Tired of city life, an American father uproots his wife and two teenage daughters and moves them from the big city to the country. He imagines a life of organic farming, organic eating and no technology. The kids of course love their burgers and their i-pads, and this move is a real nightmare for them. The move soon turns into a genuine nightmare. The girls bedroom is haunted but of course the father doesn’t believe his children. He thinks they need more time in the fresh air, eating their vegetables.
The girls, having nothing better to do without any electronics, decide to make contact with whoever is haunting their room. They get hold of an old Ouija board, and with the help of the local ‘witch’ (Skye, the woman who owns the crystal shop in town), make contact with the dead. It’s a young man who killed himself on the farm, thirty years ago. Dan.
Dan is ‘brought back’ from the dead, via the Ouija board. The thing is, he doesn’t want to be brought back from the dead. He was perfectly happy being dead. Now he’s in no-mans land. The whole family can see him, but only the girls know he isn’t real. The mom and dad think he’s a new friend who needs help. They invite him ‘to stay.’ And now he too has to do organic farming and eat organic vegetables.
And the only thing he can do is terrorise the family. Until they send him away.
The girls need to send him back to where he came from. They need technology to do that. Together with Skye they try and find a way to send him back to wherever he came from. Even though pitch-forks, spades and shovels are flying towards them, while they do.
Do they get rid of him? Do they manage to go back to the city? Or do they all live happily ever after, ghosts and all, on the farm?
Chapter One The Move
The house was almost packed and the girls, Mary Ella and Samantha were hiding out at the bottom of the garden having a quick cigarette.
‘If dad finds us smoking he will kill us.’ Mary Ella said, taking a deep drag.
‘Yeah,’ Samantha said through a smoke ring. ‘He’s such a purist. Never used to be.’
Their dad, Joshua, had changed over the last few years. He’s started jogging, eating healthily and even recycling. He stopped allowing anyone to use any kind of plastic in the house and had even started growing their own vegetables.
‘Don’t you think this is going a bit far,’ Katy his wife had asked him. ‘I mean, we live in Manhattan. No-one here grows their own vegetables.’
‘That’s the problem Katy. It’s so hard to live a clean life in this city. I think it’s time we make a move.’
Katy had initially been shocked. They’d lived in Manhattan for the last twenty years. The girls were 14 now, Manhattan was all they knew. And loved. Plus, they were real New Yorkers. And it was only Joshua who was into this whole clean and pure lifestyle.
Still, slowly and over the last year, Joshua had got Katy to buy into the package. She too started doing more exercise and eating well. It wasn’t that appealing to pick up a Starbucks coffee and a donut at the corner cafe anymore.
The girls on the other hand were teenagers. They loved their donuts, their pastries and the occasional sugary drink. They weren’t extreme about plastic, and they were aware not to have straws in their drinks, but hey, they were teenagers. And they loved Manhattan. Life was mean to be lived and they were in the right place to do it. They loved meeting their friends for milkshakes, hanging out in music clubs, having the odd cigarette on the curbside.
Samantha passed the cigarette to Mary Ella. ‘Last drag. And then let’s get on the road with our eco-friendly dad. At least we’re not going too far. We can come back for weekends and see our friends.’
Mary Ella ground the cigarette out on the grass. No need to pick up this stompie; they were leaving and her dad would never find it.
They went inside, picked up their last few bags and joined Mom and Dad in the moving truck. The only person who wanted this move was Joshua and he was certainly jovial. ‘Come on fam, let’s go, let’s start our new adventure, our new life. Did I tell you we’re going to be quitting red meat? Maybe I forgot to tell you this bit but we are all going to be so healthy and conscious and do our bit to heal the planet.’
Katy and the two girls rolled their eyes. They’d heard this from dad, over and over. Why couldn’t he change the planet without them, or at least, change it in New York. Why did they have to go to the country.
‘I cannot imagine living in a farmhouse,’ Mary Ella was saying. ‘Like, we’ve lived in an apartment block for so long, I don’t know what it’s like to have space. I’m not sure farm life is going to suit me. I like having all the hustle and the bustle of the city around us. I like the traffic and the madness and I even like the garbage in summer. It’s so New York! Dad, promise us if it doesn’t work out then we can come home. Please. We’re doing this for you because we love you but hey, if we’re bored out of our minds, please please can we come back to New York.’
Joshua breathed in the fresh air. They were already on the outskirts of the city and the air felt cleaner already.
‘If it doesn’t work out, of course we’ll come back. But we’re going to love it. You will realise how mad life is in the city. Farm life is the life for us! Tomatoes, plucked fresh from the ground. Potatoes, hand picked, although not so sure carbs are good for us. I will have to check. And I promise you, you will not be bored for a second. There’s plenty going on in Albertville to keep you girls busy and occupied.’
Samantha was wondering what could keep them busy and occupied in the middle of nowhere. The village had a population of about 2000 people. Compare that to New York that had like 2 million. There was one street in the main village – one street! A bakery, a greengrocer (clearly not everyone grew their own vegetables) and some mad woman who ran a crystal shop. It was all airy fairy and not their kind of thing. Of course they were going to be bored.
The drive was two hours. Slowly the traffic disappeared and the buildings were no longer. There were trees and the road was windy, calm and peaceful.
‘Boring’ Samantha muttered under her breath. ‘I would kill for a cigarette,’ she whispered to Mary Ella,’ but made sure her dad didn’t hear her.
‘So boring,’ Mary Ella agreed with her. ‘There’s NOTHING here. I think dad has gone mad.’
It did seem peaceful and lovely. But Katy was sitting up front in the truck. And she wasn’t worried about boredom. She had a really odd feeling. Something was making her skin crawl and she didn’t know what it was.
‘You okay?’ Joshua asked her, aware that she had gone very quiet.
‘I guess,’ Katy replied. ‘I have this really weird feeling wash over me. I’m sure it’s just anxiety about the change and everything. I’ll be fine. It’s just, I’ve never felt like this before. It feels, don’t think I’m crazy, it feels like there’s someone else sitting up here in front with me. I can feel something unusual, sense something really weird. It’s scaring me.’
Joshua always took Katy seriously but this time, he didn’t.
‘Honey, you are just worried about the move. Don’t stress, it’s going to be lovely. Girls, you need to look after your mom too.’
The girls had also gone quiet. They too had started sensing something weird in the truck. It was just as they were approaching their new house and it was, phew, they all drew in their breath. It was like a presence had entered their car.
Maybe it was anxiety, Samantha thought to herself.
‘Okay, we’re here,’ she said. ‘May as well go get settled.’
They started taking their bags from the truck to the car . The farmhouse was quite delightful with pretty views all around. It was quiet .
‘Is that a cow?’ Mary Ella asked. ‘Gosh, dad really has gone mad.’
They all giggled. Even though they could still feel that odd presence.