My dreams featured images of a head that had collided with a concrete step at speed. I kept waking up covered in sweat. When I climbed from my bed I was groggy and out of sorts.
Guilt and fear, I thought. It’s getting to me. Will I feel like this for the rest of my life? If so, how will I cope?
I took a shower and put on my Goth makeup, trying to make myself look like I had a long-term illness.
Then I went to the kitchen to make a coffee. Vic was there with the television blaring on the worktop. A middle-aged woman on the screen was speaking directly to camera. He was watching her intently. As I poured my coffee, I listened to what she was saying, curious to know what had sparked his interest.
Her words made me shudder:
“David was my only child,” she was saying. “I can’t describe how I feel about what’s happened to him. It’s as if my heart has been ripped out. I’ll never get over it.
Do you know what a parent’s worst nightmare is? It’s losing a child. I only wish it was me and not my son who’d been killed.
He was the only family I had. Our bond was special. I thought nothing could separate us.
But now he’s been taken from me.
I’ll never come to terms with that.”
She paused to dab her eyes with a handkerchief then forced herself to carry on.
“Someone out there must know something about my David’s death. I ask anyone who has information to come forward and give it to the police. I plead with everyone watching this to think about whether there is anything you know that could help. Even if it’s a tiny detail, and you don’t think it’ll be of any use, please come forward. Let the police be the judges of whether what you know will assist them.
I need to know who killed my son. I need to see the person who did this. She should be put on trial. . It won’t bring back my son, but it might give me some closure. I need to know why he died. I need to know why I’ll never see him again.”
She burst into tears as the camera pulled away. A male presenter said the police were looking for a young woman in connection with the death of David Carrion. A photo of me appeared on the screen and he asked if anyone knew the woman in the photo, as she could help the police with their enquiries.
Vic shook his head.
“Bad business, that,” he said, looking me in the eye with an oddly penetrating gaze.
I felt myself redden under my layer of white makeup.
“Terrible,” I mumbled, fleeing from the kitchen with my coffee.
When I reached the sanctuary of my room, sunlight was streaming in through the window.
That made it easy to believe I’d gone crazy during the night when I’d heard Dave Carrion’s voice. I was tempted for a moment to put the experience down to an over-active imagination. Then I remembered how vivid it’d been, and the dread I’d felt, and I began to believe the ghost might really exist.
So I was motivated to settle down in an armchair with my new book and read the chapter on exorcism. What it said quickly dashed my hopes. The procedure had a couple of snags.
It’d only work if it was performed by a Man of the Cloth. That was an inconvenience, but I could probably have overcome it. Somehow I could’ve found a man of the cloth to perform the exorcism for me.
What really put the mockers on it was that it wouldn’t work if the person who needed it doing had brought the haunting on herself by her own actions. That is, if the person needing the exorcism had killed the individual whose ghost was haunting her.
I began to feel foolish. I’d wasted fifty pounds on a book that couldn’t help me.
However, I had nothing better to do than read it, and I had a few hours to kill, so I thought I might as well peruse the rest of it.
One chapter in particular attracted my attention I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before.
It was called: “How to raise the dead”.
When I saw those words, I came up with an insane idea.
What if I were to raise Dave Carrion from the dead? Resurrect him, so that he was living and breathing, and walking around again?
If I did that, he wouldn’t be able to haunt me anymore – because he’d no longer be a ghost!
And that would be the very least of the benefits I’d get.
The police were looking for me because I was a murderer. If Dave Carrion turned up alive, it’d put an end to their investigation right away. How can there be a murderer when the victim isn’t dead? It doesn’t make sense. So they’d have to close their file. I’d no longer be a wanted woman.
I could come out of hiding, live a normal life again.
I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about being a murderer any more. I’d have a clear conscience, and could look myself in the eye without feeling bad about the things I’d done.
Then there was Carrion’s mother. She was in bits. She’d said she’d never recover from the loss of her son.
What if she was to be reunited with him? She’d jump for joy. Their reunion might be broadcast on the national news. In fact, it’d definitely be broadcast on the national news. It’d be the scoop of the year, possibly the millennium.
“A young man who was pronounced dead over two days ago has shocked the medical community and scientists the world over by his miraculous recovery from the state of total lifelessness.
His mother is contemplating legal action against the National Health Service for their handling of the matter. She says it was neglectful of the Doctor who attended on her dead son to pronounce him dead just because his bodily functions had completely ceased. She is also looking to bring an action against the undertakers responsible for the burial of her son. Three leading London firms of solicitors have offered their services on a no-win no-fee basis to help Mrs. Carrion with both cases.”
It was all nonsense, of course. But it entertained me, at least for a while, to imagine something like that happening.
Anyway, I turned to the chapter on raising the dead, and read it with a healthy scepticism.
According to the Encyclopaedia, it was none too difficult.
It required a magical device in the form of a cross known as the Ankh, which symbolized eternal life. The Ankh was like a Christian cross but with a circle at the top. It needed to be placed in a Shen, or loop of rope, symbolizing eternity. When these were in place, the person casting the spell had to say a few sentences in a long-forgotten tongue. The mystical sentences were written out in Hieroglyphics, but that wouldn’t be an obstacle. My reprint of the book contained notes by a modern-day scholar who had helpfully written out the Hieroglyphic text phonetically, so I didn’t have to know what I was saying. I just had to read out loud the phonetic version of the ancient text.
A special stone was required which was known as a ‘Harvesting Stone.’ The text helpfully gave instructions on making one.
There was a single tiny snag.
It required a huge amount of something called ‘Life Energy’. This had to be harvested from three living people.
In other words, three living people had to be sacrificed – murdered, to put it bluntly – in order to bring one dead person back to life.
If not for that requirement, I might have been half-tempted to try resurrecting Dave Carrion, just out of desperation.
But killing three people was out of the question, and even if it hadn’t been, the whole thing was nonsense on stilts. It’d been a stretch for me to believe in ghosts. Even now I doubted that what I’d experienced the other night was real. There was no way I was going to believe in magic of this order.
Nevertheless, a voice in my head started to put forward the arguments in favour of killing three people, to enable me to resurrect Dave Carrion from his deceased state.
Just supposing, the voice said, that killing three people wasn’t out of the question. What then?
You could raise Carrion from the dead, and you’d no longer have to spend the rest of your life on the run. You’d have your freedom back.
Think about it: are there any circumstances in which you could seriously consider murdering someone?
For instance, what if you were to kill a murderer or a rapist? That wouldn’t really be a murder, would it? It’d be more like a justifiable execution.
Have you considered people who are terminally ill with dementia?
Those for whom there is little life, and less hope?
Some of them are so far gone that they’ve lost the power to think, and their lives are a form of living death. Killing one wouldn’t be killing at all; you’d be liberating her. You’d be rescuing her from the misery of the half-life she’s leading, and you could have a clear conscience while you were doing it.
There would be no losers in that game. They’d get what they wanted, and you’d get what you wanted.
Think about it.
Raising Dave is © Copyright 2017 by Jack Strange. Permission to publish this story has been granted by the author.
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