What are the odds that a nightmare one has been having ever since childhood fits precisely the description of an urban legend in a town thousands of miles away? A town you have never visited—a town you never even had an idea of its existence. Cristel James, a 24-year-old police constable, turned private detective, makes an unusual ‘journey to the past.’ What she discovers, rewrites the history of a small town, and uncovers a 60-year-old mystery.
Targeted Age Group:: 16-99
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This story talks of an actual legend in the town in which I grew. Even as a kid, I always wondered about the origin of this ghost legend. Unfortunately, its origin is long lost so I decided to write a story around this legend and give it an origin, or should I say, solve the mystery surrounding it.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My two main characters are women from two distinct backgrounds, race, and origins. Their cultural differences will play so much in the solving of the decades old mystery.
SCHOLASTICA, The Victoria Botanic Garden Ghost Bride
N. M. Roger
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 by N.M. Roger
All rights reserved.
Do not reproduce, store, or transmit by any means – whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic – without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this book is illegal and is punishable by law.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Some things are just difficult to explain, but sooner or later, I’ll have to trust someone and let go of my fears. It’s either I go mad keeping these things to myself, or I am considered mad by telling them. Anyways, I am only as good as my capacity to handle the things I see when I close my eyes.
It was the same dream again. I thought as I stared at my face in the bathroom mirror’s reflection. I could see the trickling drops of water fall from my cheeks as I turned the faucet on and began to splash some more water across my face. I stared into the mirror again, observing how my now drenched face couldn’t hide the fact that I had another miserable night.
Get a hold of yourself, Cristel James. I told myself.
I haven’t been sleeping well as of late. Then again, it could be because my grandfather passed away two weeks ago. I loved him so much. Five years ago, when the doctor confirmed he had cancer, I took it upon myself to spend more time with him. Every day at exactly 2 in the afternoon after school, I would ride my bike 12 blocks to my grandfather’s house that overlooked the sea.
I always looked forward to my grandfather’s stories about the places he visited in his youth. Grandpa’s stories were always very vague. Not that I didn’t believe them, it is just that I have this feeling there were many things about his travels he never wanted to disclose.
Among the countries he had visited, he was particularly fond of Cameroon. He had fascinating stories about this country and its people. I listened to him speak of Victoria, the coastal town, and its Botanic Gardens while we sipped coffee and had toast and enjoyed the view of the peaceful sea, and the waves slowly beat on the cliff’s rocks. Grandpa’s stories about his days imparted within me certain lifelong advice on saving money and what to do during earthquakes. He even acted as the first judge when I introduced my then-boyfriend, now fiancé to the family.
Those were happy days. You could say, my grandfather practically became a surrogate father to me. And when he passed away, I was devastated. I was even more surprised to hear that my grandfather had a will, and I was among his heirs. His executor, Mr. Armitage, contacted me right after the funeral. I soon discovered that I was to inherit my grandfather’s house and everything in it together with a considerable amount added to my bank account.
And ever since then, I have been living in my grandfather’s home. I once asked my grandfather why he chose to have his home on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea. If I were to consider the real estate tendencies, having a property on the cliff with a great view of the sea always came with a hefty price. Fortunately, my grandfather had saved more than enough to purchase the property. But notwithstanding, I thought he could have gotten a big house in some upscale community or even a condominium apartment. Whenever I asked grandpa, he always said it reminded him of the beaches of Cameroon and the Victoria Botanic Gardens.”
I always felt a sort of dreamy aura whenever he spoke about Cameroon. It was like he wanted more than just to visit Cameroon. Like he wanted to stay. I felt more like something was binding him to the place. There are days that I wished I could ask him why he opted to stay in England rather than Cameroon if he adored so much the country. A little late for that.
I looked at the clock on the wall; it was 6 a.m. Work starts at 8 a.m. I thought to myself, sighing sadly at yet another early morning rising. I couldn’t go back to sleep anymore. I thought about going back to bed as I patted my face with a soft towel and opened my wardrobe. I picked out a clean and crisp button-down shirt, some well-pressed trousers, a coat, and some sensible undergarments. I laid them on the bed while I went to the kitchen and began to cook some eggs, toast, mushrooms, and began to brew some coffee.
I turned on the television and flipped to the Morning News Channel. While I scooped my meal into a plate and set it on the table, the news had begun to announce the weather forecast for the week. “Isolated rainfall with 50% chance of heavy rains this week, ladies and gentlemen.” I heard the weatherman say as I took a mouthful of egg and toast.
I heard my phone sound off. Must be the secretary with the new cases. I poured myself a cup of coffee as I opened my phone and browsed through the messages. “Five cases,” I said to myself. I guess venturing out as a private detective was a smart move. I used to work in the police force, but after solving a major case, I found out that I could do so much on my own than be in a department.
Somehow, the cases seemed to be the usual ones. I stared at the first case. Let’s see, a spouse cheating on their partner. Hmm, maybe for divorce and alimony purposes. Oh, here’s a good one. A missing person’s case…wait. I looked at the case a bit more. Oh! A missing pet. I flipped through the next couple of cases. Nothing exciting. I sighed—just your average run of the mill investigative cases.
“And in other news….the Royal Wedding of the Infante and Infanta of Spain is scheduled for the 8th of September.”
I heard the announcer on the television say. I looked up to watch the television. Right, the Royal Wedding of the Infante and Infanta. I bet my hat that the Queen will be sending several members of the Royal Family to represent her.
I watched as the segment shifted to a well-known designer discussing possible wedding dress designs for the princess. Then several sketches showing a model wearing a beautiful dress flashed across the screen. I took note of each design. They all looked so beautiful. I stared at the screen in awe, and as each design flashed, I suddenly remembered the image of the veiled woman in my dreams. More or less…in my nightmares.
I shuddered for the first time, thinking about the veiled silhouette that invaded my dreams the night before. I wondered to myself why it terrified me so. More importantly, I wondered why I started having these nightmares again all of a blue.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. 7 a.m. already?
“Wow, how time flies,” I said to myself. I quickly washed the dishes, picked up my bag and coat, and left my grandfather’s house for the office. The whole nightmare can wait. I have cases to solve.
It was troubling. It started having these nightmares when I was only 7. There were times when I couldn’t sleep in a room alone. The nightmares seemed very real, but they suddenly stopped when I turned 17. I remember this date because it was the same year my parents introduced me to my grandfather. We immediately became best of friends. For so many years, I haven’t dreamt of the veiled woman even a single time until two weeks back. Exactly one day after grandpa passed away, I got the most violent of nightmares ever. It was the same dream; a veiled woman trying to talked pull me to a corner. In the dream, it seems the veiled woman wants to tell me something, but since I can’t see her face, I get scared and run away.
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