Chapter 1: Now Hiring!
'Lockwood & Co. is a well respected psychic investigation agency. Looking for applicants under 15, preferably female. Two spots are open. Mail applications to 35 Portland Row.'
'A. J. LOCKWOOD & CO., INVESTIGATORS
AFTER DARK, RING THE BELL AND WAIT BEHIND THE IRON LINE'
"Hello." A short, but stout boy had opened the door. "Are you here for the job?"
"Yes." He pointed to a chair.
"I think Lockwood's almost done." I sat in the chair. A few seconds later, a girl ran out of the room. The boy motioned at the now open door. I stood up and entered the room. It looked like a sitting room, and a tall, slim boy was sitting on a couch, and next to him a girl was drawing something. The boy noticed me, and smiled.
"Hello, I'm Lockwood. This is Lucy Carlyle," he said, standing up. "And you are?"
"Uh. Marina Starfield." Lockwood invited me to sit down and I sat across from him and Lucy, a table in between us.
"Welcome, Ms. Starfield. So, your main talent is Touch?" I nodded. "All right. Will you tell us what psychic impressions you get from these objects."
In front of me was a cup, a brush, and a letter opener. I decided to start with the cup. I have extraordinary Touch, and I can sense weak emotions from an object or Source without touching it. In return, my Hearing and Sight aren't very good. As my hand neared the cup, I felt nothing. I picked the cup up, held it close to my face, far from my face. I felt nothing from the cup. After about five minutes, I gave up.
"I'm sorry, I don't sense anything from the cup." Lockwood locked at Lucy, and they both smiled.
"Good." Lockwood said. "That cup is not remarkably psychic in any way. It's the cup George puts his toothbrush in." I sighed in relief. All right. Onto the brush. The waves coming from the brush were happy, and as I picked it up, the feeling intensified. I was happy, laughing. Then a crushing fear. I gasped, and dropped the brush.
"Are you all right?" Lucy exclaimed. I nodded slowly.
"I'm very sensitive to psychic impressions, which can be good, but also bad. I sensed happy, then a strong sense of overwhelming fear." Lockwood nodded.
"The letter opener?" He prompted. Just looking at it, I could feel it. The air around the letter opener was thick with a suffocating anger. I steeled myself and picked it up. Anger. An intense anger, one of someone who has lost something irreplaceable. Or someone... I placed the letter opener down, my fingers shook slightly.
"Anger. Someone lost someone dear, and to cope, they are angry at the whole world. With an impression that strong, I'd say the owner was still alive." Lucy nodded, and Lockwood smiled.
"Very good, Ms. Starfield. You're hired."
Chapter 2: New Job
I entered 35 Portland Row, fully ready to leave in five minutes. I hate interviews. I was greeted by a pudgy boy, who motioned towards a door. I opened the door to reveal a sitting room, where one boy and two girls sat on a couch. The boy stood up. He was easily a full head taller than me.
"Hello. I'm Lockwood, and these are my associates, Lucy Carlyle and Marina Starfield." I was unused to such formal introductions. Marina waved, and Lucy smiled.
"Anastasia Freld." I replied, in a voice that hopefully said 'I'm a nice person' and not 'I hate everyone'. I don't hate everyone, in case you were wondering. I just sound like it sometime.
"Welcome. Please sit down." I sat in an armchair across from the couch where Lockwood and his friends were seated. "So, your psychic ability here says Touch." I shifted in my seat.
"That may not be entirely true.." Lockwood tilted his head to one side. Marina raised an eyebrow, and Lucy just looked at me. "You have to promise not to laugh."
"Why would we laugh?" Lockwood questioned.
"Well, it's kinda.. Scent." I looked down. I'm generally a don't take anything from anyone sort of person, but my ability is weird, and I don't like it.
"What do you mean?" Lucy asked. I sighed. Explanation time.
"It my sound stupid, but I'm like a psychic bloodhound. I can detect psychic trails and sources by following the sort of Scent that the leave behind. I can always tell if an object is psychic, though not like Touch. I can't detect more than that. I have pretty good Sight, and okayish Hearing." I looked up. Lockwood looked thoughtful. Well, he hadn't looked anything but thoughtful since I arrived, but he looked more thoughtful than usual.
"Are any of these objects psychic?" Lockwood monitored to the table in front of him, where three objects lay. A cup, a brush, and a letter opener. I immediately felt the tingling of psychic Scent. I took a deep breath in throughout my nose.
The cup was not psychic, but the brush was, as was the letter opener. "The cup is not psychic. The letter opener is, and it's owner is alive. Strong psychic presence. The brush also has psychic impressions. It's owner is dead, and was a ghost, but no longer." Lockwood looked at Lucy and Marina, before turning back to me and smiling.
"You've got the job."
Chapter 3: Their First Case
The other girl, Anastasia, was rather rude. I don't think she meant it, but she came off as rude. The next day, Lucy took down all the 'Now Hiring' signs around town. I shared a room with Anastasia. The room wasn't very big, two beds, each with a small bedside table and lamp. One dresser, one bookcase. I put my suitcase that housed all my belongs at the foot of my bed. I decided to get organized. I selected a shelf to put my books on, and put my hairbrush and other accessories on half of the dresser, and my clothes in one drawer. I heard Anastasia climbing up the steps, and then the door creaked open.
"Oh, hey." I had just finished folding the last of my shirts, and was putting it in my drawer when Anastasia entered the room. I closed the drawer and turned around to greet her.
"Hi, Anastasia." I walked over to my bed, closing my suitcase and sliding it under my bed. I could hear Anastasia opening her suitcase behind me. I stood up, facing her. "I'm excited to be working with you." She looked up, a mildly surprised look on her face. I had a feeling she'd had this rude exterior for a long time, and it probably hadn't helped her make any friends.
"Uh, yeah. Cool." She could use some work in the social graces department, I decided. Other than that, she seemed all right, despite her rude mannerism. I left Anastasia to get comfy, unpack, and settle into our new room venturing downstairs. The house was big, and I wandered through several rooms before a voice sounded from behind me. I turned.
"Ah, Ms. Starfield!" Lockwood came around a corner and strode toward me. "I trust you find your living arrangements satisfactory?"
"Yes, thank you, Mr. Lockwood." I nodded.
"Ah, Lockwood will be fine." He replied.
"Marina will be fine." I responded with a smile.
Lockwood bowed his head. "Of course." Someone yelled from the kitchen. "Ah, that'll be George. Dinner's ready!" Anastasia was by my side faster than I could blink, startling me.
"Food?" She raced into the kitchen. Lucy trailed in behind her, Lockwood by her side. I came in last. Dinner was uneventful. That is until there was a loud knocking at the door. Lockwood jumped up and Lucy followed him to the door. George grunted, still eating, but Anastasia and I peeked around the doorway, looking for our mysterious guest. No sounds of conversation were coming from the entryway. I looked at Anastasia, but then I heard Lockwood's voice.
"Well." There was no person at the door, just a thick envelope with 'Lockwood & Co.' on it. We looked on as Lockwood opened the envelope. "It appears we have a new case."
Chapter 4: The Haunting
"Well?" I couldn't stand the silence. No one had spoken since Lockwood had announced our new case. Marina glanced at me, before looking back at Lockwood. Lucy looked mildly accusatory. George grunted.
"Someone anonymous says that the house at 367 Marshall Street is haunted by one Type Two murder victim. We are to arrive there at 4:00 pm tomorrow, where a sum of money will be hidden under the first stair up to the porch." Lockwood put the paper back in the envelope. George went back to eating. Lucy and Lockwood left to review the case, and it was just Marina and me.
"What do you think about this case?" I was surprised. People didn't usually invite me to talk to them.
"Well, anyone who won't tell you who they are is guilty of something." Marina looked thoughtful.
"I suppose that's true." She looked at me curiously, then left to go to our room. I finished my dinner, then left George to his fourths. I hadn't really explored the house yet. There was a kitchen, a sitting room, a parlor, even a mini library. I made a note to spend most of my time here. The basement had three desks, that where in the middle of being rearranged for us. From what I could tell, Lucy and Lockwood would share a desk, as would Marina and I.
There were two dummies and a bunch of rapiers in the next room, and I pulled out my rapier and did some practice. Suddenly a Scent overwhelmed me. I turned around, pinpointing the Scent. I followed it to The Door. It was one of the first things Lockwood told me. Never go into that door. I almost opened it. My hand was on the doorknob when the Scent faded. I shook my head to clear it.
I decided the only place to go was back to my room, as it was getting late. Marina was reading an old, worn book. She looked up when I entered. Since she had been so nice to rude, person repelling me, I decided to take a stab at being a nice person. "What are you reading?" Isn't that what friends do? Find out more about each other.
"Oh, my journal. I've kept all records of my encounters with ghosts in here." She showed me a page. Marina had beautiful, neat handwriting. There was even a detailed drawing of a ghost.
"That's really neat." I said, earnestly.
She smiled at me. "Thank you." Man. She was so... formal. Like Lockwood. I shrugged off the formalities, and crashed on my bed. Marina turned of her light so I could sleep, and turned on a flashlight. I soon fell asleep, after changing into pajamas and saying good night to Marina. She's not actually that bad, I thought, as I drifted of to sleep. I don't know what I dreamed, but I know it was bad.
Chapter 5: The Case on Marshall
I awoke to the smell of bacon and the sound of sizzling. I glanced over. Anastasia was still asleep, so I dressed quietly. She would waken soon; she seemed to rather enjoy food.
"Morning, Marina!" Lockwood greeted me at the bottom of the stairs.
"Morning, Lockwood." A bright smile lit hit face. He was pleased. "What's the good news?" I asked.
"Oh, just the first case in a while. And the first case with our new team!" His good mood was infectious, I smiled. I followed Lockwood to the dining room were George was making bacon and eggs. I sat down next to Lucy, who was already seated. I was right about Anastasia, who came down just as George was setting the table. She looked sleepy still, her hair and clothes were disheveled, and she had sleep in her eyes.
"What's up.." she said, blearily, plopping in the seat across from me. Her eyes seemed to brighten as George set a plate of bacon and eggs in front of her, which she immediately began to devour. The rest of us ate out meal slower. Lockwood reviewed the case and our plan.
"We're going to be ready by 4:00 pm. George has already done some research, but he's going to get more in. We're all going, to 'test drive' out new team. We'll take our gear, ready for a Type Two, and then go from there!" Lockwood seemed incredibly happy.
"Weh unmdesabd!" Anastasia assured, her mouth full of food. A ghost of a shocked expression crossed Lockwood's face. I knew the feeling. Anastasia had clearly not been brought up in a house that taught her manners.
"Well, you can't review the plan to many times." Lucy reminded. Anastasia shrugged, finishing the last of her meal.
"Well, I'm off to practice." Anastasia said, before going downstairs. I bid the rest of our team good morning, and went to my room. I started shuffling through my belongings. I hadn't brought much, just some clothes and the odd and end. Oh, and of course my ghost-hunting equipment. I flipped through the pages of my notebook. All my cases went here. All I had every observed and learned about Visitors. It was all in here. All the Sources I had found. Every odd thing that had happened while I was on a case.
"No! You can't use a person for rapier practice! Unless you both agree and are practicing something non-dangerous, like parries!" Lockwood's angry shout floated up to the top floor. I hurried downstairs. Anastasia had her arms crossed, and George looked annoyed, as did Lockwood.
"Fine." Anastasia stabbed one of the hanging dummies. Lockwood shook his head, before sitting next to Lucy at their desk. George huffed, and then announced that he was going to the library. The tension was thick. I left Portland Row, to wander around. We still had plenty of time before our case.
Chapter 6: Anastasia Explores
Marina was gone. After the whole 'Only use the dummies for practice' thing, I wasn't in the mood. I found myself in the mini library I had found on my previous exploration of the house. There were several bookshelves, all crammed with books. Most of them were fiction, with a few on ghosts, and a couple reference.
"I'm going out!" I called, to no one in particular. If Marina could leave the house at will, surely I was allowed to wander. Though, I do think Lockwood liked Marina better. Not that I blamed him. I knew I wasn't a great conversationalist. Or friend in general. No one stopped me, so I left Portland Row.
I wandered the streets before coming across a library. A proper one. I rushed inside. To my surprise, I saw Marina, sitting at a table, writing. Probably in that journal of hers. I browsed, trying to avoid being seen. There was a pretty good fiction selection. I picked out some books and chose a sunny spot.
I had finished the first book and was starting on the second when a shadow blocked my sun. Now, I said I wasn't the best at the whole 'talking, being nice' thing, but if you interrupt my reading, I am downright mean. So I looked up at the offender, a scowl on my face.
"Hey, look! Lockwood's hired another girl!" Someone in a Fittes uniform was standing over me. His voice was mocking, and my instant dislike of him deepened. He had a smirk that I wanted to wipe of his face, but he wasn't actually that tall. I bet if I stood up, I would be taller than him. He had short, scruffy dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He actually wasn't that bad looking, but I was mad.
"Do you need something?" I spat out. I didn't give him time to answer. "No? Good! Leave." I opened my book.
"Sheesh! Rude!" If he was any more sassy, he would have done a hair flip, followed by a 'talk to the hand' gesture. I glared at him. He backed off. I had barely finished the first chapter of my book when Marina came up to me.
"Was that boy from Fittes giving you trouble?" I looked up at her.
"Uh, I guess." She put her hands on her hips and looked out the library door.
"I wonder who he thinks he is." Then she got a look on her face; a look I knew and loved. It was the 'I'm going to get him' face.
"Ok!" I hopped out of my chair, putting the books carefully where they belonged and led Marina out the door. "Which way did he go?"
Marina considered this. "He probably went back to Fittes." I nodded. It would take a while to track him down, and it was nearing 2:30. We needed to start getting ready for our case. We made a mental note to find that boy, and went back to Portland Row.
Chapter 7: The Case Begins
I, for one, believe in manners, grace, and etiquette. That boy certainly didn't. He spoke with blatant rudeness, and apparently was no fan of Lockwood's. I couldn't tell if it was out of jealousy or something deeper, personal. I joined Anastasia as we walked back to Portland Row. The library wasn't too far, so the journey wasn't long. We arrived in the midst of the packing.
"How many chains?" I heard Lucy call.
"Luce, I've packed five!" Lockwood called back, an edge of impatience in his voice.
"Remember that time you forgot the chains!" Lucy called back, her voice softer now, like she had turned away.
"Lucy! That was ONE time! Ages ago!" Lockwood ran through the entryway where Anastasia and I stood, slightly baffled. Five chains for one Type Two? That must have been one really memorable case.
"Will you guys PLEASE stop arguing? Lucy, really. We'll need three chains at the most. I can verify that the chains come with us if you want. Lockwood! Don't forget the chains!" George hollered, his voice annoyed.
"Uh, well then." Lockwood turned at the sound of Anastasia's voice.
"Oh, hello. You're back! Just in time to help us pack." Lockwood handed us both empty duffel bags. "Pack what you will."
Anastasia raced up to her room. "Thank you, Lockwood." I said, before following. I packed seven salt bombs and three flares, with another two flares and three salt bombs on my waist, along with my rapier. I packed two jars of filings, some lavender, and some of my own little inventions. I put on my light brown trench coat, which always had fresh lavender in the pockets. An iron pendant, shaped like a square, with a Latin phrase carved on the back. Lavender cookies, my favorite invention, to eat and occasionally throw.
"Everyone almost done?" Lockwood yelled from the main floor. I packed my journal and a pencil and hurried down.
The team met at the door. We looked ready, salt bombs, magnesium flares, rapiers, hunting clothes, duffel bags with chains and filings. Also the little things, tea, cookies, cards, whatever the others had packed to pass the time. We were ready.
Chapter 8: Poltergeists and the Unexpected
I followed Lockwood out of the door. He hailed a cab to get all five of us to the case. Marina looked excited, as did Lockwood. George had his nose in a book, and Lucy looked excited, but slightly nervous. I shouldered my duffel bag and Lockwood hailed a cab. We set of for Marshall.
Lockwood turned to face us. "Everyone ready?" I nodded, as did George, Lucy, and Marina. The cab arrived at our destination. We walked up to the door. Lucy rang the doorbell, but no one answered. I tried the knob. The door swung open. I walked into a small foyer. There was a bench against the right wall and two archways leading to different rooms on the other two. Lockwood cam in last with a letter from under the stairs. Apparently there was no money. Yet.
"Dear Lockwood and Co.," it read. "I see you have arrived. Thank you for taking my case. I assume it is pretty self-explanatory. Rid the house of ghosts, and you will be rewarded." There was a small note at the bottom that read, "Not everyone in this house is who they claim to be. Trust no one." I looked around. No one else appeared to be here. Lockwood had a thinking face on, George looked worried, and Lucy and Marina looked suspicious.
"Whoever sent us here can't be trusted. Never meeting us in person? Weird cryptic messages about not trusting anyone you find in an empty house?" Marina's skepticism mirrored my own. It was fishy, and could easily be a trap.
"I agree. We must tread carefully around this case, and this house." Lockwood picked the archway leading to what looked like a living room. We could set up a base here. Then sun would set in about forty-five minutes. Everyone set down their duffel bags. Marina took out her notebook. Lockwood and Lucy played Go-Fish, and George read. I made the tea.
"Is that lavender I smell?" Marina looked up from her journal. I had taken out my lavender cookies.
"Yeah. Want one?" She looked intrigued, and nibbled the edge of one. Her face lit up.
"Wow, I didn't know you could cook so well!" She smiled. That's what I cook for. To make other people happy. Ugh, wait. That was really cheesy. I bake so I can eat delicious food and occasionally share it.
"Thanks." I replied, and the rest of the team all took a cookie. I wrapped up the rest after taking a cookie of my own. The sun had almost set, and the team took out some supplies. We had already looked around, but as night fell psychic impressions grew stronger. "Either a ghost or a Source in the guest room." I said, standing.
"Definitely a Source." Marina said, nearing the guest room door. There was an almost indistinguishable whispering. Lucy had her eyes closed.
"Please.." She whispered. It was kind of creepy, but I knew she was just repeating what she heard for our benefit. She opened her eyes. "That's all. Just 'please'."
Suddenly, a person opened the guest room door. I jumped back. "Oh, hi."
Chapter 9: Lilith
The guest room door swung open, and I leapt back to avoid getting hit. A girl stood in front of me. She had long waist-length bright red hair pulled up in a ponytail and green eyes. She was wearing a white t-shirt depicting two black angels wings and a pair of jeans that were ripped at the hem. She was really quite pale, and her freckles stood out. There was something about her that wasn't quite.. right. I can't explain it.
"Oh, hi." The girl leaned out, her hand on the doorknob. Anastasia blinked. Lockwood, Lucy and George all had expressions of shock on their faces. I'm sure I did as well.
"Hi? That's all you have?" Anastasia took a step forward. The girl put a hand behind her head, a sheepish expression on her face.
"Sorry. I should probably explain myself." She stepped out into the living room.
"That would probably be best." Lockwood said.
"Hey. My name is Lilith. So, what, you guys hired by the Letter?" Something in her tone suggested a capital L in Letter.
"What do you mean, the Letter?" Lockwood asked.
"Whoever is leaving the letters! They probably said don't trust anyone in the house? I've gotten a few letters myself, mostly about how I need to leave, imminently. I bet they hired you. So, you're a psychic whatchathingy?" Lilith entered the room proper.
"Allow us to introduce ourselves. I am Lockwood, of Lockwood & Co." He gestured at us to give our names.
"Hello. I am Marina."
"So you guys have to get rid of the ghost?" Lilith picked a salt bomb up from George's duffel bag. "Sounds like fun! I'll help!"
Chapter 10: The Ghost on Marshall
I don't know how Lilith convinced Lockwood to let her join. She was sharp though. Asked good questions. "So, all of you go by your first names, except Lockwood. Why is that?" "Do you know what you're up against?" "What do you know about the Letter?" Some of her questions were answered, but she just piled more on. There was something off about her, impossible to place. Then I noticed something.
"Wait a minute." I turned around. "You have a rapier!" Lilith looked down at her sheath and drew her rapier.
"Yeah. So?" She sheathed it again."The poltergeist is on the second floor, so is the Source." Hmm. Strange, I thought there was something in the guest room. As soon as Lockwood set foot on the second floor, he was barraged with flying books. Lilith ducked behind a desk with Lucy and Marina. Lockwood, George and I ran into a side room.
"We need to find the Source before the poltergeist finds the knives." I muttered. I inhaled, closing my eyes. Blindly, I followed my nose to the master bedroom. I opened the closet. Great. The Source was in here, somewhere. There was tons of clothing, jewelry, shoes, and assorted knick-knacks. Nearly impossible to distinguish which bauble the Source was.
Lockwood and George rushed into the closet. "Death-glow," Lockwood pointed to the back of the closet. Marina, Lilith, and Lucy dashed into the closet, panting. Everyone had bruises from the flying books. Marina and Lucy held their hands out, trying to use Touch to find the Source. Lilith held up a necklace with huge plastic gems in it. I wasn't an expert on fashion by any stretch of the imagination, but even I knew how tacky that was.
"This is the Source." Marina skeptically Touched it before recoiling.
"She's right." Marina muttered. That was amazing. Lilith must have extraordinary senses. Which didn't make sense. She had a rapier, so maybe she did work for an agency, but she didn't seem like an agent. She had amazing powers, which meant all the major agencies would want her on their team.
"You don't work for an agency?" I asked in disbelief.
"Nope." Lilith wrapped the necklace in a seal and handed it to Lockwood. "Well, I best be off." She promptly turned and ran out of the closet. We followed, but when we got to the ground floor their was no sign of her.
"Let's get back to Portland Row." Lockwood said wearily.
I couldn't agree more.
Chapter 11: The Letter
Lilith was a mystery in and of herself. As I journaled this case, I couldn't help drawing a detailed picture of Lilith, wielding her rapier. It was odd. It all was, Lilith, the Letter, the case in general. As promised, a sum of money arrived in the mail the next day, along with a foreboding note.
Dear Lockwood & Co.,
It has come to my attention that you met a girl named Lilith in the house. I believe she warrants further investigation. I'm charging you with finding her, if you can. Find her, and question her. She is not to be trusted. Anything she said of these letters can not be trusted. She is to be treated with the utmost cation.
It doesn't get more suspicious than that. Lockwood told us all that we would put it in the back of our minds, but otherwise it was business as usual. We had gotten a few mini cases, nothing Lockwood and Lucy couldn't handle on their own. I also did some research into Fittes, and that annoying agent I met at the library. This frustrating attempt usually ended with me sticking my rapier into the dummies downstairs or a heated walk.
"I've never worked for Fittes, so I don't know their standards, but he seems like an idiot." Anastasia had said. I agreed, never having been a Fittes agent either. As both the major mysteries in my life continued to tease me, I finished my drawing of Lilith. I had never drawn a person before, so that's probably why she had a ghost-like quality to her, wispy around the edges. I set my journal down and headed downstairs.
"Hey, Marina." Lucy greeted me.
"Hello Lucy. Any good cases?" She shook her head. Darn. We needed a good case soon. The doorbell rang. Anastasia was closest, but there was no way I was letting her greet a client. I opened the door to reveal another letter. This was probably bad, as we still hadn't found Lilith. Could the Letter somehow be blocking our flow of clients? It seemed ridiculous, but we knew nothing about them.
Lockwood appeared behind me. "Ah, it seems our friend the Letter is unsatisfied with our productivity." Lockwood sighed, taking the envelope into the sitting room where the rest of Lockwood & Co. had gathered.
Dear Lockwood & Co.,
It appears the urgency of my last letter escaped your notice. I have considerable influence, and you may have noticed your lack of cases? I will use my influence to get Portland Row demolished of you do not turn you immediate and full attention to finding Lilith.
Chapter 12: Chasing Lilith
"Is this guy freakin' serious!" I yelled. Marina sighed. Lockwood looked thoughtful, because of course he did. Lucy put a hand on Lockwood's shoulder. George looked mad, but I was furious. "Who does this guy think he is? Strutting around, flaunting his power!" I ranted.
"If he has so much influence, then why can't he get an agency with more manpower?" Lucy wondered.
"I bet it's discretion. If he hires some bigwig agency, it'll be less secret." Marina said, spitefully.
"Good thinking, Marina. We'll turn our full attention to finding Lilith, but if we find anything surprising, we can go straight to the papers." Lockwood whispered, afraid the Letter could hear. With his bragging about influence, he may well be right. Oh, that's creepy.
"So, were do we even start? It's not like we've seen her since-"
"Hey, guys!" We all turned around in shock.
"Lilith!?!" I exclaimed. Lilith was perched on the windowsill. She smiled.
"Yep! That Letter tells you to chase me or he'll get rid of your home. It's hopeless, you didn't even know where to start. So..." She swung out the window. "Catch me if you can!" She called from the ground. There was a split second rely before Lockwood, Marina, Lucy and I jumped out the window. George called down that he was going to research Lilith.
"Where did she go?" Lockwood panted, as we turned down another side alley. Lucy pointed at a fleeting long red ponytail as it turned down another side street. We'd been running forever! How was she still standing?
"Come on." Marina started running again. We followed Lilith to a run down house. I just saw the ends of her hair disappear inside. We knew she was in there, so we stopped to take a breath. Don't get me wrong, we aren't fitness junkies or anything. We can't run a 5k in under forty-five minutes. But we are psychic agents, and half of our job is running away. Lilith had flown past us, and I feel like she was just letting us keep her in view. I shared that with the team.
"I agree. I think she was leading us here. But why?" Lockwood straightened, stretching. George had rejoined us from doing his research. I got a good look at the house. It was a run down, two story house. It didn't look fit for people to live in, but I was soon to realize that's not what was living here. As we neared the house, a ghost appeared in front of us. Lilith had let us straight into a trap.
Chapter 13: Lilith's House
I didn't trust Lilith, but I didn't expect this. Anastasia was shocked, as was Lucy. Lockwood looked thoughtful. George looked.. hungry. Anastasia took a deep breath in through her nose, and I reached out, searching for the Source. Lockwood scanned the perimeter, looking for death-glows. Lucy had a hand cupped around her ear, and George was looking at the house.
"I'm lost!" Lucy said. I strained my ears and vaguely heard the ghost say that. I walked forward, just behind Anastasia. She knew it too. I could feel a strong psychic presence. "Wait, there's another... Very good, Lockwood & Co." Lucy shuddered.
"I see a death-glow, probably from that ghost, but I also see, it's more of a feel? A stronger presence." Lockwood said.
"This house, I recognize it.." George mumbled.
"It's not the Source, is it." Anastasia sighed. The presence was much to strong to be that Type Two's Source.
"No. Much too strong." I muttered.
"What could it possibly-oh!" Anastasia gasped, as did I. The psychic presence had all but vanished, leaving a weaker one, fit for a Source. "What was that?" Anastasia asked.
"The other voice is gone!" Lucy cried.
"So is the weird feeling. Something strange is going on here. Some powerful ghost is at work." Lockwood kept searching for other psychic anomalies.
"If you stand there like a bunch of idiots that ghost is going to get you! Hey ghostie!" Lilith pointed to us. The ghost had been ignoring us up to that point, but now it turned it's full attention to us. "You have a choice! You can fight this ghost to make the streets of London safer, or you can chase me!" Lilith smiled. She knew we had no choice. We couldn't lose Portland Row.
"You know very well that we have little say in the matter." Lockwood responded.
"Well then, you're it!" Lilith giggled, running back into the house. Lockwood looked back at us before rushing in after her.
"Wait!" Lucy called after him. I sighed, and the rest of us drew our rapiers, running after Lockwood. Lilith hadn't been hiding. She wanted us to run after her.
"When you're bored, let me know!" Lilith called from up ahead, laughing.
"What is she playing at?"
Chapter 14: Bored
What a weird thing to say. Marina muttered under her breath. "Lilith!" I called.
"Yes, Anastasia? Are you having fun?" She laughed again, a very distinctive laugh. Something about it messed with my senses. It echoed itself, the high-pitched laugh that was almost a cackle.
"I'm bored!" Lockwood looked at me. I shrugged. "She said to tell her if we were bored." Marina rolled her eyes.
"All right!" Lilith stopped in her tracks. Our mouths simultaneously dropped. She stopped? Because I was bored? She looked at us, nodding. "A games only fun if everyone enjoys it." Lilith sat down on a chair, and motioned for us to do the same. "And the Letter's game isn't very fun. I'm not enjoying it." I stared at her. She was talking about games? "So, what do you want to know?" She asked, cheerfully.
"You'll tell us the truth?" Lockwood asked.
"It's a game! It'll be fun, looking at the shock on you're faces! And you'll enjoy getting answers!" Lilith smiled. "Or am I wrong?" She tilted her head at Lockwood. Her tone became serious.
"It'll be plenty enjoyable. What do you know about the Letter?" Lockwood inquired.
"Oh, that. The Letter is a rich businessman, he runs the Sunrise Corporation." Lucy gasped. Lilith smiled. "He wants to up his profits, like any businessman. And I was in his way." Lilith finished.
"He wanted us to get you?" I asked. "That raises several questions. What was he going to do once we caught you? Why hire a psychic investigations agency?"
"Ah. He was probably going to hand me over to Fittes." She answered.
"You didn't answer her question." Lockwood stated.
"I was getting there!" Lilith huffed. "Geez, I'm giving you all this information to you guys, willingly, and you rush me!" She rolled her eyes. "I'm less inclined to answer now, but out of the goodness of my heart, I'll answer. But first, a question for you. Why do you think? What's you're specialty?"
Chapter 15: The Letter's Game
Anastasia had quickly supplied the answer. "We get rid of ghosts."
"Yep!" Lilith smiled. Anastasia gasped, as did Lucy. George looked fascinated, and so did Lockwood.
"You're a ghost?" I asked.
"Yuh-huh!" Lilith nodded. Everyone stared. "Oh, I think I know why you're doing that." Lilith said, meeting out gazes one by one. "I'm probably the most advanced ghost you're ever met."
"Well, yeah, and this." Anastasia said, walking over and touching Lilith's arm.
"I don't ghost touch, that's true. I'm in a more human form right now, but," Lilith said, and her outline blurred, becoming more wispy. She floated up to the ceiling. "I can be more ghost-like. I've spent most of my ghost life researching what happens to ghosts after their Sources are destroyed, and why some ghosts are more powerful than others."
"I think I understand." I said. "Anyone who knew about this research would know this could lead to peace between the living and the dead. People who manufacture our defenses against ghosts might feel threatened."
"Exactly." Lilith nodded, returning to her chair and her human form. "I feel like The Letter is someone who benefits from the production of iron and ghost lights and such."
"Why do you research this?" Lockwood asked.
Lilith turned to him, a far away look in her eyes. "My friends all turned into lower level ghosts. They were destroyed like animals, simply because the living couldn't understand them." Lilith laughed a humorless laugh. "The thing is, I couldn't either. Something is different about me, even for a ghost."
Anastasia spoke with a surprisingly gentle voice. "How old are you?" She seemed sad. I wondered at the question.
"Eleven." Lilith said.
"I see. But there is a motive you're overlooking. All in all, well done, though." Lockwood said.
Lilith looked up, eyebrows raised. "What's that?"
"Someone could have changed you. And now, they realize what they might have done."
Chapter 16: Lilith's Past
Okay, so there weren't 'buses' as we would think of them in this time period..... I think, but just go with it there was probably something similar that served the same function.
Sorry for my lack of history knowledge.
George was absolutely fascinated by Lilith. I feared he might try the experiments he had on the skull, but Lilith flatly refused to be put in the oven. Lockwood also halted many strange tests George had lined up. "You can ask her questions. No more."
"Ok, ok." George conceded, putting away candles, lighters, diagrams, ice, and other strange implements. I hung around, so did Marina. Lucy sat in the corner, half paying attention, talking with Lockwood. Lilith sat across from George. "So, what do you remember about your life?" I felt Marina cringe at the insensitive question.
"Almost nothing." Lilith replied. "I remember the bus crash, and waking up with people I knew where my friends, but I couldn't understand them, or remember anything else about them."
George nodded, furiously taking notes. "Where you in the same spot?"
Lilith shrugged. "There wasn't a bus, but I don't know where we crashed. I wasn't really paying attention. When I woke up, I was surrounded by dead children, who turned on me, and I ran. Past people that couldn't see me, for some reason. Behind me, my friends gave chase, floating. I couldn't. I just ran."
George nodded. Marna bristled. I tried to think. Something about this rang a bell. Lockwood and Lucy had stopped talking and where listening now. They were also holding hands. I made a mental note to tease Lucy later.
"I wonder why. You were a ghost at the time..." George said, scribbling. Lilith shrugged.
"I gained that power somewhat later. I don't know how or when, though."
George took that down. "So you don't know when you gained your more ghostly powers?" He asked.
"Not really. And my powers don't seem to fit in any particular Type of ghost, like Lurker or Shade, or even Poltergeist." Lilith shrugged. "I don't know what I am."
George nodded. "So.. you're a new type of ghost?" George turned to Lockwood. "We just discovered a new type of ghost!"
"Lilith..." Marina ventured. "What's your Source?" Oh, yeah, duh! If Lilith's a ghost, she must have a Source. Lilith nodded slowly. George opened his mouth, but Lilith raised her hand, stopping him.
"I'm not telling you what or where it is. No offense, but you could theoretically kill me. Again." Lilith said, apologetically. Marina nodded.
"Where did the bus crash, do you remember?" I said, suddenly. Lilith thought.
"Um, it was near a grocery store.... and a four way stop.... it was close to my school.." Lilith remembered.
"I thought that might be it." I shuffled through old newspapers that where lying around. "This was this bus crash, yes?" Lilith nodded, and George scribbled down more notes. "I was there." I said.