Why indeed?

I took a detour to stop and see if Mr. Petticord would talk to me.  Even though I had lived with him for a few weeks it took the better part of two days to find his farm.  Farm doesn’t sound right.  Farms are big.  Homestead?   Squatter shack?

I had to stop for directions a couple times.  What I learned from talking to people is that Mr. Petticord is a local legend.  Technically where he lives he’s trespassing on land owned by the state.  It’s protected as old growth forest but because he bought the land so long ago and never sold they can’t get him out easily.  It’s in the local news sometimes, legal stuff about how they’re trying to remove him again and he’s refusing to go..   

They’re going to get their way now though because he’s passed on.  When I found his barn-shed home he wasn’t there.  I idly tried my finding spell, not expecting it to work because of his wards, and it led me up into the hills to a family burial plot.   

Those freak me out a little.  I expect graves to be in cemeteries not on someone’s property.  You shouldn’t come across a grave unawares. 

Elbridge Monroe Petticord, born 1907 died a few weeks ago.  I asked Mr. Petticord once why he didn’t use magic to extend his life.  He harrumphed, he liked to belt out a good harrumph, and said that our normal lifespan is more than enough.  Anyone who wants more is “rubbish”.  Then he went off on a rant about how politicians are the only people that shouldn’t hold office.   

I wanted to know if he had died of natural causes or if the blood cultists got him so I looked up the lawyer that worked with him on the legal stuff in the paper and met him at his office in Rutland.   

The lawyer said that working for Mr. Petticord had been the family business for three generations.  His grandpa had started representing Mr. Petticord against the state in the 50’s.  I asked how Mr. Petticord paid them and he laughed.  He showed me a picture of his grandpa holding a Colonial silver coin that they sold to a rare coin guy for 2 grand in 1957.  He said that another time he brought in a gold sheet with an etching of a Spanish Conquistador on it.   

“I would have liked to have read that old fellers memoirs” he said. 

The lawyer directed me to a great-great-great- grandnephew in Tewksbury.  I met him at a hockey arena where he coaches junior hockey.  He said that Mr. Petticord had hitched a ride into town and called him saying that he was going to be dead in a few days and they better come on out to bury him.   

He a couple other relatives in the area went out to the land, found him dead and did just as he asked.  I questioned if it was legal to bury someone like that and he just shrugged.  I asked “So, uh, it didn’t look like he had been murdered?”   

He looked at me like I was crazy.  He asked why anyone would want to murder an old man living in the middle of nowhere.  

I should have already learned this lesson

In order to pay off my loan I owe 10 shows to East Coast Professional Wrestling which is a family-oriented company, 10 shows for Jersey Shore Pro Wrestling which caters to horny teenagers, and a couple spot shows for different promotions.    

That would be a good run for me if half the money wasn’t going to someone else.   

I haven’t worked the Northeast much.  I don’t have much of a rep out here.  Maybe a third of my co-workers have heard of me.  Out of them about half of that third said “Oh, you’re the girl that beat up that porn star.”

That is not right.  I got into an altercation with a woman because I thought she was a porn star.  I certainly didn’t beat her up.    

I now have worked with a porn star thanks to JSPW.  They do a segment where a fan gets to “wrestle” a porn star for five minutes.  Usually it’s a real fan but this time it was a plant because they had me come in and get heat by ruining the party.   

The promoter came to me personally three times to beg/threaten me.  “Don’t hurt her, just don’t hurt her” he said before walking away each time.  If I’m so dangerous and unsafe why have me do the spot  at all?  Why even have me on the show?

Because that’s what JSPW’s brand is, come see our show because someone might get hurt for real. 

Not only him, but a couple of the boys came to lecture me too about how busting up Lexxxus Starr would be “bad for business”.  One of them must have got in her ear about it too because she was terrified when we talked.  I swore to her up and down that I’m safe and I wouldn’t hurt her. 

I told her we didn’t have to do the spot if she wasn’t comfortable with it.  She could bail out of the ring and I’d just beat up the plant Petey.  She was worried the promoter would be mad at her if she didn’t do it.  I get the sense she’s a person who’s scared a lot of the time.   

It all went off without a hitch.  Afterwards backstage a couple guys gave me a nod like I had really accomplished something by not flying off the handle and beating the shit out of a defenseless non-wrestler for no reason.   

She was very relieved when I talked her afterwards.  We were getting along fine until I asked her how they get around prostitution laws making porn.  You’re getting paid to have sex right, so how if that not prostitution? 

She didn’t like that question.   

Falling down

I tried my finding spell on the Hong Kong necromancer.  Then I tried to stop it because I got incredibly dizzy.  I couldn’t.  It was like the energy was being pulled out of me.  I got so off balance that I fell.  Fell like a normal person. 

I know how to fall.  That’s my job.  I once saw an old lady wrestler from the 70’s slip and fall on some spilled soda.  She was fine.  You don’t forget.  It’s instinct. 

I went down like a wet sack of crap.  I was so woozy I couldn’t tell which way was up.  Eventually it stopped on its own.  I didn’t do anything.

I don’t know if that happened because of wards that the necromancy might have.  Or if that happened because the necromancer might be very far away, in Hong Kong for instance.  I’ve never tried that spell on someone that might be half a world away.   

It’s hard to know why a spell goes wrong.  There should be an error screen that pops up.  Spell failure 302 – target too far away.

KBD was not nearly as talkative on the drive back to Buffalo as she was on the way out.  She seemed pissed at me.  I told her I was good for the money she held me up for figuring that was her issue but that didn’t seem to matter. 

At one point she said to me “This is what you do?”  I told her that I didn’t know what she meant.  “Were you trying to save that girl?  What was this all about?  Do you think magic makes you a superhero?  It was all pointless.  She was already dead.”

At least I tried?

Once we got back to Buffalo I asked her father if he could teach me some spells for dealing with necromancers.  He told me a bullet in the head works on them like everyone else.  I explained, while he barely listened, that I was dealing with someone who could create what I’ll call revenants, which is advanced shit, so they probably have a few tricks up their sleeve and I could use an ace in the hole.

His next tactic was to ask why he would want to show me how to take out a necromancer on account of he is one and I might use those spells against him.  Then he said he’d teach me for $25,000.  I countered with “How about free because I saved your daughter’s life?”

“You didn’t save me!” she said at the same time he said “I have more daughters”. 

Fraid of no ghost

I figured there was a 90% change the spirit was going to be Eterno.  Or the spirit that was possessing Eterno.  I never figured out what was going on there.   

I figured there was a 10% chance it was going to be the ghost of someone I got killed.  Even though the Professor and KBD both told me that’s not how ghosts work.   

What I did not expect was a message from prison.  I also did not expect the old man client to look like an Elvis impersonator.  Why is that still a thing?  Hasn’t Elvis been dead for 70 years?   His music isn’t even good.

At least the exorcist had a classic exorcist priest look.  He had the little bag and everything.  He also looked super old.  Old man Elvis was one of those old dudes that looks sturdy, the priest guy was more of a pile of dust in clothing.  Good thing he doesn’t have to actually wrestle with the spirits.   

No one told me that the spirit was going to be in someone.  I figured it was just going to be flying around ghost style.  A sallow looking kid was leaning at the railing at the top of the staircase with a tall black humanoid shadow enveloping him.  Much like with Bloody Mary it looked more than a little obscene.   

When it saw me it cackled and spoke, sounding like a crappy voice modulator “Grace, welcome, to die!  Nah, just kidding, Professor REDACTED sent me to talk to you.  He wants you to visit him in prison ASAP.  Super important, end of the world stuff.  The fate of the all humanity is in your oddly mannish hands.  Hey, any of you guys know if there’s a 24-hour gym around here?  While I’m on the mortal plane I might as well check out the shower action.  Haha, just kidding again, I don’t do that.  Anymore!  Haha.  Peace!” 

With that the shadow dissipated and the kid he was puppeting promptly flopped forward and slid down the stairs.

Everyone was looking at me like this was somehow my fault.  KBD asked “What the fuck was that?” 

How the hell should I know? 

Grace’s ghost-grabbers renewed for season 2

I thought we were headed back to Buffalo today.  KBD had other ideas.   

To keep the trip from being “a complete waste” she set up a necromancy gig in Clarksdale.  When I asked her how someone goes about booking her for necromancy for pay she told me that if she gave me that information she’d have to kill me with a big smile on her face.   

It’s a miracle that I haven’t punched this girl.  A god damn miracle.   

She drove for once.  The tradeoff was that she blasted me with Danish death metal the entire way.  I don’t really have a genre of music I like.  Now I have one for sure that I don’t like.

When we got to The Vineyard Mansion & Carriage House Bread & Breakfast she told me to stay in the car while she made some “real money”.  I was doomscrolling and only a little thinking about stealing her car when KBD came back out and leaned against my window like a waitress from a drive-in restaurant in and old movie.  I almost thought she was going to call me sugar.   

“Kay . . . so . . . small problem.” 

She told me that gig was to call up the spirit of a dude’s dead wife so they could chat.  Only the wrong spirit showed up and the exorcist she had on stand-by can’t get rid of it.  I asked her what she wanted me to do about it.   

“Well the spirit is asking for you by name . . . is the thing” was her response “Your name is Grace right?” she said it like she really wasn’t sure.   

Of course it was asking for me by name.   

Of course. 

Another AG non-happy sort of ending

Whenever I tell someone about magic it never goes well.  I thought back to when I first saw Obaluaiye do magic.  How I felt.  I thought I was losing my mind.  I got over it.  Maybe that’s because I was able to do magic.  Maybe that made it palatable.     

Maybe telling people about it makes me awful.  Seems like it should be okay to tell the truth.   

The doctor was having a hard time with it.  On the other hand she accepted what I was saying readily.  She must have been wondering about it.  Her softball friends came over a couple times to ask if she was okay and give me dirty looks.  She told them she was fine.  I took that as permission to proceed.   

I figured telling her all the details wouldn’t help.  I tried to keep it simple.  I said that she’s a doctor and she helps people, this girl needed her help to “move on”.  She asked me if I was an exorcist.  I thought about Eterno and how I helped him.  I guess I am?   

I told KBD that I would get her the money two hundred bucks a month at a time.  She said that she doesn’t work on installment.  I told her that I would sell my car when we got back and I could pay her then.  She thought that was hilarious.   

“What is your deal?  Are you the stupidest person in the world?”  She said I was working for “nothing” like some Italian word that I assume is a racial slur.  Surprisingly my counter-argument of “just fucking do it you little brat” worked. 

We slipped into the prison again with the church guy, the doc did her part and got T8 to the infirmary and had a guard bring us in there too.  Some story about possibly being exposed to tuberculosis.  KBD and I did the thing and that was that.   

Not a very satisfying ending to the story, but I did what I could.   

On the way out the guard gave me a huge grin and winked at me.  He was enormously pleased with himself.  WTF?   

Ghost-grabbers with Grace

KBD said that she could unmake the spell that’s keeping T8 an animated undead monster but it would take several hours.  She also said if I wanted her to do that it would cost me a grand.  When I told her that I couldn’t afford that she said to get it from the girl’s family. 

I wanted to bust her nose. 

I didn’t.   

I called Henry Fong (not the rapper) and told him what I knew about what was going on.  His response was “so?”  I pointed out that there was someone turning dead people into drug mules and since he’s a cop and also knows about magic this seemed within his jurisdiction.  His response “What do you want me to do?  Fly to Hong Kong and try to arrest a foreign national for doing magic?” 

I probably should have left this whole thing be.  I don’t feel like I have a good track record of solving crimes.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t let it go.

I got a physical of sorts when I went to jail.  I assumed there has to be something like that for prison as well. 

Between the internet and my finding spell my quest took me to a park beer league softball game.  I don’t know much about sports but I think Dr. Ashleigh Banfield is dreadful, even by beer league standards. 

I followed her and her softball buddies to TJ Bigley’s Bar and Grill where I sidled up to her with my most cunning line “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”  She looked me up and down, mostly up, and said that I shouldn’t be talking to her.  She thought that I was someone she had treated in prison and she didn’t want to have contact with me in the real world. 

I managed to convince her that was not the case and to coax her into a booth away from her friends.  Which is good for me because I suck at coaxing.  I asked her if she had done a new prisoner exam recently that was off.  Off like the person had no vital signs and black sludge instead of blood.   

First she mumbled something about rare conditions were people seem like they have no vitals.  Then she said some stuff about drug use.  Then she accused me of being “one of those ghost freaks from Youtube”.   

I told her that the girl she examined was undead and that I was sorry to be fucking up her life with this news. 

RIP Stella

Stella taught me that zombies are people who are alive and well but have had their minds overthrown by magic incantation.  The look like they’re dead sometimes because it’s real bad for your health.  What most people call “zombies” are merely animated corpses.   

I asked KBD if T8 had been brought back to life like Stella’s mom wants to do for her.  KBD reiterated that the girl is dead.  Dead dead.  As in not alive.  What we’re dealing with here is something else. 

“This is some very advanced shit” was her additional diagnosis. 

Some really flashy necromancers can work their magic on a recently deceased body and turn them into a creature that is not alive but is animate and remembers some of its former life.  Based on what the professor told me about “ghosts” I’, thinking that they take that “shadow” and bind it back into the body.  Instead of animating dead like a puppet that you have to control it’s more like a drone with a simple AI.   

KBD says that these creatures lack the drive to do more than maintain their existence.   They carry out the tasks their master assigns to them and do little else.  She said that’s why T8 has been doing weird stuff, her memories are all fucked up.  She may remember food but she can’t really remember what it is so she’s been eating batteries and dead leaves. 

KBD said that they technically still experience emotions and desires, just way way toned down.  They might treat the love of their former life dying like you would treat dropping a twenty-dollar bill.  “Oh, that sucks.”   

She said that that the knowledge to do this is rare, and someone with the power to pull it off is even more rare.  She said that if she and her sisters worked together they might be able to do it but she wouldn’t guarantee it. 

When I told her that this seemed like a lot of trouble to go through for drug smuggling she shrugged.   

“I don’t know, heroin is worth a lot of money I think.” 

Money well spent

Getting into prison was way easier than I thought that it would be.  It shouldn’t be that easy.  Maybe they don’t worry about women’s prisons as much.  I’ve never heard of a female escaped convict.   

I didn’t want to contact T8’s family for help.  I didn’t want to give them the false hope that I was trying to get their daughter out of prison.  Since Henry doesn’t give a shit I didn’t have a choice.  I tried very hard to explain to them that I was specifically going there trying to address her odd behavior.  I could tell that they got their hopes up anyway.

I hate that I did that.  

T8’s family got me connected with their church and the church people brought me in for a prayer session with her.  Just like that.  All KBD and I had to do to get in was carry a bible and walk in with the church guy. 

That doesn’t seem right.  Must be really easy to get contraband into a women’s prison.   They didn’t even check the bible to see if was real.  I could have had so much meth in a hollowed out bible.  Or phones.  Or a bomb.

Even though it’s just a book it felt weird to have it in my hands and pretend to be into it.  Even though I don’t believe I don’t like to be sacrilegious.  It seems disrespectful to the people that do believe.  Does that make sense?  Not really.

KBD had no issues with it.  On the drive down she mentioned that her dad drags her and her sisters to mass every week.   Seems strange that a necromancer would be a church goer.  Do you think he’s a true believer or is it camouflage?  Maybe it’s like how all those mafia guys pretend to be into religion. 

Under the guise of spiritual instruction KBD was able to do what she needed to do to diagnose T8.  When I was in jail I was constantly under supervision it felt like.  I can’t believe how lax things are here.   And this is supposed to be a much more secure facility.  All I did was kneecap a guy, she imported felony weight heroin. 

Once we were out in the parking KBD gave me her expert opinion “She’s dead.”