Chapter 11: Enjoy My Stay? I Don't Think So

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Those big, beautiful blue eyes crinkled at the corners as a huge smile lit up her face. "You can see me?"

I cringed. How could I avoid her? Kids didn't understand.

"Hey," Johnny said as he approached her. "Hello there. What's your name?"

I turned my back while Johnny had her attention and prayed for them to hurry up and answer the door.

Holly smiled. Did she suspect what was going on? Maybe.

As I listened to the girl telling Johnny that her name was Jemma, I had to push down the emotions that bubbled up at the thought of her dying at such a young age. She looked to be about four years old.

"Why won't she talk to me?" she was saying.

I didn't really hear Johnny's response. It was going to be nearly impossible to pretend I couldn't see her.

A faint melody reached my ears when Holly rang the doorbell again and I listened carefully as footsteps grew louder, then the door swung open.

A short, plump woman stood on the other side of the security door and a smile brightened her features. "Hello. You must be Maddelyn." She turned to Holly. "Hello Holly. Nice to see you again. Come on in."

As we entered, she introduced herself as Anna-Marie. She reminded me of a teacher I'd had in primary school, bringing back memories of her teaching us to sing and play percussion instruments.

I could still hear the conversation outside as I walked further into the house and the smell of coffee found me.

The house had an open plan with the lounge room at the front and the kitchen and dining room toward the back. My chest tightened and I looked away quickly when I saw another spirit pottering around in the kitchen, possibly the little girl's mother. My anxiety ratcheted up a few more notches. How many more were there? A whole family?

My mind conjured up a family of eight and me finding a spirit in every room.

Anna-Marie led us down the hall to a room on the right where a woman dressed in a black blouse and jacket sat behind a large wooden desk, smiling sweetly, and I wondered if she was wearing a pantsuit. It would suit the whole look she had going on.

"Hello, Maddelyn. Holly. Please, take a seat."

She gestured to the two seats in front of the desk. We exchanged pleasantries as we took our seats and the woman introduced herself as Ms Lyndria Grant. She was the doctor in charge of Waratah Estate and she made sure we knew that she'd been running the household smoothly and efficiently for the last fifteen years.

Okay. Was that a warning not to disrupt the smooth running of the place? Probably.


I just wanted to do my time here and go home. I wasn't planning on making any waves or causing any trouble.

Do my time? Sounded like a prison sentence. It kind of felt like one too.

Ms Grant made one of those fake throat-clearing noises. "So, Maddelyn, I've read all of the reports from Katoomba Hospital and Mirrabooka House and the last couple of months seem to show much improvement. That's good news. There must still be some doubt though, otherwise Doctor Calthorpe would have recommended that you be allowed to go home." She paused to give me a fake smile. "I expect you to do your best while you are here and I expect to see great improvements in a short period of time."

So she was laying down the law upfront. I guess I expected as much.

She sat staring at me and I figured she was waiting for some kind of answer from me, so I smiled and nodded.

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