Edward Grey is no stranger to the undead; since raising his cat as a zombie when he was a child, he and his mentor Mariel have explored and developed his power as a necromancer. Despite everything he’s learned, as a necromancer and a medical student, he’s never encountered a ghost.
While Mariel is unreachable in Haiti on mysterious business, a ghost wakes Edward in the middle of the night, claiming to be his grandfather. When the ghost offers to teach him about this different form of undeath, Edward has little choice but to trust the spirit.
After receiving a phone call from a young girl claiming her father is possessed, Edward and his Undead Canadian fiancé, Kit, must travel to an acreage in Kingston…Ontario.
The haunting proves far more complicated than Edward could ever have guessed, and he finds himself pitted against an ancient evil determined to engulf everyone on the farm.
Edward’s love and connection to Kit will be tested, and his necromancy stretched to his limits as he has to find—and destroy—a twisted spirit more powerful than anything he’s ever encountered.
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“Edward, answer the phone.” In our hurry to undress so we could ‘get Kit to sleep’, my phone had ended up on Kit’s side of the bed. He passed it to me, narrowly avoiding smacking me in the face with it. Miraculously, it was still ringing.
“’lo?” I managed.
“Is this Edward?”
It was a little girl’s voice, I thought. I didn’t know many little girls, so I made my best guess.
“Tia? It’s the middle of the night; I can’t come over to play right now. Isn’t it way past your bedtime? Go to bed. Bed is nice.” I closed my eyes, almost dropping the phone when my hand relaxed.
My neighbor two houses down has a very precocious four-year-old niece. She likes to play actual doctor with me—nothing creepy! I’ve taught her a few basic stitches for fixing her toys and dolls, though I suspect she may damage them on purpose so she can practice with me. Whoops. I also let her use my stethoscope and a few other safe, child-friendly pieces of medical equipment. I’ve heard her tell her aunt she wants to go to uncle Edward’s house, so I also suspect at least part of the reason she visits her aunt is to see me.
“Who’s Tia? This is Sarah. Mariel said that I should call you if it happened again. It happened again.” There was an expectant pause.
I don’t know anyone named Sarah, never mind a young girl. “Mariel told you to…? In case what happened again?”
“My daddy’s possessed,” she said, very calmly and matter-of-factly.
I felt goosebumps prickle along my arms at the word. I knew precisely as much about demonic possession as anyone who’d watched The Exorcist, and I had no idea what had, well…possessed…Mariel to refer this girl to me for help. “What exactly did Mariel say?”
The girl, Sarah, sighed deeply. She probably thought I was pretty slow, and at the moment I couldn’t blame her. “She said, call Edward, he’ll know what to do.” She sounded impatient, but not frightened. Maybe her father was possessed by something more benign than a demon.
Mariel had told her I could help, so I would do my best. Even though it was 3 AM and I knew nothing about possession. “What’s your daddy possessed by?” Not words I ever thought would come out of my mouth.
Mister Jenkins. That didn’t sound very frightening. “And what does Mister Jenkins do while he’s possessing your father?” Had she named the…spirit? It sounded like something a child might come up with.
“Not very much. He makes breakfast.” She lowered her voice. “Mister Jenkins is a better cook than daddy.”
Not much of a haunting, if movies were anything to go by. I envisioned a comedy, sort of like Three Men and a Baby, but with a ghost. Besides the one apparently caught on tape when they’d filmed that movie, come to think of it. “Does he…scare you?”
She laughed, high-pitched and genuine. “No, silly! I like Mister Jenkins, but Mariel says it’s bad for daddy if he stays too long.”
This was one of the strangest conversations I’d ever had, and I’ve lived with Kit for more than a year. And I’d dated Bone. It was even stranger than my recent conversation with my grandfather. “Where do you live, Sarah?” If there was a way to do an exorcism-by-telephone, I didn’t know it. Not that I knew any kind of exorcism, but hopefully I had enough time to find a solution before Mister Jenkins…burned toast or something. Maybe I could come up with something if I was physically present.
I had to go to Jamaica? If Mariel was in Haiti, she was much closer. I didn’t know why she didn’t just pop over and take care of Mister Jenkins.
Kit would love a tropical vacation—I wondered if his fair skin would tan or burn, or if his undeath made him immune? I wondered if he would be upset about it, one way or the other.
I was less than thrilled by the thought of the tropics. I don’t like heat, or the diseases that tend to accompany it.
“It’s in Ontario,” Sarah said, sounding very pleased with herself.
Oh. Kingston, Ontario. That was a relief, even if it was black fly season.
Great, now I’d have that song stuck in my head for days.
“Okay, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Can you tell me your address?” I would have to fly—driving would take several days, even if Kit and I switched and we drove continuously.
“No, but Mister Jenkins can.”
Her voice was replaced by a man’s, gentle and with a hint of a British accent. Part of his directions were, “Past Kingston Family Funworld”, which definitely sounded like a place to avoid. He apologized that he couldn’t meet me at the airport because he was bound to the house.
That was a good excuse. I wished I could use it.
My grandfather hadn’t been bound to a particular place, but he had reminded me over and over that he wasn’t a typical ghost. I wondered if most ghosts had a limited range, or if Mister Jenkins was unusual in that regard.
I told him I’d call when we landed, and he hung up.
I turned on my bedside lamp. “Kit, sweetie?” I poked him, gently.
“I have to go to Kingston.” It was a good thing I had a few weeks off from school. Hopefully I would get time to study during this trip. Study medicine, that is, not necromancy.
That got Kit’s attention. He gave a happy shriek and grabbed my hand. “Oh my God, no way! I’d love to go to Jamaica!”
“Why ew? Have you ever been there?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Then why—never mind. Do you still want to come with me?”
“Who calls you at three in the morning and tells you to go to Kingston, Ontario?”
He raised an eyebrow.
“I’m sorry! I’m still half asleep. This little girl, Sarah…Mariel told her to call me if her father got possessed again.”
“Mariel’s father? Is that why she left?”
“Possessed again? Like, this is a regular occurrence?”
“Apparently. I have to book a flight.” I hunted beneath the bed for my laptop.
Kit had found his phone and was furiously typing on it. “Oooooh, Florence and the Machine is playing there! We can totally go!”
“Sure. Of course.” I found a flight that left early the next morning—in a few hours, really—and bought our tickets. “I don’t know if it’s worth going back to sleep; I’ll make us some coffee.” Not that coffee did much for Kit, except make him ill if he drank too much. Or, for some reason, if he used non-dairy creamer. It seemed to be some sort of…zombie kryptonite. I’d like to tell you I didn’t give some to Boo to see how he’d react, but I would be lying. The results: not pretty.
“What about the cats?”
Of course, the cats couldn’t come with us. While Winston could happily stay at the pet spa while we were gone, Boo could…not, and if we had someone taking care of one cat, it made sense for Winston to just stay at home. I felt a pang at the thought of being away from Boo for any length of time. “My parents can take care of them.” They wouldn’t be pleased—they’d actually thrown a “Boo is out of the house” party when I’d moved out, but they’d also get to spend time with Winston, and that was always a treat.
“I guess I’ll start packing. For both of us.”
He was welcome to do so.
In the meantime, it was definitely time to call Mariel. I wasn’t sure what time it was in Haiti, but I could definitely use her advice. For several panicked minutes I was worried that I’d lost the piece of paper she’d written the number on, when I remembered that she’d put it directly into my phone. I let it ring, over and over, but no one answered so I eventually gave up. Well, if Sarah had been able to get ahold of Mariel, she wouldn’t have needed to call me. Though she probably didn’t have Mariel’s number in Haiti…I’d just have to deal with the situation on my own for now, and call Mariel again when I had the chance.
Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published with Torquere Press since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.
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