Shannon O'Reilly (Chapter 1, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 1

Three little ghostesses, Sitting on postesses, Eating buttered toastesses, Greasing their fistesses, Up to their wristesses, Oh, what beastesses To make such feastesses!

--An Old English Nursery Rhyme Shannon O'Reilly wasn't crazy; she had an unusual gift for seeing the unseen. Call them ghosts, spirits or what have you. It all amounted to the same thing- the O'Reilly house was haunted and Shannon was the gatekeeper for the supernatural.

The stately old Victorian home the O'Reilly family lived in sat on the end of east Main Street close to the shops that dotted the small rural town of Beeman. The Edmondson family had owned this home for almost one hundred and fifty years before the O'Reilly family moved in. Shannon's mother, Victoria, had been an Edmondson and she inherited the home when her parents passed away. Visitors often drove by and gawked at the yellow home with the white gingerbread trim and beautifully landscaped yard. The home was an official landmark in the town of Beeman and as such appeared in the yearly calendar from the Parade of Homes.

The O'Reilly home also doubled as a store, The Opportunity Shop. The O'Reilly's had a thriving antique business that they ran from the front of the rather large house. They sold everything from estate jewelry to large antique bedroom sets. While the locals shopped there on occasion, the bulk of their business came from tourists that frequented the wineries in the area during the summer.

To the rear of the house stood a well, a small brick smoke house and a large old carriage house. The carriage house had long since been turned into a warehouse for the O'Reilly family's antique business and the smoke house was used as a tool shed. The well should have been capped off long ago but it stood resolutely in the backyard waiting to be pressed back into use.

The home was a popular tourist stop for one other reason as well. The home was the site of the most famous murder in the tri-county history - the Edmondson double murder. Annabelle and her daughter Lily were killed in cold blood during the summer of 1883. Murders were pretty uncommon in the late 1800's, and even more so in small rural towns. The trial had consumed the town when it had occurred, and talk continued to this day. While not a hot topic of conversation anymore, it still was remembered around Halloween when the anniversary of the tragedy occurred.

Shannon lived with her parents, Victoria and Brendan and her orange tabby cat, Ralph. Victoria was a very intense woman with vivid green eyes and light blonde hair. She was tall and rather thin, but that was because she worked very hard all hours of the day and into the night, working on ways to improve the business. Her number one priority in life was turning a buck, but she would never admit it to anyone, not even herself. Some people called her driven, but Shannon knew her mother was just nervous most of the time, probably because of all the lattes she drank.

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