The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

The nightmares continued and soon Walter began to sleepwalk. It was the same dream. He was inside Archibal’s manor and he heard his father’s voice. He pursued the voice, but every time he would find a dark figure waiting for him. He woke up before it transformed into the crocotta. It was mostly the Psychai nudging him awake. When he finally opened his eyes he would find himself in unusual places like the cellar where Uncle Obel kept the barrels of ale and once in the Black Forest. Another night, he was somewhere in the woods. He was flabbergasted as he caught a glimpse of a floating lantern, vanishing before him. The Psychai was with him, shivering. At least he wasn’t alone, he thought. The minutes passed as he stood there in the darkness collecting his thoughts. He didn’t have the ring on him. That worried him. He didn’t know which way to go.

“Hallo, there young lad,” said a familiar voice. “Are we lost?”

Walter turned to see Brutus holding his lit lantern. Walter nodded.

“Then let me guide your way,” he signaling the way he wanted Walter to go. As they walked, Brutus didn’t say much, neither did Walter. The Psychai was looking troubled. The moon was have hidden by the mountain making the woods darker. It almost resembled the Black Forest without the boscage of overcrowded bramble, vines, and uprooted roots. A light breeze swept through the woods, but not enough to stir the leaves on the trees. It was algid and Walter didn’t have a coat. He was still in his pajamas, barefooted. He couldn’t see any spooks, but didn’t mean they were out there, watching, waiting. All Walter could feel was the chilly weather and the cold ground. He hoped that was enough to camouflage his fear.

They walked a long way and before they reached the edge of the woods, Walter could see the town. “Here you go, lad,” said Brutus. “Do be careful next time.” He faded away. Walter ran back to the inn trying to hold off his fear. He didn’t want the spooks coming after him or the phantom. He snuck back into his room and this time clamped the doorknob with his chair, in case he slept walk again. He hoped that was enough to stop him.

But it wasn’t. Another time he awoke standing at the top of the stairs just a few steps away from the attic. Walter couldn’t recall how he got there and when he looked down he was dressed in his normal clothes and not his pajamas but he was barefooted. The last thing he remembered was going to bed and putting on his pajamas or at least he thought he did. He looked up at the Psychai that flew in front of him. “What happened?” Walter looked at her. She burble her explanation, squeaking her words but Walter understood her. “You mean I slept walk my way up the stairs and you tried to stop me?” he said. She nodded. “I don’t recall much. I was having this dream and then I felt you calling for me and I woke up. I don’t recall dressing myself or anything else.” This was upsetting Walter. He never use to sleepwalk. What was happening to him?

“Walter!” shrilled her mother from the top of the stairs. Walter was startled by her sudden presence. “What are you doing up here? I’ve told you to not play in the corridors.”

“But I wasn’t,” Walter refuted.

“I heard you banging the walls, Walter. Don’t lie to me,” she deprecated him. “Now, go back downstairs before you bother the tenants.”

“Yes, mother,” Walter obeyed. He didn’t know what time it was but it must have been sunrise. He could smell breakfast wafting up the stairs as he came down. He thought it was Gertrude and Mildred but when he peered in he didn’t see anybody. Pots were cooking on the wood-burning stove, cakes was being baked, dishes were being washed and the fire in the fire place was burning. It was only Bonifacious starting the morning meal. The smell was tantalizing to get some breakfast, but Walter was much too tired to eat. He headed to his room, laid down on his bed and closed his eyes.

When Walter woke up he had missed breakfast and lunch. Wasn’t the first time, lately he was unable to stay awake long enough to eat anything. During the day he was enervated from the lack of sleep at night. He didn’t see Alden much and really didn’t care to. He was much too tired to do anything. He got behind on his assignments and neglected them all together. Whatever energy he did have, he lagged on whatever he was doing. He prefer to sit in the taproom and listen to the patrons conversing, but even that, he barely paid attention. When he did doze off the same terrible dream would recur over and over. He kept waking up in the most unusual places but the Psychai was there, tugging and pulling on his shirt to wake him. Suddenly, his sleepwalking took a turn for the worse.

One rainy night, the Psychai managed to wake him up before he jumped off the roof of the inn. He couldn’t even recall how he got there but he saw the ladder on the side of the inn. The Psychai helped him down with her magic, he had been too scared to get off. Another night, the Psychai pulled him away from the fire in the fireplace as he was placing his hands in it. He awoke to the sensation of heat. He was getting baffled and wonder if he was bewitched. It was distressing him especially the perils he was awakening to. What if he didn’t wake up next time? What if the Psychai couldn’t help him? He was getting scared.

What should he do? Archibal was still away. Maybe the gargoyles could help him? Odin! Why had he forgotten about Odin? The nightmares were causing him to be soporific, barely letting him think clearly. He had to see him quickly because his Uncle and mother were beginning to notice his lackadaisical behavior. He didn’t want to worry them. Odin would know what to do. He takes the ring and with the Psychai taking a hold of his shoulder, he is sent to Odin’s home.

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