The bus at the bus stop arrived at the perfect time. A great number of people got into it and it left for Veragon at 9.42.
The entire journey of 3 hours, through 67 miles, Robert was listening to some soft music, as he usually did before any such expedition. He didn’t even notice that when the bus finally stopped at Veragon Bus Halt, only five persons were left, from fifty or so. He got down the bus and looked round. The place looked quite normal. Shops were there, people were selling and buying goods. A few other buses were also parked at a side. But the unnatural thing he noticed was that just after the halt, a forest started, as if the brakes of the bus fails sometime, it would surely run into it. He bought the food items he needed for his journey from a shop nearby. In course of his conversation with the shop owner, Robert meticulously carved his way into the topic of his curiosity. He got to know from the shop owner the way to the Castle. There was quite an amount of fright and anxiety in his voice as he spoke. But it went unnoticed by Robert, since he was busy taking notes of his directions.
“The Whistler’s Castle” was a half an hour’s walk from the bus halt. “But try to return before it’s dark”, the shop owner advised in a low tone.
– “Why so?”
– “It’s an advice you better take. Now, move away from here, the other customers are waiting behind you.”
Robert didn’t understand which customer he talked about, but he understood the undertone, and moved. But his important task was accomplished. He had taken down a very vivid description of the path to “The Whistler’s Castle”.
First he went round the bus halt, to the old shed, which was more than half broken. Just beside it, he saw a dirt track leading into the forest. The track was wide enough for three persons to walk side by side, and on the two sides of it were lots of unknown bushes and small and big trees, which at times, appeared to be swallowing the road altogether.
Robert was moving bravely, as if he had killed some lion and was soon going to be honoured for that. Yes, he was a courageous lad indeed, but he seemed to be over-courageous sometimes. He was walking as the dirt track moved, winding here and there all of a sudden.
Then he came to a place that looked like a clearing in the forest. There were some logs. “Natural benches are laid here for me, I see”, he smiled to himself. He sat on one of them, drank some water, took out his cellphone and was going to play some music, when he thought, “There’s no use of playing music here. Let me first get to the Castle. Then I’ll play some good music. Let’s see if the people living there like it. In that case, my work will be less.” So, he got up and started to walk by the single tall, dead tree standing there with a hole in its bark.
The road grew narrower and narrower as Robert Hutchinson walked past the old and abandoned well. Nothing much of life quite crossed his eyes in his long journey from the bus halt to his destination, The Whistler’s Den. Being a ghost hunter, this experience was nothing new to him, and the spooky name didn’t frighten him much. He knew the story- you travel a long way from the inhabited place to land up somewhere ghastly, you prepare for the encounter with the ghost or spirit (if any), and then the next thing you will find yourself doing is just waiting at the transport place to catch the return vehicle, with a heart full of grief, and a mind full of disgust.
He had just crossed it, when he heard a faint groaning sound. He thought that it was just his ear’s ringing. But when the groaning sound seemed to be approaching towards him as he walked, he was afraid. He didn’t have any idea what sound was that. “Is my aim going to be fulfilled before reaching the castle only?”, he thought to himself. He listened carefully. It was a bit difficult to find the direction from which the sound came, for the trees covered the path in such a way that it seemed to have created a natural echo hall. So, he kept on trying for about ten minutes to locate the source of the groaning. When he discovered what it was that made the sound, it just gave him a great shock.