VERONICA MARS x LABYRINTH LOST
Seventeen-year-old Muslim detective Jannat hears the dead—except the voice that matters most: her kidnapped mother, whose body was never found. To solve her mom’s case, Jannat travels to Barzakh—the after realm—where unbeknownst to her, an ancient evil awaits.
The dead are loud tonight.
More than usual, I should say, since loud seems to be their default mode. What is it with October? The month ushers in the first chill to Chicago’s nights, a hint of the brutal cold that will engulf our city in the months to come. It’s almost like the dead sense winter coming too, but that’s silly. The unseen barrier between our world and theirs is—mostly—impenetrable.
The headstones in Eternal Hills are gaudy, rising waist-high in odd shapes like giant, crooked chess pieces. A woman’s disembodied laughter rides the air, full and ripe with joy. But it’s swallowed by the spectral scream of another, shrill as a wind storm. I try to block them out and concentrate on lifting one foot and then the other. Soil squelches under my Vans’ thick soles, dampness seeping through the canvas sides.
An old man weeps. Someone croons a Chinese lullaby, begs for mercy in Dutch, cantillates a sacred scripture. I suck in breath after breath. I can’t lose myself in the cloud of voices. They’ll drown me if I do. I stagger forward. Stumble. The crumbling ivory edifices around me become a shifting maze my eyes can barely focus on.
Remember why you’re here!
I have to talk to the little girl… to help her family. And something else… someone else… I finger the loose fabric of my hijab, the white one with dainty, blue roses like the pattern of a porcelain plate. It reminds me of Mama.