The Time of the Ghost
Diana Wynne Jones
Can a ghost from the future save a life in the past? A chilling tale of dark forces and revenge…The ghost turns up one summer day, alone in a world she once knew, among people who were once her family. She knows she is one of four sisters, but which one? She can be sure of only one thing – that there's been an accident.As she struggles to find her identity, she becomes aware of a malevolent force stirring around her. Something terrible is about to happen. One of the sisters will die – unless the ghost can use the future to reshape the past. But how can she warn them, when they don't even know she exists?
HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd. 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF
First published by Macmillan Children’s Books 1981
First published in paperback by Collins 2001
Text copyright © Diana Wynne Jones 1981
The author and illustrator assert the moral right to be identified as the author and illustrator of the work
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
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Source ISBN: 9780007112173
Ebook Edition © DECEMBER 2012 ISBN: 9780007383528
To my sister Isobel and to Hat
Table of Contents
Title Page (#ufea3bb00-8f60-5ea0-abe6-b7b4b4c3af2c)
CHAPTER ONE (#uc77b1c8b-1aba-55fb-9146-85def51179e9)
CHAPTER TWO (#u6ae9956a-a709-5dea-820c-a405e261665f)
CHAPTER THREE (#ufbe25f3c-efa0-5723-a57c-ef003003729c)
CHAPTER FOUR (#uae263bda-af12-5611-a2b0-c9b900cdf242)
CHAPTER FIVE (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER SIX (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER SEVEN (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER EIGHT (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER NINE (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER TEN (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER ELEVEN (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER TWELVE (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER THIRTEEN (#litres_trial_promo)
CHAPTER FOURTEEN (#litres_trial_promo)
Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)
Other titles by Diana Wynne Jones (#litres_trial_promo)
About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)
There’s been an accident! she thought. Something’s wrong!
She could not quite work out what was the matter. It was broad daylight – probably the middle of the afternoon – and she was coming down the road from the wood on her way home. It was summer, just as it should be. All round her was the sleepy, heavy humming of a countryside drowsing after lunch. She could hear the distant flap and caw of the rooks in the dead elms, and a tractor grinding away somewhere. If she raised herself to look over the hedge, there lay the fields, just as she expected, sleepy grey-green, because the wheat was not ripe by a long way yet. The trees were almost black in the heat haze, and dense, except for the bare ring of elms, a long way off, where the rooks were noisy specks.
I’ve always wanted to be tall enough to look over the hedge, she thought. I must have grown.
She wondered if it was the heavy, steamy weather that was making her feel so odd. She had a queer, light, vague feeling. She could not think clearly – or not when she thought about thinking. And perhaps the weather accounted for the way she felt so troubled and anxious. It felt like a thunderstorm coming. But it was not quite that. Why did she think there had been an accident?
She could not remember an accident. Nor could she think why she was suddenly on her way home, but, since she was going there, she thought she might as well go on. It made her uncomfortable to be reared up above the hedges, so she subsided to her usual height and went on down the road, thinking vague, anxious thoughts.
What’s happened to me? she thought. I must stop feeling so silly. I’m the sensible one. Perhaps if I ask myself questions, my memory will come back. What did I have for lunch?
That was no good. She could not remember lunch in any way. She realised, near to panic, that she could not remember anything about the rest of today at all.
That’s silly! she told herself. I must know! But she didn’t. Panic began to grow in her. It was as if someone was pumping up a very large balloon somewhere in the middle of her chest. She fought to squash it down as it unfolded. All right! she told herself hysterically. All right! I’ll ask something easy. What am I wearing?
This ought to have been easy. She only had to look down. But first she seemed to have forgotten how to do that. Then when she did—
Panic spread roaring, to its fullest size. She was swept away with it, as if it were truly a huge balloon, tumbling, rolling, bobbing, mindless.
There’s been an accident! was all she could think. Something’s awfully wrong!
When she noticed things again, she was a long way on down the road. There was a small house she somehow knew was a shop nestling in the hedge just ahead. She made herself stand still. She was so frightened that everything she could see was shaking – quivering like poor reception on the telly. She had a notion that if it went on shaking this way, it would shake itself right away from her, and she would be left with utter nothing. So she made herself stand there.
After a while, she managed to make herself look down again.