I should never have gone into necromancy. This was far worse than picking Art History as a major. Instead of filling my house with esoteric art, I had accidentally filled it with necromancers past and present in order to improve my power.
“Got any ecto?” asked the 44th Precept of Death. “I’m feeling a bit peckish.”
I shrugged my shoulders, having no idea what the ghost was asking for.
“Here, now!” screeched Lord Abydolup. His teeth rattled as he shook his head with fury. “Why are we even trying to help this fellow? Supreme executive power doesn’t belong to some sod just because he still has flesh on his bones. It should be based on merit and ability. In my day, I could summon and bind the avatar of Beelzebub itself! I will not stand for this indignity!” He raised his bony fist as if to strike me.
A pale wisp of a finger placed itself on his shoulder. He quieted immediately and lowered his arms. The finger floated into the air and reattached itself to the ethereal hand of the Witch of Wendoria.
“My dear Aby,” she said. “A short temper doesn’t suit the conqueror of the Salty Leechlands. Come now, enjoy your little visit to the mortal world.” She walked up to him and traced her thin index finger along his chin. He giggled. “I talked to some of our colleagues here and they tell me of the most wonderful intimancy-enhancing gadgets these mortals have created. They work especially well for those with less than perfect corporeal forms.” If it was possible for her to wink, I’m sure she would have done so by now.
“Ahem,” said Madame Bovarine. “If we’re done playing harlot here—”
“Oh, darling,” interrupted the Witch. “Some of us weren’t born in the most repressed period in history. My goodness, if a suffragette got in my face about women working and voting, I would have decayed off her pamphlet-bearing arm right then and there. Can there anything be more dreadful and boring than democracy?”
Madame Bovarine stomped her boots. The noise rattled the room. “I’m not going to argue with some dusty relic from the 13th century. Look, everyone.” She gestured towards all the necromancers. “We’re here because the Pact requires us to assist young Edward.” Her hands swept towards me. I gave a weak smile.
“He doesn’t even have a proper necromancer name!” cried Abydolup.
“I’m working on it,” I muttered.
A skeleton that still somehow had his mustache spoke up. “I really must agree with our excitable conqueror. Though the Pact states that we are bound to the summoner, it doesn’t state that we should be bound to the summoner of the summoner.”
“Please, Magister Von Bernstein!” said Bovarine. “We just need to solve this young man’s problem and then we can go back to our merry unlife.”
“She just wants to suck up to the Big Goat Man down below,” sniffed the Witch of Wendoria. “Bet he was quite disappointed in the size of her breasts when she offered herself to him in life.”
A green fire blazed in Bovarine’s empty eye sockets. “All right, you little hussy. I’ve just had it up to here with you!” Her arms waved in a magical flourish. “I summon the Great Beast from Africa, Eloko!” she bellowed. In a puff of smoke, a black dwarf appeared. It extended its long sharp claws and opened its impossibly wide mouth to roar. It was also hung like a horse. The crowd of necromancers stepped back.
“Oh my Anansi!” exclaimed Shaman Katinga. “Why does a white necromancer have a black familiar?”
The Witch snarled as she began her own summon. A babble of incantations burst forth.
I attempted to yell over the hubbub but to no avail. Mythical beasts, monsters, and plain old undead summons appeared inside and outside the house. I heard police sirens in the distance.
The Necromancers Duel
A scream outside caught my attention. Elderly Mr. and Mrs. Johnston stood on their yard, staring at the spectacle with horrified expressions. The rest of the necromancers and
The Witch had also levitated. Her ethereal hair shimmered as the two combatants engaged in an aerial battle. She raised her hand in the air and a bolt of lightning encircled it. She pointed her arm in Bovarine’s direction. Reacting, her opponent took control of a large group of shambling zombies. She telekinetically smashed them together into a giant ball of bodies and hurled it at the Witch. At the same time, lightning sprung forth from the Witch’s arm and hit the mass with an ear-splitting explosion.
The aftershock knocked me to the ground and the flash of light temporarily blinded me. Mr. Johnston shielded Mrs. Johnston behind him.
“We need to get the civilians out of here!” I shouted. Body parts splattered nearby.
“Indeed,” replied Abydolup. “I must ensure the integrity of my future eternal servants.” In a puff of smoke, he transformed himself into an elderly woman in a bright orange flak-jacket. He also carried an over-sized whistle. “This form never fails to drive people away,” he said, jogging towards the Johnstons.
The battle continued on the air and on the ground. Bovarine grabbed nearby nearby rubble and zombie body parts and used them as projectiles against the Witch. The Witch responded with her elemental powers, summoning balls of flame and shards of ice. Debris exploded around us. Magister Von Bernstein summoned a transparent bone wall to protect us. On the ground, Eloko continued its one-monster rampage against the zombies, golems, and various horrors that the Witch had summoned. It ate the head of a Minotaur and spit the skull at supersonic speeds towards an approaching Hydra. The force of the skull decapitated all the snake heads.
I gasped for breath as Bovarine intensified her hurricane. Trees ripped from their roots. Pieces of my house circled overhead. I held on to a nearby lamp post. It took all of Von Berstein’s will to prevent us from being blown away. The 44th Precept uttered an unintelligible mantra that decreased the force of the winds around us.
Bovarine and the Witch flitted back and forth across the sky, intent on killing (or re-killing, rather) the other, ignoring everything else. Bovarine’s intensification of the winds worked. Her opponent’s fireballs and ice shards became easier to dodge as the cold sapped her strength. The Witch’s movements slowed. At a critical moment, a severed zombie arm thrown by Bovarine caught her in the leg and shattered her knee. She fell to the ground in an undignified crash. Her minions crumbled into dust. Bovarine floated above her. Eleko rushed towards the prone form.
But the Witch would not give up so easily. She slammed her arm into the ground. A portion of the street reformed into a jagged spike that broke free and shot itself towards Bovarine. Eleko leaped into the air and blocked the projectile with its body. The spike punctured through its chest and continued toward its mistress. She dodged just in time as it grazed the side of her skull, leaving a ragged mark.
The scream of sirens filled the air as several police cruisers roared into the neighborhood cul-de-sac.
“We’ll finish this another time, Madame Bovarine!” yelled the Witch of Wendoria. She shouted an incantation and summoned an exploding ball of light with a tremendous crash. It overwhelmed my vision.
When I recovered from the disorientation, I saw that the Witch was gone. Bovarine lay on the ground, groaning. Eleko stood for a moment with a giant hole in its chest, then faded into dust. The other necromancers looked about, confused. The cops came out of their cruisers and formed a wall ahead of us, weapons raised.
“What the hell’s going on here?” barked a portly, mustached one in the front.
“I think it’s time to, as the initiates say, scram,” said the 44th Precept.
“Wait!” I exclaimed. “You can’t go! This isn’t part of the terms of the Pact!”
“Stop your babbling and put your hands in the air, you freaks!” said the portly cop.
“Screw the Pact, the Great Lord Abydolup has returned! Now is the time for this world to revel in my glory!” The Great Lord ran up to us, still in his elderly woman form. He spread his arms and transformed into a giant bat, emitting a high-pitched shriek. He beat his wings and flew into the air as the cops stared dumbfounded. The rest of the necromancers followed in gusts of black ash, transformed winged horrors, and just plain old teleportation.
Soon enough, it was just Madame Bovarine and myself. Before the cops could respond, Bovarine raised an arm and teleported us out in a blink of light.
This story began as a response to a writing prompt at r/WritingPrompts. Special thanks to /u/