Authors: Gillian Larkin
For Rosie and
Eve – my world
Front cover by
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shivered as another chill ran down her back. The chills had nothing to do with
the cold November wind that was whistling around the storage unit area.
was a ghost that was causing her to shiver. Grace couldn’t see the ghost – yet.
But she could hear her.
it was again!
humming sound, right next to her ear.
twitching, Grace, you look demented,” Frankie, her brother, said.
must be the cold,” Grace muttered. She didn’t mention the ghostly sound to
Frankie. He didn’t know she could see ghosts. He’d freak out if he knew. Then
he’d book her in for a long stay at the local hospital.
had been able to see ghosts following the car crash that claimed her parents’
lives, and nearly her own. She met most of the ghosts at storage unit
facilities, like the one she was standing at now. Lately, the ghosts that she’d
met had been murdered and they needed Grace’s help to find the person who murdered
flinched as the humming suddenly got louder.
said, “Let’s see what’s in this next locker. The rest of them have been
rubbish. We need something for the shop, we’re running out of stuff to put on
Sylver was the auctioneer at today’s proceedings. He was famous in storage
auction circles. He was an American and had been on many television shows. He
bore an uncanny resemblance to Elvis Presley, albeit an Elvis with silver hair.
Despite meeting him many, times Frankie was still in awe of Sylvester and was
often tongue-tied in his presence.
nodded towards Sylvester and said, “That blue shirt looks good on him, makes
him look younger.”
controlled the rolling of her eyes. She said, “Do you think he ever gets fed up
with these auctions? He’s been doing them for years. He must have seen
everything by now.”
never know what you’re going to find in these lockers. I think I’d like to be
an auctioneer one day.”
gave him a surprised look. “Are you serious? You should talk to Sylvester about
that. He could give you some training.”
gave an embarrassed shrug. “I can’t do that. He hasn’t got time for me.”
should ask him. You know he’s got time for you, he reads your website doesn’t
chest puffed out slightly. “Yeah, he does. Perhaps I should talk to him. Look,
the unit door is coming up now. I wonder what’s in that locker, hope it’s
almost jumped out of her skin as a woman’s voice whispered urgently in her
right ear, “Help her! Please help her!”
looked from left to right. If this ghost was trying to contact her could she at
least have the good manners of showing herself? The humming had stopped. Grace
turned her attention back to the unit door that was being opened. She knew a
ghost needed her help, she could feel it. Was it the ghost who had been humming
in her ear?
Sylver beamed at the crowd of bidders. “Well, folks, our exciting Sunday
morning at the auction continues! We’ve got some interesting objects in this
locker. Lots of household goods, some boxes, a suitcase, even some old-looking
picture frames. Who’s interested in this one? Who will start me off at £100?”
nudged Grace. “This is what we need. Keep calm, don’t show any excitement. I’ll
do all the bidding. I can tell that the other bidders want it too.”
looked at the other bidders. They were useless at hiding their emotions, some
of them were almost dancing on the spot. She turned back to the locker. She
couldn’t see a ghost inside it. This wasn’t the locker for her.
winced as the humming began again. It was so loud in her ears that it was
almost painful. She tried to stop her face from scrunching up in pain. It took
her a few seconds to realise that something strange was happening around the
storage unit area.
other bidders had stopped moving, their facial expressions had relaxed into
contented smiles, they were staring off into the distance as if in a trance.
Grace was about to say something to Frankie when she noticed his face had the
same trance-like look.
was happening? It was like they were under some sort of spell.
Grace saw her. The ghost who had been humming and talking in her ear.
young woman dressed in a white wedding dress was twirling and dancing amongst
the bidders. She hummed happily and smiled at people as she waltzed through
them. She seemed to be in her early twenties. She had a pretty, heart-shaped
face and her blonde hair was pulled back in a high ponytail. It was obvious the
bidders couldn’t see her, but they were somehow affected by her.
girl danced over to Grace. She sashayed from side to side and smiled at her.
“Will you help her? Please, say you’ll help her.”
Grace asked. “Who are you talking about? And who are you?”
woman spun around and danced towards the open locker.
Sylver and his assistant seemed unaffected by the dancing ghost. Sylvester
frowned as he surveyed the bidders. “Hey! Anyone at home? Have you all fallen
asleep? Is anyone bidding? Who will give me £50?”
ghost danced into the locker and stopped. She smiled at someone and held out
her hand. The ghost of a man appeared. He was dressed in a black wedding suit,
his tie was undone and hung loosely around his neck. Even from this distance
Grace could see how handsome he was. He nodded at the girl and took her hand. They
began to dance around the unit, moving through objects as if they were mere
smiled. Were they a couple? Newly married? Did they need her help?
woman looked over the man’s shoulder, her eyes locked on to Grace. In an
anguished voice she called out, “Please! You have to help her!”
said, “Okay, no one will pay £50. How about £30? £20? £10? Come on, folks,
you’re breaking my heart!”
stepped forward and said, “I’ll give you £10.”
Sylvester’s voice boomed out.
was like a wake-up call for the other bidders. Some jumped as if they’d been
prodded, some blinked and then rubbed their eyes. Frankie swore under his
breath and muttered, “I think I fell asleep for a minute.”
called out, “That was the last locker of the day, folks. Thanks for coming out
today, see you next time! Safe journey home.”
frowned. “Last locker? What’s he talking about? Did he just sell that one?”
gave him a satisfied smile. “He did, to me. For £10.”
He rubbed his chin. “I knew that fourth beer was a mistake last night, it
four beers? I don’t believe that. Anyway, doesn’t matter how I got it, I just
did. It looks a good one too. Let’s have a closer look.”
and Frankie walked towards the locker. She ignored the suspicious looks coming
from the other bidders as they walked past. She wasn’t the one who had
hypnotised them with her dancing, it was the young ghost. Speaking of which,
where was she? And where was that man she was dancing with?
wasn’t worried. Ghosts often disappeared in front of her, they always turned up
walked into the locker. “This is a good one. Looks like someone was moving
house and forgot to come back for their things. We should make a decent profit
out of this locker. I don’t know how you did it, Grace, but well done.”
Grace replied. She wasn’t going to tell Frankie about the dancing ghosts. She
looked around the locker. The ghosts that she’d helped before were always
attached to something. What were the ghosts here attached to? And was it just
the man that was attached to something? The young girl had freely left the
locker to dance around the unit area, that meant she wasn’t attached to
anything. In that case, what was she doing here?
kicked a broken chair. “We’ll stop off at the tip on the way home. Some of this
stuff is rubbish. There’s no point taking it all back to the shop.”
We have to take it all back!”
hands came up. “Whoa! No need to shout, you nearly blew my ears off.”
but I think we should take everything back. I can repair things.”
right. Okay, we’ll take everything back, but you can sort it all out.”
will,” Grace promised. She couldn’t leave anything behind, the ghosts could be
attached to any one of these items They were dressed in wedding clothes, could
they have been in the middle of moving house before they died? Grace surveyed
the items in front of them. They seemed old-fashioned and not suited to a young
nudged her. “Don’t just stand there. Go and get the van and we’ll start loading
it. Get a move on.”
the rush?” Grace asked.
gave her an incredulous look. “The match.”
eyes widened. “Are you kidding me? It’s the final. I’m meeting all my mates
down the pub.”
took a chance. “Football?”
course it’s football. Stop nattering and get the van.”
did so. The van was soon loaded up and shortly after Frankie helped Grace to
unload it into their shop.
looked at his watch. “Leave everything and I’ll sort it out later.”
don’t mind staying,” Grace offered.
Sunday afternoon, haven’t you anything better to do,” Frankie said. He paused
and then added in a softer tone, “No, you probably don’t. Why don’t you get in
touch with some of your old friends? You need to get out more.”
will do,” Grace said even though she had no intention of doing so. Not yet
said goodbye and left the shop.
from the ghost standing in front of her.
wasn’t either of the ghosts from the storage unit. This was the ghost of an old
woman. She was wearing a floral housecoat over a long blue dress. Her hair was
grey and curly. Her face wrinkled up even more as she smiled at Grace.
fondly returned her smile. “Hello, Pearl. It’s lovely to see you.”
course it is, I’m a lovely person.” Pearl looked at the items that Frankie and
Grace had brought in. “By heck! You’ve brought a load of crap into the shop.
You should have taken it all to the dump where it belongs.”
isn’t junk, there are probably some antiques here. And something else.”
grin widened. “Have you brought a ghost with you? One that’s been murdered? Have
they got all their limbs? It’s been a while since you’ve dealt with a murder
case. Tell me everything.”
told Pearl about what she’d seen so far.
ghosts. Interesting. Do you think they’re a couple?” Pearl asked.
don’t know, he looked older than her,” Grace said.
jumped as a man’s laugh boomed out. “Not that much older!”
looked behind her. No one was there. She said to Pearl, “Can you see anyone?
You can sometimes see ghosts that I can’t.”
face scrunched up. “I can’t see anyone but I can hear something. It’s like a
humming noise, like someone’s trying to hum some sort of tune. Is that what you