Everything was blue.
Huu swam in a haze of the azure light, his incorporeal form felt like he imagined it would if he was in space. His hands clung tight to the rope-like stream that represented his connection to his body and felt along it gingerly, unwilling to move at any speed in case he let go and was lost forever.
He could see, rather than hear, Ursula's words as she did her best to guide him. They ran alongside his position like a torrent of crimson fire, each peak and flicker an approximation of sound that he somehow understood.
You need to be willing to move faster, or this will take many years.
Let me get used to it! Hubert all but screamed back at her. The vampire fell silent.
It had been his idea. Ever since Dan had first conceptualised the necromantic field and made it something more than just the idea of a telepathic connection, Huu had been interested to see what more they could do with it. The similarity between the way he felt it was and the accounts of astral travel he had read were too close to be coincidence. It seemed obvious that the necromantic field connection could be used for more than mere communication.
He'd proposed to Ursula that they track Dan through this thin thread they still potentially shared with him. The woman had been wary at first, unwilling to embark on a course of action which she didn't truly understand, but an hour of conversation and an explanation of Doctor Strange later, and she was persuaded to guard him while he tried.
They found that even once he had left his body for this extraplanar travel, their personal connection was still as strong as ever.
OK, it's becoming easier. Despite her nature, Huu found that it was very reassuring having someone with him on this potentially suicidal trip.
Can you see any path which might lead to Dan?
I'm checking. Give me a minute.
The thick cord he clung to was his lifeline back to his own body. Huu knew that if he was going to go anywhere and get anything done, he was going to have to trust that he could let go of it and it would remain somehow tethered. He looked around for other threads. There were six, smaller green lines which he obliquely recognised as being the strands that connected him to the ghost hands he had used to restrain his friend. There was the thorny dancing deep orange of Ursula, and the plaited silver of Edgar's link. Nothing to represent Dan.
Of course, Huu realised, Dan's line would not directly connect to Huu's own – unlike the others he observed. No, he need to look for something else entirely. A history or remnant.
I think I've found something, he called out, I'm going to try to move along it.
He stretched his ethereal hand out to the twist of yellow and grey that drifted insubstantially near his position. For a moment he felt it was too far to reach, and then his 'fingers' made a connection.
The recoil was tremendous. Huu staggered backwards, clinging to his personal lifeline with instinctual desperation. He felt himself lurch from the plane and pass out.
* * *
"Ow!" he said weakly, sitting up on the dining room carpet and staring Ursula in the eyes. Her gaze was calculated, passionless.
You were unconscious for almost three minutes, she informed him. What happened?
"I touched the other stream, the one I thought might be Dan. I guess I wasn't supposed to."
We have, perhaps, three hours before dawn. I should go to see if I can use more corporeal means to find him.
"You want me to let you out alone?"
You are going to have to. I can already feel the hunger. We both know I need to feed.
Ursula laughed. It was slightly unnatural, with an echo that slipped along the necromantic field and reverberated like surround sound in the back of his head. It must be.
Master, her tone emphasised the word. I am a powerful entity, a creature brought back from the edges of the afterlife to serve you with strength and intelligence. I cannot sustain myself on the pickings of birds or carrion. This is my first meal since my awakening, and I will not have it be dog or pig.
"You cannot kill a person."
Then you must undo me. Ursula stood firm. I cannot disobey you, but neither can I serve you efficiently while I starve or am forced to eat offal like a pet. I will not become such a wretch.
Huu stared at her. He had known it would be a conversation, an argument even, but he hadn't expected so much unswaying arrogance on her part. He shook his head slowly, damning himself, bemoaning his situation.
"Fuck my life," he said aloud. Ursula glared at him.
What is your decision?
"Do what you have to do, but be discrete. We do not need another incident. Go as far as you can and cover your tracks. And never speak of it."
Ursula nodded and evaporated before his eyes. He watched as a cloud of thick black smoke moved from her position with purpose and sped out of the door.
Huu collapsed back onto the carpet.
* * *
Hubert Grange stood in front of the mirror in his new clothes. Gone were the scruffy t-shirts and jeans of his former life – now dumped in a black plastic bag at the foot of the stairs . He had bought the new wardrobe in pieces over the last few weeks but had resisted, desperate to remain the man he had been.
But that man was gone. The slovenly nature, the lack of direction. Hubert Grange had relied on others and worried about their opinions for too long. He was an adult now.
His hair was pulled back in a short pony tail; neatly coiffed with product he'd avoided previously but had quite enjoyed applying. He wore an ironed black formal shirt, classy and expensive but with no overstated designs. His pressed trousers were similarly black, though they had an unseen internal silver trim that matched his third, and most important item.
The cloak no longer looked like a cast off from a role-playing game. Instead is was a piece of tailored beauty which touched on historic styling rather than nerdish pretension. It was slightly longer than his previous one, and came with a silver lining which he hoped reflected all of his difficulties. The hood was down, a ripple of fabric which added weight and a casual look to his shoulders. When it was up, it obscured his features completely, forming a shadowy cover for his head that looked as mysterious as it was comfortable.
Huu gazed at himself and decided, for the first time in his life, that he exuded confidence. He was a powerful necromancer now – and finally, he looked the part.
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...