Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dead Rite chapter 131.14

The laboratory they were in looked more like a packing plant. Boards for chopping and machines for automated shredding; scales, packing machines and, Harold was disturbed to find, a franking machine for posting packages all over the world. He brought Jasfoup's attention to it. “This isn't just a local problem.”

The demon made a note of the addresses. I'll get local agents on to it. Without a supplier, the problem will fade away on its own but they'll be gratified to discover what happened to the displaced souls. I wonder how many of Manoach's demons are still at liberty.”

“It can't be that many, surely?” Harold looked around the lab. But for the pile of bodies, it could be any facility, anywhere. There were coffee cups, desks, stupid motivational posters featuring cats and orang-utans... He opened a desk drawer and helped himself to a chocolate bar and a cellophane wrapped cheese sandwich. “They were possessed, weren't they?”

“Of course. Their mortal spirits had been ejected but the demons inside were prolonging the life of the host shell.” Jasfoup picked up a photograph of one of the deceased – the one Dill had clocked on the head – with a woman and two children. “They probably even maintained the outward appearance of being human. It's quite possible his wife didn't even know he was possessed.”

“Then how can we tell the bad guys from the good ones?” Harold stared at the pile of bodies. “Was it a moral act to kill them when they were valuable members of the community?”

“I don't know much about morality.” Jasfoup opened another drawer and found a small box of assorted chocolates. “But they'd extracted the spirits of their hosts. Does that count?”

“I suppose so.” He removed a packet of weed Dill was trying to hide in his pants. “I hope so.”

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