Ghostfinders 03 -Ghost of a Dream
what the hell are we here for?” said Happy.
“Just once, I wish you two wouldn’t leave it to me to read the briefing files,” said Melody. “We all spent hours on the train getting here…”
“I had some important dozing to be getting on with,” said JC.
“And you know I don’t like to read anything scary,” said Happy. “It gives me nightmares. And wind.”
Melody sighed, loudly and pointedly. “All right. One more time, for the hard of thinking at the back. Thisone seems straightforward enough. Until very recently, Bradleigh Halt was another run-down, long-time-closed, small-time railway station. One of the many shut down by Dr. Beeching, back in the sixties. But, the halt was due to be renovated and reopened, by the Bradleigh Preservation Trust—a bunch of old-time steam-train enthusiasts. The volunteers had only started work here, rebuilding and repairing and generally putting the place in order for a Grand Reopening…when they started seeing things. And hearing things. All the usual disturbing supernatural phenomena…More than enough for the volunteers to down tools and run for the hills. Somebody in the Preservation Trust knew enough to get the bad news to the Institute, and somebody at Carnacki apparently loves steam trains, too…So here we are.”
“Yes,” JC said patiently. “Got that. But what about the details, Melody? All the helpful little details, so we can figure out exactly what we’re dealing with here? What exactly did the volunteers see and hear? Revenants? Poltergeists? The Blair Witch on a Broomstick?”
“I don’t know,” said Melody. “Nothing in the briefing. Only a note to say that we are to be met here by one of the volunteers from the Preservation Trust. Who will hopefully tell us what we need to know.”
“Wouldn’t put money on it,” growled Happy. “Civilians…Always more trouble than they’re worth.”
“Oh hush,” said Melody. “You know you love the chance to feel superior to someone.”
“Almost as much as you love a chance to lecture us,” Happy said sweetly.
They looked at each other and exchanged a smile.Shared emotions were unfamiliar territory for both of them; but perhaps it takes one broken soul to mend another.
“I can hear you two smiling at each other, and I do wish you wouldn’t,” said JC, not looking back. “You know your entire relationship creeps me out big-time. Young Ghostbusters in love. The horror, the horror…”
“And this from a man in love with a ghost,” said Melody. “At least Happy and I can touch each other.”
“And we do,” said Happy. “Often into the early hours…”
“And you call my relationship unnatural,” said JC.
“The living and the dead aren’t supposed to get that close,” said Melody. “For all kinds of worrying and unsettling reasons.”
“It’ll all end in tears,” said Happy.
They reached the bottom of the grassy slope pretty much at the same time and stepped carefully down onto the end of the waiting platform. JC peered easily about him, pretending to look the place over, giving Happy a chance to cough up half a lung getting his breath back, while Melody counted all her precious bits of equipment, twice, to make sure she hadn’t left anything important behind. It had to be said: the Station Halt didn’t appear particularly welcoming. Some attempt had been made to clean up the place, but with only limited success. Soap and water and industrial-strength detergent can only do so much in the face of decades of dust and grime and disinterest. Various rubbish and debris had been brushedroughly to one side of the platform; but the standing structures, the original station buildings…looked distinctly uninviting.
The old stone walls, sourced from local quarries, were stained and discoloured the exact shade of old piss, and the wooden facings, shutters, and doors were all pitted and rotten, looking almost diseased in the limited light. Newly replaced glass windows gleamed brightly enough in the gloomy surroundings, and a few new doors stood proudly open, showing only darkness within. Freshly painted signs hung here and there, saying
, and the like, in clear but still traditionally old-fashioned lettering. No-one had done anything for the buildings on the opposite platform. The slumping, single-storey structures across the tracks looked dim and distant, as though they were miles away.
It was all very still and silent, without even the
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