Beatrice Beecham's Ship of Shadows

Beatrice Beecham's Ship of Shadows

By:  Dave Jeffery  Completed
Language: English
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Beatrice is back to face her greatest threat since. . .well, the last time! In Cooper’s Cove a hapless team of archaeologists unleash the vengeful spirit of a 16th Century witch on the sleepy seaside town of Dorsal Finn. Hexes and curses fly as Beatrice and her friends must find out what links the appearance of this incredible foe and The Spirit of the Ocean, a super-yacht hosting the biggest celebrity charity event the town has ever seen. As the population of Dorsal Finn succumbs to witchcraft, so Beatrice must gate-crash the party with her motley-crew of friends and allies in the hope of stopping the witch's sinister plan, and save everyone from endless oblivion. . . Again. ©️ Crystal Lake Publishing

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29 Chapters
Prologue
PROLOGUEThe girl stood on the prow of the galleon, thick ropes binding her wrists, her hands limp and white against the black material of her heavy skirts. Her mouth moved but the sound that came forth was as restrained as her limbs; hushed whispers that cracked and wavered as they passed over parched lips. Wide eyes stared out across the bay, where the rolling blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean rose and fell like the folds of a great bed sheet aired in the sweet, spring breeze.Her position was precarious but her resolve was steadfast. The sea breeze tousled her hair—turning it into ebony tendrils—and the face beneath was as pale as candle-wax, marred only by a splash of strawberry beneath her right eye where a birthmark lay like a livid isle in the blanched skin of her cheeks. There was a smile on her lips, as though she knew things that others did not, yet there was no fear.Behind the girl, the ship’s crew were a jeering mob, faces twisted in hate, and their cries of malice rose
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Chapter One
CHAPTER ONEThe boy runs headlong across the beach. There is the sound of music on the air, The Beatles are singing a song about a walrus and an egg-man, and it drifts from the promenade above, turned tinny by the transistor radio. The gulls are also demanding attention, wheeling overhead as wind currents determine their path across the flat grey sky.Then there is the ocean, it sucks and slurps on the pebbles and shale, a drawn out hiss marking its advance and retreat.All of these things are secondary to the boy’s sobs. They are the sounds of grief, the sound of loss. His heart is a stone in his chest, his throat raw with the screams of despair at the recent, awful news that has been brought to their door by a coastguard whose face was ashen with shock.His father is dead. The man he looked up to, the man who kept him safe, made him laugh with terrible jokes, now gone claimed by the sea. The breeze hits his face, his eyes are already blurred with tears but now they are stinging
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Chapter Two
CHAPTER TWOBeatrice Beecham checked her Smartphone and the vibrant screen told her two things. First, the timer was three minutes and ten seconds away from setting off the alarm to let her know the lamb roast would need to come out and rest before carving. Secondly, it told her there was a text message from Lucas Walker, the boy she had been dating for the past year, asking her if dinner was ready.Beatrice turned around. “Will you stop doing that?”“Doing what?” Lucas said. His grin made it clear that he knew exactly “what” she meant.“Sending me texts when you’re three feet away,” she said.“What can I say?” He flashed her a disarming smile. “The art of conversation died with the birth of the emoji.”She fought back a chuckle, helped by the alarm on her Smartphone bleeping urgently.Beatrice went for a pair of Masterchef oven gloves on the grey, marbled work surface. “Lucas Walker, you’ll never understand just how stressful it is having someone standing over you when you’re t
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Chapter Three
CHAPTER THREECooper’s Cove lay a mile to the east of Dorsal Finn’s harbour. As with other areas in the town, the large cave, accessible only at low tide, had bad folklore attached to it. The place was known locally as Coven Cove, and its association with witchcraft was no secret amongst the older generations. They took delight—especially around Halloween—in scaring kids with talk about the coven of witches who used to frequent the area, one of whom allegedly wrote The Book of Shadows, a grimoire of great power.The author was thought to be one Delores Mellor who, along with her four other coven members, died at the hands of the Witchfinder General in the 18th Century. Summer tourists often came to the cove, fascinated with its macabre history. For, although the true nature of the tales surrounding it was fantastic, it was also a fact that five women had actually died as a result of a witch trial, and such an event would only continue to serve to fascinate.And, in part, the qu
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Chapter Four
CHAPTER FOURElmo stood outside the gates of Dorsal Finn High School, his large frame clad in his usual black tee-shirt, blue jeans and training shoes. Deep in thought, he considered what he’d witnessed during the game.At first, things were going as predicted, with his school team scoring early in the first half, and fellow Newshound, Emily, making two crucial saves as the opposition sought to reassert itself with an equaliser. By half time, however, the home team were two goals to nil up.Then came the second half and things went kind of weird. Well, even Elmo knew this was a colossal understatement. By the first fifteen minutes, AOS FC had smashed four goals past Emily before she was substituted. Then Millie Weatheroak put away three more. End result: seven goals to two, and quite possibly the most humiliating defeat in a long, long time.It was not this that had Elmo mulling things over in his quiet, considered brain, though. It was a concern for Emily. Because even before she
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Chapter Five
CHAPTER FIVEPrimrose Meadowsweet typed out a memo onto her PC. Her delicate fingers danced across the keys as staccato clicks filled the air. Her face was a pallid mask, and her black hair was styled into an acute shoulder-length bob.Her desk was situated in a small, rectangular office that had a door at one end, and Gideon Codd’s chambers at the other. The walls were smattered with photographs of cats. There were black cats, white cats, tortoise-shell cats, kittens with balls of wool, or peeking out from baskets and armchairs.She had two cats back at her small cottage on the outskirts of town. Laurel and Hardy were Siamese and sole companions in her sedate and uncomplicated life. The appeal of the feline lifestyle had fascinated her from an early age. The only daughter of a civil servant and a primary school teacher, Primrose was brought up in a home that was appropriately polite and straight-laced. Her mother was prim and proper. She was not that experienced in the world o
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Chapter Six
CHAPTER SIXEmily realised something was wrong before she climbed out of bed. She’d instinctively reached for the bedside lamp—a cumbersome thing shaped like a football boot—and found that there was already something illuminating her bedroom.But it wasn’t her bedroom, was it?No soccer posters or laptops and books on shelves. Instead, there was only a cramped space, thrown into uncertain shapes of brown and deep shadow by the sputtering candle on a small stand next to her cot. The walls were made up of horizontal planks of wood, the grooves where each plank joined was a dark scar that wept sea water. The whole room reeked of forest and ocean.Her heart thudded in her chest, matching her fierce curiosity. She threw off the coarse blanket and slipped out of the cot. Beneath her feet, the floor was warm and unpleasant, as though she was not on a ship but in the belly of a great creature that had somehow swallowed her whole while she’d slept.She stood, moving tentatively across
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Chapter Seven
CHAPTER SEVENAs the rest of the town was slowly waking up, a lone figure traipsed across the swirling grasslands of The Bluff.Edward Chorley had cropped blonde hair, his mop of fringe hid a whirling scar where, not too long ago, he’d come off second best to a piece of driftwood brandished by a certain Beatrice Beecham. His eyes were ocean blue and glittered with mischief. His right ear poked out more than his left, as though he’d slept on it while it was folded over once too often. His nose was broad, his build stocky, but he was best known for his mean streak, which ran deep and wide.Edward lived with his mother in a fisherman’s cottage on Harbinger Street, a ten-minute walk from anywhere decent in the town, and renowned for the ever-present reek of gutted fish from the market. For Edward, there was no better place than the lighthouse on The Bluff.To those who knew the town of old, the place was called Monument Point, named after the lowly piece of granite commemorating the cr
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Chapter Eight
CHAPTER EIGHTKhaldun pulled his car up at the wrought iron gates. Through the thick, black railings, the yellow gravel of Bramwell Hall’s driveway could be seen like a jaundiced river snaking through well-kept hedges and lawns.He dropped his window and hit the intercom, a small grilled box with a large white button. There was a burst of static, and then a soft-yet-firm male voice came through the grill.“Pontefract residence. May I ask who is calling?”Khaldun introduced himself.“Very good, sir,” said the voice. “Can you please park at the front of the house.”There was a clunk, then a click, and Khaldun watched as the huge gates opened inwards, accompanied by a series of rattles and squeaks. It took a minute to drive up to the hall. The building loomed from behind a line of oak trees, its squared corner turrets making the most of its heritage with added pennants. There was a large circle in front of the main entrance, and in the centre of it, a stone fountain shaped in t
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Chapter Nine
CHAPTER NINEBeatrice arrived at Ashby-on-Sea General Hospital forty minutes later. She had run home, Lucas struggling to keep up with her, lungs aching with exertion. Through gasps and wheezes, she’d explained to her concerned father what a distraught Patience had told her on the phone. Without hesitation, George had told Beatrice and Lucas to follow him to the car, and they set off, collecting Elmo and Emily on the way out of town.In the car, Beatrice, Emily, and Lucas sat in the back. Elmo kept company with George, who drove with a grim countenance. No one spoke for the entire journey, but heads and hearts raced, the fear and anguish The Newshounds felt for their friend binding them all together.George parked as The Newshounds bustled into the reception area. The footsteps landed heavily, and the squeak of training shoes on the linoleum echoed loudly through the corridors. A security guard told them to slow down, muttering something about the place being a hospital, not a playg
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