|Via WikiCommons. Taken by Elia Biraschi. CC Agreement.|
Note: This is part three in a series. The first two parts are here:
The Work (Part I)
The Work (Part II)
The Work (Part I)
The Work (Part II)
The Old City was quiet this time of the evening. The streets were vast and empty, cast in sepia-toned shadows by the street lamps.
It was really rather perfect, Eva thought, for someone traveling with an animated, amnesiac corpse. She pulled her car into an empty spot next to the sidewalk and turned off the ignition just as Michael—she really had to stop referring to him as the dead guy—twisted in his seat, seat belt making his scrub top gape and show off the autopsy scar.
“You're sure of this guy,” he said, voice still sounding like he'd done a shot of broken glass.
Eva nodded. “He's good at what he does. With your memories all….” Eva flapped her hand side to side. “He'll be able to see what I can't.” Casting one more look around and seeing no one, she slid out of the car, gestured for Michael to follow.
Jasper Becque lived on the top floor of Palisade Lofts. It was a perilous climb with Michael's less than coordinated limbs, but Eva didn't trust the rickety old elevator not to trap them between floors. (The last thing she needed was to be trapped in a small metal box with a who- knew-how-long-it-had-been-dead dead body. Never mind that it was currently animated, it was still decaying and would soon start to stink. She was already going to have to Febreeze her car, despite driving with the windows down.)
Jasper's door was open when they reached it, the man himself leaning against the frame in short sleeves and jeans, his feet bare. He hadn't changed, had the same easy way of holding himself, the same generous smiling mouth and the strangest eyes she'd ever seen on a person: one, the green of a new spring leaf and the other a deep, warm sard.
“Sight for sore eyes, sweetheart.” He raised one long arm, pulled her into a half hug. “Ain't seen you in a year and here you show up with vivens mortua in tow.”
“I know,” she said. “I'm sorry. We need your help. Because this is something more than just vivens mortua.”
“I had figured.” He turned his eyes to Michael, who stood several feet back, seemingly trying (and failing) to blend with the wall. “You, your memory's lost. Gone patchy?”
“I only get flashes,” Michael whispered.
Jasper nodded as if he'd confirmed something and gestured them inside with a sweep of his arm. “Come on. I'll tell you your memories in no time. And maybe a little more.”
From anyone else, it would've sounded conceited, but from Jasper it was simply a statement of fact.
Eva took a seat in the recliner as Jasper pushed Michael onto the couch, dropped easily onto the coffee table across from it.
“Whatever flashes you remember,” Jasper said, “focus on those. It'll help."
Michael nodded, a roil of silver smoke curling around his head.
Jasper leaned forward, placed his hands on either side of Michael's head, fingertips pressing into the dead man's temples.
If this were a television show, Eva thought, they would be in for something dramatic right about now. Jasper's already strange eyes rolling back in his head until you could see nothing but the whites, a strange glow revealing their mental connection, Michael crying out in pain as his memories, his spirit, was plundered.
There would be something more than these two men—granted one of them was dead, and the other one of the more powerful clairvoyants she'd met—sitting in silence, staring at one another.
It was a few minutes more before Jasper blinked, drew back. “Shit.”
“What is it?” Eva said.
“Well, you were right,” Jasper said, glancing at her. “It's big.” He turned back to Michael. “You, my friend, are wearing the body of a convicted murderer.”
Read Part IV
It only took me months to write the next part to this. The blame falls squarely on grad school. It's hard to get back into the fiction groove when you're writing educational and technical material. It's a different mindset. I just happened to have a moment in between writing proposals and design plans, so I went for it. Gotta keep the muscles in shape.
This is for the (week of Feb 23) Studio30Plus prompt "conceit" and the Light and Shade Challenge for February 25 (the picture at the top of the post).
It may be a few more months until I see you again. (Thank you for sticking around.)