The past three weeks have been pretty universally terrible, so the blog sort of fell by the wayside. But we’re back, sort of, and here’s the next little tidbit… (I still have no idea where this is going, friends. Flying by the seat of my pants, here. Should be interesting).
“I though you were out of the business, Lizzie.”
“I was. I am. Henry just asked me to look into something.”
“Just one more case?” Thomas leaned back into his chair. “It’s never just one.”
I glared at him. “It’s only because I owe him an extremely large favor.”
Thomas shook his head slowly. “This is your calling, Lizzie. You were called by the Lord to guard the border between Life and Death. It’s not something you can ignore.”
“Watch me,” I said crossly.
I jumped up. “I can do what I want!” I was aware I sounded like a petulant child, but goddamn this was getting frustrating. “This is why I stopped coming to church, Father.”
Thomas continued, unmoved by my outburst. “It’s in your blood.”
I laughed, a single, sharp bark. “Now you sound like my mother.”
The priest inclined his head. “Margaret is a formidable woman. I take that as a compliment.”
Good for you. I put my hand on the doorknob. “Thanks for your time, Father.”
He sat up, placing one hand on the desk. “Oh Lizzie, I’m sorry. Please sit down.”
I walked back from the door, but didn’t sit. I stood, hands in pockets and feet firmly planted. Petty? Maybe, but I didn’t much care. “Henry says spirits have been disappearing.”
Thomas narrowed his eyes. “Disappearing how?”
I shrugged. “Poof. Gone. Their anchor hasn’t been disturbed, but they no longer manifest.”
“That sounds like they’ve crossed over.”
“I suggested that. Henry thinks they haven’t.”
“And does he have any evidence to support his position?”
I clapped a hand over my heart. “Evidence?” My tone positively dripped with melodrama. “My dear Father, what happened to faith?”
Father Thomas frowned. “Lizzie, that was inappropriate.”
It was. I looked down, cheeks flushed. “Sorry.”
Thomas cleared his throat. “Well. If Henry doesn’t have any evidence…”
“Then frankly, Lizzie, I”m surprised you’re looking into it.”
“Like I said, I owe him a favor.”
Father Thomas rubbed a hand over his stubbled chin. Unusual, that – Thomas was nearly always clean-shaven. And his face looked worn. Tired, perhaps. “An “extremely large” favor, if I remember correctly,” he said.
He was fishing, but I chose not to share. “Mmm.”
To his credit, he took the hint. “All right. I’ll ask around, take a look through the library. My experience is more in possessions than hauntings, though.”
“I know. If you could just keep your ears open, pass along anything useful…I’m out of the loop, these days.”
“Devon’s in town. You should talk to him.”
My sellout of a brother? No freaking way. “Yeah, I’ll call him.”
A faint ringing interrupted Thomas’s response. “Ah, that will be the food I ordered. Chinese. You hungry?”
My stomach answered for me, gurgling unpleasantly. “Starved. I skipped lunch to study for a quiz.”
“Good. You’ll sit and eat with me, and I’ll pick your brain on a problem of my own.” He stood up, and I tilted my head up to meet his gaze.
Good god, the man’s tall. “A problem?” I inquired, my tone deceptively casual.
“Of a supernatural nature, yes.” He walked out the door and started down the stairs.
“But –” I called after him.
“Tit for tat, Lizzie!” his rich baritone boomed from downstairs.
Defeated, slumped heavily into the chair. My gaze traveled across the desk and over to the wall, where a crucifix hung between two crowded bookshelves. I scowled at Jesus’s tormented figure. “Father Thomas was right. It’s never just one, is it?”
He didn’t answer. He never had.