Jones halted the horse outside the Westgate meatpacking facilities and jumped down. Talia crawled around in the back of the cart, securing a holy cross around the corpse’s neck before joining him, shovels in hand.
“Why do we need the shovels?” Jones asked. “There’s no grave.”
Talia just shrugged and pushed one against his chest until he took it. Then she gaily marched to the backdoor, singing Latin airily. It took her little time to break open the lock and let them both into the dark meatpacking plant.
“So where’s this corpse?” Jones asked, pushing the door to.
Talia pulled a candle from her pocket and lit the wick, handing it to Jones. He juggled with the candle and shovel while trying to get a glove on to protect against the wax.
“So?” he pressed as they roamed the empty building.
Talia just kept walking and singing. Dominus omnium vigiliis semper paternum ducit, numquam. The words floating around Jones’ head, echoing against the stone walls. He had no idea what they meant and could never tell if she was singing a real song or making it up as she went. For all he knew, she wasn’t even singing Latin. What he did know was that she either enjoyed elaborate plots to string him along, or she had an uncanny ability to find dead things. All she ever needed was a location and a song and before long, voila, corpse. Some of them, she would have had to have put the body there herself to be able to find it, and yet she did, and as far as he knew, wasn’t the one who stashed it away.
“How do you even get these jobs?” he asked.
Talia glanced back at him and smiled without breaking the song.
“How do you know there’s a corpse somewhere that...Satan is going to possess or whatever? I mean, really, you sing a little song and it...what? Draws you toward the body? And what do you even do with them? We take them to the church and then what? Do you burn them? Bury them again? What?”
Talia’s song lowered in volume, and a look of deep concentration crossed her face as she slowed to a stop in front of a door. She carefully reached out and touched the handle, Latin whispering past her lips, then turned it, opening the door. Jones followed her inside, gripping the shovel a little tighter.
A snippet of Talia’s song brushed past them like a bolt of wind and Jones spun to follow it. Nothing was there, nothing had been there, but when he turned back to Talia, she was grinning in that way she had when they were close to a corpse.
She pushed deeper into the room, revealing it to be an office of some kind. A man’s naked body lay face down on the floor.
“That it?” Jones asked.
Talia nodded and Jones stepped toward it. He didn’t have time for this Latin nonsense or delusions or wind or whatever was going on. Get in, get out, keep the cash coming. That was the motto he lived by and it worked for him. He looked down at the corpse, but didn’t touch it.
“What’s it doing here?” he asked. “How did he die?”
Talia kept singing, but she closed her eyes and then slipped in between phrases, “In extreme ecstasy.”
Jones cleared his throat. “And, uh, what does that mean exactly?”
She pointed at the naked body. “What do you think?”
“But in a meat factory?”
“His place of work. It was an affair.”
Jones grimaced. “Lucky us.”
Talia only chuckled, focusing again on her singing. Jones took a breath, then hoisted up the corpse over his shoulder. The candle blew out. He stopped, looking toward Talia. In the dim light, he could just make out her eyes and teeth shining in the darkness.
“Jesu Christe, kyrie eleison,” Talia sang softly, then paused.
Moments later a screaming wind rushed past them, and they both staggered away from. Jones was sure though that he had heard the words back within the wind. Then it came shrieking back toward them.
“That is not a corpse,” he shouted over it as it blasted around the room.
“That’s a demon,” she said.
“Why is it speaking Latin?”
“It’s not. Close though. Oh. Brace yourself, Jones!”
“You’re about to be possessed.”
[part 2 of 3 of the short story, divvied up for your convenience]