Read Shadow of a Life Online

Authors: Mute80

Tags: #romance, #thriller, #suspense, #history, #paranormal, #young adult, #teen, #ghost, #series, #modern

Shadow of a Life (9 page)

BOOK: Shadow of a Life
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Apology accepted. I’m sorry
I yelled at you.”


I did a lot of thinking
last night . . . and . . . I decided we should tell Camille about
my true identity.”


Really? Are you
serious?”


Yes.”


You don’t get struck down
or something if you share your secret with too many people, do
you?”

Sophia laughed. “No. Ghosts can tell
whoever they want, but most people don’t believe them and it’s much
easier to live a normal life if people don’t think you’re crazy. I
was able to convince you so I thought maybe we’d be able to
convince Camille as well. Are you okay with her
knowing?”


Absolutely. Let’s do it.” I
felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders. “I will warn you,
though—Camille will absolutely flip out. I don’t think her reaction
will be what mine was.”


You weren’t exactly a
picture of calm yourself,” she reminded me.

I grabbed my cell phone and texted
Camille, asking if we could come over to talk. Her response was
only one word. “Fine.” At least it wasn’t “No.”

Dad came into the house just then,
raising his eyebrows when he saw Sophia standing next to
me.


Hello, Sophia,” he said in
his always polite voice.


It’s nice to see you again,
Mr. Peters.”


Dad, Sophia and I are going
over to Camille’s house. I think the three of us will go do
something after that so I might be kind of late.” I hoped he knew
we were making an effort with Cam.


That’s fine. Enjoy
yourselves, but be safe.”


Don’t wait up,” I said as I
grabbed a jacket and we hurried out the door.

As “old-fashioned” as my home was,
Camille’s home was modern. Her mother, an interior designer,
continually changed the decor. I never knew what to expect when the
door opened. Sophia and I rang the doorbell and Camille’s older
sister, Allison, answered it. She would be a senior the next year
and was a total snob. She rarely gave Cam or me the time of day.
That time was no exception.


Camille,” she screamed up
the stairs without even greeting us. “Your friends are
here.”

Allison turned back around
and gave Sophia a second glance and a nod of approval before
disappearing into the kitchen. I looked around the living room from
our position near the front door. It
had
been changed again. There were
new throw pillows in yellow and blue on the cream-colored leather
couches and a new bowl filled with yellow and blue glass beads on
the coffee table. It was a simple look that complemented the sky
blue walls. I was sure that by autumn the decor would be changed
again.

I looked up to see Camille slowly
walking down the stairs. She looked disheveled. I didn’t remember
ever seeing her that way before. Apparently she had a rough night,
too.


I stopped by last night,”
she said flatly when she reached the bottom of the
staircase.


I know. Dad told
me.”


I’m sorry,” Camille and I
said at the same time and then laughed.


I haven’t been trying to
ignore you or push you away. I promise. There were just some things
that I couldn’t talk about before,” I said.


I guess I shouldn’t expect
you to be at my beck and call all the time.”

Camille glanced at the entrance to her
home and gave a nod and a half-smile to Sophia.


Hi, Camille. I’m sorry I
caused a rift between the two of you. I didn’t mean to and I’d
really like to start over. Jamie’s been helping me with a project
and I made her keep it a secret, but I want to let you in on the
secret now.”


A secret? What kind of a
secret?” she said with a hint of distrust in her voice.


I think we should go
somewhere where we won’t be interrupted.” Sophia nodded toward the
kitchen doorway where Allison had just disappeared.


Let’s go to the tree house,
Cam.”

When we were younger, Camille and I
spent all our time outside in her tree house. We would play house,
or school, or dolls, or a million other things out there. As we
started to get a little older, that’s where we would go to gossip
and talk about boys. We slept there on occasion and even hid there
when we’d done something we shouldn’t have—like pranks aimed at
Allison. The walls held many of our secrets. I knew Allison would
never in a million years come out into the backyard. Camille’s
parents tended to ignore her, too. In some ways it was good—she
could pretty much come and go as she pleased.


I haven’t been out there in
years, Jamie. There better not be animals living in it.”

The three of us retreated to the
backyard where we climbed an aging ladder and disappeared into the
floor of the tree house about twelve feet up. The entrance felt
much smaller since I was bigger. The inside didn’t feel nearly as
expansive as I remembered, either. Dust and old leaves covered
every surface.


Okay, you have me
thoroughly curious. What’s going on?” Camille asked after the three
of us settled on the old rug lining the wooden floor.

Sophia cleared her throat. “I think
you should explain it to her, Jamie.”


Are you sure?”


Yeah. Go ahead.”


Umm . . . okay. Cam, you
know I’d never try to hurt you or lead you astray,
right?”

Camille frowned. “What’s going on,
Jamie?”


The truth is that Sophia
and I didn’t meet each other at the library the other day. She
first saw me when my dad and I went to New York a couple of weeks
ago. Do you remember that?”

She nodded, not taking her eyes off
Sophia.


I didn’t know she’d seen
me, but she felt like we had a connection and she followed me.
She’s been following me ever since.”


What
? That’s sooo creepy.” Camille glared at Sophia.


That’s what I thought at
first too, but it turns out I’m her soul saver.”


Am I supposed to know what
the crap that is?” Camille was getting annoyed. I wasn’t sure how
to proceed. It wasn’t like I’d ever told anyone about ghosts before
and it wasn’t going the way I intended.


Cam, do you remember the
story of the
Mary
Celeste
?”


Duh. I may not be as smart
as you, but I haven’t exactly been living under a rock in this
town.”


I know. Sorry. Do you
remember the name of the little girl on the boat?”


Yeah, Sophia
Briggs.”

I continued on. “Camille, that little
girl didn’t actually die on the ship. She survived. And when she
eventually did die, she became a ghost.”

Camille gave a little start and looked
Sophia’s way. The color slowly drained from her face. I could tell
she was confused—and a little bit angry.


Are you trying to tell me
that Sophia here is the ghost of the two-year-old Sophia
Briggs?”


Yes.”


Jamie, that’s the stupidest
thing I’ve ever heard. Why are you guys doing this to me?” Her
voice betrayed her hurt and her eyes glistened as tears threatened
to spill out onto her cheeks.

I looked to Sophia for help,
but she just sat there staring at her hands. I tried to tell the
story of the pirates who had attempted to take over the
Mary Celeste,
hoping that
I wasn’t leaving out any important details, but I think I only made
matters worse.

Frustrated, I said, “Sophia I think
you should show her. When you told me, I didn’t believe you at all
until you showed me what you could do.”


Fine, but Camille, please
don’t scream. I promise I’m not going to hurt you.”

Camille scooted across the rug until
her butt hit the back wall of the playhouse and had nowhere else to
go. She tucked her legs up under her chin and wrapped her arms
around them.

Sophia decided to employ the same
method she used with me. “Now you see me,” she said as she
disappeared, “now you don’t.”

I couldn’t see her, but judging by the
sound of the last statement, she was hovering somewhere at the top
of the tree house.

Camille let out a blood-curdling
scream, the likes of which I’d never heard before. At first she was
frozen in place and then she jumped up and began to run in circles
around the floor of the tree house, screaming and flailing her arms
all the while. I finally managed to grab her and pull her into my
arms where she began to sob. She shook uncontrollably and I was
concerned that we’d permanently scarred my best friend.

Sophia reappeared near us and Camille
screamed again.


Stay away from us, you . .
. you . . .
demon
.
Get away from me.”


Camille, look at me.” I
forced her head up and held her hands in mine as I spoke. “She’s
not going to hurt you.
Please
let her explain her story. I’ve promised to help
her and I intend to keep that promise. I really want you with us,
too.”

Camille slowly nodded her head, but
she wouldn’t look at Sophia and she wouldn’t stop clutching me. And
so, Sophia retold the story that she’d already told me. Her voice
so gentle and reassuring that by the time she finished Camille had
relaxed a little and only held onto me with one hand instead of
two.


Can you hurt me?” she
asked. Apparently we were more alike than I realized because that
had been one of the first questions that came to my mind,
too.


Honestly? Yes. But I won’t.
I have no reason to. I really just want to move on,” Sophia
answered.

Camille asked a few more questions and
then with a raspy voice asked, “Where do we start?”

I smiled and put my arm around her.
“How do you feel about going to a graveyard . . . in the
dark?”


I’m starting to regret this
already,” she groaned.

 

*****

 

One theory Sophia and I had come up
with about her unfinished business was that maybe she was left
behind because of something to do with her brother Arthur since he
had, in a way, been left behind by the rest of his family. He’d
been taken in by his mother’s brother after his parent’s
disappearance back in 1872 and had younger cousins to grow up with.
Sophia told us that in the early 1900’s she came back to Marion in
hopes of meeting Arthur. When she saw that he had his own little
family and was trying to move beyond the tragedy, she quietly left
town. It’s very difficult—almost impossible—for a ghost to show
themselves to someone who knew them on earth. Arthur looked so
happy with his family that she didn’t want to try something that
would only freak them out and bring back sad memories.

Arthur was buried in the Evergreen
Cemetery in Marion. We wanted to see if he was permanently gone or
if by some miracle he remained as a ghost. According to Sophia,
ghosts tend to hang out near their bodies when possible. Apparently
it was comforting to most of them. It had taken Sophia a long time
before she dared venture very far from her own grave. Living people
are often scared to visit cemeteries at night because they’re
afraid of ghosts and spirits. I realized that there was a lot of
truth behind people’s fears. Since cemeteries aren’t often visited
at night, it’s a place that ghosts could gather to “be themselves.”
Sophia insisted we were going to the cemetery at night. I’ll admit
it—I was more than a little bit nervous. Camille was terrified.
Sophia was giddy with excitement and couldn’t stop
smiling.

We packed backpacks with jackets,
snacks, and flashlights. I texted Dad and told him I would be
spending the night with Camille. I really needed to stop telling
him half-truths. As Sophia pulled into the parking lot of the
Evergreen Cemetery, the sun started its descent from the azure sky
and there was a cool breeze in the air, bringing the smell of new
spring foliage with it. Marion received a ton of rain earlier in
the week and the earth was still damp. We slowly weaved through the
rows of headstones, reading names and dates as we went. Sophia
walked slightly ahead of Camille and me, appearing to know exactly
where to go. She stopped to look at a stone monument, her fingers
gently tracing the names on the stone. I caught up to her and read
the names, too. It was a cenotaph erected in honor of Benjamin
Spooner Briggs, Sarah Elizabeth Cobb Briggs, and Sophia Matilda
Briggs. Camille and I didn’t say anything and Sophia soon continued
walking. Eventually we made it to the grave of Arthur Stanley
Briggs. It was a small stone covered with white lichen. We had to
brush away dead and overgrown grass to read the
inscription.

I read his headstone aloud. “Briggs.
Arthur H., 1865-1931, and Margaret H., 1871-1939.”


He died on my
birthday—October 31, 1931,” Sophia said sadly.


He died on your birthday?”
I said incredulously.

She nodded. “I didn’t find out about
his death until many years later, but when I heard the date, I
thought maybe it was his subconscious way of showing he was still
connected to me. Silly girlish dream, I guess.”

BOOK: Shadow of a Life
12.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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