Occupation: Estate agent
Skills and Abilities: Cunning salesman; very strong Sight; excellent sense of self-preservation, though suffers from occasional bouts of heroism
Likes: Beer; pizza; not being the target of assassination attempts
Dislikes: Talking cats; physical exertion; being the target of assassination attempts
Biography: Until the age of thirty, Trev Irwin’s life was remarkable only for how unremarkable it was. But now that he’s discovered that he has latent psychic abilities, Britain is full of supernatural creatures, and various people are trying to kill him, “unremarkable” is beginning to sound like a desirable lifestyle. Trev’s an estate agent, a career that has ill-prepared him for dealing with the creatures of the night (unless solicitors count). As he’s discovered, though, once you’ve had a glimpse behind the scenes of the everyday world and seen what’s lurking there it’s impossible to go back.
Trev’s idea of heroism has always been along the lines of volunteering to be the designated driver, or offering the last slice of pizza to a companion; he’s got an uncanny aptitude for self-preservation and a GCSE in Running Away. It’s unfortunate, then, that his newly-discovered powers are at the stronger end of the scale and people suddenly expect him to stand up and be counted in the fight against the Shadow. Working in the property trade Trev’s no stranger to confrontation, but first-time buyers don’t usually come at you with claws, guns or magic swords.
Returning to a normal life isn’t an option; throwing himself into the supernatural world will probably end with him dying messily. So what’s an estate agent to do?
Age: 6 (physical) c2000 (spiritual)
Skills and Abilities: Fluent in sarcasm; armed with an infinite supply of withering put-downs; encyclopaedic knowledge of the supernatural
Likes: Providing sarcastic commentary; trading insults; demonstrating his cleverness
Dislikes: Taking things seriously; economy-brand cat food; people who can’t take a joke
Biography: Oscar is a cat. Except he isn’t.
Physically he’s 100% common-or-garden moggy, but that furry body is merely the residence of an otherworldly feline spirit that some Ancient Egyptian priests summoned to the earthly plane as a way of impressing Queen Cleopatra. Sadly she wasn’t, and the priests hadn’t bothered to work out a ritual to send the new arrival back to his own dimension. As a result the being now calling itself Oscar has been hanging around for nearly two thousand years, with only a bunch of short-lived and short-tempered apes for company. It’s enough to drive a spirit to suicide, but if his body dies he’s just reincarnated into a new one.
Spending all that time observing the antics of the human race has at least given him a ready source of entertainment, a wealth of historical knowledge, and an irrepressible sense of humour. He’s encountered some amusingly clueless people over those long years, but this Trev bloke he’s just met might be the funniest of them all…
Age: 39 (at time of death)
Skills and Abilities: Protective aura; teleportation; the kind of disapproving stare that could fell a charging rhino
Likes: Modesty, humility, charity
Dislikes: Rudeness, crudeness, lewdness
Biography: Most people get to give up work when they die. Agatha Cragton isn’t most people. She’s been dead since the year eighteen seventy-nine, yet she’s still putting in a full working week. She’s not getting paid for it, but then ghosts don’t have much need for money; it just slips through their fingers. Literally.
As she was while alive, Agatha is attached to the Custodians, the clandestine supernatural police force of the United Kingdom. Over a century of being dead-but-not-quite-gone has given her a store of knowledge and experience that she’s able to put to good use, and the ability to wander about unseen and unheard by the Great British public isn’t without its advantages either.
She knows, though, that she can’t stay in the mortal realm forever. Bad things happen to ghosts who linger too long. But in order to move on she needs to confront her own past and the reason she became a ghost in the first place.
Occupation: Local historian / Custodian (semi-retired)
Skills and Abilities: Expert on the history of Brackenford; apparent immunity to alcoholic beverages; master of delicious but life-endangering fried breakfasts
Likes: Books; more books; Scotch whisky
Dislikes: Things that aren’t as good as they used to be; young people with no respect for their elders; being interrupted while reading
Biography: They say that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Bernard Simms has studied enough history to know the truth of that, so it’s a shame that people don’t always listen to him; his own grandson, one Trevor Irwin, included.
Bernard’s seventy-eight and has been a Custodian for over forty of those years. An old-fashioned work ethic and a tireless curiosity have resulted in him being one of those people who seem to work more hours after their retirement than they did before. With the assistance of Agatha and Oscar he keeps a close watch on events in Brackenford, though the town, despite its infamous history, is viewed by most of his colleagues as something of a backwater. But things are stirring in Brackenford, and echoes of its past are bubbling to the surface. Bernard sees the signs, of course, and he’s worried. The question is: will anyone listen to him?
"The pictures were created by the very talented Heather Pitt - check out her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MerQueens.Artwork."