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This story is available as part of a collection,

The Collected Bartleby and James Adventures

By Michael Coorlim



"There is another world alongside our own, James, touching it but forever just out of reach. A world of spirit and death, a world of ghosts and the afterlife. The essence of the departed collect there to watch us, to watch over us, to pine for the senses they no longer possess and sensations of which they can no longer partake. Some of these spirits are helpful and kind. Others are spiteful and envious. And some... James, some are simply mad, their humanity worn away by the unchanging passage of years in that dismal realm. We cannot divine their true natures; such wisdom is the providence of God and God alone until we shuffle loose the mortal coil to join them, but we do know that they are there. That is one fact we cannot dispute."

"Humbug."

The corner of Buckley's mouth twitched before settling into a frown. He raised his manacled hands to me, as if in supplication. "Arrah now, I'm sad to hear that you're still such a sceptic, James. I would have hoped that the passage of years would have broadened your focus."

"Softened my resolve and addled my mind you mean," I sat across the table from Buckley, arms folded. The guard that had escorted my old schoolmate from his cell waited impassively nearby, still like a statue, but certainly taking in every word. "Enough with the apothecary's babble; I'm not one of your marks. If I'm to be of any help as your advocate you'll have to deal with me straight. I've no blind faith to spare, I'm afraid."

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