The Wild Imaginings of a Traumatised Child
I absently stir the teabag around my cup to the sonorous opening music of the evening news.
“Good news for the family of six year old Skylar Reid, who’s been found in Epping Forest,” says the newscaster, “The story she’s told police is extraordinary!”
I jolt out of my reverie; as a ghost-hunter, ‘extraordinary’ is a key word.
“We join Jessica Swann, live, at home with the family.”
The screen flashes to the reporter. “Good evening, Jeffrey. Yes, I’m here with Skylar and mum, Debbie.”
The camera pans slightly to her left and zooms out to include a very tired-looking mother with the little girl snuggled into her side.
“Hello, Skylar,” says Jessica, her voice light and perky, “You’ve had quite the adventure. You must have been frightened to be all alone in the forest.”
“Wasn’t alone,” says Skylar, “Edward an’ Richard was with me. They showed me where I could sleep an’ not get cold, an’ Richard said not to eat some berries ‘cause they made Edward die. Which was silly ‘cause he’s not dead.”
Jessica and Debbie share skeptical glances. Her rescuers hadn’t seen the boys. “Can you tell me more about them?”
“They was brothers. Edward was twelve an’ Richard was nine. They’d been there for years an’ years.” Skylar giggles, “An’ they dressed funny!”
“Oh,” says Jessica, “What did they wear?”
“They had hair jus’ like mine.” Skylar pulls on one of her blonde curls. “They had black dresses on, an’ black tights, an’…” a giggle, “Funny pointy slippers. They said don’t touch them or I might get hurt.”
I almost drop my precious cup of tea. I have a gut feeling about the identity of Skylar’s companions, though I’m equally sure they will be put down to the wild imaginings of a traumatised child.
I grab my phone and press the speed-dial for work, the historical mysteries division of the Paranormal Investigation Unit – a highly secret government body.
Brian picks up on the second ring. “Hi, it’s Callie,” I say, “I’m going to Epping Forest. I know what happened to the Princes in the Tower.”