Emma looked down the corridor and saw Charlie Bone standing outside
the history room. He had just said that Napoleon was the emperor
of Russia. Mr. Pope, the history teacher, had screamed at Charlie,
telling him he was an ignoramus, and he didn't want to see him in
his class a minute longer.
"I didn't really hear the question." Charlie's loud whisper
echoed across to Emma. "I was thinking about a dog."
Emma glanced up and down the corridor. There was no one around.
"What dog?" she whispered.
In as quiet a voice as he could manage, Charlie told Emma about
Benjamin and Runner Bean. "Why were you sent out?" he
"I was just late," said Emma. She recounted her conversation
with Mr. Boldova.
Charlie's eyes gleamed with interest. Yet another mention of someone
dangerous on the move. Was it possible that they were one in the
same? "So you think Ollie Sparks is in the attics?" He
paused and looked thoughtfully at the ceiling. "Let's go and
look, shall we?"
Emma was horrified. "What, now?"
"I can't think of a better time," said Charlie. "We've
got half an hour before the end of the lesson. Everyone else is
in class, so who's going to see us? I'm bored stiff hanging around
Before Emma could think of an excuse, Charlie had sprinted off toward
a staircase at the end of the corridor. Emma wished she hadn't told
Charlie about the attic. He was inclined to rush into things without
thinking them through. But she felt she had no choice but to follow.
They crept up one staircase after another. Once they bumped into
Dr. Saltweather, who interrupted his humming to ask where they were
going. "We've been sent to get books from the library,"
said Charlie. And Dr. Saltweather waved them on, although they were
nowhere near the library. But Dr. Saltweather was oblivious to everything
but his precious music.
They ran along dark passages and through empty, creaking rooms and,
as they drew near the west wing of the building, Emma became increasingly
nervous. She had nightmares about the night when her only escape
was to become a bird and fly.
Memory, or instinct, led her to the cell-like room where Manfred
Bloor had once imprisoned her. Light from a tiny window showed dark
walls patched with green slime, a narrow bed covered in filthy blankets,
and black, broken floorboards.
"What an awful place," Charlie murmured.
"Manfred locked me in," said Emma. "But then someone
turned the key on the other side, and the door opened. I rushed
to see who it was but there was no one there. Manfred caught me
and brought me back, but - and this is the strange part - he said
to someone 'Any more trouble and you won't get jam for a week.'
That's why I thought it might be Mr. Boldova's brother, Ollie. Because
he liked jam."
"Perhaps he's been locked in some other gruesome room like
this one." As Charlie turned to the door it suddenly slammed
shut. Charlie lifted the latch and pulled. Nothing happened. The
door appeared to have jammed. "Must have been a draft,"
"There isn't any draft," said Emma.
"But what else could it have been? No one came in. We'd have
"Maybe they were invisible."