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Rolfin's Orb
Book 10 - Argentina – Tanzanite
Chapter 3


         Morning came and with it bitter winds and sleet. Fiona tiptoed to the window while Elspet slept. “Oh great; another blustery day. I guess I will change that before everyone else wakes up. Weather, today you are going to behave. No wind, no rain, just sunny blue skies. Got it?” The sky obeyed and cleared. “That’s better. I love having magical powers! Thank you sky. Rise and shine, Elspet. It’s a beautiful day outside. Today’s the day we need to find the jewel.”

Elspet yawned. “All right. I’m getting up.”

Fiona opened the door and pounded on Callum and Jimmy’s door. “Time to get up, gentlemen.” She heard mumbles and moans from behind the wooden door.

Ten minutes later they met in the hallway. Fiona was anxious and enthusiastic. “While you were all getting ready, I went down to talk to the Xinbals. They told me we had to take a train; it’s called the Train to the End of the World. Doesn’t that sound fun? It takes about two hours round trip, so there’s no rush. Rosa suggested we go to the prison and take a tour. She said she’ll fix breakfast for us first, so let’s go eat and then we’ll head to the prison. I’d love to see it.”

“Fiona, you’re much too energetic this morning,” Jimmy said with a yawn.

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes and eggs, they bundled up and headed for the prison. “Rosa said it closed down in 1947 and it’s still in good shape.” Elspet boasted her newfound knowledge. “Apparently during the early 1900’s, Ushuaia was home to some of the most serious criminals in Argentina. It was a good place because nobody could ever escape, since it was an island and the bad weather and rough seas. They made them cut wood and help build the town. The prisoners actually built the prison themselves. Imagine that. Most of the prisoners were dangerous criminals, political prisoners and people in the armed forces who disobeyed the law.”

“You’re just bubbling with knowledge, aren’t you, Elspet. You actually sound excited,” Callum said.

“Why don’t you wait till we get there before you start the tourist information, Elspet. I’ll never remember the things you’re telling us.” Fiona ran ahead. “Come on, slowpokes. Get a move on.”

“It’s not used as a prison now. They use it as a lecture hall, a movie theater and stuff like that. But the cells are still there. There are over 300 of them.”

“Yes, thank you again, Elspet,” Jimmy said.

They went into the museum and looked at the displays. When they reached the cells, they took their time looking at all the prisoner’s memorabilia and wax figures. “This is weird. It’s like they are still here watching us. I am spooked,” Callum said. “They are like cages with thick bars. I’d hate to be jailed and have to spend my life in one of these cells. It’s freezing in here too.”

The doors slammed shut. “Uh oh.” Elspet turned and looked behind her. They were locked inside the area with the cells. She reached up and grabbed hold of her mouse necklace. “I don’t suppose this is one of the traps. Do you think it might be?”

“I have a bad feeling,” Callum said. “I knew something bad was going to happen.”

“It might be,” Jimmy said. “Even though there was no jail back when the jewel was hidden, we were given access to a time portal and could come and change our traps if we wanted.”

“I didn’t know that. I wish I had now,” Callum said. The lights flicked on and off and then stayed off, leaving them in darkness. “Did anyone bring a torch?”

“I brought my pack and there’s one in there,” Fiona said. “Reach in and grab it.”

Elspet held the torch. “This is spooky. Stay close, Jimmy.” She aimed the light back and forth. “I don’t like this.”

A bang clanked behind them. All four of them jumped. In the darkness something grabbed Fiona and pushed her into one of the cells. She fell to the floor. The same happened with the others.

Elspet dropped the torch and it rolled next to Fiona, who picked it up and aimed it at the cell door.

“Who are you?” Callum stepped back, away from the bars, bumping into Jimmy. “You look like a prisoner. In fact you look like one of those wax figures.”

Fiona’s torch shone on three men. “We do, do we?” All three of them laughed, their brown teeth showing.

“Yes, you do. You’re wearing black and white striped clothes. Those are prisoner’s clothes. Everyone knows that,” Callum replied.

“Let me get that boy. He’s far too big a smart aleck for my likes,” one of the men said.

“Leave them. A man approached the door and rattled the bars. “We are prisoners, you’re right. I was incarcerated in this prison in 1925. I was nineteen years old. I died here too, in that very cell you’re in. You can call me Petiso Orejudo Aquilino.” He pointed to his left. “This is Ricardo Bernardo Mauro and my other inmate friend is Pedro Virgilio. They too died here in prison, in that cell with me.”

“That’s very interesting Senor Aquilino, but why are you locking us up?” Elspet found enough bravery inside her to speak.

Petiso glared at her. “You are our prisoners now. One night while I was sleeping, a man appeared to me in a dream. He told me that some day in the future someone would come here looking for a precious stone. He instructed me to kill that person. Imagine how lucky I am to find four people. And what are you here for? Why are you wandering around this deserted prison by yourselves instead of with the tour guide?”

“Are you ghosts?” Callum gulped and swallowed.

“Why do you ask?” Petiso nudged Ricardo and Pedro.

“You just said all three of you died in this cell. If you died, you can’t be alive, so you must be ghosts,” Callum said.

“Boo!” Petiso burst out laughing.

“Oh yes, boy, we are ghosts. We live inside those wax figures. They’re rather flattering, don’t you think? I know why you are here and before you get too excited, I should tell you there is no jewel hidden in this prison,” Petiso said.

“We know that,” Fiona blurted. “We just came to see the prison. We’re on holiday with our uncle and we wanted to see what this prison looked like inside.”

Ricardo poked Jimmy in the arm. “Who you?”

          “I’m their uncle and I’m not afraid of a ghost or a silly wax figure.” Jimmy folded his arms across his chest.

          Petiso mumbled something to the other two ghosts. “We are going to leave you here for a few hours to think about your situation. Don’t worry though; we shall be back.”

          The three convicts disappeared, leaving the group in the dark once again. They could hear the ghost’s laughter for several minutes and then all went silent.

          “Okay! How are we going to get out of this one?” Elspet sat on the dusty cot.

          They couldn’t see each other. Fiona spoke out. “I have magical powers, remember?” She went silent for a moment and then said, “Under this prison is a huge supply of natural gas and wow, diamonds. I’ll be nobody knows that. I’ve never heard of diamonds in this area, but they are there, deep below.”

          “Maybe we could bribe the ghosts to let us go and tell them about the diamonds,” Callum said.

          “I don’t think ghosts can dig that deep. I could burn the building down, but we’d burn too as we can’t get out of this barred cell. There aren’t enough animals around here to call any to rescue us. I doubt if bunny rabbits could free us. It would do no good to turn the weather into rain or wind, or make waves come up here. If I make myself invisible, I still wouldn’t be able to fit through the bars.” Fiona rambled off the list of powers.

          “You’ve missed one, Fiona. You can’t do any of those other things, but you can make yourself big or,” she hesitated, “small.” Elspet clapped her hands together.

          “Elspet! Way to go! I forgot all about that power.” Fiona stood. “I think though that we should wait a while. I’d like to pull a trick on those prisoner ghosts. Let’s just take a nap and wait for them to return.”

          “Okay. If that’s what you want to do. I’ve never fully woken up. Must be the fresh sea air.” Jimmy curled up in a ball and went to sleep. Fiona, Callum and Elspet did too.


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