Our search of the college grounds was not wholly fruitless. Soon, the messengers originally designated to retrieve our mysterious item arrived, in the company of two fearsome barghests. This was neither my first encounter with them, nor the worst. Our Irish friends seemed to have an affinity for dog-shaped things, one of them claiming to have been a Werewolf, if you can believe it. Frankly, at this point, I’ve seen enough things to believe it. Vampires and Wizards, too, he says. I won’t be too surprised if at some point he tells me the Wee Folk and the Fair Folk are real. I’m a ghost. It’s hard to be skeptical of the supernatural anymore. That’s disturbing. You’re regressing, Archie. We have talked about how these mythical things you’re projecting are merely escapism for the terrible things you’ve done.
While Mary Ruth and I prudently waited where we assumed the drop would take place, while our more rough and ready allies dispatched the messengers and took possession of their barghests. The Doctors and Nurses keep telling me I’m delusional You are. But you should see how naive Mary Ruth dotes upon the Barghests as if they were puppies. She has even named them Danger and Fearless. Fearless after my mother, Phyllis. Yes. Always the Mother. Tell me again about her.
We waited at the college annex for a time after the fracas, me idly studying the materials there, and the appointed hour – the hour with the smoke and the water and the confusion – came and went. Evening came on, and we observed a pair of Quick – our dashing professor, who reminds me of myself at his age, and his “research assistant” – appear to have a slightly awkward date. The hour of the exchange appeared to have left us, and as the two… well, one young lover and one who should have known better… lovers began to heat up their little date, the more reasonable in our group turned away. A few, such as that wretched musician from a time even more debased than the age of Flappers gawked on, entranced by the heat and passion of the quick, and although it pains me to say it, it was they who were free to observe the exchange.
The young girl, in the midst of the throes of passion withdrew a dagger from her blouse and plunged into the Professor’s heart. The dagger fell to the floor in the world of the quick, and bounced into the shadowlands, whereupon we retrieved it. Simultaneously, we Reaped, as they say, the soul of Professor Lynden. No less confused by our eclectic group, frightened by our “pet” barghests, and disturbed by the fact of his death, I was convinced that the professor’s soul was our quarry, as the others suspected the knife. Not the last time I will be wrong, but I felt we have done good. Why is it in your delusions, Archie, do the sinners – the lechers and perverse, win? Why is this appealing to you that you romanticize the intimate moments and give rewards to those who violate them?
We returned to our benefactor, Vaughn Buchard. He gave Mary Ruth the dagger, and took Professor Lynden for safekeeping and training. Souls are valuable, and new ones such was his are easy prey – too easy to be left untrained. The dagger it was, then, to be our focus and our reward, although I am certain that the gift of a a soul will be valued nearly as highly by Mr. Bouchard.
While the Irish busied themselves with the Barghests, trying to return them to their human forms and free them from their bondage, Mary Ruth and I delved into the history of the dagger. It turns out that this dagger has been used in hundreds of murders for over 4 centuries, first beginning with Elizabeth bathroom, who may have once been the progenitor of Vampires. I am informed that Vampires are real, by our Were-friend. You’re repeating yourself. This is an important fact to you? to reinforce the supernatural? Not enough to believe that you yourself are dead, but to surmise that every fantasy thing is also real? The things in that cave were not real Archie, and neither are Vampires.
Our investigations are not over, but the significance of the dagger does not escape us. We must know more about this weapon, and about what Mr. Bouchard wants to do with it. It could be very important.