Once inside they stood, hands shading their eyes from the fading sun, and looked around. Mr Cox, his teacher, had told him off in front of the class, twice. The sun had gone in, and it had turned cold, cold enough for Jason to stir himself. He opened his eyes, scratched his head and rubbed his hands together to warm them up.
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But apart from the sound of wind rustling through leaves on the tree, and the pitter-patter of a mouse scurrying from behind an upturned rubbish bin, there was neither sight nor sound of Wayne or anything else; it was creepy. Jason gave a shrill whistle, but there was no reply, nothing. He tried again, still no response. He was fuming, and muttering under his breath what he would do the next time he saw him.
He was just about to step through, when he heard someone calling his name. He stopped and listened. A mouse vigorously sorted through the rubbish looking for titbits, and the tree still shook its leaves. It was followed by a violent bout of coughing and sneezing.
He had no idea where to start looking. The waste ground covered a large area, big enough to build a supermarket on, if the rumours were true. He dropped to his knees and pressed his ear to the ground. Finally a bout of coughing, louder than any he had heard before, convinced him Wayne really was directly beneath where he was kneeling. He needed to stretch his legs because they were aching from so much crawling around and he had the beginnings of cramp. If anything, it made them worse, but as stamping had cured his cramp once before, he tried again, only this time he stamped much harder.
The earth shook and a noise like the rumble of thunder filled the air. Jason thought it was an earthquake; he wanted to run, but his legs refused to move. He watched in horror as the ground beneath him began to crumble away. He screamed, afraid he was falling to his death. Grappling, snatching, clawing, he tried to save himself but it was no use. Sliding, rolling, tumbling, he plummeted ever deeper into the jaws of a yawning black hole.
Back to Jason Sinks to a New Low. The Haunting of Bramble Briar. Now there were only the two; Wisteria Cottage had been sold the day prior to my visit. The Anvil once belonged to the village blacksmith, so the estate agent informed me; hence its name. It was well-maintained and came with two outbuildings and a stable, but as I had no intentions of buying a horse, or starting a riding school, I turned down the invitation to view. It was also a tad outside of my price range. The outdated sepia photograph in the estate agent window showed Bramble Briar, years before, with a thatched roof.
Now it was slate. However, I was soon to learn more. Both men had spent more time standing around gossiping and smoking than getting on with the job, and as I was paying by the hour, I was getting impatient. Minutes later I handed the steaming beverages over to the men; half an hour later, they decided to pick up where they had left off. I assured him I did and plonked myself down on the vacated chair before he had time to.
He took the hint, and went back to help cart the last of the boxes from the furniture van. The cheque I made out for the exact amount, no tip included. Mumbling something definitely not complimentary when I handed it over, the men clambered into the removal van and drove off, gears grating. The day was half gone, and I had a lot to do before I could take a break. A job that should have taken the removal men no more than three hours at the most, had been dragged out to four. I was glad to see them go. That night I slept the sleep of the dead. No sooner had my head touched the pillow than I was off, out like a light.
I awoke the next day to the sound of the morning chorus, feeling refreshed and ready to start work. The sun shone, I was in a good mood and it promised to be a lovely day. What could possibly go wrong? After a breakfast of tea toast and marmalade, I decided to take a walk in the back garden before getting dressed for the day. Apart from the graveyard and the ruins of a church, there was no other property nearby. I trod carefully down the overgrown, weed-covered cinder path, to the wall that separated my property from the church graveyard.
Everything looked peaceful—a stone angel, hands folded in prayer, stood no more than a foot away from where I was standing. Tombstones, lichen-covered, many at sloped angles, dozed peacefully in the early morning sunlight. Admitting defeat, I made my way round to the front hoping to gain entry that way.
No such luck, the door was firmly bolted as I knew it would be; I was locked out and had no idea how I could get in. I plonked down on the front doorstep and sat head-in-hands trying to find a solution to my problem. Time dragged and there was nothing I could do but sit and wait. The sun had gone in and rain threatened. I was just giving up hope of anyone passing by when I heard a car coming down the lane.
The vehicle slewed to one side, narrowly missing me, before coming to a halt. The driver was the village postman, looking shaken and none too happy as he walked towards me. I explained what the trouble was and asked if he could help me in any way. It took him less than two seconds to open the back door, pressing down the latch and pushing it open with one finger.
I felt like an idiot. Back to Bramble Briar. James checked his appearance in the bathroom mirror and rubbed his chin considering whether or not he should run his electric shaver over it one more time. Deciding there was no need; he pulled a comb from his pocket and carefully teased it through his mop of unruly curls. He smiled, showing a set of perfect teeth; satisfied at last with the image that stared back at him from the looking glass, he left the room.
Downstairs in the kitchen, the meal he had spent most of the afternoon preparing was ready, apart from one or two final touches. The dining table was set for three. Crystal glasses sparkled on a white damask tablecloth next to bone-handled stainless steel cutlery. A bottle of Chateau-neuf-du-Pap stood uncorked, allowing it to breathe and come up to room temperature.
He fussed with the serviettes that had been folded to resemble water lilies, checked the condiments to make sure they were all full. Satisfied at last, he stood hands on hips and surveyed it with approval. Tonight everything had to be perfect—nothing must go wrong. All he had to do now was wait for his parents to arrive. A grandfather clock that took pride of place in the room ticked hollowly, the pendulum swinging hypnotically.
James checked the time with his Rolex: He watched as his father, ever the gentleman, got out and rushed round to the other side of the car to open the door for his wife. She took pride in her appearance, never a hair out of place, and kept up with the latest trends in fashion. Her hobbies were reading, the theatre and travel; she could also hold her own in any discussion on politics or current affairs.
She led a full and satisfying life, and both James and his father were justly proud of her. With his dark hair and blue eyes, James took after his father, but that is where the similarity ended. When James opened the door to welcome his parents, his mother gave him a hasty peck on the cheek and pushed past him. She nodded approvingly at the cream leather suite with its carefully arranged myriad of cushions. I remember you buying her that lovely blue handbag.
Back to His Father's Son. At age nineteen, with a mop of unruly auburn hair, green eyes and wolf-whistle figure, Sapphire Brent had everything going for her. She worked in the offices of Cartwell and Sons, a family-operated Insurance Company of long standing. Her longest friendship to date was Mandy, a girl she worked with.
Most Fridays, the girls went to the local cinema after work, something that had started as a one-off, but had somehow grown into a regular thing. Mandy stood staring into space, face clouded with disappointment. Sapphire, feeling a rare moment of compassion, caved in. Regardless of all the faults, the Estate Agent could tell the woman was interested, and he was desperate to get rid of the property, for it had been on his books for far too long. Look on it as an investment. The man rubbed his chin as if considering the idea, then shook his head.
Hands thrust in pockets, he ambled over to where his mother was standing and stared up at her. Anne ignored him; she had too much on her mind, enough problems of her own to contend with. She was a woman on her own with two broken relationships behind her and two children to look after. Martin, with his dark hair and brown eyes, took after his father. He was a serious child, doing well at school. The girl spent more time playing truant than attending classes; fair skinned, blue eyed and blonde, she was the exact opposite of her brother. You can catch a later train, or a bus from there.
Sullen-faced, they clambered in the car and sat tight-lipped, arms folded, on the back seats. Back to The Anvil Ghosts. With his longer than average tail draped over one arm, perched nonchalantly on a bag of corn, he surveyed the motley crowd that had gathered for one of his storytelling evenings. The vole scurried away into a dark corner of the barn.
So, Patrick, Guido and myself decided to keep an eye on the place for the good man.
Jason and the Corner Shop Mystery
Naturally we rewarded ourselves for the good deed, by sampling a few drops of spillage from his vats. Myself, I only had a wee sup. But Guido, his mother being one of those that came over on the boats, had a liking for the stuff and got legless. But I was in a better state than the pair of youse. From the rest of the barn there was no sound.
Those who had not heard the story before waited for its conclusion with baited breath. This set the dog barking, a wolfhound that bayed like the very hound of the Baskervilles. Back to Irish Mouse Tales. The house was not only quiet, it was unnaturally quiet; no sound of snoring coming from his sisters room or creaking of the cot, from the nursery where little Emily Louise slept.
Jason tossed back the duvet and glanced round the room—it was bathed in beams of moonlight that danced high on the walls and cast shadows in the dark recesses. He got out of bed, padded over to the window, opened it and looked out. At first he saw nothing unusual, nothing different; then from the corner of his eye he noticed a movement. The hairs on his arms quivered as if under attack from static electricity, his heart began to pound erratically and he felt weak at the knees.
For a fraction of a second, Jason thought he was going to pass out, but when the wave of dizziness slowly passed, he knew he was going to be all right. Nerves stretched to breaking point, Jason trembled uncontrollably; he could taste the fear and broke out in a cold sweat. Someone, or something, was in the house, in the bedroom—his bedroom—and he could hear it breathing. Jason refused to open his eyes and plugged his ears with his fingers. Finally however, curiosity got the better of him and with eyes narrowed, he peered out from behind the duvet.
Hair blacker than deepest midnight streamed out from beneath a conical shaped hat. He scrambled into his jeans, pulled a T-shirt over his head and pushed his feet into his trainers. Less than a split second later there was a whooshing blast, and a broomstick with a man cloaked in black sitting astride it whizzed in through the open window and skidded clumsily to the carpeted floor. The newcomer got to his feet, shook himself, and stood looking around.
I can assure you. He looked for something to write on; a school jotter he been doing his homework in was on the bedside table, so he picked it up and tore a page out. Now stop wasting time and climb up on the broomstick behind Bertie. Jason shook his head. Jump on the broomstick behind Bertie. Fork lightning streaked across the sky and through the open window Jason caught sight of the second broomstick dipping and diving, countless coloured sparks trailing in its wake.
Seconds later the three of them, on broomsticks that seemed to have grown in size, were swooping and diving over gardens and rooftops as they headed toward Canal Cottages. Back to Jason Spells it Out.
Jason and the Corner Shop Mystery by Violetta Antcliff on Apple Books
Rock, rock, went the old chair, wearing away the last vestige of pile from the faded carpet. Alice had inherited the chair when her mother had passed away many years ago. She, along with her sister Mildred and brother George had all been rocked in it as babies. Remembered how she had rocked him through teething troubles and sleepless nights. The old cat she now rocked in place of her baby answered with a low, rumbling belly purr and snuggled deeper into the folds of the shawl spread over her knees.
Alice often talked to the cat; one-sided conversations, she called them. She had no one else to speak to; no one else to argue with, or to exchange points of view.
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Now it just stood in the corner next to the fireplace, gathering dust. Alice missed the corner shop most of all; it used to keep her up to date with everything that was going on in the street. Unable to compete with a supermarket that had opened on the outskirts of town three years ago, the owner of the little convenience store finally gave up trying, rolled down the shutter, locked the door and left.
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What Alice missed most of all was the neighbourhood gossip, the scandal—who was expecting a baby? Who was in trouble with the law? This would be whispered from behind a hand, given with a nod and a wink not to be passed on, which it always was. The letter box rattled, breaking the silence in the room, and mail thudded to the mat. Alice gently removed the sleeping cat from her knee. It was addressed to the occupant of Number Five Cathcart Street. Alice pulled out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table to read it.
She hesitated momentarily before picking up a knife and painstakingly slitting open the envelope and removing the letter. Glasses perched on the end of her nose, she gave it a quick perusal before reading it out aloud. It has been condemned and is due for demolition the early part of next year. You will be offered alternative accommodation and help with relocation.
With trembling hands, she cleared the table and washed the pots. Her mind was not on the task in hand. Instead, she was remembering times past when she had first moved into the little two-up, two-down terrace house. Did I ever tell you that, Daisy? After being unemployed for over a year, my Charlie finally landed himself a job, and he rushed me down to the Registry office and made arrangements for us to get wed. Back to The Carol Singers. The Haunting of Pandora Fox. Born Dora Anne Cox, in the St. Pandora changed jobs as often as her boyfriends, so, when the opportunity to work as a Ladies companion dropped in her lap unexpectedly one day, she jumped at the chance.
Karen, the girl she shared a flat with, on seeing the advert in the jobs section of a newspaper one evening, said it looked too good to be true and passed the paper over for Pandora to read for herself. A quick scan was all she needed before her mind was made up. Without wasting time, she dug out her CV, updated it, with one or two additions, and posted it the next day.
Less than ten days later, she received a letter saying the position was hers if she wanted it. As a Ladies companion, she expected and looked forward to visits to the theatre, trips abroad, all expenses paid, and a chance to mix with people her parents would have called her betters.
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It stood in its own grounds, with manicured lawns, rose gardens and boxed hedges. The only thing missing, as far as she could see, was peacocks. The reception she received on her first day however, did not live up to her expectations. A female of considerable years answered the door to her persistent knocking. Back to The Haunting of Pandora Fox. She assumed someone had entered the competition on her behalf, and fully expected whoever it was to own up.
Chrystal, with her dark hair and hazel eyes, had more than her fair share of good looks. Of her wide circle of friends, there was one whom she felt sure was her anonymous benefactor. He had no option but to own up that time because his seat was next to mine in the theatre. If he wants to waste money, he can.
Chrystal and Karen both worked for a large retail company in Nottingham. The last time I heard from them was over four years ago. Back to A Man Named Klaus. Chapter One When Jason made his way downstairs, it was still only six thirty and the rest of the family were only just stirring. Alison, still in her pyjamas, poked her head round the bedroom door and in no uncertain terms told him to get a move on and see who it was leaning on the front door bell. Although it was still dark outside, Jason could just make out the shape of a woman through the glass panel in the door.
Drawing back the bolts and turning the key in the lock, with the safety chain still securely in place, he opened the door a crack and peered out. He was astonished to see old Mrs. Her first task of the day after washing and dressing, was to feed the dog; after that she sat down to her own breakfast—porridge in the winter, cornflakes spring and summer. Next came walkies and shopping. Her routine, apart from the extra thirty minutes in bed during the winter months, never varied, so Jason was more than surprised to see her standing on the doorstep at such an early hour.
He stepped swiftly to one side, just in case she stepped on his toes. But no sooner had the woman placed her foot over the threshold than she slumped to the floor. All this noise set little Emily Louise bawling at the top of her lusty little lungs. Foster, first on the scene and still in his pyjamas, took charge of the situation. He lifted the frail old lady up in his arms, carried her through to the sitting room and laid her gently down on the settee.
Alison, Emily Louise in her arms, pushed Jason to one side so she could see for herself just what was going on. Alison, seeing it was useless to argue further, shuffled off to the kitchen. Foster raised her voice. He knew it was no use arguing with his sister when she was in one of her self-righteous moods. The old lady, obviously feeling much better after sipping the reviving mug of tea, started getting to her feet, but Mrs. Pilkington pulled a tissue from her cardigan sleeve and blew her nose.
Foster, just returned from getting dressed, sat down next to the woman and put his arm round her shoulders. Back to Jason Turns Detective. A full moon shining through a barred window caused shadows to dance high on the walls of the room. Harry had unwound the scarf from his own neck and placed it round hers, minutes before locking her in the filthy, vermin-infested room. She could still smell his manliness on the gift, and somehow it gave her comfort. Apart from a broken down bedstead, the room was empty of furniture.
On the floor next to the bed, a candle leaned precariously in an empty tin can. Emma squinted at her wristwatch and sighed; there were still ten hours to go before someone would come to unbolt the door and let her out. She heard footsteps on the landing outside and the door knob rattled; she knew it was Harry checking up on her. Let me get on with it. Sat hunched on the bed in the deafening silence, Emma recalled the events that had led up to the bizarre situation she now found herself in.
She brought to mind the retirement party thrown for the undermanager of the city store where she worked. Drinks had flowed and during the course of the evening, tongues had loosened and things had been said that, perhaps, would have been better left unsaid. She knew she would have to do some apologising when she returned to work after the weekend. This had made her angry. Tom had said she was an idiot, and she had told him to get lost.
It was the reason she now sat shivering in a derelict building on the outskirts of town, in the room that was supposed to be the most haunted in the house. Collingwood Manor had been left to the country by its previous owner, Lord Baverstock. Over the years, due to neglect, it had fallen into disrepair and there was now talk of it being demolished. The manor house had a reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in the midlands.
Allegations a wailing ghost haunted the place went undisputed.
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And it was common knowledge that both squatters and Romanies gave the place a wide berth. Back to A Fragile Ghost. Who do you think I am, your bloody mother? He loosened his tie, kicked off his shoes and plonked himself down angrily on the settee.
He gently massaged his temples with his fingertips and closed his eyes, hoping the headache that had just started would go away without him having to resort to taking pills. He knew Toby was right, it was his fault there were no clean shirts in the cupboard, or clean anything else, as far as that went. He sighed, dragged himself up from the settee, and made his way through to the kitchen to make himself something to eat; but the cupboard was bare: He slammed the fridge door to.
He returned to the lounge and sat, tight as a wound up spring, back down on the settee. It was starting to get dark outside, but he made no attempt to pull the drapes to or turn the light on. Eventually however, his anger drained away and his thoughts turned once again back to basics. What take-away should he order, Chinese or Indian? Feeling much better now he had a full stomach, he settled down in front of the television to watch a game of football. He felt the duvet being pulled back and feigned sleep, the last thing he wanted was another row. It was a beautiful morning, the grass was heavy with early dew and the birds were in full chorus.
He jogged along in a euphoric mood, oblivious of where he was going. A girl stood in front of him, rubbing her shoulder and grimacing in pain. He noticed for the first time how pretty she was. Her eyes were blue and full of mischief, and her hair, even though half-covered with a sweatband and dragged back in a ponytail, was the colour of spun gold. Back to An Improbable Dream. It had threatened rain all day; the sky had been overcast, and thunder had been rumbling in the distance for some time.
Susan hated thunderstorms; they brought her out in a cold sweat, turned her into a shivering jelly. Fork lightning zigzagged across the sky, slitting open the swollen bellies of the clouds overhead. And rain, torrential in volume, fell like stair rods on the sunbaked earth, turning it into rivulets of mud. Sat huddled on the settee, hands over her ears, Susan sprang to her feet when a clap of thunder rattled the window frames. Common sense told her she should be afraid, run inside, call the police, but common sense had left her.
Sheet lightning lit the sky, acting as a backdrop to the hypnotic scene. A clap of thunder finally broke the spell. Susan shook herself to regain her senses, and slowly began inching her way back to the safety of the cottage. She had to call the police, tell them she had a stark-naked, raving lunatic stood in the front garden.
Once inside she locked and bolted every door and window in the cottage, drew the curtains and picked up the phone to make a call. She was at a loss as to what to do, she knew she had to do something, but what? She peered out of the window to see if the man was still there. We are unable to find iTunes on your computer.
To download from the iTunes Store, get iTunes now. The abrasive love-hate between siblings eventually leads to trouble when Jason and his friend Wayne, go to the rescue of the owner of the corner shop. Unable to convince relatives and friends that Mr. Kashmir Singh is in danger, they decide to take things into their own hands. The result is a hair-raising chase round a deserted airfield in a stolen co-op hearse before the kidnap plot is foiled. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them.
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