Logs:TSO-NOLA - Zombies, Klingons and Snow White
TSO-NOLA - Zombies, Klingons and Snow White
|Characters:||Eerie, Mingzhu as ST|
|Summary:||Eerie goes to summon a ghost, with help from their zombies. Conversation is had.|
It is a dark, dark night. The crescent moon is barely visible behind dark clouds that scuffle across the sky, blotting out not only that but also the stars. A light rain falls intermittently, such that when Eerie arrives at the Lake Lawn Park cemetary in Metairie, the smell of dust and old things has been tamped down, replaced with damp and soil.
As with most cemeteries in New Orleans, this one tends towards shallow, raised graves with stone tops, but fortunately for tonight's errand, Tetty Jones' family opted for one of the cheaper burials on the higher ground, so there is no stone lid to contend with. A simple, classic-cut headstone reads 'Tetty Jones, 20th April 1984-19th May 2020. Daughter, sister, lover, friend.'
Cemetaries aren't the kind of places with massively complex security. Typically, the most trouble Eerie usually gets is a groundskeeper or a security guard trying to run them off - and usually, not even that. So they've become pretty blase about this whole graverobbing thing over time, used to it going as planned and being able to render groundskeepers and security unconscious with relative ease. The trio of Eerie, Simon, and Zi have two shovels and a tarp between them. Eerie tosses the thick, heavy cloth tarp over the fence around the graveyard before the Simon vaults over only to reach back and offer the necromancer a hand up while Zi gives them a boost over. You don't have to be athletic if the zombies pretty much carry you. They leave the tarp over the top of the fence as they set out to find the grave of one Tetty Jones: Daughter, sister, lover, friend.
A nod toward the fresh grave is all it takes to set the zombies to digging. It's not the first rodeo for any of them.
This isn't one of the higher profile cemeteries - there's a security guard, sure, but he's asleep in the front office, snoring away instead of watching the screens from the few cameras. Eerie and their zombies are left undisturbed to dig, finally there's a *thunk* as shovel meets coffin-lid. The lid has already broken in a few places thanks to the weight of the soil, and so reaching in to lucky-dip a body part is, if one has the reach or the zombies to do so, easy.
This is the sort of thing zombies are good for, but Eerie drops down into the open grave as the other two crawl out, anyway. They reach into their pocket and pull out a multitool and its serrated saw-blade attachment, then open the lid of the coffin. Eerie plans on taking a finger off the corpse - just doing the ceremony with the coffin open would probably work, but a finger in the pocket is worth two in the box, in case the ghost needs to be summoned again. This is about to get gross.
A sample of hair is acquired without too much trouble - as it turns out, fingers are _tough_, but snipping off the end of a braid is simple with the scissor attachment. And so, a little grubby and muddy, Eerie finds themself in possession of a body part.
Damned fingers. Nobody ever wants to let go of them. The Constable closes the lid, then reaches up for a hand out from Simon. "Okay, fill it back in," they instruct, and move around to settle down onto the ground. The Constable pulls out their Portable Necromancy Kit. The one that it won't get you in super goddamn trouble for if you get arrested with it. They lay out a cloth, about a foot on each side, square, covered in occult symbols the Constable has cobbled together from the necromantic traditions of a half-dozen cultures. Each corner is weighed down with a clay tablet into which have been pressed cuneiform ritual incantations. In the center goes the end of the braid, and the final ingredient is a bleached skull of a small dog, painted cuneiform covering its entire surface. The necromancer begins to recite the familiar words of the ritual to call up the ghost, punctuating each line with raising the skull and giving it a long, disturbing -lick-.
Sumerian necromantic rituals were weird. Necromancy has never not been weird and gross.
<OOC> Mingzhu says, "So for context."
<OOC> Mingzhu says, "This is what Tetty looked like when she was alive: https://ibb.co/XSnDZyd"
Weird and gross covers just about everything that happens to the dead. Being summoned is no exception. There's a complaining sort of noise from just over that symbol-adorned cloth, and a moment later a slightly accusatory disembodied voice asks, in New Orleans accented English, "Dude. Did you just /lick/ that?"
Then there's an abrupt gathering of energy, a _very_ cold chill in the immediate 5-6 foot radius, and a tall dead woman appears, standing on the cloth, one foot on either side of the skull. She looks much as she did in life - except for her attire.
She appears to be wearing some kind of layered armour, black and silver in hue, with a broad striped chest piece, long vertical strips forming a bodice and skirt - and of course because this is sci-fi inspired, leaving a boob window. For those who have seen it on TV, yes, she is wearing Klingon armor, much as one might have seen Lursa or B'Etor of the House of Duras wearing. "That is _sick_."
Even when you -know- a ghost is about to manifest, it still doesn't make it easy when it happens. Doesn't make it safe, doesn't make it not scary as fuck, even if one of your closest friends is technically a ghost. So when Eerie pushes themself up to their feet, it's braced to see some kind of horrorshow.
Instead, Eerie gets House of Duras armor. With boob window.
It takes a moment for them to recover from that, and to reply: "Don't knock it. It got you here. Good evening, Tetty Jones. I have some questions for you, if that's all right."
Questions, plural, if it's all right. Question, singular, if it isn't.
Resting her hands on her hips, Tetty stands a good 3-4 inches taller than Eerie, and she peers down at the baby necromancer with a slight pursing of the lips. "Well, I suppose I don't got anything better to do," she decides, slightly begrudgingly. "You didn't happen to bring the latest edition of Asimov's Science Fiction, did you?" she then asks, hopefully. "I want to see if Gerry put in the poem about Cassini."
"I did not, but if everything goes well, I can make sure to check for you." Future bribery! "I actually have quite a few things I can offer you, if you want to make our relationship mutually beneficial." Eerie pushes their hands into their pockets, looking up at the towering quasi-Klingon. "The first question - the one I'm afraid you can't -help- but answer, due to the ritual I've used to summon you, is: What do you remember about the events that lead up to your death, Tetty?"
Here's the part where we find out how coherent Ms. Jones is about this whole being-a-ghost thing.
As it turns out, Tetty is quite compos mentis. Perhaps being fairly smart in life and sanguine about her death has a part to play. Maybe it's that she already believed in ghosts and all sorts of other fantasy things. It could just be luck, but whatever it is, something is on Eerie side.
"Some. Not much. It all got a bit blurry," she acknowledges, turning to look at her grave, then stepping back and sitting on the headstone. She might as well be comfortable, even if she can't really feel a thing. It's a mental comfort as much as anything else.
"I was leaving work, running a bit late. Got on the Loyola heading back to the French Quarter, and I got chatting to a woman sat opposite - you know, as you do." Well, as she does, anyway. Or, did. "She was really nice, real interested in my job and my hobbies. She got off at the same stop so we walked together a bit." She trails off there, thinking hard, trying to piece together the next bits.
"I'd like you to think hard, if you can, Tetty. I know it can be hard to think about this sort of thing. But you're not the only one who's died this way. There's...maybe dozens, by now? A lot. A whole lot of dead folks, and I think you're probably our best bet to find out who or what did it." You can't hug a ghost. You can't pat them on the arm, or offer them a tissue. "Can you tell me what this person looked like?"
"I invited her in for coffee, we talked a bit more. Then I started to feel real sleepy, so I saw her out - I think? - and went for a nap." Tetty shakes her head slightly. "That's all I can remember. I ain't even sure if that's right, either." She props her elbow on her knee, chin in palm, face scrunched up a bit as she tries to recall more, but nothing else comes.
"Honestly? Kinda 'Snow White'. You know, black hair, pale skin, lips red as the rose, all that. Dressed tidy, a nice dress - bit old-fashioned but that's coming back in now, I guess," she offers as to what the woman looked like. "Had a French accent. Proper French, not Cajun."
"During the conversation, did she give you a name? It probably would have been false but we might still be able to use it. Did you wake up, after that, before the end? Or is going to sleep the last thing you remember before being a ghost?" The necromancer works their jaw, thinking about what else to ask, and chews on their lower lip.
"Is it possible to remember a dream you never woke up from?" The ghost sounds thoughtful, philosophical almost. "I dreamed of being.. I dunno. You ever smoke weed, dude? You know that feeling of being like.. in communion with the universe? Knowing everything is just _right there_? Maybe that's like, the dying process, or something." She shrugs it off. "I don't remember anything else after going to sleep, except maybe that." She shakes her head to the question about a name. "No, sorry."
"It's all right, Tetty. Don't apologize. Are there any places you feel...connected to? Places you could -go to-, and exist there, right now? We call them fetters. Sometimes someone is tied to the place where they died. Sometimes they're even tied to the person who killed them. Have you found yourself in a place like that? Or with a person like that?"
"I've been home. I've been to work. I've been to my brothers' place - he's got my collection of Pop Vinyl models," Tetty replies, seeming to understand the question. "I haven't felt anything else, until you pulled me here." She frowns a bit at that. "Kinda rude, by the way." Sitting back, she runs her fingers through her wavy hair, and picks an imaginary speck of dirt from her armour.
"I assure you, I'm one of the most polite necromancers you're likely to meet in your career as a dead person. I don't do hardly -any- grandiose verbalizing and I've not yet threatened you with eternal servitude or destruction. I'm trying to solve your murder, here, so a little grave robbery and ghost-whistling can probably be forgiven, yeah?" Eerie reaches up with both hands and run them through their hair, thinking. "Public transit, though. Was that a bus or a streetcar, Tetty? Maybe we can compare public transit routes to where bodies have been found, or see if all the dead folks took public transit."
"Hmn? Oh, the Loyola-UPT Streetcar, from Tulane to Decatur," Tetty fills in, remembering her daily routine at least. "Yeah, I guess I'm grateful. Did you say she's killed a lot of people?" she then wonders, showing an interest at last in what might be going on in connection with her murder. "How did I actually die, anyway?"
"You were...decapitated, and then drained of all your blood. And yes, there have been quite a few murders like this. Several a week. For at least a few weeks. And they seem to be continuing apace. If we can put other people on public transit, though, that would explain why I never find anything on stakeouts around town, no matter how many eyes I put out there. And would give us a way to--" Eerie pauses. "Hey, Tetty. Did she ask you where you were born?"
The ghost makes a face at that description. "Gross," she mutters, then shakes her head. "No, I don't th-.. huh. No, she did ask me how long I'd lived in New Orleans, and I said all my life," she corrects herself a moment later. Frowning, she seems to be trying to recall something, dredging back to before her death, before her sleep.. "Oh! She was wearing perfume. A nice, sort of floral perfume."
"Sort of floral? Do you know what kind of flower it was? Any kind of detail is a good detail." They -asked-. That means they're not somehow psychically honing in on natives, maybe. The tea means maybe Tetty was drugged. This adds up to mortals. Cultists, probably. And not cultists with many or even any special powers.
There's a shake of the head, and Tetty replies, "No, sorry. I don't really know flowers. It was real feminine, though. Made me think of my mawmaw's soap she used to use." That's all she can offer with regards to the perfume, it seems.
"All right, Tetty. If I think of something else you can help with, I'll call you again. But I hope you rest, and rest well. You're not bound here, you can leave whenever you like. Thank you for answering my questions. I promise I'll think of you and remember your name from time to time." Which, of course, isn't nearly so 'thoughts and prayers' when you're talking to a ghost, who is kept 'alive', so to speak, and supernaturally fueled, by being remembered by the living. "Is there anything else you want to tell me? Any messages I can pass on to anyone you think won't be so upset they shoot at a medium?"
"If you can bring that copy of Asimov's Science Fiction around sometime, maybe just leave it on my grave with the poetry page open?" Tetty requests, looking hopeful once more. "Umn. Yeah, actually. Tell Gerry Douglas at the Asimov office that he can have the rest of my Oreos. The code for my drawer is 3-5-9."
"I'll do both, Ms. Jones. Thank you for your help." Eerie looks over to see how the zombies are doing, getting the grave filled in. It's much faster to fill a hole in than to dig it. "Gerry Douglas, Asimov office, oreos, drawer code three-five-nine. Asimov Scifi magazine." Gerry will be getting an anonymous text from a burner phone about the oreos, and it may be a zombie who brings the magazine by. But these will get done. "It was nice to meet you."