A Dreadful Apparition

Edmund smiled to himself and followed Mr. Shobbinton, chasing after him through the walls, and keeping pace with his panicked escape.

Eventually, Mr. Shobbinton was in a blind panic, running away from his unseen assailant. He ducked into closets, hid in small hallways, and once even positioned himself right in front of one of the secret doors. Each time Edmund knocked on the wall, giggled quietly next to his head, or reached through the secret door to quickly run his fingers gently across the back of Mr. Shobbinton’s neck.

It took several minutes, but Mr. Shobbinton finally stumbled across Matron’s room. Without even bothering to knock, he tore open the door and slammed it shut behind him.

Edmund deflated. There were no peep-holes or ear-trumpets into Matron’s room; he had looked very thoroughly. Carefully, he slipped his way out from the passageways, and held his ear up against Matron’s door. He could just barely hear Mr. Shobbinton gasping for breath.

“What is the meaning of this?” came Matron’s cold voice, drifting through the door. “I presume your surveying isn’t what has left you so breathless…”

“Something…after me… in the walls!” Mr. Shobbinton gasped. Something clicked in Edmund’s brain.

“Is it?” Matron asked. Edmund could almost see the jet black eyebrow lift. “And why, pray tell, is it after you?”

“Ghost or… shade of… I didn’t hurt…” the gasping became a stammer. Edmund giggled to himself again as he sneaked back down the hall. “There!” He heard Mr. Shobbinton cry through the door. “That giggle! It’s after me!”

Edmund took a few turns through the hallways, until he reached an old linen closet. He remembered the musty smell when he had opened it during his exploration of Moulde Hall, and the linens were it terrible shape. Edmund grabbed two ragged sheets and quickly ducked back between the walls as he wrapped himself in them.

There he waited until he saw Mr. Shobbinton leave Matron’s room, his face baring the sullen mortified results of what Mrs. Mapleberry had called ‘A stern talking to.’ He dropped his briefcase, grabbed his monocle from where it dangled on his chest, and slowly began to polish it with his pocket handkerchief. Beads of sweat covered his face, and he was obviously still on edge.

Edmund smiled to himself, and stepped out from the walls, walking slowly towards him.

It may have been providence that a bolt of lightning from the storm lit up the mansion at that moment. Mr. Shobbinton looked up, startled, and locked eyes with Edmund’s white-wrapped face.

Slowly, Edmund lifted his arm, pointing at Mr. Shobbinton like he had read ghosts sometimes did, shifting Orpha Moulde’s skull to cradle it in his other arm.

Mr. Shobbinton only hesitated a second before shrieking and leaping almost a foot in the air. He came down hard on his briefcase, tripping and sending papers scattering everywhere. He scrambled to his feet and took off down the hallway, heading for the closest exit.


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