Archivist note: This post is from an older recovered archive.
== The Neighbors..chapter 12…To save and to lose==
((Posted by Queer Hermit on July 1, 2010))
Normally I would just walk into the graveyard without a care about myself. Tonight it is different, very different. Tonight I walk cautiously, with my kanata slung over my shoulder ready to be used at a moments notice. Not that I am sure it would help as Mr. Melnik stated his had no effect on Mr. Slenderman last time. Still, this is a clan blade and has a touch of magic on it. It is impossible to walk either silently or hidden as I am burdened with a spade and the crate containing the temple holders. I wonder if I have brought enough of them, or did I need to bring them at all. If it is true that Mr. Slenderman is eating other spirits to acquire enough power to defeat the wards could there be anyone left?
I round the corner by Mr. Footman’s lab. I have taken a different pathway tonight just in case a trap would have been laid for me. I slowly lower the case and lean the spade against the lab wall. Crouching down to disguise my shape I peer about the corner looking any shapes blacker than night, any waving arms beyond the count of the normal two. Nothing. Not a sound except the usual buzzing and whatnot from the lab. Finally, the sooty clouds of the evening part long enough for the moon to light up the area and to reveal…nothing. Which is not a bad thing by the way.
Retrieving my tools, I slowly walk around the fence of the graveyard and towards the gateway. I pause by the sign at the gateway for one last look before entering. I was such a fool to think that trapping him and posting this sign were to be the end of my problems. All it did was to place the entire community in peril. I should have killed him the second time and returned him to his space when I had the chance but no, I had to be merciful. That’s a mistake I shall not repeat again…ever.
I keep telling myself if that Mr. Slenderman is within the graveyard it means he is weak. If he is weak then I can kill him the second time and send him away and everything will return to normal. I keep saying that so I do not collapse and start crying like a frightened little child. I cannot afford that luxury right now. I need to violate the graves in order to save the spirits; something which goes against all I was taught by the monks. I need to be a kunoichi, a warrior, strong, fearless. I need my Father.
I place the crate on the ground and grasp the spade with both hands in order to slow my shaking. I lower my head to enter the space of here/not here and begin the call….
"Who lies here still? Who dares to speak with one who is unworthy? Who is prepared to leave this place of death to live with others in peace and harmony? Who fears the fiend worse than the sin of violation?"
A quavering voice, barely a whisper…"You are still alive? He said he killed you and that all hope was lost for us."
"No Sofie, I am still here…is he?"
From Mac…"No he left a while ago in search of a host. He keeps failing and returning which means another of us dies."
"Who is still left? Are Evie and Daniel still here? What of Mrs. Barry?"
"We are all still here although I don’t know why. He taunts us and then consumes one of us to leave the graveyard."
"I can remove you from here. I have the means to do it now. The temples monks have provided the way, but, it means I must violate your graves."
"Why? Why must you disturb our final resting places? They are where our loved ones laid us for all time."
"To complete the transfer I need a bone, a physical part of you. I’m sorry but it is necessary. Will you give me permission? It is the only way"
Silence draws over like a thick blanket. I know they are speaking to each other. I am not sure if they will do it or not.
"Is there no other way?"
"None. The ritual requires it."
"Will we be free?"
"No. You will be able to move about 6 feet or so from the holder but no further. While within the holder you are undetected. But you will be able to have a bit more freedom."
From Daniel…"You require much from us and for what return? All we gain is a new type of prison."
At that point my anger gets the best of me. "Then stay here and await your turn at the hands of he who knows not one care in this space or any other for you. Miss Heinrichs and I offer our homes for your refuge. Accept that offer or perish."
A gasp comes from Evie. She fades in next to me and looks up with fear in her eyes but strength in her voice. "Will it hurt? Can you bring Gloria to safety with me?"
I look down to the child, "No it will not and yes, I will bring Gloria with you to safety."
"Then I shall be first ’cause I want to stay in New Babbage forever ’cause I love it! My grave is here and you will find I was buried shallow because of the snows and cold when I died." She holds her hand to her chest and her eyes widen in surprise. "I remembered…I remembered when I died, it was in the winter."
I set to work with the spade. The ground parts in clods and within a few feet I strike something hard and metallic. Quickly I widen the hole and find Evie’s coffin and begin to pry the top off with the tip of the spade. Inside is the skeleton of a young girl, dressed in a faded white frock, hands folded over a bible I suppose. I reach in and snap off a finger from the hand that lies on the top. Back goes the lid and the soil is replaced just as carefully.
"Evie, I want you to go over there and wait. If this works you will be pulled to this object. It won’t hurt, I promise."
I pull out the first shrine holder and place it on top of a tombstone. I kneel next to it and begin the chant of invocation. While doing I pull the katana out and lay it before me. The ritual requires two items you see; a bone from the physical body of the ghost and…blood from the priest performing the ritual. At the proper moment, as I was taught to, I draw my hand over the edge of the blade and allow the blood from the cut to flow over the finger bone from Evie. I then place the blooded bone within the yellow glow of the holder. The bone disappears as does Evie.
"Evie, can you hear me?"
From within the holder a voice comes out…"Yes, are you hurt bad? Why did you do that? I don’t want you to be hurt."
"It’s all right dear, please come out of the holder now."
Evie appears next to the holder no worse for the ritual.
"Now try to move away from the holder dear."
She starts to float away but stops after going about six feet.
"Something is stopping me. I can’t go any further."
It works…it works. Thank you my teachers at the temple.
I look up at the others…"Will you follow when a child has lead the way?"
They each stand next to their grave and nod slowly. Each time it takes longer as I get weary and from the pain from each new cut in my hands and from the blood loss. Finally, I have them all contained except for Mrs. Barry. She stands watching as I pack Gloria into the crate and reach in to pull out another holder.
"No need for that dear. You have them all."
"But what about you? I want to save everyone."
"You cannot save me dear as I was brought over by that machine. I am not buried here nor are the others who do not show themselves to you. There are no relics for you to use, no bones to cover with your own precious blood. I know my fate. I cannot avoid it nor can the others. We can only hope that the end will be swift and we would be returned to the spaces where we were so cruelly dragged from. But know this, I believe you are one of the bravest women I have ever known. Thank you for saving all those who you could."
With shaking hands I replace the holder in the crate. "What can I say? I cannot do more as I do not have the understanding. Mr. Footman is designing a device to trap and perhaps finish Mr. Slenderman but…but it may do the same to you."
"If so, then that is what will happen. Please remember I have nothing here and neither do the others. Perhaps we will all regain the eternal rest which we desire. Now you must leave with that precious cargo before he returns."
She is correct. I gather everything together and start to leave. Before I hurry around the corner I stop and look back. Mrs. Barry waves to me and then I see a few others around her, spirits that I have not seen before. Are they at peace with the situation? Are they being fatalistic? Or are they just hoping to return to the space where they found their rest? I do not know and in a way that bothers me. However choices are made many times without everyone being in on the decision. I feel the saved ones in the crate and know I did what I could and in a way that is different it comforts me. Sayounara Mrs. Barry…ki o tsukete.