London fog sat stationary as Arabella and Jon, cloaked in black, made their way through the empty alleyway, the smell of garbage and possibly something dead rising up through the air.
"I don't see why I have to come." Jon said quietly as they strolled through.
"Cap'n thought it'd be good for you." answered Ara.
"How is this any better than the damn ship right now?"
"You're from South London, deal with it."
"Just cause we ain't Kensington don't mean we White Chapel." Ara crossed the path on which they walked, a scream coming from inside one of the flat buildings as she ducked into a dark alleyway and stepped back a little where the street lamp showed.
"You got a light?" asked Ara, and Jon held up his candle lit lantern. It showed faintly but…naked bodies. "Oh, that's awkward." Ara said as a man and the woman grunted in the dark, they stopped when the light shown on them .
"You mind?"The woman asked rudely while the man went to cover himself.
"Ain't your office, love." Ara walked towards the door across from the two while Jon followed, looking away.
"watch where you shine that bloody thing." the woman hissed after her.
"Yeah, may the ripper have ya." Ara mumbled as bell rang and she stepped indoors, pulling down the hood of her cloak to reveal a sweaty, messy bun. Jon followed and smoothed out his hair. candles illuminated on wax flooded shelves, books piled in every space. "Even after last year's fire, she still hasn't tidied this place up and controlled those candles." Ara whispered to Jon.
"So who is she?" Jon asked. as they reached the center of the room coming to the front counter with more candles and a big open book.
"Who is she? That's my favorite question." Said a strong female, north American accent with powdered silver hair tied loosely into a top knot with a bird feather acting in place of a hair pin. Ara smiled, looking to the creaking rocking chair where the woman, about sixty-eight, sat huddled over a book in the corner.
"My little brother Aurelian always told me that your favorite question was "why"?" said Arabella as the woman shuffled out of her chair and hobbled over to the counter, stepping up on a stepping stool to reach them.
"I like any open ended question. A little variety and mystery is good for the soul. Aurelian? Little orphan Aurelian? That boy used to deliver me my ordered herbs when he was on the delivery job for the market near Miller's Court. He'd been kicked out of his job at a tavern but I they most certainly took him back. The new kid isn't so sweet. Sometimes smiles when I give the little bastard a tip." she croaked, leaning on the counter. "Never told me he had a sister."
"Well, we're more like siblings than anything so,"
"enough of this small talk," the woman smiled, rubbing her hands together as if someone had put treat in front of her, peculiar old grey eyes gleaming with the unusual excitement of a child.
Back at the ship, Dario ran his fingers through blue curly hair and lay down in his bed to sleep. The big room was empty except for Emerald who purred softly in the corner while she slept. The rest of the crew was in the galley playing card games and drinking.
"shhh" interjected Emerald as she turned over in her bed. Dario thought she was just talking in her sleep but when the curvy young woman said, "Dario, shut up." The spaniard scoffed.
"I didn't say anything," he said in his accent tinged voice.
"Stop fucking singing." she groaned, pulling her pillow over her head.
"I'm not singing, Emerald."
"Shut up!" She yelled and Dario stood to leave the room but when he went to open the door, it was locked.
"Que?" He asked himself quietly as he fumbled with the door handle. A ghostly chuckle pervaded the room in an echo and Dario turned around before whirling and banging on the door loudly. "Someone help!" He yelled, knowing exactly what was happening.
"Fucking hell," Emerald yelled as she stood up out of bed in her night gown.
"Em, we're being attacked by the ghost!" Dario yelled back and Emerald sighed.
"Wonderful, good for us. Tell the ghost to shut up." she sassed and went back into her bed, grumbling about her fatigue as she pulled her blanket over her. That apparently wasn't ok though because the next moment she knew, her blanket was pulled off of her and flung into the air. "The shit I put up with." She moaned and stood up only to duck when gun fire rang and a hole was blown into the wall next to her head. "Did you just-"
Dario was standing next to the door, no gun on hand.
"No," He said with a nervous intonation as they looked towards the middle of the room, a gun suspended in the air, cocked and ready to go. Dario looked to Emerald, "You see this?"
"I swear to God, I better not die tonight." Emerald panicked. The gun went off again.
The woman's dusty hands handed the Ouija box to Jon. He took it like he would take a baby, as though he were honored to hold such a delicate treasure.
"You be careful with this, do you understand? Use it to contact your ghost and then give it right back. You only seek to get rid of, not invite and trust me, when used incorrectly and not specifically, this will invite!" the crone warned. Ara nodded, and looked to Jon as she placed a few gold coins on the counter. Madame Eleanor watched as the two sky pirates rushed out, pulling their cloak hoods up and taking off into the foggy night.
Meanwhile, back at the ship (back at the refet), the gun pressed itself into the back of Dario's head as he winced. Emerald stood shocked in place, watching with sheer terror as the gun went off. There were a few more clicks before the two came to the realization that Leander was, in fact, out of bullets. Dario grinned and flung his fist back to knock the ghost down but alas, the fist only went through the invisible phantom.
"Now we know we can't hit him." Dario said as all was silent. There was the creaking of footsteps on wood when a the door began to jiggle.
"Dario! Emerald! Open the goddamn door! I need my shirt!" Nate called through.
"Hold on!" Dario called back. "The ghost is in here and he's locked the door!" There was silence outside and muffled voices. Outside the door, Nate had gathered Ezra, Marlow, and Ben.
"Did you say anything that might have offended him?" Ben called in with Marlow nodding behind him. Dario and emerald ignored them until, a chill rose in the room and there he was, in the corner, his body half mutilated, his eyes sad, and his smile, mischievous. Dario stared him down.
"What do you want?" He asked bravely while emerald turned her head to see nothing. Leander stepped forward and Dario stepped backwards. And when the lights went out, there was a scream and the shattering off glass. When the lights went on, Dario was on the floor, a broken gin bottle next to his head as he lay unconscious. Emerald too was on the ground with her gun about her, aiming at anywhere in the room, and when Mercurian, Marcus, and Nate broke down the door, there was more gun fire and Mercurian went down with a bullet in his leg.
Ara and Jon walked slowly home, taking their time as night turned to late night. The day had been long but what rush was there? when you're living with a ship full of other people, fresh air can be hard to find, even in the sky. prostitutes with bright clothing and makeup scattered themselves around street corners and hay bedded the rough, eroded cobblestone streets in patches. Somewhere nearby, a mad man prayed to the devil in the dark and another yelled at the prostitute across the street from him,
"Leather apron will rip you right up to eat those pretty little organs of yours!" He yelled. "Mary Jane Kelly and now you, you pretty little bleeder!" Ara stopped at the mention of Mary's name.
"So many ghosts coming back." She whispered.
"You alright?" asked Jon, coming up next to her.
"Mary Jane in the corner of her flat. with her tits on the night stand and her liver spread out! you're next, little girl! you're next!" The whore laughed and shook her head but the man kept shouting at her, drunk. "She not be singing to theses streets from her flat window no more, love! go and hide in the dark! Red Fiend'll find you!" Ara's lips scrunched into a tight line and marched right across the street the drunkard didn't know what hit him when Ara crossed his cheek with her fist, Jon rushing up behind her to pull her off him.
"You didn't even know her!" Ara cried as she went for one last kick with Jon dragging her off the man. People began to circle around as Jon pulled the young woman into a dark corner.
"You bloody mad? Listen, I know you've been having a rough time with all this, we all have." Jon pinched her arm as she struggled to get back into the street, clamping her arms to her torso with his hands on her cloak fabric.
"I should never have left. I shouldn't have stayed with any of you! No one would have died!either that or I should have known! I could have sent doubloons to Mary! she wasn't made for whoring. It was all my fault!" a smack carried itself across her cheek and she stopped crying but stared at Jon, a bit surprised.
"I usually would never hit a girl but you've got to stop pitying yourself and snap out of it. I didn't even know you knew a ripper victim. You can't blame yourself for everything that's happened here because as far as you knew, you were still press-ganged. you couldn't have known what was going on here." Jon lectured, "Stop acting like you have to be on top of it all the time! you need to remind yourself that you can't control everything!" Ara looked out to where the prostitute on the street corner was flirting voluptuously with an interested figure in a bowler cap and suspenders. she looked back at Jon.
"Fine. Maybe I need to stop feelin' sorry for myself." She then looked past the woman and into a tavern behind her. "But I'll need to at least get pissed drunk first" Jon smiled.
"Ara, Jon, thank fucking jesus you're back! we've had another episode.Dario's unconscious and Mercurian's shot in the leg!" Marcus grabbed Ara by the forearm to drag her along but Ara crashed to the floor laughing, Jon laughing right behind her.
"I can't be onto of it all the damn time." Ara cackled like a hyena, Jon joining in. Marcus gazed on, amazed.
"You bloody shattered?" he asked the two and they nodded, still laughing on the upper deck.
"Do you have the Ouijia board?" Asked captain Charlotte who stepped out of her study to see what had happened. It was at that moment when the good buzz died and Ara and Jon looked to each other in the last hope that the other would have taken it when they had forgotten. But alas, in the drunken rush of the night, the Oujia board had been left.
"tavern?" Jon asked.
"tavern." Ara confirmed. The captain stared them down and the two backed up.
"Demon woman angry!" Jon whimpered and Ara backed up with him, scooting herself back. Charlotte followed them over though and lifted Ara up by her shirt collar.
"you bring the ghost of your dead ex on this ship and then you fuck up the most crucial part of the night. Do you think I have the patience for your bullshit Ara?" Ara shook her head with a wide, flat mouth as she gulped and blinked with whiskey staining her breath. "where did you go to drink when you had the Ouijia board?"
"Hadrian's" Ara blurted out, "we went to Hadrian's!" Charlotte sighed and dropped her first mate to the ground.
"We all go to this place except for these two! get yourselves to bed until tomorrow!" Charlotte ordered and the two drunk pirates stumbled their way to the stairs where they both decided to go down on their bums as they crew left the ship in search of the lost Ouija board. In the meantime, the lights went out and Arabella's blood ran cold.