Tam and the professor try to free the sad trapped spirit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2002, 12:00am

Chapter 9

Professor Pamplemousse was in no doubt that the room was in the grip of something asking to be released. The spirit, whoever or whatever it was, did not want to harm anybody. It just wanted to be free.

Over breakfast the next morning, the professor explained to Tam what he intended to do. The spirit was trapped like a prisoner in that small room in the north tower. The room was like a box holding it captive. That box had to be destroyed.

Professor Pamplemousse and Tam found a couple of axes and the professor went out into the grounds to choose a spot where they could burn the wood ripped from the interior of the wailing room.

The professor chopped down a young holly bush. The burning together of the old and the young wood should create a power strong enough to destroy the prison that was holding the spirit captive in Castle MacWain, Professor Pamplemousse explained to Tam.

The two men worked all morning. Their axes soon ripped off the panelling around the fireplace. Underneath there was dull, grey stone.

'We have to strip all the walls and the floor and the ceiling down to this bare stone,' said the professor. 'We will have it all cleared away by dinner time. We can light the fire tonight.'

They were now working on the wall to the right of the fireplace. Both of them were anxious to get the job finished as soon as they could. Suddenly the blade of Tam's axe hit some kind of metal and he stopped. Professor Pamplemousse walked over to where Tam was working.

'You've hit something under this section of panelling. We had better remove this lot carefully,' said Professor Pamplemousse.

An hour later, Tam and the professor were standing in front of a large slab of stone that had been fixed to the wall with four iron plates at each corner. It looked like some sort of door.

The professor patiently loosened the plates until they fell to the floor. He forced the blade of his axe into the gap between the stone slab and the rest of the wall. The stone door began to ease forward and crashed to the floor.

When the dust had settled, Tam and the Professor found themselves staring into a small room.

On the floor in front of their feet were a couple of human skeletons. And, covered in cobwebs and dust, a set of bagpipes lay neatly arranged behind the two sets of bones. Tam closed his eyes in horror.

Final episode on Friday

Send your comments and suggestions to agatha.ngai@scmp.com

Graphic: 0409P2GYO