As Tim rounded the corner into the clearing, he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.
It was hauntingly beautiful - trees were scattered about the humongous network of sidewalks, with well-kept plots of grass placed at ideal points throughout. The pools were the most haunting of all: Two 4000 square meter pools sat on the sites of each building, constructed entirely of black marble. Around the pools were the engraved names of every victim of the attack. John Arthur, Timothy Arbold, Elizabeth Carpetti and her unborn child...
Tim had witnessed this event happen, but it still took him completely out of it to revisit the site again.
Emma and Tim had drove in the night before, checked in at a Marriott, and slept under the assumption that today they would scout out the 9/11 Memorial. After eating breakfast and coming straight here, Tim wasn't entirely sure this was a good plan.
"I'll admit," Emma said, touching one of the names on the memorial. "Joseph McGherig... The feeling is electric."
Tim nodded. Around the memorial, hundreds of people were walking around and looking at the exhibits. Both American tourists and foreigners alike were here, but only the Americans truly understood the pain. A Japanese couple was smiling, getting their picture taken in front of the North Tower.
Suddenly, Tim's eye caught a figure by the couple. It was clearly a ghost, wearing a white mask and torn up, bloody clothes. He seemed to be staring down the couple in absolute rage.
Over the course of a minute, Tim began to notice more masked spirits wandering around the compound - some crying, others screaming... A few sat on the ground, motionless.
"Emma?" Tim said, trying not to look directly at them.
"I see them, Tim." She responded.
The energy coming from them was palpable. "Are these the victims?"
"I think so." Emma closed her tourist pamphlet and placed it gingerly inside her purse. "It's remarkable they haven't moved on by now?"
Tim smiled sadly. "Maybe..." He closed his eyes again. "Maybe what we're about to do can help with that."
Emma smiled back. "It will, Tim. It will." She began to look around with a wary eye. "Our main problem is the location. We're not exactly going to be able to put on a play for these people. The foreign tourists, maybe... But not the majority. They're here to grieve, not for entertainment."
"Well, shit." Tim kicked at the sidewalk with his hands in his pockets. Then a thought crossed his mind. "Umm, Emma... Recite the first couple lines of that ritual, would you?"
She looked confused, but replied nonetheless. "Upon this sacred hour, we open the door to the unseen. The unbelieved..."
"That's enough." Tim smiled. "Those words seem awfully universal, don't they? How would you feel about conducting a memorial service?"
Emma went to object, then pondered the thought - finally folding her arms and looking at Tim. "Not in this dress, I sure as hell won't."