Read 27 - A Night in Terror Tower Online

Authors: R.L. Stine - (ebook by Undead)

27 - A Night in Terror Tower

BOOK: 27 - A Night in Terror Tower
5.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Goosebumps - 27
R.L. Stine
(An Undead Scan v1.5)





“I’m scared,” Eddie said.

I shivered and zipped my coat up to my chin. “Eddie, this was
idea,” I told my brother. “I didn’t beg and plead to see the Terror Tower. You

He raised his brown eyes to the tower. A strong gust of wind fluttered his
dark brown hair. “I have a strange feeling about it, Sue. A bad feeling.”

I made a disgusted face. “Eddie, you are such a wimp! You have a bad feeling
about going to the movies!”

movies,” he mumbled.

“You’re ten years old,” I said sharply. “It’s time to stop being scared of
your own shadow. It’s just an old castle with a tower,” I said, gesturing toward
it. “Hundreds of tourists come here every day.”

“But they used to torture people here,” Eddie said, suddenly looking very
pale. “They used to lock people in the Tower and let them starve to death.”

“Hundreds of years ago,” I told him. “They don’t torture people here anymore,
Eddie. Now they just sell postcards.”

We both gazed up at the gloomy old castle built of gray stones, darkened over
time. Its two narrow towers rose up like two stiff arms at its sides.

Storm clouds hovered low over the dark towers. The bent old trees in the
courtyard shivered in the wind. It didn’t feel like spring. The air was heavy
and cold. I felt a raindrop on my forehead. Then another on my cheek.

A perfect London day, I thought. A perfect day to visit the famous Terror

This was our first day in England, and Eddie and I had been sight-seeing all
over London. Our parents had to be at a conference at our hotel. So they signed
us up with a tour group, and off we went.

We toured the British Museum, walked through Harrods department store,
visited Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square.

For lunch, we had bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) at a real
English pub. Then the tour group took a great bus ride, sitting on top of a
bright red double-decker bus.

London was just as I had imagined it. Big and crowded. Narrow streets lined
with little shops and jammed with those old-fashioned-looking black taxis. The sidewalks were filled with people from all over the world.

Of course my scaredy-cat brother was totally nervous about traveling around a
strange city on our own. But I’m twelve and a lot less wimpy than he is. And I
managed to keep him pretty calm.

I was totally surprised when Eddie begged to visit the Terror Tower.

Mr. Starkes, our bald, red-faced tour guide, gathered the group together on
the sidewalk. There were about twelve of us, mostly old people. Eddie and I were
the only kids.

Mr. Starkes gave us a choice. Another museum—or the Tower.

“The Tower! The Tower!” Eddie pleaded. “I’ve
to see the Terror

We took a long bus ride to the outskirts of the city. The shops gave way to
rows of tiny redbrick houses. Then we passed even older houses, hidden behind
stooped trees and low, ivy-covered walls.

When the bus pulled to a stop, we climbed out and followed a narrow street
made of bricks, worn smooth over the centuries. The street ended at a high wall.
Behind the wall, the Terror Tower rose up darkly.

“Hurry, Sue!” Eddie tugged my sleeve. “We’ll lose the group!”

“They’ll wait for us,” I told my brother. “Stop worrying, Eddie. We won’t get

We jogged over the old bricks and caught up with the others. Wrapping his long, black overcoat around him, Mr. Starkes
led the way through the entrance.

He stopped and pointed at a pile of gray stones in the large, grass-covered
courtyard. “That wall was the original castle wall,” he explained. “It was built
by the Romans in about the year 400. London was a Roman city then.”

Only a small section of the wall still stood. The rest had crumbled or
fallen. I couldn’t believe I was staring at a wall that was over fifteen hundred
years old!

We followed Mr. Starkes along the path that led to the castle and its towers.
“This was built by the Romans to be a walled fort,” the tour guide told us.
“After the Romans left, it became a prison. That started many years of cruelty
and torture within these walls.”

I pulled my little camera from my coat pocket and took a picture of the Roman
wall. Then I turned and snapped a few pictures of the castle. The sky had
darkened even more. I hoped the pictures would come out.

“This was London’s first debtor prison,” Mr. Starkes explained as he led the
way. “If you were too poor to pay your bills, you were sent to prison. Which
meant that you could
pay your bills! So you stayed in prison

We passed a small guardhouse. It was about the size of a phone booth, made of
white stones, with a slanted roof. I thought it was empty. But to my surprise, a
gray-uniformed guard stepped out of it, a rifle perched stiffly on his shoulder.

I turned back and gazed at the dark wall that surrounded the castle grounds.
“Look, Eddie,” I whispered. “You can’t see any of the city outside the wall.
It’s as if we really stepped back in time.”

He shivered. I don’t know if it was because of my words or because of the
sharp wind that blew through the old courtyard.

The castle cast a deep shadow over the path. Mr. Starkes led us up to a
narrow entrance at the side. Then he stopped and turned back to the group.

I was startled by the tense, sorrowful expression on his face. “I am so sorry
to give you this bad news,” he said, his eyes moving slowly from one of us to
the next.

“Huh? Bad news?” Eddie whispered, moving closer to me.

“You will all be imprisoned in the north tower,” Mr. Starkes announced
sternly. “There you will be tortured until you tell us the real reason why you
chose to come here.”





Eddie let out a startled cry. Other members of the tour group uttered shocked

Mr. Starkes began to chuckle as a grin spread over his round, red face. “Just
a little Terror Tower joke,” he said brightly. “I’ve got to have
fun, you know.”

We all laughed, too. Except Eddie. He still seemed shaken. “That guy is
crazy!” Eddie whispered.

Actually, Mr. Starkes was a very good tour guide. Very cheerful and helpful,
and he seemed to know
about London. My only problem was that
sometimes I had trouble understanding his British accent.

“As you can see, the castle consists of several buildings,” Mr. Starkes
explained, turning serious. “That long, low building over there served as a
barracks for the soldiers.” He pointed across the broad lawn.

I snapped a picture of the old barracks. It looked like a long, low hut. Then I turned and snapped a picture of the
gray-uniformed guard standing at attention in front of the small guardhouse.

I heard several gasps of surprise behind me. Turning back, I saw a large
hooded man creep out of the entrance and sneak up behind Mr. Starkes. He wore an
ancient-looking green tunic and carried an enormous battle-axe.

An executioner!

He raised the battle-axe behind Mr. Starkes.

“Does anyone here need a very fast haircut?” Mr. Starkes asked casually,
without turning around. “This is the castle barber!”

We all laughed. The man in the green executioner’s costume took a quick bow,
then disappeared back into the building.

“This is fun,” Eddie whispered. But I noticed he was clinging very close to

“We are going to enter the torture chamber first,” Mr. Starkes announced.
“Please stick together.” He raised a red pennant on a long stick. “I’ll carry
this high so you can find me easily. It’s so easy to get lost inside. There are
hundreds of chambers and secret passages.”

“Wow. Cool!” I exclaimed.

Eddie glanced at me doubtfully.

“You’re not too scared to go into the torture chamber, are you?” I asked him.

“Who? Me?” he replied shakily.

“You will see some very unusual torture devices,” Mr. Starkes continued. “The wardens had many ways to inflict pain on
their poor prisoners. We recommend that you do not try them at home.”

A few people laughed. I couldn’t wait to get inside.

“I ask you again to stick together,” Mr. Starkes urged as the group began to
file through the narrow doorway into the castle. “My last tour group was lost
forever in there. Most of them are still wandering the dark chambers. My boss
really scolded me when I got back to the office!”

I laughed at his lame joke. He had probably told it a thousand times.

At the entrance, I raised my eyes to the top of the dark tower. It was solid
stone. No windows except for a tiny square one near the very top.

People were actually imprisoned here, I thought. Real people. Hundreds of
years ago. I suddenly wondered if the castle was haunted.

I tried to read the serious expression on my brother’s face. I wondered if
Eddie was having the same chilling thoughts.

We stepped up to the dark entranceway. “Turn around, Eddie,” I said. I took a
step back and pulled my camera from my coat pocket.

“Let’s go in,” Eddie pleaded. “The others are getting ahead of us.”

“I just want to take your picture at the castle entrance,” I said.

I raised the camera to my eye. Eddie made a dumb face. I pressed the shutter
release and snapped the picture.

I had no way of knowing that it was the last picture I would ever take of





Mr. Starkes led the way down a narrow stairway. Our sneakers squeaked on the
stone floor as we stepped into a large, dimly lit chamber.

I took a deep breath and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. The
air smelled old and dusty.

It was surprisingly warm inside. I unzipped my coat and pulled my long brown
hair out from under the collar.

I could see several display cases against the wall. Mr. Starkes led the way
to a large wooden structure in the center of the room. The group huddled closely
around him.

“This is the Rack,” he proclaimed, waving his red pennant at it.

“Wow. It’s real!” I whispered to Eddie. I’d seen big torture devices like
this in movies and comic books. But I never thought they really existed.

“The prisoner was forced to lie down here,” Mr. Starkes continued. “His arms
and legs were strapped down. When that big wheel was turned, the ropes pulled his arms and
legs, stretching them tight.” He pointed to the big wooden wheel.

“Turn the wheel more, and the ropes pulled tighter,” Mr. Starkes said, his
eyes twinkling merrily. “Sometimes the wheel was turned and the prisoner was
stretched and stretched—until his bones were pulled right out of their

He chuckled. “I believe that is what is called doing a
long stretch

Some of the group members laughed at Mr. Starkes’ joke. But Eddie and I
exchanged solemn glances.

Staring at the long wooden contraption with its thick ropes and straps, I
pictured someone lying there. I imagined the creak of the wheel turning. And the
ropes pulling tighter and tighter.

Glancing up, my eye caught a dark figure standing on the other side of the
Rack. He was very tall and very broad. Dressed in a long black cape, he had
pulled a wide-brimmed hat down over his forehead, hiding most of his face in

His eyes glowed darkly out from the shadow.

Was he staring at me?

I poked Eddie. “See that man over there? The one in black?” I whispered. “Is
he in our group?”

Eddie shook his head. “I’ve never seen him before,” he whispered back. “He’s
weird! Why is he staring at us like that?”

The big man pulled the hat lower. His eyes disappeared beneath the wide brim. His black cape swirled as he stepped back
into the shadows.

Mr. Starkes continued to talk about the Rack. He asked if there were any
volunteers to try it out. Everyone laughed.

I’ve got to get a picture of this thing, I decided. My friends will really
think it’s cool.

I reached into my coat pocket for my camera.

“Hey—!” I cried out in surprise.

I searched the other pocket. Then I searched my jeans pockets.

“I don’t believe this!” I cried.

The camera was gone.





“Eddie—my camera!” I exclaimed. “Did you see—?”

I stopped when I saw the mischievous grin on my brother’s face.

He held up his hand—with my camera in it—and his grin grew wider. “The
Mad Pickpocket strikes again!” he declared.

“You took it from my pocket?” I wailed. I gave him a hard shove that sent him
stumbling into the Rack.

He burst out laughing. Eddie thinks he’s the world’s greatest pickpocket.
That’s his hobby. Really. He practices all the time.

BOOK: 27 - A Night in Terror Tower
5.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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