Authors: Gillian Larkin
at the weather,” Rose tutted. “Sunshine and blue skies. Not the right weather
at all for a funeral. Rain would have been better. A bit of thunder and lightning
wouldn’t go amiss either.”
didn’t say anything. I watched with everyone else as the coffin was lowered
into the ground.
there’s not many people crying. I expected a bit of wailing,” Rose went on.
“Can’t you manage a tear or two, Kate? Or how about a faint? You know, because
you’re so overcome with grief.”
muttered, “It’s hard to grieve for someone when they’re standing right next to
chuckled. “I suppose it is. But the rest of them could at least look sad. I am
dead after all.”
started to walk away from the grave. Rose followed me. If I was going to talk
to her, I’d have to do it away from people. I was the only one who could see Rose
as a ghost.
walked in silence for a few minutes.
cried all day when you died,” I told Rose. “I’m going to miss working with you
in the shop. But it does help that I can still see you sometimes. Your ghost,
or spirit, or whatever you are.”
like to be called a visitor, it sounds more friendly,” Rose said. “If you are
going to carry on my business of helping ghosts then you’ll have to get used to
seeing dead people.”
was confused, “So other dead people are ghosts, but I have to call you a
I’m special. Are you sure you still want to help with ghosts and their
problems? You did a great job on your first case,” Rose smiled.
sort of enjoyed it, after getting over the shock of talking to a dead man,” I
looked around me at the crowd of friends and family that had come to her
lot of people turned up. You’ll be missed,” I said
nodded. Then she frowned.
They can’t do that. Not here, not now!”
turned around to see what Rose was looking at. I soon wished I hadn’t.
dead were rising from their graves. Some of them had obviously been dead a long
are they doing?” I asked nervously.
think it’s because you’re near. You’re someone who can see them. Dead people
can sense people like you, and like how I used to be. I don’t know what they
want but I’ve got a bad feeling,” Rose said.
didn’t take her eyes off the dead people. They were moving closer to us.
suddenly looked at me, “I don’t like this at all, Kate. I think you might be in
should I do?” I asked.
better go. Get away from here as fast as you can!”
had no idea that I could walk so fast, I was practically running. When you’ve
got creepy dead people heading towards you it’s amazing how fast your legs can
raced towards my car, unlocked it and jumped in. As I sped away I looked in my
rear view mirror. The dead people had disappeared, and so had Rose. What had
happened to her?
drove towards the shop and managed to find a parking space nearby.
was behind the shop counter when I walked again. She looked up and said, “How
was the funeral? Full of miserable people I suppose.”
didn’t seem that upset. Rose turned up though,” I said.
ignored my last comment. She didn’t like me talking about ghosts.
got the food and drinks sorted out. Just exactly as Rose told me in her
letter,” Carol said. “The hungry crowd will be here soon.”
give you a hand putting it out,” I said. I took my coat and handbag into our
little kitchen and put them in a cupboard.
looked at the food and drink that Rose had ordered before she died. Nobody
would be going hungry today.
came in behind me. She tutted, “I don’t know why she ordered so much. People
will end up staying all afternoon. This is a shop not a party palace.”
also a wake. We’re not opening the shop today. And, anyway, Rose paid for all
this before she died,” I said.
frowned. “It’s weird, isn’t it? That she ordered her own funeral food, and
picked her own coffin. Like she knew she was going to die.”
think she did know. Shall we put the food out all at once?” I asked.
They’ll stuff themselves silly if they see all this food. We’ll just put half
out for now,” Carol said. “I suppose we’d better take the champagne out as
well. Fancy that! Champagne at a funeral!”
took the food and drink out into the shop area. Carol had arranged for someone
in the market to lend us some tables and chairs. We soon had the food and drink
looked down at the table as she quietly asked me, “So, tell me about the
smiled. “It was good, for a funeral. You should have seen people’s faces when
Elvis blasted out of the speakers! Some of Rose’s friends started to dance.”
gave a little smile. “I would have liked to have seen that. I just can’t bring
myself to go to funerals. Not any more.”
was something so sad in Carol’s tone that I didn’t say anything else about the
opened a bottle of champagne and poured a glass for both of us.
looked shocked but she took the glass anyway.
our lovely Rose,” I toasted.
clinked her glass against mine and then sipped her champagne.
I thought about Rose I felt a shiver go down my back. I hoped she was okay, I
knew she was dead but I didn’t know if she could be hurt any more. This ghost
business was very confusing. I hoped that nothing terrible had happened to her.
I raised my glass something hideous walked through the shop door.
screamed. My glass shattered on the floor.
she wasn’t our lovely Rose anymore.
horrific vision glowered at me.
clutched my hands to my chest. “Rose! What happened to you?”
vision snapped at me, “I’m not Rose! I’m her sister, Pam. I hope you’re going
to clear that mess up. This is my shop now.”
couldn’t take my eyes off Pam. She looked like Rose but with all the goodness
drained out of her. All that was left was a mean looking shell.
looked at Carol, jerked her thumb towards me and said, “What’s wrong with her?
Is she stupid or something? Why is she staring at me like that?”
put her glass down, “She’s in shock. You look like Rose, a bit.”
went into the kitchen and returned with a dustpan, brush and cloth. The mess
that I’d made was efficiently cleaned up.
wandered around the shop, looking at price tags and running her fingers across
the tops of things as if expecting to find an inch of dust.
keep everything spick and span in here,” Carol called over to her.
Pam muttered to herself. She continued with her inspection.
you think she really owns the shop?” I whispered to Carol.
whispered back, “I’ve no idea. Did Rose leave a will?”
walked over to us. Her face was wrinkled in disgust. I wasn’t sure if that was
her normal look.
not much, is it? Her lifetime’s work. Our Rose used to always brag about her
shop, as if it was something special. But it’s just full of old junk,” Pam
not junk. These are carefully selected second hand items. We restore them,” I
firmly told Pam.
snorted, “I know junk when I see it. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this shop.
I might keep it as it is for now. See how much money it makes, if any.”
what about us?” Carol asked. “Do we still have jobs?”
looked us up and down. She pointed at Carol and said, “I’ll keep you on.” She
then pointed at me, “I’m not sure about this one. She doesn’t seem quite right
in the head.”
folded her arms, “If Kate goes, then I go.”
looked at Carol. I was surprised, but pleased by her loyalty.
sniffed, “Then it looks like I’ll be needing two new members of staff. Seeing
as you still work for me at the moment you can get me as drink.” She pointed at
me again. “And if you have any keys to the shop, you can hand them over to me
could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks. No one was going to talk to me like
gritted teeth I said, “How do we know this shop belongs to you? Is there a
smirked, “I doubt there’s a will. Rose was useless at things like that. I’m her
only living relative so of course, I get this junk shop.”
I decided to point my finger at Pam now, “you don’t now if you own this shop or
not. Is that right?”
looked away, “I suppose so.”
stopped pointing and quietly said, “Then until you do know you can get your own
smiled at me.
turned away before Pam could see me smiling too.
was Rose? I wanted to know if she’d made a will, and where it was. I couldn’t
bear it if Pam took over Second Hand Rose.
started to arrive from the funeral and the shop was soon full. Carol was right
about the food, people pounced on it like they hadn’t eaten for days. We had
to bring more out from the kitchen.
had a lovely time talking to Rose’s friends. They had so many tales to tell me
about Rose. I had no idea that she’d been on so many adventures.
the time I was listening to people I kept an eye on Pam. I saw her writing
things down in a small notebook. She was probably taking an inventory of our
old lady that I was listening to, Sally, noticed me looking at Pam. She said,
“Pam never liked Rose. She was jealous of her because she was the baby in their
family. There was no need to be jealous though, Rose got everyone’s hand me
downs, whether they fitted her or not. That’s how she got the nickname, ‘Second
looked at Sally, “I didn’t know it was a nickname. I thought it was just the
name she gave to this shop.”
continued, “Rose didn’t mind the nickname. Although some of the clothes that
she wore made her look like a scarecrow. That Pam was so mean that she always
tore her clothes before they were handed down to Rose. But Rose made the best
of it. She was handy with a needle and thread and used to put ribbons and
flowers over the holes. Some outfits made her look like a Hollywood star!”
smiled. “Rose was always good at restoring things. I don’t know how we’ll
manage without her.”
came over and touched me gently on the shoulder, “Isn’t it time to pick Emily
up, Kate? Do you want me to call you a taxi?”
I’ve got my car outside. I never did get to have a drink of champagne,” I said.
handed me a carrier bag. It was heavy.
a bottle of bubbly in there for you, and some of the food. You won’t need to
cook tea tonight,” Carol said.
was touched by Carol’s kindness. This wasn’t like her at all. Something about
Rose’s death must have affected her in some way.
said goodbye to Rose’s friends and gave Pam a final glare as I walked out of
the front door.
tripped over a box.
caught me just in time.
the hell left that there?” Carol shouted. She looked up and down the street and
called out, “Stop leaving rubbish outside our shop. We’re not a charity shop!”
couldn’t help but smile. Carol sounded like her old self now.
take it out of the way,” I said.
Carol said. “I hope these old folks don’t stay much later. They smell funny.”
put my carrier bag in my car and then came back for the box.
I touched it a shiver ran up my arms, like I’d suddenly plunged my arms into
didn’t know what was in the box but I had a feeling that there was a ghost
lurking in there.