It was a cloudy, gloomy and thundery Saturday evening in late summer, just after dusk, somewhere in the deepest province. My wife and I were on our way home from a friends wedding reception. We wanted to get home quickly, so although we didn’t know our way around the area, we tried a shortcut. We promptly got lost and soon didn’t know where we were at all.
After a long drive we finally found ourselves on the loneliest road in the most remote area, in the middle of the forest. Here we also had a car breakdown. Our car stopped and could not be started. We had to continue on foot, hoping to reach a village soon. By now it was almost dark and distant thunder announced the approach of a thunderstorm. But we seemed to be lucky. After a short walk we suddenly saw a light between the trees that obviously belonged to a house. A narrow, asphalted forest path led exactly to it.
Relieved, we took this direction and shortly thereafter came to a gloomy old building, a former hunting lodge, which stood here in the midst of the solitude of the forest and was obviously still inhabited. The property made an eerie impression. My wife would have liked to turn back immediately, but unfortunately we had no other choice. We knew neither where we were nor where else we could find help. In the meantime, the thunderstorm had come ominously closer.
Already strong gusts of wind made the leaves in the trees rustle loudly, while the weather lightning became more and more violent. So we gave ourselves a jolt and approached the castle. We found a bell at a closed gate and rang the bell.
Over intercom, a woman’s voice answered us, “Yes, please?” – “I’m sorry to bother you so late. Our car broke down and we wanted to ask if we could use the phone.” A rotating surveillance camera mounted above the gate took us into the viewfinder. First they took a carefully scrutinizing look at me, then the apparatus swiveled around and fixed on my wife, who was standing a bit off to the side. Long and hard it looked at her. The lens slid out of the housing and zoomed in on her. Then the camera swung up and down. My wife was examined in detail from head to toe, and it even seemed as if she was being scanned.
The dark castle
I remembered stories about cameras that could film through clothes. I didn’t know if it was one of those X-ray cameras, because they were looking at my wife so closely. On the other hand, my wife looked really stunning. Since we were coming from a wedding, we were dressed up accordingly. My wife wore an apricot-colored costume consisting of a jacket and a miniskirt, a black blouse with a low neckline, dark stockings and black high heels. She wore her long brown hair loose.
She looked tremendously attractive and smiled sheepishly at the camera. I, on the other hand, was wearing a distinguished black tuxedo, in which I also made a certain impression, as several ladies had assured me. Together, my wife and I made a handsome couple.
After we had been examined in detail by the electronic eye, the voice announced itself again: “Please come in! Give us a warm welcome! You must be our guests!” and the gate opened automatically. We hesitated a little in the face of this strange reception, but a powerful clap of thunder reminded us of the thunderstorm and so we hurriedly entered the castle courtyard.
As we approached the main building, the faces of men and women appeared behind some windows of the castle, giving us strangely greedy looks, as if they were about to tear our clothes off. The uneasy feeling that had already crept over me at the gate became even stronger.
After that moment, however, the first raindrops fell and we hurried into the house.
We managed to reach the small canopy above the entrance without getting wet, then it really started to rain. It poured down like from buckets. We had just escaped with dry skin and clothes.
The entrance door was already open. We entered through it and stood in a dark hallway. Nobody was to be seen. Behind us the door fell into the lock and was automatically locked so that we could not get out. We were trapped! Now things were finally getting queasy for me and I decided to go ahead alone for now. I told my wife to wait by the door. Then I worked my way into the darkness. Gradually my eyes got used to the dim light and I saw a little better.