Wafflemancer Part 2
In part 1 one we see John return home from work at the Waffle House and commit suicide only to have Lilith show up and revive him. A flashback begins, narrated by John himself, where he tells us of the first time he met Lilith and how a group of "Mean Muggin' " thugs killed him. Now the flashback continues....
Back to Part 1
My first thought when I woke up was God damn it's cold! My head ached and throbbed like I got slugged by Anderson Silva. I couldn't open my eyes at first and my body felt like lead so I just laid there for awhile trying to recall my last memory. Mean Muggin's face on the concrete flashed in my mind. What happened to me? I thought. With the appearance of a bright light overhead it occurred to me that I must be in the hospital. But when I opened my eyes, a hospital was far from what I saw. Instead of the safety of an ER, I was laying on a makeshift bed of old dirty blankets in some rundown house with no heat. No wonder I was freezing.
“You may think its my living arrangements.” A voice called out to me. “The cold? But it's not.” Leaning over my face and staring down into my eyes with the sourest of looks was that teenage girl with the silver hair. “You died, hero.”
I stared back into her eyes for a few moments, trying to figure out just how serious she was. I, obviously, was not dead; but her tone and eyes seemed to be daring me to refute her. A dozen thoughts all ran through my head. Mostly centered around how to get away from the crazy lady. I must have been staring back awhile because her next words broke my contemplation.
“You belong to me.” She proclaimed with that same look in her eyes. My immediate thought was Oookay, crazy lady I need to go now. Not sure how well that would have gone over. Still, my actual response wasn't much better.
“Yeah, so I have to be getting home to prepare for my next shift.” I started to rise from my prone position. Slowly, of course. Wouldn't want to headbutt the crazy lady. “So I'll just be going now.”
My awful attempt at playing it cool came to a glaring halt when a sickeningly familiar sensation came over me. I patted my chest and raised my fingers up to my eyes to see the blood coating them. Glancing down I saw a strange white object, like a long stick or something, sticking out of me. With a look of perverse pleasure she ripped the object out of my chest and licked the blood from the pointed tip.
“You died, hero. Like I said. Now you belong to me.” Her last sentence seemed to be punctuated by my blood leaping off the shaft of her object and back into my chest. At least at that point I had a vague idea as to why I felt so cold earlier. Trying to wrap my head around it, I only managed to say “I don't understand.”
“Gods, are you retarded? I mean what I say and I say what I mean.” She glared at me while I sat there still unable to cope with the implications of it all. “Those guys that were with me out back of your store? Not the friendliest bunch, but I could have, and did, handle them myself. You got in the way and I ended up having to use precious mana to save your dumb ass.” She gave an exaggerated bow. “Now thank the nice Necromancer lady.” She added expectantly.
“I'm sorry, Necromancer?” I replied with an incredulous look. I may not have had much of an idea as to what was going on, but when you start throwing out words like necromancy my BS-radar goes nuts. She rose from her bow looking as pissed off as ever. Maybe that's just her natural state?
“Yes, Necromancer. As in raiser of the dead. As in bringing your corpse back to life.” A wicked smile overcame her expression. “Nothing in this life is free hero, which is why you belong to me.” My blank stare seemed to wear on her nerves even more as reality finally started to sink in.
“Ok, so you're a Necromancer.” I tried to put the rest of my thoughts into words. But, “How?” was the best I came up with. Aren't I articulate? That was about as articulate as I was getting in that situation though, so she was going to have to put up with it. She let out an exasperated sigh. Hey, at least it wasn't another death glare. I could live with a sigh.
“You muggles really don't know anything do you?” She laughed softly as I raised my eyebrow at the mention of 'muggles'. “You know like in that book?” She stopped and looked me over; To gauge my reaction, I suppose. “Don't worry, no one actually calls you guys that. You non-supernatual, mundane types I mean. Most supe stories you see on TV and in movies have some sort of root in the truth. I'm a witch, a human who can control her mana, or magic. I--” She hesitated.
“I made a deal that made me into a necromancer. So now I can call spirits back from the dead and use them to temporarily reanimate dead bodies if I wish. I can't raise the dead for the long-term though, not normally. You were a special case.” She stopped and glanced into my eyes for a moment before casting them away again. “Not that there's anything special about you, Hero” She put as much venom into the name as she could muster. “I panicked and I didn't know what else to do so --” She let the statement hang off for a few moments, lost in thought. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before finishing her explanation.
“A witch can use a contract ceremony to bind a low level supe to them. A familiar serves their contractor and functions as a catalyst to amplify the witch's spell casting ability. A human usually can't be used as a familiar, but it would seem if you reanimate their corpse it can be done.” I took a few moments to process this information and a few key points seemed to stand out.
“Wait, bound? What do you mean bound? And I don't remember signing any contract!” Her stare seemed to lose its hateful aura. Now she seemed to be enjoying herself. Like she was getting off on the control she had over me, feeding me information piece by piece. I hate control-freaks.
“Familiars aren't exactly what you would call.... sentient. We avoid a battle of wills that way. When you died I reanimated your mindless corpse and performed the contracting. A corpse isn't unusual for those who practice the darker arts. My abilities as a necromancer allowed me to hold your soul there until the ceremony's completion, thereby bonding you soul back to your body.” Her tone was matter-of-fact. No real emotion behind her essentially saving my soul. I was a little taken aback by this act of kindness from a seemingly uncaring bitch. Maybe there was more than meets the eye?
“Which makes you not only the worlds only debatably intelligent familiar, but also my slave.”
Still, she did save me so she's obviously not all bad.
“Ok. Well I don't know how I feel about “slave” or anything, but thank you for saving my life.” It seemed as though she wasn't sure how to react to my lack of hostility. She quickly regained her composure though.
“Well we don't have to call you slave exactly. I like hero just fine.” This time the stressed 'hero' wasn't positively oozing with venomous hatred. Score one for me. Kill 'em with kindness right?
“But, seriously though, as my familiar you can't get too far away from me or my essence can't sustain you.”
Well fuck me.
If everything that I had been told until that point was to be believed I was then completely stuck with this moody bitch. Forever. Awesome. It felt like some sick reverse shotgun wedding. Not that she wasn't attractive in her own dark/Gothic way. But being permanently stuck with her? Would not have been my first choice. Though after imagining her dragging me to the alter with a pistol to my head, a single question come to mind that bore asking.
“So who exactly were those guys that killed me? And why were they after you?” Her expression turned guarded. It was obvious she was deciding how much she would trust me with. Funny, considering she had just declared that I was spending the rest of my life with her. That is, if I liked living.
Pro-tip: I do.
“I've been on my own a long time. Fell in with a bad crowd.” She refused to make eye contact again, so I knew there was more to the story. Not like that wasn't obvious without her body language screaming it, mind you.
“Uh-huh. So they were apart of that bad crowd? They didn't look too happy with you.” Or me for that matter. Maybe they were just shitty with everyone? I know I would be if I looked like Mean Muggin'.
“They weren't.” I swear I stared at her for like twenty minutes waiting for her to elaborate.
“Come on now. I just died in my misguided attempt to rescue you from the bad, bad men. Then you brought me back to life and declared me your slave. And to top it off, if I try to get away from you, I die. I think you can give me a little more than that.” Oddly enough she didn't bite my head off. She just looked up at me all sad like. It was unnerving.
“They were apart of the crew I ran with for a while. They sold drugs and fenced the stuff I stole for them. Pick-pocketing, burglary, shit like that. Eventually we got noticed.” She looked away again, still struggling with how much she was trusting me. It was obviously not something she did often.
“You heard of Poseidon Goods?” No shit. Poseidon Goods was a multinational powerhouse in the second hand goods business. Kind of like a thrift shop version of Wal-Mart. I nodded without saying anything. I wasn't about to risk upsetting her, not when we'd gotten this far.
“Well, they noticed us. The company is run by a bunch of supes, Merfolk I think. They use their store fronts to fence stolen goods. They hired us.” OK, that blew my mind just a little bit. Second hand goods had become really popular since Poseidon came around, but it had never occurred to me that their merchandise might be stolen. I wondered how they got around the cops. Well, until I reminded myself that this teen girl could bring the dead back to life. What's pushing stolen goods compared to that? Though the Merfolk thing stuck out to me a bit, I decided to hold that thought.
“Judging by your place here, I'd say that didn't go so well.” She actually laughed. Softly, but I'm sure it was a laugh.
“The company and I had a … misunderstanding a few years back.” She brought her gaze up to stare directly into my eyes. “ I don't ever stay in one place for long” The sadness there was etched deep, a barely healed scar that ran from the shimmering surface of her eyes all the way down to her core. Maybe there really was more to this girl than a bad attitude and a penchant for stabbing people. I pondered on this new-found complexity until her last words came glaring to the forefront of my mind.
“What about my job? My apartment? My friends? I can't just uproot myself at a moments notice, you know? I have a life.” She scoffed.
“You're a Waffle House cook. Not much of a life.” That statement did not please me in the slightest. Just like that the beautiful complexity was gone and the annoying cunt was back. I sighed.
“Hey, I may not have an extravagant life, but I quite enjoy it thank you.” She rolled her eyes. Which, for some reason, was a lot more infuriating than it should have been.
“Whatever. We'll figure something out. When do you have to work next?” I thought to myself for a moment.
“Hm, I work third again. Nine to Seven.” We both glanced at the worn clock on the far wall reading Eight Thirty.
To Be Continued
- Wafflemancer Part 3
It's back to business as usual. Or is it? Something is wrong and John can feel it. But, how can his life get any worse? What could Lilith be hiding from him? Will he get stabbed again? Time will tell.