Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Stories by EFR from old forum.

Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 05 Jan 2014, 19:11

Story by elderlyfemalerelativ, posted by S666

It was breakfast in the Mount Street flat, and for some time the silence had been broken only by the sound of crunching toast and the cracking of egg shells . The four friends sitting around the table were James Bigglesworth (Biggles), Algy Lacey, Ginger Hebblethwaite and Bertie Lissie and there was little about them that would have revealed to a stranger the skills and daring that had made them a combination feared at the four corners of the earth.

Bertie was reading a long letter, and Biggles had casually noticed that the postmark was Wolverhampton. Finally Bertie looked up. "I say, chaps, it's from old Smith from my year. A good egg, we used to call him -"
"Smithy" suggested Algy, smiling faintly.
Bertie regarded him with astonishment "I say, old thing, that was astonishing. You must be psychic".

"Indeed I am", agreed Algy. "Any moment now Biggles will try for the last slice of toast, only to find that Ginger has already scoffed it".

Biggles, who had indeed been reaching towards the empty toast rack, deliberately turned his back on Algy,and looked at Bertie questioningly. "what's up" he asked.

"Well, old Smithy's gone and bought himself a castle", began Bertie.

"Why, doesn't he have one already, like everyone else?" queried the irrepressible Algy.

"Indeed he does," nodded Bertie, "two in fact, but he's bought this one as a paying proposition"

"Does he want us to go and stay there" queried Ginger, "or is he short of money and looking for a sub?"

"No, money's no problem but he's having trouble with his workforce".

"Well, what can we do?" asked Biggles rather testily, still hankering after the toast. "I mean, Bertie wouldn't recognise a paint brush if it chased him and bit him, Ginger isn't too bad with engines, but I don't imagine this chap wants his castle to get airborne, and Algy, let's face it, is neither use nor ornament".

Algy considered throwing the last slice of toast that in fact he, not Ginger, had taken and hidden under his napkin, but thought better of it and decided that silence was more effective as response.

"You see", continued Bertie "the place is haunted and no-one will work there. So he wants chaps to stay there, chaps willing to do a pal a good turn, stout hearted with nerves of steel and all that sort of thing don't you know".

"And I suppose that he didn't know anyone answering that description, so he asked you " said Algy innocently

"Come on, chief" said Ginger, brightening up, "we deserve a break after all the overtime we've been doing and we might be able to help Bertie's pal".

"You're right", agreed Biggles somewhat to everyone's surprise "there isn't much on at the moment, either. Of course, someone will have to stay here and mind the shop".

Silence fell, and three pairs of eyes turned in one direction.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby SaintedAunt » 06 Jan 2014, 00:04

Spitfire666 wrote:Silence fell, and three pairs of eyes turned in one direction.

It's so long since the old forum days, I've forgotten who... :evil:
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Fairblue » 06 Jan 2014, 00:15

SaintedAunt wrote:
Spitfire666 wrote:Silence fell, and three pairs of eyes turned in one direction.

It's so long since the old forum days, I've forgotten who... :evil:

But I bet we can have a pretty good guess. On the other hand, this IS an EFR story. :D
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby SaintedAunt » 06 Jan 2014, 00:20

That's exactly what I thought :lol:
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 06 Jan 2014, 08:59

by elderlyfemalerelativ

Biggles leaned back in his chair. "I'll stay" he announced, to some surprise, not unmixed with consternation, amongst his audience. "there's several reports I have to finish, and I want an unofficial word with Raymond about the Spanish rabbits. If I get it all cleared up I'll come up and join you"

"Good egg" grinned Bertie "I'll just send a telegram to old Smithy. Cold Coseley Castle, here we come"

"Sounds inviting", commented Algy, drily.

"Oh it won't be that bad", said Bertie breezily, "that's just a local nickname. It used to be old Coseley castle till a Victorian misprint re-christened it and the new name stuck"

"I wonder why," muttered Ginger. " Anyway,I can tell you what's going on there without trailing all that way. It'll be smugglers"

"Smugglers?", three voices answering as one.

"Yes, I've been reading about it in a magazine." "You would", came a murmer. "After the smugglers have landed their booty on the beach, they need a safe place to store it. To keep the locals out they invent tales of ghostly happenings until the swag can be passed on."

"Plausible, I grant you" said Biggles judicously, "and far be it from me to demolish a good theory with facts. But it is an incontrovertible fact that Wolverhampton is a bit short of beaches. One rarely sees holiday posters for it showing people reclining on golden sands and splashing in the rippling waves. However", he continued "you might have the glimmerings of a good idea. I've always found that most of the inexplicable things in life can in reality be laid at human doors. So you three would be better employed watching the flesh and blood residents rather than ghosties and ghoulies. Not to mention long-legged beasties"


It was night by the time they reached their destination. The outline of the old castle could be seen blackly against the fiery sunset and the air was chill. The small town they had passed through was strangely quiet, all the doors were firmly shut and the windows closed and dim. A dog barked but stopped when his barks were answered by mournful howling from the slag heaps that ringed the town. The road reached the edge of the canal and appeared to finish there. Ginger got out to investigate and, through the darkening air he made out a figure hobbling towards them, carrying a strange device.

"Just you wait, young sirs", came the breathless voice from the lurching figure "Once I gets my windlass fixed, I'll have the swing bridge across in two shakes of a lamb's tale". They all watched in surprise as the bridge slowly swung across the canal towards them and realising they could now pass, drove on. From the corner of his eye Algy thought he saw something moving in the oily waters, something long and green, oddly tentacle shaped, but he dismissed the idea as absurd.*


*Would that the authoress had done the same, you might feel!
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 06 Jan 2014, 09:05

by elderlyfemalerelativ

The car followed a long and winding drive. The trees rustled, though there seemed little wind and the moon appeared fitfully through the scudding clouds, throwing an unreliable light on the woods.. Ginger thought he saw shapes and bright eyes amongst the trees, but could not decide what they were. "Smugglers" he tried telling himself, but he was glad when he could see the lights appearing ahead. They drew up outside what appeared to be a Victorian Gothic addition to the old castle, crenelated to match, with ivy smothering the windows. There were dark forms wheeling overhead; Ginger presumed bats, though in the twilight they looked larger than he expected.

But their host was there waiting with a broad smile and light and warmth spilled from the door behind him. "What ho, young Lissie" came a cheerful greeting, and Bertie shook hands before introducing his friends.
"I imagine you'd like to unpack first", he continued "Dolores will show you to your rooms".
"Dolores?" queried Algy, looking horrified.
"Yes, Dolores Perkins. She and her old man Pedro Perkins run the place. I inherited them, so to speak. Been here years. Only people who seem able to put up with the place. But I'll go into all of that when you've finished."

Ginger was both disappointed and relieved to see his room was bright and airy, plainly though comfortably furnished. He had a quick look for secret panels but the fireplace remained merely a fireplace, the wardrobe was new and refused to creak open all by itself and the rocking chair was quite still.

Algy was definitely relieved that Dolorers was a taciturn fair haired woman, who did not respond to his smile or thanks as she showed him his room.

After a plentiful supper, Smithy, as he insisted they call him, outlined his problems. The castle had always had a bad reputation, but as one local had told him, if you left it alone, it left you alone. But this meant that no local workman would come when he started the restoration work. He got people from further afield, though this put up costs, but after a series of inexplicable events, they had all left too.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 06 Jan 2014, 09:08

by elderlyfemalerelativ

"At first it was the usual sort of snags", continued Smithy. "Tools went missing, vans wouldn't start, suppliers claiming stock shortages, that sort of thing. But then there seemed to be an escalation when the work continued. The men all reported hostility in the local pubs, even veiled threats. One of the diggers was vandalised. Well, the blokes are tough enough, but then the nights got bad. They're mostly sleeping on-site, they restored the stables and are fairly comfortable there."

His audience were now listening closely, all aware that their own safety depended on unlocking the riddle and looked at him questioningly when he paused. Ginger thought the shadows at the edges of the room were now darker and closer, moving in when the one electric light flickered. The fire had burned low and old wooden panels creaked as the cold increased. Algy looked around as he thought he heard a movement outside and then a dark form briefly crossed the dim window pane. He strode to the window, but it was warped shut and he could see nothing outside beyond a few feet. The feeling that he was being watched grew uncomfortably strong but telling himself it was imagination, he returned to his chair and lit a cigarette. Would Biggles have believed in spooks? He knew he would not have, and drew comfort from that thought.

"I suppose it doesn't sound too much, when you hear it" , continued Smithy, "but it's a different kettle of fish on a cold dark night when you're already on edge. There were footprints in the dust, one morning. Very small footprints, leading to what was the nursery. And one man said he heard a child crying. A low sobbing that went on and on till he got the nerve to fling open the door. Nothing there,of course, but he wouldn't finish the plastering outside. Some rooms are always bitterly cold, even with heaters and so the jobs get skimped. The sound of footsteps that walk through the new section and continue along the original path. The rattle of harnesses in the old stables, and always the feeling that you're being watched."
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Kismet » 06 Jan 2014, 14:56

From the corner of his eye Algy thought he saw something moving in the oily waters, something long and green, oddly tentacle shaped, but he dismissed the idea as absurd.*


Biggles leaned back in his chair. "I'll stay" he announced, to some surprise, not unmixed with consternation, amongst his audience. "there's several reports I have to finish, and I want an unofficial word with Raymond about the Spanish rabbits. If I get it all cleared up I'll come up and join you"


So many good bits. What were the Spanish rabbits? EFR's unbridled imagination or a reference to something?
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 11 Jan 2014, 21:33

by elderlyfemalerelativ

"I keep telling them that there's a rational explanation,of course" continued Smithy" but I've offended a couple of them by scoffing, so I'm not sure what to do. My thinking was that if they see a lot of normal chaps living here happily, they'll realise that there's nothing to be worried about."

"Normal chaps?" thought Algy to himself, but bit back any flippant answers and merely agreed with the others that he'd do what he could. "So we'll turn in now, then hang around tomorrow looking unconcerned, is that it?" he asked "Isn't there anything we could do on the practical side of things? Ginger's a dab hand with machinery, no old generators or vintage tractors? Bertie could test out the tennis courts and re-stock the bar."
"And you, inquired Ginger pointedly, "while I get oily and get my finger ends removed by recalcitrant machinery and Bertie drives for miles looking for decent booze in this back woods, you'll be testing the cushions, I suppose"

"Managerial, that's me" grinned Algy. "Smithy here needs a good right hand man. Someone who inspires confidence in the troops. Someone with savoir faire yet down-to earth. And cushions are important, too."

But when Smithy left them briefly to lock up, he turned a more serious face to his friends.
"There' s obviously something going on here", he said quietly. "Remember what Biggles said about human agencies. Someone's trying to sabotage this affair, I imagine, and since we don't know who that is, we don't know how far they're willing to go. So keeps your eyes open and don't relax your guard."

Tired after their drive, Algy and Ginger were soon asleep. But Bertie found slumber more difficult. The old house did make noises, and the fire crackled occasionally, but he could ignore these. But the feeling that he was not alone grew oppressive. Telling himself that to go and look behind the curtains and under the bed would be to give in, he lay there sleepless. He'd faced enough dangers in his life. How could a comfortable bedroom compare to a dog fight or a clash with von Stalhein? He dozed briefly. Then, suddenly, he was wide awake. Even with his eyes still closed he knew there was someone else in the room.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 11 Jan 2014, 21:34

by elderlyfemalerelativ

He lay still for a moment, considering. The room seemed cold and very quiet. The fire had died down and the only light came from the moon behind the thin curtains. He opened his eyes a trifle, without moving anything else, waiting for his eyes to become accustomed to the darkness. He could see the bed on either side of him, and a portion of the room. Nothing there.
He risked raising his head a little and looking towards the foot of the bed. He had had many shocks in an adventurous life and could truly say that his nerve was as strong as anyone's, but what he saw leaning on the foot of his bed was one of the greatest shocks he had ever known.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 11 Jan 2014, 21:36

by elderlyfemalerelativ

There, in the dim light, he saw a hunched figure leaning against the foot of the bed. Its hair was long, white and tangled and its clothes hung in wisps and tatters. There was an unpleasant smell, like mildew or damp. It didn't move and seemed to stare at him and, as Bertie met its stare in a fixed fascination that he could not break, he saw that the face was the face of a skull. In the flickering firelight there seemed to be movement in the empty eyes and Bertie's involuntary shudder shook the bed enough to make the bones of the fleshless hands click together. Bertie's blood ran cold, but with a great effort he tore his look away from the thing and grabbed his lighter from the bedside table. its feeble light was enough to locate the light switch and Bertie flung himself at it, convinced that he would feel the cold touch of those hands around his neck if he ever turned his back on it.
But the comforting electric light brought reason back and he advanced towards the crumpled thing. Now he could see that it was just a collection of old clothes with a wig on the skull, and he knocked it contemptuously to the floor, realising that someone must have crept into his room whilst he dozed, and fixed it in place. "Wait till I find you out, old boy" he murmured to himself. "I enjoy a jape as much as the next fellow but spoiling my beauty sleep? Not on, I'm afraid."

He determined to stay awake in case someone came to reclaim their handiwork, but it had been a long day and he soon fell asleep.
In the morning there was no trace of anything odd, and he might have thought it a bad dream except that Ginger complained his night had been disturbed by a persistent scratching at his door, When he finally had gone to look there was no-one there, but there were long scratches in the paint on the door, scratches that a fanciful person might have thought had been made by long fingernails.
Algy had not heard or seen anything, but he agreed with the others that there was dirty work afoot. "We'll keep it from Smithy, for the moment" he advised "he's got enough on his plate and we don't want any more rumours spreading amongst the workmen."
So when their host greeted them they smiled at him, assured him they'd slept well, and asked what he would like them to do. Smithy didn't look as it he had slept well, but he said nothing about it and suggested that they might like to get to know the place, now it was daylight. He was going into town to try and find more workmen.
When he'd gone, Algy suggested a plan of campaign.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Spitfire666 » 11 Jan 2014, 21:38

UGH :!: :!: :!: Where are you, EFR :?: There isn't any more of this one :nono: :smoking2: :help:
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Fairblue » 11 Jan 2014, 21:54

Spitfire666 wrote:UGH :!: Where are you, EFR :?: There isn't any more of this one :!: :!: Etc


Spitfire666 wrote: "Wait till I find you out, old boy" he murmured to himself. "I enjoy a jape as much as the next fellow but spoiling my beauty sleep? Not on, I'm afraid."


No, definitely not. Go get 'em, Bertie. That is, if EFR ever finishes this. ;)
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Kismet » 11 Jan 2014, 23:09

:shock: You can't leave it here! Not with ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night and tentacled things in the moat and mysterious retainers and Bertie and Algy vulnerable without Biggles....
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby kylie_koyote » 12 Jan 2014, 16:40

Ooh! More please!
"For goodness sake stop that Yankee drawl, or you'll have us all doing it before you've finished."
"OK baby - sorry - I mean, righto."
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Re: Biggles and the Haunted Castle

Postby Bruce » 15 Mar 2014, 05:53

kylie_koyote wrote:Ooh! More please!


Add my vote to that as well :please:

P.S. "spanish rabbits" :?: exchanging recipes maybe :lol:


Cheers Bruce. 8-)
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