The Dunewalkers: Moving In Series Book 2
The Dunewalkers: Moving In Series Book 2
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An uncommon mission. An unholy realm. And ghostbusting on a whole new level…
After the death of his Army comrade, William Engberg moves into a simple New Hampshire home against the backdrop of the turbulent foam crested waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the ideal place to write and get on with his post-military life. Except for one thing. He has unwanted house guests—ghosts—and he wants them gone!
Determined to reclaim his home, William hires Brian, a ghostbusterpreneur, to clean house. Armed with knowledge from a rare journal on how to vanquish the dead, Brian goes to work only to discover his worst nightmare. Ready or not, Brian must deal with his own ghostly demons once and for all if he’s going to save William…and himself!
Chapter 1: The Squatter
George had been watching the house at the end of the coast road for a week.
The weather was getting colder, and he needed a place to crash for the winter. Tucked away at the end of the road with almost no vehicle traffic and only a few people who walked by, the little white and green clapboard house looked like it would be fine.
Plus, since it was so small, the police wouldn’t be looking at it when they made their winter rounds. Only the big houses drew special attention.
The engine of his car sputtered and a noxious burnt rubber smell drifted in through the heating vents.
He took his foot off of the brake and made his way back to the parking lot for Moody Beach. He could leave the car there and walk back up to the house. A car, especially one with Maine plates, wouldn’t attract any attention from the police.
Just another local out for a walk down to the Marginal Way and back. George grinned, turned off the lights, killed the engine and put away the keys. The pockets of his jacket contained a couple of cans of beans and some candy bars.
George may not have liked to work, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t take care of himself when he needed to.
He turned his collar up against the bitter wind coming in off of the Atlantic and tried to pull himself into his pea coat. His pants were pressed against his legs by the stiff breeze and the sound of his boots on the pavement was ripped away by the same harsh wind.
Five minutes of walking brought George to the house, the darkness settling in around him. His wristwatch beeped loudly in the middle of a sudden lull in the wind.
He walked up the driveway, scattering stones with each step.
A child’s laughter brought him up short.
The sound seemed to have come from the beachfront side of the house. The wind howled then dropped down again.
George stood still.
He had no good reason to be at the house. But there were no lights on, there was no car in the driveway.
The laughter grew louder.
Cautiously George stepped off of the driveway and eased his way around the edge of the building. He heard voices, people making small talk although he couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.
George took a deep breath, stuffed his hands deeper into his pockets, put on an air of nonchalance, and stepped out like he was cutting through the yard to get to the beach.
And there was no one.
The voices continued.
Laughter rang out.
A child let out a happy, shrill laugh.
And someone shoved George in the back with enough force to launch him forward. He tripped over his own feet and landed in the soft sand on his hands and knees. George struggled to stand, and someone kicked him in the ribs with enough force to knock the breath out of him.
A second blow to the back of his head caused his limbs to go rubbery, and he fell face first. He tried to turn away from the sand and succeeded, for the briefest of moments. Then someone grabbed him by the hair and pushed him down.
He couldn’t breathe.
He flailed his arms and reached back. He tried to grab hold of the hand of his murderer, and he found nothing.
Sand was ground into his eyes, packed into his nose.
Finally, he was forced to take a breath, and he inhaled nothing save dry, brutal sand.
The voices continued, as did the laughter.
George kicked out.
“We know what you wanted,” a woman’s voice said suddenly in his ear. “You’re not welcome here. We won’t even let you stay once you’re dead.”
“The dunes await, you charry man,” a much younger female voice said in a thick Irish brogue. “The dunes await.”
George couldn’t answer.
He couldn’t even breathe.
He was drowning slowly in the sand.
Chapter 2: William Moves In
William Engberg sat in his truck and finished his cigarette.
He exhaled and then he stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray and pulled the key out of the ignition. He got out of his truck, stuffed his keys in a back pocket and looked at the house before him.
The building was small, painted white with dark green trim with the Atlantic behind it. The ocean was gray and harsh, whitecaps breaking upon dark sands while a cold, northern wind battered at the dunes and seagrass.
William smiled at the dark clouds. Behind them, the sun had begun its slow descent, and soon William would be alone with the ocean and his thoughts.
Closing the truck’s door, he walked around to the side, reached into the bed and pulled out his sea-bag. He threw it over his shoulder and walked up to the house. He bent down and moved aside a loose paving stone to find the key to the house, as Jeremy’s mother had said.
The key was old, a perfect match for the worn lock in the door.
In a moment he was inside and the world beyond hidden from view. The house was dim, the poor light of the stormy sky coming in through the small windows. William found the light switch and flipped it up. A lamp flickered into life and offered up a view of the room.
The house was really nothing more than a large studio apartment, equipped with a small kitchenette and the peace and quiet William so desperately needed.
A few pieces of furniture occupied the house. A sofa that William knew to have a pull-out bed was in the room’s center. On the left wall stood a tall bookshelf, flanked by a pair of small, worn leather club chairs. A mirrored sconce was secured above each chair and a low coffee table sat between the two.
The right wall was dominated by a large, stone fireplace. A bucket for ashes stood to the left and a large wood-box, already filled with a good supply of split, seasoned wood, filled the space between the right of the hearth and a small bathroom.
William walked to the sofa, dropped his sea-bag on it and went to the kitchen. He opened the few cabinet doors and found that Jeremy’s mother had stocked them with dry goods.
William smiled and turned his attention to the refrigerator. Inside he found bottled water and a small cake.
Welcome, William, We’re Happy You’re Home, was written in blue across the white frosting.
William closed the refrigerator.
Home. He looked around. He fought back tears and a thousand unbidden memories. I have a home.
With a long sigh, William shook the thoughts away and went to his sea-bag, opened it and unloaded his belongings onto the sofa. From a small box, he took out his coffee press and carried it to the kitchen. William found a kettle and filled it from the tap. After setting it down on a burner William went back to the sofa. He bent down to sort out his belongings and then he stopped.
He straightened up, the hair on his neck standing up.
Someone had walked past the window.
William looked at the door and waited.
No one knocked.
No one passed by the other window.
William’s entire body tensed and he moved cautiously to the left window, where he had seen the fleeting shadow.
He tried to review the memory of the image.
Nothing. A shape. No definitive features.
Yet it had been a person. An adult from the size of the shape.
It couldn’t be a neighbor, Jeremy’s mother owned the strip of beach a quarter of a mile on either side. Nor could it be a thief. There was nothing to steal.
Except for the truck.
William reached the window and looked out.
His truck stood in the crushed stone driveway.
The dunes spread out to the left and the right. The wind rippled through the grass with the same ferocity of the of the tide’s pull upon the waves.
And a man was walking away.
From what William could see, the man had on a knit cap and a pea coat, both of dark, navy blue. The man’s collar was turned up against the wind, and he walked with his shoulders hunched.
“What is it, love?”
William spun around so quickly that he stumbled into the window.
A woman in a night-dress stood behind the sofa.
Her long brown hair hung down past her shoulders, and she was pretty, her features strong and her eyes green. She smiled at him, and William realized two things. First, she was probably only in her early thirties. Second, she was dead.
William could see the kettle and the red glow of the burner through her.
And William found himself answering her in a low, rough voice.
“Someone was walking through the grass, past the house.”
The woman’s smile broadened.
“You’ll get used to them,” she said. “There are lots of dune walkers here.”
William started to reply, but the woman vanished.
His body dumped its adrenaline a moment later, and he found himself shaking as badly as he ever had in Afghanistan after a firefight.
He walked to the sofa, sat down amongst his few possessions and waited for calm to return. It took a few minutes, but William soon found himself breathing normally, the shaking gone. He thought hard about what he had seen, both the walker and the woman in the house.
The woman had been undeniably dead, and the walker too, from what she had said.
How the hell do you deal with a ghost? William thought. What if there’s more than one?
The kettle whistled, and William stood up to turn the burner off.
What do I do about the dead?
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