Autumn 1965 – A Correspondence with the Raggedy Man


Uncle Boris put a match to the wick and the tiny room filled with light. He set the glass cover back on the lantern and settled himself in the chair by the window. After gazing into the street for a few moments he turned to me. I drank directly from my flask. After a century and a half I no longer felt the need to have him refuse my offer of a drink. 

“The Invocation of the Skins?” I prompted.

He nodded. He said, “I have not forgotten. I was simply enjoying the sounds of the city going to sleep. And the rare presence of a guest that I do not intend to eat.

“The Invocation of the Skins is a necessary part of the formula for creating a host for very powerful, very malignant spirits. It requires twelve unrepentant sinners and one innocent. Finding the sinners is far simpler than locating the innocent. I suspect that your necromancers had to raise one of their own.”

I scowled. “They sacrificed one of their own children?” I asked.

Uncle Boris shrugged. He said, “It would not be unheard of. More likely they simply kidnapped a baby and raised it in a locked room.”