Tam decides to investigate the wailing in the castle

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 12:00am

Chapter 6

Tam looked up from the delicious dinner Mrs MacIver had prepared for him and stared across the dining room. Castle MacWain was so silent that every creak and crack of the ancient building sounded a hundred times louder than it was. But this noise was different. Tam had heard it before the night he had arrived.

It was a constant high-pitched wailing, and it was getting even louder.

Tam decided to investigate. Perhaps a dog or a wolf had gotten trapped in a room somewhere in the castle. That was the only explanation he could think of.

This part of the castle, the living quarters on the ground and first floors, were the only parts of the building equipped with electricity. Tam picked up an oil lamp from the kitchen before he ventured through the door into the dark corridors.

The wailing sound was coming from somewhere in the north tower. It was echoing far above his head.

There was just one staircase leading to the top of the north tower. As it twisted higher, the spiral staircase became narrower, and the noise louder.

Tam listened carefully and waited for a few minutes before making up his mind. The wailing noise was just above his head and to the right somewhere on the fourth floor. Tam took a few hesitant steps along the corridor. For a few seconds, the oil lamp spluttered and he was afraid the light would go out.

He was standing at the end of the narrow corridor where one passageway went off to the right and another to the left. His heart was beating fast as he stood and listened to the chill wailing sound.

He lowered the lamp so he could move forward along the shadowy corridor. Every heartbeat thundered loudly in his chest. He tried to keep his eyes wide open, but they were becoming tired and sore in the gloomy lamplight. He knew now he had found the source of the noise. The wailing was coming from the room with the locked door that he had tried to open two days before.

Tam reached out and pushed the door. To his surprise, it swung open slowly. Then the noise hit him. It came at him like a hundred hands and hit him squarely in the face. Tam dropped the oil lamp and fled.

Continues on Friday

English Corner is edited by Agatha Ngai, agatha.ngai@scmp.com

Graphic: 2808P4GYO