Chapter 18

"Hey!" Immaru called out. The walls inside the Derelict creaked and groaned in response, shuttering as if the cobbled halls would suddenly rip apart.

He was alone.

Immaru wandered through the ship until he stumbled on shelves of containment glass that lined the walls. A jar held eyeballs that roiled slowly in a viscous liquid, their stare following Immaru. There were hundreds of odd samples and organisms. Some could have still been alive, but he wasn't willing to find out.

Up ahead, he heard an impossibly low utterance. The infrasonic vibrations melded into a droning moan and swelled into something indescribable. The sound traveled toward him, closer and closer.

And then… it stopped.

Everything stopped.

Immaru turned, face-to-face with the blood-red eye of another Ghost.

"Get back!" Immaru shrieked.

The red-eyed Ghost complied. Its eye seemed to bug outward from the grotesque and malformed patchwork shell that twisted and hunched to one side. The Ghost hung lopsided in the air, as if it was dragging the weight of the world.

"Is… is Drifter here?"

The Ghost's iris rapidly flickered from red to blue in a hypnotic pattern.

"Guess I'll take that as a no. You, uh, got a name there, pal?"

The other Ghost's eye immediately went solid red, its gaze still steady on Immaru.

"Right. Uh, Drifter—Drifter has some goods on the Headless Ones. Mind if I borrow them? Anything you got."

The other Ghost floated over to a container marked "Cabal brains" and stroked the lid lovingly with its shell.

"No!" Immaru yelped. "No, uh, I don't need those brains… no, don't need those either. No, no—you can keep the eyes too."

The silent Ghost bobbed around Immaru and slid its flap down his shell. It pulled him close, until it grazed Immaru's iris.

"You're busy, I'll come back—never," Immaru whispered as he hurriedly released himself and transmatted away.