"Right," he muttered, as he hurried down the corridor. "I'm not going to let you get away with it this time..."
He had been power-walking past a window when the abrupt noise intruded on his conciousness. He glanced across in time to see a feathery shape slide down the glass into the shrubbery beneath.
"Oh, just a bird," he said, strangely relieved. "Stupid feathery things."
He walked past the next window.
This one was a sparrow, and it had a peculiarly pathetic look on its face as it fell into the bushes. Slightly unnerved, Mark went over and peered out; he half-thought that someone was throwing birds at the windows for some sick joke. But he couldn't see anything, and not only because a robin had just flown smack into the glass right in front of his face. He jerked back and swore.
"I thought birds were dumb, but I didn't know they were this dumb," he grumbled, hurrying onwards. His gait increased noticeably as he passed the last window before the door, but no more feathered friends threw themselves to their doom against it.
He escaped into the fresh air with some relief, and glanced back at the building. A large and varied collection of birds gazed back at him owlishly, perched on the roof and the surrounding trees. Shuddering despite himself, he jogged away in the direction of the english block.
There was no-one immediately visible on the roof; but it was a simple matter to get a leg-up on the toilet windowsill, clamber up a short length of drainpipe onto the roof of the shed next door, then heave himself up onto the block roof proper. Keeping low, he scuttled along and peered behind the ancient disused chimneystack.
As he had suspected, there was the girl. She started and looked round, and her face when she saw him was a picture.
"I've told you before, you're not supposed to be able to see me! You're breaking every rule there is!"
Mark put his hands on his hips and scowled at her.
"Will you please tell me what is going on? Why aren't I supposed to see you? Are you the one screaming, and if you are, why, and why can't anyone else hear you?"
She stared at him, then laughed and shrugged.
"Full of questions, aren't ya? Well, all of them can be answered in..." she paused, and counted on her fingers. "Three words, four if you don't count contractions."
"So, what are they? Tell me!"
She shrugged again, and blew her nose on a rather grubby hanky.
"I'm a banshee."