Sunset Preparation

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Watching the sun set through the rain, Hubert stood alone in his bedroom. Edgar was physically there, but his hand was still and he didn't move; it wasn't sleep, but it was the closest approximation Edgar did and it meant that Hubert had crept around the room for the last twenty minutes to not disturb his skeleton.

Ursula was sleeping, Zack was dreaming childish imaginings that touched the edges of Hubert's mind, and Sally held herself tight; she was waiting.

The light tinged the grey clouds with a dirty orange. It wasn't the most beautiful sunset Huu had ever watched, not even in the top thousand, but it was still magnificent. Nature's magic was more impressive than his own at every turn.

When the darkness came, he would wake the vampire, kick-start the skeleton into movement, subdue the boy's dreams and put the ghost to work. His army against the wraith.

He was frightened and wanted the seconds to stretch. A cloud moved with a steady pace across the horizon. Rainy and windy - darkness was coming early.

The rain bothered him. It spoiled the image he had in his mind of his cloak waving in the light breeze, power crackling from his fingertips as he brought vengeance upon the wraith. It would ruin the booming power of his voice echoing over the field of battle.

Reality killed the image. Instead of his film-like sequence, he would be treated to a two-mile walk in the rain, arriving cold and soaking. His cloak would be underneath the plastic waterproofing of his coat, and what would he do? Disentangle himself and throw the coat to the floor in some flamboyant show of power? It was more likely to end up with him doing a poor impression of a stripper while the elasticated sleeves caught and had him struggling, shaking the jacket off his arm like an excited puppy with a toy. All while Jenson would look at him, maniacally laughing.

Or he had to leave the coat behind and turn up soaking to the skin. Some wizard.

Why had he not bothered to get a car? So wrapped up in Magic cards and new clothes, he'd not thought to spend any of his inheritance on a car. Why should he? The bus was there and neither he nor Dan had considered needing to travel a long distance - or in the rain.

Dan. Hubert shivered a moment as he thought of the man he had ordered destroyed. He hadn't been a friend for long, but he'd still been someone he'd shared time with. Broken bread with; wasn't that a relevant old term?

He didn't know what Ursula had done to Dan, and he didn't intend to ever ask.

Hubert turned to the wardrobe. His necromancer outfit was inside. Clean and ready, a uniform that helped him feel the part he needed to play. There was no room in this coming fight for a lack of conviction. Whatever Jenson had arrayed, whatever terrors he brought to the world, Hubert would be ready.

There was enough time for a shower before the light faded fully.


* * *


Edgar turned to him as he re-entered the bedroom, his hair dripping. Un-self-consciously, Hubert dropped the towel and kicked it across the floor, standing naked in front of the bone man.

"Not as naked as you, eh?" Hubert laughed.

Edgar smiled his funny smile and picked up the towel, placing it carefully on the back of a chair.

"Still a while yet," Hubert told his friend, "you don't need to be up yet."

Edgar ignored him, moving to continue cleaning up the bedroom. Hubert let him get on with it as he walked back to the wardrobe. There was less light coming in now and he'd had to flick on the main light, but he could still see grey and orange out of the window. Still time.

The shirts he had bought had cost a couple of hundred quid a pop. He'd never even previously considered that he would ever spend that sort of money on a shirt, but it made him feel good to have done so. He had even made sure to iron them properly and they felt rich on his person, giving him an extra layer of confidence. Trousers, socks, shoes; all of it had been the very best quality. It had been important to him then that his necromancer life wasn't a shoddy one of t-shirts and Primark underwear.

He took his time getting dressed and when he looked in the mirror he was pleased. The weight was slowly dropping off too; probably as much to do with stress and worry than sensible diet and exercise, but he'd take it any way it came.

 "Necromancer," he whispered to himself. Edgar nodded.

"Still not time," Hubert said, returning to look out of the window. "Do you think it'll stop raining?"

It didn't look like it planned to stop any time soon. The noise on the glass echoed around the room.

"I'm going to get wet."

Edgar said nothing, but Hubert felt him smile once more.

"I'm ready for this, Edgar. I really am. It's either him or me, I realise that, and I'm going to do my fucking best that it's him that goes, but if it turns out the other way - well, I'll make a good wraith, right? Or a lich! Maybe I'll become a lich!"

Edgar took a step forward, laying his skeletal hand on his master's shoulder.

"You'll still be there for me, won't you? Trusted and favourite servant of the Lich Lord."

Hubert took a look around the tidy room. "You do a good job cleaning up, Edgar," he said. "I'm sorry I'm such a messy twat."

The pitter-patter of the raindrops drew his attention back to the window. There was no doubting it now, the sun had definitely set: it was night.

"Time to go," Hubert said quietly. "Do you think we should take the bus?"


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