The ghosts are getting stronger.
Gordy dropped Ellis home and headed towards his girlfriend's house. He noticed a familiar Ford Anglia at the side of the road with the bonnet up. Gordy knew the car's owner, Tony, and he slowed down. Tony was pushing and pulling things on the engine, though he didn't seem to have a clue what he was doing. Gordy looked into the car and saw Tony's girlfriend, Rosie, sitting on the passenger's seat. She gave him a childlike and mischievous look but a smile lifted her scarlet lips changing her appearance to a hot-blooded seductress. Her long, thick, auburn hair covered her shoulders and draped down her back. She was a domineering girl who had become promiscuous at an early age, realising she could control some of the local lads by offering or denying her body. Gordy knew her intimately and would often have a one-night passionate fling when the opportunity arose. He smiled back at her as he pulled into the kerb and parked the motorcycle.
"What's up, Tone?"
"Dunno. Do you know anything about motors?"
Rosie got out of the car still smiling. "Hooray, it's the bloody cavalry. Can you run me home, Gordy?"
"Course I can."
"No need. You can give us a push, Gordy. It'll probably go with a push."
"Phew, I don't know about that mate. Bad back, you know. Just come off the sick club." Gordy put a hand to his back pretending pain and winked at Rosie.
"Rosie'll give you a hand," Tony said, his head still under the bonnet.
"You must be joking; I'm not pushing your stupid car. Go to the phone box and phone up that mate of yours, the motor mechanic. He knows what he's doing. He'll sort it out."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right, and if he can't fix it, he can tow us to your house."
"No, Tony," Rosie said. "I'm not hanging about here any longer watching the bloody grass grow. Gordy's taking me home on his bike." Gordy and Rosie were grinning at each other but stopped when Tony turned away from the engine.
"Oh. Well, I suppose it's all right then."
"I don't need permission from you, thanks. Just get your old banger fixed or I might start looking about for a more reliable ride."
"Are you sure you don't mind, Gordy?" Tony asked, but Gordy already re-started his motorcycle and Rosie was climbing onto the pillion seat.
"No problem at all mate, you'd do the same for me, wouldn't you? That's what mates are for."
Gordy rode off with Rosie on the pillion and an enormous grin across his face. As they rode towards her house, he slowed down. "Fancy going for a walk in the woods?" he called back to her.
"Piss off, Gordy. I don't want no beetles crawling around my arse. Them days are over. Anyway, my mum's gone out. You can come in for a brew or something."
"Yeah, or we can forget the bloody brew."
They drove to the Victorian terraced houses, built in the town's early prosperous years. Gordy parked the motorcycle outside Rosie's house. The house stood on the edge of the town facing a field. Just across the field was the start of the ancient woodlands, where the private bathing pool was tucked away out of sight. Gordy followed Rosie through her front door. "Are you sure the old queen is not at home?"
"I don't think she is. She usually goes to Hilda's on Thursdays, but I'd better check." She shouted up the stairs for her mother but got no reply.
Gordy grabbed Rosie and began showering her with short, passionate kisses. The fact her mother was out and she invited him in could only mean one thing in the casual but lustful relationship they occasionally enjoyed. He moved his kisses from her eager lips, across her cheek, and up to her ear as he moved his hand up under her skirt.
She pushed him away as a token resistance, all part of her game.
"Come on, Rosie, you owe me," he whispered, breathing heavily. "And I know you're still taking the pill."
She gave a giggle. "You're a cheeky sod, Gordy. But we'll have to make it a quick one. My mum could be home at any time." They kissed again, but this time with an immediate frenzy of lust. Gordy's hands on Rosie's behind, groping and thrusting her towards him while her hands were up inside his tee-shirt, clawing at his back, looking more like two dogs fighting than a couple about to make love.
Gordy reached down to undo his zip when the passage plunged into darkness as a huge shape appeared in front of the frosted glass door panel. They pulled away from each other as they heard a key slide into the Yale lock. The door swung open and a mountain of a woman stood looking at them. "What's going on?" Rosie's mother said.
"Nothing, we're just talking. Tony's car broke down so Gordy gave me a lift home on his motorbike." Gordy stood with an innocent face, looking like a hero who brought her home safely while trying to control his breathing. Rosie didn't look so cool, with her hair dishevelled and her face flushed.
"Oh, is that why you look like you've been dragged through a hedge?"
"Yeah, it's the wind and that. I didn't know you'd gone out," she lied. "I thought you were upstairs, resting."
"I just popped out to see Hilda." Her mother started down the passage accepting Rosie's explanation. "I suppose he wants a cup of tea or something?" she said, ignoring Gordy as she squeezed her huge bulk past him.
"No, he's in a rush to get home." Rosie laughed as she looked at the frustrated expression on Gordy's face. "Pity you can't stop. Some other time, eh." She stood grinning at him.
"Yeah, Rosie, some other time all right." He grinned at her smug and teasing manner. "Are you sure that you don't fancy a walk in the woods?" he whispered. "We could pick wildflowers or get involved in some other kind of nature study."
"No, thanks. But I really am grateful for the lift, and you'll just have to wait to claim your reward."
"Oh, well, looks like it's back to plan A then," Gordy said.
* * * * *
Rachel, and her companion Thomas, had been in and around the woods for almost two hundred years. Her spirit was beginning to perk up from the boredom of her existence.
At first, Rachel and her companion often terrified visitors to the woods, but as the years went on they lost their powers. However, after a brief surge of power, her partner began to fade and it was clear he would soon be leaving for the spirit's judgement centre; a mystical place where they would be judged only on their earlier human activities and not on their spirit activities. They would then be sent for re-incarnation, heavenly bliss, or some other less favourable option. Just like the others before them, as her partner became weaker, she became stronger and began to regain all her power and strength.
They were at the edge of the woods. Rachel stared across the field to the terraced houses. She was taking an interest in Rosie as a candidate to perish, so her spirit could leave her mortal body and take Rachel's place.
"Look, over at the house of Rosie," Rachel said. "There goes that fornicator on the powered boneshaker. He has not brought one of his females to the woods for a while. It might be a bit more interesting when he does, now I can achieve body possessions again." She whizzed into a squirrel that was looking down at them from a branch. The squirrel ran along the branch, jumped across onto another tree, scrambled down the trunk and darted back across the grass. "You see, I am a squirrel."
"Yes, a squirrel," Thomas said. "But it will take more effort to take over the body of a human."
Rachel left the squirrel, which bolted back up the tree to hide amongst the tall branches.
"Well there is someone coming anyway. Look down the lane. It is one of those policemen on a pedal boneshaker."
Rachel gave a laugh of glee at the sight of the policeman on the bicycle. "Now I can test body possession powers on a human again. Something I have missed the most over the past two hundred long years."
The police constable was cycling along the lane to the edge of the woods before touring the streets of the nearby terraced houses. As part of his patrol, he had to cycle into the woods to the swimming pool at Carver's Hollow but rarely did.
Rachel gave out a loud squeal. The constable stopped and dismounted. Laying his cycle down, he walked over and looked into the woods. "Who's there?" he called.
Rachel laughed like an old crone before she whizzed into his body. He began to skip along the road, swinging his arms like a school child in a playground. But Rachel still didn't have all her staying power and it was only seconds before she withdrew and returned to her partner.
The police constable got on his bicycle and cycled away as fast as he could, sure his imagination was playing tricks on him and wondering if it were worth doing this bit of his duty at all. After all, a private security patrol drove down through the woods to the swimming pool later in the night.
"See, I can do it," Rachel said.
"Not a lot of use though, is it? It was only seconds."
"I feel I am getting stronger all the time and I will soon be able to possess the bodies of mortals for hours. Then I will be able to begin my search proper. It will not be long now. It will not be long until I am free of these cursed woods and Rosie, or maybe some other wench can take my place just like I took the place of Annie Carver."
A terrifying laugh echoed through the woods as Rachel looked forward to searching out an auburn-haired victim to take her place.