I scrolled through the microfilm, passing over years of old newspapers from the region between 1900-1915. The viewing machine was older than I was, but at least I could print copies of the article out when I found them.
After a couple of false starts I found an article that caught my eye. The headline read, “Unidentified Body Discovered in quiet town.” On September 6th, 1910, in the small town of Dumont, West Virginia a male body was found dead by travelers along a popular hiking trail. The cause of death was ruled a homicide, but no cause of death was mentioned. There were no suspects named either. I skipped forward through the next couple of weeks, but the topic was never discussed again.
Could this be Howell’s body they found? The dates matched. I couldn’t find anything else about T.C. Howell or Theodore Claus Howell after 1910. The body was discovered near what is the Sunnyledge so it’s possible this could be Howell’s. I needed more to go on. There would have been a police and autopsy report, even back then. The question was if Sheriff Brice still had those files.
I called Billy and asked him about the possibility of checking out the police archives. He checked with his dad and told me to meet him at the police station.
“All of the files from that era were destroyed in a flood in the late nineties,” Sheriff Brice said from his desk. Billy was laying down along the green leather couch. “We started scanning everything to the computer around that time, so there’s a possibility the case your looking for is backed up.”
“Where are the back ups?” Billy asked his dad.
“That is a good question,” the sherif responded. He pulled a file box off the floor and plopped it on his desk. “If it’s scanned in, the files will be on one of these discs.”
“Why weren’t they catalogued,” Billy asked as he started to search through the mess of CDs.
“There’s at least a couple of hundred discs in here.”
“It’s okay,” I assured the sheriff. “I appreciate your help. I don’t mind looking through them if that’s alright.”
“I’ll help you, Charlie,” Billy happily offered. I’ll grab a couple laptops and we can use one of the interrogation rooms.”
“Let me know if you need anything else,” the sherif added as he turned his attention to a ringing phone.” Right before he picked the phone up he added, “Oh, and and Billy, could you label them for me?” Billy gave a sour face towards his father, but the sherif added, “It’s the least you can do, son.”
Billy took a deep breath and said, “Sure, dad, whatever you want.” I could see something unnerving in Billy’s eyes, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Maybe it was the hostility towards his father, while I was reminded of a father I had lost. I felt guilty for judging him. I remembered that Billy lost a mother. He knew the pain of loosing a parent as well as I did.
Billy took the box and I followed him through the station and into a small room with a table and chairs. We set up the laptops and started to search through the piles of unlabeled CDs.
We searched the discs and started to label them with the beginning and end date of their contents. After we were done with a disc we started to stack them by date.
“It was cool of your dad to let us look through all of this.”
“It’s free labor,” Billy said. “Who would pass that up?”
“Well, either way, it was cool.”
“So what’s so special about this guy you are trying to find?” Billy asked.
“He was a professor at some college. Came to Dumont to do some research, but I think he was killed shortly after.”
“If it happened over a hundred years ago, what does it have to do with you?”
“I think he stayed at the Sunnyledge,” I answered as I clicked through the files on the disc. I ejected the disc and started to write, “Sept 1904 - Dec 1904" along the top. I tossed the disc on the third pile, and continued. “I found a journal in my grandmother’s attic. I think the body they found out in the woods and the guy that stayed at the Sunnyledge are the same.”
“Maybe your great -grandfather killed him,” Billy shrugged and quickly added, “Just kidding. What do you think happened to him?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “Hence why I’m looking for the police report.”
“What was so special about this town,” Billy asked. “I mean, why did this guy come to Dumont to do his research? Was he trying to figure out why our town was so boring?”
I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to tell Billy but I thought telling him about the professor wouldn’t hurt.
“He was an anthropology professor, but secretly was looking for proof of the paranormal. Trying to prove life does exist after death.”
“Like ghosts and vampires?” Billy asked.
“Yeah, ghosts mainly, I think. He thought this town was a hot bed of them.”
“I bet,” Billy agreed. “This town has always brought in the ghost hunters. The tourists love those stories. I even think I heard a story about a little girl ghost that haunts the Sunnyledge. Creeps the hell out of Sara.”
“Do you believe in ghosts,” I asked Billy.
“Not really,” he answered. “Hey, I found the files from August 1910 to October 1910. You said the one you’re looking for is around Sept 6, 1910?”
I nodded as I looked around the screen. I watched as Billy clicked through and opened several of the files. I made him stop when he opened a picture of a black and white picture of a dead man found in the woods. His body was already bloated by the time they found it.
“The police report says that the cause of death wasn’t known. No signs of foul play at the scene. I wonder why they thought it was a homicide.” He kept reading, clicking through the pages. “Oh,” he said, “The autopsy doctor says the body was already dead before he was moved to the forest.”
I looked over Billy’s shoulder at the report and looked towards the bottom of the page. “The police report says the guy walked into the forest by himself, but the coroner says he was already dead.”
“At least a day or two,” Billy added. “Two very conflicting pieces of evidence.”
On my way home I started to think about the necromancer who kept Laura’s spirit imprisoned in the forest. They found her body in the same place. I think the police thought she wondered into the woods and died, but the autopsy showed she was dead before being moved to the woods.
The male body found in the woods was probably the professor. Killed the same way Laura had been. Could the killers be the same or was this necromancer copying another? Did the murder from one hundred years ago have anything to do with Laura’s?
I am a necromancer. I use the same energy the dark necromancer uses, but the difference is how I choose to use that power. The necromancer doing these things is not a good person. He uses his powers to hurt other people. He tortures souls after they are murdered. Good people didn’t do these things. If this guy knew who I was, there was a possibility he would come after me. There was a chance he would come after my family. Maybe even my new friends.
“Do you think he knows who I am?” I asked Martin, back at the Sunnyledge. He hovered an inch above the couch, giving the impression that he was actually sitting. Nunny was watching Judge and Justice, a legal-cop drama she didn’t ever miss. Madison and I were playing chess on the coffee table.
“Who?” My grandfather responded.
“The necromancer we’re trying to find?” I asked, “Do you think he knows who I am?”
“It’s possible, Charlie,” my grandfather answered. “He might know about our family. Especially if he lives in the region. He might not be aware of you just yet, but I think we should be cautious. No more visits to the cemetery for practicing your reanimation skills. We need to find somewhere that’s a bit more private. A place you can master all of your skills without prying eyes.”
“What did you have in mind?” I asked. “Did you want to rent some space in town?” I said sarcastically. “I bet we could get a good deal on office space in the professional building. Madison you should talk to Dr.Gibson about renting a corner office. We could open a clinic for depressed ghosts. It should be covered by most health insurance plans.”
“Charlie, knock it off,” my little sister demanded. “Martin’s right. You need to find somewhere safe to practice. Until you get control of all your abilities you’re going to need somewhere private.”
“How about the high school,” I suggested. “No one there during winter break. Probably wouldn’t be a bad place.”
“We need somewhere that is completely isolated,” my grandfather repeated.
My sister looked up from her tablet. “I think I might have a place we won’t have to worry about anyone seeing us.” Madison turned the screen so we could see what she was working on. A picture of a huge barn painted fire engine red covered the screen. “It’s been on sale for the past thirteen months and better yet, its vacant.” She was smiling because she knew she was right. The barn would be a better idea than the high school.
“Do we get to be farmers?” I joked. She was about to answer with a retort of her own, but my grandfather interrupted our sibling bickering session.
“That’s exactly what we need,” my grandfather praised.
“Plenty of room to work,” my sister added. “It’s out in the middle of nowhere and on a vacant property. If the decrease in price is any indication of it’s unpopularity then this is a great place. You’d be completely isolated, and we would know right away if anyone pulled up.
“I bet there’s a load of places to hide if we ever need to be scarce,” I added in support of Madison’s idea. “Good call, Maddie.”
The last thing we needed was for someone to see me reanimating dead animals. It was bad enough Madison had accidentally found me, just imagine someone I didn’t trust finding out my secret. I had to be more careful if I didn’t want anyone else finding out.
I wanted to tell Diana so badly, but wasn’t sure how she would handle it. Might be easier if she just found out on her own. Then she would be angry at me for not telling her in the first place.
The barn was twenty minutes away from the Sunnyledge. The closet thing to the farm was five miles down the road. The turn off from the main road wasn’t paved, but the gravel was thick and made up for it.
After a quarter of a mile we came to a small white sided farm house. The windows were boarded up with pieces of plywood, and the snow near the house looked undisturbed. It looked like no one had visited for a long time. We wouldn’t be disturbed.
About two hundred feet away from the house was a large red barn. I told Madison to stay in the truck while Martin and I went in to check things out. I told Madison I would let her know when it was safe to get out of the truck.
I grabbed the bolt cutters from the tool box in the back of the truck. Cutting through the pad lock was like cutting through butter. Technically I was breaking and entering, but the farm had been abandoned over a year ago. According to my sister’s call to the real estate agent no one has wanted to see the farm house for five months.
The last property owner split town, stopping their mortgage payments. The bank foreclosed on the house and repossessed the entire farmstead. The agent told Madison she could see the house, but not until after the holidays. The agent would be on vacation with her family and wouldn’t be back until after new years. Madison said she would call back then to make an appointment and left a fake number.
Metal tracks ran along the top and bottom of the barn door. The wheels were completely covered in orange and brown rust. I cringed when rusted metal slid against rusted metal. The ear piercing shriek made my blood boil as I slid the door open.
I felt a slight paranoia when I stepped inside the barn. My tension eased when I remembered I had my grandfather still with me. Even in death my grandfather was a powerful necromancer. As long as he was with me I was safe.
Large white sheets covered industrial pieces of farm equipment. A layer of dust settled over the sheets giving a dark shadow to the pure white background. I could make out a tractor in the corner, and some other farming equipment in the back. The ground was covered in light brown hay and more rolls sat around the barn in different locations.
Hand tools lined the wall on a simple, yet functional, hook system. On the opposite side of the room were three stalls originally used for horses. Now they were used only for storage. Each was filled with rusted machine parts, bails of hey, and old farming tools.
In the center of the great barn was a two foot thick wooden beam running the length of the roof. At the center of the beam something caught my interest. A large black notch was burned into the wood the whole way around the beam. I could even see a small amount of smoke rising from the scorched wood. I could figure out why the wood was smoking. The skylights were both closed making the use of sunlight cooking the wood impossible.
“Charlie, do you see that?” my grandfather asked with utter surprise.
“The burn mark?” I asked.
“Look underneath, into the spirit realm,” my grandfather explained. “Use your powers to see,” he explained when I dropped my eyes to the ground beneath the beam.
I used my ability and took a peek into the spirit realm. I was unprepared for what was there. The black notch was covered in pulsating blue energy. The energy was so powerful that it was burning the wood through the spirit realm.
Under the beam was a large cocoon made from solid blue rings of transparent glowing chains. I took a few steps forward to get a better look, but swore I could see someone in it. In-between the layers of chains I could see a set of ghostly blue eyes watching us.
“Someone’s trapped inside,” I rushed to say. My first instinct was to grab at the chains, trying to pull them apart. I thought I could get the sprit out, but the chains constricted causing the cocoon to tighten. The ghost’s muffled screams made me stop what I was doing and I looked to Martin for help.
He was as baffled as I was when I tried to pull the chains apart. When my fingers touched the transparent blue chains I could feel the necromatic energy surging through them. They were solid in design, but any mortal would walk right through it.
At my touch the chains continued to restrict and the ghost let out a series of muffled screams. I watched as the chains relaxed when I removed my hand. When I stopped trying to free the ghost the chains went slack. I could hear the spirit’s sigh of relief. I could feel the spirit’s despair and hopelessness from deep within the cocoon.
I tried pulling the chains apart using only my will, but could barely even make them budge. I thought if I used more power it would help, but instead the cocoon constricted. They tightened further around the ghost causing more cries of agony. When I stopped, the spirit sighed as the chains gave slack.
The spirit’s eyes were grainy and warn out. They were dull in color and dry like the desert. I could see the cracks and textures. They were nowhere near the vibrant blue hue they should be.
“Charlie, I think I can break the chains, but it’s going to take me time.”
“How long?” I asked, but turned away when he couldn’t give me an answer. I started to pace while Martin concentrated on the cocoon. I took a stroll around the barn looking for anything that might be interesting. There was a large tractor under a tarp that looked like it was in perfect condition.
I paused in my tracks and tilted my head in the direction of a faint sound I could barely hear. I listened for it again, but instead heard the car door opening and quickly shutting. Madison was ignoring the one thing I asked her to do. Why couldn’t she just listen to me sometimes?
“I told you to stay in the truck,” I said loudly so she could hear me. A few moments later I realized she was having trouble with the weight of the door. “Hold on,” I said while I began to help open it.
As the gap widened the pungent oder of decay punched my sense of smell. The door slid open before I could process the meaning behind the odor. The could stench was growing stronger as I left the barn to ream out my sister for not doing what I told her to do. I tried to walk out, but something not Madison was blocking my way.
Limping towards me was a man in a loosely fitted blue suit. He was dragging his foot on the ground instead of picking it up. When I blocked out the glare of the sun the man’s face become visible. Chunks of flesh were missing from the man’s jaw and his head was covered in open legions bubbling with puss. He was dead, but brought back as a nefari, a walking abomination by a dark necromancer.
“Is that a zombie?” my sister asked calmly. “I thought you couldn’t make those, Charlie.”
“Madison, get back in the car,” I shouted. She thought I made the nefari and didn’t realize she was in danger. “I didn’t make it.”
She was staring, mesmerized by the horror of the nefari and then realized the problem. “You didn’t make it? That means you don’t control it.”
I sprinted around the dead guy before he had time to close in. Madison was about to scream bloody murder until I covered her mouth with my hand and pulled her along.
“Stay calm, Madison,” I said with a soothing voice. She tried to pull away, but I held on. I slowly moved my hand away from her mouth and calmly said, “I want you to calmly walk back to the truck and lock yourself inside.”
My sister didn’t say a word as she slowly took a step backwards. Madison couldn’t take her eyes off the monster while she tried to gain some distance. The creature watched us, remaining still, as it waited for it’s master’s next command.
The nefari was a mindless puppet being controlled by a sick puppeteer. He was watching us from the eyes of his minion. Each nefari was in essence an extension of the necromancer’s senses and will.
Madison tripped and fell to the ground before she reached the truck. The nefari turned ninety degrees and practically sprinted in her direction.
It grabbed onto Madison before I could reach her. The nefari held on, but she managed to wiggle out of its embrace. She was able to get to the truck slamming the door closed behind her.
“Lock the doors,” I yelled to Madison and added, “I’ll be right back.”
I quickly ran back into the barn to find something that could be useful against these creatures while my sister remained safe inside the truck.
“I heard yelling. What was it?” My grandfather asked as he continued to focus on getting through the chains.
“A slight problem I am trying to remedy,” I said as I scoured the barn. There were hundreds of tools hanging on the wall, like screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, pliers, and other assorted hand tools I had no name for. I needed something bigger and easy to swing. “It’s a nefari,” I replied as I contemplated a good weapon.
“I told her to lock herself in the truck. She’s safe for the moment.”
“You have to destroy the necromancer’s connection,” my grandfather explained.
I looked frantically around the took rack, “How do I do that?”
“Cut off or severely damage it’s head,” my grandfather replied.
A medium hand saw caught my eye, but it would be no use unless I wanted to spend several minutes sawing.
“How much damage would I need to do to the head if I can’t cut it off?”
“A lot of trauma,” he said while he quickly glanced up at me.
I thought I had won the jackpot when I noticed a shovel with a sharp rectangular spade on a low hook. “Will this work?” I asked my grandfather holding it like a bat.
“If you were good at baseball,” he replied.
“Time to find out,” I said while I hurried out of the barn carrying the shovel by my side.
The nefari slammed its fists against the truck’s window, trying to shatter the glass. I ran up behind it and when I was close enough took a swing. The shovel bounced off the nefari’s head with a wet thump. The monster turned around to look at me with a blank face. Again his head tilted like an inquisitive animal while it looked at me. The puppet master on the other end was getting a good look at me.
I shifted my weight to my back leg and leaned into the swing with all of my might. The impact caved in the side of the nefari’s head, but it didn’t take it down. Without missing a beat the nefari kept coming at me. Apparently, just caving in the skull wasn’t enough. I swung again, but hit the nefari on the the thing’s scalp and the shovel went wide.
I took a couple of steps back and waited for it to come to me. I set my stance again, this time picking up my elbow and arching my shoulders forward. I swung the shovel one more time, finding the sweet spot above his ear splattered the nefari’s brains all over the side of the barn.
While I stood over the nefari I could feel necromatic power escaping from it’s used and broken corpse. It was almost intoxicating the way I was drawn to it. This was the power the dark necromancer had used for the reanimation. This was the power of darkness. The power my grandfather warned me about.
“Charlie, let’s go,” my grandfather yelled flying through the doorway. “Charlie, look out!”
The smell of burnt flesh filled my nostrils before I saw the nefari go for my neck. Instead of swinging the shovel like a bat I drove the spade up and into the nefari’s neck. The spade lodged into the nefari and it ripped the shovel from my hands.
The nefari stumbled forwarded trying to pull the shovel out, when my grandfather yelled, “Charlie, it’s time to go! Let’s get the hell out of here.”
All of my instincts told me to finish the nefari off, but then I saw why my grandfather was in a rush. Two more nefari appeared behind me. I took my grandfather’s advice and ditched the idea of retrieving the shovel.
“Charlie, what the hell is going on?” My sister screamed as I opened the door and jumped in. “Were those things, zombies?”
I wasn’t sure what to tell Madison. Were those Zombies? Technically, no. They didn’t want to eat your brains. If they bit you, you wouldn’t turn into one of them. So, no they weren’t zombies, but they were the walking dead, the nefari. Reanimated corpses with no consciousness of their own.
For the first time since finding out about my legacy I was uneasy about the power of necromancy. Would I have to create walking nightmares? Was this my future? Would this turn me to the darkness one day?
I turned to ask Martin what he thought, but he wasn’t in the truck.
“Where’s Martin?” I asked with a slight concern, but a moment later he flew through the side of the barn and into the truck. I slipped the truck into drive and slammed my foot down on the accelerator. The truck lunged forward and back onto the road.
“What the hell happened back there?” Madison asked when we were several miles away.
I told my sister about the nefari. About the dark necromancer controlling them. Then I told her about the spirit in pain. The one trapped in the cocoon of chains. My sister didn’t understand how a soul could be in pain.
There was a lot that could happen to a soul after death, I told my sister.
“I knew there was another necromancer out there,” I said. “I thought he was like me, but seeing that... Seeing what he’s capable of.” I pointed back behind us, “He’s so much more powerful than I am.”
“Give yourself some credit, Charlie,” my sister said, trying to build up my self esteem. “You just started. I bet you’re just as strong soon.”
“Madison, you don’t get it,” I said as I watched the road. “I can reanimate a tabby cat, a small house pet. This guy is making nefari. A lot of them. We’re talking about a big difference in power. Think of it in weight. A couple of pounds no problem, but the weight of four grown adults... it’s another level altogether.” I didn’t even mention the amount of dark energy you would need.
“It’s not like you make one and than thats it, either. A part of your consciousness is in every reanimated corpse. Not only can this guy raise multiple people, but he can also control them at the same time. If that wasn’t bad enough he’s been trapping souls in some sort of necromantic prisons around town.”
“He’s collecting ghosts. And those spirits are just the ones we know about. He’s probably somewhere laughing at us right now. He’s been at this a long time. He knows this town better than I do. He’s stronger and I can’t stop him.”
My sister couldn’t understand what I was going through. She couldn’t understand how close this guy and I were to each other. This was what happened to necromancers who chose a dark path. They used their powers to hurt and cause pain. To create the nefari was a true sin against nature and he had made four of them. I was freaking out, but knew I couldn’t clam up now. I couldn’t just shut down. I had to stop this. It was already out of control.
“Madison, I want you to find out everything you can about that farm. Why was it foreclosed on, and why did the last occupants move away.”
“What do we do now?” I asked Martin.
“Try to figure out who this necromancer is before he makes an army of nefari to take over the town,” my grandfather answered. “Until then, you have to train up.”
“I agree, completely,” my sister grumbled. “We have to get Charlie trained if he’s going to stop this guy.” My sister had more faith in me than I did.
When we returned to the Sunnyledge, Madison ran to a computer, but I motioned for Martin to follow me to the study.
“What happened in there? I thought you said it was going to be easy to get the spirit out of that cocoon.”
Martin shook his head in disappointment. “I’ve never seen power like this, Charlie. Not since your father have I seen someone do the things Logan did all those years ago. I say this to you because I’m worried.”
Madison came running into the study, “I can’t believe I didn’t put this together. I found the barn based on a set of filters on the real estate website. It didn’t occur to me until now, but that farm was owned by Mary and Fred Long,” she said as if I had any clue to who they were. My eyebrows bunched up, so she would know I was drawing a blank. She took the hint and went on, “Matt Long? Does that name ring a bell, Charlie?”
I shook my head, but stopped when I remembered the name. “Diana’s ex-boyfriend, Matt. That was his family’s place? But he committed suicide in his barn. At the center rafter he hanged himself.” I paused. “The soul in that barn was Matt’s.” I contemplated the meaning. If Matt committed suicide how did his soul end up in it’s own personal hell?
“You have to tell Diana,” my sister demanded. “She has the right to know.”
“Are you out of your mind?” I barked. “I can’t tell Diana that her deceased boyfriend is being held prisoner on his family’s farm. There’s no way she’ll believe me.”
“You can’t be sure,” my sister argued. “Tell her the truth like you told me. After seeing Martin I was easy to convince.”
There was a chance Madison was right. Diana could hear me out, listen to my entire story. Maybe even believe me, but there was a better chance she would freak out and never talk to me again.
“You’re wrong, Maddie. I bet the second I even mention it, she clams up. I wouldn’t even have time to properly explain myself. She’ll tell me to shut up, and when I don’t she’ll never speak to me again. That is, if she doesn’t run me out of town first”
“Fine, I’ll drop it,” Madison said crossly.
I knew she wasn’t going to leave it at that, but I didn’t want to fight about it. The truth was I didn’t know if I was going to tell Diana my secret. If I exposed her to this world I could be putting her life at risk. Two of her friends died within a year. Each of them now trapped in their after life.
“The necromancer knows Dumont,” I began. “He’s been around a long time. The last necromancer in this town was my dad right? Could my father be trapped like the ghost we saw? Maybe this necromancer has his soul.”
“That would be impossible, Charlie.” My grandfather replied. He hovered around the room anxiously. He understood this world better than anyone, but I thought he was keeping something from me. “Your father is dead, Charlie. His spirit was destroyed.”
“How can you be so sure?” I asked. “What if he’s trapped somewhere like these other spirits?”
“I was there,” my grandfather answered. “I know his spirit was destroyed because I was the one who was forced to destroy it.” I was speechless and utterly bewildered at his sudden confession.
“What are you talking about?” I suddenly shouted.
“I told you about the darkness, Charlie. I told you how it can take hold of a necromancer, corrupt them, turn them evil.”
“I thought that was a metaphor,” I shyly added.
“It’s real,” my grandfather said bitterly. “Your father let the darkness take his soul. He would have killed a lot of people if I hadn’t interfered.”
“I can’t look at you right now,” I said as I stormed away from my grandfather. I couldn’t hear those words. I wasn’t strong enough.
“Charlie, your father was practicing dark necromancy without considering the consequences of his actions. He broke the laws of nature when he resurrected a spirit from beyond for his own selfish reasons. He killed others without remorse. I tried to save him, but it wasn’t possible.”
“I get it, you didn’t have a choice. Fine. I believe you. I still don’t want to talk to you about it right now.”
I sat down in frustration and picked up the professor’s journal from the side table. My grandfather was at a loss. I knew this wasn’t how he wanted to tell me about my dad.
As much as I felt bad about being angry I couldn’t meet his gaze. I wanted nothing to do with my grandfather. I needed time. I started reading Howell’s journal, when Martin finally floated away. I felt terrible, but I was too stubborn to admit it.
I decided to keep reading once he was gone. Over one hundred years ago, professor T.C. Howell found proof of the paranormal through my family. Did they find his body all those years ago in the woods. What had transpired in that short period of time to damn the professor?
I have gone over the chronicles several times. Yet, I am unable to clearly understand what I did wrong. The ritual was a failure. I should have the powers of the necromancer, yet I am no closer to unlocking the secrets of the spirit world.
Already, I have forfeited a finger, a token of my dedication to my cause. I am promised the power to see into the spirit world when this sacrifice was successfully completed.
After conversing with the spirit I need a bigger sacrifice, for the spell to work. There must be a way to accomplish my goal without further harm to myself. I will need all of my appendages intact when I shake the hands of the Nobel committee.
An opportunity presented itself today. A drifter wondered through town today. After a casual discussion with the fellow, it seems he is an excellent candidate for my needs. He is traveling alone. No family. No attachments. No one knows he in traveling through Dumont. There will be no way to connect him back to me if anyone comes looking for him.
It didn’t work. The powers of necromancy are no closer to being mine. She claims I didn’t do the ritual correctly, but I followed the chronicle’s instructions perfectly.
I was unconcerned anyone will trace me back to the the man’s death. I have disposed of the body deep in the forest where no one will find it. I dug the shallow grave at the base of a large oak tree. The Kane mansion loomed in the distance while I chipped away at the hard earth. The winter made my work harder, but I managed to finish before the sun crept over the hills. He will have the rest of time to admire the forest animals sipping at the brook.
I stopped reading and wondered if the story had any truth to it. It could be nothing more than a madman’s fantasy, but what if it was real? What if the professor murdered someone in cold blood? I had to know for sure if it was true.
What was the spell Howell was doing? He said there were instructions in the chronicles. I wondered what chronicles he was referring too. I wanted to ask Martin, but I forgot I was still really mad at him.
The more I thought about it, the more it didn’t make any sense. If the professor could see the spirit maybe he was really a necromancer. Maybe he just didn’t know he was. His abilities could have manifested just like mine did, when I came to Dumont. Except, my dad blocked my powers with a mental spike, causing years of migraines and hallucinations. I guess it was kind of different.
Was it possible that Lilly was the necromancer? Was she playing Howell? Why did she want Howell to become a necromancer? What would she gain from that?
I tried tying everything together, but I was still missing an important detail. What did all of these things have in common. There was one thread I had to find and the rest of it would fall into place. One tiny thread hiding between the professor and this necromancer. A thread that I needed to find before anyone else died.