Eau de GhoulAdd to cart
They all started telling stories, then, of how fine and wonderful a thing it was to be a ghoul, of all the things they had crunched up and swallowed down with their powerful teeth. Impervious they were to disease or illness, said one of them. Why, it didn’t matter what their dinner had died of, they could just chomp it down. They told of the places they had been, which mostly seemed to be catacombs and plague-pits (“Plague Pits is good eatin’,” said the Emperor of China, and everyone agreed.) They told Bod how they had got their names and how he, in his turn, once he had become a nameless ghoul, would be named, as they had been.
“But I don’t want to become one of you,” said Bod.
“One way or another,” said the Bishop of Bath and Wells, cheerily, “you’ll become one of us. The other way is messier, involves being digested, and you’re not really around very long to enjoy it.”
“But that’s not a good thing to talk about,” said the Emperor of China.”Best to be a Ghoul. We’re afraid of nuffink!”
And all the ghouls around the coffin-wood fire howled at this statement, and growled and sang and exclaimed at how wise they were, and how mighty, and how fine it was to be scared of nothing.
Dessicated skin coated in blackened ginger, cinnamon, and mold-flecked dirt, with cumin, bitter clove, leather, and dried blood.
GhûlheimAdd to cart
Ghouls do not build. They are parasites and scavengers, eaters of carrion. The city they call Ghûlheim is something they found, long ago, but did not make. No one they call knows (if anyone human ever knew) what kind of creatures it was that made those buildings, who honeycombed the rock with tunnels and towers, but it is certain that no-one but the ghoul-folk could have wanted to stay there, or even to approach that place.
Even from the path below Ghûlheim, even from miles away, Bod could see that all of the angles were wrong — that the walls sloped crazily, that it was every nightmare he had ever endured made into a place, like a huge mouth of jutting teeth. It was a city that had been built just to be abandoned, in which all the fears and madnesses and revulsions of the creatures who built it were made into stone. The ghoul folk had found it and delighted in it and called it home.
A dark and disjointed scent: smoke and black musk, bladderwrack, opopponax, galangal, and pepper.
Miss LupescuAdd to cart
“Bod,” said Silas. “This is Miss Lupescu.”
Miss Lupescu was not pretty. Her face was pinched and her expression was disapproving. Her hair was grey, although her face seemed too young for grey hair. Her front teeth were slightly crooked. She wore a bulky mackintosh, and a man’s tie around her neck.
“How do you do, Miss Lupescu?” said Bod.
Miss Lupescu said nothing. She sniffed. Then she looked at Silas and said, “So. This is the boy.” She got up from her seat and walked all around Bod, nostrils flared, as if she were sniffing him. When she had made a complete circuit, she said, “You will report to me on waking, and before you go to sleep. I have rented a room in a house over there.” She pointed to a roof just visible from where they stood. “However, I shall spend my time in this graveyard. I am here as a historian, researching the history of old graves. You understand, boy? Da?”
“Bod,” said Bod. “It’s Bod. Not boy.”
“Short for Nobody,” she said. “A foolish name. Also, Bod is a pet name. A nickname. I do not approve. I will call you ‘boy’. You will call me ‘Miss Lupescu’.”
Bod looked up at Silas, pleadingly, but there was no sympathy on Silas’s face. He picked up his bag and said, “You will be in good hands with Miss Lupescu, Bod. I am sure that the two of you will get on.”
“We won’t!” said Bod. “She’s horrible!”
“That,” said Silas, “Was a very rude thing to say. I think you should apologise, don’t you?”
Bod didn’t, but Silas was looking at him and he was carrying his black bag, and about to leave for no-one knew how long, so he said, “I’m sorry Miss Lupescu.”
At first she said nothing in reply. She merely sniffed. Then she said, “I have come a long way to look after you, boy. I hope you are worth it.”
Animalic musk, with amber, patchouli, ho wood, cypress, almond blossom, golden sandalwood, and strange spices.
The ConvocationAdd to cart
A small sign in the hotel lobby announced that the Washington Room was taken that night by a private function, although there was no information as to what kind of function this might be. Truthfully, if you were to look at the inhabitants of the Washington Room that night, you would have no clearer idea of what was happening, although a rapid glance would tell you that there were no women in there. They were all men, that much was clear, and they sat at round dinner tables, and they were finishing their dessert.
There were about a hundred of them, all in sober black suits, but the suits were all they had in common. They had white hair or dark hair or fair hair or red hair or no hair at all. They had friendly faces or unfriendly, helpful or sullen, open or secretive, brutish or sensitive. The majority of them were pink-skinned, but there were black-skinned men and brown-skinned. They were European, African, Indian, Chinese, South American, Filipino, American. They all spoke English when they talked to each other, or to the waiters, but the accents were as diverse as the gentlemen. They came from all across Europe and from all over the world.
A macabre mélange of swanky men’s colognes.
The Owens’ TombAdd to cart
“I’ll do no such thing, with Owens and me having a lovely little tomb over by the daffodil patch. Plenty of room in there for a little one.”
Marble and dust surrounded by burdock, knotweed, dandelions, daffodils, and long-dead calla lilies.
The Potter’s FieldAdd to cart
Silas walked across the path without disturbing a fallen leaf, and sat down on the bench, beside Bod. “There are those,” he said, in his silken voice, “who believe that all land is sacred. That it is sacred before we come to it, and sacred after. But here, in your land, they blessed the churches and the ground they set aside to bury people in, to make it holy. But they left land unconsecrated beside the sacred ground, potter’s fields to bury the criminals and the suicides or those who were not of the faith.”
“So the people buried in the ground on the other side of the fence are bad people?”
Silas raised one perfect eyebrow. “Mm? Oh, not at all. Let’s see, it’s been a while since I’ve been down that way. But I don’t remember anyone particularly evil. Remember, in days gone by you could be hanged for stealing a shilling. And there are always people who find their lives have become so unsupportable they believe the best thing they could do would be to hasten their transition to another plane of existence.”
Rich loam, fragrant grasses, murky vetiver, wild herbs, and dry cedar bark.