Rare Sight

Hi! Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy 'Rare Sight', which I loved writing - I've already written an early draft of the next book in the series. And now for the blurb: Joe Simmonds didn't ask to see spirits. It doesn't help that a teenage ghost called Georgia turns up, claiming to be the aunt he didn't know he had - and that she was murdered.
Add in a vengeful dead grandfather, an unscrupulous spirit trader and a couple of nasty murders, and Joe has a hard time just staying alive, as he learns what Rare Sight is, and how to use it.
Cover design by the talented Mark Dyball (though I've spoilt it by cropping!); image copyright Dundanim/Dreamstime

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7. Chapter Seven

“Ah, so you protected me then. What a loving mum.” Joe and his gran both spun their heads towards the voice. Georgia was leaning against the fireplace. His gran got up from the chair and almost ran towards her. She reached to put a hand on her arm, but Georgia shrugged it off.

“Georgia, I’m so sorry about those things I said the last time I saw you.”

Georgia tossed her hair. “What things? ‘Self-absorbed addict on a mission to destroy everything that’s good?’ That kind of thing?”

“Georgia, I’m sorry…”

“Is that Georgia?” said Joe’s mum. “What’s happening?”

Georgia was standing up straight now, and she looked angry. “Or maybe you mean the part where you called me ‘a cheat, a thief and a lying hypocrite’?”

His gran covered her face and Joe leapt up to put an arm round her.

“Yeah,” said Georgia. “I won’t pretend it didn’t hurt a bit – you know, my own mother…” Her voice had changed, become faltering, and Joe realised she was crying. “…my own mother calling me names,” she finished weakly.

“Georgia…” said his gran again, and she put out a hand to touch Georgia’s arm, but again the girl shrugged her off. “You have to understand,” pleaded his gran, “I was in shock. I felt like you’d done it on purpose – you know, taken things too far, just to get back at me.”

“Are you really that arrogant?” said Georgia, and his gran took a step back, as if she’d been slapped. “Who in the world would get themselves killed just to make someone else feel bad?” She shook her head. “You really never have stepped out of your own smug, self-satisfied little head for a moment, have you? What do you think it was like for me, living with you and Dad and Sara, knowing what you all thought of me?”

“What’s she saying?” asked his mum.

“She’s saying she wouldn’t have got herself killed just to make Gran feel bad,” said Joe. “And that you all didn’t think much of her.”

“Well, that part’s true, anyway,” murmured his mum. She turned to the fireplace and addressed Georgia. “I certainly didn’t think much of you – not by the end. Tell Mum and Joe what you and Gideon got up to, that night you went into town.”

Georgia looked at the floor. “What night? We went into town lots of different nights. We were always getting up to things.”

“She wants to know what night you’re talking about,” said Joe.

“Come on, Georgia, you know the night I mean. Just tell them.” There was a long pause. “Is she saying anything?” asked his mum. Joe shook his head.

His mum turned to his gran and began to speak really slowly. “Do you remember the Moslem family who moved away? The Hosseins, who had two kids at the school?” His gran nodded. She looked worried. “Do you remember the systematic bullying they received, always anonymously? The graffiti, the pig’s head, the human excrement on the doorstep?” His gran nodded again, and his mum continued. “The nail in the coffin for them, according to their son Imran, who was in my class at school, was the fire bomb that came through the window one night and landed in his baby sister’s cot. By some amazing chance, she’d woken just minutes before and been taken into his parents’ bed. Perhaps she’d been disturbed by the sound of the vandals outside. Whatever it was, if she hadn’t woken, she would have died – they all might have done.” She turned to the spot where Georgia was standing.

“That was you, wasn’t it?”

Georgia shook her head. “No, it wasn’t, Sara. It really wasn’t. I’d never have done something like that.”

“She says it wasn’t her, Mum,” said Joe.

“But you were happy to leave a stinking message on the doorstep, weren’t you? Happy to write death threats and have them believe you’d be waiting somewhere with a knife, to slit their throats?”

Georgia was crying. Joe had never seen his mum so angry. Her face was red, and she looked like she’d have killed Georgia again if it hadn’t already been done for her.

“Mum, she says it wasn’t her.” he said again.

His mum stood up straight and her voice became quieter. Weirdly, this made her seem even more menacing. Without looking in Georgia’s direction, she said, “It was her,” and the contempt in her voice made Georgia cringe.

Georgia walked towards his mum. “Sara, it wasn’t me. You have to believe me. I did some of what you’ve said – the graffiti and… the pig’s head… but I’d never…”

“She’s standing next to you, Mum, on your left . She says she did some of the stuff, but wouldn’t have done that…”

“…She’s lying.”

His gran stood there, looking from one daughter to the other. At last she turned to his mum. “Sara, I really don’t think Georgia would have done something so awful as you describe.”

Georgia turned to her. “Really, Mum? Because the last time we met you gave the impression you thought I’d be capable of anything.”

There was a crash from another part of the house, and Joe held his breath. “What was that?” he said.

His mum and gran looked at each other, then Joe and his gran looked at Georgia. She wasn’t meeting anybody’s eye.

“Georgia,” said his gran. “What’s going on? What was that noise?”

She turned to face his gran and smiled. “I’m not going to tell you,” she said, and vanished.

The three of them hesitated. “We could run out of the house now,” said Joe.

“Or we could go and investigate,” said his mum. “It might not be anything to worry about. What does Georgia think?”

“She’s gone,” said Joe. “She wouldn’t tell us what made that noise.”

His mum turned to his gran. “What do you think we should do?” she asked. “Should we go and see what it is?”

“I don’t think we need to do anything,” his gran said.

“Why not?”

His gran was looking over Joe’s shoulder. “Because whatever it is has already come to see us,” she said.

There was a freezing wind, accompanied by a whirring sound, like the wings of a hundred flying beetles, then Joe felt himself being lifted off the floor and spun round and round like an old-fashioned spinning top. His arms were pinned against his body and he couldn’t breathe. There was a deep, hollow voice chanting, over and over,

“There will be retribution, there will be retribution, there will be retribution,” and all he could think was that this was it, he was going to die.

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