Nan asked me Whats the matter pet?
She turned to see where I was looking but she couldnt see anything and Dads Ghost was now telling me to follow him with his hand.
I said to Nan I need the toilet.
I went past the bar and down the hall and into the back office where Dads Ghost walked through the door.
I checked to see if anyone was looking and they werent so I opened the door because I couldnt walk through it and Dads Ghost was standing in the corner by the desk and the computer was on which was weird.
He nodded to the door and so I shut it and then he said Dont be scared.
I said Im not.
His voice sounded the same but different like he was standing far away but I could hear him more clearly than ever. That doesnt make sense but that is how he sounded.
And the second thing he said was Im sorry.
I said For what?
He said For everything.
And when he said it I thought he was talking about the past when he was alive but now I am not sure.
I went across the room and I went to touch him and my hand went right through and I couldnt feel anything except a bit warmer but I might have just been thinking that.
I dont think Dads Ghost liked me doing it but he didnt say anything but I didnt do it again.
I said Are you a ghost?
It was a stupid question but I didnt know what to say.
He said Yes.
I said Where have you been?
He said I am not here all the time. I go on and off.
And I said Like a light bulb?
And he smiled but in a sad way and he said Yes like a light bulb. It is hard to control where I go but I am getting better.
And I said Have you been to the Pub before?
He nodded his head and said You were asleep.
Then I asked him if he sees other ghosts and he said There are lots of ghosts in Newark and they take some getting used to because they are all from different ages.
And I said It must be weird seeing all the ghosts.
He said It is.
Then he was quiet for a second and then he said Philip.
So I said What?
But really I didnt want to know because I could tell from
his voice that he was going to say something bad like when Grandad died.
He said I have to tell you something.
And then he stopped for a minute and looked at the door and I wondered why he was looking at the door but then Uncle Alan walked in and he never walks into the office and Uncle Alan looked at the computer and he said Your mum sent me to look for you.
And he was smiling and his big hands were holding his glass of whisky on his big stomach. And he went over and touched my shoulder and he said Are you all right Philip?
And I said Yes.
And he said Its been a tough day for all of us.
I said Yes.
I just wanted him to stop touching my shoulder.
I could see Dads Ghost looking at him and he was looking at him in a way I had never seen him look at anyone before especially not his brother and I knew he didnt like him being in the office. So I said Ill go out in a minute Im just looking for something.
And Uncle Alan sighed and made the air smell of whisky and he was going to say something but he wasnt my Dad and so he went out again and shut the door.
Then I looked at Dads Ghost who was flickering and screaming but with the volume down and then he came back and he said I might not have long.
Then he faded out for about five seconds and came back.
He tried to speak and all I could hear was It wasnt
And then he tried again and again.
It wasnt an axe
He disappeared and I said Dad Dad Dad! Come back! Come back!
But he didnt.
Then I heard a voice say Oh Philip and it was my mums voice and I dont know how long she had been there and Uncle Alan was now behind her and touching her shoulder but she didnt feel the coldness down her back like I did.
Excerpted from The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig, © 2007 by Matt Haig. Excerpted by permission of Viking Press, a division of Penguin Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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