Titch’s Secret Society Chapter 13

CHAPTER 13

Ghosts

 

“But four men can’t just disappear into thin air Titch,” protested Bunny.

After recording the report of Titch and Gogs on their previous night’s vigil, the five members of the Pontyrabad Secret Society were discussing the matter in great earnest.

“That’s exactly what I keep thinking,” replied Titch. “But the fact still remains that Gogs and I saw five men go into the old passage. Only one came out, and yet, when I went down into the cellar to investigate, there was no sign of them.”

“Coo . . .’samazing,” muttered Miff frowning at the earthen floor beneath his feet.

“It was very dark,” pursued Smudgie. “Perhaps only one of the men went into the cellar.”

“No,” replied Titch. “The five men definitely went into the passage that leads to the cellar.”

“That’s right.” added Gogs. “I saw the lights from their cigarettes. They went in all right.”

“And you’re sure you examined all the cellar with your torch Titch?” asked Bunny searching for some sort of answer to the mystery.

“Positive!” declared Titch. “There wasn’t room in there to hide a decent sized cat let alone four men. The walls are all flat. There are no corners to hide behind.”

Silence reigned in the underground room for about half a minute while the five boys thought harder than they’d ever done before. Gogs crossed and uncrossed his lanky legs, and Bunny read the evidence in his book again and again. It was Miff who finally broke the silence.

“I don’t suppose they were ghosts were they?”

“Nitwit!” ridiculed Gogs in great disgust. “Ghosts don’t arrive in cars and smoke cigarettes.”

“There’s only one thing to do,” stated Titch with an air of finality. “We must all go to the ruins tonight and investigate.”

“That’s the only way, Chief!” agreed Gogs.

“Yes, and as tomorrow is Saturday there’s no school so our mothers and fathers won’t mind us being out an hour or so extra,” added Bunny.

Titch stood up on his toes to look out through the gap at the bottom of the shed. “It’s getting dark,” he said. “We’ll go now.”

The boys made their way down the coast road, planning as they went. A cool wind blew in from a choppy sea making the boys tuck up their collars. “I hope we won’t have to wait long tonight, Titch,” said Gogs. “It’s jolly cold now.”

“Don’t be a cissy!” jeered Miff.

Titch tactfully put in a word before the two could attack each other. “It’’l be warmer when we get away from the sea a bit more and onto the common.”

“Where are we going to hide Titch?” asked Bunny.

“I think the best place will be somewhere in the cloisters. If those men come again they’re certain to go down into the cellar, and we’ll get a good close view from the cloisters.”

“Good idea,” added Smudgie. “There’s plenty of high lumps of stone and weeds to hide behind there.”

They made their way from the coast road to the east end of the church ruins. They stopped behind a buttress and gazed through the quickly gathering gloom towards the Straight Mile. “There’s no sign of anything so far,” stated Bunny peering out from behind their stout hiding place.

The others suddenly noticed that Titch was gazing up above his head studying the ruined buttress and wall intently. Gogs’ curiosity, as usual, got the better of him. “What are you looking at Titch?” he asked. The other four now gazed up at the wall.

“I’ve got an idea,” said Titch. “At this point the wall is pretty high – over seven metres I should think. Now if two of us could get up there and lie flat on top of the wall, we’d have a marvellous view of most of the ruins on this side of the cellar. The other three could watch from the other side of the cloisters.”

“Fantastic idea!” exclaimed Miff.

Bunny was cautious. “But how could we get up there? The wall’s fairly smooth. There aren’t many footholds.”

“We don’t need to climb the wall,” replied Titch simply. “If we walk down to that ruined archway we can easily get up there. All we’ve got to do then is to walk along the top up to this end. The top of the buttress is a bit higher than the wall. That would help to hide us. In any case it’ll soon be dark and we won’t be seen then.”

“That’s a really good idea Titch,” enthused Gogs. The others showed their whole-hearted agreement.

“Good, then you come with me Smudgie. We’ll get up on the wall and the rest of you can hide in those high weeds the other side of the cloisters.”

The others were soon lost in the gloom as Titch and Smudgie started their climb. The going was fairly easy as the top of the wall was wide. But as they made their way up higher and higher they felt less sure of themselves until, as last, they went along on hands and knees for safety’s sake.

Smudgie glanced over the side. “It’s a long drop from here Titch. It seems a lot higher from up here than it did from down there.”

“I know. It always does. Come on along a bit further so that we’re both behind the top of the buttress.”

Smudgie shivered. “You can feel that breeze coming in from the sea now we’re up here. It’ll be jolly cold.”

“Mmm You’re right,” agreed Titch. “I hope we don’t have to stay up here for long or we’ll freeze.”

“Wish I’d brought my thick coat,” said Smudgie, lying down flat on the cold stones.

Titch propped himself up on his elbow and gazed in the direction of the Straight Mile. A car was coming down the road and seemed to be slowing.

“This looks like their car Smudgie. Keep as low as you can.” The car slowed almost to a halt at the edge of the common. Then there was the violent movement of headlamp beams as the car mounted the grass. It finally came to a halt a few metres from the road. The headlamps were switched off, then the engine, and everything was quiet.

“It’s them!” whispered Titch urgently. There was the sound of a car door slamming.

“That’s funny,” murmured Smudgie. “I can only see one man.”

“Yes!” agreed Titch looking at the solitary figure silhouetted against the light of the road lamps. The figure came in their direction, around a pile of stones and then made straight for the cellar. They heard his echoing footsteps as he walked along the passage. Only when this sound had died away did Titch dare to speak.

“That was their chief, Smudgie. I wonder why he hasn’t brought the others.”

“P’raps they’ll come later.”

“Mmm . . . Yes, they might. We’ll have to wait and see anyway.”


Smudgie turned round to talk to his companion when his hair almost stood on end.

    At that moment the clouds parted and a full moon shone down on the boys. “Keep still,” said Titch. “If anyone’s watching they might see us in this moonlight.” Both boys shivered as they waited motionless on top of the high wall. After some five or ten minutes had passed, Smudgie turned round to talk to his companion when his hair almost stood on end.

“Titch! Titch! L . . .L . . . Look! Out on the sea!”

Titch looked around as well as he could in such an awkward position and almost fell off the wall in surprise at what he saw. Out on the sea, a few hundred metres from the shore, they could distinctly see some ghostly silvery shapes. The boys watched petrified for several minutes. Then they saw the flash of lights and, one by one, the shapes seemed to disappear. There was a final flash of light and then nothing more. For several minutes the boys stared hard at the moonlit water but could see nothing. Some more thick clouds covered the moon again and only inky blackness greeted their gaze.

“I wonder what that was?” mused Titch at length.

“It looked like ghosts to me,” stated Smudgie.     “Remember old ‘Fungus’ telling us about those monks and all that?”

“Yes . . . I remember his story . . . but . . . I wonder.”

“He said on moonlit nights Titch, and the moon was out a few minutes ago.”

“I’m jusy wondering what those shapes could have been. One minute they were there and then they gradually disappeared,” said Titch frowning hard at the stone wall he was lying on. Several more times the boys looked out to sea but saw nothing.

A sudden thud from the direction of the old cellar brought their attention back to their immediate surroundings. “W . . .W . . . What was that?” exclaimed Smudgie.

“Don’t know, but lie flat and keep still, it might be that man coming out again.”

Once more the clouds thinned as they passed across the moon and in the faint light which filtered through, the boys saw something which gave them their second shock that night. Not one, but five men came out from the passage which led from the old cellar. They quickly made their way between the piles of masonry and walked back to the waiting car. The slamming of four doors came across the still air to the waiting boys. The engine of the car coughed into life and it rolled over the grass onto the road and away.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: