Through a Dark Lens:
The Funeral, pt 6.
Written by David A. Davis
Illustrated by Ram Lama
You wonder how to broach the topic. Erin seems very open-minded and spiritual, but asking her if she could see a ghost feels like a step too far, even given the circumstances. You approach her and notice she is still focused on what you think is Pavel’s ghost.
“Erin… have you noticed anything odd since… the incident?”
She turns to you, her eyes wide.
“What do you mean,” she asks.
You decide to be assertive.
“I’ve been seeing things and I know you’re more of an open mind than me… I was just wondering if you’ve seen anything as well.”
She raises an eyebrow. You’ve hit on something, but she won’t give it up so easily.
“What sort of things, Mika?”
You sigh. “Well, I’ve seen Dr. Pavel several times, almost like…” you search for the words, but you find honesty is your best option, “a ghost.”
Her pupils dilate and you notice her mouth draw tight. She peers around making sure nobody is within earshot and then nods, gesturing to the seat next to her. You sit and she leans in to talk to you in a whispered voice.
“I’ve always been sensitive to the spirit world… and yes, I’ve seen the Doctor a couple of times. When we were in the garden on the day he died… and…”
You grab her hand. You smile, “Right now, right? Near the grave?”
Tears roll down her cheeks and she nods. You feel a spattering of moisture on your face as well and wipe them away with a sleeve.
“I see him, too, Erin. I keep seeing him.”
You give her a reassuring hug and rise from the seat.
“I need you to go home and get some rest, I might need your help later.”
She looks at you, puzzled, “what with?”
“I may have found some things… but I don’t think we can discuss them here. Just keep an open mind when I call you later, alright?”
Erin nods. She gets up from her seat and makes her way toward Abigail.
You nod as she turns back. You tell her “This is just between us for now, alright?”
She gives you a tentative thumbs up.
You approach Alec, noticing how tall he really is. Despite his gloominess he seems to carry himself well. He notices you approach, but merely smiles faintly. Pavel’s ghost says nothing, but seems to be staring intently at his grandson. You make out a furrowed brow on his faint features.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, Mr. Mett. Your grandfather seemed very proud of your service. 5 years in Iraq, yes?”
He turns to you and seems as if he’s searching for words. He then simply nods and replies, “Thank you. I’m sorry, he and I weren’t close and it is odd to hear that sort of thing.”
You give a faint smile and step closer to him, making your way around Pavel’s ghost, who seems focused on Alec.
“Needless to say, any of this belongings that he has are yours. You are welcome to come by his place and sort through it all. You’re welcome to stay there as well… I’ve been staying there for a bit as I… well…”
He turns to you, you noticed now his face feels fairly colorless, which you assume is from grief. His eyes are dark, twinkling slightly in sunken pits. He doesn’t seem entirely well. “I know he entrusted you with his home and belongings, Ms. Briggs, you don’t need to worry about offending me or anything.” He lights a clove cigarette and you smell the sweetness which is almost overpowering. He continues after a long drag, “As you said, he and I weren’t close. I wish I had been able to reconnect one more time, but you probably know about his stubbornness. Turns out it’s hereditary.” He laughs, and you chuckle as well. You recall Pavel’s resistance surfacing frequently.
“I’m not feeling well, to be honest… Do you think we could meet up sometime? I’d like to take you up on staying at the house, but I have a room for a couple of days in down and I’d like some time to myself before I…” He stops for a moment and looks, quickly, at the space next to you. You turn your head to look over your shoulder and notice a man in the distance near a tree. He moves out of sight. You turn back to Alec, who seems to be glaring.
He shakes his head and takes another drag from his cigarette. “Heh, yeah, I need to get some rest. Thank you, Ms. Briggs, for being so close to my grandfather. Thanks for arranging such a nice service…”
He extends his hand and you shake it. His grip is strong and his hands are faintly warm… almost distantly so, as though the heat is quickly fading. He brushes his hand over his scalp and walks toward his motorcycle.
“See you around.”
“Feel free to call me Mika.”
“Sure thing, thank you, Mika.”
You noticed Tetsuya has an interest in Alec as he passes. He turns to you as Alec hops on the bike. He nods, and makes his way to his own car.
You feel a chill and search the area around you for Pavel’s ghost, but he is nowhere to be found. You sigh and begin to make your rounds, visiting with the various mourners.
It’s been a long day, and the sun rapidly descended 20 minutes ago, leaving the manor in darkness. You sit in your car for a moment and light a cigarette, blowing the smoke out the window. You open your purse and find your gun safe and sound within it. You finish your cigarette and toss it onto the asphalt. You grab your purse, your bag from the local burger place you stopped at on the way home, and make your hike to the caretaker’s cabin.
As you make you way around the side of the manor you notice, in the darkness, the cabin, and the limited lights outside it illuminate a dark figure standing outside it. You feel you heart leap into your throat and you take a couple steps back, dropping your bag of food and placing yourself firmly against the manor. The figure doesn’t seem to have noticed you, at least. Whoever is just outside the cabin seems to be pacing. You reach into your purse and find your gun.