“Are you shy? You don’t have to be scared of me, I’m a little girl. My name is Felicity. As you are a ghost you may not be too surprised when I tell you that I’ve been a little girl for 176 years. I just don’t grow up. You can’t call me a ghost like you, because I’m substantial, solid, well, more solid than you, so come out and talk.”
“I’m not scared, I didn’t want to scare the bejesus out of you. My name is Josh, by the way, you know, biblical parents.”
“Do you think you are the only ghost here, Josh, well you’re not? I’ll call up the others soon and introduce you. It may take some time as this place has about 40 rooms and I can’t go through walls yet. Bits used to fall off the top of this place but as we are so far away from everyone, nobody got hurt. This doesn’t happen now, I’ve seen to it.
“My, but perhaps I should say our various warehouses, use the delivery drones to drop my supplies off on the concrete patch provided for them out front. We’ve got a couple of large drones ourselves. Although my insubstantial friends can just materialise at the sites for spying purposes, which I’ll tell you about soon, they love to pile onto them and be taken to the destination if it’s not too far. Anyway, tell me about yourself, Josh.”
“Actually, I was dropping by. Your place is listed on the Gothic List and I’m hitting them all, at least, the ones I find out about. I used to be a wildlife photographer but was sick of waiting for sometimes 3 days to get a shot of a bug emerging from a cocoon. However, I did like the travel, but I’d much rather have been photographing architecture, but there’s very little money in it. Hence, now I have another lease on life, well, it’s life to me, here I am. But your tale sounds much more interesting than mine, please elaborate.”
“Yes, it is an interesting tale, in fact, quite bizarre. Bodywise, I seem to be locked in at about 10 years of age. That’s when it appeared I stopped growing. I’ve never even had a period, I guess that’s a mixed blessing. However, fortunately my brain, or at least, I didn’t stop being able to understand things more and more.
“My parents were killed by a particularly touchy witch who had her nose put out of joint. They were experimenting with spells and inadvertently cast one that caused the broomstick of this one passing overhead to catch fire and burn up plonking her on her on the ground before she could get her wits about her. She was quite contrite at losing her temper afterwards and thought she was compensating by giving me whatever this is, 176 years so far. Still, I can’t say that I really lost my parents, they are still here. They mainly hang around in the East Wing which is a bit more 17th century and very much their bag. They venture out for my birthdays, I think to see what configuration I’m in. However, I don’t think they’ll expect me to doss with them when I drop this mortal coil. Maybe the witch gave me the full immortality bit. Of course, I won’t know, I guess, until it happens.”
“I take it you have no objection to me hanging around and meeting a few of your acquaintances, then.”
“Knock yourself out. The place is big enough and if you are here during the weekend you'll have a chance to meet most of the others. Most of them are out on projects in the business communities. I’d better put you in the picture because I suspect we are unique here, a cooperation between the living and the kind of dead. From the noise they make when we pull off a big deal, you’d say they are far from dead. We have fun.
“Back in the 1850s I was left, you could say, ‘high and dry.’ Fortunately at that time my parents had loads of dosh in the form of gold sovereigns, so many that I was able to carry on paying a small staff who kept silent about my youth and later on scared that I was a witch and would curse them if they talked to strangers about me.
“I was naturally bright and very articulate, but gradually they died off and I had to make other arrangements to survive in comfort. We’ve always had ghosts, mind you, but apart from a bit of clanking and rattling of chains at times they didn’t bother me or the staff.
"But when I was on my own I felt a bit lonely and started to call them up and I found I got on well with them. One thing that was brought to my attention by them was that if I was going to do my special brand of haunting the place, I’d better make sure this place stayed in existence, so we put our heads together.
“I guess you could say that we developed a unique form of corporate espionage. Skullduggery has always had its place in boardrooms and Men’s Club where the machinations of business were conducted and my boys and girls could do a good bit of what they call nowadays, insider trading from the overheard conversations. They'd give me the info and I'd short and buy as needed. We enjoy the game.
“This place had been left to me, naturally, by my parents and I was able to convince the very loose authorities of that time that the staff would look after me until I came of age. I was rich, I was left alone and communicated by letter to the lawyers and eventually to Stock Brokers. As you may guess, we made a fortune from the knowledge we had. Naturally, today we have our money stashed all over the world and with today's computer technology the world's our oyster.
“I’ve set our house up so that although it looks like it will become derelict sometime, it is actually in a good state of repair. I get a tradesman in when needed to make the crumbling look very safe and there’s not a leak in the place. My quarters inside have all the mod cons. I am self-sufficient and with the solar that is here, I could power a small village. I’ve managed to keep my presence here a secret from prying eyes so far, and if necessary I’ll electrify a barrier. I don’t need people, I’ve got my ghosts.”
“And now you’ve got me for a while, if you don’t mind. I’d like to get a handle on this ghosty business, I haven't been around very long in this form and I’m sure your guys and girls will fill me in.”
“You are welcome, they’ll enjoy your wildlife tales. They are a patient lot, they even like ‘Shaggy Dog’ stories, that’s how patient they are. Come, there are a couple from your era, you’ll possibly have something in common with them. They hang out in a luxury apartment next door. They say it feels more comfortable for them than with the armour and animal heads on the wall. They have made us umpteen millions since being here, as they were very familiar with the ‘hanky-panky’ of the finance world.”
“Speaking as someone that wants to take away the ladder now I’ve found you guys, I suggest you tell your fellow apparitions to stay stuum re your joint or you’ll have an invasion of us. Let the ‘old-school’ languish in the corridors of the 'Unstately' homes doing their woo wooing for the tourists. I personally have always fancied a bit of spying, not the ikky kind, mind you, real spying. Such as on the Lobbyists that grease the palms of our rulers. However, if you’ll have me here, I’ve got a tale of waiting 3 months for a once every hundred year cactus to bloom. I’ll give your guys a day by day account of it, that’ll make even the most ardent Shaggy Dog story devotee blanche.”
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