Simon Green: Ghost of a Dream

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Simon Green Ghost of a Dream
  • Название:
    Ghost of a Dream
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    ACE
  • Жанр:
    sf_fantasy_city / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2012
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-101-58950-2
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
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Ghost of a Dream: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Meet the Carnacki Institute's operatives — JC Chance: the team leader, brave, charming, and almost unbearably arrogant; Melody Chambers: the science geek who keeps the antisupernatural equipment running; and Happy Jack Palmer: the terminally gloomy telepath. Their mission: . Lay them to rest, send them packing, or just kick their nasty ectoplasmic arses... The Ghost Finders are investigating a haunting at the long-abandoned Haybarn Theater, which is being renovated. But work has been thrown off-schedule by the some peculiar and unnatural activities. And after the potentially world-altering recent events of their previous assignment, the team thinks that a haunted theater (aren't they all?) will be a walk in the park. Until they encounter the Phantom of the Haybarn — an ancient evil whose ability to alter reality itself will test the skills, science, and blind luck of the Ghost Finders to the limit.

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Ghost of a Dream

(The third book in the Ghostfinders series)

A novel by Simon R Green

What ghosts really are…

is unfinished business.

The Carnacki Institute exists to Do Something about ghosts. Track them down, identify what’s really going on, put lost souls to rest, and kick supernatural arse, where necessary. The Institute’s been around for a long time and knows pretty much all there is to know about ghosts, monsters, other-dimensional incursions…and anything else that won’t lie down and play dead like it’s supposed to.

If the Carnacki Institute had a motto it would probably be: “We don’t take any shit from the Hereafter.”

PREVIOUSLY, IN THE GHOST FINDERS

One of the Institute’s leading investigative teams consists of JC Chance (team leader and positive thinker), Melody Chambers (team scientist and girl geek), and Happy Jack Palmer (team telepath and general miserable pain in the arse). JC fell in love with a ghost girl called Kim. Love between the living and the dead is almost universally forbidden, for many good reasons. At the end of the team’s last mission, Kim was stolen away from JC by unknown forces. He doesn’t know why or if he’ll ever find her again.

The team also discovered, on their previous mission, that the long-established and much-trusted Carnacki Institute had in fact been infiltrated and compromised by the Bad Guys. Secret people in secret positions who serve something called The Flesh Undying—a terrible creature that fell, or was pushed, from a higher reality into our world. The Flesh Undying sees this world as a prison, a trap, and is ready to destroy our whole reality in order that it might break free and go home again.

JC, Melody, and Happy are on their own. They don’t know what to do or whom they can trust. Or where to look for their missing ghost girl. So for the time being, they’re following their orders and doing their job, finding ghosts and Doing Something about them. And all the time looking…for a chance to get even.

ONE

ONE OF OUR TRAINS IS MISSING

The Past is only as dead and gone as we allow it to be. It has a tendency to cling, to hang on—like lovers who can’t bring themselves to accept it’s over. There will always be some who find the Past more comforting than the Present, people who look back on the way things used to be and make everything make sense with the benefit of hindsight. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are always going to be people who prefer to give all their spare time, their personal time, to looking backwards instead of forward, investing all their happiness in re-creating some one special part of the Past.

Once upon a time, in the grand days of Old England, there were wonderful things called steam trains: huge steel beasts thundering across the great green countryside, connecting even the smallest of communities, one to the other. They roared like dragons, breathed fire and smoke, and the ground shook at their passing. But time passed, as it will, and steam reluctantly gave way to electricity. Less romantic, perhaps, but undeniably faster and more efficient. And then there came an infamous man called Beeching, in that far-off time called the sixties, and he shut down all the smaller stations, all the lesser-used branch lines, in the name of progress and efficiency. Sacrificing the needs of the smaller communities and the smaller people to better serve the needs of larger communities and more important people. And so the Age of Steam passed, and no-one realised what they’d lost until it was gone. The small railway stations were abandoned, left to rot and ruin in a slow, sullen silence. Ghosts…of an old way of life.

But wherever the Past is remembered, and sometimes even worshipped, it is never really gone.

* * *

The Ghost Finders came to Bradleigh Halt, in Yorkshire, on a cool autumn evening. Once a small but thriving railway station, in the very north of England, Bradleigh Halt was left behind when the map changed, and its trains were sent somewhere else. Now it was a few abandoned buildings, full of dust and shadows and rusting rails covered in weeds. Set in the bottom of a deep, dark valley between two tall, grassy walls, with wide mountainous slopes stretching away on the one side and great stony inclines on the other; a cold wind blew fitfully through the station gap and sighed mournfully in the single tunnel-mouth.

You could drive right past and never know Bradleigh Halt was still there; and for many years, most people did.

An old-fashioned black taxi-cab delivered the Ghost Finders to the top of one grassy slope, after a lengthy journey down many winding roads, from the main-line railway station at Leeds. The taxi-cabby slammed his vehicle to a halt a more-than-comfortable distance away from the top of the valley and sat grimly in his seat, refusing to emerge, even to help his passengers with their luggage. He stared straight ahead, as though concerned with what he might see, dourly still and determinedly silent, as JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer clambered out the back of his cab, stretching slowly and massaging aching back muscles. Melody dragged her scientific equipment out of the boot while JC paid the driver, and Happy took in the new surroundings with his usual miserable and put-upon expression. The taxi-cabby snatched his fare the moment it was offered and departed at speed, not even bothering to check if JC had added a tip. The three Ghost Finders watched the taxi depart, then looked at each other. JC smiled vaguely, Happy sniffed loudly, and Melody turned away and gave all her attention to her precious scientific instruments. It was a late evening in early September, under slate grey skies. The light was beginning to drop out of the day, and there was already a definite chill in the air.

Not far-away stood the original station sign: old lettering on old wood, much reduced by long exposure to wind and weather and many years of neglect. The sign should have read Welcome to Bradleigh Halt, but someone had recently put a painted slash through the word Halt, and replaced it with Hell.

The three Ghost Finders stood together at the top of the steep, grassy slope, looking down into the valley below, taking in the sights, such as they were. Battered stone-and-wood buildings stood slumped together on either side of the sunken railway lines, the long platforms hidden under accumulated junk and rubbish and lengthening shadows. To the east, the railway tracks disappeared into the gloom of the tunnel-mouth, and into the long-disused tunnel that passed through and under the great, sprawling slopes known locally as the Grey Fells. The lines reappeared on the other side, many miles away, in another abandoned station halt, that no-one cared about any more. To the west, the weed-choked rails stretched away far and far, disappearing into the distance, between two sets of stony grey slopes. Going nowhere and taking their own sweet time about it. The whole scene had a quiet, wistful air, though adding the word peaceful would probably have been stretching it. Even without knowing what the Ghost Finders already knew, Bradleigh Halt didn’t even try to look inviting.

Birds sang on the evening air, insects buzzed industriously, and the gusting wind murmured querulously to itself. The sun was sinking slowly in the sky, in a warning sort of way. There was a pervading sense of the world’s having moved on, leaving Bradleigh Halt behind.

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