AFTERDEATH - YA urban fantasy (WIP) (REVISED) Feb 14, 2020 14:40:03 GMT -5
Post by loretta on Feb 14, 2020 14:40:03 GMT -5
Thanks so much for the feedback, katydid and @rebeccaj_Allen! The revised version is now below: writeonconforums.org/post/17992/thread
The dead are loud tonight.
More than usual I should say, since loud seems to be their default mode. What is it with October? The month ushers in the first chill to Chicago’s nights, a hint of the brutal cold that will engulf our city in the months to come.
Sometimes I imagine the dead feel winter coming too, but the truth is they know nothing of our world, and we know nothing of theirs. Thanks to the barrier between us that is for the most part, impenetrable. Except to me, when I’m at a graveyard like I am now, where they make themselves known as loudly and clearly as possible.
With each step, moisture from the soil seeps up through the bottoms of my shoes. A sudden breeze wafts across my back, and I yank the hood of my baggy sweatshirt over my hijab, huddling deeper inside the cotton fabric. The headstones in Eternal Hills Cemetery are gaudy. They rise waist-high in odd shapes like giant, twisted chess pieces my eyes can barely focus on.
The voices make it hard to see. Hard to think. To breathe. Every second, my sanity inches closer to snapping, but I’ve come here tonight to solve the murder of a little girl named Wisteria Crown. It’s a noble purpose alone, but I also carry the hope that maybe, maybe I can finally find my mom. And even if I have a better chance of obtaining justice for Wisteria and closure for her family than I do of getting the same for Mom, for Dad and me, I have to try. Why else have I been granted this cursed ability?
I stagger through a maze of crumbling ivory edifices, stumbling under the onslaught of voices, until I reach the children’s section of the cemetery. Here, it’s not exactly quieter, but the voices sound more normal.
The rest of the dead sound unearthly, but not all of them are unpleasant. Some sing and laugh and make unintelligible sounds of joy. They pray and recite verses from every holy book, in all languages, and once I’ve stepped inside a graveyard, I easily interpret every tongue. Unfortunately for me, this talent is lost upon leaving.
But the other kind of voices … The others curse and scream and bellow in anguish that can only be the product of unimaginable torture.
The kids are loud, but in much the same way living kids are. They squeal and giggle and holler like any children, and rarely, they cry. I think that’s when they’ve received bad news about someone left behind. While the dead have no contact with the living, they do have contact with one another. At least, the ones in the good place do. And new arrivals are instantly met with the questions of family members, “Is so-and-so still alive?”
And if the answer is no, it means that person has gone to the other side of Barzakh.
A swathe of moonlight reveals her marker. Wistera Crown.