Authors: Tamsyn Murray
Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall in the Chinese Year of the Rat. This makes her charming, creative and curious (on a good day) but also selfish,
restless and impatient (v. v. bad day).
After moving around a lot during her early years, she now lives in London with her husband and her daughter. At least her body does. Her mind tends to prefer imaginary places and wanders off
whenever it can but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a writer.
When she isn’t making things up, you might find Tamsyn on the stage, pretending to be someone else. She occasionally auditions for TV talent shows. One day she might get past the first
round . . .
Find out more about Tamsyn at her website:
First published in Great Britain in 2010
by Piccadilly Press Ltd,
5 Castle Road, London NW1 8PR
Text copyright © Tamsyn Murray, 2010
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
The right of Tamsyn Murray to be identified as Author of this work
has been asserted by her in accordance with the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
A catalogue record for this book is available
from the British Library
ISBN: 978 1 84812 092 1 (paperback)
eISBN: 978 1 84812 174 4
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed in the UK by CPI Bookmarque, Croydon, CR0 4TD
Cover design by Patrick Knowles
For Lisa, Cathy and Alison,
who made growing up so much fun.
I knew the woman on the bridge was going to jump a split second before she did.
The word was out of my mouth before my brain kicked in and my fingers stretched towards the window of the bus as though dragged on invisible strings. Conversations around me stopped mid-sentence
and curious stares shot my way, but I couldn’t wrench my gaze away from the woman on the parapet, and everything else faded into the background. Casting one sorrowful glance over her
shoulder, she launched herself into the air and plummeted to the roaring traffic below. I waited for a scream to shatter the chill morning air. It didn’t come. My ears strained for the squeal
of brakes and the grim crunch of metal on bone, but there was only silence. Somehow, that was worse. My eyes closed and I swallowed a wave of sick horror. I’d just watched a woman leap to her
death. The fact that I couldn’t have stopped her didn’t make me feel any better.
Gradually, the sounds of London’s rush hour filtered through to my numbed brain. I opened my eyes to see that the traffic was on the move. The engine of the bus roared and we lurched
forwards along Hornsey Lane Bridge. Around me, passengers steadied themselves and resumed their activities as though nothing unusual had happened. My outburst had been dismissed. Dotted among the
random mixture of age, nationality and dress-sense were several kids in the same Heath Park C of E Secondary uniform that I wore, but it was only my second week at the school so I didn’t
recognise any faces.
As I gathered my jangling nerves and peered around the packed bus, one thing was obvious; not a single person had seen the woman jump. I ran a shaky hand over my face and sighed, wondering why I
was surprised. They were normal people, going about their everyday lives. None of them were like me. None of them saw ghosts.
It’s not as interesting as it sounds, being born into a family of psychics. OK, so your mum is much more likely to believe that there’s something lurking in the
cupboard at the bottom of your bed, but she’ll probably encourage you to have a chat rather than chase it away. Since my mum was the only non-psychic in her family, I didn’t even have
that luxury. She accepted that ghosts existed, of course; it’d be hard not to when her sister and parents talked about them non-stop, but she couldn’t see or hear them, and I
don’t think she ever really understood what it was like to see things other people didn’t. I suppose that’s why she became a biologist, because science dealt only with hard
evidence and facts.
My dad died before I was even born. Mum didn’t talk about him much, but I got the idea he hadn’t been psychic. It was my aunt that I turned to when I was trying to
make sense of my strange gift as I grew up, in spite of the fact that she lived in London and we were in Scotland. Blond-haired and blue-eyed like me, Celestine looked more like my older sister
than my aunt, and the gift we shared meant we were on the same wavelength most of the time. When Mum was agonising over a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a year studying sea horses in the
Great Barrier Reef, it was a no-brainer for me to stay with Celestine while she was away. Since GCSEs began in Year Ten, we’d decided I’d stay until I’d done my exams. Sure,
I’d miss my life in Edinburgh, but I’d always been a bit of a loner, and there was always MSN for the few friends I’d had. At least I wasn’t leaving a best friend behind,
and as for boys – ha! Maybe a fresh start at a new school was just what I needed, and this time I planned to spend less time worrying about the dead and more time on my social life.
Seriously, how hard could it be?
‘Hey, Skye,’ Celestine greeted me as I slouched into the kitchen after school and dropped my bag on to the floor. ‘Bad day?’
I slid on to a seat at the breakfast bar and scowled first at her and then at her boyfriend, Jeremy. ‘Is it that obvious?’
She finished drying the cup she was holding and dropped the tea towel next to the sink. ‘Yep. Your mood is greyer than your skirt.’
I stared at her. She’d been able to second-guess my emotions for as long as I could remember. ‘How do you do that? Am I the only person you read more easily than last week’s
Jeremy rinsed his hands under the tap. ‘No, she does it to me too. You get used to it after a while.’
Celestine smiled. ‘I can see your aura – it’s like a glow around you, reflecting your emotions. Everyone has one, and yours is telling me you’re Grumpy
I had read about auras before but hadn’t realised my aunt could see them; no wonder her people skills were so good. She was spot on about my mood too. After the horror of the journey to
school, I’d been followed off the bus by three kids who’d taken it in turns to shout out,‘ Wait!’ in the worst impersonations of my Scottish accent I’d ever heard.
I’d scurried inside the school gates with scant minutes to spare and found that Megan, the only girl in my registration group I’d broken the ice with, was off sick. With the horrible
image of the suicide ghost on replay in my brain, I’d had the attention span of a toddler on Jelly Tots in my lessons and finished the morning with a stern ticking-off from Mr Evans for
daydreaming. By the time he’d let me go, there was nothing left in the canteen except for curled-up sandwiches and an overcooked sausage roll. Then, to round off the perfect Monday, I had an
essay on the human reproductive system to write. Was it any wonder I wasn’t doing a happy dance?
‘Why can’t I see auras?’ I asked Celestine, trying to ignore the intense, slightly cross-eyed stare Jeremy was aiming just above my head.
‘Not every psychic can. They’re a bit like the faint blue glow you see around ghosts, but they’re much stronger in the living and more colourful.’ Celestine tilted her
head and Jeremy gave up trying to see my aura. ‘Why don’t you tell us what’s bugging you?’
I didn’t need a second invitation. When I’d finished, both she and Jeremy were solemn.
‘I’m not surprised you’re feeling grey,’ Celestine said. ‘What a terrible thing to witness.’
My head slumped on to my folded arms. ‘What I don’t understand is why she would jump again when she’s already dead. Why put herself through that?’
‘Well, assuming that’s how she died, she’ll be tied there and probably hasn’t worked out how to leave. The rest is just force of habit, I suppose,’ Celestine said,
her voice filled with sadness. ‘Think about it – we’re supposed to go straight to the astral plane when we die, but if there’s something holding us here then we don’t.
Some ghosts can’t cope when they don’t pass across, and suicides tend to find it the hardest.’
‘What happened when she – you know – hit the ground?’ Jeremy asked, interrupting my train of thought.
‘I didn’t see,’ I answered, frowning slightly. ‘I suppose she just sort of disappeared, but maybe she came back to the bridge and did it all again. What if she’s a
Oh God, I really hoped she wasn’t. Settling into a new school was hard enough without seeing someone throw themselves off the bridge every time I crossed it.