The Quiet Dead

by Brian Stableford

cover by Daniele Serra

Paul Furneret returns to Paris after a four year interval, during which Talia Cadelan and Juliette have both died. He makes contact once again with Camille Flammarion, Jane de La Vaudère and Zosima; the last-named is now running a women’s refuge in Paris and employing hypnosis to enable  women to “remember” their alleged past incarnations, as a kind of psychotherapy. While leaving Jane’s house one night he is intercepted by Baron de Rochemure, who had recognized his daughter in the sketch Paul produced during his first attempt at automatic drawing, and is very enthusiatic for Paul to try again. To that end, Rochemore convenes a séance at his house in Passy to which he invites Flammarion, Zosima and Jane, as well as Henri Lemastur, the hypnotist involved in the first séance, Lemastir’s patroness, and Gabriel de Lautrec, who was also present at that séance. The baron, who is dying of cancer, reveals for the first time the harrowing story of how his daughter died and why he has been so anxious to make contact with her.

As a Juvisy, Paul again produces four drawings while hypnotized by Zosima, but they are not what he expected; he does, however contrive a telepathic link between several of the people present at he séance, which ednables Jane, the baron and the baron’s housekeeper, Madame Louvot, all to share a common vision. The vision in question satisfies the baron’s request, but convinces Jane that Paul almost died as a result, requiring salvation in the nick of time by an unidentifiable “angel”. As a result, she forbids Paul to have any further contact with Zosima, and he returns to Toulouse.