It took about a week or so to get everything set up.
Seamus did his usual “leaving town” bit, where he'd slash all the prices of his tonics, hire as many dancing girls as he could, and do pretty much everything he could to turn the whole town into a gigantic party. He claimed it made him memorable and served as advertising, but I think he just liked seeing folks have a good time.
So while that was going on, the rest of us got ready. Molly met up with the local butcher, who had somehow fallen on hard times, and told him she knew all about his illicit slaughter shack outside of town. She informed him that it would be in use for the next few days and that, if he was smart, he'd not return to it for a while. Like ever.
Felix and I got busy digging. It was hard work, but Felix really threw himself into it. So to speak. It helped that I had gone up one side of him and down the other about keeping his big mouth shut. I informed, with as much grisly detail as possible, just what would happen to us if folks found out about Seamus and how he went about creating his little cure-alls. It took a couple days for the color to come back to his cheeks.
When we had finished digging up the body I spent some time re-sanctifying the ground, so we wouldn't get any spirit's pissed off at us, and Felix got to sawing. When he was done, he told me that he knew how to sew and had also worked at a taxidermist's shop for a short while. I felt a little uneasy having him take on a thing like that, especially cause my life was on the line if he screwed it up, but I had to show that I still had faith in him as well. In the end, I sent him on his way to get started while I re-buried Father Arthur MacDonald and said a little prayer over the grave.
Darryl had tried to help a bit, but whatever was haunting him was getting stronger. Every time I saw him he had a new cut or a bruise. Felix watched him fall down flight of stairs one night at the saloon and Molly saw his wrist just dislocate itself one morning over breakfast. And IT? turned out that Darryl wasn't exactly a man to keep a stiff upper lip when it came to pain. His whining had even started to grate on Seamus.
When he wasn't contributing to a town-wide hangover, Seamus was busy in the wagon cooking up something new or he was out on the plains communicating with the loa. I hated it when he did that - he always came back a bit different from those meetings - and seeing his face all done up in that skull makeup always gave me the creeps. But that was what he needed to do in order to give me the tools I would need to send this ghost back to Hell, even though I still had my doubts over doing it.
All that preparation led, as it always seemed to, to me sitting out in the cold on a hill waiting for something to happen. The ghost never seemed to manifest around Seamus so he and the rest were a few miles away waiting for my return. Darryl was sitting in the shack playing at being bait, which he moaned about incessantly, and I was busy getting ready.
Seamus had inscribed some kind of writing along my eyes, he said that it would help me see into the spectral plane, and he had made me drink about a half dozen of his tonics. My stomach was churning by the time he made me swallow the mushrooms, which had already started to kick in as I sat on my ass. That was the part I hated the most, that dusty and distant feeling that came over me as the drugs took effect.
I hated it even more than putting on the gloves.
Guns and knives weren't all that useful against vengeful spectres, so a person had to use other tools to take one of those spirits down. The only way we knew of, then, was to make gloves out of the hands of a dead holy man. Supposedly, these allowed you to partially cross over to the spirit world enough to grab a hold of the damn things. And once you had a hold of them, then it was just a matter of killing them again. Sure sounded easy.
If the damn thing would ever show up.
It was past midnight when I saw it. I had spent the last few hours quietly hallucinating while Darryl had somehow fallen asleep in the shack. It took a moment for me to realize that the shape I was seeing wasn't another mirage, that it moved with a purpose towards the shack instead of just hanging around and making me giggle. I think I had expected something like out of a book, a bluish see-through person draped in a gossamer gown or something, instead of what was lurching in front of me. The only word that seems to fit it is rage.
It was a churning maelstrom of violent color. Red, black, purple, all mixed up and twisting together and moving with speed toward the shack. I stood up and flexed my hands in their dead gray skin-gloves and proceeded down the hill. That's when I saw the old geezer standing next to me.
I stopped and stared at him for a moment, making sure he was real. He was a lot shorter than me and seemed to made of beard. It was long and white and hung down to the waist of his overalls. He was glaring at me and shaking with anger. He held something behind his back.
“Who the hell are you?” I asked.
He answered by hitting me in the face with a shovel.