“Are you sure that he’s a proper vicar?” Mr Jennings asked as he watched their guest stalk across the office.
“I went through the Bishop’s office to get him,” Leanne said. “And he seems to know what he’s doing.”
Mr Jennings frowned. “I’m having enough trouble keeping staff, what with one thing and another. The last thing I need is a ghost. He needs to sort this out.” He marched across to the man in the centre of the room. “Reverend King, can you tell me what’s going on?”
“Please, call me Darren,” the exorcist said. He glanced around the office again. “So you are saying that you get cold chills after dark, and that people have talked about the cat acting oddly – why have you got a cat?”
Mr Jennings felt the conversation running away from him. “We have mice. And we think that they’ve caused a problem with the heating. This is a busy office, Reverend, and the office gets very hot during the day with all the computers. I needed to try and fix the problem with the air conditioning and stop the mice getting in. So we got a cat and it acts funny.”
Darren looked hard at the man in front of him. “When you say that the cat acts ‘funny’, what exactly do you mean?”
“Well, it’s a bit of a b-” Mr Jennings broke off, not want to swear in front of a man of the cloth. “When he catches a mouse, he usually brings them to one of the staff.” Mr Jennings pulled out a handkerchief and mopped his sweating face. He struggled to meet Darren’s unwavering stare. “Sometimes he makes the girls squeak a bit. Then he takes it away. Well, he’s started to do that to a space.”
“What do you mean a space?” Darren asked.
“I mean, he’ll go to an empty space and drop the mouse and look up,” Mr Jennings said. “It causes a lot of disruption when that happens, and we’re already struggling with a backlog.”
“Hmm,” Darren said, looking around.
“I’ve heard that cats are very psychic animals,” Leanne said.
“They’re really just difficult,” Darren said.
Leanne shivered dramatically. “That’s it, that’s a draught of cold air.”
Darren looked up, then around the office. “Could you give me a moment, please, and do you have any recordings of the cat giving a mouse to something that isn’t there?”
“Of course,” Mr Jennings said, and bolted out of the room, closely followed by Leanne.
“He’s very good looking,” Leanne said slowly, “But very stern.”
Mr Jennings looked back at the door. The exorcist was younger than him, muscled and impatient. “I don’t think I’d risk nicking anything out of his collection box.” He sighed. “Have you got anything on your phone?”
Leanne shook her head. “I’ll text the rest of the office and see what they’ve got.”
“And I’ll see if any of the security tapes in the warehouse have anything,” Mr Jennings said.
They had not been looking long, though, before Darren opened the door and beckoned them back in. “I think I’ve found the problem,” he said. “Let me guess – the people most affected sit here, and here, and here?” He indicated three chairs, widely spaced.
Leanne stared. “How did you know? Are you psychic? Did the ghost tell you?”
“I am not at all psychic,” Darren snapped. “You have got the settings on the air conditioning mixed up. The air conditioning is programmed to come on at 6pm instead of 6am. At this time of year, it’s starting to get dark but the office is warm after a day when the office has been full of people and computers. I’ve reset the timers, using a twenty four hour clock, and you should have no more trouble.”
“Is that all?” Leanne said, disappointed.
“There are some places that aren’t haunted, even in York,” Darren said.
“And you’ve saved me a big bill for the air conditioning,” Mr Jennings said. He grabbed Darren’s hand and shook it wildly. “I think I owe you at least half of that, plus any fee for the call out.”
“Just make a donation to the food bank,” Darren said. “If you give me a moment, I’ll just say a few prayers and a blessing, to reassure the staff. And I wouldn’t worry about the cat. They do odd things.”
“They do, don’t they,” Leanne agreed. “My nana’s cat used to get into laundry baskets and…” She trailed off as Mr Jennings dragged her out.
Darren waited until the door closed behind them before turning to the ghost of the old security guard. “Thanks for the tip off about the air con,” he said. He smiled gently at the spirit. “Now, it’s time for me to send you home.”