False Memories and City Wraiths: A Necromantic Excerpt

Rot this.

The way the exorcist talked, Innu wouldn’t be waking up anytime soon. Cyr’d be damned if she just sat on the porch until then.

Muscles still shaking and tender from shouldering Innu down those stairs, Cyr dropped off the porch, strode through the mud, and over the short stone wall.

The fifth level of the city was eerily quiet at this time of night. In an hour or so, there would be a beautiful sunrise that would bathe the east-facing cliffs with their small daily dose of warmth. But for now, the streets belonged to the rats and the scurrying dark spirits.

Cyr didn’t know whether the spirits were dark in the way demons were dark or in the way spiders were dark. In the end, it didn’t matter.

She wished she’d never developed this talent. Then she would be at home sleeping in her warm bed instead of roaming foreign streets hoping her hel-headed, apparently ultra-possessed guardian wouldn’t die in the night from demon-induced soul-burns.

A few miniature dark wraiths pooled around her feet. She kicked at them.

“Shoo. Get lost.”

They scattered and watched from a distance.

When had she even started seeing spirits? It wasn’t something she had always been able to do. Cyr remembered going to the seashore and there were no shimmery dead people walking around, no multi-colored auras around her parents. Just the fog, the wet gray sand, and the beach grass.

Then again, she also remembered going through bridal training, and that, between her legs, there didn’t used to be a—

She kicked at a piece of broken-off wall and the wraiths scattered again.

Who knew how many of her memories were only dreams? Maybe she had only imagined that day at the sea, where there were no supernatural distractions. It was possible. It made about as much sense as the rest of this.

Please, necromancer…

It doesn’t hurt, see?

Please, necromancer.

I have them too.

“Get away!” She kicked and her foot went through one of the wraiths.

There was a moment of disbelief before she withdrew her foot and stepped back.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

The other wraiths surrounded the victim. At first, Cyr thought they were eating it, but when she leaned over, she realized they were gathering up the shards of essence her foot had broken off. They were returning them.

Looking down, Cyr saw that there were pieces of that thick darkness splattered on her shoe.

With an ashamed sigh, Cyr knelt and tried scraping it into her hand. It wouldn’t come off. She could feel it brush past her fingers, though, so she figured handling wraith essence was something she could learn how to do with practice. It was probably something Innu knew how to do.

One of the wraiths lifted its head and turned its glowing pinprick blue eyes on Cyr.

“Sorry. I promise I won’t kick you again.”

The wraith separated from the group and slithered over to Cyr’s boot. Its fragile hands paused, but when it saw that another kick wasn’t coming, it began to use them to scrape off the essence. Cyr had never seen something so delicate.

A/N: Geez, Cyr, I know you’re having a bad day, but don’t take it out on the little guys. They just want to see what’s going on.


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