The Ghost of Kathleen Murph
Cassie Malone leaves memories of loss and betrayal behind to travel to Ireland and pursue her dream of writing. A writer’s retreat at an old monastery should provide the peace she is looking for.
She didn’t plan on becoming involved in a decades-old mystery involving a ghostly child looking for her missing sister. She also didn’t count on a tall handsome Irishman with deep blue eyes and a troubled soul.
With the help of a local Irish teenager Cassie is determined to solve the mystery and put the legend of the haunting to rest. But before she can stand up for others she must first learn to stand up for herself. Will the ghost of a child give her the strength she needs to let go of the past and embrace all the future holds?
Katie heard the whimpering again. It was coming from across the room. Her sister, Maeve. She must be having another bad dream. Katie pushed back her thin blanket and turned up the lamp. She ran across the icy floor to her sister’s bed, her small bare feet making no sound at all. But Maeve was not asleep; and as Katie held the light above her, Maeve’s blue eyes looked other-worldly shining out of her stark, white face.
Katie put the lamp down on the side table and got into bed with Maeve. “What is it, Maeve?”
“Nothing. Nothing, go on back to your bed now, Kathleen.” Maeve turned away from her.
“Were you dreaming then, Maeve?”
“Yes, just a dream, a bad dream, now go on back to bed and go to sleep, Kathleen. They will soon be here to get us up to start the laundry.”
Katie went back to her bed, but she couldn’t sleep. She knew Maeve was upset, because she called her Kathleen, not Katie. Kathleen was what her parents called her when they were angry with her. Maeve almost never called her Kathleen.
Katie felt as though a black knot began to grow inside her stomach. She was never wrong when she got her bad feelings. Maeve was in trouble and that was something Katie could not bear. Maeve was the one she could turn to for anything. Maeve was the one who always listened to her and took care of her. Something terrible was coming and she could feel it in her bones.
Cassie Malone had never been a good sleeper. She knew it was from years of self-imposed guard duty over her mother. She changed positions and pictured the beach, the forest, anything, but she could still hear the ropes and pulleys groan as her father’s casket was lowered into the ground. It was this time last year, almost to the day, when she received her mother’s ashes inside that plain brown urn. Lung cancer claimed her father with remarkable speed and he was dead before she could comprehend the severity of his illness. At thirty, she was now an orphan. This fact terrified her yet freed her in some way. It was time for her to make her own way and to be what she wanted to be…it was past time. But what did she want to be?
Cassie looked around her condo in Atlanta one last time. She knew better than to think too much about things, or she might change her mind. Everyone told her she was crazy to dump her boyfriend, quit her job, sell her condo, and move to another country. Everyone didn’t have a boss who was a cheating boyfriend. She knew everyone thought she was stressed because she lost both her parents in the last year, and then of course, Jed’s betrayal was icing on her cake. It was a hard year; and yes, she’d been a bit depressed, but she knew she made the right decision. Today, as she clutched the ticket to Ireland in her right hand, she felt more than ready to leave the past behind and get on with her life.
Two months after her father’s funeral, Cassie found herself bound for Ireland. She sat back in the limo and watched her neighborhood fade away, and then her city disappeared into the background. Since it was summer, the light hung on even though it was near eight. She hoped she could sleep on the plane but reality was threatening to set in now, and she fought the little voice in her head that was telling her she was crazy to do this. It is done, she kept telling herself. Look ahead and not back. The trip to the Atlanta airport was quick and without incident and before she gave in to her little voice, she was in the air. Hours later, stiff and groggy, she opened her eyes and looked out the plane’s little window. They were still over the ocean but nearing Ireland; she could see it in the distance as the clouds broke open and the sun appeared. The green patches scattered like so many old quilts across the country came into view, and then at last, the city, Dublin, and her jet lag fell away.
Cassie felt the familiar tug of being pulled toward something. The sense of belonging somewhere washed over her as she looked at the letter from Martha Devlin again. Martha was one of the new owners of the writers’ and artists’ retreat, or Center, as it was sometimes called. The Haven, was the new and official name for the Center in Rosehaven, a small village not far from Dublin. Though she and her partners owned the Center, they were in London. They hired two other people to run the Center, and Cassie was scheduled to meet them today. She took the job as the Center’s part-time creative writing teacher for their writing retreats, and then signed on as an archive worker in exchange for room and board for six months. Her time commitment to the Center left her time to write her book. That was the big draw for her. She tried to picture what she wanted her new life to look like, but it wouldn’t come into focus for her.
The plane went into its landing mode, and she felt it again, she was not in a foreign land—she was home.