“Do you have it?” Gale asked. He held out a small vial.
She gave him an insulted look. “Of course, I do. What do you take me for? One of your regular fucking idiots?” She held out a ghostly white finger and he watched as some of he essence filled the vial like smoke.
He almost laughed and would have, if not for the look upon her face. “No, of course not.”
“Good.” Charlotte said. “I’m not here to play around.” She made a motion with her hand that looked as if she were cutting the air. A man stepped out of the shadows. He loomed tall and looked down upon him with an unsmiling face.
“This is my associate Teddy. He will give you everything you need.” She made that motion again, as if the air around her could be cut to shreds.
A bag of money landed on the table with a solid thunk! that made him jump.
She let out a shrill cackle that scratched at his skin like a hand of nails. “Are the living always so jumpy? Or is it just you?” She said.
She made that cutting motion one final time and was gone as if she had never been there.
Teddy said nothing. Gale sighed, took the bag of money and left while he still had all his limbs intact.
“We’re running out of time.” Jax said.
Gale’s voice was tense when he replied. “I know.”
“You probably shouldn’t have taken her money.”
“I know, but when have you ever known me to turn down a client?”
Jax stroked his left cheek. “You never do. But this time, you should have.”
“You know the rules. They come to me to live again. They pay me and I find them a body. Simple as that.”
Jax gave him a hard look, narrowing his green eyes and looking even more beautiful to Gale. “You know it’s not that simple.”
“Fine, do you want the advert text? Live beyond the mortal border of skin!”
Jax gave him an even harder look reducing his eyes to slits. “You know it’s not that simple, Gale! Why’d you take her fucking money? You have to find a body that is willing to take a soul across the border of its skin. We’ve been over this before.”
Gale took Jax’s face in his hands. “Why are you so upset?”
“You didn’t know her when she was alive, Gale. She’s not called the black widow for nothing. She cut the necks of nine husbands. Your week is almost up. What are you going to do if you don’t find a body?”
Gale shivered. “I don’t know. I’ve looked in all the normal places. Morgue’s, funeral parlors, you know. But I can’t find any shell willing to take her beyond the barrier of its skin.” He frowned in worry.
“How much time do you have left?”
Gale swallowed thickly. “I have one day.”
He tried not to pace. He tried but wasn’t doing a very good job. He knew that he would not be able to find a body for the Black Widow. He had communicated with every cadaver that he could find, male or female, and no one wanted to even consider it.
People didn’t know that the skin also held its own magic within its barriers. Only spirits that were welcome could cross. Gale had carried the tiny vial and tried to see if any bodies would take her spirit, if the skin would let her live again. He hadn’t found any takers.
“I don’t know what to do.” Gale whispered urgently.
Jax had a thoughtful look on his face. “What kind of body does it have to be?”
Turning, Gale gave him a look of confusion. “What do you mean? A body is a body, any body will do.”
“Yes, but does it have to be…human? She just wants to live again, right? If you say that any body will do…”
“…I just need to find one.”
Jax narrowed his eyes and looked into the dark corners of their bedsit. “You say that she was called the Black Widow?”
“Yes, she was.”
“Then this will do nicely.” Jax said, grabbing a tea cup and reaching into the dark with it. He brought his hands back into the light and Gale saw a black spider quivering inside the cup. “You say that there is a magic inside the skin, the mortal barrier, but what if the creature isn’t mortal? There would be no such resistance, would there?”
A look of dawning comprehension came over Gale’s face. “I really do love how your brain works. But there is one concern.”
“What is that?”
“I’ve only ever used human spirits and human bodies. There is no telling what will happen if I try to put a human spirit inside that of an insect.”
“What is the alternative?”
“Teddy returns with Charlotte’s spirit and he kills me.”
“Well, we can’t have that, now can we?”
“No, I suppose not.”
Gale reached into his jacket and took out the vial containing the fingerprint of Charlotte’s spirit. Gently, he undid the stopper and poured the contents over the spider.
The spider began to glow, the black softening to grey as if it were made of shadows. The glowing intensified and Gale knew that the spirit was taking over that of the spiders. When it stopped, they both looked down into the cup.
Charlotte blinked her eyes. “Well, I must say, I feel marvellous. Wait, why are there eight of you, Gale?”
“Well, you said you wanted another body. I found you one.”
Charlotte made a cutting motion with one of her legs. “What body did you find for me Gale?” She contorted herself and looked. “You absolute bastard! We had a deal!”
“The deal was to find you a body. I have done so.”
Gale went to the window and threw the spider into the air. Where it landed, he never knew.