The Séance

Edward Task was a liar, a charlatan, and a thief. The séance would be his final act of fraud.

A story in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft.


1. Chapter 1

     Edward Task was a liar, a charlatan, and a thief. He was also a spirit medium or at least claimed to be. The proceeds from which allowed him to afford an apartment on the upper east side of West Burough. This apartment was moderately furnished and tastefully decorated. Just enough to fool the average person that Task was living barely within his means.

    One day as he was taking a relaxing cup of tea in his living room, he heard a very slight rapping on his door. At first he very slight rapping on his door. At first he thought that he must have been imagining it but the rapping continued.

    Upon opening the door he was surprised to see a very diminutive woman clutching a black parasol. She did not look up at Task as she asked, “May I come in?” in a slightly gruff voice unlike her appearance.

    “Why certainly Madam.” replied Task, slightly taken aback by her sudden appearance and demeanor.

    As the woman entered she folded her parasol and deposited it in the container by the door. Task finally got a good look at her and noticed that her tiny features were a stark contrast to her voice.

    She was not an ugly woman, but there was something about her which Task found to be unsettling. Her skin was far too pale and her eyes reminded him of a dead fish. Still Task kindly showed her to his parlour and offered her a cup of tea, which she hastily declined.

    “I must say that I have heard nothing but good things about you Mr. Task. Even the illustrious Arthur Conan Doyle recommended me to you. He told me that you were able to contact his dearly departed mother and that it was of great solace to him. According to everyone, you are worth every penny of your not quite cheap rates.”

    Task smiled at this, he had done hundreds of sessions and because of his careful planning and execution, they had all gone off without a problem.

    “So then may I assume that you have come to me with a similar request?”

    The woman smiled strangely and looked to her side. “Yes and no. I would like you to contact my father.”

    Task was used to this and wondered why she seemed to find it strange.

    “Ahhh yes, when one loses a family member it can be quite a trying experience to come to terms with.”

    “Indeed, though I did nothing but hate him when he was alive. Still there is something which I must ask him.” The woman looked down towards the floor as if in shame.

    Task raised an eyebrow, “I see, well this is a rather interesting turn of events. I don’t believe that I have ever encountered a situation quite like yours.”

    The woman met Task’s eyes and a clarity seemed to fill them. “I just have a feeling that he is not yet gone.”

    “As this is not a usual situation I may have to charge you more than my normal rates. Is this okay with you?”

    “Oh yes, I have no shortage of coin in which to pay you.”

    Task stood upright and clasped his hands together. “Excellent, we will get started immediately. I am going to need a few of his personal items. A watch or something similar, a photo of the man and one more item of your choosing.”

    Task would pocket the watch, blame it on the spirit and sell it later. The photo was for Task’s own trick and the third item was a ruse in order to direct attention elsewhere. Task had been doing this for so long that he had it down to a science.

    The woman nodded rapidly indicating that it would not be a problem. Task led her towards the door and opened it ushering her towards it. When she had retrieved her parasol, Task laid his hand gently upon her shoulder. “Return tomorrow before midnight. I will begin my preparations immediately.”


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