At first, Stuart thought he saw something move in the mirk below but he couldn’t be sure at this distance. He stood there frozen to the spot, as he peered into the shadows, senses on alert, trying to verify his perceived vision. ‘Did I imagine that, or is there really something down there,’ he mused and exhaled. He was about to give up and move along the landing, to the next room, when something caught his eye in the corner, by the bottom of the staircase. ‘It’s a dog, or something,’ his mind said to him but it inconveniently added a rider. ‘Yes, fine but whose dog would that be, on a deserted island?’ Now his imagination went into overdrive for a moment, running every unlikely scenario it could conjure: ‘It’s a Werewolf, a Morlock, or the Devil himself,’ his racing mind suggested before he regained control of its wilder flights of fancy. ‘Get a fucking grip Stuart, it’s most likely just the wind, blowing loose leaves around, or a rat….. most likely. So, let’s get on with it and get back to the tent, for something to eat and stick a plaster on this thumb.’
The thought of food seemed to have the desired effect. He moved on down the landing, checking door handles and giving doors a swift kick. The third door remained the only one to open as he approached a small wooden door unlike the rest. ‘Hmm maybe to the tower? Bet it’s locked.’ Despite the threat of an imaginary Werewolf, Stuart was finding this investigation of the old house, quite exciting and secretly hoped this one would open, so he could climb up to the top of the tower.
“Now let’s see what secrets lie beyond that final door,” he impatiently grunted. ‘There must be something in the air, a spore, or something like that but my imagination’s just running riot in this place,’ Stuart thought, as he slowly reached down for the final handle, which looked well worn. Then, he noticed an old key in its lock. It moved smoothly, releasing the levers with a barely perceptible ‘clunk.’ He grasped the well-used brass door knob and turned it.
“Open Sesame Bun,” he demanded as he turned it. Surprisingly, the door slid smoothly open, as if it had been well oiled, for many years. As it opened a wave of warm humid air rushed eagerly over him. Suddenly, Stuart felt he was doing something wrong by entering the tower uninvited. He quickly scanned the area to make sure that nobody was watching, before he took the first step inside.
He stood, transfixed by the sight of a spiralling stairway, ascending into the semi darkness. For a moment a faint green glow emanated from above, then was extinguished. ‘What….!?’ He clicked his torch on and shone it upwards….. ‘Nothing. I must have imagined it….. this place is getting to me,’ he thought.
He only had two choices, go upwards, or leave, re-locking the door, hoping against hope that it would be enough to keep a pack of inquisitive Scouts out. He wavered, ‘You’re here now, so don’t hang around, just get on with it and climb, unless you want to come back tomorrow?’ He looked at the cold dark grey steps, as they made their way up the tower. ‘You could always go and have a look at Room 3 and knock it on the head until tomorrow, it’s not like you’re camped miles away.’ He looked at his watch, it was later than he thought. The time seemed to have raced while he’d stood still and it was already becoming gloomy. There’s no rush, Stu,’ he interceded forcefully, ‘time to retire to the tent and return in the morning, after breakfast, all bright eyed and bushy tailed. After all, you’ve got the downstairs to check out yet…’
Argument over, Stuart turned, stepped out onto the landing, closed and locked the door behind him. By the time he reached outside, night was almost upon him and he struggled to find his way along the path to his tent, getting snagged by several brambles along the way. Then he emerged into the frosty light of the rising moon, which lay upon the glade, illuminating his tent.
“Full tonight,” he stated and turned to have one final look at tomorrow’s target, the tower, which was now bathed in a cold silvery light of gossamer mists, ascending into the crisp dark blue air of another clear, moonlit night sky.