Death Perfected Excerpt 11

“I can’t believe we’re doing this.”

Vivian, Camilla, and Elijah whispered amongst themselves at the edge of the group. A guided tour of Bohnice’s psychiatric hospital cemetery was an unusual departure from the nights spent at the Toxic Mistress. That is not to say that Vivian wasn’t intrigued by the paranormal enthusiasts checking their equipment and setting up fixed cameras at points of interest.

The epicenter of activity centered around their tour guide, a delightful man named Hassan Sumbal. A headlamp was affixed above his forehead, allowing him to guide his would-be followers through the graves. He nervously fidgeted with his glasses when he wasn’t spouting off random facts about Bohnice Cemetery.

“Please take a moment to check the EMF meters that you received at the gates and—”

“Mr. Sumbal, what does EMF stand for?”

He glanced down at his clipboard and nervously shuffled through his papers.

“…Let’s save questions for the end, shall we? All right, a few announcements first. For those of you who think it’s romantic to make out in the chapel, I have two words for you. Just don’t. I’m going to raise hell if I have to deal with another public spectacle like the last tour. Don’t wander off by yourself, always listen to my instructions and if you see any ghoulish faces in the mist, I should be the first to know. Or say nothing and we’ll all die and become permanent attractions for the next cemetery tour. Do all of that—except the last part—and you might make it out alive. Maybe. No promises. Okay, who’s ready to look for paranormal activity?”

“I’m detecting some abnormal activity,” Vivian said, eyeing Hassan. “What’s the deal with this guy?”

“His name is Hassan Sumbal. I heard he was working at Bohnice as a psychiatrist before an incident led to his demotion. He’s been suspended and put in charge of the paranormal cemetery tour.”

“What kind of incident?”

“The kind of incident where he became a little too friendly with one of his female patients… Something you guys wouldn’t know anything about, right?”

Elijah glanced quizzically at Vivian and mouthed, Does she know?

“Yes, she knows about our sexcapade.”

“Actually, not that much. You didn’t finish telling me everything.”

Eyes wide with shock, Elijah preoccupied himself with a brochure from the tour.

“Clearly, patient-psychiatrist confidentiality doesn’t apply to me.”

“We kind of erased that boundary when we fucked.”

“Jesus, guys!” Camilla shouted. “There’s a time and place for this!”

No sooner had the words left their lips, they realized their tour guide was looking wickedly in their direction. It seemed their sexually-charged banter had already landed them on Hassan’s shit list.

As Elijah hid his face in a brochure, Vivian regarded the complementary EMF meter that she received at the cemetery gates. The sensor was designed to detect any abnormalities in the electric and magnetic fields. Many interpreted spikes in the EMF signal as spirits trying to manifest themselves in bursts of electromagnetic energy.

“Remind me again why we’re here,” Elijah muttered.

“The paranormal tour is the easiest way to infiltrate Bohnice Hospital. If we play this right, one of us can get into the hospital and access the killer’s records. We might be able to corroborate his institutionalization within the same window of time when the original plastination killings stopped.”

“That much I know. There’s something else you aren’t telling me, for fear I’m going to object. Isn’t that right?”

“All will be answered in time.”

“Including my question about our date?”

“Yes, I’m getting to that, too.”

“I suppose a little waiting couldn’t hurt my chances—hey, why are you pointing that EMF reader at me?”

“You claim to be dead. I’m humoring you with a little test, that’s all.”

“Vivian!” Camilla snatched the meter from her hand. As she scanned the assembly of paranormal investigators, she was struck by a burst of inspiration. It was precisely the kind of opportunity they needed to sneak into the hospital. She pulled Vivian close and whispered in her ear. Whatever Camilla said seemed to hold the Red Widow’s interest. A few smiles and sniggers later, Vivian rejoined Elijah.

“What was that about?” he asked. “And where is she going?”

Camilla peeled away from their group and walked steadfastly toward the cemetery chapel. The crumbling architecture was made all the more beautiful by the creeping ivy and moss that was intent on dragging it underground. A lone, wooden cross stood askew inside the gutted chapel. The husk evoked nostalgia in Camilla as she thought of the original Vesely Manor. Not so long ago, it had been reduced to a fiery pile of ashes. The man everyone loved to hate, Detective Nikolai Koslov, played a crucial role in that arson.

However, the manor had been reconstructed in the years since its tragic downfall. Vivian couldn’t justify wasting another second mourning a home that never truly felt like hers.

As nostalgia tried to maintain its grip on her, she looked down at the EMF sensor in her hand.

“It-it’s moving! I think I’m picking up paranormal activity!” Several tourists froze in the dead of the night, paralyzed by Camilla’s voice.

“Mr. Sumbal, please come here! It felt like something just brushed past me!”

“But we haven’t even approached the chapel yet,” Hassan said in confusion “Let me see that—”

As soon as he touched the meter, Camilla screamed, causing Hassan to scream in turn.

“Didn’t you see that blip on the screen?!”

“I-I don’t know! That could’ve been anything—”

“There it was again!”

“I saw it, too!” a tourist said, leaning over Camilla’s shoulder. In a matter of seconds, men and women were checking their meters and trying to determine the source of paranormal activity.

Camilla shrieked again and dropped her meter. It wasn’t long before the tour group fell into chaos.

One tourist began wildly snapping pictures with his thermal-imaging camera, which captured the red blood vessels in Hassan’s outraged face.

“Put the camera down! Wait, no—do not pull that door off the mausoleum! You can’t hide in there, sir! Everyone calm the hell down!”

His pleas for peace were ignored as paranormal enthusiasts fanned out among the graves. On the other spectrum of the chaos, the faint of heart fell over themselves to flee Hassan’s disastrous tour.

Vivian and Elijah splintered off from the group and crept toward the hospital.

“She plays the part very well,” Elijah mused. “Camilla continues to impress, exploiting the weakness of group mentality and all.”