Grave Robbing and Lesson Learning
August 4, 2005
“And then, after, like, five minutes of these two guys fighting human style, one of them was just like ‘screw this’ and, like, bit his lip or something, and then they were finally able to shift—”
“Yes, Reyna,” Dunstan sighed, “All these stories are just fascinating, and I’d love to keep hearing them, really I would, but only if you keep that flashlight still!” He finished with a growl.
Dunstan and Reyna stood in the middle of one of Manhattan’s many cemeteries. Reyna was holding a flashlight and was supposed to keep it steady over whatever Dunstan was digging up. Dunstan was bent over a grave, shovel in hand, and glaring at Reyna and her less than steady hands.
Sighing, Reyna focused the light on the grave Dunstan was digging up. “You know, another cool thing about Weres is that they’re completely cognizant while they shift, so the fights are, like, just as safe as normal ones. It also means people who are bit during full moons and stuff, are really only bit because the Weres feel threatened. Or, I guess they could do it on purpose, but I don’t know why they would or anything. I think most of them are on accident . . . Hey, how come you never taught me about them like you did with the Vampires or the Fairies?”
“Because I didn’t see the point.” Dunstan replied, taking a few second to move a large rock out of the way. “They’re just mutts, Reyna, and the faster you realize that the faster you’ll make your way up in the world. We benefit from interacting with the Fairies and the Vampires, but the Weres, well, they don’t bring anything valuable to the table.”
Reyna hummed instead of voicing her disagreement. She didn’t want to test Dunstan’s already thin patience, “Yeah, well, whatever,” she mumbled. Glancing up at the tombstone of the person who Dunstan was digging up, Reyna sighed sadly after she did the math and figured the poor girl had died at the age of eighteen. Molly Cox was her name, and her parents had a pretty poem engraved on the stone. Looking back down at Dunstan, Reyna asked, “Hey, isn’t this, ya know, like, illegal or something?”
Instead of answering, Dunstan simply pounded his shovel into the ground until a sickening crack engulfed the silence. “She died over a century ago, dear. No one will care.” He finally answered before bending down and ripping the hole he’d created in the coffin even bigger.
“Why are you robbing her grave anyway? And why are you doing it the boring way?”
“Reyna, dear, if by ‘the boring way’ you mean without magic, it’s because this is actually the safest way to ensure that the remains aren’t destroyed. I know nothing of this girl’s grave, only that it’s here. I didn’t know how deep it was, what condition it was in, or anything of real importance. Diving in head first with magic would have been foolish. Keep that in mind,” he said as he looked her in the eyes, emphasizing his lesson. “Magic may be useful, but it’s not always the best way. Now,” he grunted before bending over again to look into the coffin he’d broken in to, “point the light down here.”
Sighing, but doing as instructed, Reyna filed the new information back away into the recesses of her mind. She supposed he had a point, but magic just made life so much easier! Looking back down into the grave, she gasped, “Whoa! Is that her hand?”
Dunstan pulled out the bony limb with a nod and a hum. “What do you need her hand for, anyway?” Reyna asked again when she heard the snap of the carpal bones breaking from the radius and ulna.
“Here, catch,” Dunstan said before tossing the limb up towards her. Catching the yellowing, dead hand with a barely repressed noise of revulsion, Reyna suspended the hand away from her so she no longer had to touch it.
With her hand spread out in front of her, mirroring the skeletal one to hold it steady in the air, Reyna asked, “Couldn’t you have just gotten a hand from a morgue or a hospital or something? This is so gross.”
“No, neither of those places would have had a hand this rotted, nor would they have sold it to me if they did. Legalities and all that. This way’s the best way, trust me.”
Puffing out her cheeks, Reyna continued to stare at the dead girl’s hand and wondered if she’d mind that her grave had just been robbed. “Here,” Dunstan said, grabbing the suspended hand and wrapping it up in a brown leather cloth before tucking it away in his satchel. Then, with a lethargic wave of his arm, he magically moved the disturbed soil to cover the grave. “Time to go home, Reyna.”
Twisting her mouth to the side, Reyna took a second to conjure up some flowers from their apartment to place at the base of the tomb stone before turning heel to follow Dunstan. They had only gotten about a hundred yards away from the grave they’d just defiled when movement off to the right caught Reyna’s eye. Pausing, she squinted into the darkness to try and determine what she had seen. Seeing a branch behind a mausoleum snap back and forth, as if someone had stumbled past it, Reyna flashed her light towards it and inhaled a surprised breath when she saw two beady, yellow eyes staring back at her.
“Dunstan!” She hissed, not taking her eyes off the creature before her. “Dunstan I think I see something!”
“Hmm?” Dunstan looked back curiously, glancing over at the direction Reyna’s light was pointing. “Oh, that’s just a Goblin, Reyna. Remember, like the one you met in France?”
“I remember,” She answered with a shiver as the other memories of France fluttered into her mind. “What’s he doing here?”
“I don’t know,” Dunstan said with an annoyed sigh. “Probably stealing from that mausoleum. Filthy creature,” he muttered to himself. Ironic, considering what they’d just done. Or maybe it was hypocritical. Reyna wasn’t too sure.
Emboldened by his disdainful tone, Reyna declared, “I’m gonna go talk to him.”
“Do what you want, dear,” Dunstan rolled of his eyes and shrugged, “I won’t be waiting for you, though.”
Biting her lip, Reyna simply nodded her head and took slow steps towards the small green creature that crouched a few yards ahead of her. His beady eyes flashed in warning as she took a step too close. Halting, she crouched down to his eye level. Silently counting to ten in her head, hoping Dunstan would be far enough away by then and that the Goblin would see that she wasn’t going to make any sudden moves, Reyna took a deep breath before smiling at the green creature. “Hello there,” she said in a hushed tone, “My name is Reyna, what’s yours?”
“Go away,” the Goblin growled, eyes narrowed with suspicion. “Go away, stinky human!” He growled again when Reyna didn’t move. Growling louder now, the Goblin appeared before Reyna faster than she thought was possible. One second he was a good distance away, then the next his face was pressed against hers. “Go away!” He screeched into her face before shoving her away.
Reyna let out a small “Oomph!” as she felt her body fly backwards. With a resounding smack that echoed in the dark cemetery, her back collided with a tombstone. A sharp pain throbbed in Reyna’s shoulder and she groaned as she tried to right herself. Sucking in a harsh breath, Reyna had to bite down on her lip to keep her tears of pain at bay. Okay, she thought, maybe she should have listened to the Goblin when he told her to leave. Lesson learned. Standing on shaky legs, Reyna rubbed her bruised and still tingly shoulder, trying to massage the pain away. Glancing one last time at the Goblin, who had returned to his original position, Reyna began to make her way towards the cemetery’s exit with her head hung low.
Reyna kicked rocks from the path along the way as she headed for the gate. Her right hand kept moving in circles, trying to get blood flowing in her shoulder to relieve the pain. That’s what she always saw people o on T.V. anyway. As soon as she got home, she decided, she was learning some healing spells. The basics, at least. She had finally made it to the iron-wrought gate just a few short minutes later and was two steps away from officially leaving the cemetery when she heard a nasty howl sound behind her. Turning around and seeing nothing, Reyna took a step towards the direction she heard the noise. Switching her flashlight back on, she illuminated a tree, two grave stones and a raccoon before she heard another howl. This time it ended in a painful yelp that had her running in its direction. The shouting and howling continued, leading Reyna back towards where she’d left the Goblin.
Heart pounding, and breaths coming in and out of her chest hard and fast, Reyna came to a stop when the familiar mausoleum came into view. With another heart wrenching yelp, she dashed around the corner of the building with her heart caught in her throat. Reyna wasn’t sure what she’d expected to find, but it definitely wasn’t a Fairy standing over the now badly beaten and bleeding Goblin. The Goblin was curled into a ball and seemed to be trying to protect something underneath him. From what she could see, his clothing was now covered in a dark, wet substance that Reyna could only guess was blood. The Fairy, only paying mind to the Goblin before him, swung his foot back to kick the Goblin off whatever he was protecting.
The gesture snapped Reyna into motion and with a growl of her own shouted “Get off him!” And forced the Fairy away with all the magic she could muster.
Slamming into the wall of the Mausoleum, the Fairy was stunned for half a second before he focused his diamond clear eyes onto the young girl. “Leave, little witch, or maybe I’ll decide to eat you, too.” He ended with a smile that made Reyna shiver. This Fairy looked nothing like either Queen in terms of skin color. He stood taller than any human Reyna had ever seen, and his sharp bones almost seem to protrude from his skin, but whereas both Queen’s skins reminded the young girl of black marble, this Fairy looked like he’d been made from star dust and seemed to illuminate the darkness around him. If Reyna weren’t terrified of him, she’d be captivated by it.
Instead of running, she found herself saying “You’re—you’re not eating anyone!” With another push of her hand, the Fairy slammed against the stone wall. He grunted before letting out a low chuckle.
“If that’s the way you want to play,” he said before disappearing into the wall of the mausoleum, leaving a bright, golden light where he disappeared. To Reyna, it almost looked like a doorway. Before she could think more on it, it closed and then suddenly she felt her body being flung towards the mausoleum. Feeling the stone scrape against her cheek and blood rushing in her mouth from where she bit the inside of her cheek, Reyna let out a pitiful moan. “Looks like I’ll be eating a three course meal tonight. Hmmm,” he stopped to think, “I think I’ll have the little Goblin babies first, as an appetizer, then you dear, as the main course, and I’ll finish papa Goblin off as dessert! How does that sound?”
The Goblin hissed in response, though he was still curled into a ball on the ground. Reyna let out a whimper, but her mind grasped for ideas. She knew iron was poisonous to Fairies, but she didn’t know where she could get any. Dunstan didn’t even keep and iron skillet in the kitchen!
She could hear the Fairy walk behind her and she wished she could see what he was doing. She wished she could just pull out his heart like she would if it was a Vampire, Werewolf, or even just a normal human. She hadn’t learned the Fairies anatomy though, and didn’t even know if they had hearts. Cursing under her breath, Reyna knew she need to break free from his hold and get herself off this stone wall. Closing her eyes, she focused on her own lungs and drew in a large breath of air. With a chest full of magically endowed lungs, Reyna blew the air out like a gust of wind and felt herself pushing away from the mausoleum.
Falling backwards onto the ground, Reyna quickly spun towards the much too bright Fairy, drew in another deep breath and screamed at the top of her magical lungs. Both the Fairy and the Goblin cried out in pain and held their hands over the ears. The scream made their ears bleed and rang through their minds painfully. Knowing she couldn’t keep this up forever, and that it was hurting the Goblin just as much as the Fairy, Reyna tried to think of how else to get rid of the hungry florescent parasite.
With what felt like a blast to her brain, Reyna remembered the front gate and its iron material. Cutting her scream off with a tired gasp, Reyna backed away as the very angry Fairy stalked menacingly towards her. When he was finally close enough to touch her, Reyna waved her hand, summoned one of the iron spikes and slashed it at the white worm.
The Fairy screamed in utter agony and cradled his wounded arm to his chest. Even though the wound seemed superficial, just a scratch to the forearm, Reyna could see the way his skin curdled around where the iron had touched. It began to burn soon enough and small tendrils of smoke rose into the air. Reyna had to keep herself from gaging at the smell.
He began to thrash around, trying to wave the burning sensation off his arm. When that did nothing but fan the flames, he let out a frustrated cry and leapt towards the stone wall of the mausoleum. The bright, golden light of a doorway opened up for him again engulfed him and his burning arm before disappearing and leaving Reyna and the Goblin in darkness and absolute silence.
Letting out shallow breaths, Reyna tiredly looked over to the Goblin who still laid curled up on the ground. His body rumbled with another growl as he glared at her. Sighing, Reyna asked, “You want me to go away?” The Goblin nodded his head once, not taking off his bright yellow eyes off her form. Trying to steady her breathing, the young girl nodded “Sounds ‘bout right,” she said more to herself than to him.With a slight limp, scratched cheek, bloodied lip, and a still throbbing shoulder, Reyna hobbled her way out of the cemetery. As she mentally took inventory of all her bodily tweaks and bruises, Reyna knew at least that she’d done with right thing, even if the Goblin still seemed to hate her after it was all said and done.