What has gone before: Goodwood Duxford tales...
“While you’ve been here with Grace, the ladies and I have been over at The Magpie,” said Lilith, a newly-deceased resident of Gramberly Cemetery and best friend of Goodwood “Goody” Duxford, cemetery caretaker. “Patsy has quite the library of paranormal reference books.”
Goody, Lilith, Frankie (Goody’s girlfriend), Grace (another Gramberly ghost) and Patsy (proprietress of The Mappie) were gathered in the kitchen of Goody’s caretaker’s cabin. Lilith was explaining to Goody what she and the other women discovered and how they could use that knowledge to stop Harlan Beaumont from bringing a horde of revenants to destroy Gramberly and Pepperidge Township
“Turns out that ghosts can be neutralized with radiation,” Lilith said. “Radiation like the kind used during cancer treatments. Like the treatments that Frankie is going through.”
With a smile and shrug, Frankie rubbed the downy fuzz covering her head.
“I see from that deer-in-the-headlights look, you’re a little flummoxed,” Patsy said. “The radiation will work like a, hmmm… what’s the word I’m looking for?”
“Doomsday Device? “ Lilith offered.
Patsy tapped the tip of her nose with one finger and winked.
“I’m not using you as bait, Frankie,” Goody said.
“You won’t be, and it’s my decision.”
“I have a lot of resources that you wranglers would benefit from, you all just don’t like other people involved. You’re the only one that I know of who has enlisted any help from anyone, alive or dead,” Patsy said, giving Lilith a small nod. “I told Frankie and Lilith about all my books and we’ve been pouring over them for some kind of solution.”
“In our research, we found an extant Pepperidge Township newspaper archives that referenced a ‘newfangled, invisible light’ – X-rays, radiation,” Frankie said. “The Curies, Marie and Pierre, were believers in the paranormal, and according to our findings, experimented with X-rays in efforts to ‘see’ spirits. What they found was that instead of just making them visible, it obliterated them, much like radiation does with cancer cells.”
“Pierre believed that the spirit world was real and that it could be a source of the energy created by radioactive elements,” Lilith continued with their discovery. “What the Curies found was a powerful paranormal weapon. A weapon that we can use against Harlan and any revenants he enlisted for his wraith army.”
“They weren’t the only scientists who dabbled in the occult, and even recent studies have raised the question of ‘phantom effects’ or proof of ghostly apparitions.” Frankie leafed through her notes. “There is compelling anecdotal evidence and some other small research studies that show some promise in using radiation to eradicate haunting spirits, and with lower doses than what my treatments are.”
“I’m not using you to bait Harlan,” Goody said, shaking his head. “We have to find another way.”
“It’s not your call,” Frankie bristled
“You can’t” Goody jumped up. Lilith laid a hand on his shoulder, easing him back onto the kitchen stool.
“There is no other alternative,” Frankie said, speaking softly to Goody. “If this doesn’t work, there’s no way to escape what’s coming. Anything I can do to stop that, I want to try because it’s better than being dead – no offense, ladies – or tortured, or who knows what sort of suffering Beaumont intends, for all eternity.”
“None was taken,” Lilith said. “Goody, Frankie is a veritable ghost bomb. All she has to do is be at the right place at the right time.”
“How is it then that this whole time she’s been getting radiation treatments?” Goody waved his arm around, pointing to Lilith and Grace, “she’s not been affecting you, or Grace, or any of the other Gramberly ghosts.”
“My therapy has been all external up till now, and the radiation dissipates as soon as the session ends,” Frankie scooted her stool closer to Goody. “But, I’m scheduled for an internal session two days from now. Doctors are implanting a small seed of radiation into my last remaining cancer tumor. I’ll be a walking, talking, ghostbuster for at least two months. If I come here after therapy, and we can lure Harlan and his demons into one place…. boom.”
“What about the wanderers?” Goody wanted to know.
“That’s where you and I come in,” Patsy said, stepping forward. “I’ll gather all the wandering Gramberly Ghosts, and with the help of Lilith and Grace, will lead them to a safe shelter until… “
“Then you and I face the wraiths?” Goody said, looking to Frankie.
“That’s the idea. If our theory is correct, I’ll be impervious to their influence,” Frankie took Goody’s hand.
“Our next move is to decide where, when and how to get Harlan and his army where we want them,” Lilith said.
“I’ll see to that,” said Grace. “I can get Harlan to come wherever, whenever you want. I know exactly what to say.”
“We don’t want to put you in danger either, Grace,” Lilith said.
“I’m dead Lilith, I can’t be more dead.”
“I’ll take care of Grace,” Goody said. “Once we secure the horde, I can guide her over the Threshold. No revenant can follow her there. Are you okay with that, Grace?”
“If I can help with this, I’ll be ready to crossover.”
Goody sat silently for a long while. The women, living and dead, left him alone while he worked on his plan to corral Harlan. He read through Frankie and Patsy’s research and did more on his own from his library Goodwood family journals.
They all jumped when Goody slapped the kitchen counter.
“This is doable,” he said, passing out handwritten sheets of paper.
“We’re going to need help,” Goody said. “Lilith? Get the Judson Boys and Jonny, they’re soldiers, they can help find the best place for the ambush.”
Turning to Grace, Goody sat beside her and took her hands in his.
“Your part in this is the key,” Goody said. “Are you sure you’re up to this. You may have to face him again, even if only for a moment.”
“I trust you can keep me safe until I can cross,” Grace said. “I also believe I can hold my own against Harlan, especially now that I know he can be vanquished, I’m not afraid.”
Goody gave Grace’s hands a reassuring squeeze, before turning to Lilith and Patsy.
“Patsy, where do you have in mind to shelter the wanderers?” Goody used his official wrangler voice.
“I have a warehouse over near the depot, it’s more than big enough to hold everyone,” Patsy said.
“I take it you can set the necessary wards and protections?” Goody said.
“You have to ask?” Patsy tried to sound offended.
“I do,” Goody smiled.
“What are you going to do?” Grace asked the question everyone wanted to know.
“I’m going to talk with Zebediah and Marcel,” Goody said. “They can help me with the binding spells we’ll need to contain the horde until Frankie can work her magic.”
“Do we do a team hand-stack now?” Lilith leaned into the group, her hand out, palm down. “Nope? Then I guess T-shirts for everyone would be out of the question?”
“If we all survive this,” Frankie said, putting her arms around Lilith and Goody, “I’ll make him get matching tattoos.”
“If we survive this,” Goody said, taking Frankie hand and kissing her fingertips. “I’ll want matching tattoos.”
“Let’s break up this love fest,” Patsy said, clapping her hands. “We’ve only got two days, and we’ve got work to do, the story doesn’t end here.”