Amilee stopped before the ancient castle and looked up, her mouth open with awe. Thought the castle was clearly a gutted, hollow version of it's former glory, it was still magnificent. The dark, brooding stone walls stood before her, as strong and proud as they ever had been, but now slick with moss and bearded with climbing vines that tried their best to choke the life out of the stone. Ami glanced at her map. She had gotten a tour guide to mark out all the castles in the area, but this one wasn't on it. She frowned, thoughtfully. Perhaps she should turn back. Try another castle tomorrow. She reached for her camera and snapped a picture of the thing.
She turned left to walk around the structure, and a dull glint caught her eye. She moved aside the clinging vines and saw a metal plate that, though tarnished and mottled from the elements, was clearly recent. “Do not go widdershins 'bout the place, if you do, you're theirs to take.” Her lips formed the words as she read them, and as she did, a heavy chill of prophecy settled on her like a drift of heavy snow.
“Widdershins?” She asked aloud, raising an eyebrow. What did that even mean? I should go back to the inn, she decided. But she'd hiked out a few hours just to reach this spot. It couldn't hurt to take a circuit around the place. And that sign was obviously someone's silly idea of a trick.
She continued around the building, trailing her left hand against the wall as she when. She took a few more pictures, but didn't go into the castle, though she saw a few doors that had fallen off their hinges invitingly. She walked quickly, feeling watched, somehow. Finally, she returned to the original spot, where the brass plate was. She pulled out her camera and went to take a picture of it.
The words now read, “Too late, too late.” She frowned at it. Hadn't it read something different before? She dimly remembered the word widdershins, but that might have been on the morning crossword that the innkeeper had been working on.
She touched the metal and froze. The camera dropped from her hand, and the flash went off as it hit the ground.
“Ah'm tellin' ye, if she came this way it's like as not that the bogans took her.” The old man grumbled to the innkeeper. He was wheezing slightly from the long hike, even though they'd driven as far as they could.
“Come off it, Da, bogans and boggles and what all else yer on about dinnae exist.” The innkeeper rolled his eyes. “'sides, she's an American, they're a practical people. Not like to be dragged off into fairy-land.”
“Suit yerself, boy.” His father retorted. “But I knows what these hills are like.”
The innkeeper stumbled over what he thought was a rock. He kicked it, but it didn't make a rock sound as it bounced a few feet forward. “Wait a moment.” He leaned down and picked up the thing.
“Is that the lass' camera?” The older man asked.
“She never went nowhere without it.”
“The bogans took her, ye've got to know it.”
“Aye, da, Maybe they did.”