My dead diary – an apology and a treatise on the impossibility of undead peacekeeping
The trouble with journals is that the good intentions never last – all those optimistic resolutions to write every day. Tamar, I’m sorry there’s been such a long gap since the last entry, but you’ve been dead for over three thousand years so I’m assuming you won’t mind.
I suppose I could try to set down everything that’s happened since I last wrote but I don’t think I’d be able to make much sense of it. So I’ll describe how things are and see where it takes me.
You don’t get many decent moons nowadays but this one’s not bad – huge and yellow, hanging low over the horizon, suitably brooding and ominous. We’ve occupied one of the taller buildings (it’s a bank by day) and the wide view over the city helps me track the war going on below. The front line has shifted this way and that over the last couple of months but both sides look like settling in for a prolonged stalemate. A few nights ago a crack squad of Crimean veterans from Kensal Rise broke through, and for a while the fighting extended up the hill, well into Highgate’s territory. But there are good reasons why Highgate has been the dominant cemetery for so long. This time they managed to unearth one of the old city giants who made short work of the incursion. You could hear his roaring for miles around, long after he’d finished fighting, and everyone started complaining that they couldn’t sleep. Eventually he stormed off eastwards to take on Father Thames, his old adversary, and we all breathed a sigh of relief (he didn’t stand a chance and it’s been quiet ever since).
And where am I in all of this? Good question. In theory I’m still charged with peacekeeping, but the negotiations were half-hearted from the outset, and have long since come to nothing. Several floors below me I can hear the sounds of our army preparing, and the lights of the reinforcements can be seen all the way back to the museum. We’re supposed to stay as inconspicuous as possible but how am I expected to keep ten thousand ghosts in such a small space with nothing spilling over? It’s not even as if there’s anything to keep them occupied. Some poor living soul came to clean the place earlier this evening and found the reception area full of Roman and Assyrian troops, fighting as usual over the limited alcohol rations. She fled screaming into the night.
The higher powers will hear of this sooner or later and my troubles will have only just begun.