The policemen sat at the dining room table and stared at Hubert one final time before both simultaneously stood.
"Mr Grange," PC Droves smiled at him, "I'm really sorry for wasting your time."
Huu rose to stand with them and poked Dan to do the same.
"It's fine," he assured them, "really, I can see how you had to follow it up. I'm sorry my mother didn't wake up. Are you sure you don't want me to give her a nudge?"
"No, that won't be necessary. We'll just be on our way."
Huu walked them to the door, closed it behind them and then counted in his head for a full minute before letting out a laugh.
Dan breathed a sigh of relief.
"Really, Dan, what were you worried about? Once it was obvious that they thought the idea that we'd been walking through the street with a skeleton at 4am was ridiculous, it wasn't exactly much of a problem."
"I know," Dan agreed, "but still, policemen coming round to question you is scary."
"Not disagreeing with that."
"So what do you want to do now?"
Hubert looked at his friend, wondering for the first time what he really knew about Dan. Sure, they'd technically known each other for years, having played games together since the autumn of 2013 when Theros was the new Magic set, but he didn't know what Dan did for a living, where his house was or even what music he liked.
"Who's your favourite band?" he asked.
"Your favourite band. Music, you know. Who do you really like?"
"Florence and the Machine."
Huu laughed, he'd expected something a lot more, well, metal.
"What's wrong with Florence and the Machine?" asked Dan with a hurt voice.
"Nothing, just wasn't what I expected."
"Not metal enough?"
Dan nodded, "Yeah, I get that. Why'd you ask?"
"Dan, can I be honest?"
"I don't really know you. Sure, we play games every week at the pub, and don't get me wrong, you've had my back in every D&D campaign we've done together, but here we are with something really real, and I suddenly realised I have to trust you. The police are knocking on the door, and I'm sat there next to you and I don't even know if you are going to break and mention the very literal skeleton in the closet."
"So you are thinking of doing away with me?"
"Fuck me, I'm not a sick murderer, where'd you get that from?"
"I didn't mean it!"
Huu looked at his friend, his face deadly serious. "Dan, I've been thinking about this a lot. I don't really think about much else, but either I need to undo what I've done as much as I can, or I need to push forward with it a hundred percent. I thought it'd be an easy way to keep my lazy lifestyle, but that idea went out the window the moment my mum ate the neighbour. I didn't know any of this would work, in fact I was pretty sure it wouldn't, but it did and here we are. You, me, and three undead minions."
Dan said nothing but nodded.
"You can screw me up. Seriously. You could leave now, go to the police and tell them everything you know and even though they'd think you were crazy, they'd follow it up and eventually, no matter how good I think I am, I'd get caught and end up in jail."
Dan nodded silently again.
"So the way I see it, I have to trust you. I'm not going to bloody kill you, that's for sure. I can trust you and we can do this together, or I can trust you and you can tell me it has to stop and I'll do what you say, because this is just too big and too much to deal with."
Dan nodded again, and held up a hand to stop Hubert from continuing before he had a chance to say something himself. For a minute, the two of them stood in silence before Dan finally spoke:
"I'm a simple guy, really. There's just me. No girlfriend, no kids or parents to worry about. I have a tiny flat, and I make enough money freelancing the odd bit of website development and SEO bullshit to fund a lifestyle of computer games, Magic cards and pizza. I always knew it was a temporary thing, but it's been safe and simple and I've seen no need to change it."
He paused for a moment and then gestured around, "This, this crazy necromancy, this changes everything. It's not just you, it's me too. It changes the way I see the world, and the things we could do, and all of that. Huu, mate, I know you don't really know me. I know that playing a few games every week doesn't make us close or anything and you need to trust me from nowhere, but you can, I promise."
It was Huu's turn to nod in silence.
"I want what you've got, I admit it. I don't know how you did it, but I want it. If you'll allow me, I'd like to become your apprentice. I say we go for it."
Huu turned away for a moment to think without his facial expressions giving him away. He had suspected Dan was going to say something like that, but even so, hearing it was very different. It was Friday afternoon - forty-eight hours ago, he'd been sat watching TV the same as he had done every day, and now here he was with a selection of undead at his disposal and a man offering some sort of strange fealty to him as his apprentice. It was crazy, out of control, and was almost definitely going to spiral out of control. He turned back to Dan, and watched for a moment as a look of uncertainty and potential disappointment flickered in the other's eyes.
"You're going to need a cloak," he said.
Dan smiled. "Not a problem," he said.
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...