Read The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny Online
Authors: Simon R. Green
Tags: #Fantasy, #Fiction, #Contemporary
There had to be at least a hundred men and women, lost souls with their lives and identities finally restored. I recognised some of the faces. Larry and I had been talking about them earlier; familiar faces from the Nightside scene who hadn’t been seen in quite a while. Strange Harald the Junkman, in his assorted rags and tatters, asking plaintively if anyone had seen his horse. Bishop Beastly, splendid in his great scarlet cape, calling on all the spirits of the earth and air to avenge this slight to his dignity. Lady Damnation, with her corpse-pale face and fierce green eyes, licking her dark lips, eager to be about her nasty business again. Sister Igor, delicious as ever. Salvation Kane, gaunt and saturnine in his drab Puritan garb, glaring at everyone. Mistress Murmur, in a long pink ball gown, carrying a blood-soaked hatchet, as though she’d been interrupted in the middle of something. And many more besides, good and bad and somewhere in between, long gone and long thought lost. Not all of them Tommy’s fault, by any means.
We’d brought them all home, every lost soul of them.
“All right,” said Tommy. “Enough of the hugging, Larry! We were never that close. Thank you. I want to know what’s happened while I was away. Where’s Lilith, for starters? Did we win?”
“We won,” I said. “She’s gone; and she won’t be coming back.”
Tommy blinked at me, heard something in my voice, and decided not to pursue it. “How long have I been gone? Feels like years ... Like being caught forever in one of those horrible dreams where you try and talk to people, but they can’t see or hear you ...”
“That’s all over,” Larry said firmly. “I’m taking you back home, to Mum and Dad. They’ve been worried. They’ll look after you, put you back on your feet again.”
Tommy pulled a face. “You know very well I hate being fussed over. Mum’ll try and feed me up, and Dad’ll nag me about getting a proper job.”
“All the comforts of home,” said Larry. “You’re back, so be grateful. Or I will slap you one, and it will hurt. Hadleigh? What about you? Think you could find time in your busy schedule for a home visit?”
“Why not?” said Hadleigh. “Just for a while. I could use a little downtime.”
“Well, well,” I said. “The Oblivion Brothers, together again for the first time. Let the Nightside tremble, and evildoers cower in their lairs.”
“I’ve got this slap in my pocket I still haven’t used yet,” said Larry.
“Hold everything,” I said. “What about all these other returnees? We can’t walk away and leave them here. They’re going to need a lot of help and support, fitting into their old lives again or making new ones.”
“Not my business,” said Larry.
“Or mine,” said Hadleigh. “My work here is done. Thanks to you, John.”
And he looked meaningfully at me. I knew what he meant, and swore under my breath. In the past I would have contacted Walker, and he would have arranged care and comfort for these people. He might also have killed a few if he thought they needed killing ... But there wasn’t any Walker any more, thanks to me. Which meant ... it was up to me to do something. Because there wasn’t anyone else. The world has a way of arranging what it wants, and to hell with what we want. I’d have to take up Walker’s old position, for a while, because I didn’t have it in me to turn my back on people who needed help. That was why I’d become a private investigator in the first place, after all. Because there’d been no-one there to help me, when I needed it.
I’d take the position. Only until the Authorities could find someone better suited.
“I’ll phone Julien Advent,” I said. “Have the new Authorities send some people down here.”
“Where’s Walker?” said Larry. “Why isn’t he here?”
“Walker has gone to the Devil,” I said.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents