Edge of the Woods,
Chauncey Foster Ryder (1868-1949)
oil on canvas.
The following excerpt is a first draft scene from the St. Claire Chronicles - likely from A Malignity of Ghosts.
Lillie St. Claire ( who appears in Weirdly) -- a full-spectrum Talent and official Freak -- is hired by the municipality as a psychic exterminator. Her job is to dispatch any paranatural entities -- the Godforsaken -- who endanger or otherwise disturb the public. She is also employed by the police as a body-finder and as a contract consultant for incidents of psi-crime.
Inevitably, some segments of society protest that elimination of such "non-corporeal intelligences" is a form of genocide.
I stood at the edge of the pit and looked down.
Bodies are very bad when they are fresh and raw with blood. When I can hear the screams ripped from bone and the mouths of butchered flesh. There's a mental identification, an agony of empathy.
Bodies are very bad when they are crawling with carrion beetles and fly maggots and puffed with liquifaction. That's physical.
Bodies are also bad when they are desecrated in a grave. That's a spiritual pain. An offense to decency.
This one, partly disgorged from its coffin in a tatter of satin lining and rotting clothing, had a stake driven through the remains of its ribcage.
I watched a wet clod of yellow clay slide down the pile of excavated soil, split on a broken root, and slop sodden on the remnants of a long skirt. The stake was new and the skull was gone.
Someone had scoured away the lichen and chalked the grave marker. A name, a partial date, and a single benedictive word stood out on the face of the faded marble, above the plinth, below the celtic cross.
Lillie St. Claire...1868...aibhinn.
The frisson that chilled the nape of my neck had nothing to do with the drip of rain water from the massive oak above.
Groaner Q & A:
The last one.
Q: Why don't blind people like to sky dive?
A: Because it scares the dog.