The Ghost Residence #3

We followed our host to the dining room. I looked around in awe. The room was huge! There were no windows so it was lit with five huge, antique, golden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They were monstrous.

"Mom would love these", I thought. She's an antiques collector and goes absolutely crazy at the sight of anything ugly in that sort of old-fashioned way.

I looked around the room. Old portraits hung on all four walls of the room. I walked closer and examined them. They were all of young people, men and women, dressed in clothes from previous centuries. None of them had smiles on their faces. I wondered why.

- "Why aren't the people in the portraits smiling? And who are they?", I asked Mr. Caravaggio.

- "They are previous inhabitants of this castle. From years and years ago."

- "Why do they look so serious?", I wanted to know.

- "They had no reasons to be happy....But forget them, my dear, and come sit at the table. The supper's almost ready."

Like the perfect genteleman, Mr. Caravaggio pulled out a chair and waited for me to come over to the table and sit down. I was curious to know what he had meant by "they had no reasons to be happy", but decided now wasn't the time to probe. It was obvious our host did not want to pursue the subject.

I gave up then and walked over to the table. That was another antique monstrosity mom would kill for. It was very long and covered with a heavy, golden tablecloth that reached barely below the table surface. The legs of the table were round but not smooth: they were carved into what looked like braids.

I sat down in the chair Mr. Caravaggio was holding for me in the middle of one side of the table. My brother was already seated opposite me and our host took a seat at the head of the table. I counted thirteen chairs around the table and noticed that even though there were only the three of us the table was set for thirteen guests. There was a set of plates, glasses and cutlery for each.

- "Let's begin, shall we?", said Mr. Caravaggio, took out a small bell out of his breast pocket an rang a few times.

A few seconds later there appeared a small procession of servants carrying bowls of soup, platters and plates of meat, bread, vegetables and desserts, carafes and bottles of wine, juice and mineral water. I couldn't believe my eyes! All this food for us?

The servants set everything down on the table and began serving us. Once all our plates were stacked with food and glasses filled with drinks, they proceeded to fill all the remaining ten sets of plates and glasses. "Invisible guests?", I chuckled inside. I looked at Mr. Caravaggio, but he was just sitting there, smiling and waiting for the servants to finish their job. I looked across the table at your dad, but he just shrugged. He didn't care what was happening as long as he got his ghost story. I looked back at Mr Caravaggio and asked whether he is expecting any more guests. Surely he wouldn't want to waste all this delicious food.

- "No, everyone who needs to be here is already here. Let's eat, shall we? Let the feast begin!", and he rang his small bell again and the servants quickly left. I must have had a confused look on my face because he leaned towards me and whispered loudly:

- "Have you forgotten, my dear? This is a haunted castle", he winked at my brother who grinned and then added, "Eat, the food will cure your headache".

- "How did you know I have a headache?"

He only smiled at me.

- "You said you were going to tell us the history of this castle", your dad said then.

- "Ahh, yes, the history of this castle...", Mr. Caravaggio repeated thoughtfully. "It all began in 1384 when..."

- "1384?", my niece interrupted. "That was a long time ago, wasn't it?

- "Yes, it was. Do you want to hear the story or not, Carrie?"

- "Yes, yes, I do! I want to know if my dad saw a ghost", she giggled. "Did he? Were there ghosts in the castle? Was the castle haunted, auntie?"

- "Well, listen to Mr. Carravaggio's story and you will find out".

"It all began in 1384 when the youngest son of Duke of Sandrino was born..."