"A house stood behind a high brick wall. It was a spacious, foursquare brick building with neat columns either side of the front door and the same number of windows on either side. Despite the sunshine it seemed a sad house.
Behind it lay a large bedraggled garden stretching to the fence at the foot of the railway embankment, and near the front gate was an outhouse with fading green double doors. Today it would be a garage, but when it was built it would have been called a coach-house. Above it was a loft, and over the double doors a little window was festooned with cobwebs and dead moths, long desiccated.
Behind the dirty glass were two tiny chairs, and in the chairs were propped a doll in a grubby frock, and a large toy rabbit with floppy ears and yellow check trousers. Somehow one knew that they had been there for many years, forgotten by a child long-gone or long-grown, left to keep a patient vigil over the narrow front garden and the hot sun winking off the roofs of the cars.
And if you should happen to look just out of the corner of your eye, in passing as it were, not looking properly, you might notice something else. Behind the dolly and the rabbit, another dim shape.
A pale face in the shadow, wide-eyed, watching and waiting."
David Bramhall has also written this slim collection, a chilling twist on the traditional ghost story. Six stories will not terrify you, but might tug at your heart-strings.
An award-winning children's choir owes its success to someone who isn't there, while a young man finds he has someone living in his attic. A pensioner becomes a little too absorbed in his hobby, and a lonely little girl waits patiently for her big brother to come home from school. There are no monsters here, but there is gentle humour, a vivid insight into the world of children, and great sadness expressed in limpid, elegant prose.
One of the stories is even true!
You can buy Aurelia here or here.
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