Previous chapters can be found by clicking on the links below:
I hope you enjoy chapter eight!
Sally and Darrell had seen the whole thing from the stands. They had both been watching the game unfold, although Sally was watching from behind her book as if she wasn’t really that interested. Both girls had seen Thomas keeping close to Julian and wondered if it was a tactical plan on behalf of the team. However it had been quite clear that the tackle had been carefully planned.
Thomas had stood still for half a moment and then with a clear line at Julian had charged. The few spectators that had been in the stands had jumped to their feet to get a better look at the scrum and most showed themselves not to be concerned that Julian hadn’t gotten up again. Sally and Darrell had expected him to get to his feet as well and start playing again; it had only been when David had gone over to him that they realised that there was something wrong. Sally had gone quite pale and quiet as the realisation that all was not right dawned on the two girls.
There was something about Sally’s reaction that made Darrell feel that Sally certainly was doing all she could to hide her feelings about Julian. She didn’t have chance to remark on it however as they made their way through the corridors to get to the door of the stands to see if they could catch up with Julian and David.
As they rushed around to the changing room doors they managed to almost bump into the boys coming around the corner.
“Steady on!” David said as Sally almost ran into him. He was covered in mud but wasn’t as bad as Julian who looked like he’d had a bath in it.
“Are you alright?” Sally asked Julian; aware underneath her panic she knew this was a stupid question. Julian fixed her with a blank look as they began to walk forward again. Julian was holding his left arm around his side to try to keep his shoulder still so it didn’t cause unnecessary pain. He felt a little shaky as they walked towards the main university building where the san was.
“Yes, just peachy,” Julian muttered sarcastically. He wasn’t feeling too pleased at this moment in time and he couldn’t stop himself being a little rude.
‘Well,’ he thought as they walked in silence, ‘It was a daft question to ask.’ He pursed his lips hoping that no one would ask him any more questions. He was aware of some whispering going on behind him but he ignored it walking on. Julian was more put out than anything else. He’d never been injured in a game of rugby before, at least not in any major way.
Sally pursed her own lips at Julian’s sarcastic response and fell back from walking with him. She wasn’t quite at the same pace as David and Darrell, just a little way in front so she couldn’t really hear what Darrell was telling David about Thomas’s tackle on Julian.
“So you think it was deliberate then?” David asked in a low voice as they followed Julian into the university building. David seemed to have completely forgotten that he was supposed to be helping Julian.
“Looked that way,” Darrell said quietly glancing around. “There was something about the way he was doing it. It didn’t just look like tactics to me.” She shrugged. “However I don’t know the rules of rugby.”
“It’s not usual for players to tag one another like that.” David admitted as Julian determinedly started up the stairs. “Sometimes it happens to put players off. You must get it occasionally in lacrosse or hockey,” he added to her.
Darrell remembered her first lacrosse match at school where the girl on the other team had kept very close to her, however the girl hadn’t really been that attached to her as Thomas had been to Julian.
“I’ve had it happen to me once, during my first match, but it wasn’t as bad as today,” she said to David quietly as they reached the first floor san. “There’s something behind that as well, it’s not just wanting to win a rugby match, Thomas could have gone for anyone on that pitch and he went for Julian, who only had the ball twice.” Darrell shook her head as David let out a small chuckle.
“You’re beginning to sound like Julian yourself. All these theories, you sound like you’re looking for an adventure,” he said as they watched the sister make Julian sit down to be examined.
Darrell gave David a small smile. “Well he must be rubbing off on me,” she said quietly as they moved forward to help explain what had happened on the rugby pitch. “Do you think we should tell him?” she added pulling David back for a second.
David looked at Darrell and then at Julian. “Not now. At least let’s leave it until tomorrow. He won’t want to be thinking about anything like that now,” he said sensibly. “You’d to well not to mention it to anyone else as well,” he added meaningfully at Darrell.
Darrell flashed him a dark look. “Would you really expect me to tell anyone else about this? They would think I was going crackers.” Darrell said rolling her eyes at David as once again they moved forward to see if they could help.
Julian couldn’t sleep. He was in the san with his arm strapped to his ribcage tightly to restrict his movement so his dislocated shoulder could heal. It was past midnight according to the clock on the wall of the san, and he was the only person in there. The sister had given him a pain-killer and told him to try to sleep after they had got him cleaned up, but he couldn’t.
There was an uncomfortable ache in his shoulder every time he tried to settled down to sleep, almost like a thumping pain. He was also sitting upright in the bed to stop him rolling over in the middle of the night and further hurting his shoulder. The movement around the university had died down long ago and Julian had watched all the lights click out through the window opposite. He had figured out that he was opposite the professor’s studies and had been surprised to realise that the ones that he could see through the window were those of the science professors.
Julian stared up at the ceiling willing himself to sleep, but the pain was creeping back into his side. He wished he could turn over and settle down but he was stuck on his back, even trying to sleep on his other side was painful. He tried closing his eyes in a hope that would help him sleep, but it was no use.
Just as he opened his eyes again he noticed a dull light coming from somewhere. He looked around and could see nothing. His eyes settled on the window and he could see, just out of sight, a light coming from one of the professor’s studies. Julian moved so quickly, jumping out of the bed that he jarred his shoulder as he moved. He sat on the side of the bed for a moment until the pain had dulled slightly, then got up and made his way cautiously over to the window.
He sat on the chair by the window and peered out at the light. It was odd that a professor would be in his room now, in the middle of the night. Julian knew that sometimes his uncle worked through the night and didn’t go to bed, but Julian was sure that none of the science professors did that. He could just about make out someone moving around in the room. The movements seemed quite frantic as though someone was looking for something.
Julian watched the person moving around in the room for a while before finally feeling sleepy. He carefully got back to his feet, trying not to jar his shoulder again and made it back to bed. Before he slept properly, Julian came to the conclusion that it was just a professor searching for something that he’d left in his office.
The next morning the sister grudgingly let him go to his lectures. Julian was just getting ready to head down to his first lecture when David burst into the room. Julian looked up from trying to sort out putting his blazer on with a dislocated shoulder, the half-smile he had on his face vanished when he saw David’s non-smiling face.
“What is the matter? You look quite grim!” Julian said as he finally managed to get his arm in the sleeve and tugged his blazer on.
“Someone’s broken in to the laboratories. Smashed some of the equipment Professor Doaty was using for his experiments and stole some of his important papers from his office last night!” David said urgently.
Julian took a second to take all this time. He turned around and picked up his bag from its place by the bed. David had been good enough to bring some things and his bag for university over the night before.
“Surely he kept them in a safe place?” Julian asked his brow furrowing in confusion. This felt all too familiar to him.
David shrugged his response. “I wouldn’t know. All the professors are in a right muddle this morning. All science lectures have been cancelled so that the police can go over the lab and the studies.” David told Julian. “There is too much confusion today for lectures apparently.”
Julian sat down on the bed and looked at David frowning. “Do you think we could get anywhere near the studies or the laboratories right now?” he asked, a strange glint in his eye.
“I don’t think so,” David said carefully. “They’re being pretty well guarded and students are being turned away. Why?” he asked studying Julian’s face carefully. “You weren’t thinking that you could find something that the police couldn’t were you?” David added raising an eyebrow.
“Well I was wondering if it would be a possibility.” Julian allowed. He looked up at David, still frowning and stood up.
“Have a look at this for me will you?” he asked making his way stiffly over to the window, beckoning David to follow him.
“Whose offices are over there?” Julian asked David pointing to the window where he’d seen the light the night before. David looked out of the window to where Julian was pointing, confused by this question his friend had posed.
“I’m not entirely sure, possibly the science studies.” David shrugged looking confused and stepping back from the window. “What of it?”
“I saw a light coming from there last night.” Julian told David simply. “I couldn’t sleep and a light appeared. I got up to check and I was sure there was someone moving around in there. I assumed it was one of the professors coming back for something he’d left behind. It wouldn’t really be odd for a scientist working late at night and needing to fetch something, would it really? According to my aunt, my uncle often works through nights.”
David looked a little uncertain at Julian’s story.
“Did you get hit on the head yesterday as well?” David asked with a laugh, trying to lighten the mood.
Julian felt a slight irritation towards David’s remark but then remembered that he was not talking to his brother, sister or cousin. David wasn’t looking for an adventure like he was and wasn’t chomping at the bit to follow even the flimsiest of clues. Julian tried to push the irritation out of his mind and there was really nothing to suggest that the light in the study had been anything to do with the smashed equipment and the stolen papers. Julian grinned ruefully at David.
“No, I don’t think I got hit in the head,” he said with a laugh. Julian looked out of the window one more time before turning his back on it and asking David if they had a plan for the rest of the day now that they didn’t have lectures.
“I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it,” David shrugged as they walked out of the san.
“Seen Darrell and Sally this morning at all?” Julian asked as they walked down the stairs from the san moving around the people milling around.
“No they’ve got lectures this morning remember?” David asked with a small grin. “Although it wouldn’t surprise me if they knew about all of this however. It got to St Salvator’s quick enough this morning.”
Julian grinned a little. “I wouldn’t be surprised. Women’s gossip often covers ground pretty quickly,” he said with a chuckle. “I expect Darrell will want details when we next see her.”
“We don’t have any details though,” David pointed out. “She’ll be dreadfully annoyed with us for that.”
Julian laughed a little as they found themselves in the courtyard. “Well doesn’t that mean we should go and have a look around for ourselves? So Darrell won’t be disappointed?” he asked with a grin.
David rolled his eyes at Julian and sighed. “You’re not going to be happy until you’ve tried to have a look are you?” he said resigned to the fact that Julian’s natural inquisitiveness would not be cured just by trying to shift his focus.
Julian grinned a little ruefully and shook his head. “Sorry, but no I’m not,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “I promise we won’t get caught,” he said with a wink at David as he started off towards the science laboratories.
David sighed and followed after him. “You seriously think that the police will let us have a look around?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
“Of course they won’t, David. They wouldn’t be doing their job properly if they did, but it should still be worth seeing,” Julian said seriously. “I wonder what exactly got taken,” he pondered as they reached the slightly crowded corridor where students were all craning their necks to see what was going on.
Julian slipped through the crowd quite easily for someone with a dislocated shoulder, David noted to himself as he followed Julian forward. There was a line across the parts of the corridor where the door was and policemen standing in front of the line. Julian moved so he was against the wall almost opposite the wall and leaned a little bit to see if he could spot anything. Someone pushed from behind and Julian had to grab on to David to make sure he didn’t fall over. He still managed to bang his bad shoulder into the wall as he steadied himself.
David was having serious misgivings about letting Julian talk him into coming here. After a few minutes, where neither of them could see very much David muttered to Julian, “Come on. Let’s go, you’re not going to find anything out here.”
Julian reluctantly agreed and followed David out of the crowd of students, his shoulder aching where he had fallen against the wall. The boys went to the library to get out of the way of the crowds. They sat down in their usual seats noticing how empty the library was today.
“Everybody must be trying to get a look at the laboratories or the studies,” David said as Julian yawned.
“Did you get any sleep last night?” asked a familiar voice from behind them. The boys turned around and saw Darrell and Sally making their way towards them.
“I thought you had lectures this morning?” David asked them as they sat down opposite the boys.
“Do you really think anyone could concentrate this morning? The lectures weren’t really in the frame of mind to teach either,” Darrell said mildly. “This vandalism and stealing of papers has got everyone worried.” She looked at Julian and asked again, “so did you get any sleep last night?”
“Not much I must admit.” Julian said sitting back in his chair and giving the girls a small smile.
“Should you really be up and about then?” Sally asked quietly. “It can’t be too painful if you can walk about and things without it hurting too much.”
“Anyone told you that you should have been a scientist?” Julian teased her, though there wasn’t as much laughter in his words this time. He really was tired. “No. It’s not that bad, just aches more than anything. The sister’s bound me up quite well and I’m supposed to go and get some painkillers from the town. As long as no one jogs me on my left side, I should be fine,” he explained not mentioning his little fall into the wall outside the laboratories to the girls. David shook his head at Julian.
“Well maybe we should take a wander down to town then,” Darrell suggested with a smile. “Get away from all this pandemonium. That is as long as you will make it into town without falling asleep,” she teased Julian.
Julian gave her a weak smile and stood up. “Of course I won’t. If we take a walk down by the cliff afterwards I’m sure I’ll wake up,” Hhe said with a grin. Everyone got up and collected their bags.
Sally noted how Julian winced a little when he went to swing his bag up onto his shoulder. The others had seen it as well, but they knew too well that it would hurt Julian’s pride even more than the injury had if they offered to carry it for him.
Once they were out of the campus grounds and heading up to the main street they realised that town wasn’t going to be as quiet as they had thought it might be. They kept seeing St Andrews students walking around them.
“Everyone must have had the same idea as us,” David said as they passed some of the boys from his floor of St Salvator’s .
“It is possible that people are heading into campus to have a look?” Sally asked as people past them going in the opposite direction. “I mean it’s not like this sort of thing happens all the time around here. I suspect St Andrews is quite a quiet place really.”
“Whoever it was must have known that you were here Ju,” Darrell said with a laugh. “He or She must obviously want to be caught.”
“You’re quite the joker aren’t you David?” Julian said sarcastically as they reached the main street and headed down it towards the pharmacy.
“Well someone’s got to keep the mood light around here,” David said with a smirk. “You can be so serious sometimes Julian,” he said with a wink at the girls who were trying to keep straight faces.
Julian knew David was teasing but as he was feeling extremely tired he was trying not to snap at his friends. “Well someone’s got to balance out your sense of humour,” he said dryly as he headed into the pharmacy.
David pulled a face behind his back and the girls giggled as they followed him into the little shop.
As they waited for the little chap behind the counter to make up Julian’s recommended painkillers the little shop door jangled open and Sally, who was nearest the door suddenly found herself looking up at a tall boy with brown eyes and hawk like features. It was the same boy who had bumped into her on that first day of term. David gave Julian a little nudge as he was watching the old man behind the counter carefully.
“Oh, hallo Anthony,” Julian said when he had looked over to the door. “Did you walk over to campus as well only to find that lectures were cancelled?”
“Yes I did,” Anthony said in a low grave voice. Sally shared a look with Darrell and was comforted in the fact that her best friend didn’t seem to like this boy either. The girls instinctively drew closer together but Darrell felt her eyes continually drawn to this boy Anthony; there was just something about him that made her interested in him.
“Have you decided on what you’re going to do with the rest of your day yet?” David asked as Julian took the little parcel of painkillers from the shop owner and passed over the money.
Anthony considered this question for a fraction of a second longer than appeared necessary.“I have things that I need to do,” he said, again in a slow voice as if to say that these things were not open for discussion. There was something peculiar about the way he spoke.
“Things that include coming to a pharmacy?” Julian asked trying to joke a little.
“I need something to deter the mice that appear to like my room,” Anthony said deliberately.
Darrell suddenly realised that he was too correct in his English. He didn’t use any colloquialisms like everyone else did which made him stand out more even though he was clearly trying to blend in as much as possible.
“Maybe you should talk to your senior resident about having mice in your room before you actually put something down,” Julian said frowning a little. Anthony looked at him blankly. Julian felt a little awkward and nodded to the girls to go out the door.
“Well, I’m sure you know what you’re doing Anthony,” David said as Julian shot him a puzzled look.
“See you in lectures tomorrow, if they’re on of course,” Julian said as he and David made to follow the girls outside.
“Yes. If the lectures are on,” Anthony agreed before turning to the old man behind the counter.
The boys hurried outside and caught up with the girls who were walking briskly away from the pharmacy.
“I’m sorry, usually I’m quite happy to give people a chance, but he makes me want to get as far away from him as possible,” Darrell said apologetically as they slowed down so Julian wouldn’t have to over exert himself.
“He does have that certain quality,” David agreed as they headed off towards the boys halls.
“So what do we want to do for the rest of the day?” Julian asked as they stopped just outside the halls, looking up at the big grey stone building.
“Well I’ve not got any work that needs to be done right away, so we could go for a walk,” Darrell suggested with a shrug.
“It looks like it’s going to pour down with rain though!” Sally said looking up at the sky.
“Sally, this is Scotland. It usually looks like it’s going to rain,” Julian said teasingly.
“How do you feel about a walk Ju?” Darrell asked as she remembered his injury.
In truth Julian knew he could do with having a rest and letting his shoulder get on with healing but he was running on some sort of nervous energy thanks to the morning’s events. He knew that there was something strange going on and his adventurous side was chomping at the bit to get following the clues.
“I could go for a walk,” Julian conceded after a seconds pause. “Let me just put my bag up in my room. It makes no sense me carrying it around with me.”
“I’d like to do the same actually,” David added ruefully.
“Have you got the kitchen sink in your bag again?” Darrell asked David with a glint in her eye.
David smirked. “Not this time, but it is jolly heavy!” he said with a grin as he reached in his pocket for his room keys. “We shouldn’t be too long,” he said over his shoulder as Julian followed him over to the front door.
Darrell and Sally sat down on the small wall that ran around the halls and watched people walking past.
“You know I think Julian wants to get involved with this disappearing paper business.” Darrell said after a moment as both girls huddled down in their coats. Sally made a non-committal noise in her throat at this statement.
“Maybe we should play a little joke on him, to take his mind off this paper business,” Darrell said with a glint in her eye.
Sally eyed her suspiciously wondering what Darrell had in mind exactly. “What exactly were you thinking of?” she asked quietly as the wind whipped around them.
“Well I was thinking that maybe we could lose something on our walk today and see if Julian could find it,” Darrell said with a grin. “What do you think?” she asked Sally.
Sally smiled a little to herself. “It may put this business with the stolen papers out of his mind for a little while,” she agreed though she wasn’t sure if it would work.
“I’ve got my brooch with me,” Darrell volunteered gently plucking at her lovely brooch.
“No, you can’t lose that,” Sally said shaking her head. “It’s too nice and it was a Christmas present from your parents wasn’t it?”
Darrell nodded agreeing with what Sally had said.
Sally fumbled around in the pocket of her coat until she found her small neat brooch that she had brought with her. It had been an eighteenth birthday present from her mother and father, Sally didn’t often wear brooches and she was confident in Julian’s abilities to find it if it went missing. She fastened it on loosely to her coat in plain sight so the boys could hardly miss it. It was a pretty brooch, quite small but beautifully done. It was silver with a square-cut amethyst set in the middle of two sets of leaves. At each end there was a small round cut piece of crystal at each end.
“Are you sure you think he’ll find that?” Darrell asked in a hushed voice as the boys came back out of the door, both of them wearing their coats.
“Where should we walk then ladies?” Julian asked perching on the wall next to Sally, trying not to wince with the movement.
“How about just down towards the beach and along the side of the golf course?” Darrell suggested with a smile. “The sea should look magnificent from the cliff top, all swirling and angry in a steely shade of grey.”
“Never mind training to be a writer Miss Rivers, you should be a poet!” David said with a chuckle.
Darrell flushed at the compliment. “Oh I don’t think I could be a poet, I don’t think I’ve got the temperament for one,” she said with a laugh as they set off around the back of the hall to reach the cliff path.
“Can we start down at the cathedral ruins?” Julian asked as they reached the cliff top road. They looked down the road to their left and shrugged at one another.
“Don’t see why we shouldn’t,” Sally said with a small smile and they headed off down the road, past the castle ruins and towards the ruins of the great cathedral. They could see the sea from along the cliff top and stopped occasionally to look at the great lines of rock and the angry waves below them.
“I wouldn’t want to be caught down there when the tide was coming in,” David said quietly, “Though that pool down there looks interesting. It must get filled by the sea when the tide’s in.”
“It looks pretty full now. You could probably swim in there without needing the tide actually,” Darrell said with a grin. “It is certainly set a long way back from the shoreline.” They looked down at the pool in the rocks under the shadow of the ruined castle.
“We should go down and explore sometime,” Julian said mildly as the wind buffered around them.
“Yes, we should, but maybe not today. Don’t want to risk you damaging yourself anymore by slipping on the rocks,” Sally said firmly, turning on her heel and heading on towards the cathedral. Julian pulled a face at her and Sally laughed.
“Who made you my mother?” Julian asked in mock astonishment. They all laughed.
“No one, but someone has to stop you knocking yourself about,” Sally said chuckling and boldly slipping her arm through Julian’s on his unhurt side. She chuckled at his astonished face.
“Shall we go to the cathedral now?” she asked with a laugh. “Otherwise we’ll never get there.” she added with a wink at the others.
David and Darrell laughed at Sally and Julian and followed them down the path down to the cathedral.
 See Third Forum At Malory Towers by Enid Blyton