Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point

By Jodi Auborn

Children's, Paranormal, Thriller

Paperback, eBook

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8 mins


Excerpt from Chapter 5: Matthias

I wasn’t sure what woke me up that night. It could’ve been the icy cold air that filled my room, even though a warm breeze blew through the open window. It could’ve been the sound of someone turning pages in a book, which I could still hear over the dripping rain outside. Maybe it was the foghorn honking on that ship that was anchored in the bay. Or maybe it was the deep man’s voice that I heard somewhere nearby.

“Well, well. This gives me an idea,” the voice said. It sounded like a page turned again.

What was Dad doing in here in the middle of the night? I wondered. Why is he reading in the dark and talking to himself?

“Hmm. Fascinating.”

Another page turned.


The lighthouse beam flashed into my window and traveled across the walls, falling for a moment on a person standing across the room. It wasn’t Dad. I took a deep breath and turned on the light next to my bed.

A tall, brown-haired man was standing beside the desk, flipping through the ghost book. He wore a necktie, and a blue coat with fancy patches on the collar and two rows of buttons down the front, like an old sea captain.

I gasped and pulled my blankets up under my chin as the man turned and smiled at me. “I am so glad to find some new books here!” he said. “I have had the same reading material for decades.”

I just stared at him, too afraid to move, or call for Mom and Dad. Was this the guy that Alondra saw in her room? Was he a burglar? What did he want?

“Excuse me a moment.” He set the library book down and walked through the wall.

My mouth dropped open as I stared at the spot where the man had disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. He had just walked…through…the wall! I gulped and pulled my blankets over my head. He wasn’t a burglar at all. He was a ghost!

When I heard my door open, I peeked out of my blankets and watched as he came back in. He was holding the thick book that Dad had been reading. “See?” he said. “I found this book as well. A novel!”

I froze and squeezed my eyes shut, hoping that he’d go away. Maybe when I opened them, the man would be gone and I’d be alone again…

I opened my eyes, only to find him watching me, still holding Dad’s book. This time I tried not to panic, and just studied him. He wasn’t glowing. I couldn’t see through him. He looked…ordinary, and he didn’t seem to want to hurt me. And he couldn’t have been that bad, if it only took a couple of books to make him happy.

The man…ghost…walked over and stood next to my bed. He began reading the back of Dad’s book. “This tells the story of a detective who must solve a series of lurid and ghastly murders. It sounds very exciting!” He tucked the book under his arm and wandered over to the dresser, where he picked up the old binoculars. “My mother bought me these binoculars when I began my employment here,” he said as he looked them over. “They were very expensive, one of the best made. I gently scolded Mother for purchasing such an extravagant gift, for she was certainly not a wealthy woman.”

He set the book and binoculars back on the dresser and looked at me. “I have been observing your family for the past few days. You are…Dylan, I believe?”

I nodded. “Who…who are you? A sea captain?”

The man snorted. “A sea captain? Do I look like a sea captain to you?”

“Y…y…yes, sir.”

“Well, listen up, child. I’m not a sea captain; I’m the keeper of this lighthouse. MacMurray’s the name. Matthias MacMurray.” He thrust out his big right hand, and I backed up against the wall without taking my eyes off his face. I really didn’t want to touch a ghost.

“What’s the matter, sonny? Do you fear that my condition is contagious? Or is it that your mother never taught you to greet your elders?”

He continued to look at me, holding out his hand. I gulped again, reached out, and shook it. His hand was cold, but it felt as solid as my own. That made me feel a little better.

“Uh…Mr. MacMurray -”

Matthias, please! None of this Mr. MacMurray nonsense.”

“Um… Matthias? You…you live in my room?

“Your room?” He looked surprised. “This is my room, sonny. Been that way for over a hundred years. But I suppose there’s nothing I can do about it now.” He shrugged. “Looks like we’re roommates.”

That’s what you think, I thought. I wasn’t going to share my room with a grumpy old ghost. I wondered if Mom and Dad would switch rooms with me. Alondra wouldn’t, just to be mean to me…no matter how much she hated those creepy portraits.

“Matthias? You, um…really lived here for a hundred years?”

He sat down in the big chair in the corner, sighed, and ran his fingers through his hair. He didn’t have his lighthouse keeper’s hat on, like he had in that picture at the museum. “Actually, one hundred and twenty-five. But let me tell you a story, sonny. It all started the night of the storm..."

Excerpt from Chapter 12: Thunder

...Small-craft warning flags flapped in the wind as I sprinted into the harbor with Matthias close behind me. The lobster boats all bobbed and pulled at their moorings, as if they were trying to escape from the storm.

I stalked down the dock past Rorianne Rose, and found Thunder bucking in the waves that smacked her sides. Fat raindrops splattered the dock as I fought to untie the rocking boat, which jerked the rope tight with every wave.

Matthias popped up beside me and pointed at the black sky. “I don’t like the looks of those clouds over there, boy. Those are thunderheads. See how high and dark they are? I predict that the storm will hit within ten minutes.”

“How do you know that? You’re not a weatherman.”

Matthias sighed. “Dylan, I have lived beside the sea my entire life and death. I have seen many a storm hit, and many a ship founder on the rocks. This storm is not the first.”

“But this is just rain. I’ll be on the island when the storm starts.”

He shook his head. “You are making a very poor decision, and a very big mistake.”

We both looked up as the rain pounded the dock and swept sheets of water flying through the air. In seconds, I was as soaked as I would have been if I had jumped off the dock, but the raindrops rolled off Matthias without getting him wet. Amazed, I reached out and touched his dry coat, as the water trickled into my eyes and my drenched T-shirt clung to my back.

“See? This is why you can’t go out there!” he said. “This rain is only the beginning.”

“It’s only water! I’ll dry out!”

Matthias folded his arms and scowled down at me. “You know, I can physically restrain you, and prevent you from doing this.”

“Then why don’t you?” I dropped my backpack and fishing pole into the boat and glared at him.

He shrugged. “Because you’re old enough to make your own decisions. And this is one of them.”

I took the oars out from under the seat and jammed them down into the oarlocks. Matthias touched my arm. “It’s not too late to change your mind, sonny,” he said, with a sad smile. I knew that he was worried about me.

“No.” I shook my head and climbed into the boat. “I…I have to go.”

I knew that I had hurt his feelings when I yelled at him back in my room, but I didn’t have time to think about that. I rowed Thunder through the maze of lobster boats, until I reached the open water where I could start to sail.

I looked through the rain and saw Matthias standing on the dock watching me leave. “Stay away from the cliffs!” he shouted.

Then he slowly turned away and disappeared.


As the rain pelted Thunder’s wooden deck, I spotted the black hill of Rat Island three miles away. At least, I thought it was the island. I raised the sail and aimed Thunder to the northeast, wishing that I had brought along a compass.

And I was starting to wish that I stayed home.

I had already tipped over three times. The wind had slammed the sail back and forth, the boom just missing my head before capsizing the boat again. Each time, it got harder to pull Thunder upright, as the water poured back over the sides and the soaked sail pulled the mast under the waves.

I turned Thunder so that the wind blew against her side, and moved up onto the seat. Thunder tore along, almost sideways through the water while I tried not to fall over backwards into the bay. The cold salt water splashed over the seat, soaked my jeans and stung my scratched-up arms and back. I hooked my legs under the seat and held on tight to the tiller. It felt like a living thing as it tried to yank itself out of my hand.

I remembered what Dad had told me the day we went to the island. It’s three miles out to sea, he said. It can get too rough out there for a little boat like Thunder...

He had been right, but it was too late to turn back, now. The waves flung Thunder way, way, way up until her bow pointed almost to the sky. As I looked up into the rolling clouds, I thought the boat would fall over backwards on top of me! Then my stomach lurched into my throat when Thunder crashed back down, like she was diving straight to the bottom of the sea. The foamy black water broke over the bow and splashed over my head, but Thunder always popped back up…and it started all over again. It was like a bad carnival ride that I thought would never end.

My dripping clothes clung to me. My hands had gone numb and stiff as I held on, shivering, to the seat. I was so cold, but knew that since the rain wasn’t going to stop, I couldn’t stop, either. Not until I got to the island.

Matthias’s sleeve brushed against my arm as he appeared next to me.

“Ease up on that mainsheet a bit, sonny, and spill some of this wind. You’re heeling over too much.”

Matthias! What are you doing here? I thought you had to stay at the lighthouse!”

“No, I’ve been here in the boat with you the whole time. Did you really think I would leave you out here alone? And don’t let her jibe! The boom could knock you overboard. I’m trying to keep you from getting killed.”

“You mean from the storm?”

“No. Look over there. We have…company.” He pointed at an old motorboat, bouncing over the waves as it sped toward us. A bald-headed man sat back in the stern, shouting something over the roar of the huge outboard motor. Then he drove straight at me.

Sleeter!” I yelped.

I was sailing Thunder harder than I ever had before. I couldn’t go any faster. The spray splashed up over the bow and into my eyes. I tried to wipe it away until Thunder bounced up and down on the waves, almost throwing me off the seat.

I squinted through the rain, searching for that black shape that I had thought was the island. All I spotted was the lighthouse beam circling through the sky, getting closer and closer, while the wind tried to push Thunder into the sea.

“I can’t hold it down! I’m not heavy enough!” I cried.

“Well, I can’t help you there. I’m weightless,” Matthias snapped. “You should’ve thought of that before you got yourself into this mess.”

“But the cliff! He’s chasing us into the cliff!”

Matthias watched as Sleeter drove alongside us, laughing and shouting at me.

“I’ll be right back,” Matthias said, disappearing before I could answer. He reappeared in the motorboat and yanked the controls out of Sleeter’s hand.

Sleeter’s boat swerved left and dumped him into the waves. I thought that was the end of him, but he came back up, sputtering and swimming toward Thunder. The waves broke over his head, but he swam fast and strong, glaring up at us whenever he could.

Matthias reappeared beside me and we watched as the motorboat zoomed off toward the cliffs by itself. CRUNCH! I winced as the empty boat slammed into the rocks, its bow crumpled. Water poured inside until the waves threw the crushed boat into the air. It flipped end-over-end, its propeller still spinning before the boat came down engine-first. In seconds, it was gone.

Thunder could be next! I thought, tightening my hold on the tiller. I looked from the spot where the motorboat sank, and back to Sleeter. He was trying to grab Thunder’s rudder!

I screamed and shrank back against Matthias. He was the only help I had now, but he looked as scared as I was.

Matthias put his arm around me. “Don’t panic, sonny,” he said. I was surprised at how calm he sounded, because he sure didn’t look that way. He stared at the cliffs, his mouth tight and trembling. “I won’t let anything happen to you. Just trust me.”

“But Sleeter’s…” I gulped and shook my head, staring. Sleeter was climbing into the boat! We were going to tip over! I almost tumbled off the seat as Thunder bounced up and down on the waves and water gushed over the side.

Matthias let go of me. “Release the mainsheet and tiller, boy,” he ordered.

What? Are you crazy?” I wasn’t sure if I should listen to him. After all, he had crashed his father’s fishing boat…

“I said, let the boat on her own! Now, before we capsize!”

There was nothing more I could do. Matthias nodded as I opened my hands, letting the sail blow out of control, the tiller swinging away from me. But Matthias was right. As soon as I let go, Thunder swung around and faced into the wind. The bouncing stopped and the mast popped back upright. But now Sleeter crouched in the corner, grinning at me like one of Cutlass’s pirates. “You might as well give it up, kid!” he snarled. “I always finish what I start!”

I scrambled up onto Thunder’s flat front deck, staring at Sleeter and clutching the mast to keep from sliding off.

“Don’t be afraid,” Matthias told me.

He dissolved into a glowing white mist that surrounded Sleeter like fog. Sleeter shrieked and started jumping around, rocking the boat and swatting at the mist like it was a swarm of bugs. The mist swirled around and formed into the shape of Matthias, who shoved Sleeter off his feet.

“Sit down in the boat!” Matthias shouted. Sleeter gasped.

“Who are you? What…what are you?” he stammered. He tried to crawl away, but the misty form of Matthias grabbed him and pinned him against the boat.

“You don’t know me, Sleeter? I’m the old, dead lighthouse keeper that you said you’re not afraid of. And you don’t learn, do you?”

Sleeter shrieked. “Get away from me, you…you freak! You monster! Leave me alone!” He tried to jump overboard, but Matthias wouldn’t let him go.

Sleeter hid his face in his hands and shook his head. “I don’t believe in ghosts,” he whimpered. “Ghosts don’t exist! I don’t believe in -”

“You don’t believe in ghosts?” Matthias bellowed as he yanked Sleeter’s hands away and changed back into his solid form. “Look at me!”

Sleeter panicked. He broke away from Matthias and lunged at me, grabbed my ankle and pulled me toward him...



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