Ghosts

Technology

Technology is a funny thing here in Nariah. Mostly because in certain places it doesn’t work, like at school for example. I’ve told you before about what happens to the computers in the Library if you try and search for something outside of what you are supposed to be learning. They kind of hiss at you, sounding like a cat, almost like they are berating you for looking at things that you know you shouldn’t be looking at.

Whatever Net-Nanny settings they have on those computers is really, really strong and if they sold it they would make millions.

Imagine being a parent, unsure of whether or not your son is looking at pornography or something like that. You could type a few things in, make sure that if he did search for porn sites the Net-Nanny would catch him and BAM! Instant cat hissing if he does start searching for porn.

I told my older sister Maggie about the idea, when I was over for dinner the other night, and she laughed before telling me that the computers hissing had nothing to do with an amazing Net-Nanny program and everything to do with magic. It was another hour before I was able to find out exactly what she meant.

Maggie told me when computer were starting to become common in schools the parents at the time were worried that they would use the computers at the school to look at things that they shouldn’t, especially around younger more impressionable children. So under the advice from Nora, one of the ghosts that lives at Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B, they got in contact with this Old Hermit that lives near the town dump.

The Old Hermit came and looked at the computers before disappearing for a couple of days. When he returned he brought with him that box filled with dust and a spell written on an old piece of cardboard. All the Librarians needed to do was write the spell in a word document, sprinkle the computers with the dust and hit save at the same time and the students wouldn’t be able to access anything inappropriate without anyone knowing.

Three days later a student (who will forever be unnamed) tried to search for something outside the school’s curriculum and suddenly the computer started to hiss.

I’m not too sure how true that story is, but I have been this old box sitting on one of the filing cabinets in the Librarian’s office and if they need to do that to all the computers when they arrive in the school, it explains why the Library is always off limits for the day when the new computers arrive.

The computers aren’t the only things that work strangely at school.

None of the students are able to use their mobile phones. The moment you step onto school property your phone shuts down until 3:35pm that afternoon when the final bell rings for the day.

I don’t know how they do it, but I think that it’s got something to do with why the front office asks for a copy of our phone numbers at the beginning of every year.

Teachers and parents, however, are still able to use their phones just fine when they visit so I’m sure that that has got to be the reason.

Or when all the students started to bring phones to school they brought the Old Hermit in again.

I don’t know if the Church’s in town got the Old Hermit in as well, which seems highly unlikely, but you can’t use your phone during sermons there as well.

And depending on your internet provider, Wi-Fi strength varies depending on which house you live in. The older the house, the better the Wi-Fi. Besides Ben’s place, Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B has really good Wi-Fi, and it should because the ghost that haunts the front office does a lot of the bookwork for Eric’s Grandmother because she doesn’t know how to use MYOB all the well and in order for her to send her BAS off at tax time she needs to have good internet.

Plus a couple of the younger ghosts have a thing for cat videos, and like to watch recordings fans have uploaded to YouTube of Broadway shows that they have gone to see.

I’m sure that they know the whole plot of Wicked just from these short illegal videos.

The other place that has surprisingly good Wi-Fi is where the sink holes are across from the Pre-School. Ben told me that during one of his Dad’s visits to the area, they discovered that the place gets even better Wi-Fi then at their house. The Giant Clawed Hand seems pretty happy about that as well because if you walk by you can sometimes see it using Councillor Michael’s laptop or watching Vines on his iPhone (both of which were in his car when the Giant Clawed Hand grabbed it).

Since that news got out a lot of people (re: high school students) have been flocking to the area to use the Wi-Fi. The Giant Clawed hand doesn’t seem to mind all that much, just as long as you give a gold coin donation to help pay for the internet costs.

Which is pretty handy and it gets a lot of teenagers out of their rooms, so parents aren’t all that upset about it at all. In fact they quite happily hand over a dollar or two if the teens are heading over there.

So while technology does work strangely here, at least we can’t complain about the lack of Wi-Fi.

– Juliette

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Welcome to Nariah: Part II

The funny thing about Nariah is that it seems a lot smaller than what it actually is. The town has a population of about six thousand, but I have never seen everyone turn up to a football game or even carols by candlelight. If they did I think that we would need a bigger park to hold it in – but I suppose that is something for the council to think about, not me, and by me I mean Eric Samson.

Sorry about rambling a little bit, that has just been on my mind for a couple of days while I’ve been trying to think about what I am going to write for my first post. You would think that it would be easy, just explain a little about the town that I have lived in for as long as I can remember, but it’s not that easy when you actually sit down and try to write it.

I tried to talk to Nana about it, but she just looked at me with this strange look on her face, like she was trying to work out why I would think that writing about Nariah was such a good idea. Then she put the biscuit tin down, smiled and said that I would figure it out. I always do.

I know that Juliette has talked about Nana and her B&B in her post but she didn’t give you the full story. Nana has been my legal guardian for most of my life – since Mum and Dad died, or disappeared, not one is really clear on what exactly to declare them even after it’s been more than ten years since they went poof. Poof is the best descriptive word that I can come up with to describe how they just vanished after going out for a hike with a group of friends and never coming back. No one from the group came back. It would have been big news but a person just vanishing like that out in the Back Scrub is normal, at least it is in Nariah.

I’m not too sure about anywhere else. When I told Ben he just looked at me, as if he was trying to work out whether or not I was playing with him. It took three other people from our year to convince him that I wasn’t messing around with him.

I think that is part of the reason why Ben thought this blog was such a good idea, or he just didn’t think we had enough to do, what with homework and all that normal High School stuff; which is what I should be doing, but I’m not.

I’ve lived with Nana in the B&B most of my life since Mum and Dad went poof and it’s a pretty good place to live. Sure we have a few problems, a couple of leaking pipes, squeaky staircase, ghosts that think that it is fun to invade your dreams and make you afraid of the dark. You know, the normal B&B experience.

Recently we’ve been having a couple of complaints about the noise that the ghosts make, or one ghost in particular: Nora.

Nora has been a fixture of the B&B for as long as Nana can remember. Nana says that she used to play hide and seek with Nora, a game that would last days as Nora would hide herself between walls and refuse to move until Nana gave up. She used to play with me as well, but I used to hit the walls once I learnt her trick and it always made her come out of hiding. Something to do with the vibrations making her feel bad. Anyway, recently Nora has taken to banging on the pipes loud enough that it carries over to our neighbours, and normally that wouldn’t be a problem but they’ve just recently adopted this animal, that I’m sure is part werewolf, and as a result of the banging it starts to howl. When we asked Nora why she was banging on the pipes, Nora refused to answer.

Ghosts are not the best at expressing their feelings in a productive manner.

We’ve also got this new ghost that just kind of freaks me out. I don’t know whether it is a child or if it is a really small adult that has been compressed, but when you catch a glimpse of its face you realise that it has no eyes. And if that isn’t enough to give you the shivers then it extracurricular activity of just walking through you when you’re distracted will – literally. As far as ghosts go he’s not the scariest but the lack of eyes and no concern for personal space is enough to make him my least favourite of the ghosts that live here.

Both Nana and I have told him that it’s rude to walk through people when they don’t know that he’s there or if they are distracted but we don’t think the message got through to him because he didn’t give any indication that he heard us and five minutes later he walked through Nana as she was making one of her famous flourless chocolate cakes.

Nana has invited Ben and his Dad to come and have dinner with us, promising that the ghosts will be on their best behaviour. When she said this, Ben’s Dad just laughed and said that he would bring a treat for them if they managed to fulfil that promise. I don’t think that he understands that ghosts have no need to worldly possessions. Sure they hang out in places where they die, but usually that is because they have some kind of unfinished business, like trying to get a message across. In the case of the eyeless child, well, I don’t know what exactly he would want because all he seems to do is stare eyelessly at people and wait until their guard is down before walking through them, which even Nora agrees is rude.

I’ve got to go now. Nora has started her banging and the howling is going to start very soon, so I’m not going to be able to continue for much longer. Thanks for stopping by.

– Eric

Welcome to Nariah: Part I

Hello and thank you for coming to visit our blog.

My name is Juliette and I’m just one of the four people who will be regularly posting here.

Besides Eric, I’ve probably lived here the longest. I was born in the local hospital, went to the pre-school in the shire run pre-school (Nariah Pre-School), went to school in the local public school (Nariah Primary) and I’m now going to school at the local High School (Nariah High).

I suppose that I could have gone to a boarding school, like some of the other kids my age, but it didn’t seem right as Mum and Dad didn’t send my older sisters away.

Also, Mum and Dad said no.

Ben was the one who first suggested that we do this. There aren’t too many blogs out there that have four people who update regularly, after all.

Or at least that we have been able to find on the school library computers. For some reason whenever we try to look for things that are outside out community and not related to what we are learning in school, the computers kind of throw a hissy fit and make this weird hissing noise – almost like a cat. The librarian’s tell us that it’s because they need new updates.

It’s for that reason that we have decided that our best bet for being able to upload our posts is to use Ben’s computer, because it’s newer and his Dad has really good Wi-Fi. I don’t know how he has such good Wi-Fi. I live right next door and our Wi-Fi is nothing like the Wi-Fi that Ben has. Maybe he just uses a different internet provider.

Who knows?

We’re still working out a schedule but we do know that there will be at least one post up on Mondays, with a few extras scattered in during the week – when we are able to post them around homework and some of the sporting things that we all do.

I’m pretty sure that Grace isn’t happy with me. We drew straws to figure out who was going to write the first post and I won! When I looked over at Grace after I realised that I had won, she didn’t look too happy with me. I suppose it’s because she’s so used to winning. I don’t want to get into it too much, because I’m sure that she will explain more about herself when it’s her turn to post something, but I’m pretty sure that that is the reason.

It seems silly to me that she would be upset about something like drawing straws to figure out who is posting when on a blog, but I suppose that’s why we’re not exactly best friends.

I don’t actually think that we’re friends. I don’t think that we have ever been friends. We never went to primary school together; her parents decided that they would send her and her siblings to the Catholic school instead when they first moved here. So we never really met until Year Seven, when she transferred over to the High School and she became friends with a different group of girls.

The more I think about it the more I believe that the reason that she even wants to do this is because of Ben. Not that I can blame her for being interested in the new kid. We don’t have too many new people move to Nariah so it’s a nice change to have Ben start school with us.

I think that I’m getting too personal now and I should really change subject.

The reason why Ben suggested that we write this blog is to document that last eighteen months that the four of us are going to be in Nariah. We’re halfway through Year Eleven and all of us are counting down the days until we graduate High School and go off to University.

Plus, according to Ben, this place is not like other places.

I’m not exactly sure what he is talking about other than the fact that we’re not a big city area like he is used to. Ben moved here from the Northern Beaches in Sydney so I suppose to him we are a little different, but we’re a farming town not a bustling metropolitan area. It makes sense that we are going to be a little different.

When I pointed this out to him he told me that it has nothing to do with the difference between the city and the country and more to do with everything else.

I think he might be talking about some of the unique things that happen here in Nariah. For example, just last week a couple of sink holes appeared across the street from the Pre-School, and destroyed a car when it did. The council says that it’s got to do with all the old mine shafts that run underneath the town that everyone knows about, but a few people are saying that they were around when it happened and they saw this huge Giant Clawed Hand reach out of the sink hole and grab Councillor Michael’s car.

I don’t know what Councillor Michael was doing at the pre-school because he doesn’t have any children that go there, or any children at all, but he lost his car while he was there anyway.

The sink hole, and the reason why it was formed, was pretty much forgotten after that because Councillor Michael started to have a fight with the Mayor over whether or not Council is legally responsible because of what to his car. Councillor Michael claims that because the incident happened on Council owned land that they should be responsible for the replacement of his car.

The Mayor replied, saying that he knew that that whole area across from the pre-school is a no parking area and still he parked there. Whatever happened was his fault because he refused to take notice of the well placed signs that clearly indicate that that side of the road is a no parking area.

Last we heard Councillor Michael was checking with both his lawyer (on whether or not he could sue the council for a new car) and his insurance company (to see whether or not sink holes/Giant Clawed Hands are covered on his insurance policy).

Anyway, Ben thinks that this whole situation isn’t normal and that documenting it in a place where people outside the community can see it might cause someone to come and investigate.

I’m not so sure.

We have a lot of people who drive through Nariah on a pretty frequent basis and none of them have ever sent other people to come and investigate.

However, I think his idea about documenting the next eighteen months is a good one. Kind of like writing a journal that you can look back on, but with different views on the things that happened.

Plus I think that letting outside people know more about the town is a good thing, especially if it means that they will come and visit – regardless of whether we have sinkholes/grabby Giant Clawed Hands or not.

And it makes the ghosts that live in Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B a lot happier if they have new people to haunt every so often.

Not that the B&B is the only place that has ghosts, mind you. There are a number of places that have them – the most famous is the Metropolitan Hotel. It has one of the bloodiest histories of any of the buildings in Nariah, and most of that history takes place in the first five years after it was built. For a while it was shut down until the new owners renovated and removed the really old bloodstained stone stairs from out the back garden. Now it’s really family friendly and the ghosts hardly ever cause a scene.

Unless you’re doing something that they find offensive. Like women swearing. Milly Harrison did always like to learn the hard way.

Anyway, I think that I have blabbered on enough for now. Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you again next time.

– Juliette