Authors: Gillian Larkin
Rosie and Eve
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remember what I said. Don’t go for any old rubbish. Only bid when I tell you
to. Okay?” Frankie ordered.
Abrahams gave a small grunt in reply. She hoped that her brother, Frankie,
caught that as her reply because she wasn’t able to use words to communicate
with him at the moment. She pulled her coat closer. Hanging out at a storage
unit auction at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning wasn’t her idea of fun.
jumped as Frankie’s voice shot out again through her earpiece. “And when you do
bid don’t get all excited and girly about it. Try to be professional.”
tutted to herself and hoped that Frankie heard that too. She’d been to many
storage locker auctions, she knew how to act like a professional bidder.
there, Grace. Are you on your own today?” A big bear of a man approached her
side, a friendly smile on his face.
returned his smile. It was always good to see Big Bob. “Hi.” She tapped her
left ear. “I’ve got Frankie’s voice in my ear.” She tapped the rose brooch
pinned to her coat. She lowered her voice. “I’ve got a small camera in here so
that Frankie can see what’s inside each locker. He’s going to tell me when I
should bid and how much I should bid for.”
Bob let out a boom of laugh making several nearby bidders jump. “What’s going
on with him? Why has he got you doing his work for him?”
shot a look over her shoulder. “He’s parked in the work’s van round the corner.
He doesn’t want anyone to know that he’s bidding on a locker.”
this all to do with those paintings he found a few weeks ago? I heard about
that. Weren’t they painted by some famous artist? How much did he get for
winced as Frankie screamed in her ear, “Don’t tell him! It’s confidential!”
Bob was a good friend to both of them and Grace had no intention of hiding
anything from him. He’d also been a good friend to her father and they’d often
toured the antiques circuit together years ago. Still keeping her voice low,
Grace said, “He got £100,000 for them.” She ignored the cursing that erupted
Bob let out a low whistle. “I must say that your Frankie is lucky when it comes
to these storage units. He’s had some valuable finds.”
nodded. “That’s why he didn’t want to be here in person today. He thought the
other bidders would bid on anything that he made a bid on, and that would make
the price higher.”
makes sense, I suppose. If you don’t mind doing it.”
gave him a wry smile. “It beats lying in my cosy bed in my warm bedroom.” She
didn’t expand on the real reason as to why she didn’t mind being here on a cold
morning. And she didn’t tell Big Bob about why Frankie had really made a bid
for those famous paintings a few weeks ago.
since the car accident that had claimed her parents’ lives, Grace had been able
to see ghosts. She met most of them at storage locker auctions. They were
attached to certain items inside the lockers. Some of them had needed help to
get messages to loved ones and friends, but some had been murdered and they
needed Grace’s help to track down their murderer.
few weeks ago, Grace had seen the ghost of the artist inside a locker, the one
who had painted the aforementioned pictures. Grace recognised him immediately
because she had seen a self-portrait that he’d done on an episode of Antiques
Roadshow the previous evening. The ghost had been sitting next to an easel. He’d
given Grace a cheery wave and then pointed to a set of three paintings that
were propped against the wall. Grace had told Frankie to bid on the locker. He
said the paintings looked like a child had done them whilst half asleep.
insisted that he bid on them even when the other bidders lost interest. Frankie
did so reluctantly and won the locker. He moaned about them the moment he put
them in the van. He complained all the way to the shop. He grumbled as Grace
insisted that he have them valued.
stopped complaining the second that the paintings were officially valued at a
nearby gallery. He gave Grace a big grin and said, “I knew there was something
special about those paintings. I’ve got a sixth sense about these things.”
had kept her thoughts to herself. Frankie didn’t know she could see ghosts, and
she was never go to tell him that she could. Frankie had taken it upon himself
to look after her since the car accident, even though she was capable of taking
care of herself. He was brusque and thoughtless most of the time, but sometimes
he surprised her.
Bob cut into her thoughts. “What’s he done with all that money?”
felt a warm rush of affection for her older brother, it was a rare feeling. “He
gave me half of it, and he’s put the rest in a savings account. He’s going to use
it for the business. We’re doing well in the shop and Frankie’s thinking of
opening another shop.”
Bob patted her on the shoulder. “I’m so pleased for you both. You deserve some
good luck in your lives.” He looked towards the row of storage lockers. “I
think we’re ready to start.”
realised that Frankie was talking in her ear. She’d been so lost in her
thoughts that she hadn’t paid any attention to him. She mumbled, “What did you
was an exasperated sigh followed by, “I said, if you’ve finally stopped
gossiping about me, then can you please move closer to the locker. Grace, pay
attention and stop nattering to Big Bob.”
gave Big Bob a smile and repeated what Frankie had said. He shook his head and
laughed. “The success has gone to his head. Look, the first locker has been
opened. Let’s have a closer look.”
moved closer to the opened locker. She felt butterflies in her stomach which
had nothing to do with the contents of the locker. She had a feeling that she
was going to meet a ghost today who needed her help. She just had to wait for
the right locker to be opened.
first two lockers were nothing special. One of them contained broken garden
equipment and damaged Christmas ornaments. Grace had to tell Frankie at one
point to stop swearing in her ear as he surveyed the contents through the
Bob won a locker that contained old furniture. “I can restore that old set of
drawers. Is there anything inside that locker that you’d like for your shop?”
pulled a face as Frankie voiced his thoughts about what Big Bob could do with
the furniture. She said, “No, thank you. We’ve got enough bric-a-brac on our
shelves.” She put her hand over the hidden microphone pinned on her collar.
“I’m not entirely sure why Frankie wants more stuff. We’ve got plenty in the
shop. I think he’s hoping to find more paintings.” She removed her hand and
headed towards the next locker that had been opened.
heart missed a beat as she looked inside the locker. It contained a few office
chairs, two desks and some boxes that held paperwork. There were some rolled up
banners at the back of the unit. One had slightly unrolled and Grace saw the
was also a ghost in the locker. The ghost of a young woman dressed in a
business suit. She was wearing an old-fashioned headset with a microphone piece
that was positioned near her mouth. There was a lead attached to the headset
that dangled down the woman’s back. The woman held a clipboard close to her
chest as she paced back and forth across the storage floor.
eyes prickled as she picked up the words that the woman was saying. “Hello!
Hello! Is there anyone there? Come in. Hello!” Ghost tears ran down the woman’s
face. She caught Grace looking at her and cried out, “They can’t hear me!
There’s no one there! Where have they all gone?”
gave a small shake of her head and took a step closer. Frankie said in her ear,
“Move on, Grace, this one’s full of rubbish. Don’t waste your time.”
Bob came closer to Grace and said, “It’s amazing what some people store in
these lockers. This lot should have been taken to the dump rather than being
stored in here.”
ghost woman inside the locker heard Big Bob. She stopped pacing and opened her
hand out towards the desks. “This is my office! What’s he talking about?” Her
eyes widened as she looked around her. “Why is my office in here?” She tapped
the part of the headset that covered her ear. “Hello! Come in! Where is
bidding began on the locker. There was a half-hearted call of £10. Someone else
offered £15. Grace waited until the auctioneer was ready to close the sale then
she called out, “£20!” She ignored the sniggers behind her.
held her breath as the auctioneer asked for more bids. She took out her earpiece
as she couldn’t listen to Frankie’s cursing that was now spewing out in
to her bid.
for twenty pounds! Congratulations young lady, it’s all yours!”
Bob gave Grace a quizzical look. “Are you sure these items will be suitable for
gave a nod towards the locker. “These are not for the shop as such, they’re for
me. I like the look of those desks. We could do with a proper office area in
the shop. And we always need more boxes.” She pulled out a padlock from her
pocket and walked towards the locker. The ghost inside stared at her. Grace
whispered to her, “Hello, I’m Grace. I think I can help you but I have to pull
the door back down for now. I’ll come back soon.”
ghost gave her a small nod and pointed to her headset. “I can’t hear anyone.
Where have they all gone?”
gave a tiny shrug and told the ghost that she’d be back soon. She secured the
unit and followed Big Bob who was heading towards the next unit. She hated to
leave the ghost but she had to look at the next lockers for Frankie’s sake. She
gingerly replaced the earpiece and was treated to silence.
tapped her on the shoulder. Grace took a step back as an angry-looking tramp
glared at her. She relaxed as she recognised his eyes. “Frankie! What on earth
are you wearing?”
disguise. I had this as a backup in case you messed up.” He pulled his false
beard into a better position. “Which you have. Why did you buy that locker?” He
held up his hand. “No, don’t bother me with your excuses. You’re too emotional
for this business. I’ll go on to the next lockers, you stay here with that
useless locker you’ve just bought.”
nose wrinkled. “You stink! Where did you get that disgusting coat from?”
charity shop. I’ve let it soak up the smell from the rubbish bin outside the
shop for a few days.” He suddenly grinned. “The smell should put the other
bidders off. This is a great idea of mine to disguise myself, I should have
thought of it before.” He rubbed his hands together gleefully. “Let battle
commence!” He began to walk away. He paused and then added a limp to his walk
for some reason.
didn’t mind being left alone. It gave her the chance to talk to the ghost. She
turned back to her locker and opened the door. The ghost was now sitting on the
floor with her head in her hands. Her shoulders shook as she sobbed into her
crouched at her side and gently said, “Hello, it’s me again. Can you tell me
ghost looked up. She sniffed and tried to smile. “I’m Jenny, Jenny Lorrimer.
What am I doing in here? Why is my office equipment in here?”
pressed her lips together. She hated this part. Some of the ghosts who she met
knew they were ghosts, but some didn’t. It was always hard to tell them.
began, “I have a special gift. I can see people who’ve passed away.”
face creased in confusion. “Passed away? You mean dead?” She looked down at her
legs and then at her arms. She moved her hand towards Grace. It passed through
Grace as if moving through water. Jenny’s eyebrows arched. “Are you saying that
nodded. “I’m sorry. Didn’t you suspect at all?”
shook her head. Her face creased up again. “How long have I been in this metal
box?” She winced and rubbed her throat. “What’s wrong with my throat? It really
bit down on her tongue. A vivid red mark had suddenly appeared on Jenny’s neck.
suddenly leapt to her feet and looked behind her. She screamed and held her
hands out towards something that Grace couldn’t see. “No! Stop! You’re hurting
jumped up and automatically put her hands out towards Jenny. They went straight
through her. Jenny screamed again and her hands flew to her throat. She
collapsed to the floor, her face twisted with pain. Jenny turned fear-filled
eyes towards Grace. “Help me! Please!” She disappeared, leaving behind the echo
of her screams.