The rustling under the bed woke Penny. Moving the duvet away, she peered under the bed, looking for the source the sound.
A faint glowing child stared back at her.
‘Who are you? Penny asked.
‘I am Sally,’ came the whispered reply.
‘Why are you under my bed?’ Penny demanded.
‘I was only playing,’ Sally answered and crawled out.
Penny turned on the lamp and saw that Sally was hovering off the floor and admitting her own light which was a pale cream colour. Sally had long hair that moved as if caught in the wind and it was the same with the long dress she wore.
‘Who are you playing with?’ Penny asked.
‘Nobody. I’m alone. I was practising my spooking.’ Sally mumbled as she spun on the spot.
‘Spooking?’ Penny wondered.
‘Yes, I am a ghost. It’s what we do. We scare people.’ Sally explained, ‘were you scared?’
Penny shook her head, ‘you look like a normal girl to me, expect for the glowing of course. How old are you?’
‘I am eight.’
‘So am I!’ Penny cried, ‘do you want to be my friend?’
Sally thought what to do as she drift to the floor and sat on the rug.
Penny could see right through Sally but Penny felt more fascinated than scared. Here was a friend just as she needed one and it didn’t matter if Sally was different. Didn’t Penny’s teacher, Mrs Greene, said ‘it was good everyone was unique like a snowflake because if everyone was the same the world would be a very boring place!’
‘Let’s play with the dollhouse,’ Penny said and got out of bed.
‘You really want to play with me?’ the ghost girl asked.
Penny nodded and went across the room to turn on the light. Her bedroom became more defined, showing that most of the room was taken up by toys and child size furniture. The doll’s house was an impressive Victorian style wooden structure which at first glance someone might mistake for a real one. However it was only fifty or so years old and only loosely modelled on the manor it had been copied from. The house stood on it’s on table pushed against the back wall.
‘You’ve lost some of your glow now,’ Penny pointed out.
‘Yes,’ said Sally getting up and floating over to join Penny before the doll’s house, ‘light makes ghosts less visible because we are made up of light.’
‘Shall I turn it off again?’ Penny asked.
‘It’s fine. I can make myself more solid. See?’ the ghost girl spoke and before Penny’s eyes Sally became less see through.
Penny opened the front of the doll’s house and they looked inside. It was well made and each of the rooms was carefully decorated with real wallpaper and flooring. The correct furniture and decorations were in their right places and it looked like you could step inside and live a comfortable life inside.
There were four floors which explained why the doll’s house was so large. The ground floor had the front hallway in the middle, to the left was a large kitchen and to the right was divided into a servants’ sitting room and servant’s bedroom. The first floor had a long sitting room on the right and a small dining room next door. The third floor had two bedrooms- the master room and a guest room. Finally, the attic had a large nursery and a joint bedroom for the children.
The dolls were little china figures and they were around the same age as the house and had been originally made for the fake manor. The dolls could be made to stand or sit or hold things. There was a father, a mother, three children- a boy, a girl and a baby, there was a cook, a nanny and maid. Each doll was easily distinguished by their clothes; the family wore brightly coloured and fancy outfits and the servants were drab.
‘My great grandfather made this for my granny when she was a child,’ Penny explained, ‘I never met him but mum says his job was making toys. He made other doll’s houses but we only have this one now. We have to be careful because it’s old.’
‘It is really pretty,’ Sally said, ‘I never had a doll’s house.’
‘When did you become a ghost?’ Penny asked then wondered if that was a rude question.
‘I am not sure. Time is not important for me anymore.’
‘Did you live in this house before?’
‘I do not know. I think I lived around here but my house is gone now,’ Sally said sadly.
‘That’s okay, you can just live here with me,’ Penny responded, ‘here.’
Penny handed the mother doll to Sally and the ghost girl made the doll hover.
‘Can’t you touch or hold anything?’ Penny asked in surprise.
‘This is the only way I can do things. I use my energy with my mind,’ Sally explained.
‘That’s pretty cool!’
‘Do you think so?’ the ghost asked shyly.
Penny nodded quickly, ‘I wish I could move things with my mind!’
Sally giggled and moved the mother doll into a the living room and sat her down in a red chair by the glowing fireplace.
For a time, the two girls played then with a yawn and a rub of her eyes, Penny looked back at her bed.
‘Do ghosts sleep?’ Penny asked.
‘Sort of. It’s hard to describe….’ Sally answered.
‘I think,’ Penny answered as she got up, ‘I should go back to bed now.’
Sally didn’t reply but Penny felt the air get colder and sadder.
‘Will you come back and play with me tomorrow?’
‘Could I?’ Sally cried.
‘Yes,’ Penny said with a small laugh as climbed into bed, ‘everynight if you want!’
‘I would like that,’ Sally declared.
‘And we can be best friend,’ Penny uttered through a yaw as she snuggled down.
‘I would like that very much!’ the ghost girl said.