Nikki - Monster Crap and Crappy Monsters
You might want to tell me what that is. I stated. Breaking the sudden lack of noise in my head was harder than I thought. I waited for his response, but there was none. Eran?
I’ll explain more when I get to your house tonight. That was all he just said. I felt the mental connection was cut off as if he could disable my hex on him. It was kind of a weird feeling. And it made me a bit light-headed. Using my newfound abilities seemed to have a toll on my young body.
Phineas, who sat beside me, nudged me. I didn’t respond, so he did it again with no hesitation or whatsoever. There was a friendly snicker on his face. “How was the monster crap you let out during Math Class?”
“Do you want me to let you smell a glimpse of it again?” I threatened. It was all a bluff since I wasn’t the wight that smelled of a dead cat. “Don’t tempt me.”
“Heck, no!” Phineas chuckled. Even Otis looked horrified in his seat. Their face looked comical. And I chuckled to myself at how I was hoping that things would never change. “What are you up to this weekend? I was hoping you and Otis could have a sleepover at my place. I’m sure your folks wouldn’t mind.”
“Sounds good.” I smiled. Phineas took it as a yes, and I was just thankful that there are still some ‘normal’ things in my life I could look at. But of course, Eran’s plans to overthrow the dead sorceress never left my head. It was a painful thumbtack at the back of it. “I can’t remember the last time we had that.”
“Yeah, it was last summer.” Otis agreed. His nose scrunched deep in his boyish contemplation. Typical Otis. “You better think of a good horror movie to watch as soon as possible. We’re not good at that. Choosing a good movie took so much of our time back then!”
“It’s not our fault you kept objecting against our choices.” I grumbled. Otis just shrugged it off, and Phineas nodded in agreement. “Let’s try comedy for once.”
“Or maybe a good romance movie.” Otis said. But that suggestion just made Phineas and I gawk at him. An unbelievable recommendation. “What?”
“You’re not kidding?” Phineas asked. He sounded amazed and shook his head with eyes wide open. A moment of silence rang among the three of us. “You’re not making a joke at all?”
“You’re too early for puberty, Otis.” I commented. The other boy just frowned at me as if he was pleading with us to believe him. “Drop the act. Romantic movies are just for teenagers. And we’re not there yet.”
“I guess I’ll go with whatever you guys want.” Otis sounded so sad and pitiful. I couldn’t help myself but laugh at how he said it. “Hey! There’s nothing wrong with watching a few romantic movies.”
“It’s just not like you. Unless you’re inspired by something to watch movies like those. I can’t think of anything else.” I pointed out. Then something clicked in my head, and picked up something about Otis. “Is this what I think it is.? You have a crush on someone!”
The answer was evident on his face. He fell silent, and that was the giveaway.
“Holy crap!” Phineas exclaimed. There was a pause, and Otis was not able to even make a reply. He was trying to hard not be so evident, but he was failing at it so amazingly. “So, it’s true!”
“You don’t have to announce it.” Otis groaned. Phineas and I just burst laughing at our friend. It was mean, but I believe best friends have the God-given right to torment each other. A deep red blush appeared on his cheeks. “Shut up!”
“Don’t worry. We’ll support you!” Phineas said as straightforward as possible and put a hand on Otis’ shoulder. The stern look that didn’t even last a few seconds before he broke into laughter again. I can’t help but feel bad, yet I was also contented at how it was so effective in dragging the dreaded thoughts of the other world away from me. “We can’t help it!”
“Does she have a name at the very least?” I asked. Tears appeared at the side of my mismatched eyes from laughing too hard. Otis looked grumpy, and it was those rare moments that he was the butt of the joke.
“You’re supposed to be my friends.” Otis shook his head. He looked pissed already, so we did our best to stop. But we were unsuccessful in it. I could hear Phineas snickered every few seconds.
“But that’s the point!” Phineas exclaimed. Another snicker was stopped in his mouth as he puckered his lips. “We’re your friends. And that’s why we have the balls to laugh at you so hard. It’s what we do. So deal with it.”
“Just don’t tell anyone.” Otis resigned. He gave into his fate that we would torment him for days to come. “I don’t want her knowing. Not now.”
“I assume she’s a classmate of ours?” I questioned. Then I frowned, lost in my thoughts and imagination as to who can the mystery girl be. “Honestly, I couldn’t remember anyone pretty in class.”
“Plus, we’re a trio of dweebs.” Phineas pointed out. And I couldn’t help but nod in agreement. “Who else are we going to tell this to?”
“You’re right.” Otis sighed.
“So who’s the unlucky girl?” Phineas asked. His eyes narrowed to check if Otis would at least give in to it. But Otis made a zipping motion on his mouth like a zipper and crossed his arms. “Have it your way for now. We’ll know about it sooner or later.”
“Just shut up. It’s not funny anymore.” Otis whined. The bus stopped, and the doors swung open. Our friend stood up with his bag and glared at us with murder in his eyes. “Here’s my stop.”
We did our handshake before he left.
“You think we overdid it?” I asked Phineas.
“He’ll get over it by tomorrow.” He shrugged. Then he started to fidget with a few apps on his phone before giving me an evil grin. “Otis isn’t the kind of person who bears grudges as you do. So don’t worry about it. Okay?”
“Excuse me?” I exclaimed. He played innocently, but I shot him a glare. It was not effective. “I’m not that kind of person either. You might want to be careful with those accusations.”
“I’m just messing with you.” Phineas chuckled. Then he smacked me playfully on the shoulder. “Honestly, I’m just happy to see you laughing again. You haven’t been yourself for the past few days. Or maybe more than a week for that matter.”
“I’m doing okay.” I lied. But I was sure even that flat lie to his face wouldn’t convince him. Phineas hummed a tune and pretended to play along with my explicit denial. “There are just a lot of questions on my mind lately.”
“Any questions I could answer, maybe?” He retorted. Then he looked at me with one of his brows raised. “I think you’re forgetting the point why Otis and I are your friends.”
“It’s about my dad.” I muttered flatly.
“Oh.” Phineas went silent. He knew it was a conversation too close to home and didn’t bother pressing any further. “I’m sorry for butting in. That’s none of my business. I should’ve realized that sooner.”
“Don’t beat yourself up about it.” I replied. The bus halted again, and I realized it was my stop. “You’re a good friend. And I’m very thankful that I have two doofus amigos.”
“That won’t work on me. You might want to audition for the theatre club, Nicholas.” He smiled at me. Almost tearfully. Then I left the bus and went straight in.
Mom was on her way out just as soon I passed by the kitchen.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“I’ll be visiting the Valentines at Saintsville and will be eating dinner with Cameron and Diane. I was hoping I could bring you along, but it’s going to be an adult talk. And you’ll just end up getting bored. You’ll hate it for sure.” She replied. Then she did a quick hug on me before going for the door. “I’m really sorry, dear. Maybe I can bring you next time, and you can meet Chance and Celine. I’m sure you’ll be friends with them quickly, especially Chance.”
“Okay.” I chirped sadly. My mom’s face seemed to ache at my reply. “At least you didn’t leave me with a babysitter this time.”
“There’s macaroni and cheese at the fridge if you’re hungry.” Mom added. “I don’t think you’ll need that. You’re too responsible for your age. Either that or I’m a bad mother for leaving my kid alone for the night.”
“You’re not a bad mom, trust me.” I smiled back. Then she stepped forward and hugged me again. Her eyes were sparkling with motherly care. “Take care. I won’t do anything stupid, I promise.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow because I might be going home a bit late.” She replied with a smile. “Don’t forget to go to bed early.”
“Yes, mom. Love you!” Then I did a quick salute to her before she left.
“Love you, too!” She chirped.
As soon as I closed the door, I immediately went to my room. Eran was coming, and I had not yet trusted him completely. Isis was a good teacher, and I would hate it if I would turn on them. But I had to prepare myself, still.
I locked my door and proceeded to draw the necessary ritual circles. If there was going to be a battle, I need to put defenses around the house. It took me an hour to place traps and curses in every opening of the house. All windows were covered. Even if Eran wasn’t an enemy, our home would still be protected from people like Samael.
The thought that I was no longer as defenseless as before put a smirk on my face. I had to go in and out of Asphodel as I erected more traps. Then I would have to call forth a lich and a wight in case I need to summon them. The traps were simplistic and wouldn’t do much. But they should still be useful if they were placed correctly.
I slipped into Asphodel and took a deep breath.
“Sachre ekzorium Ydj eimpra. Sachre ypreta Ydj eimpra.” I chanted. It had caused the earth beneath my feet to tremble. Calling forth an undead creature and binding them to service would always take time. That’s what Isis would always point out during its Necromancy crash course. Thus, it was a must that I have servants at my disposal anytime. “Afurgezon ruali sachre mizto edrehi.”
A couple of wraiths and wights appeared, excluding that other wight that was already bound to my service. The wraiths looked a lot different from wights because they were incorporeal beings. Which means they cannot be damaged physically. However, they were very vulnerable to magical attacks and can be destroyed by it quickly.
I declared my rules and bound them with curses in case they turned on me. It was always a need because they weren’t loyal all the time. I looked at the lich, which had a more bony appearance and a bluish skin. They were also a bit transparent, and I could walk through them. Isis told me that I would have to eventually learn how to summon a specter if ever I needed to defend myself against Samael.
Under my command, with five undead creatures, I was happy and contented with my small army of the dead. They were placed around my house’s perimeter in Asphodel so I could easily pull them out there anytime. I wasn’t sure if I could create a portal into the other dimension at a reasonable distance. But for now, I need physical touch to drag them to the other side.
I stayed in the living room and ate dinner while I watched a movie. It was then the fatigue crashed on me, and my muscles screamed. My joints felt like they were going to collapse and give up on me. Every step was wobbly. And the ground felt uneven under me. I discovered the limits of my body at the very least.
It was past 8 when I felt a nudge in my head.
I’m outside, open up! The voice in my skull was Eran’s. For a little kid like him, he sounded pretty demanding. I went to the door, but no one was there. I’m at your window, Nikki. Get up here.
Why on earth are you up there? That’s the point of having a front door. It’s what you use to enter a house. Hopefully, he felt the frustration in my voice. I would have loved to smack him good. Eran seemed to be one of those child prodigies I saw in movies. But not this time. He went foolish on this one. Someone might see you!
It’s gonna be hard to explain to your parents if I knock on the front door. The boy objected. But that didn’t help me alleviate my unease at him. I went up the stairs and towards my room. This is an easier task. Trust me.
You sound like you’ve done this before. I replied in my thoughts. As soon as I entered my bedroom, I saw his silhouette just outside my window. How did you manage to escape the orphanage anyway? Father Declan might look for you.
“Don’t forget I’m also a mage.” He scoffed. His voice was muffled since I was just about to open the window. I slid it up, and he went inside. His face was as serious as ever. The boy seriously needed friends who could understand him. “Let’s just say I have a lot of tricks that I could use.”
“You might want to show me some of those tricks.” I groaned. But Eran seemed apathetic about it. He walked around our living room and looked plain bored. “It’s getting harder and harder to make excuses every time I would need to slip into Asphodel.”
“Are you ready for this?” Eran asked dryly. He sat on our sofa across me. His blue eyes were cold, fierce, and angry. “There’s no going back after this, Nikki. We need to dirty our hands.”
I sat down and fell silent. My thoughts were as mismatched as my eyes. “I’m not ready to do this. If you’re ready to dirty your hands, then I’m not.”
“Why?” It was all Eran blurted out. His tone was determined. It was filled with so much hate and bitterness that was choking the better features of his face. “What’s stopping you from killing the Black Sorceress? It is for the good of everyone.”
“I don’t see why it has something to do with me.” I replied. “I’m looking for my mysterious father. And I don’t intend to start a war because of it. This is a personal matter. Involving myself with those things will just slow me down.”
“Fair enough.” Eran frowned. He took a deep breath as if he was about to cast a spell. With that in mind, I was at a disadvantage. “But don’t you see it? The reason why Samael is currently observing your every action is because you’re the key to this. He needs the Necronomicon as much as we do.”
“He never mentioned it.” I objected. But the boy before me wasn’t too convinced. “This isn’t my fight.”
“I’m sure he’s going to mention it one way or the other.” Eran sounded so sure with his choice of words. “I hate to break it to you, Nikki. But it’s too late for that. It’s already your fight. The moment you were able to access Asphodel, it was the moment that it became your fight, too.”
“Plus, how come that you know a lot about Samael’s plans?” I asked. It was a logical question to drop on the table. Eran was slowly laying his cards down. And I had to play it wisely. “You could be working with them all along.”
“I told you, I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve. I wouldn’t be able to summon Isis as my familiar if I didn’t have the resources. The Necronomicon will help you achieve your full potential as a Necromancer.” The boy explained. But it was still an indirect answer to my questions. And it made me anxious with Eran’s allegiances. “I don’t know how to prove that I’m an ally, Nikki. This is for the benefit of everyone in this world. The evil of the Black Sorceress knows no bounds.”
“You still haven’t answered my question.” I pointed out. In my head, I called forth a wight to stand beside me on the other side. In case a battle comes along, I could readily summon it into this dimension. “Are you working with Samael?”
“No.” Eran quipped. His voice was filled with disgust. “I would never work with those monsters.”
“Then how did you know what they are planning?” I pressed on. Eran’s boyish features wouldn’t betray him. Even in a tense situation, there was a considerable glint of innocence in his face. “I need to know.”
“Fine.” He almost hissed. “Might as well let you know how we’ll get it.”
“I found allies in the Ministry of Solus Magus. It is where the Necronomicon is hidden. On the other side of it is Asphodel. Based on what I’ve heard, there will still be guardians we’ll encounter there, so prepare to fight.” Eran started explaining. “I was able to tap on to mages who are gifted in scrying and divination. We were able to determine the plans of Teios Kyr to resurrect the Black Sorceress.”
“There is a specific ritual in the Necronomicon that they need to free the seal on the Black Sorceress. But they would still need you to undo it because the grimoire can only be used by a Necromancer.” The boy continued on. “I think that you’re the only Necromancer who is out in the open.”
“Why are Necromancers hiding anyway?” I asked. “Even Samael mentioned that I was a rare find.”
“Not all Necromancers are evil. The very reason why they hide is that their magic violates a lot of laws that are in place. Necromancy can resurrect the most powerful mages in history and put them under control. Imagine the power within their grasp. But it was not their choice to be one.” Eran replied. “That’s why I could also suggest for you to hide in Asphodel so they cannot use the Necronomicon. But I’m sure you have a life here. Samael will use your loved ones as leverage. And you can’t hide them in Asphodel either. They will surely die there because they don’t belong in Death.”
My heart thumped hard at the thought of that. I knew that I was not yet ready to battle against him. He was just toying with me.
“That’s why I want to ask you this, Nikki.” Eran glared at me. The seriousness of his eyes sent shivers down my spine. I knew where the conversation was going already. “How are you going to defend your friends and family?”
“Whatever it takes.” I stated flatly.
It was a difficult conversation. But Eran made sense. And I hated the fact that he did. Because I gave him a valid reason why I needed to help him get the Necronomicon. I fell for his trap. Yet what I said was true. It was my responsibility to defend my friends and family. It was the cost of this power. A power that I never wanted.
“Good.” The boy agreed with a nod. “You weren’t originally part of the plan because we were still looking for a way to get into Asphodel without a Necromancer. But now, it’s going to be a lot easier. I’m glad you’re a part of this.”
“Wait. Don’t thank me yet.” I snapped. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”
Eran still looked calm. I thought he was going to retaliate with reasoning again. But he didn’t. His eyes studied the anxiety on my face. The boy made no response to my sudden objection.
“I still need time to think about it.” I explained. “It’s not as easy as it looks.”
“Fine.” Eran finally stood up. Then he started walking towards the stairs. “I’ll give you until next week to think about it. I will still push on the plan with or without you. Time is running out, and a storm is brewing. Teios Kyr is making some drastic moves lately. I don’t want to be defenseless once it hits.”
“Where on earth are you going?” I asked. But I had no choice but to follow him back to my room. Eran ignored me and just went for the window. He opened before I got to put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. “The door is downstairs. You don’t have to do it this way.”
“Just watch.” He smiled. It was angelic and innocent. No wonder why he had an offer to be a commercial model. Eran just slid himself quickly through the window then took off his shirt. “Don’t scream.”
“You’re seriously crazy.” I said. But Eran ignored me as he took a deep breath. For a kid, his body was well toned. But his skin was smooth like porcelain. It was as if he was a sculpture of Michelangelo that was given life. Then suddenly, a bump grew and extended from his back. Out of nowhere, large white wings erupted behind him. “Holy crap.”
Eran stood up and looked back at me. Then it made sense. His looks were angelic because he was literally an angel. The wings had a faint glow, and avroi expanded all around him. It was probably as tall as Eran, and its span would probably be twice his height. I couldn’t help but stare in fear and awe of the magnificent creature before me. A golden aura was glowing above his head, which expanded down to his body. The golden hue mixed with the white aura of his wings. It was nothing but glorious.
The boy bent his knees, and a quick succession of a jump, he flew upwards to the sky. His wings flapped with power, and I fell back to my bed, sincerely baffled at what I just saw. Eran was an angel. Or at least close to it. I leaned forward to my window and checked the sky. But he was gone. Not a trace of his presence. There was not even a trace of his avroi.
I just thought of what happened ever since my first visit to Asphodel and being confronted by Samael. The Nyxian blade was a beacon to my awakening as a Necromancer. And then my ventures into the other dimension had given me some clues on who my dad really is.
Suddenly, Isis appeared, and Eran was introduced. It was a mixture of anger, frustration, and gratitude for how everything was turning out to be. The enemies are dangerous. But it seemed that I found myself some powerful allies, too. There was no way an angel like Eran would side with the Black Sorceress. The thoughts kept spiraling over and over again for almost an hour.
My rumination was cut off when I heard our door open from below. But I didn’t listen to it get shut. I jumped off my bed and went downstairs. It was mom. She was slowly walking a few steps from the door. She looked tired and feverish she wasn’t even able to close it.
“Hey, dear.” Mom said. Her breathing was ragged. And her voice was almost non-existent. “I’m home.”
“Mom!” I exclaimed. “What happened? Are you okay?”
She made a wobbly step towards me. And the next step didn’t even make it. Her body collapsed on the floor. A gut-wrenching thud was heard in our house. It was so sudden and unexpected.
My eyes widened in horror. A second passed before everything registered into my head. “Mom!”