Enchanted Castle
Priyanka, Age 9, Cary, NC

I cautiously raced through the thick humid woods. I was trying to find my way back home, but I knew that I would be happy with any type of shelter at this point. The sky dimmed as there was a chilling evening breeze. Brr - my teeth chattered as I pictured a warm cozy room with a fire place and an oak bookshelf that was filled with a vast variety of books. I peered at a clearing in the woods; there was a bright glow. I sped up and saw a large musty old castle. I gasped. A castle in the middle of nowhere? I thought. Strangely I felt an urge to go explore the mansion.

There certainly was not a warm welcome. 'Enter at your own Risk' the filthy sign read. The enormous rusted iron Gate guarded the gigantic palace. 'It won't budge' I said to myself as I rattled the metal bars they shook but didn't move an inch. I noticed that the latch on the other side of the gate was half way open. I acted quickly, untying my shoelaces and made a lasso."Come on," I mumbled as I swung the rope around, and I slipped it through the crooked bars and hooked it on the latch. I pulled with all my strength. My hands burned and I was sweating, but I was determined to get inside. After quite a fight I managed to open the gate I felt like I was going to collapse but I wanted to explore the castle and find shelter more than anything. I pulled myself together and pushed the gate open and locked it on my way in.

The castle hovered over me, it was grand and royal but it looked as if it would fall apart any moment now. I sped up my pace until I came to swampy moat. There was a drawbridge but it would probably collapse the moment I set foot on that piece of wood. Maybe if I walked carefully nothing would happen. I measured my step and carefully put my foot on the drawbridge, then my other foot and pretty soon I was half way across the bridge. Then ropes began to shake and some planks were about to fall. I dashed to the other side of the bridge leaving several planks missing. The bridge was useless now, nobody would be able to get inside the castle unless there was some type of secret passage.

The castle's paint was peeling of and there were bricks missing. It would have to do for now until I could get a phone. The grey mansion hovered over me like a giant, ten times bigger than me. It was starting to creep me out. I was getting goose bumps up my spine. "ROYAL LIFE" the sign was broken, a strange name for a castle in the modern time. Castles were in the middle ages, history now. Some castles were still preserved, and there was supposed to be some that still weren't discovered. 'Drip, drip' the rain pelted against the castle's wooden roof, and I was drenched. The sun was not shining anymore. Without hesitation I grabbed the bronze door knob, it had cobwebs all over it.

"Hello anybody home" I called. There was an echo, this castle was getting scarier by the minute. There was a grand foyer, the chandelier sparkled with hundreds of candles. It was dusty and filthy everywhere. There were cracks in the wall. The palace was invested with spiders, bugs and even rats were crawling around. All the furniture was either bitten or coated with dust. I spotted a winding stair case, it did not look very sturdy. I carefully placed my foot on the first step it creaked a bit but it worked. I used the same method for the rest of the stair case.

Upstairs there was a vast selection of doors to choose from, all of them looked unwelcome by their appearance. I stopped at one room, it was the last one in the hallway it was very small, the size of a good closet. I wondered what it was used for. I twisted the door knob." Creak, creak" went the door. Inside there was barely any furniture only a chest and a bookshelf.  I looked at the bookshelf with interest. "How peculiar" I thought, "a bookshelf full of newspapers." I skimmed the stack. They all stated robberies that happened around the same time, last month. "This must be some sort of secret hideout that they used" I thought. Now all I needed was a phone.

'Tap, tap' someone was coming, their footsteps echoed. There was a mean and shaky voice speaking, "I forgot to lock the secret escape door boss"

 "It doesn't matter, nobody would even find this place, it's a good thing that I chose this place to hide our loot," another much deeper voice replied. I opened the dusty chest hoping to find a clue to where the robbed money was. I coughed, there was a wave of dust when I opened drawer. There was a wooden board with struggle I removed it with struggle. Under it was a bag it was polished and neat. I opened some more drawers and there were a couple of bags in each one. I carefully untied the rope on the bag and separated the two corners of the cloth bag. Inside there were stacks of money and dazzling gems, I was speechless. I pondered a while then came up with a conclusion the secret escape way was probably near the loot, and the only piece of furniture in the room was a bookshelf. I moved one of the racks and as I expected the bookshelf shifted. I crept in to the secret passage way. I had to some how contact the police.

There was an escape car, there were a lot of escape ways. Then I noticed the escape phone. I acted quickly dialing the police. I quickly summarized the situation to the police. They said they could navigate me. I held on to the phone.

Pretty soon the thieves were in handcuffs. They were using the place as a hideout to store their money. The spooky decorations were used just a trick to make sure nobody entered. Unfortunately the palace was not a castle, just an old mansion. I helped bust a gang of criminals.

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