When the Sullivan family moves into their new home, no one realized it was haunted until Bailey saw the girl in the mirror.
A murder mystery ghost story for the young adult who enjoys a good tale.
your Signed copy today!Chapter Two
Bailey Sullivan and the Girl in the Mirror by Chris Barrett
Sunlight poured in through the kitchen window, making the whole room almost too bright to take. She sat at the kitchen table with her special cup in front of her. An open bottle of juice sat on the table beside a box of cheese-and-bacon flavoured crackers. There were also a block of cheese, a cutting board, a small plate and a sharp paring knife. She was cutting thin squares of cheese from the block, fitting them onto the crackers and arranging them just so on the plate.
A sound made her look up from her snack. She frowned, listening hard. The sound came again. Something outside? She got up from her chair with the knife still in her hand, and went toward the back door. There it was again! It sounded like a puppy crying for attention. She opened the door and went into the back porch. The screened windows were open and a warm summer breeze blew through the bright room. The sound came again, a little louder. It had to be a puppy, but whose?
She opened the door that led to the back yard. The smell of the lilac hedge between her yard and the neighbour’s filled the air. She stood at the top of the three steps and breathed in the lilac scent, almost forgetting why she had come out in the first place. The puppy whined again and she jumped down to the flagstone patio.
“Here, puppy,” she called in a soft voice. She made kissy sounds to call the pup to her. It sounded as if it were along the side of the yard, under the lilacs or the roses, maybe. She hoped not the roses; the thorns could be vicious. They had clawed her arms more than once when she head helped choose flowers to put in the vase on the dining table.
The sounds led her along the edge of the yard, past the lilacs and yes, to the rose bushes. The puppy was definitely under the roses. She got down on her hands and knees and called softly, “Here, puppy, pup, pup, pup.”
It made happy noises and she peered into the gloom beneath the leafy branches. “There you are! How did you get there?” On her belly, she crawled toward the pup. She could see a rope around his neck and thought it might have gotten caught on the thorns of the rose bush. As she got closer, the pup moved away, looking as if it were being dragged a little bit at a time.
“I’m almost there,” she said. “Don’t run away.” She reached out to the pup, her whole body now under the rose bushes. A hand grabbed her wrist. She screamed and struck out with the knife in her other hand. A man’s voice shouted and the hand let her go long enough to hit the knife out of her grip. She tried to wriggle back and away, but the thorny branches grabbed her clothes and hair. She screamed again. The hand closed around her arm and pulled her forward. Something struck her forehead and she saw stars.
Suddenly, she was dragged out from under the bush on the other side. She looked up at the face of the man who gripped her so tightly. Blue eyes bored into hers. “I know you!” she said and saw his fist coming at her face.
Bailey sat up in bed, a cry caught in her throat. She flailed at her blankets and almost fell on the floor. “Ahh! Ahh!” Light filtered in from a neighbour’s back porch light. The unfamiliar room did nothing to relieve the terror brought on by the nightmare, and for a few moments she couldn’t remember where she was. She groped for the lamp on the bedside table and turned it on. When she saw the boxes and bags scattered around the mostly bare room, the memory of the move came back.
“Okay. I’m in my own room. I had a bad dream. That’s all.” She went to a box marked “special toys” and opened it, looking for the biggest bear she could find. She knew it was a babyish thing to do, but Sebastian had always been a source of comfort for her. He had belonged to Nana and had come to Bailey after Nana died. Climbing back into bed, she sat against the headboard, pulled the blankets up to her waist and clutched Sebastian. Her heart felt as though it was actually banging against her ribs. For a few minutes, she thought about going into her mother’s room and climbing into bed, but at twelve, she ought to be able to survive a nightmare by herself. Not that she was in a hurry to go back to sleep any time soon. If she went back into that dream she would never want to sleep again.
“Maybe a snack would help,” she thought. “Maybe hot chocolate.” She got out of bed, put on her slippers and with Sebastian in tow, headed out into the hallway. There was a light switch at the top of the back stairs and she switched it on. Even though the house still had that stark just-moving-in look, the light was a definite boost to her morale. She went down to the kitchen, where the light over the stove gave enough light to show the wall switch. Charlotte always left the stove light on at night in case anyone needed it. Bailey used to think it was a stupid thing to do, but tonight she was grateful for it.
She got down a mug, added the hot chocolate mix and milk and put it in the microwave oven to heat. Cinnamon toast would be just the thing to go with cocoa. When her snack was ready, she took it to the kitchen table and sat down. Sebastian sat in the chair across the table from her. She looked at him. “You know, this almost looks like the kitchen in my dream,” she said. She looked around. The microwave was in a different place, and the curtains had been blinds in the dream. The cupboard doors were a little different and the appliances and table weren’t the same, but the room itself, its shape and the doors and windows, were identical. Even the floor matched. She ate her toast, studying the kitchen.
“I wonder.” She got up, moved Sebastian to a different seat and sat down in his chair. If the table were moved a little to the right, she would be in the exact same spot she had been in the dream. She turned her head to the right and looked at the windows that looked out into the enclosed porch. The porch took up three-quarters of the back wall of the house and had obviously been built as an open one. A previous owner had enclosed it, put in big windows with screens to keep out summer bugs and left the kitchen windows to let in light from the porch.
Bailey held the mug of hot chocolate between her hands, which had gone suddenly cold. “This is creepy,” she said. She glanced around the room again and this time caught sight of the cup she had found earlier. A shiver ran down her spine. It was the cup of her dream. “Well of course I dreamed about that,” she said aloud to Sebastian. “Mum got all weird and no one is talking about whoever lived here before. No wonder I had a creepy dream.” She looked at the door which led to the porch, then back to the bear. “But you know what? I’m not going to go look at the yard until it’s good and light out. No sirree, bub.” She finished her snack, put the dishes in the sink and carried Sebastian back up to her room.
She lay awake for what felt like a long time before she fell into a dreamless sleep.