Necromancy [Part Four]

Necromancy [Part Four]

February’s short story contains a new cast of characters that randomly appeared in my head one day. I’ve only spent a little time with them so far, but I like their dynamic.

As with most of my writing, this four-part story explores themes of death and grief. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading.

Necromancy [Part Four]

“I don’t understand how someone could be so stupid to fiddle around with necromancy magic!” Nordak exclaimed to the skies. “Anyone who thinks they can learn necromancy seem to think they’re high and mighty but, in reality, they’re the weakest of us all.”

Silver groaned, riding piggyback on Greeba. “When is he going to stop…?”

Greeba sighed as well. “I know, it’s been a week.”

Silver tilted her head to the side. “Well, no. We’ve only been on the road for two days, but yes. I guess you could say it feels like he’s been complaining for a week.”

“Anyone who can’t get over death shouldn’t be in this business!” Nordak continued to rant to no one in particular. He led the group as he stomped his feet so loud no one wanted to be near him.

“That’s a new one,” Rowan observed.

“It certainly is,” Tristan said, sighing. “And it doesn’t even make sense.”

“I think you made a good call explaining the logistics of the mission to everyone after we’d already left.”

“I guess so, but I feel like we’re going to listen to Nordak’s grumbles for a long time.”

Silver giggled, overhearing their conversation. “So, it sounds like Nordak is being the Nordak we all know and love, right?”

Tristan and Rowan smirked.

“What?” Nordak stopped, whipping his head around to stare at everyone. “I heard my name.”

“We were just saying how we’d love to listen to one of your songs,” Silver replied with quick thinking.

Rowan and Greeba both groaned. Normally, Nordak’s songs were great. But he had been ranting for so long now, that Rowan just wished he would keep his mouth shut.

Nordak eyed Rowan and Greeba, noticing their distaste at Silver’s suggestion. But he chuckled. “Alright, then, let me see…” he turned back around, still leading the way, belting out into song.

Greeba, with Silver still on her back, took bigger strides in an attempt to get ahead of Nordak. She succeeded, but the dwarf trailed behind her, his lungs bellowing into a song about birds.
Rowan slowed her pace to distance herself from them, though stayed close enough that they wouldn’t lose one another. Tristan did the same and, if Rowan knew anything about him, it was that he preferred to keep the rear. He liked keeping an eye on everyone and watching their backs.

“Hey,” she said, lightly elbowing him, “are you okay?”

Tristan nodded. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Rowan shrugged. “Well, one of your good friends is missing and may or may not be summoning the dead.”

“When you put it like that…”

“I’m sorry.”

Tristan stopped and stared at her. “What are you apologizing for? You didn’t do anything.”

Rowan stopped a step ahead of him, confusion at the sudden halt. “I was the one who reminded him of necromancy. I lost my head for a moment while talking to him and wanted him to teach me the magic.”

Tristan chuckled, putting a hand on the elf’s shoulders. “Please, you did absolutely nothing. Whether you spoke with him or not, Milo was already going down this path. I was just too blind to see it. Besides, I was the one who told you to speak to Milo in the first place.”

“True… so, then, really, this is all your fault,” Rowan replied, joking.

Before Tristan could reply, Nordak called to them. “Oi! Are we walking or what?”

Tristan raised his arm in the air, signaling they had heard him. Rowan began walking again, not realizing how far away the others had gotten from them. Nordak had a pep in his step from his song and Greeba was most likely walking faster to get away from him. However, when Rowan noticed the other three had stalled, waiting for them to catch up, Rowan broke out into a jog with Tristan close behind her.

“Where do we go now?” Silver asked as soon as the group was in close proximity with one another.

Tristan sighed, pointing toward the forest a few feet away from them. “I think our best bet is to go through there. If I remember correctly, that’s headed toward the graveyard.”

“And how do you know your friend would have gone to this specific graveyard?” Nordak challenged.

Tristan shrugged. “Maybe he didn’t. But, the graveyard I have in mind, is the one where Milo got the necromancy book.”

Nordak blew air through his teeth. “Alright, I guess that’s better than nothing.”

“What are we going to do for camp?” Silver questioned. “It’ll be night soon and if we head into the forest now, we may be in for some trouble.”

“I know,” Tristan agreed, “but we can’t let that slow us down.”

“We’ve already been slowed down by your yapping back there,” Nordak spat, jutting a thumb behind them.

Ignoring the dwarf, Tristan looked toward Greeba. “Would you please lead the way?”

Greeba nodded. “I’ll be the ears,” she said, turning and walking away.

Silver shook her head at Greeba’s words. “I guess that makes me the eyes, then, huh?”

Nordak pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why’d you choose that one to lead?”

“Silver’s got Greeba covered,” Tristan said, dismissively. “She’s the tallest and, with the help of Silver, they’ll have a better vantage point to see anything farther away.”

Nordak took out his axe, clutching it with both hands, grinning. “I’ll step up right behind them and lob off anyone who can’t see me between those long legs of hers!”

“Sure,” Tristan agreed. “I’ll take up the rear.”

“Per usual,” Rowan said with a dismissing wave of her hand.

*

“No one said anything about bats!” Nordak shouted.

Rowan hissed at him to be quiet. She put her staff away on her back, her eyes scanning the dark forest for a sign of more bats or anything else unfriendly.

Silver breathed heavily, sitting back down by the campfire they had made earlier. “That was rough… we’ve faced bats before and I feel like they were a lot tougher than usual. I must be out of shape.”

“Oh, come on,” Nordak said, “we’ve only been home from our previous mission for about four days. None of us are out of shape.”

“Nordak’s right,” Tristan piped up, “we all fought well and valiantly.”

Rowan tried to hide her eye roll at Tristan’s leader-esque words. It was only bats, not the undead. They didn’t do anything too impressive. If anyone wanted to be impressive, then they needed to take a page out of Jasper’s book.

The elf stiffened at the thought of Jasper. She shook her head, trying to get the thoughts out. She shouldn’t be comparing her companions with their fallen comrade. Jasper’s story was over and, while Rowan missed him terribly, they had bigger things to worry about at the moment.

“Oh, don’t tell me you speak bat now,” Nordak grumbled sarcastically.

Rowan tuned back into the conversation, though she was confused about what exactly was going on.

Tristan shot the dwarf a look of disappointment. “All I’m saying is that something wasn’t right with those bats. With our skills, we should have been able to take them out in one, two swings, tops.”

“But we didn’t,” Silver added. “Maybe if Rowan was able to use her magic, then it would have been easier.”

Taken aback, Rowan joined the conversation. “It’s not that I’m unable to use my magic, it’s the fact that we’re in the middle of a wooded area. One wrong move and this whole forest would have gone up into flames.”

“Of course,” Silver replied gently, “Sorry, that’s not what I meant. All I’m saying is that if you were able to use your fire magic, without the forest getting in the way, then it might have been easier to get rid of the bats. I’m sure they would have been weak to fire.”

Nordak snorted. “Of course, most things are weak to fire. Fire hurts.”

Silver narrowed her eyes at him, but said nothing. She was the nicest one out of them all, which was why she got along with Greeba so well. But even if someone said something mean or stupid, Silver would always let it roll off her back.

Tristan pointed to Silver, looking impressed. “No, I think Silver’s onto something. Those bats weren’t ordinary which means someone out a spell on them.”

Nordak scratched the top of his head. “You mean someone has pet bats that they’re experimenting with?”

“Experimenting,” Tristan repeated, deep in thought.

Silver raised his hand to speak again. “If I may, what I was getting at is those bats might not have been alive.”

Nordak, Rowan, and Tristan stared at the gnome in disbelief. Though, neither one of them could speak up and tell her that there was the possibility of her being wrong.

Greeba added a log to the fire, causing sparks to spew into the air. She grinned, turning her back.

“One log is enough for now, thanks, Greeba,” Tristan stated.

The orc glared at him, but she listened anyway, sitting back down on the ground. Her eyes glowed as she watched the flames dance before her.

The human sighed. “Silver, I think you’re right. Did anyone actually kill any of the bats?”

Silver shook her head as did Rowan. “Every bat I faced ended up flying out of reach from me and flew away,” Rowan explained.

“I tried with all my might, but yeah,” Nordak agreed, “they all flew away from me as well.”

“Me too,” Tristan said with a nod.

“That’s what I mean. Fire might have been able to kill them, especially if they’re undead,” Silver explained further.

Rowan frowned, upset she didn’t try her fire magic. She was great at controlling it, but she was so nervous about burning the forest down that she didn’t want to risk it. Besides, she had a feeling that the bats were a fluke. She had no idea that they were going to be more important than plain bats.

“I killed them with fire,” Greeba piped up.

They all turned to stare at the orc, but Silver was the one who replied. “No, Greeba, we’re saying that maybe the fire could have killed those bats.”

“Fire did kill the bats.”

“Maybe.”

Greeba shook her head, standing. “I killed a bat in the fire.” She pointed to the campfire before her. “I grabbed a bat’s wing and slammed it down into the flames.”

The rest of the group stood with their mouths open. Silver swallowed a lump in her throat.

“And, uh, what happened to the bat?”

“It burned,” Greeba replied, turning her attention back to the flames, a wide grin stretching across her face.

“Okay,” Silver replied gently, “well, thank you for that, Greeba. Good job.”

“Buuuurnnnn…” Greeba chuckled at the flames.

“Wait a minute,” Rowan said, shaking the weirdness from Greeba off of her, “if we’re all to agree that the bats were undead, then they’re still around the forest somewhere.”

“And, if they retreated, then they probably went back to their master, or whoever it was that revived them from the dead in the first place,” Silver added.

Tristan snapped his fingers. “This is brilliant! We have a trail.”

“I thought we already had a trail,” Nordak huffed.

“Well, now we have a wider trail.”

“Who’s to say that whoever revived these bats is your friend, huh?” Nordak challenged. “And besides, if Greeba picked me up and tossed me into the campfire, I’d burn and perish, too. That doesn’t mean the bat was undead. All the other bats flew away before we would really give it to them, so there’s no way of proving that they were revived in the first place. They could have been normal bats for all we know.”

“But there’s also no proof saying that they weren’t undead,” Silver replied. “I think we should follow the trail of where the bats went.”

Nordak scoffed. “The bats are long gone by now!”

“I second Silver’s suggestion,” Tristan stated.

“Any opposed?”

“No,” Rowan replied.

“Yes!” Nordak shouted.

“Greeba?” Tristan asked, ignoring the dwarf.

The orc chuckled at the fire.

“I’ll take that as an agreement,” Tristan stated.

“You can’t take that anything other than stupidity!” Nordak snapped. “You’re not even listening to me.”

Tristan sighed. “What do you propose we do then?”

“We need to sleep!”

Rowan pressed her lips together, pointing to him, while looking at Tristan. “He does have a point. It’s late and we’re tuckered out from that fight. We should probably get some rest.”

Tristan hesitated, but finally shook his head. “I agree with you, but I really do think we should follow the bat lead.”

Nordak rolled his eyes. “Is something stuck in your ears? The bats flew off a while ago while we were sitting here arguing. How are we supposed to track them?”

Tristan was about to reply when Nordak held up a hand to silence him. The dwarf continued speaking. “If they truly are undead, then I’m sure they’ve headed back to the graveyard we’re headed towards. We’ll find them in the morning. Not only will we be well rested, but the bats should be sleeping at that time anyway so we can get the jump on them and figure out what’s going on.”

“But if the bats are undead then they’re not going to need sleep,” Silver added.

Nordak shrugged. “Well, yeah, that’s a point… but then that’ll help us figure out whether they’re actually undead or not. We’ll have the light to our advantage either way. This forest is so dense, I can’t see shit.”

“I can see,” Greeba replied.

Nordak groaned. “No one asked if you could see.”

“Alright,” Tristan interrupted. “Nordak, you bring up some good points. We should definitely get some rest. Rowan, are you alright to keep first watch?”

Rowan nodded. With her training, she could go many nights without sleep. As long as she had a chance to meditate here and there, she was pretty well rested.

“Then it’s settled. We’ll rest now and we’ll set off first thing in the morning,” Tristan concluded.

Without another word, the group settled into their sleep sacks around the campfire. Greeba took some coaxing because she wanted to watch the fire some more, but she too eventually fell asleep.

Rowan sat down at the base of a tree trunk, watching her friends get some much needed rest. The elf scanned the forest for any more signs of bats or anything else that could jump out at them in the middle of the dark forest.

At last, she was alone with her thoughts. However, she wasn’t sure if that was comforting or not. The longer they took, the quicker Milo would get ahead.

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Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Necromancy [Part Three]

Necromancy [Part Three]

February’s short story contains a new cast of characters that randomly appeared in my head one day. I’ve only spent a little time with them so far, but I like their dynamic.

As with most of my writing, this four-part story explores themes of death and grief. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading.

Necromancy [Part Three]

“Necromancy? Are you kidding me, Rowan?” Tristan questioned in a scolding tone. He uncrossed his legs, leaning forward in his chair.

Rowan shrugged her shoulders, standing on the other side of the room. “You were the one who told me to go see Milo.”

“Yeah, I wanted you to talk to somebody and hopefully, feel better about what you’ve been going through. You know, talk about your feelings and things like that.”

“We sort of did,” Rowan replied. Although, the more she thought about it, she realized that they didn’t talk about her feelings at all. Milo mostly talked about himself because Rowan asked him questions about himself. When the subject of necromancy was brought up, Milo got offended and kicked her out.

Tristan raised a brow. Rowan looked away from his burning gaze. She knew that look all too well. He knew she was fibbing.

“Milo told me what happened,” Tristan continued.

Rowan rolled her eyes. “You know, I didn’t think clerics were supposed to talk about what they discussed in a session?”

“What session?”

“Cleric counseling.”

“You weren’t in cleric counseling.”

“I thought-“

“You said you didn’t want to go to cleric counseling and I told you to simply talk to Milo as a friend of a friend, that’s all.”

Rowan huffed.

Tristan sighed, putting his head in his hands. “I don’t know what’s going on with you and I don’t know how to help. I’m not sure if it did more good or damage.”

“But necromancy could work,” Rowan explained.

Tristan snapped his head up, glaring at her.

“No, no,” she defended herself before he could speak. “Here me out.”

“Rowan…”

“Milo told me he had studied necromancy for two years. He didn’t say whether or not it had worked but I get the feeling that it did work. For some reason, he seemed stand offish about it. I assume it was because he really did connect with the other side. Otherwise, why wouldn’t he just tell me that necromancy is a bunch of crap?”

Tristan remained silent for a moment and Rowan held her breath. She had no idea what more she could say. She thought she’d be able to go to Tristan for help with this, not expecting him to have such a reaction.

“Rowan,” Tristan said gently, “you know necromancy magic is illegal. Why would you consider such a thing?”

“Milo considered it,” Rowan replied with a shrug.

“And I’m going to discuss that more with him another time.” Tristan stood up from his chair, shaking his head. “I didn’t realize Milo had gone through such stress. But I recognize it with you and I want to help.”

Rowan grunted, crossing her arms. “Why? We’re not traveling anymore, Tristan. You’re not the leader. You’re not here to take care of me or anyone else from our group, Milo, or the town.”

The human narrowed his eyes at his friend. “I never said I was the leader. I never said I was trying to take care of everyone. I try to help out the people I care about though and, yes, that includes you. It includes you and many other people. Milo is also included in that and it bothers me I had no idea he was going to through such a hard time to the point that he resorted to necromancy and whatever else he was studying at the time.”

Rowan sighed, leaning against the wall. “I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t realize I was bothering you so much with it. I also didn’t mean to blow Milo’s secret. But, if it makes you feeling any better I don’t think Milo is still studying necromancy.”
She noticed Tristan freeze but she continued talking. “Maybe whatever he figured out spooked him. It might have spooked him with how powerful it was. At least, I assume that’s what happened. He didn’t go into any detail about it.”

Tristan turned and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” Rowan asked bewildered. Had she upset him that much?

Tristan put a hand on the door knob. He looked over his shoulder at his friend. “I have to go see Milo now.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s studying necromancy.”

“I just told you I don’t think he’s doing it anymore.”

Tristan shook his head. “Then why does he still have the book?”

Rowan opened her mouth to reply, but closed it. He brought up a good point and she didn’t know Milo nearly as well as Tristan. If he suspected that the halfling was still looking into necromancy then he probably was.

Tristan opened the front door and exited with Rowan close on his heels.

*

Tristan opened the front door to Milo’s hut. Rowan followed him inside, the two of the stopping in the threshold.

The hut was empty. The space was neat and tidy, so it didn’t seem as though anyone broke in. It also didn’t seem like Milo was on the run from something or someone.

Tristan turned his head to face Rowan. “Did he say anything to you about going anywhere?”

Rowan shook her head. “You can’t possibly think I had anything to do with him leaving, do you?”

The human sighed. “No, no. It’s not your fault. I didn’t realize he was practicing necromancy magic, the old fool…”

“He might not have gone anywhere, though,” Rowan replied. She walked to the other end of the hut and peered out the back window. “When we arrived last time he was back here outside somewhere, wasn’t he? Maybe he’s just…”

Tristan followed her inside, closing the front door behind him. He made his way over to Milo’s bookshelf. “Where’s the book?”

Rowan looked over her shoulder. She didn’t have an answer to that one. “Under his bed?”

“No,” Tristan said with a scowl. “His book probably was in this spot.” He pointed to an empty space on the shelf where the book should have been. Other books surrounded the silhouette, making it painfully obvious something was missing.

Rowan scoffed. “Well, if he’s going to go on the run and pretend he’s not working on necromancy, then he needs to do a better job covering his tracks.”

Tristan chuckled. “Believe it not, Milo never knew the art of subtly. He may be a halfling but he’s as stealthy as an eight-foot dumb troll.”

“He doesn’t need to be stealthy to cover his tracks.”

“No, he needs to have a plan.”

“And you were always the one to come up with a plan.”

Tristan nodded.

Rowan sighed, putting her hands on her hips. “Well, for what’s it’s worth, I really don’t think he was doing anything with necromancy anymore. I might have reminded him of it, but…”

Tristan shook his head, holding up a hand to silence her. “No, I don’t think he ever stopped. I don’t think he would have brought it up to you otherwise. I’m sure he wanted to see how you’d react.”

“But I was excited for it. I was interested in learning from him. So, that must have knocked some common sense into him. Maybe I scared him and he went somewhere to dispose of the book,” Rowan suggested.

Tristan cast a somber gaze on his friend. “No, Rowan, you don’t understand. He probably did get spooked that you were eager to learn from him. But he also knows the consequences. He knows what it’s like to connect with the other side.”

Rowan stiffened. So, it was true. The necromancy spells had worked.

“But that’s part of the power. The book chooses who it wants to teach. You may not have been chosen, which is why Milo had gone off with the book. He’s trying to protect it, not dispose of it,” Tristan continued to explain.

Rowan wrinkled her face in confusion.

“Yes,” Tristan noticed her expression, “that book, in fact, is not an actual book.”

Rowan drew in a sharp breath through her teeth. “How is it you know so much about this book?”

The human sighed, ignoring the question. “We need to gather the others. We need to find Milo.”

*

“What’s in it for us?” Nordak asked after taking a swig of his pint.

“What, you expect me to reward you?” Tristan replied.

Nordak nodded. “I have never gone a mission for free.”

“You have never gone on a mission from one of your friends.”

“And I don’t think I’m about to begin now.”

Tristan groaned in frustration.

“Why not?” Rowan asked. “We’ve been through so much together. Don’t you want to help out your friends? Tristan’s friend could be in serious trouble. Isn’t that enough?”

Nordak took another drink, not bothering to respond. Rowan wasn’t sure if he had even heard her.

“Well, I’m in,” Silver responded. “Any friend of you guys is a friend of mine.”

“Thank you, Silver,” Tristan grinned at her. “Greeba?”

The Orc shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. It seems weird to go on a mission without pay.”

“So, that’s why you guys do what you do? It’s only for the coins? You don’t do it for the satisfaction of helping others?” Tristan snapped.

Nordak and Greeba shook their heads in unison.

“Listen,” Greeba explained. “If I took on any job without worrying about what I’d get paid, then I wouldn’t be able to put a roof over myself.”

“Your head,” Silver corrected. “You wouldn’t be able to put a roof over your head.”

“But you sleep outside anyway,” Rowan stated in confusion.

“Exactly,” Greeba said, nodding.

Rowan sighed. “We just got paid, like, a whole lot from our last mission.”

“And I had to buy food.”

Tristan pinched the bridge of his nose. “Fine, never mind. Rowan, Silver, and I will go alone. I thought we were more than this, but I guess not.”

Silver frowned, poking Greeba lightly in the arm. “Really? You’re not going to join us? But we had such a great time together and have been through so much.”

Rowan turned her attention to Silver. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure they’ve already gotten over the last journey. Sometimes these things don’t last.”

Nordak slammed his glass down on the counter, causing Silver and Rowan to jump. The dwarf glared daggers at Rowan, standing from his seat. Rowan was about a foot taller than him, but he stood before her, staring as though they were eye to eye.

“You think we’re over the last journey, do you? Don’t you remember what happened?” he demanded.

Rowan’s expression quickly turned from shocked to annoyed. “Of course I remember! How could I forget? We lost the best person on our team. He sacrificed his life for all of us. But that’s the not the only point. He sacrificed his life for everyone.”

Nordak opened his mouth, but Rowan continued on with her lecture.

“We’ve been through hell and back and again. No one knows what we went through, or anything that we’ve suffered or lost. The town plans to build a statue for Jasper, which is great and all, but no one will ever truly know the significance of what that statue means. No one but us and you want to know why? Because no one will ever go through what we all had to endure!”

Tristan stepped forward, putting a hand on Rowan’s shoulder. It was a poor attempt to get her relax, but she shrugged him off.

“If you can’t see what we’ve lost, then you certainly can’t see what we’ve found,” Rowan stated.

Tristan raised an eyebrow. “Wait, Rowan, are you admitting that…?”

Rowan glared at him. “No.”

He pressed his lips together, attempting to hide his smile. “Okay, sorry,” he looked down at the dwarf. “Rowan does have a point. You have to admit we found each other through that quest. And we all share Jasper in common.” He stepped back, looking at everyone else. “From one friend to another, I’m asking for your help. I know we’re the most capable team because I’ve seen what we can do.”

Greeba sighed, standing. “I don’t like having friends.”

The rest of the group stared at her in confusion. Her words shouldn’t have surprised any of them, but it was always hard to tell what exactly she was thinking.

“So,” Tristan said slowly, “does that mean you’re in?”

Greeba nodded. “Sure.”

Silver clapped her hands together in excitement. “Yay!”

The four of them stared at Nordak, who finally rolled his head back groaning.

“Fine,” he growled. “But I’m not going to like it!”

Rowan shrugged her shoulders. “That’s fine, we’re probably not going to like it, either.”

“What exactly is going on, anyway? How did your friend end up missing?” the dwarf asked.

Rowan and Tristan glanced at each other before Tristan turned his attention back to their companion. “Maybe it’ll be best if we explain on the way.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Necromancy [Part Two]

Necromancy [Part Two]

February’s short story contains a new cast of characters that randomly appeared in my head one day. I’ve only spent a little time with them so far, but I like their dynamic.

As with most of my writing, this four-part story explores themes of death and grief. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading.

Necromancy [Part Two]

Tristan opened the front door of a small hut at the top of a hill on the outskirts of the town. He poked his head inside, announcing himself. Rowan remained behind him, looking around the outside of the hut.

It was a quaint area with no one else around. All the other houses in town were near the shops. Tristan had told Rowan all about Milo the night before. He was a halfling cleric who specialized in life, health, and healing magic. If it had anything to do with positive energy, Milo would know all about it.

The cleric was a hermit and didn’t trust people much. However, he was always willing to help if asked. It was rare he turned someone down, but he didn’t go out of his way to step forward on his own accord.

According to Tristan, Milo didn’t always live at the top of the hill. He also didn’t always live alone. When his house caught fire due to someone’s aimless magic, Milo made it out with nothing left. Even his friend had perished.

Milo’s loss was the reason Tristan thought he would be a good fit to talk about life and death to Rowan. He had seen loss before and he studied life. Tristan had hoped Rowan would learn a thing or two from Milo, but Rowan was only there to appease Tristan. Her goal was to make it seem like she had put effort into feeling better, but, in reality, it was difficult for her to keep an open mind.

Tristan waved his hand, motioning for Rowan to follow him into the hut. Rowan did so in silence.
“Milo?” he called.

Rowan scanned the room. It wasn’t a large hut so there weren’t many places for Milo to hide. They were in a small room that acted as a kitchen and living room. There was a closed door to their right and above them was a loft holding a comfortable looking bed.

Before they could make it any further into the hut, a door on the other side of the room opened from the outside.

A halfling stopped short in the doorway before relaxing his shoulders. “Oh, Tristan. Was my front door open?”

“It was.”

“Damn. I thought I had fixed the lock,” Milo muttered under his breath. He entered his home, closing the back door behind him.

“You don’t need to lock your doors, you know. This town is quite safe,” Tristan stated.

Milo narrowed his eyes. “That’s what they want you to think.”

“Has your house ever been broken into before?” Rowan questioned.

“No, because I lock my doors.”

Rowan bit back a laugh in response. She liked the way he thought.

“Milo, this is Rowan,” Tristan said in a defeated tone, swinging his arm between the two of them as an introduction. “Rowan, Milo.”

Milo stopped tinkering with whatever it was he brought inside the hut and stood tall. He clasped his hands together in front of him. “Rowan, it’s nice to meet you, I’m sure.”

“You, too,” she replied.

Tristan glanced between the two of them. “Alright, well,” he cleared his throat awkwardly. “If the two of you are all set, then I think I’ll take my leave.”

“What?” Rowan gasped. She leaned closer to him whispering, “I thought you said you would stay?”

“I’ll be right outside minding my own business,” Tristan responded in a low tone.

Rowan scoffed. “Fine.”

Tristan grinned at Milo, giving him a wave. “Thanks, pal. Shout if you need anything.”

Milo dipped his head in response.

He and Rowan watched Tristan disappear back outside, closing the front door behind him. Rowan looked over her shoulder back to the halfling. She didn’t know what to say to him and, judging from the way he looked her up and down, he didn’t know what to say to her, either.

“So,” Milo said, drawing in a sharp breath, “Tristan has told me a lot about your travels.”

Rowan nodded. She didn’t know that, but she had assumed Tristan told Milo all about Jasper.

“He told me that you’ve been feeling a little… overwhelmed, I guess, with your return without the full party?”

Rowan furrowed her brows. “That’s a strange way to put it, but alright.”

The cleric sighed. “My apologies, I’m not great at this. Cleric counseling isn’t my forte, but I do hope I can help in some manner.”

“I don’t think I need any help.”

Milo chuckled.

“What?” Rowan asked offended.

Milo looked her in the eyes, smiling. “That’s just it, isn’t it? Those who say they don’t need help are the ones that need it most.”

Rowan blinked at him. The only response she could think of was to tell him that he had made a good point, but she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction that he may be right, so she bit her tongue.

“Tea?” Milo asked, walking across the room to the small kitchenette.

“Sure,” Rowan said quietly.

Milo picked up the kettle hanging over the fire. He brought it over to the sink and turned on the water. “Tristan tells me you study divination.” He turned the water off and brought the filled kettle back over to hang above the fire. He turned around pointing to the two chairs at the table. “I find divination fascinating. The idea that one can take a peek into the future, understand the present at a scholarly level, or peer back into the past is amazing.”

Rowan sat down in one chair, listening intently as Milo spoke. He sat down in the chair opposite her, his back to the fire. He had a wild grin on his face and Rowan wondered if this was the same halfling she met only moments ago. For someone who didn’t care to engage in conversation, it seemed as though speaking came easily to him when he got excited about something.

“You’re a wizard, right? Care to share why you chose divination as your choice of magic?” Milo prompted.

“Well,” Rowan said, thinking about it. “It came naturally, I suppose. My parents both practiced divination and I learned a lot from them.”

Milo nodded. “That’s wonderful. Where are your parents now?”

“Gone.”

“Dead?”

“Yes.”

“I see.” Milo stroked his chin. “Was it expected?”

“Yes and no. They both lost their battles. Mom in a fight and Dad to an illness,” Rowan explained. “But I don’t think that’s important right now.”

“What is important right now?”

“Not me,” Rowan spat.

Milo tilted his head to one side. “Then what are you doing here?”

Rowan growled under her breath. “I’m only here because Tristan asked me to talk to you but I don’t need to talk to anyone about this.”

“About what?”

“About Jasper.”

“What about him?”

Rowan glared at him. “I know Tristan told you Jasper is dead.”

Milo nodded. “He did. But we weren’t talking about Jasper. I had asked about where you learned your magic.”

Rowan opened her mouth to protest but closed it, realizing the halfling was right. She didn’t care too much to discuss her parents but she had no idea why her mind went to Jasper, or why she got so defensive.

The kettle whistled and Rowan wished she could scream aloud like the kettle.

Milo stood from his chair, taking the kettle off the fire. He poured the hot water into two mugs before bringing the tea back to the table. He handed Rowan a cup and sat down with his own, taking a sip.

“I was brought up as a cleric and was supposed to study all knowledge. I chose to study life instead,” he explained. “At first, that wasn’t acceptable, but I told them that studying life includes knowledge. Life is nature and includes the elements. It’s darkness and it’s light. Life is filled with good and evil.”

Rowan nodded, cupping her mug in both hands. “So, you chose life because it covered everything?”

Milo shook his head, smiling at her. “I chose life because it’s beautiful.”

Rowan raised an eyebrow. She tried to hold back a laugh but still smirked. “You mentioned life includes evil. You think there’s something beautiful about that?”

“Absolutely,” Milo replied with the utmost confidence.

Rowan’s smirk faded, puzzled.

“You see,” Milo explained, “you can’t have good without evil. You can’t have light without a little bit of darkness. And you certainly cannot have knowledge without the unknown.”

Rowan took a sip of her tea, unsure of how to reply to those words of wisdom.

“That is what life is all about and it’s a beautiful thing,” Milo continued proudly. “It’s all that is and isn’t. It’s everything and nothing at the same time. And what’s most fascinating about it is that we all go through the same hardships and prosperity, yet no two lives are alike.”

The half-elf put her mug down, pressing her lips together. The tea was delicious but she drank in Milo’s words.

“If you really think about it, we all come across the same aspects of life within our time in this world.” Milo began to count on his fingers. “We all experience adventure bigger than ourselves, raw emotions deep within the depths of our souls, we all have an innocent childhood, and we all transition into adulthood.

“Whether it’s big or small, we all go through the motions of finding a life partner. Moving to a town that fits our needs. In fact, we all have needs. Wants. Desires. When those are met, we experience happiness, pride, love. When they aren’t met, we go through periods of stress, paralysis… grief.”

Rowan paused at the last word. She stared at Milo who stared back at her, knowing. She wasn’t sure how he did it, but he certainly had a way with words. She peeled her gaze away, taking another sip of tea.

Milo watched her without a word. He didn’t drink his tea. He barely blinked.

Rowan shifted her weight in her chair uncomfortably. “I don’t know what you want me to say. I understand your words, but…”

“But you don’t want to believe them?” Milo interrupted.

“What? No. I just mean… well, I don’t know,” Rowan stammered, flustered. She took another small sip. Her mug was getting dangerously close to being empty and she wanted to continue hiding behind the beverage.

Milo leaned back in his chair. “I’m not sure if Tristan expected me to shove words of wisdom down your throat about life and death or if he expected me to talk through the feelings of grief with you.”

“Probably both,” Rowan muttered, chuckling a bit. “He did tell me that you lost a friend a while back to a fire.”

Milo nodded. “That I did.”

“How long did it take for you to get over it?”

“Get over…?”

“His death.”

Milo’s gaze softened.

Rowan held her breath. Had she said something wrong?

“Rowan,” Milo began.

Uh, oh. This sounded like the beginning of a lecture.

“I never got over my friend’s death,” Milo said. “I never will, either. Otherwise, grief would cease to exist.”

“It would, technically. It would only be a short-term thing, though,” Rowan commented.

Milo smirked. “Remember earlier I said we all experience life differently? We all go through the same motions, but it’s how we perceive them that makes each experience unique. We all deal with them differently, some going through the motions quicker than others. It may seem like you stop grieving, but it’ll hit you once in a while.”

Rowan slouched in her chair. She knew that. She had lost many people in the past before. They weren’t coming back and, despite of that, she missed them very much. Did she think about them every single day? Not necessarily. Her grief was always triggered by certain sights or scents. She knew it was only a matter of time that she’d get over Jasper’s death. Why Tristan needed to make a big deal about it and have Rowan talk to someone was beyond her.

“Here, I’ll show you.” Milo stood up from his chair and walked over to the bookshelf on the other side of the room. He scanned the spines for a moment before pulling out a petite book.
Rowan rolled her eyes behind his back. If this was a scrapbook, she was going to feign ill.

He brought the book back over to her, placing it in the middle of the table, the title facing her.

Rowan’s eyes grew. “Necromancy?” she looked at the halfling in disbelief.

Milo sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes, necromancy. I began learning it three days after my friend died.”

“But necromancy magic is illegal.”

“That it is. However, I had no idea what to with myself when he died. I wanted to bring him back or talk to him, even if it was only one last time. I still had things I wanted to share with him. I wasn’t ready to let him go.

“I studied necromancy for two years before I was caught practicing such magic. That’s what caused me to stop. That’s what made me realize my friend wouldn’t have wanted that for me. He was very much a stickler for the rules of magic, so if he knew I was practicing necromancy… well, I can’t imagine the words he would say to me,” Milo explained.

“Did it work?” Rowan asked, intrigue taking over.

Milo shook his head. “I can’t disclose that information.”

“So it worked.”

Milo pulled the book closer to him. “I didn’t say that.”

“You implied it.”

“You’re misinterpreting my words,” Milo said quickly. He held up a hand before Rowan could speak again. “I’m telling you this because I want to share what I learned during my time dappling in illegal magic.”

Rowan clamped her mouth shut, but she wasn’t interested in anything else he had to say unless it was Necromancy 101.

“You can’t have life without death. If you spend too much time worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past, you miss the present. The present is most important because you can implement what you’ve learned from the past to better your future.”

“And you’re telling me that learning necromancy was a mistake?”

“No, I’m saying that death is natural and part of life. Death is an integral piece to the puzzle to ensure we all enjoy life while we have it.”

Rowan glanced upward for a moment to think. “Then it would also be true that you can’t have death without life. Because without death then everyone would be alive.”

“But not everyone would be living,” Milo added. “Without death, there is no end goal. People would waste the day. They wouldn’t learn from their mistakes. There would be no concept of time.”

“So you’re saying death is important.”

“Absolutely.”

“And we need to learn more about death.”

“Well, of course. There’s always something new to learn when it comes to life and that includes death.”

“Can you teach me?”

Milo clicked his tongue. “Teach you?”

“Necromancy,” Rowan said matter-of-fact.

“Absolutely not. Have you been listening to anything I’ve said?”

“You said we need to learn more about death. Necromancy is the study of death, is it not?”

“Well, it is, but-“

“And you studied necromancy for two years, did you not?”

“I did, however-“

“Then you can teach me,” Rowan stated.

Milo opened his mouth but no words came out. Instead, he cleared his throat, standing. “Tristan is a good friend of mine, so if there is anything else he, you, or your companions need, you know where to find me. But I shall not be dipping my toes into necromancy ever again.” He picked up the book, tucking it under his arm. “Now, it was lovely to meet you, but please leave.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Necromancy [Part One]

Necromancy [Part One]

February’s short story contains a new cast of characters that randomly appeared in my head one day. I’ve only spent a little time with them so far, but I like their dynamic.

As with most of my writing, this four-part story explores themes of death and grief. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading.

Necromancy [Part One]

As the fireworks lit up the dark sky, the crowd cheered. They clapped. Laughing. Drinking. Enjoying the moment.

Rowan looked to her left and then to her right. She was surrounded by amazing people. The dwarf knocked back another pint with their gnome friend sitting upon his shoulder, gawking at the pretty lights in the sky. The only human in the group contentedly watched the sky while the orc’s gaze followed a lightning bug floating around his head.

The whole town was there celebrating. Rowan’s team had made it home after a two-year long journey. They had saved the world. It sounded arrogant and Rowan thought saving the entire “world” sounded a bit too much. Still, the threat had been defeated and the town wanted to celebrate the five of them.

The problem was not all of them had returned home.

Needless to say, Rowan wasn’t in a celebratory mood. It didn’t feel right. The town celebrated their return from their quest but they should have been celebrating Jasper and the young halfling’s sacrifice.

Another pop of the fireworks echoed through the air. Rowan jolted out of her thoughts, casting a somber gaze to the night sky above them. The twinkling lights faded, enveloping the sky into darkness once again. More cheering. More laughing. A stranger pat her on the back and Rowan flashed them a brief smile before they walked away.

In this moment, despite being surrounded by so many people, she had never felt so alone.

So, she slipped away.

Rowan entered the tavern on the other side of the street. It was the only place open during the party. However, the place was empty. The bartender must have been out enjoying the fireworks with everyone else.

The half-elf took it upon herself to pour herself a glass of… something. Rowan didn’t know anything about alcohol and certainly didn’t know her way around the bar. She grabbed an empty glass and an opened bottle of wine. She filled the glass to the top.

“You know, that’s not usually how people drink their wine.”

Rowan took a deep breath without turning around. She peered into the glass, taking a sip. She wasn’t in the mood to talk. Besides, she could barely taste the wine. She didn’t care how it was supposed to be drunk.

“There’s something beautiful about watching red wine splash down in a shallow crystal dome.”

Rowan narrowed her eyes at her drink. She looked over her shoulder. “And what’s wrong with it splashing down in a tall crystal cylinder?”

Her human travel companion sat down at the bar, smirking. “Nothing,” he said, “but it got you confused enough to look at me and speak.”

Rowan rolled her eyes. She took another sip, turning her body around to face him. There was no getting rid of him now. “Did you want some, Tristan?”

He shook his head. “I’m curious as to why you want some.”

“I don’t.”

“Then why are you drinking it?”

“It’s quiet in here.”

“Fascinating,” Tristan grinned again. “I didn’t realize red wine had such deafening properties.”

Rowan glared at him. “You know what I mean.”

The grin turned into a soft smile on the human’s face. “I know,” he replied quietly. “Is everything alright?”

She took another sip.

“I’ll take that as a no.”

“Everything’s fine,” Rowan replied with a shrug and a slight attitude. “Why are you in here and not enjoying the fireworks?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” Tristan retorted.

Another sip.

Tristan shifted his weight on the stool he sat on. “Ah, but of course, you asked me first so I shall answer first,” he said, resting his elbows on the counter. “I am not outside watching the fireworks because I noticed a dear friend of mine was unable to enjoy them.”

A gulp this time. Rowan swallowed hard, looking for the bottle to refill her glass.

“This party is for us. I’d like to celebrate with all of my friends,” Tristan continued.

Rowan snapped her head around, narrowing her eyes at her companion. “Then it’s too bad not all of us are here.”

Tristan straightened his posture, his expression turning mournful. “Ah. So that’s what this is about.”

“This is not about anything,” Rowan replied defensively. The last thing she wanted was a pep talk from Tristan.

“Jasper was…”

“Don’t.”

Tristan stared into Rowan’s burning gaze. “Then when?” he asked.

“When what?”

“When will there ever be an appropriate time to talk about it?”

Rowan scrunched her face in confusion. “What does that mean?”

“It means you need to talk through your feelings. It’s the only way you’ll feel better,” Tristan explained.

Rowan shook her head, pouring more wine into her glass. “There’s nothing to talk about. Jasper did an amazing thing for us. Any of us would have done it, I think. Friends come and go. It’s the circle of life.”

“Well, that may be, but-”

“Do you know how old I am?” Rowan snapped.

Tristan’s eyes widened in surprise. “I would never ask a lady…”

“Too old for this to be new to me,” Rowan interrupted. “I’ve lost countless people over my many years in this world. Friends, family, you name it. I’m used to it.” She tilted her head back, chugging the rest of the wine from the bottle instead of her glass. She slammed the bottle down on the counter and Tristan reached over placing his hand over hers. She shot him a nasty look but immediately softened when she saw the sadness in his eyes.

“Just because you’ve seen death so many times in your life, doesn’t make it any easier,” Tristan explained gently. “Grief is difficult to grasp and when we do, it stays with us forever. Grief isn’t bad. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Grief is a reminder of all those we’ve loved and cherished. It’s the vault to the many memories we keep within ourselves. You are allowed to feel your feelings. You are allowed to miss him.”

“We all miss him,” Nordak stated.

Rowan recoiled her hand away from Tristan’s, looking up. She hadn’t noticed the rest of their travel party had entered the bar. She could still hear fireworks popping off outside, so it seemed as though no one knew they had all sneaked away.

The dwarf waddled toward the bar, sitting in the stool beside Tristan. The gnome, Silver, hopped off his shoulder, walking around to the other side of the bar. She hopped onto the counter, swinging her legs over the side.

“We definitely miss him, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in his honor. Jasper would be proud. He’d want us to have a good time,” Silver said.

Rowan sighed. She knew her companions were right. For some reason, watching another friend meet their end never got easier for her.

“I have an idea,” Tristan exclaimed. “Why don’t we each take a turn and share a fun memory of Jasper? We’ll make a toast him.”

Nordak hopped off his stool. “I’ll get the drinks!”

Silver giggled, jumping to her feet. She took Rowan by the arm and pulled her back around the counter. “We should get out of his way.”

Rowan allowed the small gnome to lead her to the other side of the counter as Nordak passed them singing a song about booze.

Silver sat down on a stool, pointing to the seat in between her and Tristan. Rowan took the hint and sat between the two of them.

“Greeba?” Tristan said to the orc guarding the door. “Come join us.”

Greeba growled at him.

Tristan clicked his tongue. “Honestly, now. Come here. There is nothing to guard. We’re home, safe and sound.”

“I saved you a seat beside me!” Silver said sweetly.

Greeba grunted, but reluctantly left her post at the door. She sat down beside Silver and the four of them watched Nordak hum to himself while mixing drinks.

“Who would like to share a memory of Jasper first?” Tristan declared. “Rowan?”

Embarrassed, Rowan quickly shook her head. Silver didn’t seem to notice as she immediately shot her arm high in the air.

“Oh, me!” she exclaimed. Silver jumped off her stool, standing behind everyone as though she were going to perform on stage. “Do you all remember how self-conscious Jasper could be with his height? He always tried standing on his toes to be taller than me.”

“Which wasn’t that hard,” Greeba snorted. “You only had three inches on the guy.”

“And I don’t believe he necessarily wanted to be taller than you,” Tristan added, “but you continuously boasted that, as a gnome, you weren’t the smallest in the group.”

Silver giggled. “Right, well, anyway, do you remember that orchard we came across on our journey? There were apple trees and we both wanted a snack. The thing was, we couldn’t reach the apples. So, Jasper let me stand on his shoulders to give me a boost. I climbed onto the shortest branch and was able to pluck apples for the both of us.”

“Ah, yes, I remember that,” Tristan grinned. “Didn’t you get stuck on that branch?”

“I had to pluck her out of the tree,” Greeba added.

“That’s right.” Tristan snapped his fingers.

“I believe you also clocked Jasper in the head with an apple, right?” Nordak mentioned.

Silver pressed her lips together in a tight smile. “I dropped one by accident.”

Rowan couldn’t help but chuckle. She remembered that day. The group had stopped for a rest. Tristan and Nordak sat under a tree together for some shade. Nordak took a nap while Tristan wrote in his journal. Greeba kept watch, as she normally did, and Rowan remembered watching Silver and Jasper play tag, weaving in and out of the rows of fruit trees. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out and it was the first time they had a chance to rest in a while.

Rowan frowned. That day was a week before Jasper died.

“What about that time I stepped on him?” Greeba piped up.

Silver gawked at the orc. “Oh, my goodness, I had completely forgotten about that…”

Nordak snorted. “I’m still not convinced you didn’t step on him on purpose.”

Greeba shrugged. “He got under my foot.”

“We had to rush to see an emergency cleric that day,” Silver continued the story. “I wondered if Jasper would be able to walk again.”

“He recovered. He was fine,” Greeba stated.

“I wouldn’t exactly say that’s a fond memory of Jasper, but thank you for contributing to the conversation, Greeba,” Tristan said, cracking an awkward smile.

Rowan pinched the bridge of her nose. That was a brutal day. Greeba thought they were being attacked. In her mad dash to warn them all, she turned around and accidentally stepped on Jasper, who happened to be one step behind her. If Rowan remembered correctly, he had gotten distracted by a worm in the dirt. The little things had always fascinated him. He noticed them when others wouldn’t even know they existed.

The half-elf let out a tired sigh. That day was about a month into their journey. Maybe if Jasper’s legs didn’t recover the way they did, he’d still be with them.

“Rowan?” Tristan whispered. “Do you want to share a story?”

She shook her head, not able to look him in the eyes.

“I’ve got one,” Tristan said louder to the group. “It was the day we all got our mission and met for the first time. Greeba, I remember you were less than thrilled to be in our company.”

The orc let out a deep chuckle. “I still am sometimes.”

“Rowan, you were quiet. You barely spoke to any of us,” Tristan continued. Rowan still wouldn’t look at him.

“Nordak, you felt as though you were in charge,” Tristan said to the dwarf.

Nordak laughed. “You did too.”

“Probably why we butt heads so much in the beginning.”

“What about me?” Silver piped up.

“You were happy to be among new people and friends,” Tristan stated. “Jasper, he was so focused on the mission. But I remember he stood up from the table and looked at each and every one of us. Do you all remember what he said?”

The group grew quiet. Rowan certainly remembered and she had a feeling everyone else did as well.

“He said he had never been so proud to be included within such an honorable group. He knew the six of us would see our quest through to the end. He said we’d have hardships, we’d struggle, we might even drive each other a little bit crazy. But he also said we would protect each other, support each other’s weaknesses, boost each other’s strengths, and… overall, learn to love each other as a family,” Tristan explained. “I don’t know how, but Jasper knew. He was spot on.”

Rowan swallowed a hard lump in her throat. If he knew he would die, would he have felt the same way that day?

“We didn’t deserve Jasper,” Nordak said, passing tall glasses of something to everyone in the party.

Rowan took her glass, peering at the pale yellow liquid. Not that she was ever interested in drinking alcohol, but she had drunk Nordak’s concoctions before and they never failed to taste good.

Tristan held his glass up high. “To Jasper.”

“To Jasper!” Everyone followed suit, clinking their glasses together before taking sips.

Rowan too joined in, gulping her drink down. When she was done, she sighed into the empty glass.

Nordak, drink in hand, came around the counter. He swung his glass in the air, liquid spilling onto the ground, as he broke out into a lullaby.

Once upon a time begins the halfling’s tale…

He began swaying in the middle of the tavern. Silver jumped off her chair, joining in on the dance.

Listen to the story of his prevail…

Rowan watched as even Greeba turned around in her seat and tapped her feet on the ground, drinking in the words of Nordak’s new song.

Oh, unknown what he would become, but oh, what trouble did he overcome…

“Rowan?” Tristan whispered, watching Nordak and Silver sing and dance together.

“Hm?” Rowan replied absentmindedly.

Oh, oh… what a brave soul! Glorious triumph was his goal!

“There’s someone I want you to talk to,” Tristan said. He held up a hand as Rowan’s mouth gaped open to protest. “Before you say anything, I think now is the best time. We’ve just gotten home from a long journey and things are finally calm. But the quest was stressful and while we did have some good times, things were certainly rough at points. I want you to talk to someone about it all, not just what happened to Jasper. Although, that should be a point of discussion.”

Rowan sighed. She turned away, looking at her other friends. Silver was dancing with her eyes closed, moved by Nordak’s lyrics as he continued to boisterously sing about their late friend. Greeba, on the other hand, leaned back against the counter with her eyes closed. However, Rowan didn’t think the orc was as touched as Silver was, but rather she had fallen asleep.

“What do you say?” Tristan prompted gently.

Finally, Rowan nodded. She looked back at her friend. “Alright, fine. But I don’t make any promises.”

“I don’t expect you to.”

“Who is it you want me to talk to?”

“His name is Milo and he’s a cleric-“

Rowan scoffed. “You want me to go to cleric counseling?”

The two jumped at a loud thud. They looked over to see Nordak had fallen onto the ground. He burst out laughing, messing up his song, and Silver joined in on the laughter.

Tristan tapped Rowan on the arm gaining her attention again. “Don’t think of it as cleric counseling. Think of it as talking to a friend.”

“He’s not my friend, though. I don’t know who he is.”

“I do. So, he’s a friend of a friend.”

Rowan rolled her eyes.

“I’ll go with you, if you’d prefer,” Tristan prompted. “I don’t want to pressure you, of course, but please. Think about it?”

Silver laughed so loud it seemed to echo throughout the empty tavern. “Jasper would have loved that song about him!”

Nordak breathed in satisfaction. “Ah, yeah… he always enjoyed my songs.” He looked up at the ceiling, raising his empty glass. “Jasper, if you can hear this, I hope you approve of my tribute to you!”

It was then Rowan realized how much she didn’t understand. She had seen death more than any of her friends and yet, they all seemed to cope better than she did. Maybe she was missing something after all. She turned her head to look Tristan in the eyes. Somberly, she nodded.

“Alright,” she said defeated. “I’ll go.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Pirates [Part Four]

Pirates [Part Four]

January’s short story features my protagonists from my detective fiction series.

I intended this story have an solid mystery and it turned into something completely out of left field. At first, I wasn’t happy with how the story turned out. But, as I continued to write, I realized this story helps me develop my characters by throwing them into a wacky situation.

With that said, this short story is more character-based than plot-based. I hope you enjoy, thanks for reading.

Pirates [Part Four]

“So, they’re not actually pirates?” Lilah asked, whispering, trying to cloak her disappointment.

George sighed. “No, they’re not. Barney already told you that.”

Lilah sighed, taking a cup of coffee from George. It was a good thing they weren’t actually pirates, but it would have been pretty cool if there were pirates involved.

George handed their guest a cup of tea before sitting back down behind his desk.

“Thank you,” she murmured, taking a small sip.

“Mrs. Campbell,” George said, folding his hands on the surface of his desk, “please tell us everything you know about your husband and these so-called pirates.”

Lilah took another sip of her coffee in an effort to bite her tongue. The wife was always suspicious to the two of them. Now it was obvious she knew way more about what her husband was up to and why he had disappeared in the first place. It was no wonder she didn’t want to hire them to find him. She had to have known where he was the entire time.

“When Bruce and I first came to you for help it was because Bruce was in trouble,” the wife began to explain. “If I had known how deep things were, I would have gone straight to the police. However, Bruce kindly asked me to keep the police out of it, which is why we turned to you.”

Lilah nodded her head, the rim of her coffee mug still close to her lips. She certainly remembered having that conversation with them. George almost didn’t take the case because he thought it was better suited for the police to handle, which was unlike George.

“These men… the pirates, as you call them,” Mrs. Campbell explained, “are the same men we were trying to hide from when we came to you in the first place. They wanted to recruit Bruce and when he refused, they got angry.”

Lilah drew in a sharp breath. She knew how angry they could be. When she found a clue and couldn’t get a hold of George, she had decided to check it out for herself. She got caught and almost died at gun point. Luckily, George had received her message and he made it there in time.

It was that moment which made her realize why there were so few men on that ship. There were only four left. George had brought the police when they rescued Lilah and all of them were arrested. At least, they believed they had gotten all of them. Some people were clearly missed and continued the operation even with most of their men gone.

“What did they want to recruit your husband for?” George asked.

Mrs. Campbell shrugged. “They’re smugglers. I couldn’t tell you what exactly they smuggle or whether it’s to bring something into the country or carry it out. All I know is that they wanted my husband.”

George nodded, encouraging her to go on. Then he glanced at Lilah as she did to him. Both of them suspected Mrs. Campbell knew more than she pretended to.

How could she not know what they wanted her husband for? Even if they spoke to him without Mrs. Campbell present, surely he would have explained everything to her? They both came to George and Lilah a few months ago about this issue. Now that she thought about it, Bruce didn’t get much of a word in. Mrs. Campbell did the majority of the talking.

“Why are you here to tell us all this?” George asked. “Shouldn’t you be going to the police station where your husband is being held?”

Mrs. Campbell drew in a sharp breath, blowing it out through her mouth. “I plan to, yes. I need to bail him out. However, I wanted to ask for your help one last time.”

George opened his mouth to say something, but the woman held up a hand to silence him.

“Bruce is not well and he doesn’t know how to take care of himself. He’s a wimp.”

Lilah quickly took a sip of her coffee, attempting to hide her snort.

Mrs. Campbell didn’t seem to notice as she continued. “If he was found with these so-called pirates, then I know the moment I get him out of jail, he’s going to run away again and go back to them.”

And there it was. The slip up.

“Run away?” George repeated. Lilah pressed her lips together.

Mrs. Campbell scoffed, waving a hand dismissively. “You know what I mean.”

“No, we don’t,” George said calmly.

She stared at him, unresponsive. Lilah couldn’t tell if this woman was trying to come up with comebacks in her head or if George actually was off-base and she was so appalled he would say such a thing.

“Mrs. Campbell?” George prompted.

She rolled her eyes, placing her tea on George’s desk. “I can see you don’t believe me, so I might as well take my business elsewhere.” She stood up from her chair but didn’t move.

Lilah shifted her gaze between Mrs. Campbell and George, wondering who was going to make the next move. She was bluffing, otherwise she would have already been out the door. The issue was, why was she acting like this? She was hiding something, there was no doubt about that. In Lilah’s mind, the best way to figure that out was to go along with whatever she wanted.

However, George rose from his chair, putting his hands in his pockets. “Then I suggest the police. I’ve told you before that they’ll be better suited to help you in this situation.”

Mrs. Campbell’s jaw gaped open. “Are you turning down your client?”

“Former client,” George corrected. “You never officially hired us to find your husband, remember?”

She glared at him.

Lilah stood, her coffee mug nearly empty. “I’m going to get more coffee. Would anyone like anything?”

George arched a brow at her and Mrs. Campbell redirected her glare to Lilah. Lilah nodded, getting the hint from both of them. She exited the room without another word.

She quickened her pace down the hall and made it to the kitchen. Lilah took her cell phone out of her pocket and pressed on Barney’s contact info. As the phone rang, she cradled her cell phone in between her ear and shoulder as she poured herself another cup.

“Lilah?” Barney answered. “Is everything alright?”

“Bruce Campbell’s wife is here,” Lilah said quietly. “She’s talking to George in his office and there’s something off about her.”

“I’m on my way,” Barney replied.

“Well,” Lilah said, putting the carafe back on the warming plate. “I’m not sure if you need to come here, but I wanted to keep you in the loop. I’m not sure what George is thinking, but I think he’s getting a weird vibe from her as well.”

“Lilah, I said I’m on my way. Don’t worry about it.”

“I don’t want to bug you. I know you’re busy,” Lilah continued. She opened the fridge and took out the cream.

“No, you’re doing the right thing,” Barney answered.

“I’m sure everything’s fine. I wanted your opinion, really.” She heard sirens through the phone. “Wait, are you actually coming?”

“Yes, Lilah! I’m actually coming.”

Lilah poured the cream into her coffee before placing the carton gently down on the counter. She furrowed her brows, looking over her shoulder back into the hall. “Why are you putting the sirens on? What’s wrong?”

“An APB was put out on Bruce’s wife, Margret Campbell. The other station called me not too long ago asking if we’d seen or heard anything from her. I guess Bruce sang like a canary during his interrogation. His wife is the ring leader of this whole operation.”

Lilah clicked her tongue. “Oh… that’s no good.”

“No, it’s not. Where are you?”

“Home. I excused myself to the kitchen so George is still in his office with Mrs. Campbell.”

“Has she said anything to you guys about what’s been going on?”

“Not really. She came here because she knew we found her husband. I don’t know what she wants us to do, though. She mentioned her husband ran away and when George called her out on it, she bluffed that she was going to leave and go to the police. But she hasn’t gone anywhere yet.”

“And she’s not going to,” Barney replied. “She’s certainly not going to go to the police because she probably knows she’s going to get caught doing whatever it is she’s doing.”

Lilah sighed, putting the creamer back into the fridge. “Is this all about drugs? Isn’t that what smuggling usually is?”

“Smuggling can be anything, but I think, in this case, yes. It’s drugs. Apparently, the hotel you stayed at was one of their bases. I guess there’s a spa there or something? That’s where they were hiding everything.”

Lilah groaned. “That’s why I saw Bruce walking in there.”

“To the spa?”

“And George would never have gotten an actual massage…”

“Huh?”

“Nothing,” Lilah sighed.

“I’m almost there,” Barney said.

“Alright, see you soon,” Lilah replied, bringing the phone away from her ear.

“Stay on the line until-”

Lilah hung up, putting her phone back into her pocket. She grunted, annoyed that the one time she tried to do something nice for George, it ended up being a base for a smuggling ring. Now she needed to see what was on the appointment card. Was it fake and neither of them noticed? Or was George going to arrive to his appointment and the place would be closed?

She picked up her coffee and made her way out of the kitchen. Lilah made it halfway down the hall before pausing. She turned around, unlocked the front door for Barney, and then began to make her way back to George’s office.
Lilah paused at the threshold of the door.

George stood behind his desk with his arms slightly raised. Lilah narrowed her eyes, trying to peer inside. She let out an inaudible gasp upon seeing Mrs. Campbell with a gun fixated on George.

“You don’t understand, you need to help me get a hold of my husband. I’m sure he’s scared and waiting for me to help him,” Mrs. Campbell said.

“You know, that request doesn’t sound sincere when you’re pointing a gun at me,” George replied.

“How else am I supposed to get anyone else to listen to me?” Mrs. Campbell spat. “I’ve worked too hard for things to unravel now simply because my husband didn’t agree with what I was doing.”

“What do you expect me to do about it?” George asked.

Sirens rang in the distance and Lilah instinctively pressed herself against the wall in the hallway when Mrs. Campbell looked over her shoulder.

“Did you call the police?” she demanded.

George responded, but Lilah didn’t pay attention to his words. She craned her neck to look in the room again. Luckily, Mrs. Campbell’s back was to her and was facing George again. The woman was clearly angry as she started ordering George around.

“Where did that girl go?” she spat.

Lilah looked down at her coffee. It was a shame to waste a perfectly good cup, but…

“I’m right here,” Lilah replied nonchalantly.

The moment Mrs. Campbell turned around, Lilah tossed the hot liquid in the woman’s direction. As soon as the beverage splashed in Mrs. Campbell’s face, she screamed, dropping her gun.

George dove to the ground, picking up the weapon, training it on Mrs. Campbell, ordering her to get down on the ground. Lilah stepped out of the way to stand behind the detective, clutching her empty coffee mug.

At the same moment, Barney burst into the office with his gun out and ready. He stared down at Mrs. Campbell, who was kneeling on the ground, her face buried in her hands. He arched a brow at George, who relaxed, lowering the weapon.

“Don’t ask,” George said to his brother.

Lilah hummed softly, peering into her empty mug. “What a waste.”

*

“So, you mean to tell me this Margret Campbell lady posted a fake job posting and hired almost everyone who applied. She had them sign a contract with the real details but no one actually read the contract, so they got roped into this shady drug smuggling business?” Caleb recapped.

Barney nodded, putting his water glass down on the table. “That contract was technically the only legal thing she did. She told them without telling them and they all signed not realizing what they were getting themselves into. But since they signed the contract, they got stuck doing illegal things and now have to pay the price for it.”

“That’s pretty clever, actually,” Lilah stated, leaning back in her booth. “You have to give Mrs. Campbell some credit.”

“What happened to Bruce though? Did he know all of this?” George asked.

Barney nodded. “He was in on it from the start. But then when he realized everything else his wife was doing, he tried to stop it. So, he pretended to disappear and help the other guys get out of it. That’s why his wife didn’t want anyone looking for him. If we found him, then we would end up finding her out.”

Caleb chuckled. “She really backed herself into a corner, then.”

“She did. Bruce, too. He’ll probably get a lighter sentence than his wife, but he’s in just as much trouble,” Barney explained. “Whatever, though. It’s still not my jurisdiction so I didn’t have as much paperwork to fill out.” He raised his glass and George did the same, both smirking at one another.

“I’m glad everything wrapped up, but I wish we were able to finish our vacation,” Lilah said.

Caleb nodded in agreement. “We’ll have to book another weekend somewhere soon. About two weeks from now?”

“We can do that.”

“Wait, what?” George asked.

Lilah stared at him. “What?”

“We just took a weekend off from work. I can’t take another weekend off so soon,” George protested.

“We don’t have any cases right now,” Lilah replied.

“Anything can happen between now and then.”

“You should go, George. You need it,” Barney encouraged.

“What I need is a solo vacation,” George remarked. Barney chuckled.

“That’s rude,” Lilah said, pouting. “We’re all going away two weekends from now. Caleb and I will plan it.”

Caleb gave her a thumb’s up and a wide grin.

“All of us?” Barney repeated.

“Yes, all of us. You were supposed to come with us this weekend, remember?” Caleb reminded his big brother.

Barney sighed, looking at George who shook his head.

“If I have to go then you have to do. I need a support system with these two.”

Barney chuckled again. “Alright, fine.”

Lilah and Caleb cheered. They leaned forward over the table, speaking in hushed tones about vacation plans. Barney and George began their own conversation, knowing full well that they’d end up doing everything for this vacation.

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Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

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Pirates [Part Three]

Pirates [Part Three]

January’s short story features my protagonists from my detective fiction series.

I intended this story have an solid mystery and it turned into something completely out of left field. At first, I wasn’t happy with how the story turned out. But, as I continued to write, I realized this story helps me develop my characters by throwing them into a wacky situation.

With that said, this short story is more character-based than plot-based. I hope you enjoy, thanks for reading.

Pirates [Part Three]

Lilah cast a confused glance to George, but his eyes were trained on Bruce. He acted as though the past two months was an ongoing game of hide and seek. He was impressed George and Lilah had finally found him, but why? Usually, if you’re hiding, you don’t want to be found; not to mention they were on a ship, two hours away from home.

“What’s going on here, Mr. Campbell?” George asked.

Bruce shrugged. “You tell me.”

Now George cast a quick glance to Lilah. She was just as confused as he was. Lilah glanced over her shoulder as discretely as she could. Barney and Caleb were no where in sight. How big was the captain’s quarters? They must have found something (or someone) or else they would have definitely seen George and Lilah over here with Bruce, right?

Unless someone got Caleb and Barney.

A shiver ran down Lilah’s spine. Some vacation this turned out to be.

“Your wife has been looking for you. She’s worried sick,” George explained.

Bruce shrugged. “I’m sure she is. But really, did you ever stop to think about why she’s worried sick? Did you ever think that maybe she’s the one you want, she’s the one pulling the strings? I’m not hiding from what you think I’m hiding from.”

Lilah furrowed her brows. That certainly sounded believable.

Shouting sounded from the distance. Lilah walked over to the edge of the ship to see the officers bringing the other four men, all handcuffed, across the beach back to the parking lot.

“Are we to assume you’re not hiding from the police?” Lilah asked. She turned back around to see Bruce watching his friends get taken away. He heaved a sigh, disappointed.

He shook his head. “I told them to scatter and they didn’t listen.”

“Who are those people and how do you know them?” George asked.

Bruce turned his attention back to George, frowning. “It’s too much of a story to explain here and now.”

“We don’t have much of a choice,” Lilah replied. “You either tell us now or we take you off the ship, you get arrested, and we can chat at the station.”

Bruce glared at her for a brief moment before softening his gaze. “You guys shouldn’t even be here.”

“I have a feeling you shouldn’t either,” George retorted.

Before the conversation could continue, the three of them heard Barney in the distance.

“When I tell you not to touch anything, do not touch anything.”

“Sorry,” Caleb replied, “but I’ve never seen a real pirate’s treasure map up close before.”

“It’s evidence!”

George snapped his neck back around to face Bruce. “Treasure. Really. That’s what this is about?”

Bruce grinned. “Oh, but it’s so much bigger than that.”

“Does your wife know anything about this?” Lilah asked.

Bruce’s smile faded. “She’s the one who started all of this.”

George and Lilah glanced at each other again. She was so puzzled and, judging from the crease in George’s brow, she could tell he was too. The problem was, what were they supposed to do now?

They needed to bring Bruce in for more questioning, but they weren’t in their jurisdiction. George had zero power here. Barney and the other officers did, but Bruce’s disappearance had nothing to do with their previous case. At least, Lilah didn’t think it did.

“Get down on the ground!” Barney shouted his demands.

Lilah and George instinctively stepped to the side, letting Barney through. His gun was fixated on Bruce, who simply smirked at the officer.

“I know you don’t work here,” Bruce replied.

“Get down,” Barney demanded again.

Bruce chuckled, shaking his head. “What if I go quietly with you guys and you don’t turn me into the police?”

“He is the police,” Caleb stated, standing right beside Barney. George reached over, grabbing his little brother’s arm, and pulling Caleb behind him.

“I’m going to tell you one more time,” Barney said through gritted teeth. “Get. On. The. Ground.”

Bruce drew in a sharp breath. He looked over toward the beach, but his friends and the other officers were already long gone from the sandy shores. He then looked the other way toward the open sea. Lilah watched carefully. There was no way he’d try to make a swim for it, surely.

Finally, Bruce looked Barney square in the face. “Before I surrender, I need your word that this guy will get put on the case,” he said, nodding his head toward George.

Barney shook his head. “I can’t promise that.”

“Yeah, he’s out of his jurisdiction over here,” Caleb piped up.

“Caleb, shut up,” Barney demanded, not taking his eyes or his gun off of Bruce.

Bruce chuckled in response. He smiled at George. “You’ll be my phone call then.” He put his hands in the air and kneeled, surrendering to Barney.

*

“They’re questioning him now,” Barney said, exiting the police station.

George nodded and together they walked to their cars.

“Then what now?” Lilah asked, following them.

“Did he mention anything about the treasure map?” Caleb wondered out loud.

Barney sighed. “Will you please knock it off about that treasure map?”

Lilah head reeled. What were the odds of her and George having a case that didn’t end well only for their missing client to show up on their vacation? On a pirate ship, no less. She and George were never officially hired to find their client’s husband, so this was something the police here would have to handle. Bruce’s wife would get a call saying that he was found safe and sound. As far as Lilah knew, there was nothing else for them to do and they weren’t going to get to know the ending to this story.

George unlocked his car when they approached it. “Get in the car, Caleb. We’re going home.”

“But what about Barney?” Caleb asked.

“I’m staying here for a bit to ensure things are completely wrapped up on our end. This is probably a matter for this police department, but I want to make sure there are no loose ends for us,” Barney explained.

“Get a picture of that treasure map,” Caleb added.

Barney glared at his brother. “Caleb, they’re not real pirates. They’re smugglers.”

“What are they smuggling?” George asked, curiously.

“The officers here wouldn’t tell me.”

“Then why did they call you in?” Lilah asked.

Barney shrugged. “Bruce Campbell was involved in our previous case. Assuming his whereabouts here were connected to that, I was called in to help and possibly bring him back to our jurisdiction. However, it seems as though he’s been involved in something much bigger. Until they can figure out what they’re smuggling, where they’re smuggling from, and where they’re bringing it to, he’s under the custody of the police here.”

Caleb huffed. “I’m sure that treasure map has something to do with it.”

“Caleb,” George said, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“But he might be on to something,” Lilah said, pointing a finger at him. “Was there a destination on the map? Or was it just the layout of someplace.”

“There were multiple X’s on the map,” Barney answered for him.

“What if those X’s mark the spots of what they’re trying to get? Or where they’re dropping off their smuggled goods or something?” Lilah suggested.

“That’s not a bad thought,” George agreed.

“Maybe so, but it still has nothing to do with us,” Barney stated.

“How come you listen to Lilah and not me?” Caleb asked.

Barney rolled his eyes. “Because I know deep down you believe those X’s are marking actual treasure spots.”

Caleb grinned. “Man, that would be so cool, wouldn’t it?”

Lilah nodded. She didn’t want to admit out loud, especially since George and Barney were giving each other annoyed looks, but it absolutely would be cool if it were real treasure. However, if they were smugglers, then it made more sense that the map led to drop off or pick up locations for whatever it was they were smuggling.

“Anyway,” Barney said with a sigh, “the police here have the ship and are going to search it top to bottom. Bruce Campbell may or may not be released to us. I have to get back to the station and let the chief know about this.”

“We need to head out, too,” George said. “I’m sorry our vacation got cut short, but I don’t think the hotel is going to give us our room back.”

“What happened to the hotel, anyway?” Lilah asked.

Barney shrugged. “As far as I know, it closed. A fire broke out from the explosions. I don’t know what exploded, but we believe the pirates are responsible.”

“Ah-ha!’ Caleb said triumphantly. “You do think they’re pirates.”

George waved his little brother away but looked at Barney. “What do you think they were after at the hotel?”

Barney shrugged. “It might not have been the hotel. It might have been the beach. They could have been trying to clear the whole area to get what they wanted. All I know is they didn’t get anything. They were caught first.”

“Were all of them caught, though?” Lilah asked.

“We assume so.”

“Only five guys were caught. Don’t you find it strange that there are only five guys on that huge ship?” Lilah suggested. “I don’t think they’d get caught so easily, too. They all gave up fairly quick, including Bruce.”

Barney hummed to himself. “You do bring up a good point. I wonder if any other crew members were hiding out in the hotel or something. They might have had a few people working on the inside at the hotel as a cover.” He sighed, looking back at the police building. “Alright, I’m going to head back in there and let them know about this. Maybe they’ve already figured it out, but just in case.”

“Want me to come with you?” Caleb asked.

“No,” Barney replied quickly.

“Come on,” Caleb said, sincerely. “I’ll wait outside by your car. It’s a two-hour drive back home. Let me keep you company.”

Barney hesitated, but he finally nodded his head. “Alright, fine. Wait here, I won’t be long.” He said his goodbyes to George and Lilah and disappeared back into the police station.

George and Lilah then said their goodbyes to Caleb shortly after, getting into George’s car.

“Can we get coffee on the way home?” Lilah asked. George groaned.

*

Lilah opened the front door to their home, tossing her duffel bag to the side in the hallway. She stepped out of the way, allowing George to enter with his suitcase. As she shut the front door, she noticed a person rounding the corner from behind the building.

“George?” she called quietly. “There’s someone roaming around the yard.”

“Huh?” George grunted, letting his suitcase drop to the ground. He walked over to the door, poking his head out. His face stretched in surprise. “Mrs. Campbell?”

Lilah let a soft gasp escape her lips. The police must have called her to inform her they found her husband, but why did she decide to come here?

“I’ve been waiting,” the wife replied.

George sighed. “My apologies, but we’re closed for the weekend.”

“I know you found my husband,” she replied.

“I can assure you that was completely by accident,” George stated. “He’s in custody of the police from a different department. We have nothing to do with whatever is going on with him.”

“Would you like to?” she asked.

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi. Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc. Thank you so much for your support!
Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

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