15: What the Spirits Say
It was unsure what the spiritualists were exactly; at least Michael hadn’t concerned himself enough to find out. Some thought of them as just ordinary mortals, others as humans with a special connection to the supernatural; and yet others regarded them as demonic creatures who were only masquerading in physical flesh.
But regardless of what the spiritualists truly were, it remained a fact that they were a vampire’s biggest headache; even more than vampire slayers.
Thing is, spiritualism was a movement, some basing it as religious and others as purely philosophical, which somehow granted its members the ability to summon, acknowledge, and commune with the spirit of a dead person. But they also had the ability to look into the soul of a living being, which was the real problem.
Truth is, vampires had no souls; the undead children had lost them the moment they turned. That vacuum had always put the two kinds on opposite sides of the spiritualists since time immemorial. The movement saw saw the undead children as anomalies; creatures of darkness that should never have existed in the world to begin with.
The spiritualists made it their personal mission seek vampires out and point them to their enemies the slayers. Some members of the two assailing kinds had even gone as far as making special pacts within themselves to see their goal accomplished. No matter the disguise, the soullessness of a vampire could never be hidden from a spiritualist; and the latter had never once given the former rest.
In the light of the setting evening sun, Michael’s expression was that of a grimace as he stared at the lone cabin in the woods which housed the spiritualist he’d seen in Regina’s memory.
Jack Sutton. That was the spiritualist’s name as the ancient vampire had gleaned it from the eight hundred-year old nightclub owner’s mind.
To be honest, Michael hated the fact that he had to seek out a spiritualist, especially this one who had been looking into him just before the body of a mortal girl dropped dead in a manner that had people looking at his side. It was trouble and he knew it.
The ancient vampire’s irritation was really less about Jack Sutton as a person and more about him as a situation.
Thing is, West Harbour was supposed to be a new start for him, a place where he could enjoy his quiet and unremarkable retirement away from the absurdity that was the supernatural world. But that was hanging in the balance now; and all because of a pesky, overbearing, inconvenient presence who also happened to be a spiritualist.
All the friction between their two kinds aside though, Michael really did have to hand it to Jack. He was a prepared man. The spiritualist’s entire cabin was surrounded by cloves of garlic hanging from tree poles; and as if that wasn’t enough, he had even engraved runic symbols into the ground in what the ancient vampire presumed was to ward off intruders.
But as intricate as the constructions were, Michael saw them for what they really were; a fake. No magic aura was coming from any of runes, rendering them no more than scratches in the sand. Plus despite what the mortals thought, garlic didn’t actually deter vampires.
Plucking off a clove of garlic and throwing it carelessly into the bush, the ancient vampire crossed onto the porch and knocked on the door. “Jack Sutton,” he called.
It took two more tries before Jack finally responded, the spiritualist apparently nowhere near the door before. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” he said as he came to the door, “I was...”
Whatever the bald, middle-aged, African-American man was going to say died in his throat the moment he opened the door to see Michael standing determinedly on the front porch. “Oh God, no!” was all he could say before trying to lock the door once again and presumably run away.
Unfortunately, his strength was no match for the ancient vampire’s and the latter pushed against the door to send both it and him crashing to the ground.
Frantic with fear, Jack scrambled away from Michael, screaming, “You can’t enter! You’re not invited!” as he went.
Michael smiled as he put one foot through the doorway; pausing to sigh contentedly before putting the other in to the spiritualist’s surprise. “Do you really think that was going to stop me?” he asked, grinning like a wolf before a hunt. “That ridiculous restriction hasn’t worked on me since I was five hundred years old.”
Michael sauntered towards Jack with victory in his eyes but the latter wasn’t done yet. Grabbed a crossbow from underneath a rocking chair, the spiritualist turned and aimed it at Michael; shooting it right at his face.
But the ancient vampire easily flicked away the bolt and smirked. He was enjoying himself.
Jack made to reload the weapon but Michael zoomed at him, yanked the weapon out of his hands and hit him in the head with it. He slammed him against the wall and held him there by the throat.
“Please,” the spiritualist whimpered through a wheeze; he was finding it hard to breathe. “What do you want?”
“What I want is simple, spiritualist,” Michael returned and surprisingly let go of him to fall on the floor. “For you and I to talk.”
Ten minutes after Michael had arrived at the cabin and Jack was still sitting at the edge of his seat, very tensed. He kept stealing wary glances at the ancient vampire at intervals.
Michael, on the other hand, paid no attention to the spiritualist behind him, instead concentrating on the numerous objects around the house.
None of the objects held the ancient vampire's interest truly; they were all spiritualism artifacts and he barely understood it. He only took them up long enough to stare at them in distaste before dropping them carelessly back in their positions much to Jack’s chagrin.
“So, I learnt that you’ve been looking into me,” Michael said when he finally got around to facing the spiritualist. “Why?”
“Look, I want you to know that I didn’t want this any more than you do,” Jack returned, adjusting himself to get comfortable; at least as comfortable as he could be under the circumstance. “I’m a low-level spiritualist with a small consultation shop down in Chicago. Four days ago, I was in the middle of my daily mediation when these spirits suddenly appeared to me. They kept shouting your name, the Minotaur, and demanding for justice. In fact, one of them was so vocal I thought it would drive me crazy.”
That piqued the ancient vampire’s interest and he now fully concentrated on the spiritualist. “This vocal spirit of yours,” he said, “did it happen to give you a name?”
“Oh yes, it did. One she claimed you wouldn’t have been able to forget.” And Jack looked straight into Michael’s eyes for the very first time since their encounter. “Helen Patterson.”