Don't Talk to the Dead
Everyone knew talking to the dead was a bad idea.
It always ended up creating all manner of messes for the rest of the world to deal with. The riddles the dead would weave…people knew better than to listen to them anymore. If Osama Bin Ladin hadn’t thought he was following his ancestors plans, he probably never would have become a radical. Hitler wouldn’t have become an elitist. Hell, most serial killers start off by listening to the whispers of the dead.
That said, a lot of people were willing to break their rules to carry out the wishes of a lost loved one. Only problem was, quite often, they didn’t realize that the echoes people left behind weren’t really them anymore. Just the worst of them would remain, the parts they wanted to leave behind and never think about again. Their darkest secrets, their worst desires, their most wild, inappropriate thoughts. Remnants weren’t human anymore. Just a concentration of evil, all their former goodness stripped away forever.
Cory already knew all this. Knew it better than most people, in fact. Not many people were willing to study old messages from the dead as a career, let alone be insane enough to actively attempt to communicate with them. Cory had been deliberately talking to the dead for the better part of six years now, carefully recording each interaction, extensively analyzing every aspect of what the dead would say.
Granted, some of these conversations were more significant, and traumatic, than others.
He’d talked to his “grandfather” a total of twelve times now. Each time was more difficult than the last. Even though Cory knew, logically, that the man talking to him wasn’t really his grandpa anymore, it was impossible to completely dissociate the evil remnant from the kindly, world-wise man Cory had known.
The first time they’d spoken, he’d told Cory to kill a judge. He’d said the man had murdered more than one criminal to keep them from revealing his many affairs. Cory, obviously, hadn’t done it. Truthfully, he didn’t believe any facts he got from the dead. They were all spinning their own, manipulative stories, not to mention that their memories were skewed by how little of their original self was left.
Still, every time he spoke to his “grandfather” and the man wondered why Cory wasn’t doing as he’d been told, it got harder. Having the man who raised you, the man you respected above all others, being disappointed in you was never easy, and Cory still hadn’t managed to totally separate this remnant from his grandpa.
The longer you talked to a specific remnant, the harder it got. All the research said it. And, by all accounts, no one who spoke to the same one thirteen times had managed to evade either ending up in a psychiatric facility, attempting to kill someone, or committing suicide.
Because that was what the dead did. They tried to get more people to join them.