Jason, reforged. (excerpt from book 3: A Recipe for War)

Three separate cauldrons poured acrid fumes into the air. Lit from within, a bloody red glow illuminated The Professor’s face.

The golem glanced to Jason, who knelt nearby, desperately trying to remain calm.

“Are you ready?”

“Do you mean I can back out?”

“No.”

“I guess I’m ready, then,” Jason extended his smoothly scarred stump towards The Professor and averted his eyes. “Will it hurt?”

“Oh, no. Not even a tickle,” The Professor glanced at Althea and winced, nodding.

Althea, looking a bit panicked, swooped across the room and took a place behind her fiancée, then gave her golem a thumbs-up.

The Professor cleared her throat, pulled a wand from her lab coat and tapped the lip of the first cauldron. A large ball of molten titanium rose, glowing brightly. A second tap on the next one, caused a ball of molten gold rise to float next to the first.

The Professor stuck her wand behind her ear, and extended both hands outwards. Her eyes closed, she drew the two balls of liquid metal towards each other. As they neared, each released a tendril of material towards the other. As they touched, a dramatic sparking began crackling between the two, and they married, flowing into each other, becoming a large ball of magically charged metal.

“OK, Jason. Here we go. The prep spell I put on you earlier will facilitate integration.”

Retrieving her wand, The Professor muttered a short incantation and with small precise flicks of her wand, the molten metal sphere moved slowly towards Jason, who flinched from the heat.

The Professor reached towards Jason, palm down and wiggled her fingers, as if operating a marionette.

Jason straightened his arm out more and stiffened, held sway with magic. “Babe, I’m scared.”

Althea stroked his face and kissed him on the top of the head. “I know,” She nodded to The Professor.

Nodding back, the golem urged the sphere towards Jason with the wand. A tendril of radiant metal gently reached out and touched the scarred stump that was the remains of his forearm. Foul smoke and the smell of burning flesh erupted from the interaction.

Jason screamed as the molten metal found the severed ends of his radius and ulna and began working its way into and around them.

“Don’t worry. The spell is making sure your body isn’t being damaged.” Althea hugged him tightly from behind.

As the metal worked its way into his body, Althea jerked away with a shout of pain. The pajamas that Ooedo loaned him burst into flame, tracing the metal’s progress through his body until only ashes and scraps of cloth remained. The last bit of metal formed a cap around the stump, still glowing brightly.

The Professor began inscribing magical script into the metal with the tip of her wand in a fast but meticulous fashion. As she finished, she held up her left hand and touched the tip of her index finger and thumb, as if saying “OK” and blew through the hole, causing white frost to pour through.

Jason’s screaming subsided into ragged breathing and whimpers as the frost cooled the metal that had coursed its way through and around his skeleton.

The Professor released her spell on him and nodded. “Good. Lay him on the futon. It’s time to make the arm now.” She gestured to Hikaru,  who scurried to her side, carrying something wrapped in cloth.

Tapping the cauldrons again, she brought another pair of molten metal balls up, fused them, and moved them to the third cauldron, where it sank out of sight, save for the glow from within.

Hikaru unwrapped the package revealing Jason’s severed arm, now covered in runes and markings. He placed the arm before The Professor, who inspected the work for the hundredth time that day.

“Well. This is it. Hikaru.” She gestured to her assistant.

Hikaru nodded, picked up the forearm with a set of tongs and lowered it into the cauldron. Black and foul smoke poured forth and was fanned away by The Professor. Standing on some books, she peered inside and nodded with a smile. She blew frost into the cauldron, cooling it down, and beckoned for Hikaru again.

Hikaru reached in and pulled out the forearm, which besides having swollen somewhat, seemed unchanged.

The Professor grinned “Gimmie.”

Taking the arm, she began pulling off the skin, revealing bright gold metal.

“It’s beautiful,” Hikaru blurted.

“Yeah. We do good work.”

Hikaru blushed deeply at her praise. “No, it was all your work.”

She turned and approached Jason who lay naked and whimpering. “It’s ready.”

“He’s out of it for a while, “ Althea said, stroking him.

The golem nodded and held the golden forearm’s flat end to the cap that covered the end of Jason’s arm. The two of them snapped together like magnets. “At least he’s whole again.”

Another Tome is Found (A Horror’deurve from the Cookbook of the Dead) (edited)

It was cold.

Not the ‘let’s bundle up and we’ll be sorted’ kind of cold.

It was the kind of cold that cut through you like a knife.

What was unusual about this though, is that it was just a few weeks’ shy of summer, and just a few moments ago, I had been as they say, sweating balls.

This told me that I was getting close to my target, a non-corporeal haunt. For those not in the know, a haunt is almost-but-not-quite a ghost. Sometimes it’s an emotional echo, a leftover bit of rage, ecstasy, jealousy, what have you. These are by far the most common kind of haunt to deal with, but unfortunately, not the kind that has been making mischief for the last month.

The haunt I’ve been sent to deal with is sneaky. Very sneaky. Which is unusual because haunts by-and-large, are unintelligent masses of emotion, and incapable of intelligent thought.

A curl of breath escaped my lips, gradually vanishing as my body temperature dropped to room temperature.

Wait. Let me explain.

I’m what you’d call a specialist in the field of the afterlife. Yeah. Mortimer J. Appel, Necromancer, at your service. Before you get all uptight, keep an open mind. I’m what you’d call a psychopomp. Yeah, I didn’t know what that meant when I started either. It just means I guide the dead to rest. No, not like the reapers. I don’t particularly care about where you go when you die, just that you get there. Ah, but I do have some other abilities…

Anyway, after spending two weeks chasing this thing, I realized it was sensing my life force and fleeing when I got too close.

Which is convenient for me, because all I have to do is die. It’s nothing special. Anyone can do it, the trick is coming back, and not just anyone can do that.

So now, the detachment that comes along with death dulls the pain.

Oh, it’s still there. I can feel it if I care to. There’s power in pain. It can drive a man onwards when all he wants to do is lie down. I’m not at the point where that’s necessary though.

Revenancy. That’s the name for the state I’m in right now. It’s your basic intelligent undead. A few steps above zombie, a few steps below Vampire. …The purebloods, that is.

Common vampires are just barely smarter than zombies, not even considered people, they’re just smelly, faster, smarter zombies that crave blood. Don’t get me started! Vampires are a huge problem for Necromancers, and I don’t care to explain why just yet, it’s embarrassing.

Anyway, now that I’ve cast loose the life in me, I found that the haunt has become less evasive. What I didn’t expect was the emotions it pushed outwards, the Book that it orbited, or the fact that it wasn’t alone. A dozen haunts slowly circled the floating Tome

I took it into my hands, wiped away the layer of frost that covered its heavy leather cover and read its title:

The Economicon: The Economics of the Dead

I applied spiritual pressure on the haunts that hovered nearby, and felt them transfer their emotion onto me. I paused, because the emotions were unlike any I had absorbed before. They tasted like a complex combination of depression, resignation, and something else foreign to me. As I processed the emotions, the haunts faded away, finally free.

I tucked the book into the large pocket inside the breast pocket of the khaki overcoat I usually wore when out on a job, and headed back to the office. The glittery black eyes of Nathan, my driver flicked my way as I sat with a grunt in the back seat and shut the door with a little more force than expected.

“Everything alright?” He said, pulling out and heading downtown.

“Things got a little weird, but we’re good. Get us home, take the scenic route, I’m going to res.”

“Sure thing. I’ll wake you when we arrive.”

I’m gonna need some help with this one. I buckled my seatbelt, and began the process to return to life.

“Let the boss know I’m heading in, and we’re going to need a staff meeting.”

“Yes sir,” Nathan’s eyes cleared to appear normal as he drove.

Transit queen (Now Edited!)

An on the fly addition for A Recipe for Disaster

**Now that I’ve been home, I was able to edit it, and insert it  where it belongs.**

 

As Nancy flew around the decrepit building, the bitter, acrid scent of insects grew stronger. Turning the corner, she stopped and gaped. Behind the building was a train platform where one did not belong. The station was a cleverly crafted facade, which included lampposts which glowed a dull green, as if someone had transplanted a giant firefly’s abdomen in place of light bulbs.

Behind the barred service windows, dark figures moved, but the light from without did not quite reveal their forms. For this, Nancy was grateful, as she suspected that things had just gone from a simple in and out mission to something much more involved.

Flitting to the roof, she took a second, more careful look at the situation. The platform was crafted cleverly from the same resin as the bus stops they had investigated, and so deserved a wide berth, lest she become affected by the pheromone cloud which had so quickly taken Boy out of the fight earlier. A schedule board caught her eye, listing a long string of towns and times, which would normally inform travelers of arrival and departure times, but something seemed off. 

Focusing on the words, they writhed momentarily, informing her that there was some sort of glamour disguising something underneath. By nature, pixies were beings of glamour, and were unlikely to be fooled by it for long. Flexing her will against it, the illusion snapped, revealing long scrolling lines of epithets of the foulest nature, an unclean feeling crept over her after scanning a few. What struck her as odd though, was that the sentences were written in both English and the Vulgar Tongue, the language of demons. While she didn’t understand it herself, she recognized its sharp edges and hooked forms, which always reminded her of claws and horns.

 

‘Yeah, that’s not a good sign.’ Nancy chewed her lip and scowled.

‘Literally.’ She leaped into the air once more with silently flapping wings and continued her examination of the building, so that she could return to the others and begin the extraction.