Vintage Soul

Vintage Soul by David Niall Wilson

Book: Vintage Soul by David Niall Wilson Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Niall Wilson
Tags: Horror
sources would there be – locally?”
    Windham glanced at him, trying to read his intentions, then replied with a shrug.
    â€œOne.” He said, dropping some of the secrecy.   “There is only one such grave within a hundred miles.   It’s in the older section of the Shady Grove Cemetery , between here and Lavender.   I’m sure you’re familiar with the location.”
    Donovan nodded.   There had been all sorts of strange occurrences at the particular graveyard Windham had named.
    â€œThat place is pretty well guarded,” he said.   “I can see how the job could be complicated.”
    â€œAre you looking, too?” Windham asked.
    â€œI’m looking, but not for someone to do the work,” Donovan replied.   “I want to see to it that the one who is seeking it doesn’t come into possession of this particular item.”
    â€œHe won’t get it from me,” Windham said with a shrug.   “I doubt he’ll find a collector in the city who’d go for it.   There’s too much chance of getting caught, and the records for that section of the graveyard are sketchy.   It might take hours just to find the right grave, and what if someone took him long ago?   There’s no way to tell without digging him up, unless you’re a necromancer, and no one wants to attract attention.”
    â€œThat’s understandable,” Donovan replied.   “You’re certain these bones … meet the criteria?”
    â€œAbsolutely,” Windham said without hesitation.   “On that much the records are solid.   The grave belongs to Father Antoine Vargas.   He was one of the first priests to serve at the Cathedral of San Marcos, by the Sea.   I’m sure you know the place?”
    â€œI’ve seen it,” Donovan said.
    â€œFather Antoine was, apparently, very sensitive to demons.    He was retired at an early age by the church for performing exorcisms.   This would make him unsuitable, except that the first few of these ceremonies were sanctioned by The Church.   The records I found show that he was unaccountably successful in these rituals, though the church never acknowledged it.   He made quite a stir in other parts of the city at the time.”
    Donovan nodded thoughtfully.   “Why is it so difficult to find his grave, then?”
    â€œHe was not in favor with the church for the last decade of his life.   Apparently, despite the success rate his exorcisms claimed, The Church didn’t like the idea that there could be such a concentrated, acknowledged burst of evil in one place.   He was replaced with another and given a small cottage by the beach and enough money to live off of, which it seems he used little of before one of his rituals finally claimed him.   The grave was paid for by parishioners – not by the church – and it is marked only with a flat stone.   The inscription, according to my sources, reads simply ‘Gone to God.’
    â€œOf course, locating the grave is the least of the problems,” Windham sighed.   It was obvious he would have loved to accept this particular assignment, and Donovan had to fight back the frown that threatened to crease his brow.
    â€œYou said the price for this job was high,” he said, controlling his voice.   “How open is the call?”
    Windham glanced up at him sharply.
    â€œYou aren’t thinking about horning in on the business?” he asked.   His voice had grown suddenly shrewd, and sharp.
    Donovan laughed and took another sip of his whiskey.   He turned fully in his seat to face the thin, cadaverous man beside him.
    â€œNot a chance,” he said flatly.   “I like what I do just fine.   I have only two reasons for being here.   The first is to see that this thief doesn’t acquire what he needs to complete a particular ritual, and the second, if

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