Lots of people come here looking for Campfire Stories. Thus, with it being so close to Halloween, I thought I would post one of my favorites.
It was a dark and stormy night. Roger was only part of the way to his destination, and with the rain coming down in buckets like it was, it was slow going. Thus, he decided to find a place to ride out the storm.
Unfortunately, his GPS navigation system took him along a little used highway. There were no hotels or motels or bed and breakfasts anywhere to be found. However, as he was creeping along in the downpour, he spotted a faint light in the distance. He decided to make his way towards it.
He drove a short distance, and he came to a sign that read Private Driveway. He decided that this was where the light he spotted was emanating. Therefore, turned into the driveway and continued to go towards that light. Perhaps the homeowner would put him up until the storm blew over. At the very least, he would be off the road.
As he turned into the driveway, a bolt of lightning struck briefly lightening the road. It was twisting and turning driveway with scraggly trees closely lining the edges. There were many times when Roger thought the trees were jumping out in front of him. Many of these ancient trees along the way showed scars of previous drivers running into them. Thus, they looked gnarled and bent, giving them more of an ominous look.
Eventually, the driveway led to an enormous mansion. It looked like a 14th century castle. It was constructed entirely out of stone. It had turrets and even a small moat. Fortunately, a small bridge crossed the moat and led to the front door. Also, a light in one of the towers was still on. It must have been the light he saw from the road.
He pulled up as close to the front door as the driveway allowed, and parked his car. The rain was still coming down hard. He thought about waiting it out in the car, but the front door had a covered porch and he did not think he would get too wet making his way there. Thus, he opened he car door and made a run for it.
Despite the short distance to the front door, Roger was drenched by the time he reached the porch. He rang the doorbell and shook off as much liquid as he could. He rang a few times and eventually an old man opened the door.
The man was grizzled and bent over. Perhaps a long time ago he was a tall handsome man, but now he had a permanent stoop. He walked with a cane and one eye was milky white. He had on a pair of thick glasses and his thinning hair was snow white.
With a gruff and raspy voice the old man said, "Come in! Come in! You'll catch your death of cold if you stay out there on a night like this."
"But..." started Roger.
"Are you going to stand there all night? Or are you coming in?"
Roger entered the entry way, and the old man closed the door behind him. Before Roger could say anything the old man spoke again. "It is no good having you stay in those wet things -- follow me."
"But I...," was all Roger got out before the old man started again.
"Terrible weather tonight! It is not fit for man nor beast. I haven't seen a storm like this in quite a few years. Probably not since I was in the Amazon basin. Keep up young fellow."
For a bent over man who walked with a cane, he moved swiftly through the house. He led Roger to a spacious room with walnut paneling on the walls. There was an armoire in the corner that the old man opened. He pulled out a robe and some pajamas.
"Put these on," the old man insisted. "We'll pop your clothes in the dryer and they'll be ready in no time."
"But," was again the only thing Roger could get out before the old man interrupted again.
"Oh! Don't worry about these old things. They were a gift to my butler the year he died. Alligators -- nasty beasts! He never got a chance to use them. They'll keep you warm until your clothes are dry. You can put your things in this bag. I'll wait outside while you change."
Roger was a bit stunned about the whole thing, but his clothes were quite wet. He removed his wet clothes and put on the silky pajamas and the nice flannel robe. He put his wet things in the bag the old man gave him, and headed out the door.
"Very good," began the old man as Roger walked out the door. "The dryer is this way. It'll have those clothes dry as the Sahara in no time."
"My name is Roger..."
"Of course," interrupted the old man. "Where are my manners? We don't get strangers up in these parts much any more. I'm just a bit out of practice I guess. My name is Xavier Zimmerman the fourth. Nice to meet you."
"Nice meeting you, and..." started Roger.
"Yes. Yes. Very nice," began the old man. "Here is the dryer. Just pop those in and they'll be as right as rain -- pardon the expression."
Roger was confused as he tried to put his clothes in the contraption that Xavier called a dryer. It was unlike anything he had seen before.
"Sorry, I forgot that not everyone has a dryer like mine. I saw this at a hotel in Japan and thought it was much more reasonable way to dry clothes than one of those tumble things. Here, let me."
The old man placed the clothes on a few racks, closed the door, and adjusted a few knobs. It hardly made a sound.
"It'll dry your wet things without wrinkling them and all that," assured the old man. "Now come! Follow me."
The old man led Roger into his parlor. It was another enormous room. It was paneled in oak. It had a fireplace at one end with an ornately carved surround and mantle. The old man offered him a chair. He flicked a switch and the fireplace ignited. He poured two glasses of brandy and took the other seat by the fire while handing Roger a glass.
The two men talked for quite a while. Well, Xavier did most of the talking. Xavier told Roger all about his travels. The old man had been on every continent of the world. He had seen and done many things in all his years.Posted by deg at October 26, 2008 7:54 PM