Brief extract from Chapter One of a new yet unpublished novel.
| ‘You lived in Italy, didn’t you?’ I asked Jason.
The Italian restaurant near the bookshop, a favourite of Jason’s, specialised in the lasagna which we were sharing along with a salad. I drank non-alcoholic beer but Jason, nearly sixty, abundant grey hair and a neat beard of the same colour, had already finished half a bottle of Chianti.
‘Yes, I studied for a year, in Rome. Engineering.’
He laughed and continued.
‘How did I become a literary agent? Well, I suppose I didn’t like engineering, and I fell in love with Italian literature. And one thing led to another.’
‘Do you know much about hauntings, Jason?’
He looked at me quizzically.
‘Yes, quite a lot, actually. Why? A bit of a change from your romantic novels. I stayed once in a haunted Italian castle. I saw a ghost there. Me and a lot of others, but not at the same time, of course.’
‘How was that?’
He looked across at me and poured another glass of wine.
‘You know, I’ve told this story many times. I would swear that I’ve already told you. I made several friends at the engineering school; one of them, an Italian of my age came from an aristocratic family. They had a castle near Naples.’
‘Were they very wealthy?’
‘Oh, I don’t know exactly. He lived in Rome, with his parents, in a small apartment, lavishly decorated, but, as I said, small. The castle belonged to the family; that was big, I slept there three nights. The last night, thank goodness it was the last one, I woke up, or something woke me up, and there was this hooded figure looking down at me. At the side of the bed there was one of those plastic light switches on a cord, the kind they often seem to have on the continent. I quickly turned on the light.’
‘And it disappeared?’
‘No, it didn’t bloody disappear. It stood there looking at me through this hood. But you couldn’t see a face. It was all black inside. I stood up and pushed it.’
‘That was very brave,’ I said.
‘Yes, that’s what everyone says, but I thought it was a prankster.’
‘And was it?’
‘My hands just went right through it. And then it disappeared.’
‘So, it was a ghost.’
‘That’s my opinion. And when I told the family, they told me that lots of people had seen it. Especially those that had slept in the haunted room. Which was where I was sleeping. No one else had wanted to sleep there, of course. So it became the guest room.’
He laughed, drained his glass and promptly refilled it.
Extract from Chapter One of
A new novel
by James Fillmore
Author of The House Near Fallowfield which is
Now available worldwide on Amazon.
(paperback and ebook.)
Follow on Instagram @jamespfillmore