A World of Steam and Sorcery
Middle Class Human Spiritualist
Grandmother was a mischievous old hag, and I do mean that in the nicest of ways. Indeed, I loved my grandmother, but she truly was a witch of a woman. I believe most of my talent in the magnetic arts may have come from her. Though she was a touch of a charlatan by trade she still had moments of wonder and insight that only those spiritually attuned could attain.
Grandmother ran a spiritualist parlor on the upper floor of my grandfather’s old book shop. To her friends she was Martha, to me she was Grandmother, but to the rest of the world she was “Madame Eva Carrére”. Most of her events were staged things. A few wires here, some well-timed “ectoplasm” there and the guests would be swearing up and down that their great grand uncle was in the room speaking with them. She even had me hide underneath the table on occasion in the to spook the patrons and shake the table. She really did have the sight though, and on occasion the gathered Ladies and Gentlemen got a real treat as Grandmother began speaking with the voice of some restless relative. It wasn’t that much of a surprise to her then when I first channeled the dead.
When you begin a séance, you actively call spirits to you. This was the first lesson of being a spirit medium I learned. After watching a particularly spectacular event where Grandmother channeled King Charles III in front of a crowd of awestruck aristocrats, my youth addled sense of adventure decided it would be exciting to try communicating with a long dead princess of Egypt. I waited until both of my grandparents were busy in the evenings to sneak into the parlor and called to what I imagined was a lovely, gentle young lady of the Nile valley. When my Grandmother finally came back she found me huddled in a corner surrounded by an angry whirlwind of faux mystical items.
The gig was up. I knew it, Grandmother knew it, and all I could think of was how much trouble I would be in for playing in the parlor. Grandmother, however, was so proud that I had inherited the gift that it was at least an hour of fawning over me. Eventually she got annoyed enough with the restless spirit I had called up to trick it into leaving. It’s much easier that way and there isn’t any extra energy expended. That was the day I began my training.
As much as I had a spiritual connection with Grandmother, I must admit my favorite guardian was Grandfather. Most of the time Grandfather acted as a no-nonsense individual, however in hindsight I think it may have been the stress of running his bookstore. Stress of which I can certainly relate to now. However, when store was closed for the night and the employees returned home, Grandfather truly came to life.
Grandfather was full of stories. His tales of adventure and mysticism would always fascinate me, but he took extra care with his accounts of mystery. He would always tell me “you could take all of the treasures in the world from me and I wouldn’t care a bit, but take it with a good bit of intrigue and I will hunt it to the ends of the earth”. If I’m being truly honest with myself, these fantasies of the deductive realm were more of what inspired me to join with a private investigation firm rather than any sort of sense of duty, but I digress.
Both of my grandparents died while I was in my late twenties. Grandfather had an illness of the heart for some time and had become bed ridden the previous year. I had taken over most of the management duties in the bookshop and was in the office when I heard a large bump overhead. I still don’t know what caused me to rush up to find out but there he was sprawled out on the floor next to the bed in spasms. He passed. There wasn’t anything I or Grandmother could do to help him.
Grandmother and I dealt with our grief in our own ways. She locked herself in her parlor for days on end. To the best of my knowledge now I believe she was trying to contact him. I do know I lost myself in my own loneliness.
I started speaking with him – pretending he was there just so I could have a conversation with another person who I could connect with. Eventually it became habit to address Grandfather like he was still there in the room, and I guess that habit has stayed with me to this day.
I lost Grandmother a week after Grandfather passed. What the general populace doesn’t really understand is how dangerous a true séance can be. I didn’t realize it until my first channeling, but its why most of the events Grandmother held in her parlor were only an act to make the customer happy. This time Grandmother wasn’t acting. This time she was trying a grand summon, trying to force my Grandfather to contact her. Problem was that as painful as Grandfather’s passing looked, he still passed in relative peace and with few regrets. When you begin a séance, you are actively calling spirits to you and not everyone who comes knocking is friendly. Now Grandma stays in the bookshop as a full time permanent resident.
It’s not all bad really. Sure, I get the occasional plate hurled at my head, or I’ll come downstairs to find that all the books have reversed their order on the shelves, but at least the demon she summoned was satisfied with only trapping her soul on the mortal realm and leaving with her body. And a hole in the wall of the parlor.
Either way, shortly after I informed the authorities of her death I was approached by my grandparents’ attorney with their last will and testament. They had left me with their entire estate and a letter. The estate wasn’t much of a surprise – I was after all their last living relative. The letter on the other hand left me in a bit of shock. It was a fascinating story written to me by my Grandfather.
In the letter, Grandfather detailed information about my parents and the manner of their deaths. Mind you, growing up I wasn’t all that fixated on my parents. They died long before I ever knew them and that was that, but this was different. According to Grandfather my parents were murdered in cold blood in an alleyway. No one could identify their manner of death and the only clue found was a single white feather on folded in each of their hands. To this day, Scotland Yard has not closed the case. Naturally, the intrigue had me and before I knew it I was off on a hunt to find my parent’s murderer to bring them to justice. Perhaps this “GingerStache” private investigation firm can help me.