Lich Chapter 9

That is it.

I’ve had it with these motherfucking magic corpses on my motherfucking-

Okay.

Calm down a little, Sam.

It’s been, well… Definitely a noisier week, with the vampires and witches and living pizzas and what have you, not to mention last week with the sorority and finding out Caden was some sort of incompetent paladin LARPer, to say nothing of having sex with Liz, and then the week before that-

It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten to sit down to anything normal and have some time to myself. Too long. In fact, I think if someone mentions the supernatural again tonight, I’m going to have an aneurism. If that fucking fiddler doesn’t do it first.

A laugh rings out from the kitchen as Caden’s friend with the violin manages to find that perfect eardrum-bursting squeal as he botches another random video game song. What was his name? Graeme? Fuck that guy. Fuck you and your shitty special snowflake purple violin. I bet you think you’re a real cool guy, don’t you? Good luck charming the ladies when they’re bleeding out the ears, and that’s probably going to happen before you even start playing from your stupid fucking accent, you franco-

I scream into my pillow for a little longer than a normal person should need to. Breathe. It’s fine. Absolutely fine.

I’m just getting exhausted from being out late so often and it’s starting to wear on me. I’m not going to be able to sleep any time soon, since I guarantee the dozen people in the kitchen will be at it a while longer. Let’s go for a nice night walk. I think I could use some quiet time alone.

I toss on a jacket and try not to scowl when I tell Caden I’m heading out for a while.

 

>———-<

 

I feel better as soon as I get out into the cool air outside. I really should start doing this kind of thing more often again.

Well, I say that, but my evenings seem to be a little more… busy than they used to be.

I turn off of the main pedestrian path into town and start heading toward the lake. Summer might be in its last gasps, but it’s still warm enough that sitting down on the beach might not be too bad. It’s far enough away from the rest of the school that nobody will be down there at… Oh, god, it’s only half past eleven. The Cadey bunch will be at it for hours yet.

Heh, Cadey bunch.

I slip out of the orange glow of the last streetlight on the campus, illuminating the yard of the arts building. …I wonder what Liz is up to right now?

I consider stopping in for a moment, but walking through those poorly-aged, off-coloured halls in the basement seems a lot less enticing than watching the moon reflect off the lake right now. Besides, I’m supposed to be having some time alone, and like hell Liz would just let me sleep.

…You know, I haven’t really asked, but… I wonder if we’re like… a thing. Are we dating, or…?

I pause  for a moment at the set of stairs that leads down a steeper part of the hill the school is perched on. I’m glad that the full moon is so bright tonight, since the light at the top of the stairs burnt out years ago, and nobody’s bothered replacing it.

…I don’t want to make things weird or anything, but like… does she actually care, or am I just getting dragged along on stuff? It’s not that it isn’t kind of fun, but…

I think about the few things Liz and I have done together over the last couple of weeks. I guess I introduced her to food and movies? It seems like all the interesting stuff happens because of-

…Oh, god. Am I the sidekick?

I finally get to the bottom of the stairs and hit the… Well, calling it a beach might be a bit much for some dirt and pine trees, but there’s a pretty comfortable tree to sit under a ways back from the shore.

…Maybe she does like me? Enough to have sex with me, I guess, but… am I even good enough? Sure, she’s kind of quirky, but she’s so much… I dunno, better than just some random student. Like, what did I even do before I met her? Go on long walks alone? Explore abandoned buildings? Somehow it’s starting to make sense that my only real friend in the university with me is my roommate.

I look out at the reflection of the moon on the lake, struggling with myself. I… should I change? How should I even handle this whole-

I’m broken out of my reverie by the sound of about two dozen pointy-hatted girls walking down the stairs.

Ah, shit, one noticed me. Should I run? Ah, forget it, she’s already walking over. Isn’t that…? Shit, what was her name again? Sorority… head girl?

“Hey, there, cutie~ How about- Oh.”

I’m not sure whether I should be happy or insulted. “…Evening.”

“Is that, like… weird doctor here with you again?”

“L- uh, Dr. De Vries? I-I’m not just some sidekick, you know.” I say, wondering if that’s even true.

She looks around again as the witches begin to set up some kind of circle in the sand on the beach. “I-Is… You haven’t seen Dr. Grey around, have you?”

“Uh… no?” She looks visibly relieved. “Are you doing something dangerous?”

“What? Uh, no. Not really, anyway. We’re just-”

As she continues to talk, I see a group about the size of the witches already assembled marching down the beach toward the circle.

“Hey, uh…” Dammit, what’s her name again? …Nope. Still not coming to me. “Were you expecting more people to show up for this thing you’re doing?”

“Is that-? Not again! We’re in the middle of a ritual!”

The girl dashes off toward the rest of the sorority, and- Britney! Her name is Britney. God, I probably seemed like an idiot pausing for that l-

…Are those guys wearing armour?

There’s at least twenty men wearing various styles and qualities of knight armour and helmets, from a guy pretty clearly wearing something from the kids’ section of the local halloween store all the way up to a man who I can tell could go on for at least an hour about the historical accuracy of his 15th-century Italian plate.

Riding on the shoulders of a hulk of a man dressed like a crusader, a tweedy-looking man wearing a cassock is screeching “DEUS VULT!”

Should I…?

Hm.

You know, this seems like it’s under control without my help.

I sit back and watch the chaos unfold, checking my phone now and then when people look over my direction. Cassock guy seems to be the most worked up about this whole… thing. He hasn’t stopped shouting about heretics and such for the last ten minutes, but everyone else seems to just be ignoring him.

The knights and witches have split up into small groups, chatting, and a few couples seem to even be slipping away to be alone. Looks like Britney is off trying to flirt with some guy who’s clearly going for ‘slutty sir lancelot,’ and- oh, cassock guy is shouting holy profanity in her direction. Oh, boy. Yeah, he’s pissed.

I try to make some kind of gesture to see if she wants my help, but she waves me off and starts making out with the guy she’s with so they can ignore the fact they’re getting yelled at by a man cosplaying a priest.

Welp.

It’s been a few more minutes, and I… I can’t help it! Watching cassock guy get increasingly angry at his small army of knights ditching him for women is just… This has to be the funniest train wreck I’ve ever seen. A few minutes ago, one of the younger witches and some dudebro in a plastic helmet sat down near me to watch too, so I guess I’m not the only horrible person here.

Plate armour guy walks past us with a girl on each arm and gives us a smug grin and a thumbs-up. Just as I’m considering the practicality of getting a suit of armour to pick up girls, cassock guy’s head whips around and he stomps towards us.

“YOU!” he shouts, pointing at the couple beside me. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING FRATERNISING WITH A FILTHY WITCH!?

The young man beside me takes off his helmet and rubs the back of his head uncomfortably. “Uh, I thought you said we were going hunting?”

“We are! What the hell are you doing?! We should be halfway through committing these whores of Satan to the fire by now!”

“Oh, shit! Was I supposed to match with her on tinder first? We just kinda hit it off and-”

Cassock guy screams in agony and turns away.

Wait.

Aw, fuck, he’s looking at me.

“AND YOU!

Uh…

I call upon the power of my ancestors, the power of thousands of my Dupin forefathers coursing through my veins. It was so simple! The special power my people have had since the beginning of time!

“J-Je ne parle pas anglais?”

Cassock guy look stumped for a second, but then squints at me. “Je parlerai français alors!”

Bilingual region. Right.

Uh…

Shit, I don’t actually speak French.

“Uh, look dude, I’m just gonna head-”

“AHA! You’re the ringmaster of these heathens, aren’t you?”

“What? This isn’t a circus, y- No!” I know I’m a little more knowledgeable about the occult than a normal person now, but I mean, really. He even stared right at the real one!

Just like a witch would say!”

“Do I look like a woman to you? How the hell could I even be a witch?”

“You think you’ve got yourself hidden, do you? You’ve still got a woman’s figure, even if you’ve changed your face, you godless heretic!”

I-I… I don’t!

…Do I?

I mean, I’m not like… big or anything, but… muscles don’t make the man, anyway! Who cares what this guy thinks? He’s a scrawny little bitch boy himself, anyway!

…Oh, god, do I look like him?

“Your silence is telling, harlot. Alright, take him away, Chad, we’ve got trials to hold.”

Fuck, I got sidetracked.

The only man left following cassock guy around pushes a particularly desperate-looking witch off of his arm, then strides up to me in perhaps the stupidest way I could possibly fathom and throws me over his shoulder.

I kick and writhe a little, trying to get free, but I can’t manage to get anywhere, even though the guy is only using one arm to hold me down. I after a few moments, I give up and slump down, defeated.

…I’m a scrawny little bitch boy too, aren’t I?

 

>———-<

 

I’m eventually taken to a shed, where another paladin wannabe is waiting for us. I’m shoved into a waiting chair and strapped in with what amounts to a couple of ratty old belts.

“Alright, then, gentlemen, let’s begin our humble little trial.” Cassock guy says, straightening the scarf he’d draped around his neck.

The new knight spoke up. “‘Kay, what’re we doin’ first, Gills?”

What?

“What’re-”

“No, no. What the hell did you call me?”

“Gills?”

“It’s Gilles not ‘Gills.’ For God’s sake, how do you still not know my name?”

Are they really-

You know what? I should probably be trying to escape instead of questioning this. I pull against the straps keeping me on the chair to… well, if I said little effect, it might seem like I did something other than strain myself into a forearm cramp.

I’m considering knocking over the chair to try and break either my restraints or my head, when the ‘knights’ finally agree on calling cassock guy ‘G’ after going through everything from ‘cheese’ to ‘ghillies.’

“So, uh… what were we doing?” The man who had picked me up asked.

Gilles rubbed his hands together menacingly. “We’re going to get the formal process out of the way so we can burn this filthy witch. Now then, my sons, let’s begin with finding the witch’s mark upon his body.”

The three men look at each other uncomfortably until the be-cassocked man got impatient. “Well?

“Like, uh… with his clothes off?” The man who carried me in asks.

Gilles taps his foot impatiently. “How else are you planning on doing it?”

“Well it’s just… like… we usually do this with chicks, and I was just thinking, like, he’s a dude and…”

“Like what?

“Wouldn’t that be… kinda… gay?

The second lackey coughs and looks away uncomfortably. “Look man, I’m not sayin’ that I’m gay or anything, but like… Come on, just look at him. E-even if I was, just… ugh.”

“We’re doing the lord’s work! And it’s a witch, he’s a woman anyway so it isn’t- Do you know what? Fine! We’ll do pricking if you’re afraid of some magical transgender! Get the needles.”

I try to keep calm as they produce a set of what look like long sewing needles and begin to jab me in random places through my clothes. Maybe I should just try to distract myself? I wonder what Liz is doing right now…

Probably in the library, but… That feels… wrong somehow? Like, it’s like… I don’t really know how to describe it other than ‘moving.’

Or maybe that’s just dear gran’s knitting equipment being jabbed into my thigh for the DOZENTH GODDAMN TIME. You know what? I’m sick of this bullshit. I don’t need some all-powerful corpse coming to my rescue to take care of a few probably-drunk frat boys.

I laugh menacingly when I catch the definitely-not-gay crusader under the chin with a kick as he leans down to stab me again.

They give me a bewildered stare for a minute before Gilles grins, to my dismay. “AHA! I knew it! He’s taken on the spirit of… a seal or something? Good Lord, will you stop that? We’re looking for Satan, not Neptune.”

I… look, maybe I was wrong to say that my laugh was menacing, but that’s a bit harsh isn’t it? …I don’t have a stupid laugh, do I?

“It seems we’re going to have to resort to more… drastic measures to find the devil in this one.”

 

>———-<

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

I’m completely ignored and thrown to the floor, hitting my knees on the hard tile before faceplanting into just barely enough water to soak all of my clothes.

I feel like I share a kindred moment with one of the pictures of Dora on the side of the kiddie pool I was just thrown into. She looks like she wants to just fucking die too, but she pulls through every day. I’ll do it for you, Lil’ …uh… gal.

I clear my throat and calmly ask what they’re even trying to accomplish. “WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK ARE YOU GODDAMN RETARDS TRYING TO PULL?”

“Pff. Witch swimming, you idiot. If you float, you’re a witch.”

“I’M TOUCHING THE GROUND YOU ACTUAL FUCKING BASKET CASES!”

“…Well, we’re not going to throw you in the lake, you’d swim away.”

“SO YOU KNOW YOU’RE A FUCKING DIPSHIT, THEN?”

Gilles cleared his throat and turned away. “Well there’s no need to be so hostile about it…”

HOSTILE?! HOSTILE?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!”

“Look, um… bad test, okay? How about… uh… witch cakes!” The priest cosplayer turns to one of his assistants. “Okay, rock-paper-scissors, you two. Winner has to go fetch a dog and the other needs to collect some of his piss so we can-”

THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FUCKING IT.

“Whoa, whoa, G. I’m not gonna-”

I go nearly deaf in my blind rage. I wind up to take the swing of my life and-

 

>———-<

 

**Perspective Change to Liz**

I wonder if Sammy’s done yet?

He seemed pretty serious about the ‘beating up the frat boys’ thing, but is he even capable of something like that? I’ve never seen him that mad before.

A poorly-aging witch jabs me with her broom. “Well? What’re you waiting for?”

“Hold your horses, Annie, we’re waiting for the perfect time.”

She gets so delightfully flustered when I call her that. She looks like she’s about to say something, but she’s so frustrated she can barely speak.

Right. Well, it’s probably fine to go in n-

I struggle, then fail not to laugh at the sight before me as I open the door.

Two of our lovely ‘witch-hunters’ seem to have completely given up on doing anything at all, and are watching with amusement as Sam exchanges… blows(?) with a man dressed as a priest.

Well, they’re trading slaps like fourteen-year-old girls, but at least it looks like they’re giving it their best? ‘A’ for effort I suppose, but this is a bit-

“Are you planning on doing something tonight Dr. De Vries? Or am I expected to do everything around here?”

You’d think that Anna would lighten up a little after nearly half a century, but she’s just as curmudgeonly as the day she came around looking for her ‘forbidden secrets.’ Absolutely no fun at-

“ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?”

“…Yes?”

“And are you going to doing anything to rescue your little… whatever?

It takes every bone in my body to keep myself from cracking up as Sam hits the other man with a particularly devastating-sounding slap, making the priest let out a girlish squeal. “…N-pfft-no, I don’t think so. You know, your girls might benefit from a little more independence too, you know. Let them fight battles on their-”

Oh. By the time I start paying attention again, she’s already halfway out the door, holding two of the witch-hunters by their ears and looking like she was strongly considering trying to grab the third, too.

Oh!

I straighten myself and walk over to Sammy. He’s laying on the floor, exhausted more than injured. “Are you alright, boy?”

Wait, no! That was supposed to come out more… flirty? Nice? Agh, it’s too late now, he’s opening his eyes.

“L-Liz? Did I…?”

I sit down on the floor, pulling him onto my lap and kissing him on the cheek. God, he’s an adorable little milquetoast.

“They’re gone now, don’t worry. You, er… well, two of them were completely out of the fight, you could say.”

That perks him up enough that he sits up a little straighter before I hug him a little closer. “…Wait, how did you find me here?”

Oh. Oh, no.

I’d kind of hoped that he’d have figured it out himself by now so I could pretend I didn’t know and then we could cut out all of this… awkwardness. And besides that, do I even want him to know? It might be convenient sometimes, but… Agh, I guess I’ll-

Wait! Maybe I can just get out of this. I snake my hand down his thigh, and brush my lips against his ear.

“Never mind that, you silly boy~ Why don’t I bend over and you can show me some of that form you were using on those nasty frat boys, hmm?”

Sam whips his head around to stare me down. “Liz… are you trying to hide something from me?”

“Wh-what? Pff. No? Ha. Haha. Hey, you know, it’s been a while since we’ve done anything fun, you know? Why don’t you just get that big, juicy dick out and we can-” …Oh, god. He’s not buying it at all.

“I thought you trusted me, Liz. I… We might not have known each other for that long, but I thought that you might at least let me know the stuff relevant to me.

The guilt hits me harder than first time I tried to figure out what train tracks were. I… I should tell him, but I don’t want him to freak out and then get all…

Okay. Okay, you can do this, old girl.

“Well, um… I mean, it’s not a big thing or anything… Just, you know…”

“But?”

“No, no… No buts… Er… Do you happen to remember that time we went looking for my phylactery and you… well… played with it a little?”

“Go on…”

“It- and remember, it’s nothing to be concerned about, really, and it does kind of explain how you can see my expressions and such… Listen, my dear. Sammy. Do you promise not to lose your composure? It’s my first time even hearing about something like this happening and, well…”

I can tell he’s getting kind of annoyed. “Yes. Come on, just get it over with.”

“Well… It might be possible that… Um, you were a bit rough with the vessel for my soul and all, so a little bit of my soul may have rubbed off onto you…”

Sam sighs, looking relieved. “Jesus, Liz. You were making it sound like you were pregnant or something. If it’s nothing bad, then who cares?”

Oh, thank goodness. It doesn’t even bother him! I really should’ve told him from the start.

“You’ve lifted a load off my chest, my boy! I was worried you might think be bothered with limited telepathy and knowing where you are all the time!”

“…W-wait, what?”

“Well, I mean, the location is pretty fuzzy, but I can at least tell what room you’re in.”

“NO! That’s… you know what I’m thinking?”

“Yes? Well, I mean, as long as you’re thinking about it hard enough.”

“Does that… Did you hear all the stuff I was thinking about before?”

“Don’t have to worry about all that. You worked it out on your own, right? Sorry if you feel like a sidekick, by the way. I’ll… we’ll do something together soon, alright?”

His mind goes as blank as his expression. Uh… okay, finish strong.

“Oh! I thought ‘Cadey bunch’ was funny, though!”

Oh no. He’s screaming. Jesus, he’s screaming inside his head, too.

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