Dark Spell

Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnott Read Free Book Online

Book: Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnott Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gill Arbuthnott
too much when they had a barbecue.
    “You should have invited Josh over,” said David, looking at the leftovers.
    “He’s going out somewhere with his mum,” Callie replied quickly.
    “At least we can say hello to him tomorrow if he’s coming in to borrow your dad’s wetsuit,” said Julia. “Have you dug it out for him yet, David?”
    “Not yet, but I haven’t forgotten,” said David, basking, eyes closed, in a patch of sunlight.
    “You will bring him in to meet us, won’t you? Your grandparents have seen him today. Now it’s our turn,” Julia pressed on.
    “All right. I’ll bring him in.” It was probably best just to get it over with.
    Julia beamed.
    It was a warm night. Another warm night. Callie slid the bedroom window up a few more centimetres, but the wind had dropped completely and now there wasn’t even enough breeze to stir the curtains. Chutney Mary lay on the bed in a purring heap.
    “Don’t dare snuggle up to me, cat. If you make me too hot I’m shutting you out for the night,” Callie warned her as she climbed into bed, pushing the cat to one side. Chutney Mary gave a chirp of protest and settled down again as Callie opened a book.
    Deep in the night, the cat woke suddenly, ears pricked, alert. At this time of year the sky never seemed to be totally dark, and there was enough light for her eyes.
    She watched her mistress, quietly asleep, covers flung back because of the heat, then her eyes narrowed at something: a tiny, hunched, formless blot of darkness that moved across the bed. The cat’s ears went back as the darkness drifted to the floor, and settled, and slipped down through a narrow gap between the floorboards.
    Chutney Mary hissed.

    The doorbell rang. Callie hurried to answer it before her mother. “Come in,” she said to Josh.
    He propped his body board against the wall just inside the gate and slid his bag off his shoulders.
    “Waves look good,” he said. “I thought when the wind dropped last night it was going to be rubbish, but it’s back up this morning.”
    Callie yawned.
    “Late night?” Josh asked.
    She shook her head. “Weird dreams.”
    “Weird how?”
    She found she didn’t want to talk about her dreams. They had been oddly disturbing.
Don’t be so stupid
, she told herself.
They were only dreams
. “People whispering to me.” She felt her palms itch. “Lots of hammering. I must have been building a wall or something.”
    Without warning, the gate swung open behind Josh and banged shut, making them both jump.
    “Er… Callie… you don’t use a hammer to build a wall,” Josh said, eyeing the gate suspiciously.
    “Knocking it down then. Whatever. I’ll get the suit,” said Callie, keen to change the subject.
    “Callie, is that Josh?” her mother’s voice called from upstairs.
    “Yes,” Callie yelled back. “She wants to meet you,” she said to Josh, making a face.
    “I’d quite like to meet her. And your dad.”
    “Really?” Callie looked astonished. “Go into the kitchen and have a seat while I get the wetsuit.”
    “It’s really warm out there, though.”
    She laughed. “There speaks someone who’s never been in the sea in Fife.”
    Callie, going out, almost collided with Julia, coming in. “Back in a minute,” Callie said, continuing determinedly on her way.
    The wetsuits were hanging in the garage where Callie’s father was tinkering with his ancient and beloved Morris Traveller car. Callie took down her own and her dad’s.
    “I take it Josh has arrived?”
    “Yeah. Mum’s got him cornered in the kitchen.”
    “Now, now. She’s just interested. We don’t often get to meet your friends. And this must be quite a friendship to have kept going when you’ve seen so little of each other.”
    Callie thought about that and nodded. “I suppose it is. Are you coming in to meet him too?”
    “Am I allowed to?”
    “Ha ha.”
    When they got back to the kitchen they found Josh chatting to Julia without

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