“Please try to control yourself,” Nicky replied reaching for a potted lily plant in her back seat.
“Hey, if you’re the one going to be possessed by a spirit, I’m going to have live vicariously through you,” Angie said, finally lifting the hood of her raincoat over her head. “Do you know where your spirit is buried?”
Nicky checked the map and looked around at the paths leading up through the cemetery. She pointed off to a path on the right. “I think up this path, winding around a bit. There is a handful of Russian families buried in the area including the Stanislavs.”
“And who are the Stanislavs?” Angie asked trying to keep pace with Nicky up the rain-slicked path.
“It’s her sister’s married name. Viera and Dimitry Stanislav. They were the original owners of the house.” Nicky turned toward Angie. “Do you think I’ve lost my mind?”
“No, I’m just jealous. Of the two of us, the one who should be possessed should be me. I’m the one who saw ghosts since I was a child. I’m the one they appear to.” Angie gazed around the distressed marble grave stones. “Look around, can’t you see them?” she asked, seeing the shady silhouettes of people.
Nicky didn’t bother looking. She could feel their presence. The cemetery was more crowded than an Independence Day parade and twice as much oppressive. “I just have interest in one spirit.”
“Yes. Maybe we’ll see her,” Angie said.
It was a thought Nicky didn’t have before now. What if Kira Karimov was lingering by her grave? What if she came face to face with the woman who captured her soul? “We’ll find out soon.”
For the next stretch of the path they walked in silence, both absorbing the energy of the cemetery in their own way. Nicky didn’t have to check the map. She knew upon first sight and veered off the path as if guided by an invisible energy. Angie trailed behind her beaming with unfettered excitement.
Nicky came to the grave which bore the name: Kira Alexandrovna Karimov. The date of her lifespan etched in marble: 1894-1969. She stood at the edge of the gravesite, imagining the bones buried below. The woman who painted such somber works of art now a decaying skeleton. A sickening feeling gurgled in Nicky’s stomach, as a chill ran down her spine.
“Are you okay?” Angie asked.
She shook her head numbly. “I dunno.”
Angie removed the potted lily from Nicky’s hands and set it next to the headstone. “She’s not here.”
Overwhelmed with emotion, Nicky started to cry. “Are you sure?”
Angie rose, looked down at the grave, the name etched in the headstone and around the surrounding area. “Yeah, she’s gone. Moved on. Not like the others haunting here. I can ask the other spirits if you want.” She turned to see the stress in her best friend’s face and laughed, “Unless she’s in you.”
“I’m sorry,” Nicky said tearfully to all who were listening – Angie, the spirit inside her and all the rest of the lingering ghosts. “But if I wasn’t supposed to come here, why did she bring me? What does she want me to see? What about her relatives? Any of the Stanislavs?”
“No.” Wrapping her arm around Nicky’s shoulder, Angie looked at the grave. “Her. Maybe she didn’t get the attention she needed in life, she wanted to be noticed in death. Perhaps she longs to be honored like all artists.”
Nicky wiped her tears. “Yes. That’s it. I think. I don’t know.”
“Anything else you want to say to her before we head back to the car?”
She took a deep breath. “Yes. Can you give us a moment?”
Angie backed away. “Sure, I’ll go chat with the other ghosts wandering about.”
When she left her side, Nicky knelt onto the soggy ground. She touched the wet grass and even dared to run her hand over the distressed marble. “What do you want? Anything. I’m listening and I’m here to serve you. Just guide me in the right direction.” Hearing no immediately response from the spirit, she rose to her feet. “I’ll keep my eyes, ears and mostly my heart open.”
She backed away from the grave and strolled toward Angie who was engaged in a conversation with no one, but many spirits. She slowed as she neared her, sensing the energy which surrounded her friend.
Angie turned to greet Nicky. “So many stories here.”
“You should write a book, Tales of the Dead.”
“They make the best subjects. They hold nothing back.” Angie linked arms with Nicky. “What about Ms. Karimov?”
“Nothing,” Nicky replied, shaking her head in disappointment.
“Well, you said she spent most of her life in solitude. Maybe she’s shy. I know a woman who may help. Maybe we can summon her.”
Nicky shook her head. “No, if she’s not ready, if she doesn’t want to be disturbed, I don’t want to bother her.”
“But she has you beguiled. She must have something to say.”