Today is the darkest day of the year, the winter solstice, when the sun is over the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere for the shortest amount of time in a day. It always perplexed me as a child that the shortest day was the start of winter, and not the middle of winter. After all, for the next few months it gets colder in New England where I live. It seemed to me only common sense that the coldest days should be the shortest days, a bit of common sense that just didn’t happen to fit the actual facts of the case. I didn’t know anything about how heat is captured and retained by the soil, the oceans, and the atmosphere, or jet streams, or anything like that.
But to every dark day comes some light, except if you live in the polar regions, so I here offer the 21st chapter of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “Finding homes.” Sanderson has to get home herself, and then figure out how to get the three remaining ghosts to their rest. And for once, she doesn’t mind her expectations being confounded.
Sanderson needs a plan to take the ghosts home, if she can figure out what home means for ghosts that have been dead for over a century. So she invents one. As you might expect, it’s not perfect! See what happens in chapter 20 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “Ghost conductor.” All aboard!
There’s a line in the film An American Werewolf in London, in which the ghost of the protagonist’s friend says to him something like, “You know what’s it’s like being dead? It’s boring!” Well, I suppose when you’re part of a race of beings best known for saying “Boo,” being bored is more likely than not. The ghosts Sanderson has raised have been anything but boring, but they don’t always seem to be on the same wavelength as normal people, never more so than in chapter 19 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “Talking with ghosts and other difficult people.”
So, more ghosts. Rather than reeling from fatigue, Sanderson’s going to do it right this time . . . if she can figure out what that entails! Time for some thinking in chapter 18 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “It’s a matter of timing.” And with Christmas only seven days away, the story has no more than six chapters left.
If you’re going to be facing a ghost, it would be helpful to be at the peak of your abilities. However, Sanderson has woken up in the middle of the night with a hangover, and is feeling as observant as a dead parrot. (If you don’t understand the reference, see this video.) Read how the confrontation works out in chapter 17 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “Old problems are new problems.”
Our story returns to the present, where Sanderson and Valerie Thompson have been hiking out of the hills back toward Farnham. Sanderson could use some rest, but she knows they need to tackle the soul-eater soon before others die. However, nothing goes quite as she expected, in chapter 16 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “In which we return to the present, where Sanderson’s plans are undone.”
Abigail Lane of the Office of Occult Affairs and Charles Horner of the Secret Service have to find a way to get into the Maverick Mine to defeat the soul-eater and rescue the miners. But Abigail has never gone up against a soul-eater before. On the other hand, the soul-eater has never dealt with the likes of Abigail before! Read what happens in chapter 15 of Nightfeather: Ghosts, “Back in 1896, part II.”