No Such Thing As Ghosts

Chapter Seven: Bainbrook Castle

"Well, there it is."
Copper gazed up at the big castle on the hill, a slightly dreamy expression in her brown eyes as she took in it's turrets and strong brick buttresses. A lazy Union Jack fluttered in the breeze from the top of the highest tower, and in the castle grounds, fans and press had already begun to gather, eager to catch a glimpse of the stars.
"It doesn't look much." Nancy eyed it critically. "A heap of bricks, if you ask me. Nothing romantic or spooky about it, Copper...I don't understand why you get all goopy over this history stuff."
"I would have thought you of all people would appreciate it, with your heritage." Copper scolded her companion. "This is a part of you, you know!"
"Hardly." Nancy snorted. "I don't think any of Mom's family were of the titular variety, thanks. Not the ones I've met, anyhow!"
"You've only met your uncle and your grandfather - who when it came to it isn't really that at all." Copper shrugged. "How do you know, Nancy? You know, for someone as musically imaginative as you are, you really have no soul when it comes to things like this."
"I have plenty of soul, thank you." Nancy grimaced at her friend, not at all insulted. "Just I don't waste it on bricks and dusty cement, that's all."
"It's probably not cement. They used to glue bricks and stuff together with manure and stuff." Sadie glanced up from the guidebook, her eyes twinkling as she took in her friends' expressions. "Hey, don't look at me like that! It's true enough! They used to mix manure with straw and other stuff to plaster up their houses. You've seen those old black and white timber framed buildings all along the main high street here, haven't you? That's what the white bit is. Painted cow doo-doo."
"Ugh. Now you;re taking any romance right out of it." Sylva pulled a graphic face. "Shut up, will you? I don't want to sleep in a castle made of manure!"
"You won't be, so pipe down." Jetta took a hand now, the amusement clear on her face. "It's built of stone. I don't know what they used to gel the bricks together, but I don't think you've anything to worry about - except, of course, givin' the press a hot scandal about why you won't stop in the castle an' 'elp the hospital fund."
"All right, all right, I'm going in." Sylva rolled her eyes expressively. "But seriously, that's just gross."
"Mediaeval people weren't so squeamish as you, though." Sadie told her, linking an arm in her companion's. "I mean, they used to line the street to watch executions and stuff like that. They didn't mind a bit of rotting flesh."
"You're gonna make me throw up!" Sylva protested. "Please! Enough!"
"Welcome to Bainbrook Castle!" A lady in a smart English Heritage uniform came to greet them, casting the group a warm smile. "We've been expecting you! I'm Tessa - I'm going to give you a full tour of the castle first of all, so that you know what we're about and what part of this is in aid of." She gestured around the grounds. "As you can see, for an eleventh century castle an amazing amount of it is still standing, but parts of it need repair before we can allow members of the public in to visit on a large-scale basis. The far part of the grounds are out of commission and noone is allowed to go there - it's mostly where the out-houses and barracks were, I believe. This central part of the castle is open to the public, but you will be some of the first to visit our tower."
"There's a story attached to the tower, isn't there?" Copper asked interestedly, as they crossed the forecourt towards the magnificent structure. Tessa nodded.
"Yes. The rumours go that a young girl committed suicide from the tower after her lover was killed in one of the skirmishes for territory. This area was a major battleground back in the middle ages, you know. Wales and England were governed by independant Kings and Princes and this borderland was rife with feuds and treachery and battles, especially in times of national unrest." She grinned. "Of course, the story about the girl is just one of the castle's many legends. It's been passed down by word of mouth, but noone knows if there is any truth in that or any of the other more popular stories surrounding this place."
"I think it's kind of beautiful, in an old fashioned way." Topaz said thoughtfully, gazing up at the solid brick walls. She put her hand against the stone, running her fingers over the deep grooves. "What caused this? Weather?"
"No. That's where soldiers sharpened their weapons before they went into battle." Tessa smiled. "It's hard to imagine now, but this place was once a thriving community and the means of defence for the whole of the surrounding area."
She pushed open the wooden door. "Come on, let me show you inside. We've only recently restored this section but we've tried to make it as true to life as it should be. It's locally known as King Edward's tower, since this is where Edward II allegedly stayed after his deposition, so we've tried to restore it to the way it might have looked in the thirteenth century. If you follow me up these steps - the royal chamber is on the top floor and that is where you will be spending the night."
"The royal chamber, huh?" Sylva winked at Sadie. "Now that sounds more like it!"
Tessa smiled, nodding.
"We call it the King's Room, for obvious reasons." She agreed. "And we're trying to make it live up to it's name!"
"It sure has a lot of steps." Nancy observed, as they mounted the winding stairway. "They must have been pretty fit in Mediaeval times, that's all I'm saying about it. Thank God for elevators!"
"You're just lazy." Topaz teased. "Come on. It isn't that bad and it's just for one night. Besides, we'll have a great view from the top floor."
"Ooh, it's kind of pretty in here." Sylva was the first to step into the room, stopping and glancing appreciatively at the decor. A tapestry hung on one of the far walls and there was a makeshift bed in one corner, pushed to one side. On the floor, brightly coloured rugs and tiles brightened the otherwise cold room, and the high ceiling beams were decorated with a carefully carved out tower symbol - the emblem of Edward II.
"Tonight we'll have sleeping bags for you all." Tessa told them. "It will be cold in here - we can't risk a fire and there isn't any electricity up here yet. We'll give you torches, though, so you can see where you're going once the sun sets."
"It is a heck of a view." Copper moved to the window. "You can see the whole county from here!"
"Precisely why it was such a good look-out point." Tessa nodded. "You can see an army advancing from miles away."
"Why are the windows so tiny, though?" Sylva came to join her bandmate. "You'd think they'd let all the sun in, if they didn't have electricity!"
"They're arrow-slit windows." Tessa explained. "Wide enough to fire an arrow from, but narrow enough to - hopefully - protect the people inside in case of attack. Besides, glass was an expensive commodity and most castle windows didn't install it - in the winter, gaping windows would be no good at all."
"I guess not." Sylva acknowledged. She peered down at the grounds below. "It is pretty cool up here. The people look tiny...look, there's Jetta down there!"
"Or more specifically, Jetta's hat, since that's all we can see." Copper giggled. "It's almost like being up in an aircraft."
"Not quite. More like on Misfit Music's top floor." Topaz put in.
"What's that funny black thing by the castle gate?" Sylva pointed. Tessa came to look.
"That? Oh, we're very proud of that." She said, her eyes twinkling. "It's a gibbet - not a genuine mediaeval one, sadly, but a very fine replica."
"Why do I get the feeling a gibbet isn't a good thing?"
"I think it's where they put dead people." Sadie looked thoughtful, flicking through her guidebook. "Isn't that right?"
"Yes. They would display hanged criminals on gibbets as a warning to others." Tessa nodded. "Alternatively traitors' heads might be displayed on spikes over the town gates, to ward off anyone else who might betray the King."
Sylva swallowed hard.
"Mediaeval people were sick in the head." She decided finally. "I'm glad I don't live then."
Nancy laughed.
"Syl, it happened a long time ago. Tisn't like there are skeletons rattling about or anything! Get a grip. After all, everyone who was alive then is dead now. So what if they were used as cheap party decorations?"
"Well, I still think it's gross." Sylva folded her arms.
"Now you've seen where we intend you to stay, how about I take you across and show you some of the rest of the castle?" Tessa suggested. "We've a very well restored castle dungeon and of course, the latrines..."
"I'm just not going to ask." Sylva decided, and Topaz laughed, linking her arm in her friend's.
"Come on, Syl, where's your sense of adventure?" She teased. "It's going to be fun - and something that not many people get to do. It'll be an experience, no doubt about it, and it's just for tonight. Tomorrow we'll be playing a heck of a set for the local public and it'll be a blast. You know you'll love it all then."
"Oh, it'll be an experience all right, Topaz."
Jesta concealed herself in one of the castle's many crevices, watching the group as they descended the stone steps and walked out into the courtyard once more. "This place is perfect - plenty of cobwebs and a story about a girl jumping from the tower, so I can for sure dream up some ghostly activity for tonight. It shouldn't be too hard. Noone ever said Jewel were that clever, after all! Let's just say this will be a night to remember - but if Jewel last the night out at Bainbrook Castle I will be very much surprised!"

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"I can't believe we're really staying the night here."
Nancy shivered, pulling her jacket more tightly around her as she gazed out at the darkening sky. "Now the press have gone home and it's just us up in this tower, it's striking me that it's going to be one heck of a long night."
"Not if you shut up, so we can get some sleep." Sylva told her, from where she had been carefully brushing her long curls into two tails. "It's not even dark yet, Nance, and it's going to be an even longer night if you complain about it the whole time."
"From sundown on October 31st to sun up on November 1st." Topaz came to join Nancy beside the arrow slit. "But it doesn't follow that we have to stay in the tower, you know. Just on the castle grounds." An impish smile touched her face. "We could go hunt for some of the ghosts that are supposed to haunt here. That'd make the night interesting, don't you think?"
"If there are any ghosts here, I don't want to meet them." Sadie shuddered. "I don't know if I believe in them or not, but I don't really want to have my faith put to the test, if you don't mind." She rummaged in her bag for her cigarettes and her lighter. "Strikes me that it's gonna be real spooky in here when it's dark, and I don't intend on leaving this room until dawn once it's really black outside."
"Tessa said that they couldn't risk a fire. You shouldn't smoke up here." Sylva scolded. "That wouldn't be great press for Jewel, now would it? Setting this place alight?"
"I'll be very careful, I promise." Sadie lit her cigarette, slipping her lighter safely back into her purse and exhaling a cloud of smoke. "But I admit it, Syl, I'm afraid. This place is...kind of creepy, when you come to think of it."
"I think it's beautiful." Copper ran her fingers along the stone walls, glancing up at the tapestries. "I can just about imagine being a mediaeval lady, staying in a chamber like this one."
"What, with Aaron as your knight in shining armour?" Topaz teased. Copper grinned, nodding.
"Something like that." She agreed. "Sir Aaron of...of..."
"Of the City of Angels, surely?" Nancy turned from the window, a wry smile on her face. Copper shrugged.
"Sure." She agreed good naturedly. "Which would make me the Lady Elizabeth of Detroit." She sighed. "It's no good. That so doesn't sound mediaeval or romantic."
"Are you going to do this all night?" Nancy demanded. Copper grimaced.
"I like the castle." She defended herself. "I like the fact that there's really old places like this that are still here. Think of all the people who must have lived and died here."
"Living is fine. The dying I'm not so hot on." Sadie took another drag on her cigarette. "Wasn't it this tower that that girl jumped from?"
"Supposedly." Topaz nodded. "Or rather the balcony just there." She indicated.
"I think it's called a parapet. It's not a balcony." Nancy pursed her lips. "But seriously, it was a pretty silly thing to do."
"Silly, perhaps. Tragic, definitely." Copper looked thoughtful. "But also kind of romantic, in a Romeo and Juliet sense. They were really religious in the Middle Ages, weren't they? Perhaps she thought that it was the only way she would see him again."
"Then she'd have had a shock." Nancy said bluntly. "Didn't that Tessa woman say that suicides were buried outside church grounds and stuff? Besides, she must have made an awful mess of the cobbles below."
"Nancy, sometimes you're beyond belief." Sylva pulled a face. "That's not something that we want to be thinking about."
"I wonder what it really was like, though, to live here." Copper sat down on the end of her sleeping bag. "It's a whole other world, don't you guys think?" She indicated Sadie. "Maybe one of your ancestors lived here once, Sadie. Wouldn't that be cool?"
"I think my ancestors were more likely cut-throats and wolvesheads, given my history." Sadie said wryly. "Not great lords and ladies of the realm."
"From what Tessa was saying, it didn't sound like there was a lot of difference between the two." Nancy said acidly.
"You could have ancestry in this castle too, Nance." Copper was not to be swayed. "What was your mother's maiden name again?"
"Burns. Well. Sort of." Nancy pursed her lips. "But that was the family name. It doesn't sound aristocratic, Copper."
"Monahue could, though." Sylva grinned. "Don't you think? I bet Copper's right, Sadie, and you have blue blood somewhere in you."
"Well, if I do, it's very well hidden." Sadie rolled her eyes. "Trust me."
Copper opened her mouth to retort, but a sound made her pause, casting her companions a confused look.
"Did anyone else hear that?"
"Hear what?" Nancy asked.
"Sounded like an owl." Topaz frowned. "Is it dark enough for owls to be hunting?"
"It wasn't an owl. I know what owls sound like." Copper shook her head. "It was...kind of strange, but not..." She shook her head. "Maybe I imagined it. Perhaps..."
An eerie wail echoed out of the castle courtyard and despite themselves, the five musicians jumped.
"Was that what you heard?" Sadie managed. Copper nodded.
"Sort of." She agreed. "What was it?"
"Definitely no owl." Topaz shook her head. "And it's almost black out there now."
She turned on her torch, glancing at her watch in it's reassuring glow. "It's half past seven. Maybe it was a fox or something like that? They can sound eerie sometimes, I've heard."
"More like a huntsman's horn." Sadie shook her head. "Except stranger and...well...more echoey." She shivered. "Though I suppose it could have been a wild animal. After all, we are near the Welsh border here and this is a rural county. There are...are a lot of animals out there."
"Before anyone says it, it isn't a ghost." Nancy said firmly. "Probably a wild animal, like Sadie said. We're here for the night and it's too early for you guys to get spooked, so don't, all right? There are no such thing as ghosts."
From down below them they heard the creak of the tower door, and then the sound of footsteps, coming nearer and nearer. Sylva bit her lip.
"If there's no such thing as ghosts, what just made that noise?"
"It's probably Mom, come with some bright idea or other." Nancy shrugged. "Will you stop it? We've got twelve hours or more to do in this place yet! Don't let your imaginations run away with you."
She had barely finished speaking when the door of the King's Room swung slowly open, creaking and groaning in the darkness. Sadie let out a squeal, clinging to Topaz in fear, and Sylva hid underneath her sleeping bag. Copper shuffled back against the wall, grabbing Nancy by the hand and pulling her with her. In the panic, Topaz's torch fell to the floor, knocking itself into the off position and plunging them all into darkness. Sadie let out another shriek, as the footsteps seemed to come closer and closer. Then, suddenly, all was silent, and the moon shone in through the arrow-slit window, illuminating the girls in it's silvery glow.
Sylva peered out from beneath her sleeping bag.
"But...there's nothing there." She breathed. "It's empty! What...?"
"It was the ghost!" Sadie whispered, her eyes big with fear. "The ghost of the girl! She's here!"


Chapter One: Flight To England
Chapter Two: A TV Welcome
Chapter Three: Avril
Chapter Four: A Rival
Chapter Five: Sadie's Family
Chapter Six: Suspicions
Chapter Seven: Bainbrook Castle
Chapter Eight: Jesta's Game
Chapter Nine: Trapped!
Chapter Ten: The Castle Ghost
Chapter Eleven: To The Rescue

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!