« The Angle of Death | Main | Close to the Cure »


by Angela Slatter

‘Miss Millikan?’

I can barely hear the woman for the noise in the background at her end. ‘Yes?’

‘It’s Nurse Seraph at Sacred Heart. It’s your grandmother.’

I feel the cold hollow in my stomach, where a vacuum forms. ‘Has she?’

‘Not yet, but you need to come down. The others are here and there’s a bit of a problem.’

‘What sort of a problem?’

‘You’ll see.’

The hospital isn’t far. I go on foot. The automatic doors are opening and closing erratically. Ghosts move back and forth just inside. I take a deep breath and walk through them. They’re cold and my clothes feel damp.

At the desk, a large nurse is trying to calm down a crowd of old ladies. She sees me, looks relieved. ‘Miss Millikan?’

I nod.

‘Thank God. She’s responsible for this.’ She gestures at the spectres. I recognise a couple from sepia-tinted family photos. Uncle Seth looks better dead than alive.

‘She’s just a little old lady,’ I lie.

‘She’s panicking my patients!’

‘Okay, okay.’

A great line of spirits keeps exiting Vina’s room, while she lies on the bed, comatose. My cousins stand around. Tansy sidles up to me, yellow eyes sly. ‘It’s coming out.’

Petyr says, ‘The Inheritance. It’s dissipating.’

Vala, Arthur, Jezebel and Elizabeth agree.

‘Well?’ I ask. ‘I don’t want it.’

‘We all have to be here for one to take it,’ sneers Arthur.

I stare down at the woman who raised us as harshly as she could. We grew up worse than hyenas; no love, no kindness. I don’t like them any more than I like her. I tell myself I don’t want her inheritance.

‘Take it, then, one of you,’ I say.

They look at each other, then Petyr reaches and my arm, seemingly of its own accord, shoots out and beats him. I clamp thumb and forefinger around her nostrils, and cup the other hand across her mouth and hold down tight.

She doesn’t struggle much. The silver wisps rise from her body slowly, then coalesce into a great silver arrow that shoots into my stomach and knocks me across the room. I cough silver smoke as I sit up.

All the ghosts troop back into the room and politely wait for me to stand. When I do, each steps into me and settles inside the repository of my body. I am the new well of souls.


so informative, thanks to tell us.

Posted by: rorUnsado | September 30, 2010 2:41 AM

Post a comment