The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw
Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realise there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined.
Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural.
At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.

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Lightning shattered the darkness. Not even Emma's thick purple quilt could shut out the light as it filtered through to her closed eyelids. A low echo of rumbling thunder made its way across the North Sea towards Andilyse Island and she shivered. Suddenly something landed on top of her head and she shrieked. The sounds of laughter emanated from the bed across the room.

'Lana, you cow,' shouted Emma as she threw back the covers and tossed the pillow back at her sister who just shook her head and giggled.

'It's only a storm. There's nothing to be scared of.'

'There is everything to be scared of,' she replied as she cowered beneath the quilt again.

'Oh come on, Sis. We're quite safe in here. This house has been standing for hundreds of years, it's not like it's going to collapse is it?'

'It nearly did the last time,' Emma croaked.

'That was like sixty years ago, Em, and none of the houses collapsed. The only thing that took the brunt of the storm was the pier.'

'And the church.'

'Exactly. None of the houses. Stop being such a coward. You're fifteen! It's a storm, it's rain, it's not the end of the world.'

'It was for all those poor people.'

'Oh stop being so dramatic. Things were different back in the 50s, Em. We're safe, now stop worrying.'

The sound of the front door slamming downstairs made both girls jump. Emma glared at Lana before they both hopped out of bed and ran to their bedroom door which they opened, looking down over the banister.

'Dad?'

Peering up at them from the bottom of the stairs stood an attractive grey-haired man in his early 50s, taking off his soaking coat.

'Shhh, we don't want to wake Greg and Lucy,' he said as he summoned them downstairs.

'Oh Patrick, they should be in bed too,' whispered a voice from the kitchen as the two girls skipped down to find out what was going on.

'You know what they're like, Audrey,' he said as he hung his dripping coat on the stand in the hallway. Tutting, his wife promptly removed it and placed it in the sink in the downstairs cloakroom before going back to give him a kiss.

'What's happened, Dad?' asked Emma as she sat huddled up to her sister on the bottom step. A clap of thunder made her jump and she shivered, her eyes wide open with apprehension. Lana rolled her eyes and put her arm protectively around her sister.

'Let's have a cup of cocoa,' Audrey said, recognising the look on her husband's face. There was bad news.

While they waited for the milk to heat up on the stove, Lana went into the lounge looking for candles as the lights continued to flicker, constantly threatening to go out for good.

'I've found some,' she said, setting them down on the kitchen table with a box of matches, 'just in case,' she smiled. 'So what's going on, Dad? Why did you have to go out so late?'

'He's the Chief Constable... it's his job,' answered their mother as she poured steaming milk into the four mugs, before stirring them as quietly as she could.

Lana stood beside her, adding a spoonful of sugar to her own mug before passing the calming drinks to her family, who stood sipping the chocolatey goodness silently for a moment.

Rubbing his forehead, Patrick put his cocoa down on the table just as the rain began to clatter loudly on the roof tiles.

'Oh no,' whispered Emma as she pulled her feet up towards her bottom and rocked back and forth in her seat.

Patrick put his hand on her shoulder, 'it's okay sweetheart. It's just a storm, it'll pass. Everything will be all right.'

'Well then why did you have to go out in it, Dad?' she asked.

'I was called out to the old Grimshaw farm... Josiah was seen wandering close to the pier again.'

'What? In this weather? Does he have a death wish?' said Lana without thinking as her mother tutted, glancing towards Emma. 'Did you find him? Is he okay?'

'I'm afraid he's nowhere to be seen. And in these conditions, it's impossible to send out a search party. We can't send out the lifeboat without risking the lives of everyone else, I'm afraid. He's a silly old man, he should never have been left alone in this storm. Everyone on the island knows how it affects him.'

Audrey patted her husband's hand, 'there'd be no stopping him, love. He's just looking for her.'

'Well, maybe he's finally got his wish.'

'Daddy?' said an innocent child's voice from the stairs.

'Oh we've woken the kids,' said Audrey as she stood up and went to check on her two younger children.

'Hey sweetheart. Sorry we woke you. Come on, let's go back to bed,' she said to her family. 'There's nothing we can do now. We should all try and get some sleep.'

#

'You awake, Sis?' asked Lana later that night.

'Of course I am. There's no way I can sleep in this,' said Emma as she snuggled deep into her quilt.

'It'll be over soon.'

'I hope so, it's been going on for hours. I just hope old Mr. Grimshaw is okay.'

'Yeah I know. Do you know why he was out?'

'No, I haven't got a clue who he's looking for. I was going to ask Mum before Lucy came down.'

'We'll find out tomorrow. Try and sleep, Em,' Lana said as she rolled over and closed her eyes.

Emma let out a deep sigh and pulled the cover back over her head. ''Night Lana.'

The next morning Emma sighed as she peered over the edge of the cliffs towards the view below, wondering if Mr Grimshaw had been found yet.

The beach was scattered with pieces of driftwood, big and small, and masses of seaweed covered the expanse of sand and pebbles. The calmness of it all belied the furious storm that had battered the island the night before.

Squinting, a breath halted in her throat as she spotted something unusual among the debris. 'Oh my God,' she whispered as she turned back up the garden path to the house and ran as fast as she could, shouting, 'Dad! Dad!...'

Patrick appeared from the back door, putting on his coat, his eyebrows knitted together, 'What is it? What, love?' he asked as she bounded towards him.

'There's someone... someone on the beach. It looks like a body, Dad.'

'Stay here love,' he asserted as he ran towards the cliff edge to take a look.

Sure enough, there was a body strewn on the sand below. It wasn't moving.

'Is it Mr Grimshaw, Dad?' she cried from beside him.

'Emma, you mustn't see this. Go back indoors, tell your mother what's going on and then stay put.'

Pulling out a mobile phone from his inside pocket, Patrick called for an ambulance as he began the climb down the steep path that led directly to the beach. Emma, who had quickly run inside and told her mother what was going on, soon appeared, following closely behind.

'Emma!' he said, 'go home.'

But his daughter confidently shook her head, 'I'm not a child any more, Dad, I'm fifteen and I'm coming. You might need help.'

Shaking his head, he said, 'At least stay behind me. You shouldn't have to see this.'

She nodded as they reached the bottom of the cliff and ran towards the body.

As Patrick checked for signs of life, Emma couldn't resist peering at the pale young man whose dark brown hair was plastered across his forehead and closed eyes. He wore a dark blue velvet trimmed suit jacket, a shirt that was once perhaps white and loose fitting black trousers with black leather brogues, all of which were soaked through and ripped in places. Little pieces of drying seaweed were dotted all over him.

'Is he... is he... dead, Dad?'

'He has a pulse,' said Patrick, 'it's weak though. Come quickly Audrey, he's still breathing!' he yelled as he spotted his wife climbing down the pathway with her medical kit.

'I've spoken to the ambulance and they're almost here...' she said, out of breath, 'mind out the way, love and let me have a look at him. Do you know who he is?' she asked as Patrick and Emma stepped back in order to let her do her job.

'Never seen him before. Do you recognise him, Emma?' he asked as she shook her head.

'Patrick, the ambulance is arriving over at the far end of the beach. They might need a hand getting the vehicle a little closer. Can you go and give them a hand? We're okay here, love. Emma can help me.'

Emma's eyes widened as she looked at her mother and she gulped.

'Help me with this love,' she said while Patrick ran to the other end of the beach. 'Emma, I need your help with this,' she repeated.

Crouching down, Emma did as she was told and held the boy's head in place while Audrey inspected him for injuries.

'Well I can't see any visible wounds to the body but that's not to say he doesn't have any internal injuries. We need to keep his head and spine perfectly still until they bring the stretcher. His breathing is very slow. What happened to this poor boy?' she said more to herself than to Emma. 'It's okay now, love, you can let go. I've got him.'

Emma released the boy's head and swallowed hard as she returned her arms to her side, but just as she did so, he suddenly moved and grabbed hold of her.

Gasping, Emma jumped and froze.

'Mum,' she cried as the boy's eyes opened wide and he looked right at her.

'Shhh,' said Audrey, 'it's all right, dear. You're safe now. Please stay still. Can you tell me your name?' she asked softly.

The boy said nothing, he just continued to stare at Emma who began to fidget nervously.

'Em, calm down please. You must be calm for our patient.'

The boy's grip on her arm strengthened and she looked down at it, wondering what to do.

The arrival of the ambulance crew solved her problem, as they swiftly and carefully attended to him, placing him on the stretcher and carrying him back towards the ambulance. As he was placed into the vehicle, the boy suddenly groaned, before he yelled out, 'Em!'

Audrey looked at her daughter, 'I thought you didn't know him?' she asked.

'I don't, I've never seen him before. I don't know him, Mum, honestly I don't.'

'Em!' he yelled again, struggling against the equipment that was keeping him in place.

'Emma, you're going to have to come along for the ride. If having you here is the only way to calm him down, then so be it,' said Jeff, one of the Medics.

Audrey nodded and ushered her inside, before she went to close the doors behind them.

'But Mum?' she said.

'There's no buts. We need to get this boy to the hospital as soon as possible, you're going with him.'

'Tell Lana where I am, please. Tell her to come.'

Audrey nodded to her daughter, finally closed the door and the ambulance began to drive away, with the boy gripping on to Emma's hand.

 

 

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