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The Castle of Horrow

Old Skool Vampire does it Old Skool

Old Skool Vampire does it Old Skool

My daughter has had some of her work published on this blog before. She took a bit of a hiatus from writing for some reason, but is now back on form. Below is a draft of a somewhat grimdark ‘love’ story. It’s a draft because unfortunately I probably won’t get to see the finished version, they take them into school and it’s like a black hole. However, bar a couple of plot holes and ‘eh?’ moments, I’m pretty chuffed that my 12 year-old daughter wrote this, especially the descriptive language.

I can’t wait to see what she turns out when she’s older!




The wind tousled and played with my long, thick hair- only stopping when the canopy of dead trees, sheltering my weak body, acted as an enemy to the wind and they fought tirelessly. I looked down at my feet, my gaze only met with fog, clouding my already poor vision; it lay like a blanket, hiding anything below my ankles. I kept walking; the only thing keeping me from freezing in the sharp slaps of wind that had won against my guards. Every step caused a shiver to weave up my spine, clenching at my ribs with icy fingers. I could scarcely breathe. The fog at my ankles started getting thicker and the fog, now smog, clouded my head. I could not see, nor hear anything.
Stumbling through the woods, the smog drifted around me, sometimes giving me a small peek so I could see where I was going- it was guiding me, helping me.
As the clouded silhouettes of the tall winding trees cleared, I squinted through the fog, which had, kindly, slowly made its way away from my face, and there, in all its glory, was the gate.

Nothing like I had ever seen before, this gate was more like a rusted shrine, its intricate detail pleasing to the eye. Ivy twisted its spindly arms in a tight embrace over its beloved gateway. The shrine creaked on its ancient hinges, the shining metal glowing. But there was no wind. No sunlight. Looming over me, I felt as if was simply a speck compared to its greatness.
I took five deep breaths, well as deep as I could muster, and pushed it open.

Behind this dream hid a nightmare. As soon as my foot stepped onto the long, thick grass, vines reached out their hideous limbs and grabbed any part of they could. Ivy coiled itself around my neck, choking me.

“Help!” I cried barely able to breathe let alone speak. “Help!” My eyes were fluttering shut, my body a magnet to the once admirable plants. I felt the ivy loosen around my neck and I drifted off into darkness.


“Did you hear that, boy? Stallion?” My horse shook its head, brown locks floating in the wind.
“Must’ve been the wind… or ghosts!” He grunted at my teasing.

“It wasn’t us…” a white figure floated before me, gone as quick as it came. Stallion grunted again, this time more high-pitched.
“Who is there?” I shouted, my voice slightly quivering.
“Only me,”
“And me,”
“And me,”
Again a white figure floated past me, this time lingering, as if it was sussing me out.
“Who are you? Show yourselves.”  
I knew this wood was creepy; I had gone through enough in this journey. The tales of Horrow wood were true- I had been sent from the highest kingdom in the country to investigate the wood and its castle. Even thinking about the stories told about the castle send shivers throughout my body.
“SHOW YOURSELVES!” I was scared and angry.
“We cannot, for we have no self, we are simply just,” A harmony of voices, almost rehearsed, chanted. “But looking for a castle we see, our master wouldn’t approve of that hmm.”
My forehead narrowed into a frown.
“Show me to your master!” I shouted. There was a chorus of giggling erupting from my left then a gasp. I looked over my shoulder.
“Oh mistress Blair,” hushed voices whispered.
A small, deathly pale girl was walking toward my horse her tiny hand reaching out. Her hair, blacker than death, was tied into tight plaits, straining her small head. Her eyes were large, glistening in the moonlight, hypnotising in her gaze. She moved with grace, but it looked as if every movement pained her. Her delicate hand, poised above Stallion’s mane, twitched. As the wood silenced every few seconds, you could hear her raspy breath, smoky against the greenery of the trees.
“I heard you wanted to see my father?” She slowly tilted her head to face me, her eyes widening. Her voice was like a river- pure drops of crystal in every word. Innocent.
“Y-y-yes.” I felt sleepy, I looked away.
“Look at me!” Her voice suddenly menacing, her hand dropped closer to Stallion. My head snapped back to look at her, my heart racing. I felt sleepy again, I clenched my eyes shut.
“LOOK AT ME!” She shouted, her hand now on stallions hair. As she removed it, it turned into dust. My mouth hung open.
“Follow me.” I nodded, not knowing what was happening. She turned and started walking. “Walk.” Her voice back to the shining ripples of a brook.

We walked, it seemed, for miles and miles- under the captivating sway of her plaits, her voice controlling the rain, parting the trees. I looked down at stallion, where once a beautiful lock of hair danced to the rhythms of the wind, was a stone patch, growing every second. He too seemed to be under her spell. We finally got to a clearing, a large gate, like I had never seen before, stood tall, menacingly in front of me. It was beautiful, but the beauty hid darkness; the, what looked like, curved edges were spiked, a sharp point longing for blood, the once smooth paint was chipped, showing the grainy metal underneath.
“Care to open it?” Asked the little girl, her large eyes widening. “You know what they say, ‘ladies first’.” Her voice had rusty edges and she reached her hand out.
“Don’t touch him!” I shouted, the sudden panic making me shake. I steadied myself on Stallion. His once soft fur was now freezing stone, his whole body simply a statue. I gasped.
“Guess I don’t need to anyway,” She smiled a sickly grin. “Come on.” She turned and opened the gate. I felt my legs carrying me towards the gate, I couldn’t stop it. I took a final look at stallion before the wind blew, and all was left was a speck of soot on my shoulder.



I woke to my brain trying to escape its own prison, the bangs on my head consistent. My heart joined in, grasping onto my ribs, shaking me. The dark walls around me whispered to each other, the cold floor grimacing at my touch. I jumped as a loud bang came from my right. I could barely see nor breathe.
“Aha! Fresh blood, just what I was looking for!” A strong European accent filled the room. “My go-, what a sight you are!” Contrasting to the walls, a pale face appeared, its sharp cheekbones shadowing a gash along its jaw.
“Who are you?” I was meant to say, but my brain jumbled the words and it sounded more like, “Hoi ray i?”
“Who am I?” I frowned at his quick understanding. “Names don’t really matter here, but as this is probably going to be the last thing you hear then-” He cleared his throat.
“I am Count Von Dracula, owner of Harrow castle and all its many lands!” He boomed. My heart sank. He disappeared. I felt faint. What was going on? I stepped back only for the fresh cuts on my back to be met with a cold hand. His eerie face just inches from mine.
“Ah, a pure blood! Princess!” He referred to my title.
“What do you want?” I crawled away, cornering myself. Stupid move.
“Freedom! I have been stuck in this castle all my life, never have I felt the patter of rain on my skin, never have I witnessed a sunset! With your pure blood I can finally go outside!” He smiled, his teeth sharp, dagger-like points. He started to walk towards me when a piercing scream filled the room. He sighed, took one look at me then disappeared again, the scream joining him. As soon as I regained my balance, I ran frantically around the room, trying to find a way of escaping.
“We can help you,” the walls whispered. “Help us and we will help you.”
“What do I need to do?” I just needed to get out, any way possible.
“Promise us the death of our master and consider it done.” I frowned but agreed. As soon as the words escaped my lips, a parting appeared in one wall, the forest in near sight. As I ran out, the vines that once grabbed me, tangled their long bodies around my wrists, restraining me. As they did a figure ran up to me. Without seeing who it was, I again drifted off into darkness.



Her face was carved like a statue, her eyelashes spiders legs curving from her dark brown eyes, her hair waving in the soft wind singing to us. “Princess Elizabeth!” I muttered under my breath, her face so very familiar. I saw her faint from a distance, struggling against something but as soon as I caught her she relaxed as if she had been let go. I had run from the gate; ‘mistress’ blair was too involved in talking to herself that she didn’t see me go. I shook the princess awake and her eyes fluttered open.
“Who are you?” She cringed as she moved, she was in a lot of pain.
“Just come with me, we need to get out of here okay?” She nodded and we ran (well, limped)  but as i looked behind me, Blair looked straight back and opened her mouth.
“Hold your ears,” The princess warned me as a high pitched scream filled the forest, the ground shaking, twigs breaking. Suddenly a black figure appeared in front of us.
“Oh no!” Elizabeth gasped under her breath.
“Oh yes!” The shadow replied.



All I can remember is the blur of his face and the sinking feeling in my stomach as we came to a halt in front of the Dracula. I thought it was over. Then I felt a tight grip around my hand, as the shadow was nearing. As we touched a bright light shone over us, the Dracula falling, screaming in pain.
As I regained my sight, I could see nothing but dust floating everywhere.
“He’s, he’s dead.” I couldn’t believe it. The Dracula had died. He wasn’t strong enough.  I turned to look at my hero, but just as our eyes locked, we were knocked over by an explosion from the castle.
“The legends are true!” He exclaimed. He looked and saw the worry and confusion on my face. “Once the owner dies, there the murderer lies.” He said, “The castle is fighting back!”
We stood up shaking, the castle spitting at us, hissing cursing. I was panicking, sick rising up my throat. A single tear ran down my cheek, the salt stinging my grazed skin. He then held me in a tight hug, the fire running at us, and there we remained until the sea of fire drowned us, and all that was left was a speck of soot, and I was gone.

The End

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


One thought on “The Castle of Horrow

  1. The descriptive writing was very well used it told a very creepy story. I could imagine the gate and the vines crabbing at her leg as she tried to enter the inhospitable castle. Well done to the author I’ll look out for the next story.


    Posted by Elizabeth Allen | February 14, 2016, 10:29 pm

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