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.
The ancient grandfather clock in the corner struck two.
"My goodness," exclaimed Xavier. "Is it that late? Well, I should get some sleep. Your clothes are surely dry, but you are welcome to stay if you want. I have plenty of room."
"Aren't you worried about letting a stranger stay at your house?" asked Roger.
"I have my own special form of security," replied the old man with a wry smile. "I'm not worried."
With that, the old man retrieved Roger's clothes and gave them to him -- folded and dry. Roger followed the old man as he led him to a spacious room with a bed in the middle.
"You can sleep here," explained the old man. "However, before you leave I would like to show you something."
Roger placed his clothes down on the bed and followed the old man to the end of a corridor. There was an enormous vault door at the end. The old man turned the dial to the left."
"Twenty-four," he said as he stopped and began spinning the dial to the right.
"Twenty-five," he added as he stopped and began spinning the dial to the left.
"Twenty-six," he stated as he stopped and spun the dial back to zero.
He swung open the heavy steel door. "It's my initials," he explained. "X-Y-Z translated into numbers."
Inside was a large quantity of treasures from all around the world. There were pieces of art of all fashions. He had quality paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. He had boxes of jewelry and ornate items made from precious metals. It was a huge collection of valuables, but in the corner stood an enormous pink creature.
"This is my treasure vault," explained the old man. "It contains the most valuable stuff I own. For keeping me company on this lonely stormy night, I would like you to take your pick."
"I couldn't," protested Roger.
"I insist, but whatever you do, don't touch the pink monkey."
The pink creature was not a monkey. It was way too big to be a monkey. It stood nearly 7 feet tall and its shoulders were almost that wide. It was huge and had an ugly grimace on his face with two large canine fangs.
"No I couldn't," replied Roger. "You provided me with a great service -- letting me get out of the rain."
"All right," replied the old man with a sigh of resignation. "If you change your mind, the combination is 24, 25, 26, and then to zero."
The two men went to their respective rooms to get some sleep. Roger climbed under the covers, but his curiosity had a strong grip on him. Why was he forbidden to touch the pink creature? What would happen if he did?
These questions rolled in his mind over and over. He tossed and turned for quite a while. He heard the clock chime 4 o'clock and he just could not take it anymore. He got up. He walked around a little bit. He looked outside and the rain had stopped. He was happy about that, but his thoughts always returned to the pink monkey.
The sun began to rise as the clock struck five as he continued to ponder about the creature in the vault. He could not stand it any longer. He made his way down the corridor to where the vault was. He entered the combination, left 24, right 25, left 26, right to zero. He heard the door click. He pulled the lever and swung the heavy door open.
He looked around at the valuable treasures. He briefly wondered about that special security of which the old man spoke. Those thoughts were quickly washed away by the enormous pink beast in the corner.
Roger walked slowly up to the beast and looked into at its face. Its eyes were closed. The grimace gave it a terrible look. It was an awful looking beast. It was enormous. He was reminded of so many stories with horrible apes in them. But why was he forbidden from touching this one?
He hesitated. He looked around. He reached out, but pulled his hand back. He laughed at himself. What could happen? What would happen? Why was he forbidden from touching this monkey?
He gathered up his courage, reached out his hand, and touched the course pink hair of the creature. Suddenly, its eyes popped open. There was a burning fury in them. The dark eyes rimmed with red. It began breathing heavily.
"Ooo eee ooo aaah," was the sound it made.
Roger was frozen with panic. He stood there for what seemed like hours as the beast slowly came to life. Finally, the pink monkey took a step towards him. This movement caused Roger to regain his composure, and he ran out of the vault. He tried to close the door behind him, but the monster prevented him from closing the door with one enormous hand.
Roger sprinted to his room and quickly changed into his clothes. The monster's "ooo eee ooo aaah" got closer and closer as it made its way down the hall.
When Roger was dressed, the beast was in the doorway. He was trapped. He looked around, and he found that he could open a window. Out he went. He climbed his way to the ground, and ran to his car.
"Ooo eee ooo aaah" he heard as he climbed into his car. With the damp night, his car did not want to start. The "ooo eee ooo aaah" got louder and louder as the car struggled to turn over.
It started up, he put it in gear, and he pulled out. He saw the beast in his rear-view mirror. However it was not getting smaller. It was keeping up with his car. His tires squealed at the curves. He wanted to speed up, but the winding driveway prevented him from going any faster.
Eventually, he reached the end of the driveway, and he heard the "ooo eee ooo aaah" behind him. He pulled out and sped away.
He let out a brief sigh of relief, but he soon was forced to come to a stop. With the heavy rain, a river overflowed its banks. He could not cross, and he certainly could not go back. However, the pink monkey certainly would not have followed him this far. That is when he heard the "ooo eee ooo aaah" faintly in the distance.
Roger got out of his car and started to run. The "ooo eee ooo aaah" got closer and closer. He ran. He ran as fast as he could. He darted between trees. He ran up and down hills. He ran in a serpentine path. However, no matter how much he zigzagged, he heard the "ooo eee ooo aaah" behind him.
He was beginning to tire, but he had to press onward. However, with the flood his options were limited. Eventually, he ran into a dead end. He had run into a bend in the river. He was surrounded by water on three sides. He heard the "ooo eee ooo aaah" coming getting closer. He saw the shadowy figure coming his way.
He was trapped and the "ooo eee ooo aaah" got louder and louder. The "ooo eee ooo aaah" almost right on top of him. Should he jump and try to swim for it he wondered as the "ooo eee ooo aaah" got closer and closer. He was too tired and too frightened to move as the "ooo eee ooo aaah" rang in his ears. Soon the "ooo eee ooo aaah" drowned out the river. It was right on top of him.
Roger resigned himself to his fate. The enormous creature reached out its long arm. It got closer and closer. All Roger could do was sit their and cringe. Closer and closer the monster got. Louder and louder was the "ooo eee ooo aaah" Closer and closer was its enormous hand reaching for him.
Suddenly, the pink monkey touched Roger and said, "You're it!"