Abdullah Mohamed Ibrahim, Class 7, Al Qamar Academy, Chennai

The Bloom

I was woken up in the middle of the night by Sergeant Cole. “Hello. Detective Rashid speaking,” I murmured into the phone. “Rashid, I need you at The Bloom Hotel at once,” Sergeant Cole cried out and the line went dead. I jumped out of bed, pulled on my clothes and ran out of the door. I slid down the banister not realising that Falafa was there. He put up a hand to stop me, which I tripped over and went headfirst into his water bucket. Spluttering and coughing, I pulled the bucket off. Falafa was laughing at me, I glared at him and stomped out. When I arrived at The Bloom Hotel I was totally dry. Suddenly I heard a cry, I spun around and glimpsed the sergeant being dragged away by two rowdies. I pulled out my pistol and fired. Dropping the sergeant they fled.

I helped Cole up and questioned him, “What’s happening and why are you here?” “One of the people here called me and informed me that they heard spooky moans and laughter, they think it’s the ghost of Sir Manchester,” Cole replied. I thought and said, “We’d better search the hotel.” Nervously we tiptoed into the hotel avoiding the jagged bits of glass on the smashed entrance. The lobby had a desk upon which was a smashed computer and a crunched telephone, about ten feet away there was a huge array of sofas and tables. Below on the floor lay shards of a broken vase.

We climbed up the stairs and walked through the corridor. Light poured in through a broken wall and the carpet squelched under our feet. Door after door we opened but everything was normal, just embedded in dust. We turned back, “Nothing unusual, Cole,” I commented adding, “Maybe this is a false case.” Cole however shook his head and said, “No, it can’t be, I heard a moan here.”

Suddenly we heard a moan and looked back. Hovering in the air was the ghost of Sir Manchester. I recognised him from a photo. “Yikes,” we yelled and ran down the creaky stairs four at a time. Once outside we bent over panting. “I told you,” said Cole. “Yes, you were right, I understand. But we’d better come back tomorrow,” I said. “Right,” Cole replied.

The following night we were back at The Bloom. Cole had brought two more policemen who we sent to the upper floors to inspect. We went down to the basement, which housed a huge kitchen. All along the walls were pots and pans coated with rust and dust. To the right stood a massive shelf lined with glass cups, china plates and a whole lot of other crockeries. I spotted a few pots near the sink, which I thought odd. I nudged the sergeant and said, “Look over there, pots near the sink.” “So what?” he asked.

I walked over to the sink and looked inside the pots, there were fresh stains inside. “This is fishy,” I exclaimed. Just then Cole’s walkie-talkie crackled, “Sir, Sir 1ft by 1ft hole discovered on the second floor, strange sounds from floor above. Over.”

We ran upstairs to the second floor. A policeman shined a flashlight on us, “Sir, come over here,” he said. We went over and peered down the hole. “This has been cut out.” “Hey, this is right above where we saw the ghost!” I cried out loud. “Hush,” whispered a policeman saying, “We heard talking and laughing above and we also found this,” he said producing a white cloth model of Sir Manchester. My cheeks burned red.

“Anyway, let’s go upstairs,” I said changing the subject. The four of us trouped upstairs. We suddenly heard laughter and the tinkling of glass. We walked over to the door and I put my ear next to it. I heard gruff voices and a movie playing in the background. I opened the door a crack and in the room, I saw ten rowdies munching on popcorn and gulping soda.

“Cole, call for reinforcements, please,” I whispered. The sergeant walked down the corridor and talked into his walkie-talkie. “Sergeant Cole speaking, reinforcement at The Bloom. Urgent. Over,” he said. Within a few minutes, three other policemen arrived. We barged into the room, startling the rowdies.

“Hands up,” I cried. The policemen raised their guns. All the rowdies except one put their hands up. The defiant rowdy walked up to us. He smashed his fist against his hand. “Coming for a fight, huh,” he asked. “Bang,” a policeman fired. The rowdy turned pale as the bullet grazed his skin. He put his hands up. We rounded up the rowdies and loaded them into a van and the policemen drove them away. I left for home feeling triumphant.

At home, I surfed the web for ‘Sir Manchester and The Bloom’ to find his heir. I finally found a number and I called up. The phone kept ringing, I was about to put the phone down when a person picked it up. “Hello, Detective Rashid here,” I said. “What do you want,” asked a sleepy voice. “Sorry to disturb you, Sir, but the police have rounded up a bunch of rowdies in your uncle’s old hotel.” “Really?,” he asked. “Yes Sir. This happened just a while ago. You need to do something to the hotel,” I said. “Okay,” came the reply.

Five months later
Sergeant Cole and I went to visit the new building that had come up in the place of the old hotel. We looked through the building then decided to leave. As we walked out of the entrance, we heard a moan. We turned back and saw the familiar shape of Sir Manchester. “Yikes,” we yelled and ran. The ghost of Sir Manchester called out, “Folks, the building may go but I’ll remain, please visit again. It was a pleasure meeting you again!”

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