The figure in black walks slowly into the graveyard carrying something long and oddly shaped. It hoists itself upon the tomb in the center of the cemetery and begins to do something with the item it was carrying. Odd sounds come from it, sounds both strange and familiar at the same time. Spirits rise from the ground in response and collect at the tomb. They know those sounds very well. Miss Hermit has returned to the graveyard to play her shamisen for the Babbage ghosts.
The ghosts cluster at the tomb and as one pepper her with questions.
“When did you return?” asks Daniel
“We thought you had left forever!” cries Evie
“Welcome back M’Lady.” states Tasha, quietly and with a tear in her eye.
“It is so nice to see you again.” says Sofie
“Are you here to help Miss Book? She is in so much trouble.” Mac seems happy and nervous at the same time.
“I came over on the steamer from Steelhead on its regular run. It is heading towards Caledon on the normal weekly schedule. I plan to be here for a few days to see how things are going along since I left. Father and the senior monk have allowed me to return to the steamlands. What is this about Miss Hienrichs being in trouble Mac?”
“There is a mad ghost in Babbage. He is always around Miss Book and I fear that he is meant to cause her some harm.” Mac says this all in a rush.
“Are we talking possession Mac? She is supposed to be able to resist that now.”
“No. It is like he is driving her to do things that she doesn’t want to. This ghost knows something but what it is I have no clue. But Miss Book follows him at times and Miss Hermit I know she can keep ghosts out but I think something else is in her. I can not say what it is but I have a bad feeling about this.“
“Find her Mac. Let her know that I am here.”
“I can do that!” With a sound like a fast wind moving through the trees Mac is gone looking for her.
“She has asked about you.” Sofie says, “I also think she is in over head and needs you. Something is not right.“
“Are you back forever?” asks Evie. “Can I leave a hint for Tepic?“
“No Evie, thank you. Remember I am here for a few days. I shall find him myself or rather he will find me. Tepic has that talent.”
Daniel turns away as if to leave, “Daniel, not even a hello? I know we are not the best of friends but even an Engineer from the Old Times should know how to greet one thought gone forever?”
“Perhaps it would have been best to stay that way. Things have awakened in Babbage Miss Hermit. I fear not even you can control the events that are occurring. I know that the dead fear little but this chills even my worm gnawed corpse.” Daniel fades away leaving me with a sense of unease. At the best of times he is ill sorted but I never heard this come from him.
Mac flashes back, “She isn’t at home and it looks like the house is closed up.“
This is odd, “All right. Everyone scatter and sweep the city. Leave no area un-searched. That includes the canals and the sewers.” The ghosts nods and disappear in various directions, except for Tasha.
“I wish to confess something to you Miss. I hear that confession is good for the soul. Perhaps I shall feel better about it if I tell you.“
“My Tasha, that is such an odd way to talk. What is bothering you?”
“I know I said that I did not want to follow you when you left. However, I was not telling you the truth. Being your maid gave me such purpose. I had not felt that way since I was a living girl. Please, can I come with you when you return back to Steelhead? I promise to follow your lessons and lift more than a pound. I shall even attempt to curb my tongue as I know it can be sharp when discussing matters of style and fashion.“
“Is this what you really want?” She nods silently. “Where are you buried? I shall have to dig you up as I did with Hiro to bring you to Steelhead. You know you can not travel long distances over water.”
Tasha floats over to a small stone lying at an angle in the earth, “I am here Miss Hermit. My employers felt so bad about my death that they placed me in a metal coffin and gave me my very own headstone. Wasn’t that nice of them?“
“Truly it was dear. I shall make the arrangements and will bring both you and your stone with me.”
Tasha bows low, “Thank you Miss Hermit. I shall miss Babbage but I have missed being a ladies’ maid even more.“
What has happened here since I left? My sister-miko needs me, I hope I am not to late…