The Love of the Dead

The Love of the Dead by Craig Saunders

Book: The Love of the Dead by Craig Saunders Read Free Book Online
Authors: Craig Saunders
into her face. Beth held out a hand for her to step back. She didn’t want her near her. Not again. She couldn’t take that ever again.
    She’d been a vessel before, and she’d always hated it. That complete loss of control. Someone else, some spirit, riding you.
    She’d never experienced death first hand, though.
    She felt bile rising into her throat again and gagged it down.
    “Why did you do that?” she asked, even though she knew Mary would not, could not, speak.
    Mary’s eyes were infinitely sad. Beth’s old friend shook her head.
    She couldn’t say. Wouldn’t say. Beth got the message. Some things weren’t for her to know. But it was a hell of a way to go about it.
    She was still disoriented. Her head swam and her eyes felt like they weren’t her own.
    The young policeman, Newman, remained in the kitchen. Somehow a spirit, Mary’s or something else, was keeping this room sealed away from him. He couldn’t hear, he couldn’t see into it. Beth was sure he would have come to investigate if he’d heard her being sick or speaking. But she looked through into the kitchen, and now he was staring out of the window, looking at the garden. She wondered what he was seeing there. Perhaps not as interesting as what she saw, but she envied him a little. It must be nice to see only flowers and no dead gardeners.
    Mary tugged Beth’s sleeve, perfectly able to manipulate the material. She was powerful, even in spirit.
    The spirit pointed at something on the wall. Something nobody else had seen, because it looked like it belonged there. But they couldn’t see what she could see. The police had all walked past it, ignoring it as if it was just background, something irrelevant, like the sink or the couch. But it wasn’t irrelevant.
    There was a picture on the wall. A collage made of pebbles behind glass, so the pebbles didn’t fall down. The stones had been worn smooth by the sea. Maybe the Westmoor’s had collected them on a vacation, maybe they’d bought the picture. But the feather in the middle of the stones, it didn’t fit.
    Mary nodded when Beth saw it. Beth knew it wasn’t right. The feather, the stones. The feather was black, and it didn’t come from any happy vacation. If the collage was store bought, she was sure no one would have put a feather in with the pebbles. It was incongruous, discordant. Just the look of the thing there in and among the stones, the soft with the hard, but the feather wasn’t soft. She felt something coming from it, black and deep and powerful. She wouldn’t touch it, ever, because she knew that if she did she’d cut herself and its poison would seep into her blood. She’d sicken, die. But what if it was the kind of sickness that didn’t kill you? A kind of sickness that made you like him—the kind of man who could take a woman’s head and make it talk as though it were nothing more than a puppet?
    Beth shivered and wrapped her arms around herself.
    Newman remained oblivious. She checked, because she didn’t want to freak him out. He seemed sweet enough, and she’d got what she came for.
    “Move on, Mary. Stan’s waiting for you.”
    Mary nodded, unable to speak. But Mary’s smile was enough. She raised her hand.
    Goodbye.
    Then she was gone.
    Beth felt like crying, but she reined it in. She felt like crying a lot lately. It wasn’t surprising. She’d seen things nobody should know. Felt things that nobody should feel. Things that would drive some people crazy, she didn’t doubt.
    She took some tissues from her bag and tried to clean the vomit from her top. She couldn’t get it all, but she managed to pull her jacket over it. It would have to do.
    Her visit had been hard, but worth it. She knew more than she had yesterday, and even though she thought Coleridge would do right by her, she couldn’t rely on anyone else. Peter was gone. Miles was dead. It was just her. She had to do it herself, because she knew she couldn’t trust the killer to keep to his word. He

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