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Giving up the Ghost

By Emma Daniels

Copyright 2011 Emma Daniels

Smashwords Edition

Chapter One

Belinda Carter woke with a start. She was shaking with absolute terror, not sure if she was dead or alive, because she had just dreamt about the heart-wrenching sensation of dying in childbirth.

She’d felt the agony of each contraction, the dizziness from gasping and straining to deliver a child that refused to leave her body. In the end she’d collapsed from sheer exhaustion as more and more blood oozed from her. And finally the slow, shallow breaths as her life-force slipped away, sending her spiraling into complete and utter blackness.

Throughout this horrifying ordeal a red-haired man had sat by her side, his weary face awash with fear and despair. Never in her life had she seen such torment in another person’s eyes, as he tried in vain to help her deliver the child that never came. They had been like two green pools of misery, rimmed with red and damp with tears.

There had been no nurses, no doctors, not one piece of medical equipment that Belinda could see. She’d been lying on some lumpy mattress which felt as though it had been stuffed with straw. A kerosene lantern standing in a corner had been the only illumination in a rough wood-paneled room.

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