Did you know the entire Harry potter series is almost 20 hours long? I do. Oh, god, I do. She finally let me go back to my dorm after I asked to go to the bathroom for the third time, halfway through the fifth movie. Caden was practically shocked that I was back, but I was too tired to even bother getting pissed off at him, so I just went to bed after he said something about cancelling his Amazon order.
I think this is the first time this semester I’ve actually been happy I have this stupid-ass night class. I managed to get 8 hours of sleep, even if I’m still dog-tired. I know dating an undead girl probably entails a lot of late nights, but jesus, this is killing me. …heh, killing. Undead.
Fuck, I’m tired.
I’d like to say nothing happened the entire class, but I’m not sure I was conscious enough to talk about anything that happened. It was bio, too, so it was boring as hell, especially with this weirdo of a profe-
“Samuel, would you please stay behind? We need to talk alone.”
Fuck, she’s pissed, isn’t she? I mean, I try not to fall asleep in her class too much, but I’m an arts major, dammit. Biology was supposed to be a nice, easy course.
“Uh, right. Coming, Dr. Squires.”
“Please, call me… Ebony.”
“…Isn’t your name Rebecca, though?”
“Um… nnnn-” she pauses a moment, then turns away. “ …yes.”
Oh good lord.
We walk to her office together, and she fumbles around with the keys for a bit before managing to get the door open onto what practically looks like a closet, littered with books and plastic body parts, only lit with a few candles.
“Isn’t it kind of dangerous to just leave candles burning like that?”
“I… We need to set the correct atmosphere. The lights hurt my eyes, anyway.”
Oooookay then. She’s just barely out of grad school and she already has all the quirks of a professor who’s worked here for decades.
She grabs a black-and-red blanket off a coat rack near the door and drapes it over her shoulders before sitting down at her desk, leaning back into the chair.
She flourished her blanket a little, holding it in front of her face like a cape. “I hear that you have joined… the legion of the night.”
“T-the legion of the night?”
“I… I’m not sure what you’re saying.”
“You’ve… um… entered into a pact with powers beyond your control.”
“I… Are you flirting with me, professor?”
“NO! Well, I mean… That’s neither here nor there. L-look, you’ve… come across something your classmates will never know of.”
“Look, uh, I won’t report you or anything, but I think I’d better go…”
“WAIT! That’s not- Come over here right now!”
“I’ve, uh, got a thing. Like, I’m already late. I’ll see you on Wednesday.” I say, trying to make my excuses and leave.
“Y-you’d better stop! I’ll… I won’t stop until you’re drained if you do!”
“Look, no, I really can’t. I’ve got a… girlfriend? She’d definitely kill me if I did this, and that wouldn’t even be the end of it.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to talk with you about!”
“Dammit, Rebecca, I wouldn’t just break up with my girlfriend for sex and some grades! You seem nice and all, and I guess I’m into older women, but I’m taken! Just stop, okay?”
“I KNOW that, you idiot! I’m not trying to have sex with you, I’m a vampire!”
She jumps at me before I can say anything, pushing me against the wall. I struggle, trying to push her away. It’s… surprisingly easy. She’s not really that strong, actually.
“J-ugh-Just let me have a nibble!”
She was pushing her face desperately against my hand when the door swung open. An unimpressed-looking Liz walked in, wearing black robes trimmed in blue. She started spraying the contents of a squirt bottle onto the vampire.
“No! Off! Stop it! That’s mine!”
“Did you just shi-? D-doctor De…? No. NO. NONONONONONONONONONO! PLEASE DON’T KILL ME I’M SORRY DOCTOR DE VRIES! PLEASE NO I DIDN’T MEAN IT I DON’T WANT TO DIE I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIE PLEASE OH GOD!” breaking into incomprehensible sobbing, Rebecca crawls under her desk, shielding her head from the… Is that garlic juice?
“Are you okay, Sam? Did she touch you anywhere?”
“Uh, no, she was going straight for my neck, but I kept her away.”
“Wait, was she trying to suck your blood?”
“I thought she was trying to rape you! Why were you yelling so much if that was all?”
“I… I didn’t even know vampires existed! What if I caught something or turned into one or something?!”
“Sam! That’s racist! She was just trying to have a meal!”
“Well… I’d rather my bodily fluids stay inside me!”
“That’s not what you seemed to think last night…” she looks smugly at me.
“Oh, haven’t you donated blood before? It’s practically the same thing.”
I cross my arms, hoping to get out of this. “I’m not giving up anything to someone who tried to mug me.”
“Ah, right! That’s why I came here, actually. You’re starting to cause trouble for students other than just my assistant here, Miss Squires.”
The vampire continues sobbing under the table, repeating that she was sorry over and over again.
“Quit your simpering, girl, before I give you something to cry about. Now get out from under the desk and speak like a grown immortal.”
Rebecca slowly crawls out, trying to stifle her sobbing, but still visibly shaking. “O-okay…”
“There’s a good girl. Now then, as I was saying, we’ve found out about that little incident last week with Miss Yu, and-”
Her face blanches even whiter than it normally was, and the vampire clutches at her makeshift cape. “I-I didn’t mean it! I was so hungry, and I just couldn’t-”
“Don’t interrupt me. I understand your situation perfectly well. I understand it’s difficult to deal with cravings, but exposing yourself to even more people is going to start to make problems for all of us at the school, not least of which is me personally.”
“Do you really think suddenly becoming pale, growing fangs and requesting only night classes -in a school which half the staff already know is owned by an immortal- is stealthy, Miss Squires? At least your entire department staff knows, plus myself, the president and the sorority, and if you include the students you’ve so graciously tipped off…”
“I-I tried to hide it! A-and how was I supposed to know that there were so many people with-”
“Rebecca. I’ve got no problem with a few staff members knowing about your little condition, but I won’t have you dragging students into this. Have you even touched the funds I gave you?”
The biology teacher pauses, looking confused. “What do you… funds?”
“Did you really not… Miss Squires, did they not teach you about subtlety when you finished your doctorate in Fredericton? Typically, when you become a vampire and the school unexpectedly gives you a research grant -which you never applied for- on ‘statistical analysis of hemoglobin concentrations in various blood types,’ one takes it as a hint.”
“T-that was for…?”
“Yes, that was your stipend to be buying food for yourself instead of harassing my students. Does your research on amoebas really necessitate thinking like one, girl?”
“They’re not am- I mean… r-really? Just… just like that?”
“You’re still a member of my staff, as long as you behave yourself.”
“Excellent. I won’t be hearing any more complaints, then.”
Liz turns on her heel, her black-and-blue robe swishing as she walks out of the room before Rebecca can answer. I tail her out, not wanting the awkwardness of staying in the room with my would-be assailant.
“Well, Sam? How’d I do? It kills me to be serious… kills?”
She looks at me expectantly, but I try to ignore it and ask the question that’s been weighing on me since she walked in.
“Uh… good, I think? I have a question, though…”
“What is it, my dear boy?”
“Are you wearing a Harry Potter costume?”
There’s a tense silence as she considers her options. “…Well, I know what house you’re going in when I change the uniforms.”
Liz said she had some big plans, so I managed to slip away before I got wrangled into another adventure.
It’s for the best, I think. The night’s been a little more eventful than I’d have liked already. I wander back to my dorm room as quickly as I can, hoping to avoid anything else that might go bump in the night.
It’s… surprisingly quiet, listening outside the door. I mean, there’s still a movie or something playing loud as hell, but I don’t hear any dudebros trying to yell over it, which is a bit of an improvement.
I crack open the door and find out why pretty much immediately. Caden seems to be trying to set up as romantic an atmosphere as a frat boy can imagine for an uncomfortable-looking… Is that the witch who was trying to steal Liz’ books last week?
She’s missing the dorky-looking hat and cape, but… She shakes her head and gestures wildly as soon as Caden looks away. Guess she must be.
“Hey bud! Didn’t know if you were comin’ back tonight! Got some beers in the fridge if you want some.”
I consider giving him an earful, but I’m probably just worn out from today. Fuck it, why not? Looks like he bought two dozen of the things anyway. I walk over to the couch with a can and my roommate stands up.
“Aw, shit! Uh, this is Laurelie, Sam. Met her last week down at the bar, so we decided to just hang out here and get to know each other a little better.”
I hold out my hand to the nervous-looking girl. She takes it, but I can tell she’s shaking a little. “Uh, I don’t bite. Nice to meet you, Laurelie.”
“I was just along for the ride. I don’t think she’s got anything against you, either.”
Caden nearly pops up between us in surprise. “You know each other?”
The witch’s eyes go wide again, and she shakes her head even more insistently this time. “Ah, nah, not really. Ended up crashing a sorority party with a friend a while back and there were some… words.”
“Aw, fuck. Was it hot?”
All I can do is laugh it off. Laurelie must not know what kind of a guy Caden is, if she’s legitimately concerned about him finding out about her little secret.
We just sit there and watch the TV for a while, watching some shitty B-list actors get chased around by some dude in the cheapest vampire costume I’ve ever seen. Caden tries to make a move on Laurelie every ten minutes or so, but she’s clearly not into it at all. I even start getting a little tipsy when I make a personal drinking game of taking a sip every time she looks at her phone to avoid an awkward moment.
Caden leaves to go to the bathroom, and the girl immediately turns to me. “Th-uh… th-thanks… I just… I was having fun and all that but then we started watching this one movie and then he brought up that he was hunting witches in his spare time! I just… should I leave? Why are you friends with so many dangerous people?!”
Oh, that’s rich alright. “Well, you should be careful, at least. You know, holy swords made out of sharpened wooden spoons can be dangerous even to the most powerful evil sorceress.”
The witch looks at me a little funny, not quite picking it up. “Look, he’s about as dangerous as that LARPing group that meets outside the science building. The last time I saw him ‘at work,’ he was wearing a strainer on his head and confusing Li- Dr. De Vries for one of you.”
Laurelie has to cover her mouth with her hand to stop herself from giggling. “Really?”
Before I can answer, Caden comes back, plopping back down on the couch with a beer. Laurelie bursts out into laughter as soon as he makes eye contact with her. “…What? Did I miss something?”
I decide to excuse myself before I start laughing, too. “Ah, don’t worry about it. You guys want dinner?”
Caden gives up trying to figure out what the witch was laughing about when she relaxes and leans into him. “Oh, yeah. I was gonna order pizza or something.”
Christ, not again. Liz is already going more than a little overboard with it. “Uh, had it a few too many times lately. I’ve got an orange beef recipe I’ve been meaning to try, though. Should have enough for all three of us, if you’re in.”
They both faintly agree, not really paying any attention to me, now that the girl isn’t terrified of him any more.
I quickly thank god that Caden never turns down my cooking. I like to think of myself as a decent chef, but it seems to stun him every time that you can actually cook a box of macaroni without burning it to the pot. Although I’d honestly take nearly anything, so long as it’s not pizza again.
I barely manage to squeeze through the back door of my dorm with both garbage bags. I swear, Caden only ever wants to do the dishes when it gets him out of having to take out the trash.
The back alley has always been dark, but it’s making me a little more nervous than usual, after having met an actual vampire today.
I still feel kind of weird about Dr. Squires. I mean, sure, there’s an undead lady in the basement of the arts building who likes Harry Potter and can raise the dead from their graves, but did there have to be a vampire on top of that as well? I mean, Liz said she was harmless, but should you just have that kind of danger walking around the campus at night? What if there’s more of them?
I subconsciously cover my neck a little. When I got accepted into this university, I wasn’t expecting a knockoff Miskatoni- I jump a little when the door slams behind me. Right. Getting a bit too paranoid now.
I press on down the alley to the dumpster, trying to convince myself that I don’t have to be afraid of every little thing that goes bump in the-
Fuck. Oh shit. Fuckfuckfuck. What was that? Oh, christ, that was from around the corner I have to go around, isn’t it? Okay. Okay, Sam. Relax. What could go wrong? It’s safe here. …Safe-ish. I mean, you’re dating the scariest thing this side of the province, right?
I grip the garbage bags a little harder. I’m don’t know what I’d do with them exactly, if something went wrong, but it made me feel a little safer. It might buy me time to get my pocketknife out, at least…
If anything goes wrong. Have to remind myself of that. It’s probably nothing. Ignore that horrible metal scraping sound. It’s probably fine. Don’t worry about it. I slowly peek around the corner, trying to expose as little of myself as possible, and see-
The most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.
Going through the dumpster?
“Uh… hey Liz?”
The lich jumps, the lid of the dumpster dropping and bouncing off her head. “Kanker-! Ow…”
Oh, shit, that looked like it hurt.
“Agh… Wait, boy? Perfect timing!”
She… leaves the library to go to places that aren’t the graveyard? “… Did you lose something?”
“Quite the opposite. Hold this, would you?”
She shoves half a poppyseed bagel and an expired can of ravioli into my hands and goes back to rooting through the trash bin.
…Is she even listening to me? “Are you, uh… digging through the trash for a reason?”
“Well, I’d normally send up one of the girls for a little thing like this, but they’re not very independent, and I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for y- GET BACK HERE!”
She suddenly dives into the bin facefirst, her boots waving in the air for a minute before she crawls back out holding a live rat.
“Anyway, what I was saying is that I fancy a bit of food right now, so-”
“Are you eating a rat?”
“It’s not like I can get sick, boy. Do you want some?”
I struggle not to vomit. It already looks horrible, being a dumpster rat, but it’s staring at me with those beady little eyes, too.
Liz sniggers. “Oh, you’re too easy. No, Sam, I’m making pizza.”
“Out of rats?”
“Are you still on that? No, we’re using the rat as a catalyst to transmute some pizza.”
“I’m going to magic myself up some pizza.”
“I mean… why?”
“You’re part of the occult club, aren’t you? Why are you complaining about seeing the fun bit?”
“Yeah, but you could just… order one.” I hesitate a moment. I mean, I’m not particularly excited for pizza again, but should I offer? It might be nice doing something regular with her for once… “O-or I could try making you one, t-”
“Nonsense, this is an experiment. I’ve read up on transmutation, but I haven’t tried to do any since I was alive. We’re making a pizza.”
Our pizza ingredients are currently as follows:
½ poppyseed bagel, less one bite. It looks like there might have been cream cheese on it?
1 can of no-name mini ravioli in tomato sauce, expired… two years ago.
1 live rat, currently screeching at my girlfriend(?)
“…Liz, what the fuck?”
“What? I’ve transcended life and death, and you’re questioning my ability to turn a rat into sausage? Come now. Other magic can’t be that hard. Besides, I practically already have the ingredients ready, I’m just changing the flavour a bit.”
Liz ignores any further complaints, pulling a bit of chalk from under her robe, muttering as she drew out a complex-looking circle. “Fill the hole with the pasta… mould out of the sauce, obviously…”
She finishes up the last stroke of her circle and stands. It looks a lot less… well, religiousy than I had thought. It looks a little more like a crop circle than anything.
“What, disappointed, Sam?”
“No, I just, uh… didn’t you talk about pentagrams or something? Like, I thought you were summoning a demon or something and-”
“Hold it.” She rests a hand on her hip, squinting at me over her glasses. “Do you honestly think I’m doing business with powers beyond my knowledge?”
“Look, Sam. You can read into it all you want, but it’s just a convenient way to make a shape that points five directions. I could use an asterisk if I wanted, but they never come out quite right when I draw them.”
Oh. She goes on for a few moments about the history of pentagrams for a while, but I kind of zone out around Agrippa.
“…and I have my doubts about why they decided it was going to be a Christian symbol. I mean, Resurrection my left foot. You know, Sam, I could do that little Jesus trick in a back alley, and so did he, probab- …You’re not listening, are you?”
Oh, shit. What did she say? “Uh, no, I’m… I mean those guys, right? Pfft.”
“That’s the spirit. Anyway, um… we were transmuting. Circles and whatnot. Put the ingredients in those ones, would you?”
I set the ravioli and bagel into two conspicuous-looking places in the circle and look back to Liz, who is still trying to wrangle the rat into sitting still. “Alright, boy, step back. As soon as this rat goes in, anything that doesn’t want to be sweet, succulent pepperoni needs to be out of the circle.”
The rodent faintly glows and floats into a final spot in the circle, hovering just high enough to keep its feet from touching the ground.
“’PERCH. HIS. ZIU. ZIU. ASCH.’” the ground around the circle began to glow, Liz’s voice taking on that unearthly tone again. “’DA MIHI CRUSTUM ETRUSTCUM. FLOS LACTIS FUNDENS SICUT CATARACTAE. VOLA. VOLA, CRUSTUM!’”
I have to shield my eyes from the light that erupts from the circle, the afterimage burning in my eyes for a second as I try to blink away the pain.
I guess Liz knew better than to stare at the circle, because I hear her react to her own creation a few seconds before I get my vision back. “…Oh. Ew.”
Guess it didn’t work out, then. I mean, what was she expecting, using a bagel and a can of chef bo-
It does look a bit like a pizza. There’s pepperoni slices, gooey-looking cheese… that’s definitely a crust there. There’s tomato sauce, too. So much sauce.
It’s a bit off-putting, though, considering that it’s flowing like blood out of something that looks a lot like eye sockets. Lower on the greasy mound of cheese, a hole like a mouth opens, and the constantly-shifting pile lets out an eerie screech.
I look toward Liz, who’s covered her mouth with a hand and looks a little disgusted. “W-what the hell did you do?!”
She looks away, embarrassed. “Er… Look, Sam, it’s a very intricate process, transmutation, and well… practically anything can wreak havoc with the incantation.”
“…Did you just create a pizza homunculus instead of a midnight snack?”
“N-no… It’s just, um… you know, I’m a necromancer, so I may have accidentally let a little bit of rat soul get into the mix. How was I supposed to know it would still be sentient? B-besides, it’s a rat, not a person, so it can’t be a homunculus.”
The knee-high pile of cheese shifts threateningly toward us before I can respond, still screaming in that high-pitched voice.
“S-Sam, be a dear and kill it, won’t you?” Liz pulls her cloak around herself, looking a mix between disgusted and frightened.
“…You’re scared of it, aren’t you?”
“What? Pff. N-no? Why would I be? I’m an immortal master of life and dea- Oh god, Sam, it’s looking at me!”
I can’t pass up a chance like this, can I? “Oh, come on. It’s just looking for its mommy, Liz.”
“Boy, you s-stop that right now…”
“Aww, your little pizza is crying for you. ‘Why did you do this to me, motheeeeeeeer?”
The lich holds a hand up to her mouth like she wants to vomit. I guess revenge really is the sweetest-
I hear a cheesy-sounding splat from beside me, followed by a tut of disapproval. “Mister Dupin.”
Oh no. I turn, finding a short, elderly woman in spectacles stabbing the remains of the failed pizza with a broom. “Uh, g-good evening, Doctor Grey…”
“A good damned evening indeed, boy. My single day off, and what should interrupt my lovely evening flight but someone practitioning magic in an open goddamned alley.”
“Er…” I turn to… nothing? Elisabeth has completely disappeared.
“I had expected more of the man I specifically appointed to be the voice of reason for the school’s owner. And not only that, you’re talking to a sentient pile of cheese now? Are you quite alright, boy?”
“Oh, lighten up, Anna. He didn’t do anything wrong.” Liz had reappeared behind us, munching on a piece of the formerly-living pizza. “Why don’t you have a nice slice of pizza and settle down? It’s delicious.”
The university president visibly prickles at the lich’s presence. “You did this, didn’t you? Are you planning on having the entire bloody town be privy to the occult?”
Liz huffs in indignation. “Well excuse me. I’m not the one letting a pile of half-baked witches wearing pylons instead of hats experiment in the open.”
“Well, it looks stupid, but if you don’t have a proper hat, it helps direct the- My coven is just fine how it is! They’ve… declined a bit in skill, but they just need moulding.”
It’s times like this I’m glad I can seen Liz smiling. She’s barely stifling a laugh as Dr. Grey pouts.
“Oh, don’t just give me that dead-eyed stare. They have plenty of potential.”
“Come now, let’s not pretend. It takes at least five of them to even transmute coffee into pumpkins and spices or whatever it is they do.” The elderly witch cringes a little at the mention of pumpkin spice, but remains silent. “Anyway, I’ve been meaning to ask if you’ve sent an assassin after me recently.”
“What?” Dr. Grey’s eyes go as wide as saucers and she steps forward.
“Little taller than Sam? Dyed blond hair? Likes to wear kitchenware? Oh, what’s his name…?”
“Caden?” I interject.
“Right, that one!” He keeps trying to ‘slay’ me or what have you. Seems to think I’m a witch or somesuch.”
There’s a tense silence as Dr. Grey considered something, fiddling with her broom. “If they’ve… Right, I have business yet tonight, then. Mr. Dupin, kindly stop talking to homunculi, and Dr. De Vries… Just… stop. In general.”
She mounted her broom, and as quickly as she’d arrived, she disappeared back into the night.
I turned back to Liz, who was picking another piece out of the dead homunculus. “…it’s pretty good, you know.”