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One, two, three, four, five…still silent. I peak from behind the statue to where my target ought to be. There are three figures 50 yards from my location, one standing over two others at the center of the graveyard—the witch, her sacrifice, and the guy she’s attempting to resurrect. I watch for a bit longer. The witch keeps her attention on her victim, never looking my way. I got lucky; figured she would have heard the fence jingle. From her file the witch, Elyse, is here to resurrect Virgil Costin. Costin was stabbed by a rival sorcerer, which is a pretty anti-climactic way for wizards to settle a grudge. Elyse had been his apprentice for several years before then, and at the time of Virgil’s death the pair were lovers. He must’ve been a pretty good lay if she’s going through all the trouble to revive him.

I pull the medallion from beneath my shirt. The amber stone is supposed to glow when it’s near magical energy; it’s pretty useful for detecting traps. Once the ritual begins and the area is saturated with energy, it’ll be useless. I proceed forward with care, creeping behind a series of grave markers and then around the side of an old crypt covered with ivy. The untrimmed grass muffles my steps. I duck down behind a crumbling tombstone, slowly moving in on my target.

20 feet from my mark, the air temperature plunges ten degrees and the amulet shines. Immediately, I freeze to search for a trap. As I scout the ground around me, a series of shrill, frightened wails cut through the silence. The sound of the screams causes my stomach to knot. It sounds like someone is being murdered. I glance up at the moon-—still a solid 15 minutes from reaching its peak. She can’t initiate the resurrection this early…what’s happening? The light fades from the amber as quickly as it appeared. That was no trap.

The temperature drops even further as I creep forward, dropping to the point that I can see my own breath. The figures are now quite clear. A blonde middle-aged woman, Elyse, stands over a motionless young brunette and a withered corpse. Burial chambers, including the one I’m crouched behind, surround them on three sides. I raise my pistol and sight in Elyse. After releasing the air from my lungs, I take three shots. Just as I squeeze the trigger, the cut on my arm tingles. The muzzle flashes for a moment, lighting up my position. The shots echo through the secluded graveyard. Elyse collapses eerily a few feet from the corpse and the virgin. I keep my barrel on her as I jog over to confirm the kill.

All three bullets hit. One blew through her chest three inches below the collar bone, and the other two landed in her gut. I was aiming for her head, but the sensation in my hand threw me off. Oh well, she’s not getting up. I chuckle at the surprising ease of this hunt. In a matter of seconds, three hunks of lead put an end to all of her preparation. I thought witches were supposed to be difficult. The tingling in my arm stops and as I holster my pistol, I notice that my scratch has healed. I stoop down and lower my cheek to within an inch of the girl’s face. It’s faint, but I can feel her breathe and see her chest rise and fall. She’s alive and significantly more attractive than most virgins I’ve known. I nudge her shoulder in an attempt to wake her. She doesn’t respond so I nudge a little harder. As I’m about to speak, her eyes spring open and she starts screaming.

“Easy. I’m not with her. I’m here to save you.” She shuts up and looks at me suspiciously before glancing around. After staring at Elyse’s body for a moment, she looks relieved.

“Thank you.” Somewhere beneath the fear her voice has a sweet, charming quality to it, as do her brown eyes.

“Take a deep breath. I’m sure you’re in shock, Miss.…”

“Montgomery. Jessica Montgomery.”

“Well Jessica, it looks like I got here just in time. Do you have any idea what that woman had planned for you?”
“One minute I was studying for finals and the next I was here. She never told me anything.”

“It’s probably best if you didn’t know. I’ll deal with the bodies and then we’ll get you home.” I help her to her feet and head over to pile Virgil’s corpse with Elyse’s so I can burn them. Burning the bodies makes a future resurrection more difficult, and is also damn convenient. Strange, Virgil looks fresher than I had anticipated. I would expect a ten-year-old body to be little more than a skeleton, but he’s still gooey.

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I'm from the small farming community of Sutter. I find myself equally at home in the woods or at a bar. I dig The Joe Rogan Experience, the comic series Berserk, the art of John Bauer and Game of Thrones. My interests include writing, shotgun shooting, travel and writing. I have a blog started at http://jdferrin.com/ check it out!

Comments

  1. Josiah David says:

    Part II was even better than part I, keep ’em coming!

  2. Chase Morrison says:

    Knight of Wands, we meet again. Very well done! I may be jumping the reins a little early here, but am I correct in assuming this is going to be a weekly installment?

    1. Justin Ferrin says:

      The answer to that is above my pay grade. But hopefully.