A very modern ghost story
Andrea and Derek liked to think of themselves as a very modern couple.
Up to date with all the new technology they had every new gadget invented and their German built home showed the world that this was so.
Derek liked to think of himself as something of an innovator, he saw new inventions and jumped on the bandwagon giving the impression that he'd found that new designer or artist. Andrea tagged along taking the spoils and demanding the best service because of who she was with.
Driving home from a dinner party one Friday evening they came upon a young girl lying in the road. Her pink bicycle lay in the ditch mangled and broken, her body lay lifeless in front of them. Derek slowed down and turned to Andrea.
"What do we do?" he asked.
"I don't know" answered his wife with a shrug "I've never been in this situation before".
Hesitantly they got out of the car and walked over. The road was empty and dark and seemed to go on forever, Andrea looked both ways up and down the country lane but it was desolate.
"Is she dead?" Andrea asked putting a tissue to her nose. Derek's blank face told her nothing, he was as clueless as she was. The little girl was about eight years old and apart from the gash on her forehead looked fine. She took the tissue away from her nose long enough to ask. "Shouldn't we keep her warm or something?". After watching many hospital dramas she knew this to be true.
Derek shook his head and touched the collar of his coat.
"Not this baby, cost too much". he snorted, Andrea nodded in agreement.
"Mine too, do we have an old dog blanket in the back?"
They didn't and by the time they got a phone signal and had contacted the authorities it was too late.The paramedics took her body away and the police took statements.
Three days later they sat in the bar owned by Derek's business partner and recounted the tale to their friends.
"We did what we could of course" they lied
"Poor girl didn't stand a chance, oh but we got our pictures in the paper" enthused Derek.
"Yes" replied Andrea "and they got my name wrong".
"And how are you Andrew?" asked Derek to much hilarity.They laughed and made jokes and slugged more wine as the sun went down over the harbour.
The nightmares started soon after the workmen had left for the weekend. Andrea needed a nap after ordering them around all day and was totally wiped out by how much dust Carmen had to clean up. She lay on her huge bed that would have filled an average house never mind a bedroom and put on her eye mask. The gel got to work soothing her tired lids and as she drifted off she thought she could hear a bell. It rang twice, the first faint as if far away but the second was right outside her bedroom door. Andrea sat up keeping the mask on but listening intently, she knew what she'd heard and it freaked her out. Laying back down she told herself not to be so stupid, Derek wouldn't dare ride his bike upstairs.
Carmen hated working for them, she'd started as a cleaner two days a week and had progressed to full time housekeeper, happy to have a wage coming in she was grateful, it was just the way they treat her. Items were dropped and left for her to pick up and sometimes Derek liked to walk around naked much to her horror. Andrea thought it a hoot and ribbed her about it endlessly. That morning she'd sent Carmen out for a parcel which had failed to be delivered, Carmen was happy to get out as the rows had started up again. Derek's business partner had ran off with a substantial amount and now he himself was under investigation.
"I pay my taxes" he retorted.
"Yes but not here darling" Andrea had laughed, Derek spent the day going through papers and wondering if it was all about to fall apart when Andrea shouted his name.
"What?" he answered but she stood stock still staring at the pink bicycle floating in the swimming pool, after Derek had set eyes on it it sunk straight to the bottom, it was if it had been waiting for him to notice it.
Derek ushered her out and shut off the pool, he'd have to get someone out to get rid of it, it gave him the creeps thinking about it.
"We need a long holiday" sighed Derek, glass poised ready to knock back a gin and tonic, he stared at Andrea as the whirring caught them by surprise, "is that the.." but he didn't finish his sentence. They both ran towards the window as the shutters came down.
Carmen swore inwardly, they'd sent her out on a wild goose chase and now this. The house was locked and shuttered, they always put them down when they went on holiday but it would have been nice if they'd informed her first.
She turned the car around and went home, she tried phoning them later on but got no reply so she put it down to one of their bad jokes.
It was getting dark, the light had somehow crept through the shutters though they'd never seen it from this angle before, as the sun went down it got darker in the lounge, the electrics had gone, it was cold and there was a stillness in the air.
Andrea lit the candles that up until now had just been for show, the smell of orange and bergamot filled the air but became overpowering as the sealed rooms became airless. Derek tried the doors again, he tried the switchboard which controlled the shutters, nothing. It was as if time had stood still, silence engulfed them until it was broken by the sound of a bell.
Andrea shot up out of her seat knocking over her glass of wine, the red stain that looked like blood spread out on the cream carpet and Andrea was pleased that she couldn't see it. Derek said this was a ridiculous situation to be in and tried to laugh it off but the beads of sweat on his forehead told a different story.
"I can't breathe" he whispered lying on the floor just missing the damp patch where the wine spillage lay. Andrea had a torch on her key ring, it was only a small one but it did the job, she pointed it at Derek and gasped. His face was white and clammy, he pulled at the collar of his silk shirt and took his last breath as he would have wished dressed head to toe of course in Prada.
Alone now Andrea cried, she banged on the shutters and pulled at the security doors that boasted steel locks, she screamed and yelled until she was hoarse then sobbed quietly to herself until the faint sound of a bell brought her to her senses. She knew she'd heard it earlier but thought it was a dream. She'd been having a few bad ones lately and was feeling uneasy to begin with, something whizzed past her, then again in the other direction.
"Who's there?" she cried feeling a prescence behind her.
"Me" a voice, that of a small child startled her.
She jumped and turned but in the candlelight it was impossible to see straight.
"I wasn't dead you know" came the disembodied voice again, "you could have saved me, all you had to do was put me in your car and take me to the hospital, it wasn't that far".
Andrea froze, coldness crept up her spine and filled her head.
"Please" she begged "who are you?"
"I'm the nightmare in your head" it replied.
She sat on the floor and prayed that this was a dream, If it was a dream then Derek was lying in bed next to her and when she opened her eyes it would be morning, Carmen would be preparing breakfast and she could feel a shopping trip coming on. Relieved she sat and waited for it all to be over.
Andrea sat on the hard floor surrounded by the latest electronic gadgets and up to date technology available, all dead to the world and lifeless. She kept closing her eyes then opening them quickly expecting to be awake. After what seemed like forever she stood up, picking up a candle she followed the sound of a bell.