Chapter Six Paper Work
There was a cold wind blowing over the memorials and graves that morning. It sighed, moaned and howled like a soul in torment. It dried the tears on the woman’s cheeks as she laid a bunch of flowers on the grave.
“Sorry I haven’t been to visit honey but it has been too hard.” Emotion caught at her throat making the sentences break into sobs. “I miss you so much. I’m trying to find out what happened to us and I need your help. I miss discussing our cases together.
I’ve found your secret cache of notes and am trying to make head or tail of it.”
She took them out of her pocket and unfolded them.
“You say here that the corruption in the precinct was greater than you though and went up to high levels especially when my parents died. You say they were murdered, but I know that, but you say it wasn’t the fire starter. If not him who? You put here that their deaths are linked to our investigations now. I’m so confused my darling.”
She shook her head.
“Where do I go now.” She paused and listened to the wind as if it was calling a name from afar. “Sean Murphy? Sean Murphy.”
She brushed some leaves off the headstone and remembered his interment.
Though the doctors didn’t want her to go she was adamant.
So dressed in her best black suit and hat she was wheeled to the front with an oxygen cylinder helping her breathe.
In ranks in their best blues were the police officers, the FBI and IRS were also represented. The black glass hearse appeared over the rise pulled by two white horses their black plumes tossing in the air as they plodded forward.
Six police officers ranging from the Captain down to a cadet carried the coffin on their shoulders into the little old chapel where it was blessed by the priest.
The new Commissionaire of Police, Benjamin Lincoln, went up to the pew and began to speak.
“Today we are here to remember Stephen Corrigan, an outstanding police detective and a loyal friend. The terrible accident on that night took from us an amazing man. The fact it happened on his honeymoon makes it even more poignant.
His new wife, Stephanie is in the front pew recovering from the injuries she suffered that night and God knows what she is feeling. But know this Stephanie he truly adored you.
If you want a fitting epitaph just look around you at the cadets who have been inspired by him.
Stephen...thank you and rest in peace.”
The pallbearers carried the coffin out and lowered it into the grave to the sound of the last post.
As Steffi was wheeled to the graves edge she saw a figure standing in the shade of a tree, a figure she knew well, Steve!
She blinked and he was gone.
In a flood of tears she dropped the white rose into the grave. Others followed suit, dropping their red roses next to hers.
Steffi shuddered a moment as the memories of that day began to fade.
“I love you so much, why did you have to leave me.” She said as tears rolled down her cheek.
“The first year is the worse, at least it was for me. But you know, life still goes on. There will come a day when you look back from your daily chores and realise you haven’t thought of them in a while.” Standing beside her was a short balding man with a creased lived in face. He was in gardening clothes with a scythe resting on his shoulder and the little Jewish hat plonked on his head. “My Gloria passed on three years ago. She’s buried just over there in the Jewish cemetery.
I often come here to talk to her. She doesn’t talk much but then again she never did. But when she did it was right on the button.”
The man gave a short sad laugh before adding with a sigh. “It will get easier I promise you. Life goes on as it must.
Look at me prattling ten to the dozen when I’ve grass to cut. So I’ll be off Mrs...?”
“Corrigan, Stephanie Corrigan.” She replied with a catch in her voice.
“Gabriel, wait for it, Silverback. My great grandfather came to America from Russia as a Silver Smith and translated our Yiddish name to Silverback mind you most people call me by my second name Jakob.”
“Nice to have met you Gab...Jakob.” She said with a slight smile.” Thank you for your kind words.”
“That is alright Mrs Corrigan. Now if you excuse me I’ve grass to cut.”
When the little man was out of ear shot Steffi turned back to Steve’s headstone. She kissed her fingertips and placed them on the marble.
“By my darling.” She said before turning away and retracing her steps back to the graveyards entrance.
She glanced up at Jakob and saw for just a moment him reaping in the souls of the newly buried.
She gave a shrug and walked away.
Above the newly dug graves were faint silver threads tying the spirits to the ground and connecting them to the sky.
Jakob’s scythe flash across the grave, close but not touching the surface. The scythe cut through the cord allowing the spirit to leave the earth and be pulled up to what ever was up beyond the sky.
“Thank you Jakob.” The Phantom Stranger remarked as they watched Steffi go.
“Is she the one?”
“Possibly but only if the mourning has stopped.”
“She’s carrying a lot of emotional baggage. I’ll need so more time with her if she is to reach, what did you call it, catharsis.” When he didn’t get an answer he looked round and realised he was on his own once more. “Talking to myself I see, well what’s new. They’ll put me away at this rate. Hello where are you thinking of sneak off too. Oh no you don’t.”
A ghostly shade of a young man floated behind a muddle of old headstones. The silver cord running back to his grave. He face was sly and full of mischief.
Acting quickly the shade dashed for Steve’s sepulchre only to be pulled up a few inches short by virtue of Jakob’s foot pressed down on the cord.
The reaper of souls reached down and slowly pulled the boy back until he hovered over his headstone once again.
“Dwaine Johnson? Oh now I remember you, you were a gang leader that was killed in a inter gang shoot out. Well best of luck.” Acting swiftly so the young man could not run for cover again he cut the cord with the scythe.
He wasn’t sailing up to heaven he was just hanging there with the silver cord above his shoulder now drooping on the floor.
A dark fetid shape pulled itself up from the ground and began to draw the cord in whilst imp like devils danced around him. The cord looked sickly as it took on a greenish yellow hue.
The lad began to scream and cry out that if God spared him that he would be good. But it was to no avail as the sickening yellow began to flow over his face and body. The skin became grey and covered in vile pustules, blisters and rotting flesh.
A black crawling mass of insects appeared from the devils hand and flowed up the boys body, over his legs and chest before pouring into his mouth and staring eyes.
As they began to feast and boy screamed in total agony. He was drawn screaming into the devils ever widening maw. The devil chewed and appeared to relish the boys ethereal flesh. He burped and drew out the skull from his mouth as an insect crawled out over his lip. He slowly sunk into the ground hold the skull aloft until the last moment and then he dropped it. When it hit the ground it shattered beyond any ones ability to repair. A rising wind blew it away.
“Just one bad one out of this lot of newbie’s, not a bad average, but I’m looking forward to the time where there isn’t any.”
“I don’t think that will be in our life time, brother-in-law.” Manny said.
“We can still hope. And what can I do to help my skinflint of a brother-in-law.” Jakob snipped back.
“I need you to check out the shop, that’s if I can drag you away from that harlot, widow Green.” Manny snorted.
“She’s dead and lonely. So I keep her company sometimes what business is it of yours?!”
“Pardon me I’m sure.”
The two men carried on their bickering all the way to the bus stop when something compelled them to look back. There in amongst the graves stood the pale figure of the Spectre. He stood at least fifteen foot tall, his skin white and dead looking. The green hooded cowl hid most of his face but they could see the image of a silver skull in each eye shinning clearly.
The two men took an involuntary step backward from the penitents stare. Images flowed through their minds, images of the others of the pact, Xanadu, Jason Blood and the Deadman.
When it spoke its voice was deep and echoed as if in a tomb.
“You seek to bind me but you never shall. I am free at last to carry out what I was meant to do. To root out the evil that lays in the heart of man. Are you ready to be judged? Are there no dark corners to your soul? Are you ready for the final act the book of Revelations.” It laughed manically as it blew away like smoke on the wind.
Jakob shook himself.
“Are you alright Jakob?” Manny asked.
“No. I feel as if someone had walked over my grave.” He shook convulsively. “To your shop then.”
“Bugger the shop. We need to get to Madam Xanadu and the others. He knows what we are going to try and do.”
“I’d have been surprised if he didn’t have an inkling.”
“That’s not the point, he now knows who is going to try and do it.”
“Come on Jakob we need to catch the bus.”
So saying the two men hurried away moaning and groaning as they went.