Ghostfinders 01 - Ghost of a Chance
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
GHOST OF A CHANCE
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
Ace mass-market edition / September 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Simon R. Green.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-44251-7
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Everybody knows there are bad places in the world.
Houses that make you walk by on the other side of the street. Bedrooms that no-one in their right mind would try to sleep in. The television screen that isn’t empty enough, the mirror with too many faces reflected in it, the voice in the night, and the dark at the top of the stairs. There are bad places everywhere, in crowded towns and empty fields. Places where there are no safety barriers, where the walls of the world have worn thin, places . . . where we know we’re not safe. It’s in these bad places that we see things we don’t want to see.
As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
I wish that man would go away.
Ghosts. They’ve been around as long as we have, in one form or another. Strange sights and sounds, visitations and wonders, spirits of cold earth and empty graves come back to trouble the living. Things that won’t lie down; and none of them bound by the laws of the living. The dead; and things that aren’t dead enough.
There are bad places in the world, but it isn’t ghosts that make these places bad; it’s the bad places that make ghosts.
As the world changes, so do the ways in which we see ghosts. From dark shapes in the night and ancestral revenants to lovers separated too soon and thwarted enemies; from stone tape recordings and electromagnetic phenomena to men and women caught in repeating loops of Time, like insects trapped in amber. Ghosts have always been with us, like guests reluctant to leave the party, like bad memories that won’t go away . . . Ghosts are nightmares of the Past, refusing to give way to the Present. Mankind’s dark side, Humanity’s unconscious.
England’s dreaming . . .
And so, in this brave new twenty-first century, don’t expect ghosts to be limited to old manor houses or abandoned rectories. The modern idea of the bad place, the genius loci, the setting that disturbs and troubles us, has moved on. These days you’re more likely to see ghosts in empty car parks, in shut-down factories, or in an underpass with a bad reputation. Places where it can get very dark and very dangerous, and no-one with any sense goes there
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