The meeting with Father Blackman left me in a foul mood. I strode into my hotel room and threw my purse on the bed.
“Anthony,” I shouted; “Get your spectral butt in here.”
He materialized reluctantly, with his face turned away from me. “I don't know why you want me here,” he said petulantly.
“Tomorrow is the date set to remove Hank's ghost from the house. You're going to help.”
Anthony turned slowly. “I can't help you. I'm not corporeal, remember.”
“So you can't hold incense or pick up holy water. That doesn't matter. The one thing I need you to hold is as insubstantial as you.” I strode towards him, determined to make him face me. “You're going to grab Hank Johnson when the rites are complete, and drag him out of the mortal realm. It's your job to make sure he leaves and stays gone.”
Anthony's eyes went wide and his form shivered. “I can't. You know I can't. If I'm close by when the rites occur, they may affect me. I could drag him out of the mortal realm and...” he stopped, frightened.
But I wasn't going to let him stop. He would face what he had done, what he had become. “What's the matter, Anthony? Are you afraid to leave the mortal realm? Scared that your maker will be waiting, waiting to make you confront your sins?
“Your spirit was left behind when your body died for some purpose. It was a second chance to do something right. I don't know what you were meant to do, but I believed you would and could do it. That is, I did believe in you. Right up until the moment you betrayed the Undead Bar Association. Anthony, the undead traitor,” I ground out.
Anthony cried out and floated back, through the bed. “You know,” he gasped.
“Yes. The last piece fell into place when I was in Paris. I knew we'd been betrayed, and it didn't take much to figure out who did it. You put me on the Johnson case to get me out of Amarillo. You encouraged me to go to Paris when everyone else was against it, because it would get me even further away from what you were trying to hide.”
“You don't understand, Maryanne. I didn't have a choice. These people, the powers that they have...the things they can do...” Anthony swallowed hard. I watched the phantom Adam's apple jump in his throat. “They said they would bring back Ginny's spirit. They would bring back my girl, and torture her.”
I shook my head. “And you believed them.”
“You haven't seen what they can do,” Anthony screamed.
“The hell I haven't. I saw plenty in Paris. They're not infallible. They can be stopped. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice, but they can be stopped.” I glared at Anthony and said with disgust, “I can't believe you trusted them. You should have trusted me, and the rest of the Undead Bar Association.”
“I was scared.”
“You were a coward. I expected better from you.”
Anthony bowed his head.
“You're going to appear at the Johnson house tomorrow and do what needs to be done. No arguments,” I said.
“Why should I?”
“Because one day your spirit will be called out of the mortal realm, and you should have at least one good deed to your name. I'm giving you a chance. It may be your last.”
Anthony lifted his head slowly. He sneered. “You giving me a shot at redemption? That's a joke. You're the right hand of the devil.”
“That's no concern of yours. I know the punishment that's waiting for me, and I'll get it in due time. But I'll have some accounting of good for all the mistakes I've made. Will you?”
We glared at each other in silence. After a long moment Anthony sighed.
“You're a tough one, baby,” he muttered. He nodded once then faded away.