Big Damp Castle

According to the Gazetteer Of The Bailiwicks Of Pointy Town, Big Damp Castle is “a singularly fine example of an enormous foetid fortification covered in mould”. As its name would suggest, the castle is both big and damp. It has always been damp, ever since it was built hundreds of years ago slap bang next to the marshes. The baron who built it was convinced that, were he to be attacked, it was from the marshes that his foe would emerge. He was assured of this by his prognosticating woo-hoo wizardy man, who had seen the marshy foe in his dreams and in his dark glass and in his pictogram cards and in the entrails of his slaughtered poultry. Like most barons in those far-off times, the builder of Big Damp Castle had implicit faith in the woo-hoo spouted by the man in the pointy hat, who was always at his side.

Fumes and vapours and gases rose from the marshes and seeped into the very fabric of the castle, and it was covered in mould by the time the baron held a grand opening party to which he invited all the local peasantry. Many of them died of agues and maladies contracted in the foul damp atmosphere of the castle. The baron and his woo-hoo wizard seemed immune, and suffered no ill effects, though they spent much of their time creeping around the crenellations, on the lookout for the foe who would emerge from the marshes.

How different it is today. The marshes have been drained, and the land is now home to the Fictional Athlete Bobnit Tivol Memorial Running Track And Pole-Vaulting Pit & Pavilion. Every weekend, picnickers gather here in the rain to commune with the ghosts of the fictional athlete and his all-too-real coach and mentor, Old Halob. And above their picnics loom the filthy mould-covered towering walls of Big Damp Castle, big and damp and singularly fine.

The picnickers would run screaming for their lives, if they but knew that the marshy foe seen by the woo-hoo wizardy man all those centuries ago was still there, just out of sight, biding its time, awaiting the necessary conjunction of stars and vapours and drizzle to come howling and slashing into the picnic dimension. Whoever wrote the Gazetteer remains silent on that score. I wonder why.

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