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Authors: Margaret Gregory

Tags: #mystery, #young adult, #ghost, #urban, #body language

Ghost Writer

BOOK: Ghost Writer
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Ghost Writer

 

By

Margaret Gregory

 

 

Smashwords Edition

 

 

Copyright 2013 by Margaret Gregory

All Rights Reserved

 

Discover other titles by
Margaret
Gregory
at Smashwords.com

 

 

This book is a work of fiction and any
resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or
locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of
the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

*****

 

Please note that I use Australian
spelling throughout. You will see ou’s (colour) and ‘ise’ not ‘ize’
(realise) as well as a few other differences from American
spelling.

 

*****

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

 

This eBook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold

or given away to other people. If you
would like to share this book with another person,

please purchase an additional copy for
each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did

not purchase it, or it was not purchased
for your use only, then please return to

Smashwords.com and purchase your own
copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work

of this author.

 

 

 

 

Ghost Writer

 

“It’s a great plane, Edwina. Did
your father really buy it for you?” Christina asked.

“He did,” I confirmed, taking
off my headset to hear her more easily.

“I thought he freaked out when
he found you were flying,” Christine’s boyfriend, Ralph
commented.

“Yeah. He never thought I would
stick at it though. When I got my licence, I told him I could fly
him to his meetings.”

“Has he been up with you?” Heidi
asked from further back.

“Not in this – I’ve only had it
a month – but I think I impressed him. He gave this to me for my
birthday. He had it done up, checked, had new instruments put in
and the outside painted in the company colours.”

“You are lucky with your old
man, Edwina. I can’t even get mine to buy me a car,” Ralph growled
in exasperation.

“You shouldn’t have totalled the
Mercedes you had,” I chuckled.

“Too right,” Ralph agreed.

I put my headset back on and
checked our position. I was about to pass out of one air control
area into another. After making contact with air control on the
relevant frequency, I thanked them for their coverage and changed
frequency to contact the next control area. In response to their
questions, I gave our position, heading and altitude, and received
confirmation that they had us on their screen.

Being aware that a change was
expected, I then queried the weather at Landsdown Airport, our
destination.

Going up to the resort, I had
flown on visual, but if the change came through, I might have to
switch to instruments.

“Cloud cover two octants at four
thousand feet. Low cloud over mountains to the north. Maintain
current altitude until over the mountains. Adjust barometer to
…Mb”

I acknowledged the instructions,
and automatically checked her instruments and adjusted the
barometer. Everything was spot on. I signed off and removed the
headpiece again.

Heidi spoke up. “It’s been a
great week end. We should do it again soon. Maybe you can convince
John to come next time.”

With a forced laugh, I said,
“John reckons he feels green at the mere thought of flying. But at
least he didn’t claim I was a twit at business.” I didn’t want to
admit yet that I had broken up with John.

“So does your Dad still want to
keep you out of his business?” Christine asked.

“Not keep out, exactly. He’s let
me follow him around since Mum died. It’s more that he thinks I am
like her and really have no interest in the business. He tells me I
should have fun while I am young.”

 

I heard what sounded like radio
static and put my headpiece back on. If it was a call, they didn’t
repeat it. I checked the instruments again. All were reading as
they should. The static came again, but the radio was still on the
correct frequency. Perhaps there was a radio below transmitting on
an adjacent frequency. It couldn’t have been lightning. No storms
were forecast with the change. If the forecast had changed, the
controller would have mentioned it.

Ralph leant forward over the
passenger seat. “Do we have to fly through those clouds? They are
sitting on the hilltops.”

“Yes, but its okay. Those hills
are all below three thousand feet. I will be flying at four
thousand.” I pointed to the altimeter. “At it is clear enough over
the airport.”

Ralph sat back.

Just then, the plane
shuddered.

“Just some turbulence,” I
assured them quickly, noticing that the altimeter needle was
wavering – not steady, but it was still averaging four thousand. I
replaced the headset and checked our position by the radio
beacons.

With the mountains approaching,
I needed to concentrate. There could be more turbulence there.
There was more radio static, which I ignored. Then cloud closed
around the plane and my chatting passengers fell silent. After a
while, I felt a nudge on my shoulder.

“This is spooky,” Heidi said
when I lifted one earpiece.

“I know. I don’t like flying
blind. That is why I qualified on instruments.”

I glanced back to them, scanning
them all and then looked out the cockpit window. For a moment, the
cloud thinned and I saw a dark bulk in front of us.

“Holy Mother…” I muttered, as I
pulled hard on the controls.

The plane struck the hillside,
and then, there was only blackness.

 

I looked down at the wrecked
plane. It had slid down the hill, scarring the hillside and
crashing through young trees. The white and blue fuselage had
broken open. People were walking all around it. Policemen,
ambulance men, firemen.

As I watched, I saw bodies being
placed on stretchers and covered over. From the first, I saw a
glowing figure rise up and turn to stare up at where I stood
watching.

Heidi screamed at me, “This is
your fault! My little baby girl is motherless. I won’t be there for
her.”

I backed off a pace, filled with
horror at the anguish in my friend’s expression.

Ralph, another glowing figure,
stood up from the second stretcher.

“Yeah, I guess you don’t have
what it takes. Will your daddy replace your wrecked plane?”

A third glowing figure stood
beside me. “What went wrong?” Christina asked, looking away from
Ralph as if disagreeing with his words.

“I don’t know,” I said,
anguished. I turned to Christina’s glowing form and saw she seemed
to be listening to someone. “Come on Edwina, we don’t belong here
now.”

“No! Not yet. I want to know
what happened.” I saw the glowing forms of my friends becoming
dimmer.

I heard a new voice. It was
soft, gentle, enticing…

“Come, Edwina, it’s your
time…”

“Why?” I wailed and looked
around to see a glowing figure of a woman dressed in white.

“Accidents happen.”

“No. I did everything right. The
plane was checked. I checked everything. I shouldn’t have
crashed.”

“Accidents happen,” the voice
said again.

“No. Not like this. Three of my
friends are dead – heck – I’m dead, aren’t I? They hate me. They
blame me – and I want to know why.”

“They may hate you now, but once
they have had a chance to rest, they will be ready to watch over
the ones they have left behind, or go around again.”

“I am not ready to go anywhere.
This can’t be my fault.”

“What if it is?”

“Do you know that?”

“No, but if you come with me –
all that won’t matter.”

“Then no, I won’t go with you! I
want to know if it was my fault and if it was – well, I would
know.”

“And if it wasn’t - what then?
Will you want to blame someone? Want to get revenge?”

“No, I want the truth. How can I
rest if I don’t know?”

“Come up then, and ask for the
truth.”

It was seductive.

“Why can’t you go there and find
out?”

“I can’t. I am a collector of
souls. I can only deliver.”

“Then I am not going.”

A second glow joined the one
talking to me. “All must come in the end,” a deeper voice
spoke.

“I am not coming yet!”

“Very well, but yours is a
lonely choice.” The second glow took the shape of a worldly looking
man of middle age.

“Who are you? Another soul
collector?” Edwina asked.

“Not exactly, but I can offer
you a choice.”

“What?”

“If you go up, you can find the
truth, but you cannot go back. Or if you stay here, you might
discover the truth, and try to help those who have stayed
behind.”

“I’ll stay.”

“It won’t be easy. Only one
person will be able to see you, and you must complete a task.”

“What?”

“There’s a woman, contemplating
dying. It isn’t her time. Help her, and perhaps you will be able to
find out what you want. Only guardian souls are allowed to stay on
Earth.”

“I’ll help the woman and I will
find out why I died. I won’t give up. I promise. I’ll prove I can
do this even if I never had a chance to prove myself to my
father.”

The glowing figures bowed to
her.

“Can I stay here a while?” I
asked.

“Time is already passing.”

I looked around. The plane was
gone and the scar on the hillside was becoming hidden by new
growth.

“Where is the plane?”

“Gone to be investigated. Come,
you have a task to do. Do it well, and you can choose your next
placement.”

The man shape glow reached out
and touched me. Time and space vanished. A garden replaced the
scarred hillside. The glowing man faded out.

“Wait! What do I do?”

There was no answer.

“It’s up to me,” I thought,
suddenly feeling very alone and very sad.

A breeze tickled me, bringing
the smell of roses. I wiped a phantom tear from my eyes and saw the
array of roses in front of me. Roses of red, white, yellow and
pink.

 

My first thought was of how
peaceful it was in that little garden. Oh, you could hear the
children at the playground in the park, but they were distant –
beyond the ornamental privet hedge.

Then I saw the woman. She was
alone – sitting on the patio of the house – in one of those awful
white plastic chairs. I never found those things comfortable and
she didn’t look relaxed. She was leaning back, but she had her
right leg locked behind the left, and she was clutching something
flat. Her gaze seemed fixed on something in front of her.

I looked that way as well. The
roses were in full bloom, red, yellow, pink and white. The scent
was heady, I could have stared at them for hours too, but I didn’t
think she was seeing them. I wandered closer.

 

“Evening!” I called as I passed
her. She didn’t even twitch an eye.

That, I thought, is a woman with
a problem. Maybe that was reason I was there – in the garden.

I studied her from near the rose
bushes. The sun reflected off her reading glasses and put a glow on
the rest of her face. She would be a lovely woman – if she hadn’t
retreated so far into herself that her face looked almost as serene
as it would in death.

I shivered. The thought of dying
still affected me. Surely she hadn’t. No, I would know if she’d
died, and yes, her chest and the clutched book above it, rose and
fell regularly. I needed to rouse her so that she didn’t stay there
all night.

Again I walked past her – closer
this time. I could see that her knuckles were white, and the book
had a red cover. Her position hadn’t changed. From the blankness in
the eyes above the glasses, she might have been considering ending
it all. But she was still young – it wasn’t her time to die.

I shivered again and called
aloud, “Good evening.”

Looking back over my shoulder, I
saw her face was wearing a faint frown. It was a start. I continued
through the gap in the hedge.

The next time I crossed in front
of her, the frown deepened. Still clutching the book, she stood and
called to me.

“Hey! Who are you?”

I looked over my shoulder and
smiled. “Edwina,” I said. “Pleased to meet you.”

With that, I continued walking
into the park and took a seat on the now deserted swings. She
followed me – still clutching the book.

“What were you doing in my
garden? It’s private,” she challenged me, and stared at me from
over the top of her glasses.

“It’s lovely,” I said.

“But how did you get in? Each
time you seemed to be walking out.”

BOOK: Ghost Writer
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ads

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