Chapter 5: Trip to castle of Bran
Donna and Carol were the first ones who woke up.
Carol slowly opened her eyes. It was quiet. She had a look at the bed besides her own. She saw that the blanket had been pushed to one side of the bed and someone had been lying on the bed. The bathroom door next to her bed was open.
Donna: “Good morning Carol.”
Donna: “Your up early.”
Carol had a look at her table clock and said.
Carol: “It is 6.00”!
She pulled the blanket over her head and said.
Carol: “Go away.”
Donna who had sat down and was drying her hair said.
Donna: “I suppose that means you will not come out with me for a run?”
Carol took the blanket off her face and had this look that said “Are you crazy?”
Donna got dressed and went outside for a jog. At 6.05 in the morning the hotel did seem pretty life less. She came out of the hotel gates. There were only a few people out in the street. She decided to go right and see what happens. She planned to jog around the hotel block so she started jogging. There were a lot of apartments on both sides of the road.
She came to the first crossing but she decided to jog further than that. Until she reached a fountain that there was a shopping mall to the left of. Donna jogged up to the fountain, touched it and jogged back to the hotel. Long forgotten what she had planned to do at first.
When she reached back home she went up to her room. While walking up the stairs she took a look at her watch. Curious in how long did it take her to run to the fountain and back again. It was 6.20 so only 15 minutes.
She entered the room and found nothing much had changed since last she was there. The curtains were closed, Carol was still lying in her bed and after having been out running Donna could sense the air thickening when she entered her room.
Donna: “Ready to get some breakfast” looking at Carol’s bed?
Carol turned around and opened her eyes.
Carol: “Okay” while thinking to herself I did not get that much sleeping done anyway since the last time you woke me.
Carol sat up while Donna opened the curtains.
Carol: “Easy with the curtains.”
Carol got dressed and they headed down to the cafeteria.
Donna closed the room door since she was last. Carol who was the first one to leave the room wondered what would the food be like in Romania?
Carol: “What do you think they have got for breakfast?”
Donna: “Probably eggs, bacon, sausages, fruit, vegetables and the like. To drink probably they will have milk, coffee, cappuccino, caffe latte and then some juice” while walking towards Carol.
Right before they came out of their hall way they could hear another door opening.
Donna thought whoever can it be? It most likely is none of the boys since Donna could recall hearing them late the previous night.
By the time Donna and Carol had reached downstairs they saw Mr. Taylor opening the door to the outer hallway.
Carol: “Good morning Mr. Taylor.”
Donna just gave him a small wave. Mr. Taylor who was surprised seeing them so early in the morning being awake gave a smile and waved back. Donna and Carol continued into the cafeteria. They were the first ones there being greeted by a warm and friendly waitress.
Waitress (1): “Good morning” coming from the waitress who came from the kitchen.
Carol: “Good morning.”
Donna: “Good morning.”
Waitress (1): “How did you sleep?”
Donna: “Fine thank you.”
Waitress (1): “Please” showing Carol and Donna to their table.
Mr. Taylor came in to the cafeteria.
Waitress (1): “Good morning.”
Mr. Taylor: “Good morning.”
Mr. Taylor saw Donna sitting behind the table eating her breakfast. In front of her she had one yoghurt, coffee, plate with scrambled eggs and two sausages on it and bread with cheese and ham on it that she had begun with.
Mr. Taylor went to a table and took a plate and went to the buffet to get something to eat. After having taken breakfast Mr. Taylor came to the table where Donna and Carol were sitting.
Mr. Taylor: “I hope you won’t mind” moving a chair behind the table.
Donna: “No, not at all.”
Mr. Taylor: “So how did you sleep?”
Carol: “Very well thank you.”
Mr. Taylor could tell by the look of Donna’s expression that something was not right.
Mr. Taylor: “Donna is something the matter?”
Mr. Taylor: “Why did you then not say very well as Carol did” looking at Donna?
Carol thought he was picking on Donna.
Donna: “I did not sleep that well. The neighbours being Smith and Wilson laughed very loudly during the night.”
Mr. Taylor: “Really? Carol did you hear something” with his eyebrows raised?
Carol: “No, I slept just like a baby.”
Carol took a quick glimpse at Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Taylor: “Talking about the boys when do you think they will come?”
Donna: “I think the question is when should we go up and get them?”
Mr. Taylor: “Do you really think it is that bad?”
Donna: “They were up quite late yesterday.”
Mr. Taylor: “Hmmm I think I should then go and tell them to get a move on.”
Donna: “No, please I will go.”
Mr. Taylor was a little bit surprised on the reply he had gotten from Donna because Donna had a bad night’s sleep due the boys. Yet she was willing to go and wake them up. Mr. Taylor thought that was awfully generous of her.
Donna went up to get the boys.
Mr. Taylor: “What has made her so energetic?”
Carol: “She’s been out jogging.”
Mr. Taylor had a look at his clock it was seven fifteen.
Mr. Taylor: “When?”
Carol: “I don’t know. Six?”
Mr. Taylor: “No wonder she had a bad night’s sleep” raising his eyebrows.
On Donna’s way out of the cafeteria she bumped into Patricia and Mary.
Patricia: “Good morning” when she saw Donna.
Donna: “Good morning.”
Mary: “Good morning.”
Donna carried on walking after she had met with Patricia and Mary.
Patricia: “Where are you off too?”
Donna: “Off to give the boys an early morning wakeup call” without looking back.
Mr. Taylor: “Good morning” when he saw Mary picking up her plate and Patricia just having gotten the answer from Donna.
Mary looked up and replied.
Mary: “Good morning.”
The waitress came out of the kitchen again and said.
Waitress (1): “Coffee.”
Mary: “Yes” she replied what after she went to take some scrambled eggs.
Patricia greeted the others who were already sitting in the cafeteria with a question.
Patricia: “How did you sleep?”
Carol was the first one to reply.
Carol: “Good thanks. You?”
Mr. Taylor: “I slept well” after having taken a slurp of his coffee.
Mr. Taylor: ”How about yourself?”
Patricia: “I slept fine.”
Donna was busy back in the cafeteria cutting her sausage. Till she saw that Patricia was looking at her.
Donna: “Oh, sorry” came as an immediate response from her.
Patricia: “No worries” replying to what Donna had said.
Patricia: “Already back?”
Patricia: “Did you have any luck waking the boys up?”
Donna: “How did you sleep” looking at Mary?
Patricia took a plate from the table next to where the others were sitting and went to take some food.
Mary: “I couldn’t help over hearing that you have had somewhat success in waking up the boys. Would you like to elaborate on that?”
Donna: “Okay. What happened was I came to their door and knocked on. Nothing happened so I knocked on again. I could hear Wilson telling Smith in a sleepy voice.
Wilson: “Smith get the door.”
Soon thereafter Smith opened the door in his knickers and half open eyes. I told him to show up for breakfast where he replied.
Smith: “Give us a couple of sec” closing the door after having he had said that .”
Mr. Taylor: “Excuse me” trying to catch the waitress’s attention.
Waitress (1): “Yes” said the waitress when she saw him.
Mr. Taylor: “Do you have any newspapers here” when she was coming up to him.
Waitress (1): “Newspapers” a little confused.
Waitress (1): “Aaah” she said shortly after and illustrated what she thought it was.
Mr. Taylor: “Yes.”
Waitress (1): “One moment” she then walked out of the cafeteria.
Mr. Taylor took a bite of his cake.
A while had gone by since Donna was last up at Wilson and Smith’s room to give them a wakeup call. Donna went up to Wilson and Smith’s door again and knocked on it. She waited a while then tried again this time harder.
Voice from inside the room: “Coming” it, sounded a bit like Wilson but Donna was unsure.
A little while after wards Wilson opened the door with only his under pants on. He looked very sleepy.
Donna: “So you haven’t got the message?”
Wilson: “Message? What message would that be” asking at a slow paste?
Donna: “I told Smith last time to get you up and come and eat breakfast.”
Wilson: “Oh that message” still speaking at a slow paste.
Donna: “What did you do once you had got the message?”
Wilson: “I carried on sleeping.”
Donna: “Is Smith also sleeping?”
Wilson turned back and looked at the room, Donna saw it too. It was basically pretty much to what Donna had seen in her own room once she had gotten back from running with a minor exception of there being a French fries holder in the middle of the two beds.
Wilson: “Looks like it” turning back to Donna.
Donna: “Come and eat breakfast” Donna begged?
Wilson: “What time is it” itching the back of his head?
Donna: “It is 08:15.”
Wilson: “Come back in an hour.”
Donna: “You know that then it will not be any easier to get up than now.”
Wilson: “Probably right” he turned around.
Wilson: “Smith we have got to wake up” he yelled.
Smith: “What time is it” he asked having closed eyes and being tucked in his bed comfortably cuddling his blanket.
Wilson who could not remember what Donna had told him said.
Wilson: “Never mind the time. The others will be leaving soon.”
Smith opened his eyes, raised his torso, took the blanket off and said.
Smith: “Coming” although at first he was sitting rubbing his eyes.
Wilson turned back to Donna.
Wilson: “Give us a sec” closing the door.
Donna thought to herself “Now where have I heard that before?” Donna went back into the cafeteria again. She could see Susan and Margaret had already come. They were sitting and eating breakfast. Mr. Taylor was reading the Financial Times with two other newspapers lying next to him on the chair. She noticed one of them was The Economist and the other she did not recognize.
Patricia and Carol were talking about some of the differences there were between Americans and Romanians.
Susan: “Good morning” when she lay her eyes on Donna.
Donna: “Good morning” smiling back to Susan.
Susan: “Did you sleep well?”
Donna: “Yes, yes I did” walking up to her own food.
When she was sitting down Mr. Taylor asked.
Mr. Taylor: “So how did it go with waking up Smith and Wilson?”
Donna: “I think I am making small progressive steps” nodding her head.
Donna: “This time it wasn’t Smith who opened the door but Wilson” she paused a bit.
Mr. Taylor: “So was Smith getting dressed and that was why it was Wilson?”
Donna: “No not quite it was just Wilson’s turn.”
Mr. Taylor looked like he was not quite following.
Donna: “Smith had answered last time I was up there and after I had gone he went back to bed.”
Mr. Taylor: “So he did not tell Wilson to get up?”
Donna: “No he did but Wilson decided to sleep on it and apparently so did Smith.”
Mr. Taylor smiled.
Mr. Taylor: “So what did it end up with?”
Donna: “It ended off with Wilson telling me exactly the same thing as Smith.”
Mr. Taylor: “So you do not think they will be coming” getting ready to put the newspaper on the side and go up there himself.
Donna: “They are up or so it seemed at least. They are getting their things on and then they will come down to eat” she replied while taking a slurp of coffee.
The slurp of coffee Donna had taken was kind of coldish.
Mr. Taylor: “Are you sure of it” leaning forward?
Because no matter what the bus will arrive at 9.00. If any further delays are in order then it will be hard to manage the schedule as Mr. Taylor has planned it.
Donna however did not pay any attention to the question posed.
Donna: “I see you have found an English newspaper.”
Mr. Taylor: “Yes, or at least in the financial department” smiling.
Patricia: “How is the cake Mr. Taylor” looking at the cake Mr. Taylor had in front of him?
Mr. Taylor: “It is good. You should try some” with pointing towards where he had taken it.
Patricia: “Yes, I will when I get finished with this” not having to take a look at the plate in front of her.
Patricia: “Mr. Taylor could I ask you how have you come upon the idea to come to Romania with us?”
Mr. Taylor closed his newspaper.
Mr. Taylor: “I thought it might give you more of an idea of which circumstances had Dracula lived under.”
Donna: “You mean if truly Vlad became Dracula?”
Patricia: “But what triggered Vlad becoming Dracula?”
Smith: “Good morning” while coming through the doorway.
Donna, Patricia, Carol and Mr. Taylor: “Good morning.”
Mr. Taylor: “How did you sleep?”
Smith: “Very well.”
One could hear someone dragging their feet along.
Wilson had slowly approached the door way as well. He was looking pretty tired. He had gotten some clothes on. Though if one were to speculate a little closer one would see that every second button was open, his hair due looked as if he had been in a bush and instead of shoes he still had his slippers on.
Mr. Taylor: “Good morning.”
Wilson looked at him, then dragged himself to a table and sat down.
The waitress came and approached first Smith who was sitting down at a table.
Waitress (1): “Good morning.”
Smith: “Good morning.”
Waitress (1): “Would you like to have something to drink?”
The waitress showed him a table where one could get coffee, tea, milk, sugar, orange juice, apple juice or tomato juice. This was a bit ironic because after all isn’t the waitress supposed to bring you a cup of coffee, if she has asked you what you would like to drink?
Smith then took his cup off the table and went to pour himself a cup of coffee followed by three lumps of sugar and some milk.
Smith: “How are we then doing” asking Wilson when he came back to the table?
Wilson: “Slowly progressing” Wilson said bluntly while looking up at Smith.
Smith: “I am going up to take some food would you like to join me?”
Wilson: “I will be right behind you shortly.”
Smith nodded to what Wilson said. Just before Smith went up to take some food he said.
Smith: “Would you like me to fetch you something to eat from the counter?”
Wilson: “No thanks, I will be up shortly” giving Smith a small smile.
Smith went up to get some food. Wilson remained sitting having a look around trying to gather his thoughts.
Wilson took his plate and went up.
Wilson came up to the counter that was filled with food, though there was more of some food than there was of others currently. Wilson did not seem any different than he had before. He first came up to the scrambled eggs and took three big spoon full. Thereafter six sausages, a toast with a big spoon full of jam on it, a cake, a yoghurt with a small spoon on its lid and a few grapes on one side of the plate. He returned to his table.
Smith: “That is quite an appetite you have” looking at Wilson’s plate.
Wilson: “Oh jah or not that willing to get re-fills” Wilson said without looking directly at Smith.
Wilson put his plate down and left the table then again.
Smith: “Where you going?”
Wilson: “My cup of coffee” winking with his left hand to his left side.
Smith smiled to that.
A man in a blue suit, blue tie with white diagonal stripes on it came to the cafeteria. The waitress went out to greet him but it seemed instead that they had a little talk. What afterwards he went to Mr. Taylor.
Man in blue suit: “Mr. Taylor?”
Mr. Taylor took his eyes off the newspaper and looked at the man who had requested this.
Mr. Taylor: “Yes?”
Man in blue suit: “I am the bus driver.”
Mr. Taylor: “Oh yes” putting the newspaper to one side and standing up to shake his hand.
Bus driver: “To drive you to castle of Bran?”
Mr. Taylor: “Yes, we will be ready in just a sec” turning his head to where all the students were.
Mr. Taylor, Mary, Patricia, Susan, Margaret, Donna, Carol, Wilson and Smith met outside the gates of the hotel. There was a two story dark blue bus outside.
Students had his or her own things with them.
Mr. Taylor: “Is everybody here” while having a look at the crowd around him.
Mr. Taylor: “Right.”
Mr. Taylor: “Let us get a move on then. The bus driver will help you put your baggage in the luggage department so you can go up and take a seat while he does that.”
The bus driver was waiting besides the luggage department of the bus ready to start loading things on.
Mary was the first one to go on the bus. On the second floor there were two TVs on both sides of the bus. She started walking down the isle of seats. As she soon came to see midways in the bus there were stairs down which lead to what was a mini toilet. She walked past the stair way and to the end of the bus.
This was primarily due to the lack of sleep Mary had gotten. Therefore being at the end of the bus supposedly the furthest away from the TVs and the furthest away from any other kinds of interruptions, would be the best place to close one’s eyes.
Patricia followed shortly after Mary. Patricia was wearing worn out jeans, a t-shirt, a jacket and had on a pair of Nike’s. Immediately when she came up she lay her eyes on the two TVs there were, one on each side. The reason being since it would be a couple of hours bus trip they might get bored which lead to her putting two DVDs in her inside jacket pocket. She did not say anything at first because she wanted to see if anyone else had also got DVDs with them in the bus. Patricia decided to take a seat close to the window where she could monitor the situation from two angles.
Margaret being the next after Patricia took quietly a seat rather much in the front of the bus. Disregarding the TVs or any of the massive space there was on the bus. Apparently it also was a window seat to the side of the road where they were getting on the bus from. So that she could see how all the others put their luggage in and board the bus.
After Margaret it was Wilson’s turn. By seeing Margaret take one of the front seats Wilson got a face of disgust but which quickly changed into a face of agreement.
Wilson: “Aaah I see you are taking one of the front seats. Not a bad thing really, if there does seem to be a problem or two then you will be the first one to get off” while Margaret was getting settled in to her seat.
Wilson himself of course continued down the line. Almost immediately after looking at Margaret he noticed the TVs, which led to him finding the absolutely ideal place for seeing a good movie.
Wilson: “Has any one got some DVDs” he shouted looking curiously first to the front then the back while getting to his seat?
When Wilson had gotten to his seat and was sitting down. He looked at the next ones coming into the bus but it seemed to him at least like no one had noticed his question.
Wilson: “Probably because they have better things to attend to” looking a little dissatisfied by the limited attention he had got and turning his head towards the window to the street.
The next one in line was Carol who was pleased when she came into the bus and was going to find a seat.
Carol: “I feel like a celebrity already” tilting her head slightly behind her towards Donna.
Carol: “Walking down the cat walk showing off the latest fashion. The only downside is there are not that many people to see me do it” having a look at the few who were in fact sitting ahead of her.
Carol: “Nor are there that many looking at the cat walk” stating the obvious.
Donna took a seat where no one was sitting next to her.
Susan had her earphones on and was listening to her iPhone while she entered the bus. As opposed to the others she took a seat on the opposite side of Margaret.
Smith came on the bus last but still before Mr. Taylor. He saw most of the girls sitting in the front and middle of the bus. He also did notice Mary sitting in one corner of the bus with her head against the window.
The last one on the bus was then Mr. Taylor. With his reading glasses on, in one hand books and other reading material and in the other he had a thermal cup with probably coffee inside.
When the bus was driving.
Smith was sitting at the third row right next to Wilson. Wilson who was fast asleep his head against the window, still so far back that his mouth was open. Smith stood up and went to the first row on the driver’s side where Mr. Taylor was sitting reading his books. The book that Mr. Taylor read was about the history of Transylvania.
Smith: “Excuse me Mr. Taylor could I disturb you,” he asked?
Mr. Taylor: “While certainly” while putting a bookmark in between his book.
Smith: “Mr. Taylor I have noticed that Mary keeps a lot to herself. Why do you think that is?”
Mr. Taylor: “As far as I can remember she has always kept to herself. Do you remember the first semester of school? She mainly kept to her work in class or reading. I think you should go and talk to her.”
Smith came to the last seat row where Mary was sitting.
Mary turned her head towards Smith and said.
Smith: “Would you mind if I sat here” while pointing to the seat next to Mary?
Mary: “No, not at all.”
Smith: “Do you like the landscape of Romania?”
Mary: “It is okay.”
Smith: “How do you like Patricia?”
Mary: “I don’t think we get along that well together” looking at the chair in front of her.
Smith looked down for a sec then he looked at Mary again.
Smith: “Was it maybe because of what happened yesterday?”
Mary: “Nothing happened yesterday.”
There was a short pause after that.
Smith: “Are you excited to see the castle?”
Mary: “I am more interested to hear some of the history of the castle.”
Mary: “How about you?”
Smith: “Yeah, I am excited.”
Mary: “And how are you getting along with Wilson? He is your room mate right?”
Smith: “Yes, he is. We are getting along fine,” Smith told her in a relaxed fashion.
Smith wondered if Wilson had maybe gotten up? Therefore he looked up ahead where he could see from between the seats whether he was up or not? Unfortunately it did not seem so. Wilson had comfortably laid himself down over both seats and was snoring away.
Smith: “But a little awkwardly.”
Mary followed where Smith was looking and laughed.
Smith: “Catch you later.”
Mary: “What are you going to do?
Smith: “Probably going to sit behind the seat where I was supposed to sit.”
Mary: “See you.”
Smith went back to his seat and sat behind it.
Wilson woke up. He found himself lying on the two chairs. He rose up and looked at the seat where Smith sat earlier and where he found himself laying on.
Smith: “Good morning.”
Wilson turned his head towards where the voice came from.
Wilson: “Good morning.”
Smith returned to his seat once Wilson was off it.
Smith: “Sleep well” he said after he had sat down.
Wilson: “Better, I did not sleep that well last night.”
Smith smiled. He found it funny because he thought that Wilson was the one sleeping heaviest of the two last night. Then again it was also Wilson who stayed up latest even though they went to bed around the same time. This led him to the conclusion that Wilson must be a heavy sleeper.
Arrival at the Castle of Bran
The bus arrived around midday. One could see the castle clearly from the parking lot although one could see it from far away as well. As for the bus it had come from the north making it difficult to see the castle when you are driving towards it. The parking lot was stationed in the middle of the path from the castle to the town. There seemed to be many other tourists since there did not seem to be many vacant parking places left, a couple of other tourist busses and the rest cars.
They met in front of the bus where Mr. Taylor went through the plan.
The first one to leave the bus was Wilson.
Wilson: “I was afraid we would never get out of that bus” stretching his back while coming out of the bus and into the sunlight.
Wilson: “Come on you lot” waving his hands towards himself.
Wilson: “Come out and smell the fresh air” himself being active moving his hands and legs.
Susan: “What is wrong with him?”
Smith being right behind Susan replied to that question.
Smith: “He had a refreshing nap on the bus” smiling.
Mr. Taylor: “Now we will have a look at the castle. Probably we can get a guide to tell us something about the castle, including how Vlad III ruled and how he lived? That will probably take us one hour. Afterwards you have three hours to do whatever you want. We will meet then at 16.00 in front of the bus” after having said that he started walking up to the castle.
The distance from the parking lot to the castle was filled with stands. It sort of seemed to be like a fare. There were many people taking a look at the different stands and the things they were selling.
Once Mr. Taylor had started walking he also noticed the fare right in front of him and on their way to the castle. He thought if he should mention something about it?
Wilson who was standing closest to Mr. Taylor said.
Wilson: “Let us stay close together not to lose anybody in the crowds”
Mr. Taylor: “Quite right Wilson. We would not like anybody to get lost now while we are approaching the castle.”
Patricia: “Can we see what there is?”
Mr. Taylor: “We can take a quick glimpse while we are passing through” taking the question referred to the fare.
Patricia had difficulty in understanding why it was only a glimpse?
Carol: “Cheer up Patricia” said Carol who could see the point where Mr. Taylor was trying to reach.
Carol: “What Mr. Taylor means is we can spend all the time we want in three hours after seeing the castle.”
Wilson: “They must have renovated this place” looking at the architecture of the place.
Susan walking next to Donna said.
Susan: “Though it is amazing how well it has lasted over the years.”
Donna looked up at the castle, which was higher up the hill.
Donna: “You mean the castle, right?”
Susan: “Yes, but not only the castle. I mean have a look at the surroundings around you.”
Donna took a quick glimpse at the surroundings.
Donna: “I think they weren’t here right from the start.”
Susan: “I think they have, I mean look at these trees they must be centuries old.”
Donna did not reply anymore but kept walking. She was thinking maybe I should not have taken it up. A remark that leads to argument after argument can only lead to over exaggeration.
They had reached a valley right in front of the castle. There were a couple of stands selling souvenirs on one side of the valley with lots of tourists around the stands. However, most of the tourists buying tickets for the excursion were inside the castle walls where there was an additional setting.
Wilson: “Doesn’t look half as mighty as one would have first expected” degrading his expectations at first.
Mr. Taylor looked at him.
Wilson: “I mean after all the stories one has heard of Dracula. Keeping in mind that Dracula is a fictional character. One would expect that the castle where Vlad III lived was a bigger one. The prince where one took Dracula from should have been greater.”
Drako: “Oh he is” came a deeper voice.
It was a man who seemed to be working at the castle possibly as a tour guide. He had on him a black shirt together with black trousers, a belt and some kind of brown shoes.
Mr. Taylor: “Are you working here” looking at the man?
Drako: “Yes, I am one of the tour guides who is working here. My name is Drako.”
He shook Mr. Taylor’s hand that reached out to him and shook it.
Mr. Taylor: “Mr. Taylor.”
Wilson leaned in on Margaret who was standing close to Mr. Taylor.
Wilson: “Me and Smith we had about this in marketing” he told Margaret in a low tone.
Margaret looked at him.
Wilson: “It is a unique pull strategy especially in one to one marketing. Instead of having one find the potential partner to do business with he or she distributes him- or herself to the one before they ask for it.”
Margaret: “So like when you are distributing magazines near the city hall?”
Wilson: “Not exactly because when you are distributing magazines then you do not know if the readers want to read a magazine or not. However if we take our situation then Mr. Taylor must be looking for a tour guide. One can see this by him being the front key figure to our group e.g. as our lecturer or then by being our tour guide if we e.g. were in an Apollo tour.”
Margaret: “You must have been a prudent marketing student” looking at Wilson.
Wilson: “Not really it was Smith who was the prudent one.”
Margaret: “But all this knowledge?”
Wilson: “That was because our marketing teacher happened to tell us this. That I find interesting. All the rest being the reading material either I slept in, used other excuses or then simply slept in class.”
Drako: “Should we begin?”
Mr. Taylor who was a little surprised by the gesture since he had not even paid for one asked.
Mr. Taylor: “How is it? Should one not pay first?”
Drako: “You can pay after the tour. Then you will get an opinion of is it worth your money or not?”
Mr. Taylor made a small laugh.
Mr. Taylor: “This will be our tour guide for today.”
Susan: “Don’t you need to pay first?”
Mr. Taylor: “Apparently not according to this kind gentle man.”
Margaret went to Smith.
Margaret: “I heard from Wilson that you were the prudent marketing student” looking at Smith.
Margaret: “So what is it you can tell me about this situation?”
Smith looked at Margaret while still able to look at the other things he was going to talk about.
Smith: “How much did Wilson tell you?”
Margaret: “He told me about the pull strategy disregarding the push strategy which it might me mixed up with and that is about it.”
Smith: “Did you notice how Mr. Taylor said that it doesn’t cost anything?”
Smith: “Key point in the strategy to win the trust of the customer to show that one pays for everything that one gets and not more.”
Margaret: “So you do believe that Mr. Taylor will pay something?”
Smith: “That depends does Mr. Taylor find it noteworthy enough to pay for this trip or not” giving her a little smile?
Drako: “Should we walk towards the castle gates where I would like to begin?”
Mr. Taylor: “Please, lead the way.”
Carol: “That’s funny.”
Patricia: “What is?”
Carol: “I mean isn’t it a bit odd that the tour guide asks us questions instead of us asking him questions?”
Patricia: “I suppose” while she was beginning to walk with the crowd.
Patricia: “Then again nothing has been said yet” referring back to the question Carol asked.
Drako: “So how much do you know about Dracula?”
Mr. Taylor: “Well, nothing more than the general” well knowing that was not in line with the truth.
Drako: “The general, and what is that?”
Mr. Taylor looked at him and for a very short while thought he might have done a mistake to go with this tour guides either that or then he should tell him the truth about what they know.
Mr. Taylor: “The battles he has been in, when he was traded as a hostage to the Turkish and things like that” coming out with more precisely what they know.
Drako stopped and Mr. Taylor automatically thought there might be some kind of problem. But before Mr. Taylor could ask is there a problem Drako said.
Drako: “That means you know less than I thought.”
Rather provocatively said thought Donna to herself. Drako seemed to be slowing down after Donna had thought that.
Drako: “All I mean is that it does not mean we have got to go as far in as I first thought. To start with the history of Vlad III, we can already start from here.”
Drako then turned around to face the whole group.
Drako: “This castle the castle of Bran was where Vlad III fought his final battles at. Miraculously he managed to escape from his final battle that he also lost. It was also the only castle that managed to be under control of troops loyal to Vlad even when Romania was besieged by other nations.”
Mary: “So you mean the castle of Bran was a hidden castle” looking at Drako?
Mary: “Because otherwise it would have been impossible to keep it under the control of troops loyal to Vlad.”
Drako: “Yes and no” looking at Mary.
Drako: “It would be impossible to keep a castle such as the castle of Bran hidden to the eye of the public our days. But in those days there were no means of communication other than face to face. There were no means of transport over great distances of land or sea other than the horses one had or the ships one could muster. It was a different time” he held a short break after that.
Drako: “People believed in the information they got. The information was very limited to what it is today. Then we only had everyone and everything in our circle of friends, family and work life. Your family, friends and most likely work life are within the village where you live. Maybe in some circumstances also the neighbouring villages” showing with his hands what he meant.
Drako: “If you were a soldier you would do as your platoon commander said. Possibly walk over great distances of land. These distances you had to walk or travel by were not always the most time conscious. By saying this I mean that even though one might say that getting from point A to point B, one would have to travel through or nearby to the castle of Bran. To be most time efficient. It does not have to add up to whoever made the map had the same line of thought while making it. Hence the root could have very easily passed the castle of Bran without ever noticing it.
Furthermore to correct the mistake he had done in his first survey might take a whole other lifetime to fulfil. Hence it was never done.”
Margaret: “How about how did he flee from the last battle he lost?”
Drako: “That I will tell you and show you later.”
Leaving everybody curious in what is to come.
They were standing in front of the stairs that lead to the entrance of the castle.
Drako: “I must warn you” while stopping in front of the stairs.
Drako: “That another step further into the castle will reveal many great secrets which may overcome you.”
Wilson curiously blunted out.
Wilson: “What does he mean by that” having been taken by the story Drako had begun telling?
Though shortly after Wilson’s imagination had caught up with what Drako could have meant by it.
Wilson: “Oooh this is the part were goose bumps start crawling up our skins and we wish he had never come in the first place” said in a low voice behind Smith’s back.
Smith had a look at him.
Drako: “Do you wish to step further?”
Mr. Taylor who was nearest to Drako or in front of all the others turned around and said.
Mr. Taylor: “So what do you say? Are we up to unravel some of the mysteries which this castle bares within its heavy walls” being taken himself also my Drako and his method of making another field trip into something truly exciting?
Wilson: “Yes” he shouted while thinking that the tour guide was an incredibly good storyteller.
Susan, Margaret, Patricia, Donna and Carol: “Yes” who were taken by the way the story was being told. Making them feel as they were part of it.
Smith thought it was a rhetorical question because come on they did not come all the way out here to see nothing.
Mary: “Yes” but in a low voice.
Mary thought something might be wrong because of the way it had all happened with them. Getting off the bus, meeting all of a sudden with this Drako fellow was indeed sort of mysterious to her. Then again he might be an actor paid by Mr. Taylor to put on a show for them?
Mr. Taylor turned back around again to face Drako.
Mr. Taylor: “Very well then you have our answer.”
Drako smiled slightly and then walked up the stairs. Drako reaching the main entrance put his arm forward as to lead the group in while holding the door.
Wilson: “Wow” he exclaimed.
He had never seen a courtyard so old and yet so well built. With all the floors and passageways open to the courtyard. So that if one was on the second or fourth floor one could easily see and even shout down if something was needed. There was a well in the middle that could be perceived as the centrepiece for the design of the courtyard.
The others looked baffled around in the courtyard as well.
Drako: “It is said that Dracula fell in love with the castle when he was on his first visit here, for what better place to rule over Romania than the castle right next to the Rucar Pass.”
Donna: “Excuse me could you please tell me what is the Rucar Pass?”
Drako: “That is a mountain pass quiet near here which was used for trading.”
Drako: “This castle had all the necessities to stand a siege and yet remain hidden. It had a well where they could get water supplies from and a trade route that went nearby” he was showing the placing of the well.
Drako: “Lots of rooms where the town’s people could sleep” he said pointing out the hallways that had the rooms.
Smith: “So how many rooms are there?”
Drako: “About 60.”
Smith speculated over the answer he had got. 60 rooms is not that many. In a hotel you could at best put a family in each giving you 60 families. Smith also presumed there were more than 60 families at best living in the village in the middle ages.
Did he presume too much? Maybe the 60 rooms were not all small? Maybe status mattered? Maybe there is more to it than one could expect?
Smith: “Is that because you have not counted them?”
Drako: “That is part of the reason but the other part is this castle has more passage ways, secret passages, stairways and tunnels then you can imagine.”
He was leading the group into one of the castle buildings that are connected to the rest of the complex.
Drako: “As you can soon see yourselves.”
Mary: “So this would be the perfect hide out for Dracula.”
Drako looked at her.
Drako: “Yes it would.”
Carol: “Was it then another wealthy ruler of Transylvania who built this castle?”
Drako: “It was the citizens of this village who built it.”
Everybody had a curious look on his or her face.
Drako: “They built it out of the good location and used it as a trading place for merchants.”
Before they had approached the door to the castle building Margaret asked.
Margaret: “If really the citizens of the village built it how did they get so organized? Not alone muster a whole village together to build it?”
Drako: “The story goes there were a couple of knight’s Templar who mustered the villagers together to build this castle. As planed to build a strong financial network throughout Christendom. The thing that made the villagers believe in it was the massive wealth they would receive through this castle having been built. Not only was it a safe haven for the citizens in times of war but also was it a treasury for the region to keep all their generated gold in.”
They were going room by room through the castle. So that they would get a good idea of where they ate, slept, feasted and put their prisoners.
Before finishing their tour Drako led them to the dungeons of the castle.
Wilson: “This must have been the place where they kept the prisoners of war at” commenting while entering a larger room with little light.
One could see the cell doors and the few small windows there were behind bars. Simply being in the room gave one the creeps.
Mary: “Why have you brought us here?”
Wilson: “Probably to show us where we will wind up if we misbehave” himself thinking it was a funny joke.
Drako: “Earlier I did not tell you how Vlad escaped the final battle which he lost” looking for something.
Drako came to a cell door.
All the students and the lecturer were curious in what would Drako say.
It seemed as if Drako was looking for something at the walls.
Wilson: “Aaa did Vlad have a secret passage way here” smiling?
Drako: “More less.”
Drako stopped looking where there were two barrels next to one another. He moved the two barrels apart from one another. Behind the barrels there was a part of the wall missing.
Drako: “Or a tunnel” showing with his one hand the missing part of the wall.
Mary: “A tunnel” looking at the missing part of the wall?
Maybe if Mary tried then she could fit herself in there in a crawling position?
Drako: “Don’t you believe me?”
Mary thought for a moment.
Mary: “No I don’t” she said sounding quite firm in her beliefs.
Mary: “Maybe if I tried then I would fit in there but I do not believe it is long enough to take me to another part in town.”
Mr. Taylor looked at the hole. He even tried to touch the other end of it by putting his hand in the hole but he could not.
Mr. Taylor: “Do you know where it leads to?”
Mr. Taylor: “To a part in the Rucar Pass.”
Mr. Taylor: “Have you ever tried going through it?”
The question was followed by a small awkward pause.
Drako: “Yes once.”
Mr. Taylor did not know whether to believe him or not. It could be a sales trick?
Wilson: “But if so then it must be a long tunnel” looking at the hole in the wall.
Wilson: “It must be close to one kilometre long.”
One could tell that the talk about the hole in the wall was not quite as interesting to some as to others.
Margaret: “Let us say it is a tunnel” trying to reach a conclusion with this so that they could move on.
Margaret: “Why was it built and why here?”
Drako: “Why not here” proposing a good counter argument?
Drako: “Who would start looking for a tunnel in the middle of the dungeon where at best you might find a few dead corpses?”
Drako: “Why was it built” referring to the question?
Drako: “It was built by the monks who lived within these walls for what purpose I cannot say” shaking his head.
Mary who first had been in great denial had slowly begun to believe what Drako was telling them.
Mary: “Even if it had existed it might have collapsed?”
They were all looking at the tunnel.
Wilson: “There is only one way to find out” he himself approaching the hole and getting ready to crawl in.
Mr. Taylor automatically grabbed Wilson’s arm when Wilson was about to crawl in.
Mr. Taylor: “No” shaking his head towards Wilson.
Wilson looked at Mr. Taylor then at Drako as if he was expecting one of them to say something.
Drako: “I would listen to your teacher.”
Wilson: “It is not the first dark hole I have ever crawled in.”
Drako: “Yes, but you will get dirty if you crawl in it and are you up for the challenge?”
For a sec Wilson felt as if Drako may be challenging him.
Drako: “There are mice, rats and insects using it as well. It will be a long dark crawl I am afraid.”
Wilson: “I am up for the challenge” still trying to go.
Mr. Taylor: “Then do it in your own spare time” Mr. Taylor said with a stern look in his eyes.
Wilson: “I guess your right” nodding slowly to what Mr. Taylor had said.
Wilson: “Another time then.”
Mr. Taylor, the students and the tour guide walked back up the stairs and back to the courtyard.
Mr. Taylor who had long been waiting to pay for the tour had gotten another opinion when they reached the courtyard. He did not like the thoughts Drako had given Wilson nor that Drako was not that much against letting Wilson go in the tunnel if that was the case.
Drako: “So how long will you be staying in Romania for?”
Wilson: “We will probably be heading back tomorrow.”
Mr. Taylor: “Wilson” showing with his one hand that Wilson should keep up to the group as they were heading towards the parking lot.
Before going over the bridge Margaret had a final look back. For a minute there Margaret thought she did not recognize Drako although he had just been showing them around.
After the expedition had ended where they had started from Mr. Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor: “We will meet in front of the bus at 16.00, nodding his head towards where the bus had stood. If you are hungry there should be an inn a little bit further down the mountain where you can grab something to eat.”
Carol: “Where will you be going” looking at Mr. Taylor signalling that the question was directed to him.
Mr. Taylor: “I will have to see” taking a brochure out with a mini map on it.
Mr. Taylor: “There seems to be nothing but a few cafeterias, shops and a lot of houses around here” while looking at a brochure of the Bran castle.
Mr. Taylor: “So I think I will be taking a walk down the road where we came and see if there might be anything of interest. If not then I will most likely sit down in a cafeteria and take a read in my book.”
Donna, Carol, Smith, Wilson, Patricia, Mary, Susan and Margaret met before they headed off to see the village.
Susan: “So what do you guys plan to do” looking at the others?
Wilson: “Me and Smith we plan to look around the village. See if there might be anything interesting for us.”
Smith: “I’m actually sort of hungry, I plan to go and check out the inn Mr. Taylor told us about.”
Wilson: “Or than that” quickly added.
Wilson: “How about you?”
Susan: “Mary, Margaret and me we plan on going and seeing if there is a nice olden day’s cafeteria in this village other than the inn Mr. Taylor told us about. If we don’t find one we will decide further what to do.”
Wilson: “Is the inn not nice enough for you” saying it in a humorous fashion just as are they too posh to go into an inn as this one?
Mary: “No, no it just seemed to have no outdoor eating area when we drove past it.”
Wilson could not recall them driving past the inn then again nor was it on top of his mind. What was on top of Wilson’s mind was the castle of Dracula, whether the tour guide knew anything about Dracula or Vlad that made the connection between them.
Wilson: “And how about you?”
Patricia: “Donna suggested that we being Carol, Donna and me that we go to a small ice cream shop that we saw on the way” while showing with her hands who she was talking about.
Smith whose tummy was grumbling had started heading towards the inn.
Wilson saw this and said.
Wilson: “Hang on” looking over his shoulder towards Smith who was walking at a slow paste.
Wilson quickly turned his head towards where Patricia and the other girls were standing saying.
Wilson: “Bye girls.”
After that he caught up with Smith.
Wilson: “Going down to the inn are we?”
Wilson: “Would you mind if I joined you?”
Smith: “No, not at all” Smith.
Smith: “The more the merrier.”
Wilson: “Quite right” acknowledging what Smith had just said.
Wilson: “Sorry if it bothered you that I spoke out on your behalf earlier.”
Smith looked at him while walking.
Wilson: “The going to look around the town part.”
Smith: “I’m sure you did not mean anything bad by it.”
Wilson: “I certainly did not” ending with a smile.
They walked a little bit further.
Wilson: “I must admit I did not like the way Susan told us that she together with Mary and Margaret were going to find a nice olden day’s cafeteria in the town.”
Smith looked at Wilson, as he understood where he was going with this.
Wilson: “I mean did she have to put it in such concrete terms? That the inn simply was not nice enough for Mary and therefore they had to find a nicer place” Wilson exclaimed.
Smith honestly had not taken such great interest in that what was being said and therefore had not analysed it to come up with such a conclusion.
Smith: “Does it matter what she says?”
Wilson: “Well, no but it does matter if she says it so obvious that everyone understands exactly what she means by it.”
Smith looked a little confused.
Smith: “Everybody? I certainly did not have anything like that in mind.”
Wilson: “Ha, very funny Smith.”
Wilson: “So what do you think of buying to eat in the inn?”
Smith: “Have not thought about it.”
Wilson: “Have not thought about it?”
Smith: “No can’t say I have.”
Wilson: “Come on you must have thought of something,” he claimed?
Smith was very hungry at the time. He thought of the good hamburgers he made back at home. The ones where the meat has been fried with the onion together on the pan, then when the meat gets done you put it on top of a bun, sliced cheese on top so that it will begin melting slowly followed by ketchup, tomato slices, cucumber slices, cabbage and then finally the other half of the bun.
Smith: “Hamburgers. Good old American hamburgers.”
Wilson: “What if there are not any?”
Smith: “Then we will go to another place” he claimed.
Smith and Wilson walked into the inn. Surprisingly it was not as full as they had at first expected. It was almost empty.
There was the bar tender drying up a beer mug, two people a couple sitting and eating other than that nobody.
Wilson: “That’s odd” he claimed.
Smith and Wilson walked up to the bar let.
Smith: “Do you have anything to eat for brunch?”
Forgetting that the bar tender might not speak English all together.
The bartender rose one of his eyebrows.
Bartender: “Let us see” turning his back towards Smith and looking up at the chalkboard and what, he had written on it.
Bartender: “We have cutlets with egg together with a Romanian sauce. Then we have grilled sandwiches with cheese, ham and tomato. We have a dish where you get four sticks with cucumber, tomato, cutlet and sausage on” the bartender explained.
Smith: “What is that” referring to the last thing the bartender had said?
The bartender showed with his hands while explaining.
Bartender: “There is a stick where you put on tomato, cucumber, cutlet and a sausage. There are four of these.”
Smith seemed to be getting the picture.
Bartender: “Would you like to try it?” suggested the bartender?
Smith: “Yeah, alright” he replied while nodding his head.
Bartender: “And to drink?”
The bartender looked over at Wilson.
Wilson: “I’ll be having the same” to assure the bartender of that Wilson wanted completely the same as Smith.
The bartender took a curious look at Wilson. He was in doubt did Wilson mean only the coke or the coke together with the meal?
Bartender: “One Coke” asking to confirm one of his two speculations?
Wilson: “And meal.”
To that the bartender nodded to show that he had gotten both of the orders. The bartender moved into the kitchen while Wilson put one of his hands on Smith’s shoulder and said.
Wilson: “Come, let us sit down.”
The food arrived and Smith started eating. As for Wilson he went to the bar let to ask a few questions. Smith thought by seeing Wilson stand up that something might be wrong.
Smith: “Is anything the matter?”
Wilson: “No” shaking his head.
Wilson: “I just thought I would go up to the bar let and ask a few questions.”
Smith: “Now when your food has arrived?”
Wilson: “Yes, just to get it to cool down” assuring Smith that Wilson had the right reasoning behind his decision of going to the bar let.
Thereafter Wilson went to the bar let. When Wilson came to the bar let the bartender seemed to be looking down at something. The closer Wilson came to the bartender the more he could identify what it was he was looking at. It was a book that he seemed to be reading. Wilson could not identify which book it was since it was already open when Wilson saw it. It also seemed like the bartender had already reached half ways.
Wilson: “Why are there not so many people here” looking at the bartender?
The bartender stopped what he was doing by putting a bookmark where he had come.
Bartender: “During day everybody is out working so no one has time to come. But after work lots of people come here.”
Wilson confirmed this by nodding with his head.
Wilson: “How about visitors to the castle of Bran? Don’t they come here a lot?”
Bartender: “Yes but only in high season.”
Wilson thought about the high season bit.
Wilson: “But is not “high season” yet?”
Bartender: “No because everyone has to go to school or work still. Usually high season is end June to August and end October to January.”
Wilson: “And everything in between is then “low season?”
Bartender: “Not always. Sometimes there are schools visiting then they come by.”
Wilson: “So there are no locals who come for visits?”
Bartender: “There are locals” nodding his head.
Wilson: “So they get drunk when they come?”
Bartender: “Some get drunk, others talk, some watch football” pointing at a television set there was nearby the counter of the bar let.
Wilson: “When do they usually start turning up?”
Bartender: “Some come at eight, some later.”
Wilson: “So what about them?”
After having chatted with the bartender Wilson went back to the table.
Wilson: “How’s the food” seeing that more than half of Smith’s plate was empty?
Smith had just taken a mouth full therefore he could not reply. He just started slowly nodding his head.
Wilson: “Glad you like it, hope also I like mine.”
Since Wilson’s meal had time to cool down it did not take long for Wilson to catch up with Smith.
The girls had been out roaming across the town. Both groups having started off with the place they mentioned to Wilson. Patricia, Donna and Carol having started out with the ice cream shop while Susan, Mary and Margaret were on their search for another alternative place to eat than the inn. Susan, Mary and Margaret indeed did find another alternative it might have been not as posh or as large as the Romanian inn but it did serve something familiar, pizza at Pizza Hut. Something as they would have put it “Has an American touch.”
Patricia ordered a strawberry ice cream, Donna a pear ice cream and Carol a chocolate ice cream. They were eating their ice creams, sitting outside and enjoying the sun.
Donna: “So how are things going with you and Mary” looking at Patricia?
Patricia: “Things are going well.”
Donna: “But yesterday.”
Patricia: “Don’t worry about yesterday” giving a wave with one of her hands.
Patricia: “Yesterday as it came out Mary was not having the best day.”
Donna: “Could you explain that because her tone of voice might not have agreed with you?”
Patricia: “Sure. Mary apologized for the way she had behaved ever since our arrival in Romania. She explained herself by saying “That she thought the world was turning against her.” Led by her expectations of Romania had far exceeded reality.”
Patricia could tell by the looks on Carol and Donna’s faces that they were finding it a little too far fetched. Therefore Patricia should explain what she meant by that.
Patricia: “I mean if you look at all the things that went wrong that day. Her expecting to stay at a hotel being deceived by Mr. Taylor telling her it was instead a hostel due to the cheap price. The hostel then again was incorrect due to the standard of living being lower in Romania. Than it would have been back home leading us to that it still was a hotel. Means of transport she first would have found appropriate to take a cab. Instead of the bus which Mr. Taylor proposed since he found it being most appropriate due to the cheap price. A efficient way to keep the budget costs at a minimal. Still underlining that we ended off taking a cab because the bus only came once an hour.”
Donna and Carol nodding away understanding the bigger picture of why Mary thought the world was turning against her.
The pizza place that Susan, Mary and Margaret had found being Pizza Hut they found enormously convenient. There was no more unfamiliarity about the place. It was not that on the menu everything was in Romanian or all the dishes were Romanian. But here you could get a pizza just like in America. There was no potential uncertainty about what or for this matter how the pizza would look like.
Susan ordered a Hawaii that she found perfect for the hot sunny day occasion. Mary went with a Pepperoni because she wanted something hot but not exactly in the spicy manner and Margaret went with a Margareta a little bit more old fashioned just having the cheese and ham on it.
Margaret: “How are things going with you” Margaret asked while sitting outside in the sun behind a table and looking at Mary, as she waited for her pizza to come?
Margaret: “I mean you have been keeping a bit more to yourself lately.”
Mary: “I know” Mary said while nodding to the question.
Mary: “I think for the rest of today I will also be out.”
Mary thought a bit about the question.
Mary: “Ever since we landed it has not been my day. Everything has been going oppositely to the way I would have liked them to go” explaining.
Mary: “Yesterday was a day I would define as a day of misfortune” ending on that note.
After having visited the places where the groups wanted to go and seen a bit of the town. They decided to head back to the castle. On their way they bumped into one another. Where they decided to pay the boys a visit at the inn where they were.
Carol: “What did you guys think of the castle and the tour guide, Drako I think he was called?”
Carol had just brought to the table a big tray with eight drinks on it.
Wilson’s eyes became a bit larger when he saw what was on the tray.
Wilson: “Carol you do know this is a school trip and not a vacation trip?”
Carol smiled to Wilson.
Carol: “Of course I know that. But that does not mean it is prohibited to have a little bit of fun.”
Wilson: “Okay. I thought it was quiet fun. It was a little bit awkward how everything happened and so perfectly fell into place on the tour around the castle” referring to the initial question posed.
Mary smiled and said to that.
Mary: “I think Mr. Taylor paid for him to do that.”
Wilson: “So you think Mr. Taylor paid the tour guide? That makes perfect sense come to think of it. No wonder he said you can pay me afterwards.”
Mary: “Yes, but I think he is an actor and not a tour guide. It was not first class history he told us but more like a story as he went along.”
Wilson: “Yeah, but that is the beauty of it. It gets you involved and makes you feel as part of a fairy tale” he claimed.
Mary: “Fairy tale” she asked?
Mary: “I would hardly call it a fairy tale. Fairy tales end happily this one does not.”
Wilson took a zip of hiss beer. He then took a more serious look and said.
Wilson: “Do you think he exists?”
Everyone looked at him strangely. As if they wanted to say whom and yet knew whom he was talking about.
Margaret: “You really think he exists? Do you believe there is a room where he has been hiding out for all these centuries?”
Wilson: “Yes, don’t you? I mean after having heard some of the things Drako told us about the secret passages and especially the underground tunnel which he ended off with.”
Patricia: “Who wouldn’t? I mean he was convincing when he told the story. It was almost as if he had lived it.”
A smile had grown onto Wilson’s face.
Wilson: “So where do you think he has been hiding all these years?”
Susan: “I bet it was the room he showed us first.”
Wilson: “Why do you think that?”
Susan: “Boys like to show off.”
Smith who had been sitting still and listening most of the night, drinking his hot chocolate stopped and said.
Smith: “That is not true.”
Susan looked at him.
Smith: “We do not like to show off. Maybe at a younger age but don’t we all” he explained?
Suddenly Donna noticed the time and she stood up causing everyone to look at her.
Donna: “The time”!
It was 55 over three, which meant they only had five minutes to get up to the parking lot.
Donna: “We will never make it back in time” she claimed.
Wilson: “Don’t worry Donna it is not like Mr. Taylor will have anything against it if we are a few minutes late” trying to calm Donna down.
Wilson: “We will drink the shots and then we will go” taking a glass from the trey in the middle of the table and gulping it down.
Wilson let out a sigh of delight after he was done with gulping the shot.
Wilson: “Drink up” encouraging the others around the table to drink up so that they could get a move on.
Everyone around the table took a glass in their hand and drank the shot.
Mr. Taylor ever since they had decided to depart and meet again at 16.00, he went to a place. A place he had noticed at first when they arrived into the park. Though a place where he could sit down and read his books while having a cup of coffee.
It was a tent where they served coffee, tea, muffins, cakes, small snacks and the like. The reason for why Mr. Taylor decided to go there was partly the coffee with the blue berry muffins but also since it was close to the centre of the arrangement, which seemed as a festival. There was the possibility to sit down while being able to see the castle walls together with the many other stands and the parking lot to the other side.
Mr. Taylor approached the tent. He bought a cup of coffee and two muffins one blue berry the other chocolate. He sat down in the sunlight and had a look at the surrounding. There was a souvenir stand nearby which also sold additional brochures to the one Mr. Taylor had. But Mr. Taylor did not pay any more heed to it. He noticed other souvenir stands with places where you could try out Romanian dishes.
Mr. Taylor remembered the smells of delight he smelled when at first passing the area with his students.
But Mr. Taylor knew what he wanted do, look through all his brochures, tour guides to Romania and books. To see if there may be any places, castles or historical sites that he has not taken into consideration yet to visit, although he has been very thorough when deciding which places to visit.
Mr. Taylor saw in one corner of his eye a bus arrive in the parking lot. He looked up; he noticed that it was the bus they had come with. For a very short while he speculated over was it therefore he noticed the bus in the first place? He had a look at his watch. It was 15 to four. Mr. Taylor started to pack up and head towards the parking lot. He was deep within his own thoughts while packing up, on what he did earlier besides drinking coffee and eating the muffin. While walking towards the parking lot he noticed there were not that many cars around.
Mr. Taylor was standing in the parking lot next to the bus and thinking his own thoughts. The bus driver opened the doors so he could come in.
Mr. Taylor: “No thank you” waving his hand towards the bus driver to let him know that Mr. Taylor did not want to come inside the bus.
Mr. Taylor stood next to the bus while waiting for the others to turn up. He waited till the bus driver started pointing at his watch whenever Mr. Taylor would come to turn his head that way. Mr. Taylor understood the message quite clearly. It meant they had better hurry up because the bus driver did have other plans as well, most likely to pick up others. But there was nothing Mr. Taylor could do about getting the others there faster. All he could do was wait and hope that they would show up. So if worst come to worst the bus would have to leave which meant they would have to walk to their hotel.
Luckily before too long Mr. Taylor did see them coming towards the parking lot. It seemed as they had been to the inn. Since it was down the way they came from. It brought a small smile to Mr. Taylor’s face because it showed that the students were also engaged with Romania and their Dracula essay. However the closer the students got the more there started to loom a smell. It smelled of alcohol.
Mr. Taylor took a little bit more stern face on and said.
Mr. Taylor: “A little late aren’t we?”
Donna: “Yes and we apologize for that. We lost track of time.”
Mr. Taylor: “Have you been drinking?”
Before Donna could answer Wilson interrupted.
Wilson: “Lighten up Mr. Taylor we just had a shot or two on our way here.”
Mr. Taylor raised his eyebrows and seemed like he was about to say something. Till Margaret jumped in.
Margaret: “What Wilson meant was we had a drink for good luck.”
Smith: “Saved by the bell” he whispered in a low voice being next to Wilson.
Mr. Taylor: “I presume you must have all been at the inn at this time” acknowledging it to himself.
Mr. Taylor: “Did you at least manage to go and see a bit of the town besides the inn?”
Margaret could not tell if that was a question directed towards her or are all the students?
Margaret: “Yes I did. Me, Susan and Mary we managed to go to The Pizza Hut at first, after that we went to a couple of other places. At one of those places we met with the other group being Patricia, Donna and Carol who were also investigating the town. They had just been at the ice cream shop, which was their first destination after the castle. We then decided to go and see what the boys were up to at the inn.
Mr. Taylor: “Good” with a sigh of relief.
Wilson: “So what is the plan Mr. Taylor?”
Mr. Taylor: “Well now for the ones of us who are feeling tired or more so than we were at the beginning of the day. Are very welcome to come with me on the bus and then we will go to our new hotel.”
Mary: “For one day” asking a little curiously?
Mr. Taylor: “Yes, so are the plans.”
Mary: “And you are sure it is not a hostile” asking a little curiously?
Mr. Taylor: “Yes, I am quite sure of that.”
Mary: “Just checking so that we do not run into any misunderstandings” referring to the incident that happened yesterday”
Carol: “Mr. Taylor could I ask you what is the hotel called?”
Mr. Taylor: “It is called Hotel Wolf two or one.”
Carol had a face of speculation on.
Carol: “So is it called two or one?”
Mr. Taylor: “I think it is called two but I am not sure because on the web it is also called one.”
Carol: “So when you called to make the reservations then you used one?”
Mr. Taylor: “No two.”
Carol: “But when you searched for it on the net then you used two?”
Mr. Taylor: “Yes.”
Carol: “And there it was also called “Hotel Wolf two.”
Mr. Taylor: “No one.”
Carol: “Can we then reach the conclusion of that it is one instead of two?”
Mr. Taylor: “Yes we can but if you scroll further down you see two headings of “Hotel Wolf two.” One I believe is by trip advisor and the other one I think was much the same as one would have found under “Hotel Wolf one”.”
Carol was a little confused which one of the two numbers should she use when referring to the hotel for directions?
Wilson: “Aaa yes the confusion of whether it is Hotel Wolf one or two, instead of just saying Hotel Wolf which might be good enough?”
Mr. Taylor: “So who would like to come with me to the second hotel?”
No one seemed to be interested.
Mr. Taylor: “Right well it does not seem to be that far away if you all are to stay in the town?”
Mr. Taylor took out 20 business cards and asked.
Mr. Taylor: “Is there anybody who would like the hotel business card just so you do not get lost?”
Everybody showed an interest.
Wilson: “Easy give us the business cards next time. Because otherwise the hotel might think you are going to rob the place, if you do not even know the hotels proper name.”
Thereafter Mr. Taylor boarded the bus. On his way up to the seats he shortly stopped and showed the business card to the bus driver, telling him that he would like it if he would be driven there.
Margaret: “I wonder what Mr. Taylor will do with our luggage?”
Wilson: “Good question we can think about that in the inn” setting his way back to the inn where they came from.
The others followed Wilson because that was where they had left off.
Carol: “Probably he will get them sent to our rooms” while walking with the others down the hill?
They reached the inn and to their surprise there were quite a lot of people there.
Carol, Smith and Wilson went to the bar to order drinks while Mary, Patricia, Susan, Margaret and Donna went to find themselves a table.
As soon as they entered the inn Wilson went to the bar let.
Donna: “Where are you going” looking at Wilson?
Wilson: “To get us some drinks,” replying to what Donna had asked.
Smith: “I’ll come with you” well knowing what Wilson had in mind by “drinks” and well knowing what he himself wanted.
Carol: “Me too” taking her chance to go to the bar as well.
Wilson: “Why don’t you go and find us a table” looking at Donna?
It was not like Donna had anything better to do anyway. She had a look across the room to see if there were any vacant seating spots? She laid her eyes on a table in one end of the room.
It had a perfect view over the castle and was near a corner of the building. The atmosphere seemed to be a little more calm and quiet than elsewhere in the inn. This may have been due to the fact that there was no TV, pool table or dartboard nearby. It was one of the few spots where one could actually sit down and have a conversation at the inn.
Donna started heading towards the table she had found. When the other four girls being Mary, Patricia, Susan and Margaret noticed her, Susan said.
Susan: “Shouldn’t we wait for the others?”
Donna: “I am just finding us a table” she explained.
Susan shrugged, she and the three other girls followed pursuit Donna to their table.
Wilson: “Hey there” he said to the bartender.
Bartender: “Hello again” said the bartender right after having gotten finished with the previous customers.
Bartender: “What can I offer you?”
Smith jumped in and said what he would like first.
Smith: “I will have a hot chocolate.”
Wilson and Carol looked at him.
Wilson: “Are you not going to join us in getting drunk?”
Smith: “No I do not get drunk on school trips.”
Wilson: “Good man! Actually we are also not going to get drunk” he himself feeling a little joyful.
Carol: “School trip or not I still do intend to get a little drunk” coming after Wilson’s remark of not getting drunk.
After that short dialogue Wilson attended to the bartender.
Wilson: “Right, I will have ten shots and the best of your beer.”
Smith noticed that Wilson was serious when he mentioned getting drunk.
Wilson: “Do not worry, the beer is for me and the shots are for whoever wants them” looking at Smith.
The bartender had a look at which kinds of beers did they have. There were three beers where the bartender picked the one that he liked the most. He came back with the beer and put it on the bar let.
Carol: “I will be having Irish Coffee” thinking if Wilson truly does not want any of the shots there is no need for me to buy any.
The bartender went to the back room to make an Irish coffee.
Wilson: “So how do you want to do it” looking at both Carol and Smith at the same time?
Wilson: “Shall we pay together or individually?”
Smith: “Okay. We can do a compromise. We can pay all for what we ordered separately. But instead of paying it individually, we can put it together so that when the bartender asks how would we like to pay for it we can say together.”
Wilson: “Sounds fair to me” taking a zip of his beer that he had not yet paid for.
Carol just gave a shrug. Wilson made a sour face after having his first zip of the beer.
Wilson: “No quite the opposite. It has a very strong taste. Like a very strong Ale, one where you need a glass of water to every now and then.
After Carol had received an Irish coffee and they had paid for what all three had ordered, they head towards the others sitting behind the table.
Wilson: “Aaa I see you has found us a nice table next to a window with a view over the castle. So that we can tell horror stories and what really happened to Vlad.”
Susan: “You are not going to tell horror stories” she demanded after what Wilson had just said.
Wilson: “Of course not I will be down at the other end shooting darts at the dartboard while keeping one eye at the football game on the TV.”
Margaret: “So who are the shots for?”
Wilson: “Not sure really. I was hoping that some of you could enlighten me.”
Carol: “I can help you there. I will have five of these shots.”
Wilson: “Problem solved Carol takes five and then you are going to have to find out what you do with the rest?”
Wilson turned around and patted Smith on the back.
Wilson: “Come on Smith let us play some darts and watch some football.”
Mary: “I suppose we could deal up the drinks” after Carol had separated her share from the lot?
Patricia: “I will not have one,” stated Patricia.
Susan: “That’s okay you can give yours to me” taking two shots from the remaining five.
Donna, Margaret and Mary took each a shot from the remaining three.
Margaret: “Bottoms up” just getting ready to drink her shot.
Carol: “Wait” she said.
Carol: “I will be back in two minutes” smiling.
Donna: “Where do you think she is off to” after Carol had gone?
Margaret: “Probably going to get something from the bar.”
Susan: “Either that or then she is going to get some phone numbers from guys” looking a little speculatively at where Carol was off to.
Carol returned shortly with a slice of lemon.
Carol: “Okay bottoms up” after having sat down and taken a bite from her lemon.
Carol managed to take a bite from her lemon after each shot. Still simultaneously one after another she managed to take all five of the shots. The other girls looked baffled at how she did it.
Once Carol was done with the shots she had a very sour face on her with one hand waving air to her face.
Donna: “Bottoms up” after having looked baffled at how Carol did with all five and a lemon on the side.
Each of the three other girls had their shot.
Smith: “You are quite good at darts,” claimed Smith after having seen Wilson throw four of his darts, all pretty much at the centre of the dartboard.
Wilson: “I try my best” tilting his head to one side while throwing his last dart.
After that Wilson came up to Smith and stood right next to him.
Wilson: “Your up.”
Smith went to the standing point where Wilson was at first and got ready to throw.
Wilson: “Haven’t you earlier tried to throw darts?”
Smith: “Yes but only once or twice” while trying to take a good aim.
Wilson: “And how did it go then?”
Smith: “Not that good” throwing his dart.
Apparently it turned out to be a very good throw. Since the dart ended off hitting the middle of the dartboard. Wilson was in the middle of taking a drink when this happened.
Wilson: “I’ll say” after having removed the glass from his mouth.
Smith himself also could not believe what he had done.
Wilson: “Come on Smith you still have got four more.”
One could see it was only beginners luck since the other four were terrible throws. All were pretty much in line with the outer most circle of the dartboard. Smith tilted his head and shrugged his shoulders while saying.
Smith: “Huh beginners luck” going to collect the darts and let Wilson throw again.
Wilson came up to the dartboard to throw his five again after Smith had collected his five and moved away from the throwing area. Wilson was getting ready to throw.
Wilson: “So which football team is your favourite?”
Smith looked down for a second to think how many football teams he remembered. Unfortunately there were none that he came upon at the start. Until he remembered the TV had a football match on. He looked at the TV it was Barcelona against Manchester United. Automatically he started remembering other European football teams either which he had seen or occasionally heard of.
Smith: “What” while turning around?
Wilson: “I asked you which football team is your favourite?”
Smith: “Manchester United” was his impulse reaction to the question.
Wilson: “Good one, though I am more of an Arsenal fan myself.”
Smith nodded his head.
Wilson: “There your turn Smith.”
Smith came towards the dartboard and started throwing his darts once again. Wilson on the other hand who had taken Smith’s position speculated over the football match as well.
Wilson: “Who do you think will win” looking back at Smith?
Smith: “I don’t know” trying not to take his eyes of the dartboard.
Wilson: “Huh” turning his head back to watch the football match.
Smith: “Maybe Manchester United” after having thrown his first two darts.
Wilson: “I don’t think Manchester United is good enough. Barcelona has Messi, Neyanmar, Louis Suarez together with all the other good Barcelona football players.”
Smith: “Your turn” coming up to Wilson.
Wilson: “That was quick” turning his head and starting to walk towards the throwing area.
Donna changed the subject by commenting on the castle.
Donna: “I sure would not like to live up there” she said while looking across the table and out of the window on to the other side.
You could see a signpost right next to three sidewalks touching each other. One of those three roads led up further into the hill. A little bit further up you could see the parking lot and then a little bit further up again you could see the castle. It was late, the moon shun a light on the top of the castle.
They all gazed at the castle.
Wilson and Smith had just returned from throwing the darts back to the table where the others were.
Wilson saw Carol sitting towards one end of the sofa, where all the girls were sitting at. Carol was minding her own business and thinking on something.
Wilson: “Are we good” he asked Carol to see how drunk she was?
Carol smiled to him.
Carol: “Yes we are good.”
Wilson: “Quick how many fingers am I holding?” holding three fingers up in front of her.
Wilson: “No four” having taken the fourth finger up as well.
Carol thought about it a little drowsily.
Wilson looked away from Carol’s corner and towards the rest of the girls.
Wilson: “What are you talking about” he asked openly so that anyone could answer?
Patricia: “That was a long dart game” just acknowledging to herself and not meant as a question.
Wilson: “We watched the football game besides that” pointing at the TV screen rather nearby the dartboard while informing Patricia of why it took so long.
Mary: “I could see that” acknowledging Wilson and Smith’s whereabouts.
Mary: “So who was the game between and who won?”
Wilson: “It was between F.C Barcelona and Manchester United. It was a close game but in the final minutes thanks to Messi, Barcelona won.”
Donna: “We were just talking about the castle.”
Wilson looked through the window and at the castle up on the hill.
Wilson: “What about?”
Margaret: “Staying there for the night” well knowing that was not exactly what they talked about.
Wilson: “Let us go and check it out?”
Susan: “No we are not going to the castle and that is that” sensing where it was going.
Wilson: “That is okay Susan you don’t have to come with us” reassuring Susan.
Wilson: “You can go home while we embark on this trip just hope that the werewolves do not catch you.”
Everybody could sense where this was going,
Margaret: “But that means you should not go the same way back as we came.”
Margaret: “Because werewolves can smell blood and they can smell where you have been” making a serious face.
Susan: “Ha” being very annoyed by the amusement everyone found with her disliking the idea of going to the castle.
Susan: “I think I will stay here while you go up to the castle.”
Wilson: “Susan you do know werewolves can turn into human beings” looking like he just had realised something.
Wilson: “I think the man behind you is a werewolf.”
Susan knew that was not true but still she looked.
There was a mid-aged man in a white shirt with stripes. Having the sleeves curled up and some somewhat warn out trousers.
Susan: “Stop it” feeling discomfort in what everybody knew that she disliked horror in general.
Wilson: “No really, I mean one can see how hairy his chest is because he has not buttoned up, the small cut on one of his fingers, the muddy boots and the worn out trousers. The scariest thing is when you look at his face. So relaxed, so friendly having a good time while underneath knowing what we know.”
Susan: “Stop it.”
Wilson: “Okay I will stop” continuing to listen in on what the others were talking about.
But Susan could not let go. As fictional as it may have been, it could be true. She thought about it. The boots that were muddy could have been because he was out running. The worn out trousers could have come from running in the bushes, as could have been with the cut on one of his fingers. The curled up sleeves? What better reason for when one is a werewolf one grows in size. Susan did think the shirt with stripes seemed a little bit lofty on him. She had another look at him.
This time the man was looking straight at her. She immediately turned her head back and looked down at the table in front of her.
Susan: “I am coming,” she said a little louder than when she usually speaks.
Donna: “What made you change your mind?”
Smith had also noticed everything that Susan had seen together with heard everything that Wilson had told her. He could see it from Susan’s perspective.
Smith: “I think it is the man” nodding his head towards the man’s position.
Donna turned her head and looked. There was a very ordinary man just having beer together with his friends.
Donna: “What about him?”
Mary: “When do you think they close” referring to the opening times of the castle while looking at the castle?
Wilson: “It still seems like it is open.”
Carol: “I don’t think it is open” while shaking her head.
Carol based her judgment on that there were fewer open caravans then there where when they first arrived. The few that were left seemed as they would be leaving soon.
Wilson: “But we could at least try” he said encouragingly.
Wilson: “If it is not open we can come back or go to the hotel but if it is open we will take it from there.”
It sounded fair to the others. They took their things and headed towards the door.
They had all just left the tavern and were heading up the hill. There was a cold breeze when they entered outside, with clear skies. The walk along the side road was peaceful there were practically no cars during this time.
Donna: “It is almost like this city was built according to the castle. No matter where you are there will be a possibility to see the top of the castle.”
Smith, Mary and Patricia the ones walking closest to her gave it some thought.
Mary: “What’s your point?”
Donna: “It is funny that the villagers built the castle after they had settled and yet the castle is in the middle of the town.”
Mary: “I think it is logical. Where else would you place a castle if you wanted to see far and yet wanted it to be close enough for the villagers to run into?”
Donna looked at Mary while they were walking.
Donna was thinking should she explain herself? Perhaps through elaboration they can reach some kind of conclusion to where she is heading? Then again it was not the subject on top of Donna’s mind but rather something to kill the silence.
Donna: “Okay. You pick a subject to talk about then?”
Putting Mary up for the challenge of picking a better subject than what Donna had picked?
Smith and Patricia gave a small laugh.
Mary: “I am just saying that it must be logical that they placed it there.”
Donna: “And I am just saying that your right that was a stupid subject to bring up. So why don’t you pick one?”
Mary who did not like the situation said.
Mary: “So what do you like about Romania?”
Donna: “Are you asking me?”
Mary: “No I am asking in general to everyone who wants to answer.”
Smith: “I think it is an okay place.”
Mary looked at him and said.
Mary: “Do you not think this is a beautiful surrounding to be walking in?”
Smith: “Yes I do, but it was not exactly like this in the city where the hotel is.”
Mary: “You mean our first hotel right” relating to the hotel that Smith had in mind?
Patricia: “So what would you like to be different if it was to become beautiful” asking Smith?
Smith: “I would do nothing at the current moment.”
Mary: “Nothing? So you would not fix the problem?”
Smith: “Problem yes. If you have a look at Romania you will possibly find bigger problems than this tiny one.”
Carol: “Where did you decide to go to Wilson after our tour to the castle” referring to what they should do if the castle were to be closed?
Wilson: “Well me and Smith we decided to go into the tourist shops because going further than that would be too tiring.”
It was followed by a little silence where Carol thought to herself tourist shop? Which tourist shop? This part in town had many tourist shops. This was followed by a question.
Carol: “You don’t mean that tourist shop” pointing towards a building which was a little bit further on?
Wilson: “Yes, that’s the one.”
Carol: “Seriously how lazy are you?”
Wilson: “What is that supposed to mean?”
Carol: “I thought the tourist shop would be further out than that.”
Wilson: “It is not like we got hours,” muttered Wilson while he begun to see what Carol was leaning up against.
Margaret: “Cheer up Wilson,” said in a little bit more cheerful tone than the one Wilson had left off with.
Margaret: “Is it not exciting that we are going to investigate the castle in the middle of the night?”
Wilson: “Yes it is.”
They arrived at the spot they had gotten off the bus.
Smith said: “It seems to be open” looking at the port of the castle being open.
Susan started to hesitate and regret that she had been persuaded to come along. Something did not seem quite right to her. It could have been her gut feeling or that the open door with the open gate seemed rather scary.
The gate was open with the wind blowing and not a soul in sight. It was as if someone had forgotten it open? The castle wall shadowed the stairway leading up to the door. Inside the door there was no light coming just darkness. Someone must have also forgotten to close that? Then again it all just could have been a fragment of Susan’s imagination?
Susan’s gut feeling was not that encouraging either. It told her to be careful and not be misled by what one cannot see. It was always in films where in such situations you would know that something bad was lurking in the corner but the main characters still went in. Maybe it was because having another friendly face in spite of danger would be better than having none? Then again maybe it was because of the stupidity of someone’s brave deed that had doomed him or her all?
Susan: “It doesn’t look like we are allowed to go in there because there is no light coming from inside. Maybe someone left the door and gate open by mistake?”
Wilson gave her a weird look.
Wilson: “Come on… The door open maybe but the gate open?”
Mary thought she saw something moving inside the shadowy door way.
Mary: “Look there seems to be someone inside. I think we are allowed to go inside.”
Wilson: “See, nothing to be afraid of.”
The others all looked towards the door but they saw nothing.
Patricia: “Susan if you are scared no one is enforcing you to go inside.”
Where have I now heard that before Susan thought to herself? If I do not go inside will Wilson once again feel obliged to comment on the subject?
Susan: “I am not scared.”
Wilson: “Then it is settled” marching towards the entrance of the castle.
Mary, Susan, Donna, Margaret and Carol followed.
Susan: “Something does not seem right.”
Smith came up behind her, touched her on the shoulder and said.
Susan: “Do not worry. We are not breaking any laws by it.”
That is very comforting but it was not that I had in mind Susan thought. Susan looked down and back up again and smiled.
All eight of the students were on their way to the castle. First one to go in from the door was Wilson. After him came Mary, Donna, Carol, Margaret and Susan. Then came Smith and Patricia.
Smith: “Do not worry I am right behind you” he told Susan right before she stepped in.
Susan went in and then followed by Smith. Susan did not like the situation of walking through a dark room especially since she could see the open door on the other end leading to the courtyard. But it was not completely dark. There was candle light after every few meters on a candlestick. It resembled a hallway with several other doors leading into chambers of the castle.
Wilson: “Well that was not that bad was it?”
Wilson who had come out on the other end of the narrow hall was standing in the court yard in the middle of the castle, turning his head back for a sec to have a look at the others.
Donna: “Susan are you okay,” asked by Donna who had also reached the court yard.
Susan: “Yeah, I guess I maybe might have over exaggerated a bit.”
Wilson saw that Susan was sweating and he felt bad about having this expedition idea and pressing Susan into coming inside with the rest.
Wilson: “Seriously Susan we can come back another time if you would like to” said Wilson admitting that he had been a little too hard on her?
Mary: “Remind me once again why are we up here?”
Wilson: “To find Dracula’s secret hideout.”
Mary: “I do not think any of the doors will be open. What I do believe on the other hand is whoever left the gate and door open will be quite upset when they find us lurking about.”
Wilson: “Then why did you come” giving Mary a curious look?
Wilson started with seeing if any of the doors were open. The first door he tried was the elevator door it was locked.
Wilson: “Let’s see if the elevator door is open and if we can go down stairs” starting with big hopes.
Wilson: “Oh… it’s locked” after having tried the door.
Wilson thought to himself on second thought we could try the stairs once we do get into the castle.
Margaret: “I think all doors will be locked Wilson. Soon we will find out that someone had just forgotten to lock the front door and left the gate open.”
Wilson: “Seriously Margaret you cannot expect to get anywhere in life with such a pessimistic view on things.”
Wilson: “Ahh…. Got it.”
Wilson had just tried if one of the doors to the castle would be open. Apparently the door he tried was.
Wilson: “Coming” Wilson said right before going in himself?
Donna did not expect any doors to be open and even if there were no good would come of going into them.
Unfortunately it was a little bit too late to say no and Wilson had already gone in.
Margaret standing next to Donna said.
Margaret: “Come on! We have got to get him before he gets himself into trouble.”
Margaret and Donna rushed in after him.
Smith: “We’ll stay here.”
Mary: “You can do what you want but I am going in with them” being thrilled by the excitement.
It reminded Mary of one time when she was at boarding school. She slept out with her friends at night when everybody was supposed to sleep and went to the nearest gas station to buy alcohol. The school prohibited this.
She felt much of the same excitement as she did back then, the danger of getting caught, doing something you are not supposed to. Though forgetting the consequences of what happened when caught.
Patricia and Carol followed though not that much because of some past experiences or some feeling, but because they wanted to see where this would lead?
Smith had a hunch he knew where this was going. Smith would have called it a classical scenario where one goes in and then five go after him. The one who goes in is looking for trouble. Often disguised as something to find perhaps a hidden treasure? Or then proof to prove he was right about something? The five who followed are usually a mix. They are usually a mix between friends. Two of them who want to bail him out of trouble that means stop him before it gets too far. Third person is often an accomplice to help if need be. Leaving the fourth and fifth person simply to be tag a longs. Often having some kind of interest where this might lead.
But Smith also chose to stay behind because of Susan. He knew Susan would never go into the castle at least not as long as she has a choice. The two earlier times embarking on this excursion and entering into the realm of the castle she had no choice. Being if everyone else anyway planned to do the opposite than why not tag along.
Smith went to Susan to cheer her up.
Susan: “So you decided to stay behind then?”
Smith: “Yes, because I now see why you did not.”
Followed by a little pause.
Susan realising she was the reason Smith chose to stay behind.
Smith: “You want to talk about it?”
Susan: “Talk about what?”
Smith: “The trip to the castle at the middle of the night, you being against it, the sweating, those kinds of things.”
Susan: “It is not that I have anything against coming to the castle or against the plot” defending herself.
Susan: “I just don’t like being in a room alone. That is it” finding a perfect reason even one that would counter Smith’s opinion at first.
Smith: “Why, if I could ask?”
Susan: “Once when I was younger I got locked up in a museum room,” she explained.
Smith: “Locked up?”
Susan: “It was not intentionally. I was walking behind my parents when I saw this beautiful dress. I stopped to take a look at it. I heard my mum say.
Mum: “Coming sweetheart?”
Susan: “Coming mamma.”
I tried to catch up but there was this door holder. The door holder somehow slipped and let the door close on me. I tried opening it but it would not open. I started crying. After that I curled up in one corner of the room with my arms around my legs and I kept saying to myself.
Susan: “Someone will find out that you are missing and come searching for you. Someone will find out you are missing and come searching for you.”
But no one came I must have cried myself to sleep because the next thing I remember was a sound of my mother saying.
Mum: “Oh, my baby.”
I will never forget that.
Smith tried to follow her mentally.
Smith: “I am sorry I had no idea.”
By the time Margaret and Donna had reached inside Wilson was gone.
They saw a stairway a little bit further up ahead. To their left they saw a hallway, which had many entrances to other chambers of the castle within it. To their right there was an open door way to a chamber possibly of a royal?
Donna: “Wilson” shouting in hope of receiving a reply.
Margaret: “Where do you think he has gone?”
Donna: “No clue, but he cannot be that far.”
Margaret: “Though I do not think shouting after him will help. These are castle walls being thick and with little chance of someone hearing you on the other end.”
Donna: “So what do you suggest on doing?”
Margaret: “I will have a look in here” pointing at the room that was next to them.
Margaret: “And you can have down the stairway?”
They looked around guessing where Wilson might have gone. Donna thought maybe she could just try if any of the doors were open to see if he might be there? Margaret on the other hand was speculating the room. To see if she might get any clues to what Wilson may be after.
Shortly after Margaret and Donna had begun with their investigation came Mary in to the castle as well.
Mary: “Are you looking for Wilson” seeing Donna checking if any of the doors were open?
Mary turned her head towards Margaret.
Mary: “Are you also looking for Wilson” she asked surprised?
Mary could not understand why was Margaret so fixated on this one room? You could easily identify in one look whether Wilson was in there or not.
Margaret: “Yes” stopping what she was doing and looking directly at Mary.
Margaret: “I do not see anything that surprising about that.”
Mary: “While Donna is actually searching for Wilson you decide to look at old artefacts” clinching her left eye?
Margaret: “I am trying to find clues of what he is after.”
Mary: “Why don’t you start in the basement?”
Margaret: “Basement, why there?”
Mary: “Clearly he is after finding Dracula’s hideout where he has been hiding for all these years. You remember how well that part of the story influenced him under when Drako was telling us and showed us the secret escape root? Drako showed us the tunnel in the basement that is supposed to lead somewhere outside the castle walls where Mr. Taylor had to stop Wilson from going inside it.”
Margaret: “Of course.”
Margaret went to Donna right past Mary.
Mary: “You could have at least said thank you for solving the mystery of where Wilson might be at,” mumbling to herself.
Margaret: “Donna I know where Wilson is?”
Margaret: “The basement.”
Donna rolled around with her eyes like she knew that.
Donna: “Yes, but do you know how to get there?”
Margaret wanted to say no but instead she said.
Margaret: “Do you remember where from we entered when we first came? The other side of the building where there were stairs down to the basement right next to the doorway.”
Donna: “But maybe there are other ways to the basement as well” resuming what she was doing before Margaret interrupted her?
Margaret: “Not as I remember it. There was one stairway down to the basement. We find that stairway we find Wilson.”
Carol and Patricia had just entered the building.
Donna: “Let us go” while looking at Margaret.
Mary: “What do I tell the new comers?”
Margaret: “You can tell them what you heard or then you can take them back outside” turning her head back towards Mary?
Mary: “What about you?”
Margaret: “We won’t be that long” already following the fast paste of Donna.
Mary remembered how it was like in the boarding school. There were also nights where she did not go out late at night to the gas station. Most often because it was rainy and muddy and it needed to be done in a haste. On those nights it was only the ones who had their bikes who went.
Patricia: “Where are they off to” asking curious of the noise she heard around her when she entered the castle?
Mary came and put softly her hand on Patricia’s shoulder. In a calm tone she told her.
Mary: “They are off to find Wilson.”
Patricia: “Should we not go and help them” a little confused of why they were deciding to go outside instead of helping them?
Mary: “We could but then if we get caught then we would also be to blame of breaking an entry after opening hours” she said while keeping eye contact.
Mary was following Patricia and Carol out. When they were outside Carol said.
Carol: “So do we now just wait?”
Carol: “It is hard enough to keep my eyes open but now when we are staying put” raising her eyebrows at the end of the sentence.
Donna had finally caught up with Wilson. She saw Wilson while coming down the stairs.
Donna: “Wilson you are not allowed here” whispering very hesitantly.
Wilson had just put one knee into the hole in the wall and was getting ready to climb in.
Wilson: “Oh relax. It is not like someone is going to find us and put us into jail for it.”
Donna: “No but we will get in trouble if someone catches us here.”
Wilson: “Well then we can just say that we saw the gate was open and we went to investigate the situation closer.”
Donna had come up to Wilson close in the mean while. Close enough so that she could pull him out of the tunnel. Donna pulled Wilson by the shoulder and said.
Donna: “Wilson we have got to get back to the others.”
Donna knew that if she might have over exaggerated it more than it may become even harder to persuade Wilson in coming back.
Wilson looked her in the eyes and said.
Wilson: “Look what’s the worst that can happen? It is not like we stole something. Look around you there is not even anything to steal.”
Donna thought about it indeed in the prison of the castle there was nothing to steal. They would have had more luck looking in one of the other chambers for valuables.
Wilson: “Didn’t Drako make you curious” tilting his head a bit?
Wilson: “When Drako told us that this was the tunnel Vlad fled by when escaping from the Ottomans? I mean even if it was, there is no chance it could have maintained its durability and has not collapsed in the mean while? Yet here it is right where Drako said it would be and seems to be in perfect order?”
Wilson sounded pretty persuasive and Donna almost gave in.
Wilson: “No, Donna I am sorry but I am not going to turn back just yet. Not before getting a little bit of a closer look at things. But since you have come down here in search of me to get me out of harm’s way I will promise that I will not go into the tunnel.”
Donna: “Fine, but we have to hurry the others are waiting for us outside.”
Susan and Smith heard something. It was just like the gate lock closing.
Susan: “What was that?”
Smith: “I do not know.”
Susan: “Do you want to go and check it out?”
Smith: “I don’t think it is anything important.”
Susan had already started imagining what it could be. Perhaps the guide who had left the gate open had found out and closed it? But they must have then also seen the door? Could the wind have done it? Currently being within the castle’s four walls it was not so windy. But at first when she came out of the inn it was quite windy. Though strong enough to close a gate she was uncertain of?
The guide could have had other things what to think about then to look at the doorway?
Susan: “What if someone locked the gate?”
Smith looked at Susan.
Smith: “In the middle of the night possible. Though without closing the front door even without having a look if the front door was closed I think is highly improbable.”
Patricia saw herself how funny it sounded. It would have to be like someone followed them to be true and it sounded unreasonable for someone to only close the gate and not the front entrance. In most cases one would at least take a look at the front door to see if it was open. Not only because the castle had valuables within it but also because the gate with the walls would not be efficient enough to keep the burglars out.
Susan: “I suppose you are right.”
Smith smiled to her and said.
Smith: “We are anyway going out the same way we came in. Then we can see.”
Susan smiled back.
Most of the doors were locked inside the castle. But there were so many stairways, halls and hideouts so it was not such a big loss.
Donna: “You are not going to go through the whole castle are you Wilson?”
Donna was walking right behind him. She was curious in how long would it take before they decided to head back?
Wilson: “Of course not I am just going to go through all the places where we have not been” he replied with a smile.
Donna: “Seriously Wilson! The others waiting outside will get cold.”
At this point Wilson was getting pretty irritated by Donna, always being the “good mother figure” keeping everyone’s interests in mind. That was only the half of it. The other half was that she had to remind you of it all the time. It was like having reminders on everything you do. Doing homework “do not forget to make dinner”, in free time “do not forget to wash the laundry”, playing computer “do not forget to go outside” etc. It was quite annoying.
Wilson: “At the beginning of summer? I do not think so” pushing off the chances of them catching a cold while waiting for them outside.
Donna: “But it would be rude.”
Wilson: “I suppose you are right” sighing and giving up on arguing with her.
Margaret who had been quietly staying in the sidelines played the role of the observer. That is to observe the situation and come with any additional input if she were to get any. Apparently she did have some input, which she could come with now. The input sounded technical but would satisfy both parts being Wilson and Donna.
Margaret: “I hate to disturb your argument” referring to Wilson and Donna’s argument.
Margaret: “But there is something we can do” catching both parts attention.
Margaret: “We could segment it? Let us say if we are on a floor with lots of doors instead of trying each and every door. We could just be satisfied with trying one or two doors. Thereby we have segmented all the doors on that floor.”
Wilson and Donna were sort of getting to grasps with it. Though Wilson more than Donna.
Wilson: “Right so you mean, “segmenting” like in marketing?”
Wilson was unsure of where he was going or if that had anything to do with what Margaret was talking about.
Margaret: “Right Wilson you get where I am going.”
Wilson: “Not really I had a habit of day dreaming in most our marketing classes.”
Margaret: “So you don’t know anything?”
Wilson: “I do know something. I know that segmenting means categorising into groups.”
Margaret: “Exactly and that is what I am trying to get at,” she said with a smile.
Margaret: “Because if we now imagine that all the doors will be identical to the first two doors on the floor. It will not take that long to go the whole castle through.”
Donna: “Sounds good to me.”
Wilson: “Got you Margaret, question? What do we do if the first door is closed and if the second is open?”
Margaret: “Then from that we can tell that half the doors are open. This means most likely that all the doors on that side of the hall have better chances of being open than on the other side.”
Wilson thought to himself that it does seem to make a whole lot of sense but if all we are doing is guessing then where is the point? Are we trying to say that due to the small amount of time at our disposal, we are going to have to make some guesses? Or are we just saying if we can guess this why did we have to come here in the first place?
Donna and Wilson entered the courtyard. They saw Mary being closest sitting on the steps. As for Patricia and Carol who had left the castle and into the court yard around the same time as Mary were a little bit further on. Carol was leaning against the wall while Patricia seemed to be in a discussion with her. Patricia therefore was standing with her back towards Wilson, Donna and eventually Margaret.
Mary: “Have you had any luck Wilson” she said cheerfully when seeing Wilson coming up to them?
Wilson: “No, not yet.”
Donna: “Luck with what?”
Wilson: “Finding open doors.”
Mary: “And in finding Dracula’s secret hide-out.”
Donna: “You are not in on the break-in Mary are you?”
Mary: “Yes, I am” she answered on impulse.
Mary: “Or was until Margaret persuaded me otherwise” she said after having a little bit more time to digest the question.
Mary: “Therefore I left you and Wilson with all the fun and excitement of going in on your own.”
Donna: “No, I went in to retrieve Wilson before he found himself in a whole lot of trouble” she claimed.
Mary: “Then why did it end up taking so long?” she asked curious of all the time there had gone by?
Donna: “Wilson persistently wanted to check out the tunnel by going in there.”
Mary: “And did he” getting ever more curious on what Wilson might have found out about the tunnel?
Wilson: “No, apparently Donna was too concerned about my wellbeing and in me getting caught so she persuaded me not to.”
Mary: “Right, so what did you do in the meantime” wondering how long did it take for Wilson to get convinced?
Wilson: “Well after Donna had convinced me I still wanted to check the rest of the castle. But most of the rooms seemed to be locked and the ones that were not did not have anything interesting inside them.”
Mary: “How about any secret stairways?”
Donna could not believe what she was seeing. This Dracula myth had really gotten to them and probably the rest of the class as well. Seeing how much Mary was into it and actually had hoped that Wilson would find something.
Wilson: “No I couldn’t Donna was all the time going on about you guys and you getting a cold.”
Wilson stated it as if that was one of the factors, which hindered Wilson in investigating the castle fully.
Donna giggled to herself not because it was that amusing what Wilson told but since he used the term “guys” to refer to a whole bunch of girls and only one guy.
Margaret: “What are you talking about” after having locked the door that they came by?
Wilson: “Good one” after having noticed that Margaret had closed the door from the inside.
Wilson: “Covering our tracks as we go.”
Donna: “We were just explaining what we did in there” pointing towards the castle.
Margaret: “We did not do anything in the castle other then get Wilson.”
Wilson: “That is okay you do not have to cover up what we did anymore” putting one hand on one of Margaret’s shoulders.
Margaret: “Seriously we didn’t do anything else.”
Mary: “What about all the other rooms you went to?”
Margaret: “You mean the chambers Wilson tried getting into but found were all locked?”
Mary looked at Wilson and Wilson looked at Margaret.
Wilson: “You know one of these days when you are really not going to want me to say something I will. Maybe spoil a Birthday gift” looking with clinched eyes at Margaret?
Margaret: “I don’t mind” in a relaxed tone of voice.
Wilson suddenly remembered something.
Wilson: “Hey that is not true. We did have luck with one door.”
Margaret: “I am sorry we did have luck with one door and that was the door to the cleaners depot.”
Wilson: “Hey I am just correcting where Margaret went wrong” looking at Margaret with raised eyebrows.
Wilson started heading towards the well which is where Smith and Susan were.
Susan: “I wonder why they closed the well” talking to herself.
Smith: “I do not know maybe not to let children jump down there” who thought it was a question posed to him?
Susan smiled to Smith and said.
Susan: “I do not think parents would let their children jump down there.”
Wilson: “Hey” while approaching Smith and Susan.
Smith: “Hey” responding to Wilson.
Wilson: “I heard you were talking about something what about?”
Smith: “We were just talking about the well and why does it have a lid on” hoping Susan would correct him if he went wrong.
Susan: “Apparently” acknowledging to what Wilson had said and yet leading to in a sense it was never meant to be a discussion topic.
Wilson: “Well that is pretty clear to me.”
Susan: “How so?”
Wilson: “In the middle ages when children had behaved badly they through them down there.”
Susan: “Down the well, which is probably filled with water?
Wilson: “Yes” while nodding his head.
Wilson: “Usually there was something one could hold on to. So the kids could think of what they had done and how very bad it was.”
Susan: “Kids are not that strong,” stated Susan as a problem with Wilson’s thought.
Wilson: “Aaa but that is why it was so effective, after having been thrown down there once one does not wish to re-experience the same situation again.”
It seemed pretty obvious to Susan that she was not going to win the argument or get Wilson to see how farfetched it was.
Smith saw that this conversation was leading nowhere so he changed topics.
Smith: “Did you get what you were looking after?”
Wilson: “Yes” he replied while coming towards him and looking down at his own shoes.
Wilson: “It was not what I had expected.”
Susan: “Were all the rooms closed?”
Wilson: “Pretty much” nodding his head while still looking down at his shoes.
Smith: “Which rooms were not closed” asking curiously?
Wilson: “Well there was one room that was not closed” while looking up.
Susan: “That’s good.”
Wilson: “That was the cleaners depot” taking on a face of disgust.
Smith drew a smile on his face.
Smith: “So you did not get to see anything after all?”
Wilson: “That is not true” defending what he achieved by the expedition inside the castle walls.
Susan: “Well what did you see?”
Wilson: “I saw the dungeon and the tunnel Vlad used as his escape route.”
Susan: “Did you get to go in the tunnel?”
Wilson: “No Donna cut me off mid ways.”
Susan: “So you did not get to see anything new that we did not see on the first tour to the castle” getting a little bit more into depth with what Smith meant?
Before Wilson could answer he saw something. In the corner of his eye he saw the others leaving.
Wilson: “Where are you going” Wilson shouted?
Margaret: “We are going to get some sleep” turning around to face Wilson while shouting to him.
Wilson: “Come on. We just arrived” saying it even though he knew it was not true.
Margaret: “Yes we did arrive we went into the castle and discovered that all the doors were locked, now we will be going back to the hotel and come back tomorrow” saying it firmly as she turned back towards Donna, Mary, Carol and Patricia who were heading back to the hotel.
Wilson: “What makes you think they will be open then?”
Margaret: “Because the caste is open” right before she turned the corner and disappeared for Wilson.
Wilson thought to himself that is as good an explanation as any.
Wilson turned back to Smith and Susan. But as he soon discovered they had also started moving with the crowd towards the hotel. Wilson decided it probably would be best if he did the same.
Mary was the nearest person to Margaret when she shouted back to Wilson. Mary therefore managed to overhear the talk about them coming back to the castle tomorrow. That she started to ponder over.
Mary: “You do know tomorrow we will be heading back to the states” she asked Margaret once she was nearby.
Margaret: “No I did not” was her response to Mary.
There followed a short pause after that where Mary and Margaret had just entered the hall leading to the doorway where from they could see the gate.
Margaret: “But are you certain of this and how do you know that this means we will not have time to visit the castle tomorrow?”
Mary: “I do not,” replied Mary with her eyebrows raised.
They had caught up to Donna, Patricia and Carol.
Mary: “Why the halt” Mary asked since she saw the others standing still in front of her?
Donna: “I think somebody is coming.”
Mary listened and indeed she did hear footsteps. There was somebody coming up the stairs. Mary froze.
They saw somebody coming up the stairs. The lighting was not perfect so evidently it could have been anybody. It was unclear whether it was a guard or an imposter. Perhaps a burglar who saw the gate open and decided to try his luck? Then again it could have been someone just like them who had seen the open gate and then the open door and thought it still might be open?
When they started to identify the imposter it was unclear because he seemed to have some kind of cape on and he was looking down. But the thing that gave way for him being a guard rather than an imposter or eventually another guest was that it was a wind tight, rain cape.
Susan, Smith and Wilson had managed to enter the hall shortly after Mary and Margaret. When Susan, Smith and Wilson had caught up to the others they also saw the somebody that around this time was almost up the stairs.
Wilson: “Aaah there comes the guard right now” having a bit of a grunge on his face.
It seemed pretty obvious to Wilson that it would be a guard. He himself could imagine a guard having to do some routine checks on the castle and see to it that no imposters had come to the castle in the meantime.
The person had finally come up and was standing right in front of them. The man was standing just a few meters from Donna. The lantern that was on top of the door way managed to shun some light on the man. Everything from his feet to the beginning of his chin was visible.
It was a guard. He had a brown vest on with some blue jeans. He wore Nike shoes and had a torch in one of his hands.
Guard: “What are you doing here” shining his torch on them?
Guard: “You should not be here at this time” emphasizing the late hour.
Donna: “The gate was open and so we thought the castle still might be open?”
Guard: “Then you went inside?”
The man looked surprised at this.
Guard: “Besides the gate being open with the door. Were there any other reasons for why you went inside for example noises?”
Donna: “No there were no noises.”
It was the kind of thing Wilson wanted to hear. He could just imagine it. It was no ordinary castle of Bran but a haunted one. Sometimes at night you could still hear the screams of the prisoners Vlad had got in his dungeon. The many pains the prisoners went through when being tortured for secrets only they knew.
Wilson began to lose sight of the situation and wanted to go back to the dungeon, where he had been prohibited of going into the tunnel. The tunnel Drako claims helped Vlad escape from his last battle.
Guard: “Did you go into the castle?”
Carol: “No, why should we do that?”
Smith had a look at Carol.
Guard: “If you had been in the castle I would like to know?”
Donna: “Aaah right, so that the robbers do not come in.”
There was a small pause after that.
Guard: “Or come out” the man told them looking directly into Donna’s eyes.
Followed by another awkward silence.
Guard: “Very well then. I will be getting to locking up the gate and the doors.”
He had noticed the light was on and had a suspicion if all what the students had told him was trust worthy?
Guard: “I presume you have been inside the castle court yard, did you not see any lights on?”
Donna: “Yes we did that is why we tried if any doors were open.”
The guard smiled at Donna and said.
Guard: “You should be going home to get some rest. Good night then” as he began walking towards the castle courtyard.
Carol, Donna, Patricia, Mary, Susan, Margaret, Smith and Wilson headed down the stairs. When Wilson came past the guard he told him something.
Wilson: “I would still suggest you to check all the doors. You never know there might be one door that apparently still is open?”
The guard nodded his head in acknowledgement as Wilson past. He himself being a bit confused since did they not just say that they had not been inside the castle? Whatever may be the case the guard took it positively.
After the first turn behind the trees Patricia asked.
Patricia: “Why did you lie to the guard?”
Carol: “I do not know. It came automatically,” Carol explained.
Patricia had a look at her.
Patricia: “Let us just hope he does not find out.”
Wilson: “Ah do not worry about it.”
Patricia: “What makes you so sure?”
Wilson: “Maybe I gave him a small hint on our way out.”
Carol: “Wilson” giving him a yank on his right sleeve!
Wilson: “It is better if he locks the door than if somebody else walks in?”
Carol: “But he will know that I lied and that will make me get into trouble.”
Margaret: “Do not worry about that” while putting a hand on Carol’s shoulder.
Margaret: “Because I closed the door on our way out since I was the last person to have been inside” said in a cheerful tone to Carol.
Carol felt relieved but a bit mystified.
Carol: “How come Wilson does not know” scratching her head?
Carol: “Was he not the reason you and Donna went in there in the first place?”
Margaret: “Yes, but I was the last one of us three to come out. When Mary saw Wilson and Donna she immediately commenced in a dialogue.”
The group of them being Susan, Smith, Wilson, Margaret, Donna, Mary, Patricia and Carol continued their walk to the hotel. It was quiet on the streets except for the wind blowing every now and then. Everybody in the town seemed to be either sleeping or on their way to bed. Since nothing really seemed to be open except for the occasional kiosk they would come to pass.
This was a truly unusual experience for them. Back home it did not matter whether it was day or night. At daytime everything is open and as night would crepe on, there were all the restaurants and fast food places.
In the town there were the streetlights, signs, the light ups and then the few houses that had one or two windows that had light in them. But other than that there was nothing.
Mary: “What a lovely night to be walking out.”
Mary was clearly enjoying the “peace and quiet” there was. This gave her loads of time to think her own thoughts. Without having the car noises or other disturbances distract her.
Wilson: “You don’t say? I would think it much more resembles the movie “I Am Legend” or then “Resident Evil”.”
Smith found it amusing.
Wilson: “In both cases it would have to do with zombies. In both of them everybody has turned into zombies because of a disease, hence the term zombie apocalypse.”
Patricia: “You watch too many movies Wilson” shaking her head.
Wilson: “Maybe so, but coming from another movie lover I do not value it that highly.”
Mary; “Would you like to elaborate? How this can possibly remind you of “I Am Legend” or “Resident Evil.”
Wilson looked at Mary and said in a shocking manner.
Wilson: “The moon light shows us for what we really are” a quote he referred to from Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Mary felt a sense of where Wilson was going with this.
Mary: “So you mean the citizens of this town close their curtains or go to bed to relieve others from seeing their true selves?”
Wilson: “Yes” while nodding his head.
Mary: “Really Wilson you watch too many movies and you are way off.”
Wilson: “Well at least I have the decency of expressing my own thought.”
Margaret who had been observing the dialogue Wilson had been having with Mary and eventually Patricia as well. Sensed where it was going.
Margaret had taken into account that they were walking down streets that were empty with nothing to talk about. Therefore Mary had opened with commenting on the streets and their atmosphere while Wilson had felt a tendency to push it even further. With coming up of his own thoughts about the streets and films you could draw parallels between.
Margaret: “I wonder why there are so few lights on at this time?”
Patricia: “Maybe there is a law against having lights on so late in the night?”
Wilson had a look at his clock it was 22:00.
Wilson: “At ten in the night?”
Patricia had just enough time to come up with some arguments for why that would be, responded with.
Patricia: “Maybe it is a special energy law” trying to back up her suggestion?
Patricia: “It may be that they want to reduce energy consumption. Perhaps to lower their carbon foot print?”
Wilson: “They should make this into a ghost town then.”
Wilson: “Think about it. Not only is this the town of Dracula but at nighttime when the lights are out. The ghosts come out to play” pushing it all on the back of Bran castle.
Smith thought to himself this would be an excellent slogan for the town. It would create a lot of publicity and a lot of good marketing for the castle of Bran.
Wilson: “As well as I remember there was no such rule in the city where we landed.”
Mary: “It might have been that we were just tourists. Think about it don’t you think that the hotel was already expecting foreigners to stay up till late in the night?”
Wilson: “I suppose you are right” tilting his head from one side to the other.
Wilson: “Still one would expect there to be more life in this city. Haven’t Romanians heard of night life” looking sceptical?
They returned to their “Hotel Wolf 2.” It was about two kilometres away from the castle of Bran itself. They had just walked in. They were standing next to the reception of the hotel.
Wilson: “I do not know about you guys but I am tired. I am going to bed. Good night everybody” taking his one hand up to wish them good-bye and slowly turning around.
Susan: “Good night.”
Smith: “Good night.”
Mary: “Good night.”
Donna: “Good night.”
As for the other three girls being Mary, Margaret and Carol were not paying any attention. This was partly due to that they were a little bit further away from the rest, closer to the main door. The other reason might have been that they were busy talking about their day, the excursion at the Bran Castle as well as the inn.
Wilson went to the reception counter and talked to the nearest receptionist.
Wilson: “Could I have the keys to room 316?”
The receptionist took the keys and handed them to Wilson while asking him.
Receptionist (1): “Is this your first time in Romania?”
Wilson: “Thank you” after having received the keys.
Wilson: “Yes it is” getting ready to go look for his room.
Receptionist (1): “Have you seen the castle of Bran?”
Wilson: “Yes” while looking at one sign.
Wilson was looking towards one end of the reception where there was a doorway. On top of the doorway there was a sign, where there stood 100 – 149. The doorway was located right in between the cafeteria and the reception.
Receptionist (1): “Did you like it?”
Wilson: “Yeah tomorrow we will be going there again” while looking at the other sign on the opposing end of where he first looked.
Wilson now was looking at the opposite end of the reception counter. There was another doorway with a similar sign on top of it, where there stood 150 – 199. Counter to the doorway there was a stairway going up and down.
Receptionist (1): “You sound a little uncertain. Was there anything you did not like?”
Wilson turned his face towards the receptionist.
Wilson: “No but it is like there is still so much more to see within the castle and we have only seen so little of it.”
Receptionist (1): “Have you not taken one of the tour guides?”
Wilson: “We did take one of the tour guides but he only showed us some very specific rooms, rooms that matched with his story.”
Receptionist (1): “And which story would this be” asked in a curious fashion?
Wilson: “The story of Vlad’s final battle and his escape.”
Receptionist (1): “I am not sure of that I have heard of that one. Did he tell you the one of Dracula?”
Wilson: “Which one would that be” imaging himself that there where many tales of Dracula that were being told?
Receptionist: “There is a saying that every now and then Dracula comes to feast upon the weak. Disguised as somebody else he roams the streets late at night.”
As far-fetched as it may have been Wilson felt quite taken by this.
Receptionist (2): “Do not mind him, he just likes to give a little twist to the Dracula story” came a voice from another elderly receptionist.
Wilson smiled back to the elderly receptionist and asked.
Receptionist (2): “Your room is on the third floor” followed by a smile.
Wilson was then again taken by the situation.
How did he know I had to go to the third floor or for that matter what my room number is?
Wilson: “How do you know that” clinching his eyes towards the elderly receptionist?
Receptionist (2): “Because I can see it on your key” giving Wilson a wide smile.
Wilson gave out a laugh and started heading towards the stairs.
Wilson went to his room while the others were moving towards the cafeteria.
Donna: “Look the cafeteria is still open” sounding a little surprised.
Donna: “Maybe we can go in there and get a coffee while we talk about some of the highlights in our day?”
They being the rest of the group agreed with Donna therefore they came closer to her.
Most of them understood what was meant by coffee and high lights of the day. Coffee since it had been a long day with more activities for some than usual. Therefore most likely everyone needed something to waken their spirits. By high lights of the day what was meant was castle Bran, their excursion there first with the tour guide and thereafter alone. Maybe if they have no input on the castle Bran then their tour at the inn?
Smith: “Lead the way” smiling towards Donna.
They came into a big dinning room. There were two lampposts at the entrance one on each side. The lights in the room were not turned on. But there were lanterns on each table with a candle inside.
The lanterns that had a flame in them were at the tables where there was actually someone sitting. A lantern in itself did not spread that much light. Having a few in the room that were light gave a cosy kind of feeling. Sort of like when someone is sitting together with friends at the countryside and playing monopoly at nighttime. Due to that the building wherein you are playing monopoly at has no electricity you have a few candles light, so that one can still follow the game.
In one corner of the dinning room there was a piano on the opposite corner a bar let with a waiter standing behind it. Otherwise the room was filled with tables and chairs behind them. There was a table being used to play poker on and a couple of tables that were being used for dinning purposes. But still mostly empty therefore giving it quite a calm atmosphere.
It could though be evaluated differently all dependent on which perspective you saw it from giving quite a different impression.
Patricia: “I think actually I am also pretty tired. Catch you tomorrow” right before leaving the group.
Now it was only the six of them Smith, Donna, Carol, Mary, Susan and Margaret. Susan, Mary, Margaret and Donna sat behind the table while Smith and Carol took two additional chairs to the table. Soon thereafter Mary rose.
Mary: “I am going up to the bar. Is there anyone who would like something to drink or maybe a snack that I can bring when I return?”
Smith: “I’m good.”
Margaret: “Why don’t I come with you?”
Susan: “I will have a black coffee.”
Susan: “With three lumps of sugar and milk please.”
Mary was thinking to herself now we are getting a little demanding so why doesn’t she come along then as well?
Donna: “I’ll take a café latte.”
Carol: “I will take a cappuccino.”
Mary: “Are you sure you do not want anything” looking at Smith?
Smith: “On second thought I would like to have a cappuccino.”
Mary smiled to him.
Smith: “With three lumps of sugar.”
Mary: “Would you maybe like to have some milk as well?”
Smith: “No thank you.”
Margret and Mary started walking towards the bar let. Right before they reached the bar Margaret asked.
Margaret: “Did you know that he was having second thoughts or was that just luck?”
Mary: “Why did I ask him again” relating to the question?
Mary: “I do not know. Probably I just guessed.”
Mary: “We would like one café latte, two cappuccino and?”
Margaret: “One black coffee for our friends.”
Mary: “As for us two I will have a cappuccino and she will have a?”
Margaret: “I’ll take an Irish coffee.”
Mary looked surprised.
Mary: “I would not have suspected that you would have liked alcohol so late at a school night.”
Margaret: “I do not but since it is Irish coffee where it is a mix between coffee and alcohol it does wake someone even more up” explaining her choice.
Waiter: “So it was three cappuccino, one café latté, one black coffee and one Irish coffee?”
Carol: “What do you suppose the guard meant by “Or let the robbers come out”?”
Smith: “It is a form of speech” sounding pretty certain.
Susan: “I think the guard was just a little cross that we went in the castle without notifying him” supposed Susan.
Donna: “I don’t know” thinking about what she said.
Donna: “The man did seem to be trying to tell me something when he stared into my eyes.”
Carol: “Tell you what?”
Donna: “I’m not sure. But it seemed as if the man was trying to warn us of something.”
Margaret and Mary had just returned carrying two trays one each. Primarily because the trays were big and round with more than one item on them, so to balance it out they had to hold the tray each with both hands.
Margaret: “Here we are” smiling.
Margaret started by putting her tray on the table and thereafter discarding the three cappuccinos from her tray. She then put the tray under her one arm and waited till Mary had done the same. Once Mary was done with taking Irish coffee, Black coffee and Café Latté off of her tray Margaret said.
Margaret: “Would you like me to take both trays back to the bar?”
Mary: “Yes please” she answered impulsively.
After Mary had said that she thought to herself and said.
Mary: “Maybe we can just do that afterwards like when we leave?”
Margaret: “No worries” since she had already begun leaning over towards Mary’s tray.
When Margaret had gone and Mary was still standing while the others were sitting quietly, Mary said.
Mary: “Please help yourselves.”
Smith: “Thank you.”
Carol: “Thank you”
Susan: “Thank you.”
Carol who was still interested in hearing the rest of Donna’s story said.
Carol: “You were saying” looking at Donna while holding the Cappuccino in one hand and ready to take a zip?
Carol: “Warn us about what?”
Donna: “I never reached a conclusion with that,” she explained referring to what the man was trying to warn them about.
Mary who had just sat down felt a little lost. Since she had no idea what the conversation was about. Though she did not say anything she just hoped that in a little while she herself would be able to tell what the talk was about.
But there was something more behind Carol’s question. Not only was Carol curious in what Donna thought the guard had meant by the expression on the man’s face. But what Carol really wanted to know was had Donna drawn upon the same conclusion as she had?
Carol thought there was something the guard was not telling them. Something they should have known before going on their excursion to the castle. But what?
Realistically she knew what could be drawn out from the matter. Maybe there in fact was someone who was hiding there? Maybe the guard himself had seen a man but never been able to catch him after closing hours?
Smith: “I still think you are going too far with this.”
Smith: “Look I would have probably said the same thing if I were in that kind of situation” Smith said while explaining what could have happened given the guards situation?
Carol: “Maybe” Carol said acknowledging that may be a possibility.
Donna: “Why does it interest you in the first place” looking at Carol?
Carol: “I am just curious” Carol told with raised eyebrows.
Mary: “Talking about the castle of Bran what would you like to see tomorrow?”
The others looked a little bit mystified at Mary.
Mary: “I mean there will have to be something before the flight” she started with laying down the facts.
Mary: “We know if the bus ride takes us what 3 hours if we are to take it from the same airport where we landed. We still should have an abundance of extra time on our hands.”
Smith was thinking of what Mary was saying and therefore was tilting his head from side to side.
Mary: “I personally would like to see everything we did not have time to see today.”
Mary turned to Carol.
Mary: “How about you?”
Carol: “I think I would also like to do the same as you. But I would also like to find some more out about Drako.”
Smith smiled to this.
Smith: “Aaah the man with the story.”
Carol: “Story or not I still found it rather convincing” looking around to find others who agreed with her.
Donna: “I agree” showing her support towards Carol.
Donna: “Although if I might add I would also like to ask him where does he come with this story from, if indeed it is a story?
After their hot drinks in the cafeteria they departed from one another some going to bed while others just chose to go up to their rooms and see what is on TV.
Susan was feeling quite tired after the day she had. She wanted to go to her room fix herself a nice hot shower and go to bed all clean and ready for the next day.
Margaret on the other hand who was sharing a room with Susan felt quite energetic, especially after the Irish coffee she had down in the cafeteria.
Susan: “I think I am going to take a shower and then going to bed” after having entered their room after Margaret.
Margaret: “Oooh okay. I hope you will not mind if I stay up and watch what is on the TV?”
Susan: “No, not at all if it is not horror” putting her index finger up reminding Margaret.
Susan went under her blanket and said.
Susan: “Good night.”
Susan then turned to her other side away from the TV so that the TV lights would not bother her.
Margaret: “Good night.”
Susan shortly after heard someone knocking on the door. She opened her eyes. It was pitch black and Margaret had gone to bed by the looks of it. She heard again someone knocking on the door just a little bit louder this time. She turned around to see if Margaret really was sleeping. She saw Margaret had her back turned towards Susan. Susan thought it must be important since the interval of time between the two knocks was very short, so she said.
Susan: “Just a sec” saying it loudly but still not loudly enough to be called yelling or to wake Margaret up.
Susan had nothing on so she quickly took her jeans and her t-shirt that was worn the previous day. Thereafter she went to the door and opened it.
It was Drako. She was uncertain of why he had come or how he had found them? But there was something with him that made him more irresistible than earlier on.
Drako: “I could not keep myself from coming” looking down.
Susan: “How did you know how to find us” trying to get a hang on how did he actually find them?
Drako looked up and directly into her eyes.
Drako: “Does it matter” putting his left hand up and softly touching upon her lips?
Susan was not that taken by that move. She took one step further out in the hallway and almost shut the door completely, so that if it would end up in shouting it would not wake Margaret.
Drako had pulled his hand back when he saw that Susan tread another step into the hallway. Drako tilted his head a bit to his right shoulder and said.
Drako: “I had to see you after our first encounter in the castle of Bran. Not knowing whether I would ever see you again or not.”
Susan was getting a bit frustrated by seeing Drako out manoeuvre the initial question posed.
Susan: “But that still does not answer the initial question of how you found us here?”
Drako: “I followed you.”
Susan: “You followed us” raising her voice and getting cross.
Susan: “Where, when, why” asking to get a little more information about how long has he actually been following them?
Susan: “You know what, do not even explain. I am too tired for this now. I am going back to bed” she turned around and opened the door.
Drako: “Wait” taking her other hand and pulling her back to face him.
Instantly when she faced Drako, Drako’s lips touched hers. It was a turn of events.
Susan did not know whether it was the touch of their lips, the way Drako kissed or maybe something else? What she did know was it changed her opinion of him.
No longer did he seem as an intruder or a stalker. This time with everything kept in mind the late night disturbance and the kiss. Susan did start to see that it was not only what one could see on the outside that mattered.
In any case Susan was overcome by it. Drako moved slowly closer and gently pushed Susan backwards into her room. Susan loved the way Drako kissed. The kisses were of so much passion, desire, hope and lust. There was a time when Drako stopped and looked deep into Susan’s eyes. Susan could see her own reflection in Drako’s eyes. Susan noticed the door being shut behind them and thought it must have been because Drako shut it when they were kissing. All of a sudden Susan could see Margaret standing naked besides her, in between Drako and Susan. For a short while Susan was confused but Drako’s calm look calmed her. Drako kissed her again right on the lips this time however he moved slowly down to the neck. When he had reached the middle of the neck he stopped and looked at her again. The look on his face was different this time it was not calm but more like he had come upon something and not something nice. Suddenly his face changed radically.
His hair sunk into the skull. His face in total turned more skull shape losing all the extra fat there was in between. His forehead changed from being in a vertical position to becoming a more v shaped one. His eyelids together with where his eyebrows used to be turned more inwards towards his nose. Forming a v shape where his eyelids touched with his eyebrows. It seemed as if he had three pairs of wrinkles under his eyes darkly engraved into the bone. But there was no nose bone instead of it there was just a light tan spot in the middle of his face. His mouth was not open nor was it closed. One could see all of his sharp teeth forming a kind of wall of daggers. It was frightening. Susan screamed and then she woke.
Susan was sweating; she was in an upright sitting position. It was still dark and Margaret was lying in her bed just as she had imagined it. There was no knocking on the door but it still felt so real.
Susan: “Margaret” she said facing towards Margaret.
Margaret moved a bit and then turned so that her face was facing the ceiling.
Margaret: “What” she asked in a tired voice?
Susan: “Did you hear something?”
Margaret opened her eyes and blinked twice.
Susan: “I think somebody may be at the door,” whispering to Margaret.
Margaret: “Then check it” not knowing what she should say.
Susan looked at the door from where she was sitting. Margaret in the meanwhile had a look at the alarm clock it was five.
Margaret: “Do what you like but I am going to bed” turning around back into her sleeping position.
Susan annoyed by the dream she had still looked at the door. She looked if she could see any shadow coming in from under the doorway but there was none. After a while she gave up and went to bed.