Prompt #31 – "Halloween" (Spiritual/Supernatural)

Fog hung over the coastline in a blanket so thick that the torchlights of Azure City were barely visible. At the top of a cliff towering over the misty ocean, there lay a green pasture that ran right to the cliff's edge. Dusk had long since fallen, and the occasional crows had all flown away to their silent roosts.

In daylight, the area would have had a fine view of the ocean, but for now, the cemetery set on this lawn lay quiet and somber. Headstones stood in rows and files, every one facing the ocean.

Suddenly, a spark of blue magic appeared. "–port!" Two teenagers appeared in the middle of the cemetery. The one managing the spell was taller, with longer black hair and pale blue eyes.

The other one had her black hair in pigtails, and her eyes darted around the misty scene, one dark blue, the other indigo. She breathed the cold air as her eyes traced every headstone in sight. "Is it time then?"

"Not yet, newbie," scoffed the older girl. "You don't get the full show right away."

"Hey, come one, Junko! I said I wasn't afraid!"

"This isn't about fear. You need to take a moment to really appreciate what we're dealing with here."

"What's that mean?"

Junko smiled and turned to survey the many graves. Slowly, she murmured, "Every corpse has a story. Every corpse used to be a person. But too many people waste their lives without wondering what might come next. And then, when death comes for them, they panic." She walked over to a headstone, and Tsukiko followed closely. Junko ran a hand lightly over the name etched into the stone. "People will try anything to protect themselves from dying out, whether it's a monument, or just a name."

Tsukiko kept her mouth shut. She didn't think any of these people were worth remembering.

Junko added, "We carve graves for the same reason – because we want to keep people around. Every memorial, from a sword on a grave to a parade with flags and flowers, they're all part of how we answer death. And if you listen..." Her voice trailed to a faint whisper, "they'll share their stories with you."

Tsukiko rolled her eyes, but upon further thought, she did find the yard quite comfortable. "It's so peaceful... nobody arguing or shooting insults..."

"Yes, there you go." Junko began walking to another row.

"Nobody making fun of me, or insulting me, or fighting me..." Right then, she knew she would be back soon, if only because she preferred the company of silence over the high-and-mighty in-crowd back at school. Then, she saw Junko was gone and ran to catch up.

Junko reached behind a headstone and pulled out a wrapped shape she had removed from the city square earlier. She undid the wrappings with a flourish.

Tsukiko flinched a bit to recognize the corpse inside. He had been a criminal that the watch had hanged from the city walls just this morning.

Junko kneeled next to it and held out a hand.

Tsukiko handed her a small onyx gem worth most of her savings. This had better work.

The older caster pressed the gem onto the corpse's eye. She looked up at Tsukiko. "A necromancer must understand her subjects."

Mouth dry, Tsukiko nodded.

"A necromancer is not afraid of death, for it is but another story."

A more eager nod.

"It is another beginning."

"Yes, yes, please, just do it!"

Junko reached out and took Tsukiko's hand. She pressed those trembling fingers alongside the onyx gem, just enough so that the now-giggling girl could feel the warmth unwinding from her own hands. She put that strengthening hand on the gem and intoned, "Animate Dead."

Tsukiko laughed aloud, feeling her heart swell and race as the corpse's mangled neck straightened itself out. She put her other hand to the cold form's arm in time to feel the muscles flex. She watched his eyes attentively as they unstuck themselves and opened slowly, inexorably, permanently. Only a beginning... And such a beginning... He's beautiful...

The two girls huddled their heads together, their voices growing excited as their creation stirred and moved. Far overhead, the clouds slid across the silver-white full moon, throwing it half into shadow like a single blinking eye, and the fog thickened over the hundreds upon hundreds of gravestones.