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A Haunting Day in History

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A Haunting Day in History My mother had warned me not to hitch hike, but here I was, sitting next to someone I didn't know, in a cramped minibus that couldn't even reach fifty miles an hour, heading to Cromford Castle, amongst a group of yelling, spirited kids. Leaving the main road, we set off on a gnarled, rutted track that meandered like a snake through a dense forest, the impending trees' branches entwined like spidery fingers, clawing at the overcast sky in an upward spiral. The incandescent beam of our mini bus pierced the engulfing mist like a spear as it proceeded deeper and deeper into the gloomy forest. Pulling slowly into the car park, the mini bus heaving out plumes of black, choking smoke from it's diseased lungs, we saw for the first time the overpowering, castle that loomed menacingly out of the stroboscopic mist. Clambering out, the children went running off into the distance, closely followed by their teacher, trying in vain to herd them together, but to no avail. I was left, a solitary figure, his drabby coat flapping in the chilling breeze, whispering. I suddenly felt very isolated, and a shiver ran down my spine. There was a strange tension lingering in the air. Being in the company of those kids wasn't so bad after all. ...read more.


I was totally bemused. A minute ago I was in the poring rain, soaked to the skin and following a boy dressed in a scarlet cloak, and now I was here! It was as if I had travelled back in time, but dismissed the thought. Just then everyone stopped. Hundreds of wide eyes glared at me. What were the people looking at? I forced a glance at my clothes. Oh no! So that's what they were looking at. I was wearing a pair of jeans, walking boots and an anorak. These people hadn't even dreamt of wearing these clothes yet! Before I could say or do anything, a hand reached out and grasped my arm so tightly I thought it would crumble at any minute. I was yanked away from the confused onlookers, into a small, stone room. It was the boy in scarlet- the drummer boy. He shoved a bundle of rags into me. "Get changed." I was not in a position to complain, so obeyed. Mumbling incomprehensibly, I asked him what the date was. "Don't you know? It is Tuesday 16 April 1433." 1433- not exactly the date I had expected. It was only then that the realisation that I had travelled back in time actually sunk in. My legs felt like twigs. What was I to do? ...read more.


"John? John? Can you hear me, wake up John? John?" A voice, this time much closer than before, and they knew my name. They knew my name! I opened my eyes, and looked about myself. It was dark, but blinding lights illuminated the area around me. I was back outside the castle again, and in the same spot where I had first spotted the drummer boy. The drummer boy! "The drummer boy, the people, where are they? Are they all right? What happened to the castle?" "I think you must have had a bump on the head mate- it's the year 2002, not something stupid like 1433 or sumin!" A fireman was standing over me. A feeling of complete relief washed over me. I was home at last. After what seemed like centuries, and many questions later, I was carried by stretcher over to a waiting ambulance. Just before I was put inside, I noticed the minibus that had brought me here was still in the car park, and all the children, along with their rather stressed looking teacher were watching the scene that was taking place. One of the children, a small, timid looking boy, caught my attention. Our eyes met briefly, and a flicker of recognition appeared on his face. Then he was gone, back into the crowd of onlookers, vanished. It was only when the ambulance began its journey back through the misty forest, that I realised who the boy was. It was the drummer boy. ...read more.

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