Ghost for Rent [MultiFormat]
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by Penny Lockwood
Category: Young Adult/Suspense/Thriller
Description: This paranormal ghost story begins when eleven year old Wendy Wiles learns her parents are planning to get divorced. Forced to leave her beloved city home for a cheaper country place, Wendy, her mother, and her twelve year old brother move to rural Warren, Oregon. On move-in day, Wendy meets a neighbor girl who tells her their quaint country home is haunted. Events proceed quickly as Wendy, her new friend, Jennifer, and Wendy's brother, Mike, see ghostly figures dancing in the woods. Despite Mom's claims that "there's no such thing as ghosts," paranormal events continue to occur in the Wiles' home. Meanwhile her brother Mike, arch-tease, torments Wendy, claiming he's causing the unusual happenings. Wendy searches through library records to get to the bottom of the mystery. Finally with Jennifer's help, Wendy begins to unravel the truth. At last even Mike can no longer disbelieve and decides to aid Wendy in her search. By the end of the story, the three young sleuths have uncovered an accidental death, a suicide and a murder. [Cover art Dirk A. Wolf]
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2002 Hard Shell Word Factory
Hard Shell Word Factory Release Date: January 2003
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: eReader (PDB) [77 KB], ePub (EPUB) [108 KB], Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [48 KB], Portable Document Format (PDF) [521 KB], Palm Doc (PDB) [53 KB], Microsoft Reader (LIT) [140 KB], Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [116 KB], hiebook (KML) [146 KB], Sony Reader (LRF) [112 KB], iSilo (PDB) [44 KB], Mobipocket (PRC) [55 KB], Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [97 KB], OEBFF Format (IMP) [76 KB]
Reading time: 46-65 min.
Microsoft Reader (LIT) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
Portable Document Format (PDF) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud DISABLED
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
WITH THE rain pelting her, Wendy ran from her bus stop to her apartment building. She couldn't wait to get home. Maybe she'd call Darcy and see if she could come swim in the indoor pool. Or, maybe, she'd just go to the exercise room and work out before dinner. She couldn't make up her mind. Her twelve year old brother, Mike, liked to go straight to the arcade room, so she and Darcy would stay away from there.
Karl, the door man, greeted her as she skidded to a stop under the rain awning. "Good afternoon, Ms. Wiles." He opened the door for her with a theatrical flourish.
"Good afternoon, Karl." Wendy smiled, careful not to show her braces. She always felt grown-up and elegant when Karl opened the door for her.
After entering the foyer, she groaned. Mike, dressed in his usual black jeans and tee-shirt, leaned against the elevator button, banging his head to the awful heavy metal music he enjoyed so much. She heard his Walkman even though he listened through earphones. Life would be almost perfect if it weren't for him, she thought.
Wendy reached the elevator just as the doors opened, and she slipped in beside her brother. She watched him out of the corner of her eye and considered asking him about the argument Mom and Dad had last night. She wasn't sure if Mike even heard them since his stereo was always so loud. Mike ignored her and kept his eyes focused on the flashing floor lights.
Fine, she thought, pulling a book of Emily Dickinson's poetry from her backpack. Water dripped off her hat, but after living in Oregon her whole life, it didn't bother her. She pretended her stupid brother had been abducted by aliens and immersed herself in Emily's poems. Something cold and slimy slithered down her back. She screeched, and dropped her book. Dancing from one foot to the other, she stubbed her toe against her bulging backpack, then yelped even louder. She hopped up and down as she clawed at her back. Mike howled, and held his sides, laughing so hard he doubled over.
Wendy retrieved the fake worm Mike had dropped inside her tee-shirt. "You jerk!" she yelled, throwing the worm at her brother. She gathered up her books which had spilled out of her backpack onto the elevator floor.
Mike laughed. "Wottsa matter, sis? Can't ya take a joke?" "You're not funny, Mike. Why couldn't I have been an only child?" She ground her teeth and balled her fists at her sides.
"Because I was born first, bird-brain."
"I'm going to tell, Mom."
The elevator door opened and Mike dashed out, racing for their apartment. "If she's working on a story, I wouldn't interrupt her if I were you."
Wendy's anger deflated like a popped balloon. Mike was right. Ever since Mom decided to be a writer, she'd become distracted and unavailable. Of course, Wendy wanted to be a poet, but poets are supposed to be moody and poetry didn't take nearly as long to write. Mom spent most of her time caught up in a story - planning it, writing it, rewriting it. Probably if she sold something, it would be better, but so far her track record ranked zero. Maybe today she had worked at an office temp job and wouldn't be thinking of her latest story, Wendy thought hopefully, then sighed. Nope, Mom always thought about her stories.
When Wendy entered the apartment, she heard loud voices coming from the living room. What was Dad doing home? He hardly ever comes home for dinner any more. She closed the door and put her backpack on the hall table. Mike stood near the closed living room door. She tiptoed up beside him. Anger at her brother's teasing forgotten, she listened to her parents fighting. Her stomach felt like someone had kicked her and tears welled up in her eyes.
"I've had it with you, Paul," Wendy's mother screamed at her husband. "You're never home. You say you're working late at the university, but you're not there when I call. It's getting worse not better. You promised you'd be more available for the kids. They've probably forgotten what you look like! When you are home, you're either watching T.V. or working on the computer. If I'm going to be a single parent, I'm going to do it without having to be your wife too. I want a divorce."
Wendy grabbed Mike's hand. When he turned to look at her, she knew his shocked expression mirrored her own. "Divorce?" she whispered. Mike shrugged.
Dad's voice came through the open door. "Divorce? You want a divorce? Fine, Anne, you've got your divorce. I work hard trying to give this family nice things. Who do you think pays for this fancy apartment? You certainly don't pay for it with your stories."
"Don't go bringing up my stories, Paul. You promised to be supportive when I took the creative writing class. Now all you do is make fun of my efforts." Wendy heard her mom's voice tremble.
"Supportive? Do you realize how much postage you use every month? Well I do. I keep track, and it's more than fifty dollars a month. You don't earn anything with this career of yours, but you know how to spend it."
"You're not being fair, Paul. You knew it would take a while to get established, and I have had some encouraging rejection letters. It's just taking time." Wendy imagined tears running down Mom's face. She hoped the man she married some day would understand her need to write poetry better than Dad understood Mom's need to write her stories.
"If you want me around this house more, then get a real job so I don't have to work all these extra hours."
"You don't get paid for those extra hours, Paul. You're just trying to confuse me. Get out before this gets any uglier. I've seen you with her, you know?" Mom's voice sounded bitter.
"What is Mom talking about, Mike?"
Mike shook his head and frowned, then put his ear near the door again.
"Come on, Mike, I don't think we should listen any more." Wendy pulled her brother to the kitchen.
"Wow! Can you believe that?" Mike asked, as he put his Walkman on the table. He pulled milk, peanut butter, jelly, and bread from the fridge, made sandwiches and poured milk into glasses. Grinning, he pushed a sandwich at Wendy. "Here I made one for you."
Wendy pushed the sandwich away. "How can you think of eating? Weren't you listening? Mom wants a divorce!" With that lead feeling still in her stomach, she didn't feel much like eating, but for once her brother wasn't being a jerk. He'd even made her a sandwich. Then she saw the fake spider sticking out of it.
"Mike! How could you? Don't you ever give up? Mom and Dad are talking about getting divorced and all you can think of are your stupid jokes!"
"So what?" he replied around a mouth full of food.
"What are we going to do?"
"I bet we have to move for one thing. Who do you want to live with?" Mike wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Wendy realized she'd been gripping her shirt; she ran her sweaty palms down her jeans. She took off her hat, put it on the table, then sat down and faced her brother. "How can you be so calm, Mike? We're talking about big changes here." She glared at him.
She heard a snuffling noise and turned; her mother entered the kitchen.
"Hi, kids. How was school? I didn't hear you come in." Her voice sounded strained.
"Mom, we heard you and Dad," Wendy said.
"Oh." Mom couldn't quite look at either one of them.
"What's going to happen, Mom?" Wendy asked. She swiped her sleeve across the tears flowing down her cheeks. Her hands trembled as she clutched her chair. Inside her body vibrated like a massage chair.
Mom ran her hands through her short brown hair, disturbing the grey at the temples. "Dad and I agreed to separate for awhile. I know this is going to be hard on you kids, but you'll still get to see him. He's packing a few things, then he'll say goodbye. I don't think we'll be able to stay here. I can't afford it, even if I go back to work full-time. Your father said he'd help pay our rent if we moved someplace cheaper."
"Move! We can't move. I love this place, Mom. Why can't you and Dad just make up? It's just not fair," Wendy screamed. She pushed her chair so hard, it fell backwards as she got up from the table. She rushed past her mother and ran to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
Wendy leaned against the closed door and surveyed her room through misty eyes. She saw the double canopy bed, draped in soft pinks and white, the white double dresser, night stand and vanity, the standing oval mirror, and the view of the Willamette River outside her window. Why do Mom and Dad have to be so stupid? She threw herself on her bed. Tears fell from her eyes; her body shook with huge sobs. She gulped for air as her nose clogged, but she couldn't stop crying.
Copyright © 2002 by Penny Lockwood