A Dreadful Story- Chapter 2

Wellington and Forsythia crept stealthily into the empty library.

"Second bookcase, third shelf, fourth book," Wellington said, pulling the top of a volume toward himself.

A long-neglected hinge clicked dryly, then the bookcase swung open just enough for the conspirators to enter. The twins walked down a web-infested hallway, and into a trophy room that looked as though it had been untouched by time.

"Uncle Bertie," Forsythia called sweetly.

From the mouth of a polar bear head over the fireplace, an arm wrangled itself free, then a helmeted head, and after much fuss and consternation, the rest of Uncle Bertie Dread. The portly ghost smacked the dust from his uniform, and let out a great sneeze.

"Blast that sawdust," he bellowed, looking over his shoulder at the bear, "and you could do with a breath mint as well! Well, Wellington and Forsythia.. my how you've grown!"

"We don't grow; we're dead as doorknockers," Wellington said under his breath, earning himself an elbow jab to the ribs from Forsythia.

"You're a man of the world, are you not, Uncle Bertie ?" smiled Forsythia.

"Well, I like to think so.. say, aren't you forgetting someone?" Uncle Bertie grinned.

"Hello Gertrude," the twins sing-songed in unison.

There was a stirring at Uncle Berties shoulder, as the sea serpent that was coiled around his neck reared its head to gaze at them with absolute indifference, before going back to sleep.

"Actually, Uncle...," said Wellington.

"Have I ever told you about my adventures in Ogopogo?" asked Uncle Bertie.

"Ad nauseum," said Wellington, disguising his answer with a sneeze. "We were wondering if we might look through some of your old photographs. We're doing a little project, you see."

"Independent study..bully for you, lad!" Uncle Bertie said, slapping his girth. "Down the hall, to the right.. in the big trunk in my room."

The twins thanked him profusely, and hurried down the hall to his suite. They ignored the trunk, and went straight for the photographs they knew he kept hidden under his mattress.

Uncle Berties adventures didn't confine themselves to places outside the mansion. It was known in close circles that he was a bit of a voyeur as well.