Black Magic

1

I hadn't ever thought of myself as the squeamish type before, but I felt the blood draining from my face the moment Bones appeared. It wasn't him that caused my stomach to tighten, though my heart did give a little squeeze, but instead it was the thing he held. For the first few moments after he'd entered the cave my insides seemed to turn to granite. He held a man, of about 20 years I estimated, and the body bore lacerations on it's neck.

"Bones, I—" I began, but the sound of him spitting on the ground cut my sentence short. His expression when he faced me once more frightened me.

"Do you know where I found this sod'?" Bones asked, though not as if he really expected an answer. "I found him 'bout ten yards away from the entrance," He took a breath to continue, but my lips were forming words almost without my realising it. He gently laid the body down on the sodden stone floor and looked at me, his face now solemn. "What's that, love?"

"I didn't hear him," I say despairingly, "I should have heard him – I should have but I didn't." This realisation had started of as just suspicion, but now it'd transformed into undeniable truth. "Bones, What's happening to me?"

One moment his face was as blank as unlined paper, as if he had retreated within his mind, and the next there was an expression of... what was that look – was it heartbreak? I could almost clutch and hold the tension that filled the air as he stared at me for a long second. He still gazed at me, but now he seemed to crumple where he stood, his eyes blazing an unnaturally liquid colour. The tiny slither of dread that had been inside me while I was alone built.

"Bones... What's wrong, are you feeling ok?"

"Mencheres..." was all he said.

"What about him? Is he... doing well?" I couldn't understand the pained look on his face. Something must have happened to his grand-sire I summarised before he could answer.

Bones spat again, his chest rising and falling in time with his flickering eyes. "Not for much longer he won't be."

I had heard nothing but a profound respect for the ancient vampire from Bones before – that's how I knew something terrible had happened, and the voice deep within me whispered that it most likely had something to do with me. Not much could rattle Bones, but something had done tonight. I decided to take the offence rather than the defence "What has he done?" I ask calmly.

"He's poisoned you, that's what!" Bones clutched at his head as if it might break apart in his hands.

How could he have poisoned me? I wondered, I hadn't seen him in weeks, what poison could he have administered?

"Not in the normal sense of the word," Bones spat, his tone so bitter that it sent a shiver down my spine, "No, he's used magic."

"But-" so many thoughts filled my head, "why would he do something to harm me? I'm part of his line aren't I – isn't he supposed to protect us?" After all, Bones had made it perfectly clear that Mencheres is my grand-sire.

"Not if you're human you're not, then he could do as he wished."