"Season of Mists: Chapter 4": Thirteen-year-old Charles Rowland has been forced to stay at St. Hilarion's School for Boys over the holidays because his father has been taken prisoner in Kuwait by the Iraqi army. Fortunately, both the headmaster and Miss Gri
- There really isn't time to argue about this-- and I just don't have the energy. I've got too many other things to worry about. Stay if you have to. I'll catch up with you later.
- -- Death
Appearing in "Season of Mists: Chapter 4"
- Dead Boy Detectives (First appearance)
- Miss Gribble
- Headmaster Parkinson
- Simon Mould
- Peter Hinchcliffe
Synopsis for "Season of Mists: Chapter 4"
Thirteen-year-old Charles Rowland has been forced to stay at St. Hilarion's School for Boys over the holidays because his father has been taken prisoner in Kuwait by the Iraqi army. Fortunately, both the headmaster and Miss Gribble have stayed behind, and they can look after him.
Since arriving at the school nearly two years ago, Charles has wanted to be taken home, and he spends his evening in the library composing a letter to his father that says as much. Afterwards, he reads mystery novels until Miss Gribble tells him to go to bed. Though he is the only one in the dormitory, Charles senses the ghosts of all of the boys who once lived there.
The next day, Charles begins to realize that he is almost completely alone at the school. After feeding himself, he decides to check in to the headmaster's office. There, he finds the headmaster and his mother. The old woman reveals that she is dead, and has recently come from Hell. Finding her candour disturbing Charles leaves and checks in with Ms. Gribble at the Sanatorium. The woman is taking care of a pair of babies. The babies, though, are dead. one, a girl, and the other a boy who never made it to term. Charles is so disturbed by this site that he simply runs away.
That night, as Charles tries to sleep, he is awakened by three bullies; Cheeseman, Skinner, and Barrow. Fortunately, the ghost of one of the headmasters arrives and sets the bullies on their way. He announces an assembly where he later declares that all of those who died there must engage in silent study until he arranges a time table. They are schoolboys, this is a school, and they must study.
With classes begun again, albeit in a completely different format, Charles has trouble focusing on his work in a classroom full of ghosts. He freezes in the water during swimming class while the ghosts feel nothing. Meanwhile, the ghosts don't eat, and after lights-out, Charles sneaks down to the kitchen for some bread.
There, the bullies return, and after revealing that they have tortured and killed other children in the past, they light one of the gas stoves and press Charles' back against it while piercing his flesh with a fork. The pain makes him pass out, and disappointed, the bullies leave him on the floor in pain.
Fortunately, Edwin Paine appears and drags Charles off to the attic. Charles remained unconscious for a day, and became delirious on the next. Finally, on the third day, Charles regained consciousness. When he wakes, Charles describes a dream he had. He had blood-red worms crawling on his skin, chewing holes through his skin. He ran out crying into the snow, but it wasn't snow. Rather, it was the skeletons of birds, falling from the sky. Then, those skeletons began to move, and the whole world was covered with dead birds trying to fly.
Edwin tells the story of how he himself was murdered by the three bullies - in that very attic. They had been using occult texts to perform rituals, and had used him as a sacrifice, leaving his bones in a box that still resides there.
Finally, on the next day, Charles Rowland dies. Death appears and beckons him away, though she is in a hurry due to recent events. However, Charles refuses to leave without Edwin, who is already long dead. Frustrated, Death allows him to stay, but promises to return for him one day.
Feeling no more pain, Charles and his new friend decide to leave the school forever, and seek out new adventures.
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