Contrary to popular belief, graveyards are rarely quiet. That is, not in Twilight. Ghosts litter them, attached to their bodies, growling, shouting, praying and pleading. Or maybe that’s just around Jude, he wouldn’t know.
The Resurrectionists arrived at 2AM. Jude had covered his face in a mask and his body in an anorak jacket, on his back a spade and a bag of tools. Spencer was dressed likewise, though with a single layer, as not to harm his outfits if he needed to activate his new limbs. Asher and Grant had multiple layers each, Asher’s necrotic tissue was identifiable on a bad day, as were the runes branded onto Grant’s skin.
Spencer, Asher and Jude walked through the graveyard looking for freshly turned earth, recent draves for fresh pieces. After all, all bodies are the property of science after the mind has departed. Grant decided to keep a bit of distance, and to scout out the surroundings for potential witnesses. This was accomplished with a bit of teleportation, broken up by some casual skulking to avoid being too obvious.
The three walkers found their mark, and in complete silence, began to dig. Six feet later, Jude hits the top of the casket. Spencer removed their backpack and gave Asher the crowbar to open the box. The body inside was regular, not embalmed, but the mortician deserved compliments from the family, given the skill of stitching together broken bones and ripped skin from the blunt trauma.
The only anomaly was a strange bulge jutting from the corpse, pressing against the skin from the inside where the heart should have been. Jude began the usual strategy of placing the body into the bag with Asher’s help, and occasional reprimands ready in case he tried to eat pieces.
Spencer would help, but there he stood, still, looking down at the blonde, 5'9 man, familiar surgical scars running along his chest. “Lyf?”
Spencer west was a surgeon, and by god did he know it. His student loans wouldn't let him forget it. The night shift had always suited him better than many, it just felt better, safer almost. It was on one such shift on the seventh of april that Mr Lyfrassir Edda was brought to the Operating Room with 13 nails in his body and multiple blunt force trauma wounds. Spencer had made a point of telling Chia he’d skin him if it turned into another eighteen hour shift as he entered the theatre.
It had turned into a five hour surgery after ‘complications’. Said complications were the metal tension cables the patient had instead of veins, the steel instead of bones, the complete impossibility of the body magnetizing the nails to the point that Spencer, who despite the insanity of his perceptions was still a surgeon, broke a pair of pliers removing one of the nails. As he worked, Spencer could feel his mind opening, and his back scarring. As his mind told him he was becoming more, his back felt like it was being burnt by a displeased slavemaster.
Lyfra-no, the thing that pretended to be Lyfrassir still obeyed his blade, and when he was done, his stitches as well. His mind expanded beyond its limits ever could have dreamed, he had seen perfection, and it’s reflections everywhere. He had held the supernal under his blade and fixed it from man’s imperfection. Lyfrassir Edda was moved to Intensive Care, and he followed, awaiting the ‘man’s’ recovery.
When he awoke, Spencer had asked what he saw, he had asked why, he had asked how and he had asked most pertinently, who. Lyfrassir Edda had given him a number, and told him to imagine being an ant looking at a clock. An ant doesn’t see what the clock does or understand how, an ant merely sees the pieces and how they move but not the purpose why. Spencer was just an ant who had seen the clock face.
He had disappeared from the hospital that night, and the nurse on duty said the door had been locked and guarded all night due to the attacks on the ambulance that carried him to the hospital. Spencer didn’t care, he knew Lyf would be there at a call. He had to know. He had to know. He had to Understand.
Grant watched from the shadows as his friends deposited their new prize into the bag, as his eyes caught what looked like an encampment left in a hurry. It was on the outskirts of the graveyard, a cheap plastic tent and a camping cooker having been left there in a rush. Walking closer, he knelt on the floor, inside the tent was a scrap of cloth, a piece of a t-shirt with, well it was a mothman with a deer hunter hat. His eyes narrowed at the discovery as across the graveyard the dead lay in wait.
Ben Waylon sat in his car at the edge of the graveyard, eating a granola bar he found in his glove box and forgot to read the expiration date of. Nagisa and Zach hid behind graves, keeping different vantage points, and eyes on the graves, and their denizens. Kyle, meanwhile, was floating nearby, the upside of not being visible outside of twilight.
From the car, Ben saw the ghosts of the graveyard grow more restless, some looking to him as a vague recognition, one with it’s jaw missing looking frantic. So, in all his wisdom, he delegated the work to Nagisa with a text.
‘Ghosts are getting a little frantic, think whoever's been digging up graves is back’
The response, ‘gotcha’ comes through a second later as nagisa began to move forward.
This was a mistake.
As he tried to make his way through the graveyard unseen, three things happened. First, his foot got stuck in a foxhole, he fell trying to get it out and then smacked against a grave. Secondly, a camera flash blinded Nagisa from somewhere, the faded sounds of 'shitSHITshitshit!!' filling the air and shuffling as someone ran away. And thirdly, he saw an obnoxiously coloured tophat, as well as a white gloved hand leaning down. The worst tophat, the worst style, belonging to the worst man in Edinburgh, "Well, someone needs to look where his feet go, don't they?" Of course, he'd recognize that voice pretty quickly, a mainstay in Edinburgh entertainment and a goddamn nightmare to deal with, the head of the Edinburgh Circus of the Dead himself, Jon Bon Jovi (No Relation).
Only three thoughts entered Nagisa’s mind, a desire to murder the man, but as a Sin-Eater, he’d come back, a desire to severely harm the man, but he was on the floor and that was unliely to help, so he fell back on the third, most primal desire of every person when viewing Jon Bon Jovi.
His shit eating grin radiated out of the graveyard. You know the grin, the grin of unearned confidence and pure, unwavering belief in his own superiority. The smug self-assuredness that had caused Nagisa to reject his invitation to the Circus of the Dead before, "Ah come on, don't you be a jerk! Need a hand, friend?"
Nagisa’s eyes just narrowed and pushed himself up, if Jon helped you, you were either out a favour, or pitied enough for him not to want one from you.
"My my, still hard nosed as ever." He fixed his stupid looking tophat, looking off to the other side of the graveyard.
“Why the hell are you here, and why won’t you fucking leave,”.
"Same as you I suspect! Been hearing things, and our circus doesn't like when people's bodies are stolen. You know, basic stuff", the patronising way he says basic, the mention of that fucking circus, it makes his blood boil.
"Ah, so you decided to send in the Clowns?"
"Oh no-no-no, those stay behind. Though, don't tell them but I think they've been planning to conspire against us if you know what i mean. No we got uh...Jimmy Fireeater and Burning Man...Fredrick the trapeze artist and the hanged queen...oh and of course me! With Loudmouth over there." His geist was projected just a couple feet above him, a grizzly looking person, a mask of bone of their face making it look like they wore a flattened and distorted skull, and right underneath...well all their vocal cords were missing, the tattered clothes indicating that this one was very very old. Nagia was almost impressed, almost, an old geist does not make a good Sin-Eater.
A disgusted, “Fun” escaped his lips. He couldn’t be bothered to argue with Jon, couldn’t be bothered to speak with him, or deal with him in the slightest. Speaking with Jon Bon Jovi is a practice in masochism, you could have everything in the world, and he’d still find a way to look down on you, to act superior, to be superior, and then to stab you in the back for a buck.
"That's....kind of our thing", he lied, the superficial appearance of joviality rarely equals enjoyment, the trappings of the Circus were a sick sort of joke like that, at least where Jon was concerned. Wherever Jon was, any trace of enjoyment died a violent death, smothered under the rancid atmosphere he gave. No wonder he was the ringleader. Nagisa decided a disgusted grunt was response enough.
"Now, are you planning to just watch? Also where's the rest of your wannabe vigilante's, mon ami?"
"Not putting all in one spot for ambush 'Mon bastardo," as if on queue, his phone chimed with another message from Ben, ‘Find Anything’, did he? No necro-nonces, no graverobbers, no magic, nope, just Jon, Jon who was actively interfering with both of their jobs.
‘A Cunt’ came the swift response, ‘but not the one we're after’
His phone buzzed again, but before he could read it, A ghost was running over to Nagisa, panicking and stumbling over herself, old guts causing her to actually trip a bit over them. The upper half of her face was missing so she was only pointing and letting out gurgling sounds to the approximate direction she heard the digging sounds from. Nagisa clamped a hand over JBJ's mouth, both as a way to keep him quiet, and an excuse to slap him, and looked over, sneaking another look, whispering, "alright lass, keep calm,".
Jon lifted his eyebrows, his lips now sealed shut. He also had to admit that his lips were weirdly soft to the touch, as if he took extra care to not make them chapped. The ghost meanwhile quietened down, only making a couple gurgling sounds
Nagisa stuck his hand up from behind the gravestone, making a motion with his hand to move around and get a better look at their robbers. On que, Zach took his way round, close enough to see a couple people who were mostly obscured and masked as to not be identified. They weren’t talking though which is the weirdest thing, but probably simply belied the fact they've done this many times before. Zach moved back over where Nagi could see him and put up three fingers, trying to indicate how many people were there. He responded by making a gun motion with his hands and shrugging. Kyle, noticing the commotion, returned to the group.
OH SHIT HERE WE GO
Kyle. How does one describe Kyle? On a purely physical level, Kyle wasn’t. On a metaphysical level, Kyle was a jock with some occult knowledge, making him the rare combination of a Goth Jock in the eyes of Ben. Kyle was not smart, and had been stealing the occult books in his personal library, and was not the most subtle of figures. So he did what came naturally.
Kyle tried to steal Jude Spencer’s wallet.
Jude felt the lightness in his back pocket as his wallet fell to the floor, but had little time to notice before Spencer had scooped it up with one of his new arms and presented it to his friend. Who took it again. "Cheers. Ghosts thinking they're funny. Let's get out of here before I actually lose it."
Asher tilted their head to the side, as if thinking, "Do ghosts exist?"
"Yeah, ghosts exist. And they don't have any reason not to be an asshole because no one can get mad at them. I swear I'm gonna flip at some point and go on an axe murder rampage against them."
Across the graveyard, Grant’s eyes snap open and his head whips around, sensing the poltergeist’s actions, seeing the Numina beyond sight, and running to his compatriots. "guys we got the ghost's attention, we should move on". The issue was, he hadn’t noticed how much noise the resurrectionists were making in their acquisition. The Edinburgh graveyard borners the forest, it’s an easy escape route and is a fair distance away to avoid discovery. So when strange lights started appearing, they all assumed the worst, and only progressed when they started directing themselves. That’s when the weirdly lanky, outdated dressed and overwhelming smug aura of Jon Bon Jovi began hopping over the graves, the most discordant music they had heard in years filling the air around them, an odd distortion as he called out.
"Hello everybody! Welcome to the show of the century! on our left, we have the slimiest graverobbers seen in Edinburgh. and on our right we have the circus! readying to stop you from taking what belongs to the dead!"
Asher flicked out the Clippo and Spencer’s arms extended on reflex, and secured the bag holding the corpse, “Nothing belongs to the dead, that’s how a will works,”.
Jude began moving backwards slowly but surely, "What'd they be using it for anyway? Why do they need it now?"
"Jesus christ you guys are ignorant What do you think gives you the right to just skidaddle outta here?”
"Our legs." And Jude just began walking quickly out of the graveyard,
"Hey! Hey what the fuck!"
"uh, that" Grant quickly followed. It had just clicked in his head that these jokers weren’t as good as they thought, all bark and no bite.
"Guys!” Jon’s arms flailed behind him with impotent rage, “stop fiddling with the lights they're escaping?!"
Mentally thanking their incompetant assailant, Spencer took off, his heels digging into the dirt as the extra arms enabled easier maneuvers around the graves. Jude and Asher pulled behind, while Grant held back, hoping to give an obvious target to the strange men.
Looking back around, a man in silks pulled up a hunting rifle, and fired, directly into where Grant’s chest was half a second ago. Grant returned to reality fur feet away, his scars glowing, one branding his side deeper than before. With the knowledge firearms were involved, Grant made the executive decision to escape as quickly as possible.
Asher flicked on their lighter, throwing down flames behind them and setting the grass ablaze. They hopped over gravestones and around marks to minimize his profile. Jude, for his part tried to help, visualising the flesh of the earth swallowing asher, dragging him forwards, but he couldn’t bring the supernal to the fore to shape it while under fire.
Spencer, however, was calm. Arms swiveling round and touching the floor, static and convection hitting the ground, letting ice spray over the grass. As they made it to the city, lights flashing over the graveyard, Spencer swiveled around, decanting Lyf’s body to Asher and Jude to carry as he yelled to the collapsed Jon.
“And you'll remember the day you almost caught Victor D'ville!”
“And why didn’t you help?” Ben sighed, debating the merits of slamming his head into the centre of his steering wheel.
“One, Jay-Bee-Jay is a cunt and i won’t help him, Two,” he shrugged, “Wanted to see what happened, mother fucker really just yelled his own name huh?”
Zach lent forwards in the back seat, leaning between the space between the front seats "Anyway, what 'ave we learned? Other than why people should be scared o' carnies."
Nagisa shrugged, “That the fucker digging people up is named Vicky? Jon is incompetant? Take your pick,”.
"An they know aboot ghosts, an one o' them has robot arms."
Nagisa choked on his own spit and Kyle reclined again along the back seats.
YEAH THE FUCKIN ARMS, MAN THAT’S CRAZY
"Were ye not payin attention before the circus came tae town? When Kyle tried tae street-urchin that guy's wallet?"
“I was busy dealing with a certain circusman, okay?”
Ben slammed his head into the top of the steering wheel, "Why the fuck does weird shit happen to y'all only when I'm waiting in the car?" He's driving away from the graveyard, doing his best to act casual so they don't get pulled over by the cops
"'cause yer always waitin' in the car in case weird shite happens and we need tae get the hell out."
"Know what? Fair enough, but seriously, clowns and cyborgs? What the fuck, what exactly happened in there?"
"Cyborg graverobbers dug up summat and ran when the clowns tried to stop ‘em,"
"... A'ight." that left more questions than answers, but he was distracted by a notification sound from his pocket. Then more, then more. Ben looked at his twitter, notifications piling up. "My Twitter notifs are goin' mad."
As he opened twitter, multiple of his followers had been messaging Ben with this article from some crackpot journalism website called Network 0 he hadn't heard about. The title read: 'EDINBURGH KILLER SPOTTED ONCE AGAIN'
It was a frantic rant that felt like college job anxiety and exploited journalistic talent put into the lengthy description of an urban myth and multiple images of Nagisa, blurry with a bright flash, as he, frame by frame fell, his knee wobbling, left to right, right to left, falling forwards into the mud
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT
Nagisa starred over Ben’s shoulder and gave a resigned sigh, "Oh get fucked,"