Chapter 1

It Was A Foggy October Night...

It was a foggy October night. Oh how I wished I was home in my comfy mouse hole! It was the perfect night to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cheddar.

But I wasn’t at home. I wish I could say I was bowling down at Paws Lanes. Or nibbling on a delicious dinner at my favourite French restaurant, Le Squeakery. But I was far away from every mouse I knew. I was stuck in the middle of the Dark Forest Do you want to know why? Let me tell you... Oh, but first let me introduce myself. My name is Stilton,
Geronimo Stilton.

I live in New Mouse City, where I run a newspaper. Yes, that’s right, I am a newspaper mouse. I publish a paper called The Rodent’s Gazette. It is the most popular paper on Mouse Island! Our only competition is The Daily Rat. But that’s another story.

Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yes, how I got to the Dark Forest. Well, I had left New Mouse City to go visit my aunt Sweetfur. She was on vacation in the Pleasant Paw Hills. To get there, I had to drive through the Dark Forest. Have you ever been there? It reminds me of the woods where Hansel and Gretel Mouse get lost. Very dark and spooky.

I had just passed Cat Claw Rock when a foggy cloud settles over my car. I felt like one of the Three Blind Mice. I couldn't see my own paw in front of my snout! I tried to check out my map, but it was no use. I was lost!

The road grew narrow and finally led to a dirt path. Stale Swiss rolls! This didn’t look good. Now I was really in the middle of nowhere. I shivered.

Who knows what kinds of crazy rats lived out here in the deep, dark woods? What if they jumped on my car? What if they jumped on me?

Oh, how I wished I was home!

I drove on for another half hour in the thickening fog. I tried turning on my radio to get my mind off things, but I couldn’t get a station. Instead, I listened to my teeth chattering.

Then suddenly, out of the fog, a sign appeared. it read:

To Cannycat Castle

Too shocked to squeak, I checked my map. Strange, very strange, I thought. There was no castle listed.

I folded the map and shoved it into my coat pocket. Well, there was only one thing to do. I headed for the castle. I would ask for directions there.

Just then, a bolt of lightening streaked down right next to me! For a split second, the Dark Forest glowed. It reminded me of the time my uncle Flickrat turned on the lights before the movie was over at the Grand Squeak Cinema. The audience wnet crazy. Every mouse wanted his or her money back. After that, Uncle Flickrat got stuck working the cheese-popcorn machine. His boss wouldn’t let him near a light switch.

I blinked my eyes in the bright white light. I could just make out the shape of a weathered old castle in the distance.

Right at the very moment, my car stopped!

I groaned. This was just not my day or night. I hopped out of the car.

Now what? I knew next to nothing about cars. I have trouble pumping my own gas!

Suddenly, it started to rain. My whiskers were soon dripping with water. And it was bitterly cold.

I turned up my collar and started along the path leading to the castle.

plink! plink! plink! plink! plink! plink! plink! plink! plink! plink!

It was covered with dried twigs that crackled under my paws. The grass surrounding the castle looked like it hadn’t been mowed in years.

Overgrown bushes lined the walls. This place reallys need a good lawn service, I thought. Maybe I could give the owners my cousin Greenpaw’s business card. He cut lawns for a living. “Next to yellow, green is my favourite color,” he liked to say.

Staring up at the dark castle, I stumbled over more twigs. Maybe there was another reason why this place was a mess.

Maybe the castle was empty.

Chapter 2

A Castle With Blood-Red Windows

the castle was surrounded by a deep moat filled with slimy green water.

I stared at the building. The walls were made of huge square stones. Windows protected by thick iron bars stared back at me. I flinched. The windowpanes were blood-red!

Just then, a light came on in the highest tower. In the darkness, it looks like the glowing eye of a terrifying monster!

Oh, how I wished I was home!

My fur stood on end from fright.

As quickly as it had turned on, the light flicked off again! It was then that I noticed the flag hanging from the castle’s highest tower. it showed a picture of a blood-red cat! The cat’s back was arched and its claws were drawn.

In front of the entrance stood two cat statues. The cats’ jaws were set in evil snarls. I gasped. All of these cats were beginning to give me the creeps. Was this the homeowners’ way of scaring away the riffrats? Well, I guess it was cheaper than an alarm system.

I studied the statues. One of them had a sign with instructions for the doorbell. It read:

Press your paw here...
if you have no fear!

I looked closer. The doorbell was blood-red! Shivering, I pressed the ringer.


A horrifying meowing filled my ears. Terrified, I scurried behind a bush.

Holey cheese! This cat must be some monster

After a while, I peeked from my hiding place. Strange, very strange. Not a furry face in sight. Finally, I realized the meowing was taped! It was coming from the bell!

Once again, I approached the door. It opened as if by magic.

By now, I wasn’t exactly dying to go in. In fact, you could say I was dying to scurry on out of there!

But then a bolt of lightening practically too off my paw.

Yikes! I didn’t want to go inside, but I couldn’t stay outside in the storm.

I practiced my deep-breathing exercises. Then I tiptoed inside.

Crusty cheese slices! It was so dark and spooky.

Oh, how I wished I was home!