This is one of my favourite pieces. At a reading recently I actually sang part of this.
It was night-time. Tom could hear gentle snoring. His eyes got used to the dark and he realised he was in a student room. Kevin’s. Marcus was sitting up on top of the bookshelf, flicking through some of the books.
“Twenty heavy text books, lined up by the wall,” he sang. “And if one heavy text book, should accidentally fall
-” He took
one of the books and threw it to the floor.
“ - There'd
be nineteen heavy text books lined up by the wall.”
One by one, Marcus tipped the books on to the floor. Then he wrenched the shelf away from the wall, so that it looked as if the shelf had given way under the weight of the books.
“Blimey, ‘e’s a good sleeper,” said Marcus, “We’d better do summat about that.” He floated over and took his mouth organ out of his pocket. He played a bell chime over and over again, getting louder each time. “Wake up Kev-in. Kev-in wake up,” he sang finally.
Kevin woke up startled. “Who’s there?” he called. “What’s that?” He snapped his bedside light on. “Oh Christ,” he said, as he saw all the books on the floor.
“Do not take the name of the Son of God in vain,” said Marcus in a very solemn voice.
“Can he hear you?” asked Tom.
“Just about,” said Marcus. “Not loud and clear like you can. Quiet enough that he might think he’s imagining it. ” He put his finger to his lips.
“Is there somebody there?” asked Kevin, his voice a bit wobbly.
Marcus stretched his arms out in front of him and went “Oooh” Oooh!”
Tom had to bite his fist to stop himself laughing.
“Can he see you?” asked Tom.
“He might be able to. If he’s sensitive enough,” said Marcus. “But by the morning or even as soon as we’ve gone, he’ll probably think he imagined it or dreamt it.”
“What about the books, though?” asked Tom.
“Well, he’ll just use those as the explanation about what give him the nightmare.”
Kevin was looking a little less startled. He got out of bed and started straightening up the books.
“Oooh! Ooh!” went Marcus again.
“Who the Hell’s there? What do you want?” shouted Kevin.
Marcus shuddered. “Do not mention the name of the Bad Place in vain.”H
spread his arms out in front of him again in classic ghost fashion.
“What?” cried Kevin. “What do you want?”
“He can see me all right,” said Marcus winking at Tom.
Tom really had to bite his fingers hard now to stop himself laughing.
“You can’t be for real,” said Kevin with a sneer. “Who the Hell are you?”
“Do not mention that dread place,” quivered Marcus.
Tom couldn’t help tittering.
“Who’s there? What do you want? What’s so funny?” cried Kevin. His face was white.
“I have told you,” droned Marcus. He blew Kevin a kiss.
Kevin shivered. “Yes, all right,” said Kevin, pulling his dressing-gown on. “Now leave me alone.”
As Kevin opened the door to his room, Marcus blew at a stack of papers on the table. They too ended up on the floor. Then he slammed the door.
(I have taken a couple of spoilers out of this!)