“What does it look like?”
I didn't need to turn around to see the look on the old man's face. He always had a mean little grin on his face whenever he spoke to me. I had a feeling that it was because I'd denied his daughter's spirit her proper revenge, but Seamus told me he thought the old guy was just a bastard. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle.
“What does what look like, Clive?” I asked. I didn't like talking to him, but he was the only one who didn't get weird around me. Molly was nice enough, always smiling and being pleasant, but she never got closer than five feet to me and she'd shudder when she thought I wasn't looking. Seamus kept looking at me like I was a problem that needed solving and Felix had all but disappeared. I wouldn't be surprised if he took off back to Chicago once he thought enough time had passed that it wouldn't look like he was abandoning me.
“The world,” Clive said, sitting down at the table next to me and looking out over the saloon. He leaned over the railing and pointed at the piano player. “That fella who half knows how to work a piano, what does he look like to you?”
I didn't know how to answer him, so I just buried myself further in my coat. How do you tell someone that a man may look like how a train whistle sounds? Or that the whore that works the second floor smells like the letter “J”? If you want to sound like a crazy person, you go around telling folks that they leave spectral trail behind themselves when they walk and that it lingers on everything they touch.
“Your senses are screwed up, aren't they?” Clive asked, staring at me. “I was able to talk to my Shelly sometimes, after she'd died, and she told me that the world looked different. Sights, sounds, smells, all got jumbled up.”
I looked at Clive, though I had a sneaking suspicion I no longer had eyes under my glasses, and tried to determine his aura. It was dark and hazy, but with tiny bits of light leaking through. Like a storm cloud that's just covered the sun. The glass of whiskey he was nursing was covered in the same dark haze and I could follow wisps of it going back down the stairs and to the bar.
“She said everyone was unique,” Clive continued. “That they left behind pieces of themselves on things they touched. Most of time the...parts of themselves...dissipated after a spell. But when something was dear to you, a favorite book or a lucky charm or something, then that part stuck around. Sometimes for years.
“I don't know where Shelly met Darryl, or how much of what he said about himself was true, but I knew just by looking at him he was bad news. I told Shelley so, but she didn't listen. I also think that everything that ever came out of his mouth was a lie.”
Clive reached into his coat and pulled out a small cedar box. He gently laid it on the table in front of me.
“He used to wear this necklace, a cheap gold chain with a coin on it. He said his Daddy used to sell antiques in New York City and that he'd given the coin to him when he was a kid. Said it came from Roman times. He was probably full of shit and the thing came from a Kansas City five & dime for all I know. But he wore it for a long time.”
Clive flipped open the box and I leaned over to look inside. “When he killed my Shelley she grabbed it, her last act on this Earth, and ripped it off his neck. I took it from her cold hand and put it in this box.”
He flipped it open. A small, square coin with a hole in the center lay inside. It took a moment for me to see what was moving around it. It was small and only faintly visible. Colored crimson and sounding like sulphur, it coiled around the coin in an obscene manner and hissed at me. It seemed like the aura of Darryl Whitcomb was a snake. Seemed fitting.
“Now you know what to look for,” Clive said, snapping the lid shut. “what say we go trackin', son?”