Sandy was supposed to make her famous pumpkin soup tonight. It was his favorite.
Glancing around the dark confines of his holding cell, he wondered if she even knew where he was. The splintering wooden bench creaked loudly as he lifted himself off it. His iron manacles jingled as he paced the small enclosure, trying his best not to allow his custom tailored suit to touch any of the filth-encrusted surfaces, which was all of them. Cells identical to his lined the wall in the downtown station house.
Trying to put the thoughts of his family out of his mind, he focused on figuring out why he had been arrested. He had been in the cell for well over an hour. Too long for a man with his connections. Whatever the police suspected him of it was no small matter. Pressing the guard as he made his rounds had provided no answers. The wards surrounding him were most troubling of all. His powers were useless.
Try as he might to prevent it, fear was beginning to creep up.
He heard a loud clanging and the patrolling officer hurried away. There was a loud creak of a door opening. Someone new arrived. He desperately wanted to see Sandy, but didn’t want her to see him in such a state.
He quickly forgot his hypothetical when a well-dressed man with coat and cane appeared outside his cell.
“Martin,” he said with a heavy sigh of relief. “Took your time, didn’t you?”
The man’s answer was short and cold. “Harold.”
“What is going on, Martin? Why have they thrown me in here like I was some common criminal?”
“The constables tend to take multiple murder fairly serious,” he responded with an air of condemnation.
Dumbfounded shock washed over Harold’s face. “What?”
“They searched your House. They found the bodies in your basement.”
“Th-that’s impossible. There are no bodies in my basement. Even if there were, how did they even get into my House?”
Martin only stared a moment before answering. “I let them in.”
Chains clinked as Harold’s arms fell in front of him. He stared, bewildered at his visitor. “You...what?”
“I had no choice.” An inflection of emotion crept into Martin’s voice.
“You...you showed them these bodies? You let them into my House?”
“As I said- .”
“Why!” Harold shouted, lunging forward to grasp the bars of his prison.
Unfazed by the sudden display of aggression, Martin answered calmly. “The necromancy, Harold. It cannot be allowed to continue.”
“Necromancy?” he asked in disbelief. “I’ve never practiced the forbidden art in my life! You know that!”
Martin hung his head slightly. “Sandy confirmed it.”
A slack-jawed stare was all Harold could manage. Even if he had practiced necromancy, his beloved would never betray him to the police or anyone else. He was hoping it was all a big misunderstanding, but bringing Sandy into it was a mistake. Martin had overstepped. There was treachery afoot.
“You lie,” he finally said with a hard glare. “Why are you doing this?”
“I am only doing what I must,” Martin replied with a nonchalant straightening of his sleeve. “The forbidden art cannot be tolerated. You will hang first thing tomorrow.”
“Dammit, Martin! You know damn well I am not a necromancer! Your House may be growing in power, but that...” Realization brought his sentence to a slow halt. “Dear God, Martin. I die labeled a necromancer and my House is finished. You will be called a hero for destroying it. The rise of your House would be unchallenged.”
“You’ve become paranoid, old friend. Blame me for your circumstances if you must, but you are here because of your own dismal choices.”
Manacled hands quickly reached out from between the bars and seized Martin by the coat. Harold Crane’s eyes were wide and his lip trembled in rage. “Mark my words, you bastard! You will pay for this! Pay dearly!”
A hard shot across the prisoner’s outstretched arm forced him to recoil in pain. The guard gave the bars a similar strike with his baton. “Back, you!”
Martin casually smoothed his apparel. “Thank you, Officer. I take no pleasure in any of this, Harold. Goodbye, my friend.”
As his visitor and former friend turned to make for the exit, Harold slammed himself against the bars. He screamed with the intensity of a bellowing mad man, spit flying. “You’ll pay, Martin! It won’t be me, but my House will make you suffer for this! It may be my children or theirs or theirs! It may take a hundred years!
“But the House of Warwick will burn!”