Calponia stared at the dead man. He stared back. The two held one another's gaze until the dead man blinked and Calponia spun for the waste bucket, dry heaving while Cesario awkwardly patted her back.
After contending with Sanguinheim's laboratory of horrors and the flesh puppet zealots, she thought she could handle Mack's voo-doo-hooey on the unfortunate sod sprawled on the floor. She did handle it, right up until the man rose off the floor like a B-horror movie monster, a grisly smile gaping across his neck that closed with an audibly wet plop as his head jerked up. Making direct contact with his empty eyes with the tipping point.
"Cal, would you mind stepping into the other room," said Mack. "You're making him nervous."
She lifted her face out of the trash can long enough to stare at him. Mack shrugged. "The dead sense curses, and yours tends to shout across the planes of existence."
That was a piece of information to explore later. Calponia took a few wobbly steps towards the small semi-separated room near the door, grateful for Cesario's arm around her waist.
"I'll keep you company," said Cesario.
"Don't they need you to find out what happened?"
Cesario eased them both on the sette. "I know my contact was murdered. That puts us in a delicate position here. Uh, Cal, you have a bit of vomit in your beard." She produced a neatly folded handkerchief from her pocket. "Careful you don't jostle it too much. Your disguise is already looking...precarious."
Calponia winced, dabbing at the offending facial hair as carefully as she could manage. The patch of hair fell into her lap like a dead wet mouse.
"Saints above," Cesario sighed, "let me." She pulled a jar of the adhesive paste she'd used on Calponia earlier, obviously expecting something like this to happen. "This stuff is supposed to be waterproof. It normally lasts for hours without re-application."
"Hello, my name is Calponia and I am the exception to the rule," said Cal, fighting not to wince as Cesario slathered more of the glue on her face. It itched like crazy.
"Looks like your skin is having a reaction as well," said Cesario, clearly apologetic.
"Is it really?" Calponia shoved her hands under her thighs to keep from scratching. She glimpsed Mack through the door, tapping two fingers against the corpse's forehead. The dead man squawked and coughed, his gravelly voice rumbling through the room. She felt her gorge rise, and turned her head before her stomach caught up to the sight of the dead man speaking through that gaping throat wound. She breathed hard through her nose.
"I admit, I expected something more elaborate than poking the body to bring it to life," said Cesario, appearing unaffected by the situation. "Whenever Prospero performs great magics, there are spoken words, arm waving, and all manner of ceremony."
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***Winner of the Wattys 2016 for Hidden Gems*** The Edgewise exists everywhere and nowhere. A sanctuary to all realms, should you find the door. Managed by one Macklemore Edgewise, proprietor, guardian of the between places, and barman of mystery...