فصل 09

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فصل 09

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  • زمان مطالعه 9 دقیقه
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chapter nine

Missing Martin

When Kara got back to Owl Hall it was the afternoon and the ‘Keep out’ sign was still on Martin’s door. Kara knocked on it but there was no answer. She did not care. Her head was full of a thousand other things and she wanted to write them all down. She went to her room and started writing her blog but it was difficult to express her feelings in words. How could she describe the best day of her life? How could she describe the morning she had spent talking with the boy on the island? She was sure that if she wrote down all the things they had said, the words would look stupid. And it would be difficult to describe the excitement she had felt when her ‘friend’ (what an amazing word!) had finally told her his name. It was strange, she thought. Most people tell you their name when you first meet them or when someone introduces you to them. But when the boy from the barn had finally told her his name, she felt as if he was sharing the biggest secret in the world. His name was John. She said the name aloud. Then she typed the name again and again. She had a friend and his name was John.

Kara had learnt that John was an only child - he had no brothers or sisters. Kara wondered how it would feel to be an only child and tried to imagine her life without Martin. Martin! She knew that Martin did not like John but things would be different if the two boys could spend some time together. She wondered what Martin had done all morning. Had he spent it in his room?

Kara decided she wanted to talk to Martin so she walked down the corridor and knocked on his door. But there was no answer. She knocked again.

‘Martin?’ she called. But there was only silence. Kara slowly turned the door handle and opened the door but Martin was not there. Then she realized that there was something different about the room. There were no sheets on the bed and there were no clothes on the floor. Where were Martin’s things? What was happening? Was Martin playing one of his games?

‘Martin?’ Kara said. ‘Where are you?’

But Martin did not answer.

Kara suddenly felt very alone. She went back to her room to see if Martin was there. But he was not.

‘Kara!’ her mother shouted from downstairs. ‘Can you come down to the kitchen, please?’

Maybe Martin’s already with Mum, Kara thought. She went quickly downstairs and into the kitchen. But the first thing she saw was Howard. He was standing next to the table with Max at his feet.

‘Hello, Kara,’ Howard said. Then he smiled at her and showed his perfect teeth.

Kara looked quickly around the room but Martin was not there. Then she looked at Mum.

‘Mum?’ Kara said. ‘Have you seen Martin?’

Mum looked at Howard and Kara recognized her expression. It was the same look that she used to give Dad. It was the look that said, ‘Talk to your daughter. Be a father.’

‘What’s happening?’ Kara asked.

Howard sat down at the table. ‘Your mother says that you’ve been sleepwalking,’ he said to Kara.

Kara began to feel very angry. ‘That’s none of your business! You’re not my dad!’ she shouted.

Mum put down the cups she was taking from a cupboard. ‘Kara, please don’t talk to Howard like that,’ she said angrily. ‘He’s trying to help you.’

‘If Howard wants to help me, then he can tell me where Martin is!’ Kara said.

‘Please don’t start!’ Mum said. ‘Not about Martin, please!’

Howard looked at Kara. ‘Please sit down,’ he said in a voice full of authority. ‘We have to talk.’

Kara slowly sat down at the table.

‘Martin is in a safe place,’ Howard went on. ‘You don’t have to worry about him. You have to look after yourself now. Your mother and I are worried about you and we want to help you.’

But Kara was not listening to Howard. She was worrying about Martin. What ‘safe place’? What had Martin done? Where had they taken him? ‘I promised not to leave him,’ she cried.

‘Please, Kara…’ Mum said. ‘Please don’t start talking about Martin again.’

Kara turned to stare at Howard. ‘Where is he?’ she asked.

‘I told you,’ Howard said. ‘Martin is in a safe place.’

‘No!’ Kara shouted. Then she got up and ran out of the kitchen. She started running up the stairs but then changed her mind.

There was something strange about Howard. She heard his words in her mind. ‘Martin is in a safe place.’ Where had he taken Martin? The only ‘safe’ place Kara could think of was Howard’s house on the hill. Was Martin a prisoner there?

Kara ran back down the stairs and out through the front door. It was still light outside but the air felt cooler as she ran across the courtyard. She came to the bumpy track and followed it up the hill towards Howard’s house. She did not know what she was going to do when she got to the house. She only knew that she had to find Martin.

The daylight was starting to go by the time Kara got to the house on the hill. She stood outside looking up at the dark windows. There were no lights on and she could not see anyone. But she thought she could hear voices coming from inside. She looked around to check that no one was watching her then she walked up to the front door. It was not locked so she opened it quietly and walked into the hall.

Kara’s eyes slowly got used to the darkness inside the house. She was standing in a long narrow hall. There was a table by the front door with some unopened letters on it. Kara picked one up. It was addressed to ‘Doctor Howard Ward’.

Howard was a doctor…

Then she heard the voices again. At first she thought they were coming from one of the rooms but then she realized that they were coming from under the floor. Kara tried not to make any noise as she walked down the hall and past the staircase. She was feeling very frightened but she knew she had to find Martin. Behind the staircase there were some steps going down to another door. That must be the basement, Kara thought. Martin must be in the basement. Her heart started beating faster as she turned the door handle. But the door was locked.

Kara looked around the hall for a key but she could not find one. What should she do? Should she shout his name? No. There were other people there. She could hear them talking.

If Martin was there too, they might hurt him. But why would they want to hurt her brother? For a moment Kara thought of calling the police. But then she had a better idea.

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