He was one of three people to step off the train, and as he shrugged on a rucksack, walking towards the exit, he realised that this must have been the station where Milla had left for the school. A warm, tingling feeling ran through him and he smiled. Walking out onto the pavement, he knew where the school would be, as he had bought an A-Z featuring it, but still ended up walking along a road which was not in its direction. At one point he thought about asking somebody, but eventually the map started to make sense again and he found it after twenty-six minutes, when it should easily have took him ten. It was 18:09, and Curio stood outside locked gates to a wide path that led up to the school which was obviously much still in use. On either side of him, thick, granite walls that were obviously built to last spanned away. They were just about too high to climb, and if he was seen trying to clamber over, then that would do his reputation no good whatsoever. He had to find another way in, so walked along the wall to the right, hoping for a gap. After a while, it turned left and became a fence, beyond which where high, untended bushes that had been left to grow wildly. Continuing along, the fence eventually stopped at the corner to a field behind the school. This was obviously where they played their sports as there were a few traffic cones dotted around, and large patches of mud where goal mouths must have been. He walked onto the grass and headed back towards the school. He found a four foot brick wall at the back of the playground. One section had a locked gate, but near this, there was a tree on a rise in the grass, so the base of it was around two feet from the top of the wall. From there he could step on the wall and drop into the yard. Getting out wouldn’t be a problem either. With nobody to see him, getting over a four foot wall should be quite easy. He landed heavily in the yard, but composed himself, noticing as he did, his heart racing faster. He was now trespassing, and suddenly felt the urge to turn and leave while he could. No, he thought. I’ve come this far. Across the yard to his right, he saw the gymnasium. From his angle, he could not see inside because the windows reflected the school building. He walked slowly across, across a large painted, winding snake, and a hopscotch diagram. With the sky gradually darkening, the interior of the gymnasium looked foreboding and ominous. He could make nothing out, and wondered just how he was going to get inside. He knew it would have been a problem, but decided to come here to try and find a way in, rather like going to a concert without a ticket. There were other ways in besides the normal way. Basically, he didn’t know without a crowbar, and was hopeful of gaining entry, such was his desire for contact with the twins.
He noticed that in the lower left corner, near a fire exit, a window had a large piece of plywood over it. He guessed it was a smashed window. They obviously hadn’t had time to mend it. If he could take it off and see how big the hole was, maybe he could get in that way, he thought. He gripped a corner and pulled. Whoever had put it up had not done a very good job, as it took two pulls to come away. It crashed to the floor and he crouched down nervously, looking around for any signs that he had been spotted. After a few moments, he decided he could continue as the only movement seemed to come from a few dead leaves blowing across the yard. The window had been smashed by what was probably a football. It was just about too small for him to climb in, so he decided to brave kicking in the glass below the jagged hole. It took five kicks to get it to a satisfactory size, the sound on each blow seemingly amplified. He hurried around the corner beyond the fire doors and hugged the wall for a few minutes, listening. What sounded like a gate banging reached his ears and he froze further in fear, but nothing came of it, and after a few more minutes, he ventured cautiously back to the window, slowly stepping inside. With one last look across the yard, he walked into the gloom towards the middle of the varnished wooden floorboards.
With the darkening sky turning the yard a mixture of black and Prussian blue, the gymnasium’s darkness blended gradually into the gloom outside. Curio took out a torch from his rucksack and risked switching it on. He picked out a few white lines, and guessed that they must mark out a five-a-side football, or tennis area. He found the centre and sat down cross-legged. He also took from his rucksack a flask and egg mayonnaise sandwiches, as well as a single, eight inch candle. It was cold, and he hugged his coat around him. With the lighter he’d bought especially, he stood the candle up and lit it. Switching off the torch, his face was bathed in a muted yellow hue. Realising that this must have been the exact spot where Stacey and Milla had died, another shiver shot through him. He wondered whether or not to begin trying to make contact, or have his sandwiches and tea. A slight pang of hunger gave him his answer, and he tore open the aluminium foil and poured himself a lukewarm drink. Slight wisps of steam curled slowly in the wavering light, and the only sound came from his sipping and chewing. After a while, he had consumed everything, and decided it was time to connect with the girls. He closed his eyes, and blanked his mind.
“Stacey, Milla,” he whispered, “Can you hear me? My name is Curio Enchantment. Give me a sign. Show me that you know I am here. Speak to me, let me see you”. He opened his eyes, and noticed that the temperature had dropped significantly. The candle flame flickered and he almost fell back. He shot out an arm to stop himself falling.
“You’re here,” he said. “I know you are”. He could feel that there was another presence in the place, that he was being watched.
“Where are you?” he said, adrenalin surging fear in his system. He knew he had to confront it, had to be in the presence of ghosts if he was to train himself up to be a professional psychic, or mystic. After a few more seconds, he heard, very faintly, on the border between reality and imagination, what sounded like slow footsteps in the far left corner. There were five steps before they stopped, as though they had changed their minds in presenting themselves to him. His wide eyes stared in that direction, at the dark shadowy gloom, but saw nothing. Was that breathing he heard now? slight breaths coming from just ahead. His fear level rose significantly.
“Whe..where are you?”. He didn’t know why, but he started slowly to clamber backwards, away from the slow footsteps that had started up again, and the slight breathing that seemed to be louder and clearer. He didn’t know what he was afraid of, but he was. The candle flame flickered again, and the temperature seemed to get even colder. As he slowly made more distance from the candle, images suddenly flashed into his mind. Twins smiling at each other. Twins lying dead, soaked in blood. Twins dancing happily in a garden. Twins clutching knives, looking at him with slight inquisitive smiles. These images rapidly cycled like a music video stuck on fast forward. Further away he crawled, and stared in astonishment as two identical shapes seemed to shimmer into view on the fringe of the candle light, two little girls that looked at him with slight inquisitive smiles. He put a hand to his face and stared through his fingers. His heart pounded as though trying to break his ribs. With his eyes having been open for so long, he had to blink, so blinked once, and then saw that the girls had gone, as though they had never been there. A sudden gust of wind snuffed out the candle, and as the darkness surrounded him a high pitched shrill noise reverberated around the gymnasium. He shouted aloud in abject fear, and then realised that it was his mobile telephone in his rucksack. He composed himself, but knew he couldn’t just get up and walk across to it. He crawled as best he could, his heart still hammering away.
“They were real, they were real” he said quietly, not thinking for one second that it could have all been in his mind, caused by expectations and belief which projected forth hallucinations, visions that could only have been seen by him. He rummaged around in his bag for the contraption and found it. The small screen read: ‘Anonymous call’. He laid on his back, trying to control his breathing, and answered it after two more rings.
“Hello,” he said, “Curio Enchantment”.
“Er, Oh, have I got the right number? I wanted to speak with Philip Harrison”. Curio paused for a few seconds.
“Yes, that’s me. I’ve changed my name”.
“Oh, right. This is Edward Stanton here. I’m looking for a missing boy called Jake Ingram, and before I literally send out a search party, I thought I would come to you first, just incase. I need your help again. I can pay you if you like, this time, but only if you find him”. Curio smiled.