Bri stepped forward, holding her hand down in front of Orifiel. Malak watched her do so, knowing the truth of the matter didn’t matter. The fact that dealing with Orifiel would be so much more difficult than any of the other messengers, no matter how cooperative he would try to be, did not matter. Bri would persist as she always had.
While the wait before her next words was not the same, the rest of the action felt so familiar. As if they had fallen only yesterday.
“My name’s Bri. I’m here to help you.”
Orifiel would no longer be able to see the past as he once did, the fall had begun the process and soon enough all of what made Orifiel a messenger would have drained away. Those pupils began to focus on Bri’s hand, then upon her face.
“Malak?” His voice was quiet.
Malak’s tone lost the ever-present edge. “We are here to help you.”
Orifiel took her hand.
Hanging up, because he had no other option, Tim looked out his window at the darkness outside. He could see the death within the mist, the telltale signs of raising the dead. One of the few things he could recognize- and only because his best friend thought necromancy was fascinating. But she wasn’t born a necromancer. No one in her family was one, so there was no hoping for latent genetics.
Tim shrugged on his coat and with a last deep inhale of the inside air (lacking the decaying tinge), he made his way out into the night. It was cold, wet, and well… dead. There was nothing to taste, smell about the mist. To describe the sense necromancer’s had in order to notice these things was not in Tim’s repertoire of vocabulary. Mainly because, no matter what else he did, he had done a very good job at ignoring what he’d been born as.
Then again, he was off to see the one person who was very good at reminding him about it. Simply because she liked zombie shows.
“Look dad, I know it’s about midnight. But this is an emergency, so if you’re listening to this please pick up anyway.” Tim swallowed and waited, chewing at his bottom lip. He knew he could wait long. “Of course you’re sleeping right through this. Great. Okay, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. Saltdale looks to be the centre for a zombie apocalypse and we could use an actual necromancer to stop it before it actually gets out of ground.”
He let silence fall again, wishing that his father was awake enough to hear the message and perhaps about to stumble over to the phone and start responding. One could dream, right?
“Well, shoot. Um, if you’re getting this message much later, I wouldn’t worry too much. I guess I have an idea what to do. And before you get excited, I don’t mean as a necromancer. The fact this is hereditary is bullshit. None of your lessons stuck, we both know that, and I won’t pretend, make it worse. I can still solve this, because there’s only one other necromancer here in Saltdale. And he’s heads over heels for Irish still. So I’m gonna get her.”
Tim ran a hand over his shorn head, stopping himself from doing further damage to his lip. “So I’ll talk to you later, I guess. Night dad.”
The zombie apocalypse would fall directly on Halloween.
Tim didn’t know that someone would deliberately plan it like that, but he wasn’t really in the mood. It being the 30th already, there wasn’t much time for him to call someone in to handle this mess. But all the signs were there.
Not certain what to do, he tried to call his father. The phone rang eight times before moving on to his father’s prerecorded message.
“You have reached Martin Carrington’s phone. Sorry, but I’m unavailable right now. If you leave a message, I’ll get back to you when I can. If that’s you Timmy, please stop calling at strange hours.”
Milwurl had a tendency of standing on the ceiling of any given room. Emine didn’t know if she liked surprising the humans who hadn’t gotten used to looking up, or if the dragon did it for her own purposes and the startling of people was an amusing addition.
Emine had been startled already. Several times. This time, she had already darted her eyes upward to see Milwurl there. She did not crane her neck up to look. She had passed that phase. When Milwurl’s long brown neck, flecked with black and grey, came down, Emine did not jump.
“You are not busy.”
Emine had just been busy, but Milwurl was correct. While she had been hoping to return to her room now, hopefully see Sanni, Emine was not busy. “You have whatever energy I have left,” Emine said with a shrug.
“This is why I like you.” Milwurl’s head didn’t move, while the rest of her body made it down the wall. She had a much longer neck than any of the other dragons. As well as thicker nails and shorter wings. She didn’t fly as often, she would glide. “You are much like Sanni, you are honest.”
“I didn’t know honesty wasn’t common.” After all, Emine would think a dragon would know. Very quickly, if not immediately. Emine couldn’t imagine hiding something from any of them.
“It’s not to say the others are liars, dear Emine.” Body on the ground, Milwurl shifted her head into a different position. She still looked directly at Emine. Emine looked at her wide nostrils, where she could see Milwurl’s dark grey and green eyes. “They simply choose to keep certain things to themselves. Or come up with an excuse, which is true, but an excuse nonetheless. Now come, I have need of you.”
There are killers in the forest, they always said at the same time as I looked out the window, fingers itching and ready to go exploring. Never go into the forest alone.
Now that I’ve made that mistake, let me tell you… They were right. There are definitely killers in the woods. And I may have given them the key to get out.
No freaking out now though. And I’m not making it up. We have to do something to make sure they can’t cross the bridge. People say that there is something about bridges and doors that keep evil on the other side, but hoo boy. Let me tell you something. That only counts before someone does it first. If I’d never gone…
Am I too calm? Probably. I’ve had some time to think about my mistakes. That, and it’s in my head now. Don’t worry, it can’t do anything. Yet.
So yeah, I need your help.
Something was waiting for Riley in the dark.
“That’s not fair,” they said. “You know I don’t have good vision in dark places. Get out where I can see you.”
The form shifted, but didn’t acquiesce. Whether from shyness or stubbornness, Riley would just have to figure out themself.
“Look. I can’t help you if you don’t let me get a good look at you. You know?” It wasn’t like they needed to get home or anything, before their parents could see whatever their brother had gotten up to in the meantime.
A hand reached the very edge of the shadows, beckoning them closer. It dripped ash.
Steeling themself, Riley stepped in.
Her life’s work was to help to help others, when in reality she was the only one who needed help.
Her sister scowled, finding yet another bottle. Picking the small thing up, she rattled it. There were some pills still in it. Well, that would be a few less pills that she wouldn’t be downing.
She was sleeping across the room, not disturbed by her sister plodding through her things. Maybe because it wasn’t the first time. Maybe because she was used to her sister cleaning up after her.
Even when her sister’s phone went off, she didn’t do much more than pull her pillow over her head. Her sister picked it up. “Yes?”
“Where are you?”
“Nice to hear from you too. Do you know she’s found more Xanax?”
“Will you figure out from where already?”
“Okay, okay! I’m on it. You get her clean.”
They hung up at the same time. The bottle creaked in her closed fist.
The gryphon waited, but the human never came back.
He rested his head between his forelegs. Surprised? A promise broken. The cavern sounded with the storm outside, wind occasionally rustling amber feathers and golden fur. For a while, he wondered if the rain was at fault. He knew better though.
Blood pooled under the form behind him. He edged forward and screamed out into the winds. Go out? Or stay.
He couldn’t go. He called out again and waited.
She was screaming.
He leaned forward, but his wrists tugged behind him. He grit his teeth and pushed out again. The ropes held, against his will. Almost, he bit his tongue when wanting to call out, but just in time he remembered his situation.
She screamed still.
He managed to move his restraints down his wrist. His hand hurt, folding as small as possible. Well, there was no going back. He yanked. His nerves protested. His bones protested. But he was free.
She stopped screaming. He could only hope it meant something else than what he thought.
He only hoped he wasn’t too late.