Young Betsy Knowleton
falls seriously ill at her parents' country cottage bemusing doctors about
what is fast sapping her young life.
Her Auntie Sheila Denfield calls for
help from psychic Riderstone Hunster who uncovers a tale of a hanged woman,
whose ghost seems to be targeting Betsy in an act of revenge for a past crime.
The race is on to save Betsy's life.
READ AN EXCERPT
In the lounge Riderstone saw flashes of silver. He tried to recognise shapes
in the silver, but nothing formed before him. Most of the scene was very dark
but this black backdrop was strafed with lines of swiftly dissolving silvery
light. It was like many fireworks high in the night sky rising then fizzling out
in the spit of soft rain.
He took a deep breath and attempted to concentrate on just one small space.
As his eyes became accustomed to the gloom, he realised this space was the
centre of the hearth. The faintest light afforded by the garden fire enabled him
to see it.
At first, he thought the traces of silver were merely self-created by his
eyes being thrust into the gloom after staring at bright fire flames. And yet
the vision persisted as time passed.
It concentrated his mind as a fist echoed in the distance, beating the
kitchen door and the voice of O’Branagh called his name.
Exactly how much time passed, he could not tell. But the beating on the door
and his rhythmic breaths served to measure time. He knew there had been a clock
audibly ticking in the room earlier but now it was silent.
The silver strands persisted for some time. Long enough for the beats of
O’Branagh’s fist to stop; long enough for the fire outside to die and the full
impenetrable veil of a cloudy night to plunge Five Jugs cottage into a deeper
Why, if the night had taken hold, was he still able to see these silver
flashes, rising and falling?
He shut his eyes and listened more intently, trying to attach a noise to the
As he did, a fresh gust of air brushed his nostrils and there was the
creaking sound of the kitchen door opening. O’Branagh’s whispered voice called
out his name.
Opening his eyes, he felt the brush of a furry animal pass him and saw a cat
heading for the hearth. Its shadowy form settled just in front of the fireplace.
He rose swiftly, eager to restrain O’Branagh at what might be a crucial
moment. But having sat for so long, he had forgotten about the room’s low beams.
As he stood up, he hit his head.
There was no time for a scream of pain, as the impact knocked him out.
he fell to the floor concussed, the flashes before him merged, exploding into a
mushroom of light and he saw figures beating a woman down, hitting her with
sticks and the butts of knives and swords, then dragging her by the hair as she
struggled, kicking and scratching at her attackers. A great pressure of air
rolled over him as the figures left the cottage, pulling their prey outside.
Then it felt as if he was rising up from the floor and could see through the
cottage wall as the figures moved up the slope away from the house. The hill top
flashed brightly and there was a sudden startling vision of a body kicking and
shaking as it dangled from a rope.
Suddenly, his face was drenched with cold water as he heard his name called.
He looked up and saw the grey moustache and concerned eyes of O’Branagh
brandishing a half empty jug of water.