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Authors: May McGoldrick

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Ghost of the Thames

BOOK: Ghost of the Thames
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Ghost of the Thames

 

 

BY

 

MAY MCGOLDRICK

 

 

ISBN: 978-0-9841567-6-4

 

Copyright © 2011 by Nikoo K. and James A.
McGoldrick

Revised March 2012

 

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in
any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole
or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other
means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography,
photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or
retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of
the publisher: May McGoldrick Books, PO Box 665, Watertown, CT
06795.

 

Smashwords Edition, License
Notes

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away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
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respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

May McGoldrick novels are:

 

"Richly Romantic." --Nora
Roberts

"Enchanting." --The Philadelphia
Inquirer

"Wonderful." --Jill Marie
Landis

"Passionate." --Susan Wiggs

 

 

Complete Book List as Of
2012

 

Writing As May Mcgoldrick:

 

Ghost Of The Thames

Made In Heaven

Dreams Of Destiny

Captured Dreams  

Borrowed Dreams
  

The Rebel  

Tess And The Highlander
 

The Promise

The Firebrand

The Enchantress

The Dreamer

Flame 

The Intended

Beauty Of The Mist

Heart Of Gold

Angel Of Skye

Thistle And The Rose

Writing As Nicole Cody & May
Mcgoldrick

 

Love And Mayhem (Arsenic And Old
Armor)

 

Writing As Jan Coffey:

 

The Blind Eye

The Puppet Master

The Deadliest Strain

The Project

Silent Waters 

Five In A Row 

Tropical Kiss 

Fourth Victim 

Triple Threat 

Twice Burned

Trust Me Once 

 

Writing As Nikoo Kafi: Omid's
Shadow

 

Nonfiction: By Nikoo & Jim
McGoldrick & Jan Coffey

 

Marriage Of Minds: Collaborative
Fiction Writing

Step Write Up: 21st Century Creativity
Skills

CHAPTER 1

 

 

“It is not time, Sophy. Take my hand.
Wake up.”

The voice was in her head. A dream. A
woman, calling to a stranger.

“Sophy,” the voice persisted. “Take my
hand. Come with me.”

She knew no Sophy. She knew no
one.

She opened her eyes, immediately
stunned by the thick cold surrounding her. She was under water,
sinking in a long, black funnel. The weight of the water crushed
her. She opened her mouth to cry out and swallowed
filth.

A hand reached for hers. She took hold
of it. A lifeline of hope, pulling her upward. Kicking her feet,
Sophy burst through the surface, sputtering, gasping, and coughing
up the foul water.

As her coughing subsided, she became
aware of chill air slapping her face. She was in a river, floating
with the icy current. Wiping slime from her eyes, she glimpsed a
distant embankment through the fog. Shadowy openings of stairs and
rickety docks led from the river to dark alleys. Far above the
hulks of boats crowding the water’s edge, the dim light of a
lantern shone for a moment in a dingy window high up in a dark
building. A moment later, the current had taken her past
it.

“Swim ashore, Sophy. Come with me . .
. come.”

There was no one else in the water
with her.

“Where are you?” she
croaked.

“Here! Come toward me, Sophy. Follow
me.”

Sophy turned in the water and saw her.
Golden hair floated around the young woman’s shoulders. Her face
was bright, like a full moon breaking through the
clouds.

“Come, Sophy. I need you. I need your
help. Come.”

Sophy kicked her feet and swam toward
her. She seemed to get within an arm’s length of her guide’s
outstretched hand, but could not reach her. Sophy’s lungs were
burning, her arms and legs leaden with exhaustion. Her head felt
ready to explode.

“I . . . cannot.”

One foot, then the other, touched the
muck at the bottom of the river. Holding herself firm against the
current, she looked up to see the girl was already ashore, a few
yards away, standing by the rotted piling of a decrepit pier,
waiting for her. Boats lay side by side along the muddy bank, lines
running up toward the river’s edge and disappearing
ashore.

A couple of unsteady steps and Sophy
was standing waist deep. The blast of cold air cut through the thin
knit shirt plastered to her skin. She fought the urge to sink back
down into the murky river.

“Here. This is for you.” A dark cloth
lay half submerged.

Sophy forced her legs to travel the
last few steps to the water’s edge. Her body shivered and her
fingers trembled as she wrapped herself in the coarse rag of what
was once a blanket. Climbing onto the dock, she sat heavily. Her
head was pounding, and she pulled the makeshift cloak around
her.

Sophy tasted blood and grime in her
mouth. The aching pain in her head didn’t ease, but grew worse as
moments ticked by. She wanted to sleep.

Huddled beneath the wet blanket, her
body wracked with the cold, Sophy looked up at the young woman
standing not ten feet from her. She appeared to be dry, dressed in
a flowing white gown, totally unaffected by the cold. She was
young, little more than a girl. Too young to be moving about in a
city all alone.

“You cannot stay here, Sophy. We must
keep going.”

“Is that my name?”

“Your friends call you
Sophy.”

“I don’t remember anything. My name .
. . or any friends. Or what I was doing in the river.”

“You will, in time, remember all of
it. But now we need to be on our way.”

“Why? Where are we?” Sophy asked,
shivering.

“You are in London.”

She knew of the city, but she could
not recall if it was her home or not. The name evoked no memories,
at all. The sudden realization that she knew nothing of her past
was paralyzing.

“Who are you?”

“That’s not of any
importance.”

“Are you my relation?”

"No. Tonight, in this river, was the
first time we met.”

“It was dangerous for you to come
after me. Why did you save me?” Sophy asked.

“It was not your time.”

Her questions skipped like pebbles
over smooth water. Sophy’s head throbbed. The blanket did little to
warm her.

“You know my name. Can you take me to
my people?”

“No.”

Where to go? Whom to seek? Was anyone
out there who could help her? These questions and so many others
were piling up, a mountain of confusion crushing her.

“We need to go now. Follow
me.”

Her rescuer was backing away. Leaving
her. Sophy didn’t know how she was able to find the strength to
push herself to her feet, but she somehow managed. Clutching the
blanket around her shoulders, she slipped into the shadows behind
her guide. Buildings loomed above her. The stones were slick
beneath her feet, but her new friend stayed ahead of her. Sophy
soon found herself moving through winding alleyways she was certain
she had never seen before.

Dark riverfront warehouses soon gave
way to lanes lined with shuttered shop windows and faded signs. As
the two women moved farther from the water, Sophy began to see
people huddled around doorways and sleeping in corners. No one even
looked at them twice.

Sophy was out of breath and feeling faint by the time her
guide paused on the gleaming stone pavement of a wider street. The
byway was empty of people, and the upper floors of shops and houses
jutted out over the lane. Some had signs hanging above doors, and
most were in darkness. The flicker of candlelight glimmered in one
window of a house at the corner.

“Where are we going? To whom are you
taking me?” Sophy asked, trying to focus.

“I’m taking you to a person who can
help you and keep you safe.”

The girl looked untouched by their
travels. Her clothes appeared unblemished, in spite of the mud and
slime of both river and alley.

“Who will help me?” Sophy asked,
trying hard to believe there could be such a person.

Then, right before Sophy’s eyes, like
a candle suddenly snuffed out, the young woman
disappeared.

Before she could even utter a cry,
Sophy heard the clatter of horses. As she turned, the driver’s
shout rang out, but it was too late.

The carriage was upon her.

 

*

 

“Ho!
The devil! Look out there!”

The shout of the driver was
accompanied by the neighing of his horses, and Edward Seymour felt
the carriage clattering to a stop.

“What is it, man?” he called, throwing
open the door and climbing out.


She went under the
blasted horses, Captain.”

“A woman?”

“Aye, sir. Is she dead? Can you see
her?”

Edward glanced up the dark street.
There was nothing visible on the pavement behind the carriage. The
door of a house opened. The light of a candle appeared. Some late
night revelers staggered into the street. One was pointing under
the carriage. Edward looked and saw her—a heap of blanket, dirty
arms and legs sticking out from under it. The blanket had caught on
the underside of the carriage and dragged the woman. The restless
horses’ hooves stamped inches away from her head.

Edward yanked the blanket free and
pulled the woman clear. He crouched next to her.

“Like a ghost she came, Captain.” His
driver, looking down from the carriage, was still shaken. “She
appeared out of nowhere. I couldn’t stop.”

“She just rolled up outta the dark,”
someone chimed in.

“No one in the street, to be sure,
gov, or we’d ’ave seen her.” Everyone had something to share. The
crowd around them was growing. Someone held a candle over the
body.

She wasn’t moving. Edward looked at
the wet, matted hair and touched her head. His hand came away,
covered with blood. He pulled the blanket from her face. An open
gash was visible at the edge of her hair, bleeding profusely. Her
face was covered with dirt.

“Don’t!” She tried to lift her head,
but it sank again to the stone pavement. “Wait–I–p”

The driver sighed audibly. “Well, the
bloody chit’s alive, at least.”

“If we’re to keep her that way,”
Edward said, “we need to get her to a doctor.”

“The hospital at Lincoln’s Inn Fields
is close enough, sir,” someone standing near was quick to
suggest.

Edward knew the place. That was where
medical students of King’s College practiced. That hospital sat
squarely in the midst of poverty and disease.

“Bachao
,” she murmured, stirring.

“She’s addled, Captain,” the driver
said darkly. “The chit’s talking nonsense.”

BOOK: Ghost of the Thames
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