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Authors: Daren King

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Frightfully Friendly Ghosties

BOOK: Frightfully Friendly Ghosties
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Frightfully Friendly Ghosties

New York • London

Text © 2010 by Daren King

Illustrations © 2010 by David Roberts

First published in the United States by Quercus in 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquires to Permissions c/o Quercus Publishing Inc., 31 West 57
th
Street, 6
th
Floor, New York, NY 10019, or to [email protected].

e-ISBN 978-1-62365-027-8

Distributed in the United States and Canada by Random House Publisher Services

c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway

New York, NY 10019

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

www.quercus.com

For Rebecca

Also by Daren King

Mouse Noses on Toast

Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots

Peter the Penguin Pioneer

1

Pamela Fraidy

You still-alives are so mean to us ghosties. Only yesterday you locked Pamela Fraidy in the attic. She's a nervous wreck as it is! Not all ghosties can pass through walls, you know. That's only in cartoons and storybooks.

The only ghosty who can pass through walls is Charlie Vapor. He can pass through ceilings too, even when he's wearing a hat.

Poor Pamela. We could hear her shivering from outside the attic door.

“Try to keep calm,” I told her through the wood. “We'll get you out.”

“Help!” Pamela cried. “It's d-d-dark in here, and I think it may be haunted.”

I asked Charlie to pass through into the attic, to comfort her.

“Certainly not, Tabitha,” said Charlie, in that adorable cockney accent of his. “It would be an invasion of her privacy.”

“But she's petrified.”

“Who isn't? This rickety old house gives me the shivers. No wonder the still-alives always look flustered.”

“Charlie,” I said, “please do comfort Pamela.” Charlie passed his head through the door, then pulled it out quickly. “It's dark in there. I reckon I'll wait out here with you, Tabitha.”

“But you're the only ghosty who can pass through.”

Once again, Charlie passed his head through the door, shuddered, and pulled it back out. “Tabitha Tumbly, I refuse to float into that attic. There's a spider in there as big as my hat.”

Pamela was getting desperate. “What are you
doing
out there?”

“Don't you worry about a thing,” I told her.

“We will float downstairs and fetch the key.” That happened yesterday, and the key is still on the hook by the front door. The problem is, ghosties can't pick things up.

I can move things. I'm a poltergeist. That's why they call me Tabitha Tumbly. To be honest, I'm not very good at it. I can make a basket of laundry tumble off the sideboard, or an orange roll along the kitchen table, but I can't lift a key from a hook, float it upstairs, and insert it into a keyhole. Only a still-alive can do that. But, as Wither would put it, you still-alives are mean.

2

Charlie Vapor

Charlie and I left Pamela Fraidy quivering in the attic and wisped downstairs to the hall, where we found Wither floating by the hat stand.

“Where are the still-alives when we need them?” Charlie asked him.

“The still-alives are frightfully mean,” said Wither, wrinkling his forehead. “You're better off without them.”

“We need them to help us with the key,” I told him.

“They won't help,” said Charlie as the three of us floated toward the front door. “It was the still-alives who locked Pamela in the attic in the first place.”

“They didn't intend to.”

Wither folded his bony arms. “Tabitha, they were being mean, and you know it.”

“Even so,” I said, “it doesn't hurt to ask.”

“There's a still-alive in here,” said Charlie, passing his head through the wall.

“I haven't been in that room since I was still alive,” I said. “Which room is it?”

“It's the drawing room,” said Wither.

“The drawing room?”

“He means the lounge,” said Charlie. “Wither is frightfully old-fashioned.”

“I call it the living room,” I said. “At least, I did when I was still living.”

“Life was more civilized in my day,” said Charlie. He took off his hat—it's the polite thing to do—and passed through the lounge wall.

A moment later, we heard a loud scream, and Charlie reappeared white as a, um, ghost. “Those still-alives give me the shivers.”

“Any luck?”

“No, Tabitha. There was one sitting in an armchair eating corn flakes. I bid her good morning, and she picked up her breakfast tray and threw it at me.”

“Perhaps she wasn't hungry.”

Wither frowned. “Why are the still-alives so mean?”

“I told you they wouldn't help,” said Charlie, putting his hat back on. “We'll have to move the key ourselves. Tabitha, you can move objects.”

“Oh, not terribly well.”

“Don't be modest. You're a poltergeist.”

“I could try.” I closed my eyes, then opened them again.

“No. I simply cannot do it.”

“Try again.”

I tried, and the key jiggled.

“You must think I'm a frightful show-off.”

“Not at all,” said Charlie and Wither together.

“I'm sorry,” Wither said to Charlie, “I didn't mean to talk over you.”

“No,” said Charlie, “it was I who spoke over you. Tabitha, do try again.”

“Face the other way,” I said. “I can't do it with you two watching.”

Charlie and Wither turned to the wall.

“No peeking.” I gave the key a good jiggle. It jiggled and jingled and jangled, but stubbornly refused to move from the hook.

“It isn't your fault,” said Wither.

“Don't blame yourself,” Charlie said, adjusting his tie. “The hook is an awkward shape.”

BOOK: Frightfully Friendly Ghosties
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