Besides the nearly fifty mourners at the funeral, there were two uninvited guests. One was the ghost who had visited Percival Graves in his room. The ghost didn’t make a habit of going to funerals; there was nothing more depressing for someone already dead than listening to the living with their stupid platitudes about how wonderful so-and-so was. And in this century, funerals were so somber and boring—except for the Irish wakes, which could be good once everyone got liquored up. People really knew how to throw funerals back in the old days with treasures, sacrifices, and then lighting the body on fire. Things were so sterile now, the body either sealed into a wooden box or else burned in a crematorium with little fanfare.
The ghost came to this funeral because he knew that it was going to be here as well. He’d heard it talking to the girl, the gangly redhead in the back sitting next to some fop with curly brown hair. That old witch sat on the other side of the redhead; what was she doing here? Probably just went to all the funerals like a typical nosy old woman.
Having failed to get Graves off his ass, the ghost saw no choice but to go it alone. He couldn’t actually stop it from communicating with the girl or anyone else. The best he could do was to observe and then maybe he could find a way to intervene later. Or at least he would know who it had recruited so that when The Call went out, he could have some solid information to give.
The ghost was relieved that this funeral was being held in a chapel and without a priest around. He could go into churches, but especially with the Catholic ones he risked being seen and having some well-meaning priest trying to exorcise him. They didn’t have the magical ability for that, but they could temporarily banish him. That had happened back in the 16th Century and by the time he found his way back, the Reformation was underway, which he took as poetic justice.
The funeral director took to the podium, indicating that in lieu of a formal service, this would be a memorial service. Friends and family were encouraged to take the stage and share their memories of the deceased. Of course no one had any memories of the child since the poor bugger never had a chance to be born.
One of the older men took the stage, talking about how he had met Sarah when she and her husband first arrived from Scotland. The ghost didn’t bother listening to this story; he had something far more important to listen to—it was here!
“I can give you the power to find those responsible,” it said. The ghost watched the redhead, but she showed no reaction to this. “I can make them pay.”
It let this thought hang in the air for a minute. The old man on the stage continued with his rambling story, which seemed to involve a Christmas party and something called egg nog. Once it waited long enough, it said, “The police will never find them. You know that. Even if they did, the police couldn’t make them pay. The police can’t bring them to justice. You can. I will show you how.”
There was still no response to this, which the ghost took as a good sign. Maybe the redhead would resist the temptation. To the ghost’s knowledge no one ever had, but there was always a first for everything. Not that it would really matter, as it would find someone else. Days from now or years from now it would eventually find a host. Then the war would be on again, just as it had been for millennia now.
“When you are ready, we will speak again. I will show you how to find me.”
The ghost took this as a sign that it had gone. Probably it didn’t have the strength for an extended conversation—not yet. The ghost hovered lower, getting a look at the redhead’s face. There were no tears behind the glasses, but she clearly had been crying. The girl’s going to crack, he thought. It wouldn’t be long until she gave in. It would bide its time. It could wait forever. The ghost shook his head and then floated off to prepare himself.