The evening arrived swiftly as the summer sun lowered over the horizon, bathing all the land in orange twilight. I looked over at my sister, Alana, who dozed in the back seat. She was only five years old and still the cutest little girl in the world to me. We were on the way to our Grandparent’s house; a nice house on a hill in the middle of nowhere. My Grandpa and Grandma were both 72, wrinkled and wizened by their longevity. For all their years, they had a fire in their hearts, a youth undiminished by age.
As we pulled up to the front porch and got out, Grandpa helped me unload our bags. We set them away in the attic and settled into bed. I slept soundly throughout the night. In the morning, sore and achy from sleeping on the upstairs mattress, I literally rolled out of bed. After dusting myself off, I decided to start the day with a smile nonetheless. I went downstairs to a sizzling sound of bacon and eggs on the stove, a very pleasant surprise. After eating the delicious meal, my Grandparents proceeded to work me all day long, milking cows and taking care of the animals.
As evening came to a close, with the magnificent sun as our backdrop, Grandpa started a fire and we camped out in the back yard. Huddled closely in blankets, Alana and I whispered until Grandma came with S’mores. Wonderful is the word to describe the person who invented such magnificence. Anyways, we shifted closer to the fire because it looked as if Grandma was about to speak. “I’ll tell you the story of a time long ago, of a kingdom, in a banquet hall of the new king; it’s a ghost story.”
I felt shocked. Would Alana be able to handle a ghost story at her age? She nodded once I asked her, and grandma proceeded. I let my mind wander back to long ago, to that banquet, and that ghost. “This was a story passed down through my family for years,” was all I managed to hear in Grandma’s hushed voice before the story grabbed me.
I opened my eyes and found myself in the banquet hall, splendidly dressed in all the fineries of the time. I nearly shouted out loud in surprise, but I looked around and noticed the banquet hall was filled with people. Eyes wide with embarrassment, I managed to bite my tongue before making a fool of myself. Where am I? I had a pounding headache and couldn’t think straight. I spoke to a nearby servant and asked for a glass of water, but the words fumbled in my mouth. They didn’t sound right to me-strange and unfamiliar. Nevertheless, the servant scurried off and brought the glass back with utter promptness. I tried then to say my name; “Baño” is the sound that my lips formed instead. I’m sure my name is John! This language was new to me, strange, and yet somehow familiar. I set to exploring the castle. Rich as I now was, I no longer had to worry about not being able to go to rooms I wanted to explore. I have always been curious, but before now I have never been able to satisfy my curiosity.
After a few hours of walking around, I came to an inner hallway. Two men, menacing and tall, bumped into me. Peering at them, I noticed blades clearly hidden under their clothes. They smelled of horses and blood; I probably smelled of fear. Looking up now, I noticed one was staring at me, his hand reaching for his jacket pocket. I rushed onward without a protest. After all, I didn’t want to start a fight-I didn’t even know where I was!
I moved through the nearest doorway I could find, making myself look busy with something to escape their gaze. Unexpectedly, I fell into the gaze of my own. I stood there for a while, staring at my form in the mirror-a grown man, with a full beard and a large gut. Confused and stunned, I barely heard the words from the next room. “It is done,” one man said in a deep voice “but the boy got away.”
I stood for a second trying to process what I just heard. Did I just hear the confirmation of a murder? Shocked at what that implied, I exited the room, narrowly avoiding becoming a victim of circumstance.
I then followed my nose; for the grumbling in my stomach could only be matched by my wish to increase my distance from those two grizzled men. From the center of the room to the walls, there were opulent decorations. I noticed that the rest of the castle was decorated in the same manner. “I must be in some sort of party?” I wondered aloud, the strange sound of my words still hanging in the air as a man came beside me and pulled me to the table.
“Yes, my good sir, you are in the coronation party of the king! How could you not know this?” Yet again, the words were strange, but I actually understood them, like they were in English, but yet not.
After dining and making a few friends, I witnessed the king himself come out. He was splendidly dressed, tall and strong, with jet-black hair underneath his shining crown.
“The table’s full,” he said with a hushed voice, confusion clearly registering on his face.
“Here, there’s a seat,” one of my newfound friends, Lord Lennox, said.
I looked to where he pointed. The room grew darker and I felt a chill in my chest. It was a blue ghost, covered in red blood, horrifying to look at, yet no-one else seemed to see him! I kept my composure, not wanting to look like a fool or an insane person in front of my allies.
The king looked at the ghost and shouted “You can’t say I did it! Don’t shake thy bloody locks at me.”
Quite confused and scared, I sank back into my seat to avoid attention.
Lord Ross then shouted, “Rise gentleman, the king is not well.”
As I started to rise I saw the queen, beautifully dressed. In my heart I knew she would be beautiful even if she wore mere rags. “No, dear lords,” she said in a commanding tone. “He does this often; it’s an illness from his childhood, and you will offend him if you leave.”
Trapped between wanting to leave and not being able to, I struggled to understand what was going on. Am I the only other one who can see this ghost?
The queen consoled him, speaking of a bloody dagger and saying it was all in his imagination. The king glared at his wife and shouted, “”If the buried will not stay dead, we must set them free so that their souls can find rest in the bellies of sparrows!”
She blinked at him. “Why are you making a fool of yourself?”
When will I leave? In a flash of light, I was back into my body.
The sounds of the violins and men singing faded into the background; all I could hear was the fire crackling and my grandmother’s soft voice telling the story of the ghost of Banquo.-a man murdered in cold blood by his king. The story had gone on to tell of two murderers and a ghost haunting the coronation party. Who would have thought that long ago that story really happened? I, for one do believe, because I lived it.