This is the twelfth part in an ongoing serial I’m writing. To read from the beginning, click here. Or find the story index at the top of the page.
The roof was falling in. Candles were falling over. And Damon, stunned by another bang to the head, this time the result of flying through the air and been thrown against a pillar, couldn’t make sense of what was going on.
Someone was screaming. He couldn’t tell who.
Flashes of fur seemed to be darting all around the room.
Were they connected? He had no idea.
It only took a few seconds for his vision to clear, but it felt much longer. He looked around and realised the door to the mausoleum had been blown in. Standing in the doorway, with a crossbow in her bony hands was Shelly the Skelly. Damon rubbed his eyes, believing what he was seeing must have been as a result of a concussion, but she was still there when he looked again.
Tabitha was just inside the room, wielding a slingshot, which she was employing with deadly accuracy. Magic balls of…something, Damon didn’t know what, were hurtling across the room, and whoever they hit disappeared in a puff of green and purple smoke. She paused in her slaughter momentarily to offer him a thumbs up, before she diligently returned to her task.
Yet the most surprising thing of all was happening towards the rear of the room, where a giant squirrel was holding Crispin in one of its paws and shaking him until he turned green.
A movement close to the altar alerted him to the cowardly, cowering presence of Artemon, who was doing his best to hide behind it. Damon stood up and walked over to him.
‘Doesn’t look like you’re too fond of surprises either, does it?’ he commented. ‘Now what are we going to do with you?’
‘Well, naturally nothing awful,’ Artemon whimpered. ‘After all, those on the side of good never harm their enemies. Instead they try to show them the error of their ways so they may relinquish the evil in their hearts and never again commit a foul deed.’
‘Nah, that doesn’t sound right to me,’ Damon said. ‘You were going to sacrifice me, so forgive me if I think the punishment needs to be closer in kind.’
‘Damon the Demon, stop what you are about to do, ‘ a voice boomed around the ruins of the building. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked around, trying to locate from where it was coming from.
Using the distraction, Artemon began crawling away, but the voice sounded again. ‘Artemon the faithless. You cannot leave this place with a debt owing.’
Only then did Damon realise it was the book talking, and so he directed everyone’s attention to altar.
Wisps of ether curled out from the pages of the book until they took on the form of a spirit, though it remained hazy and indistinct. ‘Artemon’s life is mine now. Do you remember what the punishment for failure was, Artemon?’
‘Fail and you lose everything,’ Damon recalled for him.
‘Shush!’ Artemon hissed angrily.
‘He’s not asking you because he’s forgotten, silly.’
‘Artemon of the Black River, you have gambled, and you have lost.’ The spirit of the book broke apart into dozens of curling fingers of mist, and though Artemon tried his best to run away, they caught him quickly, dragging him kicking and screaming into the pages of the book. Only then did the mist reform into the shape of a spirit once more. ‘You are a good person, Damon the Demon, with a kind heart. For you to have enacted vengeance upon so worthless a specimen as Artemon, would have been disastrous for this cemetery and those under your care. I could not let that happen.
‘Now what to do with him,’ the book spirit said, indicating Crispin. ‘Ah, I know. Great Squirrel, bring him hither. Now be gone from this place and never think to return!’ The spirit transformed into the curling misty fingers and took hold of Crispin from the squirrel and threw him out through the broken door and out into the night. ‘Be gone!’ it shouted one last time. ‘And now it is time for me also to leave here. Damon, you are now the keeper and guardian of my book. Goodbye.’
‘No! Please! I don’t want to be the keeper…’ Damon bemoaned, but it was too late. The mist had dispersed and the spirit had returned to the book, which had closed shut, sealing itself from the world. ‘At least the eye’s gone,’ he muttered. However, he wasn’t keen on handling the hairy thing.
Two arms, one fleshy, the other bony, were then draped over his shoulders.
‘Girls,’ he said, ‘you saved me. What would I have done without you?’
‘Thank Shelly,’ Tabitha said. ‘She thought there was something odd about Crispin and came to tell me. But then we couldn’t find you anywhere.’
‘And then this furry darling said he could help,’ Shelly chirped in. ‘Being made much bigger has given him an increased sense of smell and he managed to track you to here. The rest, as they say, is history.’
‘Well, I’m just grateful you arrived when you did. That reminds me, did anyone find out where that scream came from?’
‘The Undead Amateur Dramatics Society. They were rehearsing for their latest play, And They All Were Killed Horribly.’
‘Oh,’ Damon said, a little disappointed with the answer. ‘Come on. I think it’s time to go home.’
He started walking towards the door when Shelly, who hadn’t moved, said, ‘Umm…aren’t you forgetting something, Damon?’
He turned back around to find her staring at the book. He sighed but returned to collect it, only to find a letter addressed to him was sitting on top of it.
‘To Damon the Demon, Keeper of the Book of Secret Spells, Guard me with your life, such as it is. Protect me, and thus the world from those who would wreak havoc and harm. I suspect you’re more adept at this sort of thing than you let on. Otherwise, were all going to be in a lot of trouble. Supernaturally yours, The Spirit of the Spell Book.
‘It’s so unfair. All I ever wanted was a quiet life,’ he bemoaned as they exited the ruined temple and headed towards home.
To be continued…
Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 12 – Yours Supernaturally