Dan stood open-mouthed and stared at Jenson. For his part, the wraith remained impressively calm, floating patiently in the centre of the room as Huu had ordered.
"Fuck me," Dan said, not for the first time.
Huu's argument to himself had been that there was no way he could hide a secret like this from his friend, and that it was probably better to be open now that the opportunity presented itself than to spend weeks trying to flit around surreptitiously only to be inevitably caught at some point.
The truth, which he only admitted to himself in absolute private, was that he had been desperate to show off his new-found powers pretty much from the moment his zombie had risen, and the temptation to impress his friend had been far too much to contain.
"Yup," Huu agreed.
"I'm sorry, Huu, I keep wondering what I should say. The possibilities! Have you even thought this through?"
Huu considered the question. If he was honest, he'd only really got as far as feeling powerful and enjoying the idea that the cape suited his new profession.
"What are you thinking?" he asked.
"Quite aside from taking over the world, which we could totally do! There's the small stuff: rob a bank, avenge all your slights, scare the shit out of your sister."
Huu hadn't thought of any of those. Except the last one, and that was more as a side effect of her coming over and discovering their mother was dead and still walking about, not as the main event.
"We're not taking over the world," he said firmly.
"Not now, sure, but power corrupts..." Dan enthused.
"I'm serious. The power! How long will be be before getting your mum to clean up just isn't enough and you send her to the shop to get you things with Jenson as backup and then you realise they can wait on you hand and foot. What about when one zombie just isn't enough and you have more errands that need running. Have you even thought about the graveyard? There might not be enough fresh flesh for zombies, but skeletons are cool - I mean, really, really cool. We could kit them out with little round shields and swords like in Jason and the Argonauts."
"Come on Huu. Think about it all for just a minute. There's pretty much nothing you can't do. We don't have to hurt anyone, just use the bodies that have already been buried."
Huu was quiet for a moment. Dan was a little melodramatic, as was his nature, but some of his ideas did seem fun.
"One skeleton," he said, "just to test."
"There's my boy!" Dan said with a smile. "Let's go!"
* * *
The moment when the skeletal hand thrust its way up from the earth was worth the three hours of effort that came before it. Like a classic horror film, Huu's first skeleton (once known as Edgar Sanderson according to his gravestone) clawed and scraped its way free from its burial plot and gathered itself to stand before the necromancer and his party.
"He's pretty scary looking," Dan admitted. "We should probably clean him up."
It was 4am. Huu didn't want to admit it, but the effort of raising the dead was not insignificant and he was feeling a little tired. He'd been concentrating so much on making Edgar, that he'd not really planned what they were going to do once the job was done. Heading home seemed like the best idea.
Dan was ecstatic. He'd held back on any commentary during the ritual, careful to make sure Huu wasn't disturbed, but now that the skeleton was walking along beside them, he needed to talk.
"Look at how the magic keeps him together," he said, "there's literally nothing between his joints, and a few of the bones are missing, but it doesn't matter; the necromantic field just fills in the gaps. It's really amazing."
"The 'necromantic field'?"
"Sounds good, doesn't it?" He put on his booming, storytelling voice, "The Necromantic Field, a force beyond the understanding of normal men. Under the control of one man, it binds the dead to his will, giving them substance and cohesion where before there was nothing but lifelessness."
Huu had to admit that despite the hyperbole, the concept of the necromantic field sounded good - it also gave him a name to use to describe the way he could telepathically communicate with his creations. He could feel all three of the undead now, each a distinct tiny thread in the back of his mind.
"You should change your name," Dan added, "'Huu the Necromancer' sounds a little odd."
"I'm happy with Huu." Huu didn't bother to argue over the title, he quite liked it.
"Fine, stick with it; I'm not going to argue."
They had made it home. The mum-zombie slid her key into the front door of the house, and the group filed inside - the zombie, the wraith, the skeleton, the friend and the necromancer.
* * *
When Huu awoke, it was to the smell of fresh coffee and the glare of bright sunshine. Dan stood over him, Starbucks cups in his hands and a huge grin on his face.
"I've got lots to tell you, but first I think we need to deal with the people about to knock on the door. They've been in the street for a couple of hours, knocking on doors and talking to neighbours and I think their next stop is definitely us."
"The police, of course. I think someone saw us coming back last night and called them."
"And you went to Starbucks?!" Huu was incredulous.
"Well, I didn't think you'd want to face them groggy, and when they went to speak to that nutty woman who likes to stare at us whenever we go to the pub I knew I had enough time. I was right too. Here, have your coffee."
Huu sat up and took the cup with a nod of thanks. He was just putting it to his lips when the doorbell rang.
YOU ARE READING
A Very English NecromancerFantasy
** Wattys 2018 Winner! The Wild Cards! ** Living in his mother's house, thirty-four year-old Hubert Grange has aspirations - beyond simply becoming the best FPS zombie assassin, watching everything Netflix has to offer, or completing an all-foil Sli...