Publication date: June 4th 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke Books
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera
By Jennifer C. Wilson
The afterlife is alive with possibility…
In this collection of stories, we follow kings and queens as they make important (and history-defying) visits, watch a football game featuring the foulest of fouls, and meet a host of new spirits-in-residence across the British Isles and beyond.
Be transported to ancient ruins, a world-famous cemetery, and a new cathedral, and catch up with old friends – and enemies.
Because when the dead outnumber the living and start to travel, the adventures really do begin.
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera is a charming collection of stories about your favourite ghosts!
Included short- stories are:
Kindred Spirits: St Paul’s Cathedral
Kindred Spirits: Jailbreak
Kindred Spirits: Carlisle Castle
Kindred Spirits: The Sisterhood of Hampton Court Palace
Kindred Spirits: Leicester – Return of the King
Kindred Spirits: The Jewel of the Wall
Kindred Spirits: Eurostar
Kindred Spirits: Père Lachaise
Kindred Spirits: York, Revisited
Kindred Spirits: Leicester – Return of the King
As the doors of Leicester Cathedral closed for the final time that day, the ghost of Elizabeth Simpson sank into a chair in the south aisle.
“One of our busiest Saturdays for a while, I think,” she said, not entirely sure who was about, but certain that somebody would be, whether she could see them or not. That was the thing with ghostly communities – transient groups in every way.
“I counted almost five hundred, I’m sure, from the ticks in the staff notebook.” The deep, steady voice of her husband Samuel made Elizabeth jump.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” she scolded. “Over two hundred years of this, and you still insist on making me jump.”
“Well, you shouldn’t spend so long lost in your own thoughts,” her husband retorted. “Anyway, we must keep our disagreements to ourselves; you never know who is around these days.”
It was true. The cathedral had seen a resurgence in ghostly activity since the reinterment of King Richard III in March 2015. Ghosts who had been thought long gone appeared, out of the blue, at the nightly gatherings. Between these newer re-arrivals, and the increased visitor numbers amongst the living, some of the longer-term residents were unimpressed.
“Watch out, my dear, Whatton’s on his way,” Samuel said, nudging his wife. Elizabeth nodded at the approaching man, but didn’t rise. She knew he hated that.
“Simpson,” John Whatton said in greeting as he drew level with them. “My lady,” he nodded stiffly to Elizabeth. “More Richard III fans crowding the place out today, I see. Honestly, you’d think the novelty would have worn off by now.”
“Don’t start all this again, Whatton,” Samuel sighed. “Westley will be along at any moment, and between the pair of you, it’s enough to drive any man back to his tomb.”
“Or woman,” Elizabeth added. Personally, she enjoyed the increase in activity. After all, there were so many interesting people buried in the cathedral, and a good number had stayed around. She glanced across the space, wondering if, and hoping that, Marie Bond would make an appearance that evening. At ninety-seven years old, Marie was the eldest regular resident of the cathedral, and the tales she could tell kept them all entertained – when she was in the mood.
To Elizabeth’s delight, the elderly lady appeared, escorted as usual on the willing arm of young Susanna Peppin.
“Marie! So lovely to see you!” Elizabeth rose and greeted her friend and her companion, receiving a tut of derision from Whatton. She ignored him, showing Marie to a chair and ensuring the lady was comfortably settled. They had never managed to secure a permanent solution to the walking-stick problem for her, so human (or spectral) assistance was the best they could offer. Susanna never seemed to mind.
“Somebody thought they saw Richard’s ghost outside in the square this afternoon. You haven’t heard anything have you?” Marie asked of the group.
“Richard?” John Westley had arrived.
“Yes, Richard. The Third, obviously. Well? Anyone else see anything?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I’ve been out and about most of the day, albeit invisible. I would have seen him if he had come inside.”
“Typical,” scoffed Whatton. “We are the ones who have stayed here, all these years. He visits – what? – once, since the funeral? And yet it’s his ghost they all claim to see. We don’t interfere with him and his friends at the Tower; how dare he disturb our days here?”
“But he doesn’t, my dear man. I think that’s rather the point,” said Marie, rolling her eyes at Elizabeth.
“I just think it’s a bit too much. He’s nothing but a late-comer. He’s been a resident for – what? – a matter of years? And yet he gets all the attention.” John Whatton wasn’t finished.
“Well, is it truly any wonder?” Marie snapped at him. “Apart from a few history students or distant relatives, what exactly do the rest of us have to offer? We should be grateful to have even just the bones of a king amongst us, keeping things lively.”
“Hear, hear,” seconded Elizabeth.
“Everyone, everyone!” John Herrick broke into the group’s conversation.
“What is it, husband, why the commotion?” Marie demanded.
“He’s here, it’s true!”
“What?” the spirits demanded in unison.
“Richard. King Richard. With Queen Anne. He’s come to visit …”
About the Author
Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quote often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.
After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class, and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.
Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay, and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.