ghost ship had transfixed them. They’d walked for miles looking at it. Now, I felt transfixed—captivated by the sight of it. I couldn’t look away. I started walking along the beach, trying to keep pace with the ghostly galleon. Except for the light emanating from the ship and the glow from the moon, it was very dark along the water. I stumbled into a ditch in the sand created by rain runoff from the island. The beach was still very wet from the tail end of a hurricane we’d had recently. I lost my balance and sank to my knees in the soft sand. I put my hands out to keep myself steady. I didn’t want to look away from the Andalusia , but I had no choice if I wanted to get back on my feet. I looked down at the sand and saw a face with wide-open eyes looking back at me.
I crawled out of the ditch as quickly as I could, my heart pounding. The ghost ship was pushed from my thoughts like yesterday’s high tide. I’d almost fallen right on the person. It was hard to tell for certain in the dim light, but the face looked like Chuck Sparks. Nothing but Banker determination made me go back to the ditch and try to decide if he was still alive. I got down close beside him. I wasn’t a doctor, but I couldn’t feel a pulse. He felt cold, and his body was stiff to the touch. I used the light from my cell phone to look at him more carefully. It was Chuck. He was covered in sand, as though he’d been rolled in it. Had someone buried him and the tide had shifted the sand, bringing him back to the surface again? I tried using the phone to call for help. No signal . At that point, it was a better flashlight than a phone. I didn’t want to leave Chuck alone, but I had no choice. There was only so much I could do by myself. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I have to go. I’ll be right back with someone who can help. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.” As I started to get to my feet, his hand moved, clutching at my skirt beside it. His ghastly white face turned and looked at me, as he had in the vision. “Help her.” I jumped away with a small shriek, crawling until I was a few yards from him. Despite what some might term my “psychic” gift of being able to help people find things, I’d never experienced anything like this. Dead bodies normally didn’t speak to me. Now that it had happened, I wished it hadn’t. It was bad enough in a vision. This was so much worse. I sat on the wet sand, shuddering, and looked up at the sky. The ghost ship was gone now, but the moon was still smiling down at me. Did Chuck really just speak to me? I wasn’t sure. Maybe I’d imagined it. Finding a dead body, even one that didn’t speak, could be traumatic enough to make someone hallucinate. So I crawled back again, mindful that my dry cleaner, Mrs. Toivo, was going to have a few words with me about this. I felt safer near the ground, less lightheaded. I thought about standing—it might be easier to get away if Chuck decided to put any more moves on me. But my legs were shaking too much. That made fast crawling my best option. I pulled out my cell phone and peered over the slight lip of the ditch. Chuck looked the same as he had when I’d first found him. I couldn’t tell if he’d really moved or if I’d imagined it. This was an awful turn for my gift to take. In the future, were recently dead people—not even ghosts—going to start talking to me? That thought made me want to run away screaming. I took a deep breath, forcing myself to calm down. I had to focus on what to do next. Once I saw that he was the same, I moved away and pushed myself to my feet a little farther down the beach. So much for moonlight making everything more romantic. This experience was definitely not romantic. I walked up to the first house at the edge of the beach—Mr. and Mrs. Cooley’s place. They’d recently retired and moved to Duck. He was an ex-corporate official from some mega-giant technology firm. I pounded on the