The Dead Return

“The dead return. I know they do...” ~ Edgar Guest

I was at my desk in my office on the second floor of The Nightingale reviewing the financial reports from the damage rendered to New Toulouse during Hurricane Charles when I heard someone enter the bar downstairs. I looked at the clock. Hmm. Midday. It must be Mr. Breitman coming to update me on his builds, I thought.

“Mr. Breitman?”, I called, “I’m up here in the office.”

I heard him coming up the stairs as I bent back over the report. “You know”, I said, “I think we are going to need to increase our exports of Absinthe throughout the Steamlands in order to cover these damage costs.” I sighed and looked up...

Standing in front of me was Mama Cree. Carricre Wind. The founder of New Toulouse.

I blinked. Still there. Blinked again. Yep, still there.

I slowly rose to my feet. My heart was racing. My head was spinning, and yet at the same time I clearly thought, this is New Toulouse Gabi. You know the magic that bubbles beneath the surface here. Strong magic.

“Carricre...”, I stammered, “ that you?”.

“As far as I can tell I am, but I've had an unusual night”, she said.

I must not forget my proper Duchess manners, I thought, even if this does happen to be the strangest call I have ever experienced.

“Please, do sit down”, I said. She sat down placidly across from me as I sank into my chair. Oh how I needed that chair! My legs would not have been able to hold me upright much longer.

“I....I am not sure what to say”, I said, “umm...long time no see?”

“Seems so, doesn't feel like a long time, but from the changes... looks like I've been... away... a while.”

“ were dead”, I said.

“As you can see, I ain't dead”, said Carricre.

“But you were...”, I said.

“If that's where I was, that ain't where I am now.”, replied Carricre.

Indeed, I thought!

“We did bury you...”, I said.

“So I gather, but I don't remember it.”, she said.

“In a tomb...Mari Moonbeam put out a lovely picture of you on it”, I said.

“Ah oui, that's where...”, she started to say as I expressed my thoughts out loud, “This explains the report I received on the damaged crypt in the St. Louis Cemetery just this morning!”, I exclaimed.

I sat thinking for a moment. “Well, you would not be the first person to return from the dead in New Toulouse. Miss Obedience Mactavish returned from the dead in quite a dramatic way at the New Toulouse Halloween Ball in 1909 (2009)”, I said, “Do you...know how this happened?”

“Nope, last I recall I... well that's the funny thing. I can't recall. I remember traveling, there's bits and pieces, but the only thing clear is last night. Waking up here. I got back to Lafitte's and well, was a bit shocked. Seems that it ain't exactly mine anymore?”, she asked.

“Lafitte’s...”, I said, “Well, I turned it into a community ‘monument’”, I explained, “And the estate has been covering its cost. If you want it back, I would be happy to sell you the deed to the place. And then there is the question of the cost of the damaged tomb...”

“I can cover the damages to the tomb, and... buy back the bar?”, she asked.

“You have the money to so do?”, I asked, “I don’t recall burying money with you.”

Carricre grinned. “I have it.”

“Well then, you can have the bar back and I'll draw up a new deed and bill you for the tomb”, I said.

It does not matter how strange or stressful a situation is, my business woman instincts automatically kick in.

“Mesi!”, said Mama Cree.

I smiled at her, and then said then very first thing that came to my mind, in spite of this amazing situation...

“Welcome home Mama Cree.”