I previously posted the following short on Halloween. Ruby and Adam take a stroll through a cemetery. What can go wrong when a necromancer and a revenant visit the dead? Enjoy!
I should have known beforehand to walk away when a revenant asked if I wanted to take a “little stroll” through a cemetery on Halloween night.
On the positive side, I did learn something new about Adam, my revenant, but would have really preferred to have read it in a manual. Hands on learning is over-rated.
Halloween is my favorite holiday, yet it tests my evasion of the supernatural world. The supernatural community goes all out on the one night when strange happenings are tolerated by the general public. Cora, my grandmother, had always attended some killer party held by the witches, and constantly pestered me to accompany her. I almost surrendered to her indomitable will a couple of times, then remembered my mother’s death, chilling my enthusiasm.
We arrived at the cemetery, situated next to a church in the fashion of cozy European village cemeteries. Many of the dead rested in old tombs and masoleums, nestled among lush shrubs and shrouded by trees. We climbed the brick wall and dropped to the thick grass next to a stone angel, her white marble stained green by algae. The nearly full moon served only to lengthen the shadows cast by the trees and graves.
“Somehow, this just doesn’t feel as foreboding as when I was alive,” Adam said. “Why don’t you raise some zombies?”
I glared at him. Making a zombie was something a rational necromancer avoided at all costs, and there were plenty of irrational, bordering on insane necromancers—a trend I was hoping to buck.
“Oh, developing a conscience suddenly,” he muttered under his breath.
I grunted in reply and studied some of the gravestones, finding one from the eighteen hundreds. I’d raised the beach blond surfer, Adam, from the dead to help us track a killer, and in the short time we’ve spent together, I’d glimpsed bits of the former man behind the undead—the sorrow he buffered with sarcastic humor. When he let his gruff exterior slip, and wasn’t so pissed at me for disturbing his eternal oblivion, we actually had fun. But I knew if I let my guard down completely, if I allowed myself to see him as Adam, the man, I’d easily, literally, find my head in my lap.
Despite the danger, I had to learn more about him—learn from him—if I was to understand who had killed him and why.
“Do you hear that?” he whispered.
“I hear murmurs.”
A small worm of worry slithered around in my gut. I was still learning how to control my power. I closed my eyes and scrunched my hands close to my chest, my fingertips tingling. My power thrummed and sparked in the presence of death, seeking to join the dark effluvium of decay swirling around us. What if I’d somehow let some seep out, waking a corpse?
Adam loped up a small rise and peeked around a masoleum.
“Did you see anything,” I asked when he came back down.
A wicked grin slashed his face wide. “Some young folk ripe for the picking.”
“Adam,” I exclaimed, horrified.
“Oh, relax, necromancer. I’m not going to eat them, but it’s Halloween. Trick or treat.” He wagged his eyebrows in mock deviousness.
Did I mention Adam was a witch? I still didn’t know how much of his previous abilities had hitched a ride when I raised him and was hoping not to find out anytime soon.
The voices of the three people—two girls and a guy—became more discernable as they drew closer. “Can we leave, please? Casper doesn’t feel like playing,” one of the girls said.
I grabbed Adam’s arm. “Let’s go.”
“Not without having some fun first.”
I reached for him with my power and his expression darkened. “Two can play at that game.” He tugged back through our bond, causing my chest to tighten.
The problem with revenants, stronger than zombies, intelligence intact, is they can overcome and kill their necromancer. Did I want to play this one out? No. I released my power. Save it for a time when it really matters, although I hope that day never comes. I hated to think of Adam as my adversary, but wasn’t naïve enough to convince myself otherwise.
His face relaxed. “Come on. I won’t hurt them. I’m the undead. I should be scaring people.”
“Scare, not frickin re-enact Night of the Living Dead.”
“Did you hear something?” the guy asked. The trio of twenty-somethings stopped and scanned the cemetery.
Adam smiled and began chanting. Frightening suspicion confirmed. He could cast spells. He transformed before me and I had to admit, the effect was pretty impressive. When he stopped chanting, he resembled your garden variety, shambling, oozing, colored in black decay, cinematique zombie. He turned to me and snickered. I had to bite back the peal of laughter that threatened, lest I blow the whole charade. I’m sure the kids wouldn’t laugh when they saw Adam, but it was Halloween, and man, would they have a good story to tell their friends.
Adam winked at me then made his grand entrance.
Upon seeing the decrepit Adam, they laughed.
The response was not what I expected and, despite my previous reservations at scaring our trick or treaters, I found myself irritated.
When Adam projected blood from his mouth, they laughed even harder.
“Tyler, I know that’s you. Good joke, but the gig’s up,” the guy said in between chuckles.
Damn the horror porn movies, stealing the thunder from us hard working supernaturals.
Adam looked back at me and narrowed his red-rimmed eyes. I sensed his pique through the bond. Oh no.
He stretched his arm out, wound his fingers in his hair, and tore his head off his neck. My mouth fell open.
The three froze. One of the girls screamed. They turned and high tailed it over the wall, scrabbling and tripping in their mad dash.
Adam walked back toward me, still holding his head next to his shoulder. “I kind of like this look. Maybe for a few days anyway.”
I bit my lip and tried to sound serious. “Put your head back on, and let’s get out of here.”