was a clock on the wall but it seemed to be moving faster than a normal clock. David checked his mobile phone, which said three in the afternoon but the clock on the wall showed it to be five’o’clock.

Then David turned as the gate into the dungeon closed behind them. He heard a deep chuckle, which reminded him of the night Grim had visited his bedroom.

* * *

“David, look.” said Maisy pointing. David followed her finger and there was the outline of Grim, his face partly covered by his hood. Grim had used his power of invisibility on them.

“Gotcha.” he said and began to laugh. It was a loud booming sound that came from deep within Grim’s bony ribs and echoed around the room. Grim reached out to grab them but just as the tips of Grim’s fingers touched their shoulders another sound came from the within the dungeons.

“Hello Grim.” said the voice.

Grim whirled around and looked into the darkness. Grim gasped.

“Surprised to see me eh? Well after all these years I would at least expect a handshake.” Grim had a fierce angry look on his face and seemed lost for words.

“What are you doing back here Scrooge? The devil get fed up with you did he? Threw you out of Hell?”

“Scrooge?” said David, “Hey perhaps he’s here to help. He was the one that changed his ways after those three ghosts visited him.” Even the souls in the cells looked hopeful. There was silence for a moment and Grim put himself between Scrooge and the jail as if protecting it. David thought he seemed nervous.

“Well, the Devil heard what was going on around here. I came up from hell to see what was going on and came across a rather shaken Shadow of Death here, who told me the whole story. Thought we might get a piece of the action.” said Scrooge.

Shay-D appeared from the darkness behind Scrooge looking sheepish.

“I’m doing pretty well by myself thanks.” said Grim proudly, “Look at this lot.” Grim turned around and swept his arm across the front of the jail doors nearly knocking David and Maisy to the floor.

“Pretty good job you’ve done there.” Scrooge nodded in admiration, “Saved me having to do it myself thanks.”

“Very funny.” said Grim, with suspicion. “What are you up to Scrooge?” There was now complete silence from the cells and the ghosts crowded up to the bars to listen.

“But you’re here to help us surely?” said David, “You changed your mean ways. You became good and now you are here to save the town.”

“Ah. I see.” Scrooge smiled and patted David on the head. “You are right, young man, my name is indeed Scrooge but unfortunately for you, I am not the Scrooge that you are thinking of. I am actually his first cousin twice removed. I am Albert Scrooge, the black sheep of the family.”

“I don’t remember Scrooge having a cousin.” said Maisy.

“Ah well now you know my dear, as if that Dickens fellow was going to write about me. Do you know when those three spirits visited me I scared them off. My cousin, however, was a complete pushover and was brainwashed by them all.”

“Well they can’t brainwash someone who hasn’t got a brain” Muttered Grim, who was not at all happy with the situation. “Look Scrooge, this is our plan and these are our souls so you can go back to your friend, the Devil. You’re not welcome here.” Grim added.

“Not welcome. Me?” he said. “But I should be welcome Grim. I have been sent to take all the souls you have collected down to hell. Orders from my friend the Devil himself.”

“That is not how it works and you know it Scrooge. It’s not their time yet.” said Grim.

Shay-D now moved over to Grim’s side. He also looked extremely angry.

“The Devil can’t have the ones that are bound for heaven.” said Shay-D. Scrooge leaned forward until his face was right in front of Grims and whispered.

“The Devil doesn’t care.” and with that Scrooge pointed to the doors of the dungeons. Grim and the Shadow of Death stood in front of him.

“I would move if I were you Grim. I’m going to let those souls free. Whoever I catch will go to hell and whoever you catch you can do what you like with.”

The souls gasped. They dived out of the way as a lightning bolt shot like a bullet from Scrooges finger and the doors flew open. The souls rushed out screaming and wailing. The two children had to cover their ears. Then he raised his hands towards the two unearthly shapes of Grim and the Shadow of Death and a strong invisible force pushed Grim and Shay-D into one of the cells and the door locked itself behind them.

“I would leave if I were you. I will enjoy catching your souls last.” David and Maisy ran off as Scrooge laughed loudly.

“We’ve got to find our parents.” David shouted.

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