"Is it feeling any better, Emma?" Tim asked.
Emma, who was still clutching her stomach in agony, glared at Tim. "The hell do you think?" She spat blood. "My body is trying to tear itself inside-out... I'm shaking with pain, and you asking stupid questions isn't helping at all!"
Tim sighed and handed her another cold compress. "Fair point."
The Nameless One had brought them back to their hotel room and left them with Shimisani-San, who was staring creepily at them from the doorway. Emma's new "master" had gone out to make certain arrangements and put out the word that a memorial service was happening the following night. He had already gotten just under one hundred people to commit to attend, as communicated to Emma and Tim by Shimisani.
Say what you will about his ethics, but the guy knows how to plug a phony memorial service. Whatever that means. Tim considered, wiping off Emma's forehead with a rag. "Hey, Em... Do you know why you're experiencing this soul-splitting and I'm not?"
Emma squeezed her eyes shut and took a humongous breath. One that Tim almost couldn't believe came from such a fragile, tiny body. "Timothy, I have no idea. Otherwise don't you think I would stop this?"
"She may have no idea..." Said a female voice from behind them, "But I think I do."
Tim's head snapped around to face a female figure in semiformal business attire. Her nails were done in navy blue, with matching flats and a black suit/skirt combo.
Over her face was a white mask.
"You're one of the ghosts from ground zero." Emma gasped through the pain.
The ghost nodded. "You can call me Nora." She craned her head a bit to the right, creepily. "You are in much pain, ma'am. I feel sorry for you."
In response, Emma lowered her head and raised her eyebrows in a sign of empathy. "I can't imagine what you've gone through, though. I don't mean to make it a competition, but... It kills me to see spirits so lost as yourself."
Shrugging, Nora walked over to Emma and put her hand on the woman's stomach. "My pain can be fixed by what you're about to do. I just mean to ease your pain the best I can."
Suddenly each light in the room flickered. Shimisani continued to examine them, seemingly nonplussed by Nora's presence, even though he looked directly at her a lot of the time. Soon, the lights came back on fully and Emma was sitting straight up. She looked around, then at Nora. "What did you do?"
Nora's mask was gone now. In its place was a horrible display of blood and gore, peppering a once beautiful face. "I lent you some of my spiritual energy to help bind the second soul inside of you. It's not permanent, but it should ease the pain for the next 48 or so hours."
Tim grinned wildly. "Thank you so much Nora! How can we ever repay you?"
Nora gave what Tim thought was a smile. "Oh, I'm not even close to done yet. What you plan to do for me and my fellow lost souls is a debt I can hardly - if ever - repay." She looked at Shimisani. "Shimisani-san, you may want to leave the room. What you are about to hear may not be so pleasing to your ears, as it involves your master."
Emma and Tim's ears perked up. They looked over at the old Asian man, who did nothing but shrug. "I'm not overly attached. As long as he isn't present at the time of disclosure, I'm not technically required to tell him everything that goes on." He waved his hand at Nora. "Go on."
"Or that works, too." Nora returned her gaze to Emma. "That tear in the fabric of reality, Emma? Do you know the consequences of it?"
Emma nodded. "Yeah. I sure do."
"Well here's a big one that you may have missed. It sucks the largest spiritual entity in the immediate vicinity and replaces it with souls from the other side."
Tim frowned. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Nora smiled through the blood and gore. "It means that if you play this right, The Nameless One may not be that large of a problem for you much longer."