Deathwalker

Since the death of her mother, fifteen-year-old Grace's life has been turned upside down. And now her father has sent her to a boarding school in the middle of the English countryside.

Oh, and she may or may not be seeing spirits of the dead.

Grace soon realises that she’s not the only student on campus who can see ghosts.

When she and her new roommate, Kasia, see the spirit of a little girl roaming the hallways, the two of them try to piece together the mystery of her death. But at what cost to their own lives?

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4. Three

I couldn’t believe it.

There was a guy standing merely meters away from me who could see the same misty, transparent figure of the motorcyclist whose body was currently being place into a body bag.

Someone else could see him. And that meant I wasn’t crazy.

Brimming with excitement, I wanted to run out from my hiding place amongst the trees, but I stayed to listen for a moment.

 “Y-you can see me?” the motorcyclist stuttered. “Am I dead?”

I could see the guy roll his eyes. “Your body has just been zipped away in a bag, not breathing. What do you think?”

He watched as the motorcyclist’s eyes widened. Even from behind the cover of the trees, I could see the emotions flashing across his face. Confusion, fear, bewilderment.

“So, what is it then?” the guy asked. The motorcyclist blinked at him. “What’s keeping you here, what’s left unfinished?”

“My life!” he called out in reply. “My life was left unfinished! I shouldn’t be dead!”

“Yeah, yeah, they all say that,” the guy replied. “But you’re dead and that’s not going to change, so let’s just figure out why you’re still here.”

The motorcyclist looked traumatised. I was pretty sure that had he been alive, he probably would’ve collapsed. Can ghosts collapse? I didn’t even know and I wasn’t going to wait to find out.

That was when I stepped out from the trees. This poor man had just died and discovered his own dead body. I couldn’t imagine what that must be like. What he needed right now was to be calmed down, not to be left feeling more terrified.

“Are you trying to help the guy,” I said as I approached the two of them. “Or are you trying to cause a nervous breakdown?” Now it wasn’t just the motorcyclist who looked confused.

The guy in front of me narrowed his eyes. “Who are you?”

I ignored him and focused my attention on the ghost. “What’s your name?”

“Joe,” he told me. “My name is Joe.”

“Hi, Joe,” I greeted. “I’m Grace. Now, where were you going when you…uh…crashed?” I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that the other guy was trying to find out why Joe was a ghost. Was he trying to help him? Whatever he was doing, he obviously did it a lot because he had looked completely unfazed when he approached Joe.  

“I was…” A look of realisation spread across Joe’s face. “I was going to tell my wife that I was sorry!”

“Sorry for what?” asked the guy, who was still staring at me with narrowed eyes.

“I cheated on her, last year. We’ve been apart ever since and I—”

“I don’t need the details. Where does your wife live?”

“Only about five minutes away,” said Joe.

“Well, lead the way,” said the guy, motioning for Joe to step in front of him. Joe looked ahead at the remaining police that surrounded the wrecked motorcycle before heading towards the trees. “You can go now,” the guy said to me before turning to follow Joe. I couldn’t believe the nerve of him.

Needless to say, I didn’t have any intention of going.

“You go to Oak Hill, don’t you? You almost dislocated my shoulder in the main hall earlier,” I reminded him. He ignored me. “Do you have a name?” Ignored me again. “Your charming personality just drips off of you—”

“Luca!” he called out. “My name is Luca, and you really need to be going now.”

“I’m not going anywhere until I get some answers.”

He turned, looking confused. “What answers?”

I stared at him wildly. “About all of this.” I pointed at Joe, who was still walking slightly ahead of us. “He’s dead, right? Why can I see him? Why can you see him?”

Luca rolled his eyes at me and continued to walk. “Go home and watch The Sixth Sense. Trust me, it’s useful.”

I huffed and continued to follow him through the trees, Joe glowing slightly in the darkness. I couldn’t believe I’d actually communicated with one. A ghost, I mean. I’d been seeing them for almost a year now and had done nothing but avoid them. Maybe this was why I was seeing them; maybe I had to help them? It hadn’t occurred to me to help them before because it seemed so horribly cliché.

It was a few minutes before we came out of the trees and stepped back onto the country lane, way past the wreckage of the motorcycle collision.  

“It’s just up here,” Joe called out, pointing to a small cluster of houses up a hill ahead.

We continued to follow the path until we reached a small cottage. “It’s this one,” Joe informed us, standing at the foot of the garden. “So what now?”

“I knock on the door and tell her you’re sorry for cheating on her,” Luca told him.

“What?” I asked incredulously. That was his big master plan? “You can’t just knock on this poor woman’s door and tell her you’ve spoken to her dead husband. She doesn’t even know he’s dead yet.”

“She’s right,” Joe agreed. “My wife will never believe you. And besides, she’s not home, her car’s gone.”

Luca looked extremely irritated at this point. “What would you suggest then, genius?”

I glowered at him. “Do you have any paper?”

Luca raised his eyebrows. “Paper?”

“Never mind, I have a notebook.” I rummaged around in my handbag. A moment later, I pulled out a pad and pen. I handed them to Joe but they fell right through his outstretched hand and landed on the floor.

“Well, he is a ghost,” said Luca. “What did you expect?”

I shot him a glare whilst I retrieved the notebook and removed the lid from the pen. “What do you want to say to your wife? I’ll write it for you and then we can pop it through the letterbox.”

A few minutes later I was sitting on the pavement, writing down an apology to Joe’s wife whilst Luca stood there shaking his head, convinced that the idea was stupid.

An old man passed us by as I was reading the letter back to Joe to make sure I’d gotten everything right. He stared at me, confused.

“We’re practicing for a play,” Luca said with a laugh, waving the old man off. “Will you hurry up before we attract any more attention?”

“There, all done.” I stood up and walked through the gate towards the front door, tearing out the pages and posting them through the letterbox. I turned around in time to see a pair of headlights appear as a car approached the house.

“That’s her car!” Joe said hurriedly.

I panicked and got out of the garden as quickly as possible. Luca beckoned me behind a wall, where the hedges provided a hiding place for the pair of us.

“You really think this is going to work?” he whispered.

We watched the woman exit the car and make her way to the front door. Joe’s expression softened when he saw her. He tried to reach out, but then remembered she wouldn’t feel him.

She unlocked the door and bent down to pick up the folded paper that was waiting for her on the welcome mat. She stayed standing in the doorway as she opened the pages. As she started reading, she stepped further inside the house and closed the door behind her.

After a few moments, I saw a flash of light from the corner of my eye and looked towards Joe, who was still standing at the foot of the garden. The light was coming from him.

“What’s happening?” I asked frantically.

“It worked,” Luca replied. “He’s moving on.”

We watched as the white light, which started in Joe’s middle, spread across his body until it covered him entirely, and a second later it was all over. No light and no ghost. I couldn’t believe it. My letter trick had actually worked.

“What happened? Where is he now?” I asked Luca.

He shook his head. “You’re asking questions I can’t answer.”  

I turned to look at him properly. I felt like I’d barely had a moment to think since coming across the ghost of Joe. Now, though, crouched down behind a garden wall, with a faint porch light adding a little brightness, I took in the dark, messy mop of hair on his head, complimented by coffee coloured skin. He looked familiar.

“Are you going to explain any of this to me,” I started, “or do I have to go back to school and watch all the ghost movies I can find?”

At the mention of school, Luca pulled his phone from his pocket and stood up. “Are you coming back, or what?”

I sighed and followed him. I had no idea where we were or how to get back, but Luca seemed to remember the way. I had to jog to keep up with him. Did students at Oak Hill always walk this fast?

“So, how long have you been seeing…dead people?” I asked, trying to fight back the laughter at how I was seriously trying to discuss ghosts.

He turned to look at me through eyelashes that were way too pretty. “You really don’t have any idea, do you?”

I shook my head. “Up until today, I was almost certain I was partly crazy.”

Even though I’d come to the conclusion that I was seeing ghosts; I still hadn’t fully believed that they were there. The fact that someone else could see what I could was so relieving, even if he wasn’t particularly friendly and generally unapproachable.

“Do some research. I’m sure Google will give you plenty of answers.”

“Can’t you just tell me?”

“It’s not my job,” he snapped. “Who even are you, anyway?”

“I told you, I’m Grace.”  

“Yeah, but you’re not from around here, are you?”

We were walking through the trees again. We could still see the blue lights of the police cars on the road.

“No, I’m from London,” I said, thinking about what Becca, my best friend from back home, would be doing right now. I made a mental note to Skype her later. Hopefully, Kasia wouldn’t be around whilst I did. “My dad had to take a job in New Zealand, so we decided it would be a good idea for me to come here.”

“We,” Luca looked at me, one brow raised, “or just your father?” I ignored him. Was it that obvious that I didn’t really want to be here?

We walked the rest of the way back to school in silence. I had so many questions throwing themselves around in my brain, but I got the feeling Luca wasn’t willing to answer any of them. He barely even wanted to be around me right now, let alone talk to me.

It didn’t take us much longer to get back to the school. We heard the caretaker’s voice before we even reached the gates.

“Lucian, you were due back twenty minutes ago!” he shouted, red faced.

“I’m sorry Mr. Bailey,” said Luca innocently. “I was helping a dear old lady cross the street.”

The caretaker crossed his arms. “Wasn’t that one of the many excuses you used last year?”

Luca grinned at him before strolling into the school grounds. I quickly followed so that Mr. Bailey could close the gates behind us.

“Watch out for that one,” he warned as I passed. “He’s a whole lot of trouble.”

Luca was rushing off ahead so I called him back. He sighed before he turned to me.

“Where do I start?” I asked. He simply blinked. “Where do I start looking for answers? Because I’m assuming you found answers, somewhere.” Still, he didn’t say anything. I was getting riled up now. His total lack of willingness to even explain any of this was annoying. “You can’t just leave me clueless.”

“Grace?”

I looked past Luca to see Kasia standing with one hand on her hip, watching the two of us. Luca didn’t even turn around as she approached. “I see you’ve met my brother.”

 

 

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