Meg couldn’t decide which was worse, the rain or the wind – both were loud, and blowing hard – harder than a girl should have to put up with, when she had dolled herself up in her glad rags for a night dancing, in her brand new dress and her brand new shoes, the shoes she had been saving pennies for, for weeks now, why they were surely going to be ruined in this rain. “Jeepers, Charlie, it’s raining pitchforks out here!” she finally protested as she hitched up her dress and clambered over the railing of the fire escape.
“Sorry, doll,” Charlie answered. He jumped, and caught the bottom run of the ladder, swinging up after her. “I tell you, you’re looking real spiffy – well, you were anyway before you got so wet.” He paused next to her, then grinned. “Tell the truth, you look pretty fine just like that, too, and I don’t think that heeler waiting for you at the dance hall would mind too much if you came back like that. ” He dodged as she swatted at him, and then put on a more serious expression. “But I tell ya, Professor Halliwell is hidin’ something – why would he be out on a night like this,” he threw out one hand, indicating the storm, water running off the brim of his hat, “all the way up there on the top of Ainsley Hall?” He pointed upwards, and Meg’s eyes followed the line of his finger towards he roof.
A crack of lightning right at that moment, and she jumped at the sounds and blinked at the sudden flash of light. Then she gasped, one hand flying to her mouth. “Charlie, look!! Look!!” Charlie tilted his head back. Twelve stories above them, against another flash of lightning, they could see two figures, one wearing the unmistakeable shape of Professor Halliwell’s bowler. The other – oh the other! Meg thought, panicked – had one arm outstretched with a long silver blade extending from a hilt.