In the dark

E. Nesbit


A Shocking Confession

Maybe he was mad. Maybe he had a sixth sense. Or was he really haunted? I He told me the first part of the story, and I saw the last part with my own eyes.

At school my friend Haldane and I hated a boy called Visger. When we did something wrong, he always told the teacher. One day we stole some cherries from a tree.

'Do you know who did it, Visger?' the teacher asked. 'It was Haldane and Winston,' he replied. Later, Haldane asked him how he knew it was us. 'I didn't know,' he said. 'I just felt certain. And I was right.' Haldane and I grew up. Visger became a vegetarian and never drank alcohol. He also became Sir George Visger.

When we all left Oxford University, I went away to India. After a year I came back and wanted to see Haldane. He was always happy, kind, and honest. I wanted to see the smile in his blue eyes again and hear his happy laugh, so I went to visit him in London. But this time he did not laugh. He was miserable, his face was pale and he looked weak and ill.

He was packing his things, and there were lots of big boxes full of furniture and books around the house.

'I'm moving,' he said. I don't like this house. There's something strange about it; I'm going tomorrow.'

'Let's go out and have some dinner,' I said.

'I'm too busy.' He looked nervously around the room. 'Look, I'm really happy to see you, but... Why don't you go to the restaurant and bring back some food?'

When I came back, we sat by the fire and ate the food. I tried to tell jokes and he tried to laugh, but sometimes he looked into the shadows in the corners of the room. We finished our meal, and then I said, 'Well?'

'What's the matter?'

'You tell me,' I answered.

He was silent. Again he looked into the shadows.

'You're very nervous,' I said. 'What is it? Drink? Gambling? Women? Tell me, or go and tell your doctor. You're ill, my friend.'

'I won't be your friend if you talk like that.'

'Well, I am your friend, and something is wrong. Come on, tell me.'