Nikki - Teachers Really Love Deadlines
I was able to call emergency hotlines right away. And in less than 20 minutes, we were already in the hospital. My hands found its way to my mom’s, and I grasped it. She was totally unconscious on the bed. The nurses inserted a needle into her vein and attached it to an IV.
Then I heard soft footsteps. I then realized that I fell asleep with my head lying on the bed next to my mom. I turned my head to check who it was and saw her doctor. The doctor was a woman in her mid-thirties and still looked young. Her blonde hair was tied neatly behind her head, and her eyebrows were stern-looking. It looked even more intimidating with her icy blue eyes gazing and studying me.
My lips felt dry as I saw how serious she looked at me. When a doctor made a face like that, it was never good. I felt my heart raced for the bad news. And the way it danced in my ribcage didn’t make me feel good about it.
“You must be Nikki.” She said softly. “I’m Dr. Dany. I’m really sorry if I need to disturb you this late, but I need to check her vitals. We need to monitor her closely.”
“What’s happening with my mom?” I replied, ignoring her kind introduction. It didn’t help that she was trying to be nice, and I brushed it off. Her face was calm, but I knew she winced from the inside. “Is she going to be okay?”
“You did a good thing, Nikki.” She commended. Then Dr. Dany walked beside my mom and checked some stuff on the things attached to her body. “But I’m afraid that she’s in a coma right now. Sadly, we still don’t know what caused this. Her vital signs showed that there was no trace of anything that could have caused her symptoms.”
My lips puckered. I wanted to scream at her for not knowing anything. But I knew I couldn’t blame her. Because when I held mom’s hand, there were traces of avroi in her system. No hospital gadget or apparatus can explain that.
My frown was plainly visible. And Dr. Dany could probably hear the grinding of the teeth. Even my nostrils were trying their best not to flare so intensely.
“Pardon me, I know we’re talking about your mom, but I shouldn’t really be discussing this with you.” She stated. Then she took out a small card and gave it to me. Her number was on it. “Is there any other family member that could help the two of you regarding this situation?”
“None.” I sighed. My eyes softened after studying her card. I was sure she meant well by that. And I know there is only one person to blame for this. “I never knew my dad. And mom never introduced me to any other relatives. We’ve been alone together all this time.”
“What about a close friend of hers?” The doctor pressed on with another question. For someone who was talking to a child, she sounded so strict. But I wasn’t any other child. I was a Necromancer. And I may have the ability to save her. “Is there anyone we can reach so someone can take care of you as well?”
“I can take care of myself. Mom always taught me how to be independent, but I don’t want to leave her.” I explained. “I’ll stay here.”
“I’m really sorry about what happened.” Dr. Dany consoled. “Maybe I can write a letter to your school so you can be excused until we can figure things out. Where are you studying if I may ask?”
“Madburrow Elementary School.” I replied. Then I stared at her with a slight flick of anger in my eyes. I felt her unease with my heterochromia. She was not the first one to fall victim to that. “Please, do what you can to save her.”
“We will, I can assure you of that.” She nodded. “If there’s anything we can do to make you comfortable, just please ask from one of the nurses. And if you can think of anyone that can help your mom, tell me right away. Okay?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I responded.
“I should be going. Go get some sleep, Nikki. Goodnight.” She admonished.
With a nod, she quietly left the room.
I sat back on the couch in the room and sent a message to Phineas and Otis regarding what happened. It was almost midnight, so I doubt they would still be able to read that. Then I sent a mental message to Eran.
Are you still up? I sent forth my thoughts.
Yes. He immediately replied back. I could practically hear his boyish voice in my head. Are you still that disturbed with how I left your house? Go to sleep, Nikki. I need you to think about the plan.
I know! I snapped back. I just want to ask something serious. You might know what to do with this. And I don’t know anyone else I could rely on with this magic stuff. So please, I need your help.
What happened? He asked. Then I felt a warm feeling in my chest. The concern in his voice was somehow translated to an emotion.
My mom came home after you left and collapsed. We’re in the hospital right now, and she’s in a coma. I explained. Then when I touched her hand, I felt avroi going through her body. This wasn’t a sickness. I think it was caused by magic.
It’s highly likely. Eran agreed. His thoughts were less meaningful than usual. I wasn’t used to it. Do you think Samael has something to do with this?
I don’t know anyone else who is capable of doing something like this. I admitted. Eran probably felt the disgust that I feel towards that swine. He’s obviously after me. And he’ll do anything to have me join his small band of villains to resurrect his dead mother.
We need concrete evidence. Eran objected. Samael isn’t the only one out there who could do so much evil. There’s still some small chance that this is the doing of other mages.
I know that, but we only know one evil mage who had the motives to do this. I pointed out. Help me, Eran. I need a plan. This is my mother we’re talking about.
I’ll try to think of a plan. He muttered inside my head. All I felt was pity in his voice. His reply was so forced. But don’t get your hopes up.
There was silence after that. I leaned on the wall behind me and looked at my mom. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep. Not knowing whether my mom would still wake up was not a comfortable feeling.
I kept waking up in the middle of the night, thinking it was just all a bad dream. But the first thing I’d see was my mom’s almost lifeless body on her bed. My fists would only curl into a ball, and my chest would heat up in anger towards whoever did it. Then, the drowsiness would creep in again, and my eyelids would fall back down.
It was relatively warmer when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
“Wake up, dummy!” Otis’ voice boomed. His high-pitched voice sounded more annoying than my alarm clock. “Breakfast is ready!”
“What’s going on?” I yawned. Otis’ brown hair came into view, and Phineas was just sitting on the other side of the room. “You could have told me you’d be visiting this early.”
“We kind of did.” Phineas chirped. He tried to smile, but the tension in the room was so heavy. Only Otis was light-hearted enough to break through it. “But you’re too tired to even answer our phone call.”
I checked my phone to see more than a dozen missed calls from both of them.
A woman entered the room and brought a couple of paper bags with her. It must have been that she bought some food from a nearby diner. “That’s why we decided to help you out.”
“Mrs. Chase, what are you doing here?” I exclaimed. “You didn’t have to go all the way.”
“I insist.” She pursed her lips in defiance and reminded me where Otis got his good looks and persistent behavior. The only difference was her hair was sandy blonde. But the two of them looked really alike. “You’re like a brother to Otis, and that makes you an extension of our family.”
“Thank you so much!” I stood up and helped her out. The other two set up the table and prepared the meal for all of us. “I don’t know how we could pay for all this.”
“You don’t have to.” Otis beamed. “That’s my treat.”
“Seriously?” I gawked. I switched my stare from him to Phineas to Mrs. Chase and back to him. “You’re kidding, right? The Otis that I know is a reckless spender of money.”
“Yeah.” Phineas snickered. The slight gleam on his face looked proud and haughty. “Who knew Otis knows how to save up his daily allowance? Even Mrs. Chase is surprised.”
“And, I’m just baffled.” I chuckled.
“I honestly couldn’t be more proud. I’m considering an allowance raise if this would keep up.” Mrs. Chase snickered. Otis couldn’t help but smile so devilishly. “Or maybe not.”
“I guess you won’t be going to school today?” Phineas asked. I never thought about it, so I couldn’t help but scrunched my face. “We had Mrs. Chase tell all of our teachers that Otis and I will be late. Sorry, we can’t help but blame you for this one.”
“It’s okay to admit you’re pretty lazy today.” Otis commented. “Besides, you have to take care of your mom. I’m sure our teachers would understand.”
Teachers. Undoubtedly, one of them would accurately understand what was going on with my mother. And the soonest I could talk to creep, the better. Delay was just not an option. That only meant that I’d have to relay to Eran that our plans would be needing an adjustment.
“I think I might go with you. Our exams are about to massacre us in a few weeks. There’s no way I’m losing to Phineas.” I replied. The red-headed boy just shook his head. “But I’m not sure who can watch over my mom. “
“Don’t worry, Nikki. I’m willing to watch her for you.” Mrs. Chase chirped. My eyes almost teared up at that. She was indeed a life-saver. “There’s nothing to do at home either way. Pat would be away for a few days because of a business trip.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. My lips couldn’t help but quiver in gratitude. “That’s too much to ask. Seriously. I really don’t know how to thank you, Mrs. Chase.”
“It’s no biggie, dear. Just promise me one thing,” then she winked at me that caused the three of us to raise our eyebrows. “You are going to report all the secret misdeeds of my son directly to me. That includes all the grades.”
“Deal is off, mom!” Otis groaned loudly. “Stay here, Nikki. Watch your mother carefully. I’m very sure that you’re the first person she would want to see when she wakes up.”
Phineas and I just laughed at them. Otis was really something else.
“I’ll be needing to go home and take a shower before I go to school.” I said. “I am practically wearing pajamas here. Not cool.”
“Well, we could drive by your house with us. Then I’ll drop off the three of you at school before I go back here so I could watch over Ellie.” Mrs. Chase suggested. I couldn’t agree more. “Just make sure you take a shower fast. I don’t want you three getting later than what I promised Mr. Evans.”
My stomach fell to the ground when I heard that cursed man’s name. Of course, it wasn’t the real one. My blood stopped circulating all of a sudden. All things around me felt like they stopped.
“Are you okay?” Phineas asked.
“I’m good. False alarm. I thought I missed my algebra homework. We didn’t really have one, did we?” I lied. Then I faced a fake gleeful face at my friend’s mom. “Sounds good, Mrs. Chase.”
Everything went quick. Mrs. Chase talked to the head nurse, her old-time friend, to watch over my mom. As planned, she drove by our house to take a shower and do a quick change of clothes. Otis almost complained about why I took so long, but Phineas assured me it wasn’t that bad. Then I grabbed my bag, and the four of us went to school.
It was already lunchtime when we got there. Students were pouring out into the noisy cafeteria. We only had a few subjects left. When I passed by the halls, some of my teachers offered their sympathy to me. But Mr. Evans was nowhere to be found. My arms were aching to give him a good solid punch. But of course, violence against a teacher may have me being kicked out of the school. That’s not an option either.
Mr. Evans would be my last teacher for the day. And it was the perfect time to confront him. I need a reason for Otis and Phineas to leave me. Every minute that passed brought forth the distracting pounding in my chest.
Even Phineas and Otis noticed it. But they didn’t say a word. Perhaps they just thought I was out of it because of what happened to my mom. Well, they were almost correct.
And then the moment came. It was an English class again, and Mr. Evans arrived with a smug look on his face. I played along with most of the subjects. But every once in a while within that cursed 40-minute class, my teeth would grind themselves.
In the middle of the class, I slipped into the comfort room then into Asphodel. I summoned a couple more wights and strategically positioned them into the parallel dimension. All I had to do was drag him into Asphodel, and he would be surrounded.
In my head, the countdown had already begun. Every sound that a person would make was a shot to my growing nervous breakdown that was waiting to explode. I had to stop myself from taking a breathe and remind myself that it was an all or nothing shot.
“Mr. Ellison.” He called. It zapped me out of my murderous daydream. The tone was so menacingly provoking. “You look quite pale today. Are you okay? Would you like me to send you to the clinic?”
“I’m fine.” I replied. As calmly as I could. He was playing with me. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so apparent if there was so much at stake. I was so sure he had something to do with my mother’s sickness. “Thanks for the concern, Mr. Evans.”
“If you say so.” He smiled so devilishly. “It would be best if you take care of yourselves, children. A trip to the clinic is a lot more comfortable than a trip to the hospital. And don’t forget to take your daily vitamins. You don’t know how much better prevention is than cure.”
The class resumed after that little stunt. It was incredibly annoying.
I had to wonder why no one would notice that. Perhaps the rest of the class were simply afraid to call out his eccentric behavior. But then again, I remembered Phineas loving his teaching style. I just had to remind myself that this guy before us is a villainous wretch. And I was the only one who knew.
A few more moments and it was the last five minutes of the class. Most of my classmates had already started to pack up. Mr. Evans sat in his chair and would steal a few glances at me.
The bell rang, and my classmates started to pour out of the classroom. It went from eerily silent to extremely loud in a snap of a finger. Shouts and screams could be heard outside. It was a Friday, after all. Kids like me would be enjoying their weekend.
Sadly, I was no longer part of that crowd. Everything had changed.
“Hey man, let’s go.” Otis nudged me. Phineas was just behind him.
“Wait for me outside.” I replied. “I need to talk to Mr. Evans.”
“We won’t be long, boys.” Mr. Evans interrupted. Then slowly walked towards us before stopping a few feet in front of the blackboard. “I’m sure Nikki has a few questions regarding my class. He wasn’t really in the mood to listen since he really didn’t look so well. I guess I could enlighten him with a few things.”
“Okay.” Otis and Phineas chirped.
Both of them left, with Phineas stopping by the door to look back at me. His eyes narrowed, and was being inquisitive. Thinking of an excuse would be for later. It was time to confront Samael. But it would be under my terms.
I stood up from my seat. The man and I were face to face. Just a few feet away from each other. Even if it was so noisy with kids outside, the room had this deafening silence. The dark vibes of Asphodel were looming into the room. It was emanating out of me. And I was clueless about how that even happened.
Then Samael started walked towards me. That was when I charged at him, but he didn’t attempt to defend himself. I summoned my magic and literally pushed him into Asphodel the same way I did with the wight before. He kept stepping back until his back was on the blackboard.
My wight was behind me, awaiting orders. Two more were located at his side, with dead eyes locked at him. But the man was unfazed. He looked so confident with himself. I was sure he could take us out even if it was a four on one. The three wights couldn’t use any magic anyway. So I made sure I’m not going to give in without a fight.
“I’m impressed that you’re now able to do such feats in a short period. I marvel at how you learned the basics of Necromancy. Perhaps I have indeed underestimated you.” Samael clapped his hands slowly. “You’re clearly smarter than the other mage we are observing somewhere else. You’re an interesting little fellow, Nicholas.”
With a flick of my hand, the Nyxian blade summoned itself in my grip and pointed it at his neck. “That’s not what I want to talk about, Samael. In this realm, you’re no longer my teacher.”
“If you’re going to ask regarding what happened to your mom, then I’m not going to deny it.” He stated. And to make things worse, he said it with a smile. I grabbed him by his shirt and pushed him hard against the board. It created a loud thud, but we were in another realm. No one would be able to hear that. “I did it. I was the one who did that to your mom.”
“How dare you!” I growled at him and pressed my blade to his neck. But Samael didn’t flinch despite the dark metal drawing blood. If I remembered it right, it would take one good push to nick his artery. “What do you want?”
“Are you not curious about what kind of poison I used on your mom? It was nothing cheap, I assure you. You should be proud that I used such resources for this grand trade of ours.” He flaunted. I winced at the open admittance of his crimes. The man wanted me to confront him for sure. “And I’m sure with all the gadgets the doctors of this world have plugged on her, they wouldn’t have the means to even detect it. So the chances of them finding the antidote are absolutely zero.”
“What do you want?” I demanded. “I’ll do anything!”
“The only people that would be able to make an antidote are from Fuhrstenvald, and you’re very far from there.” Samael continued. My demands were thrown into the wind. “But there is another powerful mage who moved into America last year. His magic is very similar to theirs. Yet he is still hundreds of miles away from here. And I don’t think he is willing to share his skills anyway. That proud British brat is the last person who would make allies. Quite stupid if you ask me.”
“Just tell me what you want.” I cried. “Please!”
“The poison was from an exotic arachnid from the land of Qah’livan. It was quite a peculiar little spider. And no part of its family had seeped into your world.” He taunted. I gripped his shirt harder and pressed my blade further. More blood was drawn, but he was not even intimidated. His expression was tremendously assured and collected. “But be thankful, though. The poison is extremely lethal. Your mother would be dead by the end of next week.”
“Fuck you!” I roared. Tears were slowly dripping from my eyes. But Samael looked so contented with how he was able to taunt and provoke me. “I’ll fucking kill you!”
I retracted my blade for momentum and was about to drive it to his neck. But before I could do that, his eyes turned onyx black and expanded it to his sclera. He quickly snapped his finger, and the low light of Asphodel vanished entirely. It caught me off guard since my eyesight was taken out despite my eyes being open.
It was total darkness.
Then I was suddenly pushed back a few steps. After a split-second of confusion, I tried to counter it and immediately drove my sword forward. But it struck the board. It didn’t feel like human flesh at all. Too hard for that. I looked around but still saw blackness.
After another second, I heard a thud on the floor to my left area. Followed by another to my back. Then another to my right. All three wights were instantly disposed of by my opponent. With all my might, I pulled the sword out of the blackboard. But a strong force pulled me back. I crashed to the back wall of the room and fell to the ground.
I heard another snap, and my vision returned.
Three of my wights were on the floor. Defenseless at the magic that took out the light. There was no way I could defend myself from that. Samael was standing a few feet away from me. His face was smug, and a dry smile was on his lips. When I looked around, dozens of blades were floating around with me as their target.
The man raised his hand, and chains erupted from the walls. It wrapped all of my limbs, and I was dragged upwards. Samael had me hung on his back chains and walked towards me. His hands reached for my face and squeezed my jaws.
“You don’t know how powerful I really am, little Necromancer.” He stated. “You have no right to make death threats, even if this is your realm. It’s just that only Necromancers could pass through the second level of this realm. And I don’t really have time to waste. You’re the only one available around.”
No wonder why Necromancers were hiding. It was this or locking themselves away and hidden in another realm. Samael studied me as he slowly released my face from his grip.
“It is true that the extent of my Necromancy magic is simply entering the realm of Asphodel. And I couldn’t even do it if I had to use other magic simultaneously. It’s such a complicated art, after all.” The man explained. Then he ran his hand over to silvery blonde hair. “There are just two options. Fetch me what I need or watch your mother die. I can surely relate because my mother was murdered by those who proclaim justice. I’m sure you can understand why I am doing whatever it takes to have her back.”
“I don’t even know where to find it.” I groaned. My wrist started to hurt, and the cold black steel chilled my pulse steadily.
“You don’t have to worry about how to get there.” He replied.” I will leave instructions on my table after this silly little skirmish of yours. But still, I want you to make a choice.”
I was not able to reply. The silence was all I offered. He edged himself closer to the side of my face. His chains lowered me slowly to his reach. All the bravado I initially showed him was gone in an instant. It was a humiliating defeat in my own playground.
“Make a choice, Nicholas.” He repeated. His voice suddenly went ice cold. It screeched the inner parts of my ear as he whispered. “Get me the Necronomicon or watch your mother die slowly.”