|A chateau owner's work is never done. In order to make a living from owning one, it is essential to utilise every space. Geoff Gardener had put to use all but one of the outbuildings at Chateau Endroit Maléfique. It was a small, stone barn. He had a vision of converting it into a bar. There was just one problem, something was nesting in the rafters.
"Bonjour, parlez-vous Anglais? You do? Thank God." Geoff moved the phone to the other ear. "I've got a problem. There's something nesting in the rafters of my barn."
Christophe agreed to come and have a look. "But I am not the expert of the wild animal."
Christophe looked up into the rafters. Over half of the area was deeply built up with straw. "Beeg!"
"But what do you think it is?" Geoff stared at the nest.
"Oh, of course." Geoff put the ladder up to the central rafter.
Christophe climbed up. The nest was empty except for a few remnants of the animal's diet. "Egg, bone ... em ...martre des pins ... how you say pin martan?"
"Pine marten you mean?" The Frenchman nodded. "Oh, not too scary then."
"Dees very beeg, I sink."
The Frenchman held his arms apart, about six feet. Now, pine martens are normally no bigger than a cat. This was worrying.
"Could they be dangerous?"
"Tres dangereux. Do not here come at night."
Geoff ignored the warning. He wanted to see the giant pine martens that were nesting in his barn. As night fell, he took his torch and entered the barn. There was a rustling from above. The animals were at home. He carefully climbed the ladder with the torch held firmly between his teeth.
The first thing he saw was the eyes, large and blazing. Then he saw teeth and claws flying in his direction. The ladder fell backwards. He hit the ground hard. The animal hit harder. Claws out, mouth gaping, weighing in at a hundred pounds or more, it landed on Geoff.
The teeth sank into his arm, removing a chunk. The claws raked through his torso, slashing his clothes and his flesh. Then 'BANG'. The creature fell to the side and there was Christophe. "C'est un demon."
"A demon, really?"
"You do know the name of this chateau?"
"Chateau Endroit Maléfique. Why?"
"It mean Place of Evil. Why you think it was so ... inexpensive."