Time is irrelevant; place is everything.
That had been the first, and most important, lesson my father had taught me. “Wanderers, or what other people call spirits, transcend time. Instead, they haunt a place–a specific location–even if it changes as the years go forward. Or backward.”
We had never found one single factor that caused a Wanderer to get stuck. It was most often a combination of a few things, many of which had to do with love: unrequited love, lost love, lost lovers. Many also had to do with death. It was our job as Boosters to find them and help them move on. To where, none of us ever knew. To whatever comes next naturally: the great beyond, the next plane, the next state of being.
Dad was fifth-generation Booster and, while the handbook never explicitly forbid women, I was the first girl in the family to take up the family business. The sense of selflessness and rightness attracted me from a young age. And Dad was impressed with my skill–he called me Tuning Fork for my uncanny ability to find a Wanderer on my first look. You’d be surprised how many of the Lost are out there, and equally surprised by how many of the living want them gone. We were never lacking for business.
On his days off, Dad hung out with his friends down at The Waterfront, slugging back pints of Newkie Brown and just passing the time. I was just finishing up a job at the other end of town–a young woman dead in childbirth needed a lot of coaxing to let go–when I got the call from Jack, the Waterfront’s bartender.
Dad was dead. Whether a heart attack, aneurysm, stroke, whatever. The fact was, he was gone. Or was he? I got there as quickly as I could, knowing–hoping–that I could find him before he departed.
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