I’m in Bongo’s secret shed stamping my feet to keep them warm. He is banging away on the drums. I blow on my hands, gently folding the image of the strange creature I saw over and over in my mind. It is the only ghoul I have ever seen, apart from The Toad, Ferret and Snot and they don’t count because they are alive. If only I could have gotten a photograph of the phantom. I would be splashed all over the Gazette as The Groaningsea Ghosthunter. Mum would be shocked, Dad would not notice and I would be proud. I sigh heavily into my hands.
How can I be The Alternative Detective when I saw a ghost and didn’t get a photograph of it? The faces of The Toad, Ferret and Snot appear in my mind singing “cowardy, cowardy, Blyton custard.” I must be brave. I must prove myself. Another problem flings itself at me – maybe ghosts would not appear on photographs. At least if I had been brave enough to click the camera, I would know that for sure. I slap my palm onto my forehead – nothing is stopping me from trying to take a photo of the ghoul, except my fear. I offer Bongo a Bull’s Eye to lure him into doing what I want.
It is getting dark and Bongo keeps looking behind him as we place our bikes against the oak tree. I slap my inside jacket pocket heavily. His eyes dart to it and his eyes light up at the thought of his beloveds. – that’s what he calls Bull’s Eyes. Chocolate Limes are dearly beloveds – that is a secret between Bongo and myself – I had to swear on the cracking of my camera lens not to tell a soul.
I hand Bongo a tin of black shoe polish – he takes the top off and smears it all over his face – his icy blue eyes look as if they are popping out of his head. I take my specs off, colour my face in and then replace both specs and shoe polish to their rightful places. I take my camera from my bag and remove the lens.
“You won’t be able to take any photos if that thing we saw flies at you,” says Bongo. I wave a finger at him.
“It won’t see us, perhaps it can’t see us. It might be from another dimension. We could simply be wafts of wind to it.” I sprout out so much rubbish, it even surprises me at times.
We bend down and creep across the wild overgrown garden onto the weedy terrace. Suddenly, we see a light in one of the downstairs windows. We crawl on hands and knees along the terrace and appear at the window which has the light in it. It is faint, we can hardly see anything.
“It’s a candle,” whispers Bongo.
“I didn’t know that ghosts needed candlelight to see, did you?” I ask.
At that moment, a white, soulless face appears behind the candle and stares with large, luminous eyes through the window. My legs want to run but my hands try to point the camera. It will not go where I want it to. After a shaking battle, I point and click.
“Come on Bongo, let’s go,” I say. I turn to look for him but all I can see is his piglet wiggle moving with speed as far away from the house as he can go.