The Medium (Chapter 1, page 1 of 22)


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London, Spring 1880

Whoever said dead men don't tell lies had never met Barnaby Wiggam's ghost. The fat, bulbous-nosed spirit fading in and out beside me like a faulty gas lamp clearly thought he was dealing with a fool. I may only be seventeen but I'm not naïve. I know when someone is lying-being dead didn't alter the tell-tale signs. Mr. Wiggam didn't quite meet my eyes, or those of his widow and her guests-none of whom could see him anyway-and he fidgeted with his crisp white silk necktie as if it strangled him. It hadn't-he'd died of an apoplexy.

"Go on, young lady." He thrust his triple chins at me, making them wobble. "Tell her. I have no hidden fortune."

I swallowed and glanced at the little circle of women holding hands around the card table in Mrs. Wiggam's drawing room, their wide gazes locked on the Ouija board in the center as if Barnaby Wiggam stood there and not beside me. I too stood, behind my sister and opposite the Widow Wiggam who looked just as well-fed as her dead husband in her black crepe dress and mourning cap. However, where his face was covered with a network of angry red veins, hers was so white it glowed like a moon in the dimly lit room.

"Are you sure?" I asked him. If he knew I suspected him of lying, he didn't show it. Or perhaps he simply didn't care.

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