Darkness; everything was black. I tried to see. There was nothing but cold, black shadows. Something moved. What was it? Did the shadows move? I let out a scream*. I tried to stand up. I waved* my arms around me. Again I saw something move and I screamed again. Was that a whisper*? I gave out a cry and ran to the door. I had to get away.
In the dark, I hit the bed. I ran around in the dark. I hit the table and the chair. I cried out again and again. Then I hit my head…
I opened my eyes. It was day and I could see the sun through the window. The old man from downstairs sat by my bed. He watched me closely. The old lady with the yellow teeth was there too.
`What happened?’ I asked. ‘I remember you but that is all.’
`We found you in the morning,’ said the old man. ‘There was blood* on your head.’
Very slowly, I remembered my night in the red room of Lorraine Castle.
`Now do you think there is a ghost in the room?’ asked the old man.
`Yes, ` I said, `the room is haunted*.’
`Did you see it?’ the old man asked. ‘Tell us… who was it? Who is the ghost? Is it the young Duke?’
`No,’ I said, `it is not.’
`Ha!’ said the old woman, `it is the wife, she died in her bed… `
`No, ` I said, `it is not her. There is no ghost of the wife or the Duke in the room. It is not a ghost. It is worse, much worse, than that.’
`What is it then?’ the old woman and man asked.
`It is the worst thing, ` I said. `I could not see it but it was with me in the corridor upstairs and it was with me in the room. ` I looked out the window. `It was darkness and fear.’
`Yes,’ said the old man with the yellow teeth. `I knew it. The dark… it is always there. In the day time it is there. It waits and watches. On a summer’s day in the room, it is there: you can feel it behind you. It has no face or body but you do not want to turn around and see it. It is in the corners at night and behind the curtains*. It lives in this house. It is haunted and that is the room of death.’
I listened to the old man. He was right: I was lucky*. I was lucky to be alive*.
*a scream – a loud, frightened shout
*waved – moved arms (to attract attention or ‘say’ goodbye)
*a whisper – a very quite voice
*blood – the red fluid in our body
*haunted – frequented by a ghost or evil spirit
*curtains – fabric used at windows to block sunlight
*lucky – fortunate
*alive – not dead