The Carew Ape
Upon a riverbank, a stronghold of stone sits. Carew Castle a memory of a bygone age, giant and still. Amongst its walls on stormy nights, when rain lashes and wind shrieks, tales tell of another sound piercing through the tempest wail. A howl otherworldly, not of these shores, and not of this mortal realm.
In the seventeenth century, the castle was home to the explorer Sir Roland Rhys. A man of wickedness and of cruelty, with a penchant for enacting fiendish acts on those entering the castle walls. These acts were typically executed by his pet ape, whom he had plucked from its home in the northern reaches of Africa.
Now enslaved by Sir Roland, the ape would follow each of his commands without hesitation, with those subject to its mischief suggesting there was more than a hint of malevolent glee in the simian’s eyes when acting out Sir Roland’s more devilish wishes.
One fateful night, as dark clouds churned and thunder began to roll, there was a pounding upon Sir Roland’s door. He groggily stumbled to answer the unwelcome intrusion. Standing before him, cloaked by the night, and drenched from the pouring rain, was mere Horowitz, a local merchant.
Perplexed and infuriated by this unwelcome awakening, Sir Roland demanded an explanation. Horowitz, pleading to Sir Roland, exclaimed his concern over his daughter and Sir Roland’s son eloping. Sir Roland scoffed, not believing his son would be smitten with a lowly merchant’s daughter. With a waft of his hand as if swatting a bothersome fly, he dismissed Horowitz to return to the storm.
Not to be deterred, the merchant grabbed at Sir Roland to plead his case. Aghast at this attempt on his person, he threw Horowitz to the ground and cried out, summoning his ape from the shadows. Foaming with rage, he set his ape upon the terrified merchant. In between cracks of lightning and claps of thunder, the sound of cruel laughter and pained screams shot through the night.
After the ordeal, Horowitz was dragged to a bed by Sir Roland’s servants to nurse his grievous wounds. As he lay there stricken, he choked out a few words…
“Curse you, Roland. Curse you that you befall the same fate as I… “.
As he fell into a deep slumber, he dreamed of wickedness and revenge. He dreamed of evil returned to those who had summoned it.
His eyes burst open to the sound of a howl unlike anything he had ever heard, followed by shrieks of anguish. Dragging himself from his cot, he crawled towards the screams. Peering around the doorway, his eyes widened at the scene before him. Sir Roland lay there, torn asunder, a savaged remnant of the brash man who once was. Across from him, lifeless and aflame in the grand fireplace, lay the ape. Horowitz’s curse had come true; the ape had turned on his master.
Horowitz fled the castle that night, wounded and afraid, he made for new lands, never to return.
Since that dark day, the castle has remained proud and bright. However, it is said that when nights are stormy, with lashing rain and thunder and lightning cracking the sky, amongst the din, another noise can be heard. The howls of the ape’s ghost, still roaming the castle grounds, awaiting a new master and its next task.