Daisy Madigan's Paradise

When tragedy falls upon 15 year old Daisy Madigan, she escapes to the only place she feels safe, the cemetery of Abney Park. There, in the company of the dearly departed, she realizes she is changing, growing stronger and faster by the day. But in the darkness lurks a terror even she can't imagine facing.

Daisy Madigan's Paradise is a Morgan Sisters novella. Check out The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, the full length first novel in the series.

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1. Chapter 1

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Sitting at the front of the class before her classmates arrived, Daisy Madigan opened her arts coursework folder and pulled out a drawing she'd done at the weekend. Staring at it, she remembered how the lion had looked so peaceful, sleeping on the plinth in the park.

As the other kids started to noisily enter the room, she wished she could go back there and sit beneath it. It was her favourite statue at Abney Park. Nobody mocked her while she was there. Nobody cared that she had red curly hair. And freckles.

Once everyone had settled down, the usual routine began. Some of the kids began to throw things at her. Just little things so the teacher wouldn't notice. Rolled up pieces of paper, paper clips, broken erasers... Over the years she'd learned to ignore them. She just sat and listened to what the teacher had to say about the creative process of working with charcoal.

But before Mr. Parker had even finished his sentence, the door opened and in walked a woman in her late fifties with huge eyes and a short, sleek black bob. For some reason, she reminded Daisy of those little Lego people she'd played with as a child. Not that you could play with Mrs. Goodyear. She was the Headmistress.

Daisy watched as the middle aged woman seemed to avoid all eye contact with the pupils, instead, making a beeline for Mr. Parker. She didn't look happy. In fact, a certain sadness tinged her eyes.

Someone sniggered behind her and this time, a pencil whistled by Daisy's ear, landing on her desk before it rolled noisily on to the floor. It almost echoed in the room as everyone sat waiting quietly, wondering what was going on.

'Daisy?' asked Mrs Goodyear.

Surprised at hearing her own name, Daisy looked up to see both teachers looking at her sadly.

'Daisy, please gather your belongings together and come with me.'

Without a word, she did as she was told, the other kids sniggering and making lame jokes quietly behind her back.

'Silence!' shouted Mr. Parker as he banged his fists noisily on the desk in front of him, making poor little Amy Green nearly pee her pants.

Mr. Parker never shouted... not at anyone.

All the kids looked up in shock, even the big bullies who resided at the very back of the classroom. 'Leave the poor girl alone,' he said as Daisy gently closed the door behind her.

She glanced through the window and smiled at him gratefully before turning her attention back to Mrs. Goodyear.

'Please come with me, Daisy.'

The long walk down the corridor was like walking on death row. Had she done something wrong? They passed class upon class until they eventually arrived at the headmistress's office. It was the first time she'd ever found herself there. Glancing around, she wasn't particularly impressed by what she saw. It was a small, sparse room with nothing but several filing cabinets, a desk and a few chairs. The walls were painted stark white. Daisy shivered.

'Please sit down, Daisy.'

She swallowed quietly and pulled out the short wooden seat, lowering herself down before looking up. Mrs. Goodyear had taken a box of Kleenex from one of the drawers and placed it on the desk in front of her.

'Daisy, I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your mother has been in a terrible car accident. Your father rang from the hospital. He's organised for one of your neighbours to come and collect you, who should be arriving shortly to take you to the hospital.'

Daisy's head spun. Had she heard right? Her mum? An accident?

But before she had a moment more to let it sink in, Mrs Goodyear stood up as there was a knock at the door.

'Oh Daisy,' said a familiar voice. 'I'm so sorry love.'

Geoff from two door's down stood in the doorway, his large physique filling the frame.

'Mr. Smeeton?'

Geoff nodded. 'Aye,' he said as Daisy slowly lifted herself from the chair, bending back down to collect her school bag.

'Daisy, take all the time you need. I'll speak to your father over the next few days to sort things out.'

She nodded, her eyes glazed, not really understanding what was happening. Why couldn't her father have come for her?

'Come on, my love. I'll get you to the hospital as soon as possible,' said Geoff, in his broad Yorkshire accent.

oOo

'Dad?'

'Daisy?'

She rushed into his arms and he began to sob uncontrollably.

'Oh Daisy, Daisy,' he cried over and over again.

'Dad? Can I see her? Can I see Mum?'

Beau Madigan pulled away from his only daughter and looked down into her intense green eyes. She looked so much like her mother, he thought before he nodded and led her through the ICU. The smell turned her stomach. She didn't quite understand it at the time, but it smelled like death.

The moment she turned the corner and spotted her beautiful mother, Daisy let out a cry.

'Mum,' she sobbed, rushing to her side, almost falling to her knees by the side of the bed.

Her mother was only really recognisable by the tufts of bright red curly hair that stuck out from the bandage across her head. Her mouth and nose were full of tubes and where her normally happy freckled face should be was a swollen, pale bruised one instead.

Beau stood behind his daughter as tears poured down his cheeks.

'I should be able to do something,' he said. 'I should be able to help her. That's what I do, I'm a protector,' he muttered over and over again.

Turning to look at her dad, Daisy grabbed his hand, 'What? You couldn't do anything, Dad. It's not your fault.'

Beau momentarily glanced at her, but his eyes appeared to glaze over. 'No, my job. It was a protector. I should have protected her and now it's too late.'

'Dad? What are you talking about? It's not too late... she's going to get better. Mum's going to be fine.'

'Mr Madigan, please could you and your daughter move to the waiting room? We need some space in here,' said a petite young woman wearing scrubs.

Beau bent down and placed a gentle kiss on his wife's cheek, whispering something into her ear. But before Daisy knew what had happened, he'd rushed out of the room, leaving her to go and sit in the waiting room alone.

Leaning back against the green coloured wall, Daisy closed her eyes, trying to get the image of her mum out of her mind. She remembered what she'd looked like earlier that morning when she'd left for school. All smiley, smelling of Daisy perfume (which Beau had bought for her 35th birthday just a week ago) with her long curly hair half tied up. She was beautiful. Daisy smiled. She wanted to remember that image, nothing else.

'Daisy?'

Opening her eyes, she turned to face her mother. 'Mum!'

Sitting beside her was the beautiful woman who had raised her, looking exactly as she'd looked earlier that day.

'Mum... I don't understand.'

Esther Madigan smiled and reached out to gently stroke her daughter's cheek.

Daisy felt her warmth but not her touch.

'I want you to know how much I love you and your father. You mean the world to me and I'm so sorry that I have to leave you...'

'Mum, no,' whispered Daisy with a quivering bottom lip. 'You can't go. You're just a little banged up from the accident, that's all. You're going to be fine.'

But Esther shook her head, 'No Daisy. My body couldn't take it. I need you to be strong for you and for your dad, okay? You can get through this. I may not be here in body, but I will always be with you,' she said as she hovered her hand above Daisy's heart.

'Mum... please don't do this. Please don't go. Mum, I love you so much. We... we can't live without you.'

'Shhhh,' whispered Esther, 'Yes, you can. You're special, Daisy. I know Beau and I always told you that and you never believed us but you are. Very special. You got that from your father. You share something, the two of you. And something big is going to happen very soon. When it does, I need you to be strong. It's your destiny, Daisy,' Esther smiled as she slowly began to fade, her body becoming more and more transparent.

'Mum? Mum! No!' yelled Daisy grappling after her.

'Be strong, Daisy. Remember, I will always love you... your father too. Goodbye, my angel.'

Sobbing like she'd never sobbed before, Daisy could barely catch her breath as she listened to the doctors and nurses frantically working down the corridor, presumably trying to save the now lifeless body of her mother.

 

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