The mist from the morning was all gone now, and the light was bright and strong, reflected back from the shiny, immaculate snow. Tina, Ella and the Invisible Man managed to search all the rooms from the West wing and were now outside, in the watch tower.
It was freezing. Except them, no other visitors dared to be amazed by the city sightseeing in the icy frost. As such, they could talk and lift objects in peace, without worrying about how they could sound.
‘Not much work to be done here!’ said Tina while carefully analyzing the walls. ‘The clock, the bell, and the old chests. Then, we can move to the East side wing.’
The Invisible Man was gently shaking all the chests disposed in a circle all around the watch tower.
‘Don’t forget to admire the view. You might not get another chance to visit this tower. Visible or invisible.’ said Ella while looking to the last shaken chest.
‘Behind you!’ said the Invisible Man.
‘Oh, sorry! Didn’t ‘see’ you move.” joked Ella.
‘Hey, were’s the bell?’ Tina suddenly asked. Ella followed her glance to a higher point of the tower, where, normally, an old iron bell was hanged. Its place was now empty. Only the cord remained and was leaning back and forth as if the wind was blowing.
‘Invisible Man! Again with the shenanigans? There’s no need now to move objects around. Seriously! Put it back! The museum’s keepers will notice its absence.’ Ella said with a faint trace of a smile.
‘What bell?’ asked the Invisible Man.
Tina turned to him and started to feel the air to get a hold of the Invisible Man exact position.
‘Ok. Where is it? If you had it on you, I would see it somewhere mid-air, just like our script book. What did you do with it?’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about! I haven’t seen it. I don’t even know how it looks.’ said the Invisible Man.
‘Why are you laughing now?’ Tina asked with a trace of exasperation in her voice. ‘Seriously, we’re the only ones here! If it disappears we’ll take the fault for it. Everybody saw us getting in the tower.’
‘I didn’t laugh!’ made the Invisible Man. ‘And I know of no bell!!! You have to believe me!’
‘Maybe the wind blew it over…!?!’ said Ella with an incredulous voice.
“Yes! The wind! Let’s look for it!’ said the Invisible Man and moved away from Tina’s hand.
‘You don’t sound suspicious at all. How can the wind untie the cord? It’s not like there aren’t winds in this tower all year round…’ Tina said with a shrug. Then she started to, meticulously, look around. Maybe the Invisible Man was panicking again and was under the pranking influence once more.
‘Found it!’ she shouted to Ella from the side of the tower. ‘It’s here, on a chest!’
Ella and the Invisible Man came running.
‘Oh, good thing it’s here! Can you put it back, Invisible Man? I assume you’re taller than us. Proper adult-size?’ Tina asked while handing over the bell to the air where she heard the Invisible’s Man steps running.
When she sensed a faint breeze close to her hand she, quickly, pulled back her palm and squeezed the bell to her chest.
‘You’re not going to move it away again? Are you?’
‘I didn’t move it the first time either!’ he made with a discouraged voice.
Tina handed the bell the second time.
Tina dropped the bell on the floor. In front of her, in translucent shades, was the shape of a man in a Baroque, old attire. He was a fairly tall fellow, with brown hair that was coming out in curls from under a hat that, once, probably, had a determined shape, but was now resembling more to a pot with breeches. He even had a sword to his belt. Tina was not sure he was wearing one, two or three capes mashed together. From somewhere underneath his peculiar cape multiple, colorful rags where dragging out for one meter behind him. Everything was completed by a pair of silver, sparkly glows without fingers. And, as if, that wasn’t odd enough, his skin (or the part of it that was visible, anyway) was in a constantly rotating rainbow color state.
‘Invisible Man!?!…’ she dared ask. ‘ I wouldn’t presume…’
“No!” came a determined answer that confirmed her suspicions from her right hand side. ‘I’m completely invisible! Not just by 3 thirds.”
“I am … Lowwd Gauchy! Welcome to … my domain’nd!”
“Your domain?” Ella asked. “Oh! You mean the museum? Tina, I think we just met the ghost from the museum. See that! It is real!”
“I aaam not…an it. I am… Lowwd Gauchy! A heee ’nd!” he said with an affected voice. He accentuated the importance his words by making looong, boring pauses between them.
“Why do you add a “d” to all your sentences?’ Tina asked. “It’s confusing!”
“I amm do not add anything to… my sentences’d! But I have… a talk endeawwwing… defect ‘ nd. I aamm… unable to pwwonounce ….the wwwr’s… cowwectly’ d!’
“You can’t what? He can’t what?” asked the Invisible Man.
“He can’t pronounce the “r”s correctly!” Ella translated for everybody.
“Oh! wwwight! ‘nd” imitated the Invisible Man.
Tina bursted into laughter.
“Do you think … it is funny … to smash … the sacwwwed bell?”
“The bell!” Tina made and quickly bended to gather it from where she had dropped it. “I hope I didn’t break it.’
After she lifted it and checked if unspoiled, she gave it to the Invisible Man.
“Here, touch it. Finally. Maybe this time we can actually see if it’s doing anything.”
“Amateuwwwws! nobody is … touching anything… on my domain’nd!”
With that Tina and Ella saw Lord Gauchy loudly slapping the air and taking the bell back from the Invisible Man.
“Heyyy! Don’t slap my hand! I was going to put it back. It is of no use to me!”
“Wait! He can see you?” Tina asked the Invisible Man.
“Suuwwwwe …I can see him. And I can see …. he only has…6 days left…until he gets stuck… in his invisible fowwm.’d” Lord Gauchy concluded with a changed voice and a mysterious smile. ‘ Come’d! I will…help! You …and nobody else…can touch … anything in my domain’d. Without my…telling you so!” and he yanked the bell from the Invisible Man and put ii back in its cord.
Ella though the bell was somehow content to be back. It made a short, ringing tune afterwards that sent chills all over her spine.
“To the …libwaawwwy! Follow me!”
“To the library, Invisible Man! Apparently we’ve got ourselves a bit of a help!’ said Tina and followed the ghost. “Hey, in the library there are so many people. Won’t they see you?”
“No. I am do….appeaww only to….whomewwewww I want!”
‘Hold on. Why did you move the bell in the first place? Tina, Ella, you’re not still going to believe I took it.’
‘Right! If you saw us, and you saw the Invisible Man, why toying around with us?” Tina asked.
“To…test you.’ nd Come! …We do not… have much time.’nd’
“Test us? How?” Tina wanted to know.
But Lord Gauchy said nothing more. For a split second Ella saw the mysterious smile again. However the group was on the move and she followed it along to the promising warmth of the inside. Her nose was starting to turn purple and her fingers were going to be very happy with a serious temperature increase.