The Secrets of the Shadows (The Annie Graham series - Book 2)

BOOK: The Secrets of the Shadows (The Annie Graham series - Book 2)
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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From the bestselling author of
The Ghost House

Sophie was afraid of the man in the shadows. He terrified her. But he would always disappear when someone else came. One day in June 1984, she didn’t escape.

He took her
.

When a young woman is found draped over a gravestone in a chilling murder, police officer Annie Graham experiences a familiar sense of dread. The terror isn’t over - a new killer is out there, and her senses tell her there is something eerily different about this case.

When she spots the little girl standing outside her window, she knows that the past is about to catch up with all of them. But can she help right the wrongs of thirty years ago, and uncover the chilling secrets lurking in the shadows…?

Also available by Helen Phifer

The Ghost House

The Secrets of the Shadows

Helen Phifer

www.CarinaUK.com

HELEN PHIFER

lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children and has done since she was born. It gets some bad press but really is a lovely place to live. Surrounded by coastline and not far from the Lake District where she likes to spend at least one of her days off from work. She has always loved writing and reading and loves reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.

You can contact follow Helen on her blog at
http://helenphiferblog.wordpress.com
, her website at
www.helenphifer.co.uk
and on Twitter,
@helenphifer1
.

For Mum & Dad, thank you for everything

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Book List

Title Page

Author Bio

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Endpages

Copyright

Prologue

June 30
th
1984

Six year old Sean Black didn’t like this house, it smelled funny and all the furniture was dark and old. He didn’t like the man who walked around wearing the long, black dress either. He knew that he was a priest because his mum had told him that he was, she also told him that they had to live in the presbytery next to the church but he didn’t know exactly what that meant. They had their own house two doors down from this one, it was much smaller with three bedrooms and a tiny garden but it was big enough to play in with his A-Team action figures. He wanted to go and dig out B A Baracus from underneath the rose bush in the front garden where he had buried him last week, before he got eaten by worms or went mouldy. His mum wouldn’t let him, he had asked her this morning when he had finished his bowl of Snap Crackle and Pop. She had gone mad with him when he said he wanted to go and get his toys and would she take him, so there wasn’t much choice. He was going to come up with a plan of his own – ust like Hannibal always did – and go on a rescue mission. He would wait until his mum had a bath. She always spent hours in there and wouldn’t notice that he had sneaked out of the door. He just hoped that the priest wasn’t an enemy working for the other side and wouldn’t drop him in it. His mum had been acting strange all week now and yesterday she wouldn’t let him go to his sister Sophie’s funeral. Instead she made him stay here, in this big smelly house with the woman the priest called his ‘housekeeper’. he liked her because she baked nice cakes and would let him eat as many as he wanted when his mum wasn’t looking.

Sean went upstairs to the room which had become his until he could go back to his own, with the Masters of the Universe and A-Team posters. The room had a big wooden cross on the wall and the only thing to read was a thick, black book which had ‘Bible’ written in gold on the front. Sean had looked inside and then closed it again; the writing was so small it would take him forever to try and read it. He slumped onto the bed, it was boring here. At least when Sophie was alive he’d had her to play with, well until she got poorly he did. It started a couple of weeks ago but a few days ago she got really poorly, saying words that he had never heard of and that were nothing like the French words they sometimes learnt in school. He didn’t understand what was going on but he knew it was something bad. Sophie had been screaming the day she died, really screaming, as if the priest and their mum were hurting her. It was so loud that he had crept from this bedroom to see if he could help her but her bedroom door was locked. He had looked through the keyhole to see his sister on her bed with the man in the dress standing over her with a book like the one next to his bed. He was throwing water onto Sophie. Sean had watched as the priest had bent down and placed a wooden cross onto her forehead. He stared in horror as the cross burnt into her skin; the sizzling sound made him feel sick and he pushed himself away from the door. He thought he was going to puke all over the polished wooden floor.

Telling himself to be brave he went back to look through the keyhole again to see Sophie thrashing around. She looked angry and hurt, then her eyes rolled to the back of her head until he could only see the whites of them. It was then that she began to choke. The priest was trying to lift her head and his mum was watching. Sean didn’t understand why she didn’t rush to help Sophie. He watched as his sister’s face turned blue and just like that the noise stopped. It was over and Sophie was dead. The scream which came from his mum was far worse than seeing Sophie lying perfectly still, frozen in time. Sean scrambled to his feet and ran towards his room. Clutching a plastic toy to his chest he fell to the floor and crawled under the bed where he curled up in a ball and cried himself to sleep. He stayed there, hidden from sight, until the priest came looking for him hours later. Father John had tried to talk him out but Sean didn’t want to leave his hiding place. The priest reached under to pull him out and Sean sank his teeth into his hand. There was a loud shout and a few bad words but then the priest had laid flat on the floor so he could see Sean’s face. ‘Come on son, you can’t stay there all day. Let’s go and get you something to eat.’

Sean shook his head, curling himself up even tighter. ‘I want to see my mum, where is she?’

‘She’s fast asleep at the moment; the doctor has been to visit Sophie and your mum. He had to give her some medicine.’

‘What about Sophie, did he give her some medicine?’

‘No, there is no medicine that will make your sister better I’m very sorry to say.’

‘I want to go and see Sophie then?’

‘Are you sure? Sophie’s soul has left this earth and gone to a much better place. All that’s left is her body.’

Sean nodded; he needed to see if Sophie’s face was still blue and if she had the mark of the cross burnt into her forehead. He crawled out and stood up. Father John reached out and took hold of his hand; as brave as Sean felt he still grasped it and held tight. They walked to Sophie’s room and Father John pulled a key from his pocket. Unlocking it he turned to Sean, ‘You’re sure?’

Sean nodded and stepped forward, pushing the door open as he did so. His legs were shaking and he knew he had to be brave now, just like B A, so he held his head up and stepped into the room, which was much colder than the rest of the house. He walked across to the bed; Sophie looked as if she was asleep. Her long, platinum blonde hair was spread out on her pillow. Her blue eyes were closed and her face was a funny white colour but it definitely wasn’t blue. Her forehead didn’t have a big mark on it and she looked like one of the dolls she played with all the time. Her lips were still pink and in her hand she had a cross and a bible. Sean pulled his spare Hannibal action figure from his trouser pocket and reached out to tuck it behind her fingers. He touched them and snatched his hand back – they were so cold. Reaching out he tried again and this time he managed to tuck it behind her hands, shuddering as he did so. Then he ran away from Sophie, the priest and the end of his childhood to the empty room, where he scrambled back under the bed.

***

Sean wandered along the dark passage until he reached the bathroom then pressed his ear against the door. He could hear his mum splashing in the water. Good, she would be in there for ages, she had the same long, blonde hair as Sophie and it took her forever to wash it. He crept along to the huge, oak staircase with the world’s smallest carpet and ran down. So light on his feet the treads didn’t creak once, he looked around the hallway – there was no sign of the housekeeper or the priest. He strode across to the front door as if he was allowed to be going outside and turned the handle. The door opened and he screwed up his eyes against the harsh sunlight. He grinned. Playing outside was his favourite, he hated being cooped up inside – especially in this house. Sean wanted to go home more than anything; he looked across the huge lawn over to the church. The door was shut, so if the priest was in there he wouldn’t notice Sean sneaking out. The street was empty; he stepped out of the doorway and ran down the steps and across the lawn to the low wall which surrounded the front garden. He was on a mission now, it was important. He had to save B A’s life, the A-Team couldn’t survive with just the three of them, it had to be all four. He stopped outside his house and reached out to touch the gate; the metal was cold even though it was bathed in sunlight. He opened the gate, took three steps forward and then fell to his knees in front of the rose bush, where he began to dig in the soil with his fingers. Soon he felt the hard plastic of the figure he’d buried last week and smiled – he’d done it and saved the day. He stood up and went back out of the gate, closing it behind him. A shadow passed over the upstairs window, catching his eye. Lifting his head he put his small hand to his forehead to shield his eyes from the burning sun, then looked up and squealed to see Sophie standing at the window staring down at him. He frantically waved his hand and grinned at her but before she could wave back a darker, much taller figure stepped behind her and pulled her away from the window.

Sean ran back to tell his mum that Sophie was in their house, he’d seen her and they could go home now. He ran into the presbytery and up the stairs to the bathroom where he hammered on the door. ‘Mum, Mum. You don’t have to be sad now, Sophie’s okay. I saw her looking out of your bedroom window. We can go home now.’

There was no sound of splashing water like there had been earlier, there was no sound apart from the steady drip of a tap which hadn’t been turned off. Sean took hold of the door knob, twisting it until it turned and the door opened wide. That was when all the normal thoughts that a six year old boy should be thinking left him. He walked closer to the bath which contained his mother’s lifeless body in a pool of bright red water. His stomach clenched and the voice in his head told him to run but he carried on until he was close enough to reach out and touch her. Pushing her shoulder, her head lolled to the side and her glassy, open, dead eyes stared through him. Sean looked down into the bath and saw her arms and it was then that he opened his mouth and began to scream.

BOOK: The Secrets of the Shadows (The Annie Graham series - Book 2)
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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