Broommates: Dead Man Talking

Part 16 of the serial Broommates. Start from the beginning or read the previous episode or click the “Broommates” link at the top of the page to see the full list.

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Everyone but Booker sat around the magic circle in the basement, holding hands and waiting for the seance to begin. The room was lit by the soft glow of a dozen candles ensconced in the stone walls, along with a single candle in front of each person. Kitty had drawn a pentagram within the circle and sat at the top point of the star, with Miranda to her right and Beatrice to her left. Inside the pentagram were representations of the four elements: a bay leaf, a dove’s feather, a small candle and a shot of whiskey.

“Ready?” Kitty asked. With her multicolored hair and bright smile, she looked like she should have been teaching art to children instead of summoning the spirits of the dead.

Anthony nodded, his warm hand gripping Miranda’s a bit too tightly for comfort. “Might not work, though, like I said. The wards on the house–”

“Are supposed to keep everything out, including ghosts,” Miranda finished, rolling her eyes. “If we have to relocate this to the yard then we will, but let’s try here first, shall we?”

“Not afraid of a little spook, are you?” Parker asked. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.”

Anthony glared at him. “If a demon comes through, I’ll be sure to tell it how delicious you are.”

Parker opened his mouth to answer but a hush fell over the room as if the sound had been sucked out. All eyes turned to Kitty, whose head was bowed as she gazed into the center of the pentagram.

“Hear me, shadows from beyond,” she intoned. “With these gifts we seek a bond. Send to us the one we name: Lydia Papas do we claim!”

The candles in the walls snuffed out in unison, leaving only the five candles at each point of the pentagram and the one inside to illuminate the faces around the circle. The walls of the room seemed to recede, but there was not so much a sense of expansion as one of absence. Even the earthy smells of the basement and the acrid smoke had evaporated.

“Is she here?” Parker whispered. His voice was oddly flat and lacking resonance.

As if in answer, the shot glass levitated about five feet from the ground and the liquid inside vanished. Kitty closed her wide brown eyes. When she opened them again, they were blue.

“Miranda?” Lydia’s voice asked with Kitty’s mouth.

“It’s me,” Miranda said. She tried to swallow the lump in her throat.

“Randy, damn it, I’m so sorry,” Lydia said. “I tried to stop him but I didn’t catch on until it was too late.”

“So it was Grant? What was he doing?”

Kitty shook her head slowly. “You wouldn’t believe it. He recruited a bunch of girls for a damn bacchanal. I don’t know where he got his hands on the texts because I thought they’d been buried for centuries at least.”

“What would he want with a bacchanal?” Miranda asked.

“He changed it somehow. Instead of pouring libations to the god, he took them for himself. Just before–” Kitty inhaled sharply. “Before I was killed, it looked like he was getting younger. Fast.”

“Gods Above,” Miranda murmured. “Let the girls crank themselves up and then sit back and suck up the energy like some kind of psychic crack addict.”

“Too right.”

“Did you find out anything about where Grant is living now?” Anthony asked eagerly.

Kitty grinned. “Who’s that, then? Your man Anthony Singleton? He sounds pretty dr–” Suddenly, Kitty threw her head back and her mouth fell open in a silent scream. The bay leaf and the feather disintegrated and the tiny candle flame shot up into a pillar of fire. Anthony’s grip on Miranda’s hand tightened so that she almost cried out. When Kitty lowered her head again, her hair floated as if in water and her eyes glowed scarlet.

“Sssingleton,” a deep voice rasped. It sounded as if it were around them despite coming from Kitty’s mouth as Lydia’s had. “I have been waiting for you, Sssingleton.”

“Well, don’t stop now,” Anthony retorted. “You’ve gotten so good at it.”

“I sssee you have brought friendsss thisss time, Sssingleton,” the voice hissed. “But they will not sssave you.”

“Oh, won’t they,” Miranda said. “Raise your arms, everyone.” They obeyed, though she had to tug on Anthony’s because he was busy staring at Kitty, and Kitty’s because she was busy being possessed.

“Spirit, unsummoned and unclean,” she intoned. “Depart as uninvited as you came. By our will and joining was this circle cast, and by our will you are purged.” She lowered her arms and the others followed suit, but they struggled as if pulling against a heavy counterweight. Miranda and Beatrice tugged on Kitty’s arms, which were like iron bands.

Kitty laughed, a sound like wet brakes grinding. “Next time, Sssingleton. Next time…” The flame in the pentagram went out and Kitty’s arms fell.

“Now, break the circle!” Miranda ordered. She dropped Kitty’s hand, and so did Beatrice. The walls of the basement reappeared with an almost audible rush of air, the candles in their sconces still burning as they had when first lit. Kitty crumpled forward, eyes closed.

Parker punched Anthony in the shoulder. “What the nine hells was that about?”

“An old problem,” Anthony muttered. “I’ll take care of it.”

“I’m so sure.” He pitched his voice deeper. “I’ll get you next time, Gadget… next time!”

“Ha bloody ha.”

“I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” Miranda murmured.

“Gods, Mir.” Anthony furrowed his brow. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s done.” She coughed politely. “Can I have my hand back?”

Anthony dropped it and watched in dismay as she massaged the palm. “Sorry,” he repeated, scrambling to his feet.

Kitty groaned and opened her eyes, back to their usual brown. She blinked sleepily and smiled at the tense group around her.

“What’d I miss?”

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Part 17: All That Glitters

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9 Responses to “Broommates: Dead Man Talking”

  1. Laura Eno says:

    I like the multiple problems coming together for the cliffhanger!

  2. Gracie says:

    Those pesky demons, always crashing the party. You’re great at keeping the tension and action lively. Edge of my seat…

    Love it. Ready for the next one. 🙂

  3. Oh man, the mix of things happening here is awesome. I love the injection of the old grudge too. Well written as always, and a nice propel to the next installment!

    I can’t wait. 🙂

  4. T.S. Bazelli says:

    Their problems keep snowballing! Hehe enjoyed this one as usual 🙂

  5. ganymeder says:

    This keeps getting better and better!

  6. Another good installment. Too bad for uninvited guests. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  7. 2mara says:

    I get so engrossed… I hate they are so short 😛

    great post!

  8. Dad says:

    A demon with a lisp…my favorite…

  9. Xanto says:

    I loved the Inspector Gadget reference. This chapter was really good, my favourite so far. And I thought I was the only one who said “Too right.”

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