Another prompt from the Monkey.
I don’t like loose ends. Magic is by nature untidy – a fraying at the edges of knowing – but no magicians like loose ends. The past has a way of catching up with the present and if one is a magician it sometimes gallops or sneaks up to deliver new wounds and rip open old ones when least expected. But it is the nature of people to forget, to foreswear pain, to cease probing a wound that will not heal.
Two nights of nightmare shadows wreathed in dire dissolved me of that notion. On the third night I walked through the grey lands to my father’s grave. The land of the ghosts is all grey hauntings and things forgot: people, dreams, memories. Sometimes places haunt themselves in recursive echoes, other times they simply are.
No magician has ever become a ghost, but it is faster to travel throug this place than by other means, and any place of death is an easy exit. One does not travel lightly or without protection. There are wards and powers one can invoke. I am a magician, and I was in a really foul moon. That sufficed as well.
His grave was a simply marker in a wall, the body cremated into ash as though I had not burned it enough when I killed him. I had reasons and most of them were good, and at the end of the day the world had one less monster in it. There is no ghost of my father, no spirit, no traces of the sacrifice-driven magic he used.
But there are his victims. I can feel them, cold and hot winds blowing about the air, voice crying out at the edges of hearing. His death was not enough. For ghosts, no vengeance is ever enough: their death distills their life to one moment, to one emotion, played back until it consumes them. Most ghosts are harmless and the world can count itself very lucky that this is so.
This many ghosts with one aim could be dangerous if they joined together, became something more. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets and call up heat to warm me. “He is dead,” I say, and power lends certainty to my voice, carries it into places where even the dead can’t help but here. “You do not belong here.”
Some claim that in the beginning there was light. Before that there was darkness, which was also spoken. And before that, Words were spoken to clear emptiness so that the universe could exist at all. I speak a Word of cleansing that wipes every ghost from the cemetery entirely and probably most in the city as well. There will be nightmares of voice and an a feeling of watching emptiness will press in on light sleepers. I will pay prices for this in time. I don’t give a shit.