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ghost stories
Scary and exciting Ghost Stories from around the World . . .
 

Ghost Story Title : The Return of Richard Tarwell Part-4 by Ronald Seth

 

Ghost Story:

'Though I had never seen him before,' he would say, 'I knew at once that he was the boy,
Richard Tarwell, who had disappeared on the night of the robbery four or five months
previously.'
Mr. Harris's amazement was extreme, and the thought passed through his mind that the
boy must have evaded capture with great cunning by hiding somewhere in the house, the last
place anyone would ever think of looking for a fugitive from justice-the very site of his crime.
But he was puzzled, too, by the lad's coming to him now. If he had been an accomplice of
the thieves, as Morris swore he had been, his master would surely be the last person he would
come to.
Sitting up in bed he demanded, 'What do you want with me at this time of night?'
The boy made no reply, but merely beckoned with his finger.
'Are you mute?' Mr. Harris demanded now. 'Tell me, why have you come to me at this
hour?'
Again the boy did not speak, but beckoned once more and then turned and pointed to the
door.
Thinking that perhaps the boy had suffered some fright that had deprived him of his
speech, and understanding from the signs he made that he wished his master to follow him,
Harris, with some feelings of exasperation, got out of bed, partly dressed himself, and taking his
sword under his arm, followed the boy, still beckoning and pointing with his arm out of the room.
As he heard his own footsteps padding on the carpet covering the floor of the corridor, he
became aware that the boy was moving without any sound whatsoever, despite the fact that he
appeared to be wearing boots; and it was now that Harris suddenly began to wonder whether or
not the boy was alive or an apparition.
'I felt no fear,' he said afterwards, 'for the boy, whether alive or spirit, seemed to me a
gentle creature. My strongest desire was to see where he would lead me and for what purpose.'
With the boy leading several paces before him, the two went down the staircase, along a
short passage to a side door, which to Harris's still mounting amazement was unlocked and open,
though only a short while ago he had watched Morris lock it. So they passed into the park.
The boy led the way for about a hundred yards making for a very large oak, the trunk of
which was surrounded and almost hidden by low shrubs and bushes, which had been allowed to
grow wild there for time out of mind. At the tree the boy stopped, pointed to the ground with his
forefinger, and still having spoken not a word seemed to pass round to the other side of the tree.
It was a bright starlit night, and Harris had been able to see his way without any difficulty
since they had left the house. When, however, he followed the boy round the tree he had
vanished.
'Richard Tarwell,' Harris called out softly. 'Where are you? Do you hear me?'
No answer came, nor when he called again. If the boy were alive it would be impossible
for him to move through the tangle of undergrowth without being heard; but though Harris
listened intently, he heard no sound at all. He told himself than that it was an apparition he had
seen.
Now he must discover what the boy's intention had been in bringing him here, but as there
was nothing he could do at this hour, he returned to the house, locking the side door after him
when he had gone in. Back in his bed, he did not sleep, but turned over in his mind the best
course he should take.
As the first light of dawn began to penetrate the room by the window, whose curtains he
had drawn back before getting into bed, he got up and dressed. Going quietly, he found his way
to the room where the two footmen, Eames and Barnwell, slept.
When he had reassured them that they had nothing to fear, he said, 'I want you to get up
and come with me. Go very quietly, for I do not wish to rouse anyone else in the house.'
When they joined him at the side door, he had already fetched two spades from the
gardener's sheds.
'Take these,' he said, 'and follow me.'
He led them to the oak to which only a short time before the ghost of Richard Tarwell had
led him, and pointing to the spot to which the boy had pointed before he had vanished he said, 'I
want you to dig there.'
Though they were puzzled, they asked no questions, but set to with the spades. Within a
few minutes Barnwell exclaimed, 'There is something buried here!'
'Ah!' Harris exclaimed quietly. 'Go carefully, then. I fear you will be shocked as well as
surprised by what you will find.'
'There is clothing here!' Eames next remarked. Putting aside their spades, the two men
knelt down and began to scoop the earth from the shallow hole, uncovering with each handful
more and more of the clothing.
'Good God!' they both exclaimed together, as they recognized the coat which, though
soiled and mildewed, could now be plainly seen; and Eames explained, 'This is the boy's coat.'
'And if I am not mistaken,' Harris said, 'his body will be in it.'
Realizing what thoughts must be passing through their minds, as they worked Mr. Harris
told them briefly what had made him bring them here. 'I fear,' he said, 'that we have been
grossly deceived. For many years I have trusted Morris without question. Had anyone come to
me and suggested however slightly that he was a dishonest man, I should have told them that they
were no longer any friends of mine.'
'But I found him tied up, upon my honor, sir!' Eames protested.
'I am not doubting you for a moment,' Harris assured him. 'What I believe happened
was this. Morris had accomplishes whom he let into the house. While they were robbing the
strong-boxes, the boy came upon them. Naturally, they had to silence him to protect their own
skins. Which of them did the terrible deed does not matter, since before the law they are all
guilty. You will recall that when I questioned you Morris made no mention of the boy's bed
being empty when he left his room, yet he must have noticed it. But he claimed to have been
surprised when he found the boy in the pantry. You also corrected him when he said there was no
other male in the house. Do you know where he keeps the key of his pantry after he has locked it
for the night?'
'Always in the drawer of the commode by his bed,' Eames replied.
'Then that fact will convict him more than any other,' Harris commented, 'because, for
anyone to gain access to the pantry with the key, he must have got it from the drawer without
disturbing Morris as he slept, a thing which it would be very difficult for an inexperienced boy to
perform.




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