Boy, this sure is a greeeeeeat celebration. Cold, dirty and tired from digging for the last hour.
I’d kind of expected us to sit around and do some drinking or something, but apparently the celebration is going on a club trip to the graveyard for extra parts. I guess a few of the zombies are a little worse for wear- one of them even had an arm fly off in the middle of their dance lesson.
Elisabeth is sitting on a gravestone, her hands folded in her lap as she watches me dig. I swear to god, six feet has never felt so far… Wait. I stop digging and look up at the lich.
“Couldn’t you just, like… magic this away or something?”
She looks into the distance and starts whistling a tune.
“I wonder if the gravekeeper’s going to come around…”
“You could, couldn’t you!”
“Look, it’s much more romantic to have to worry about being caught, isn’t it? A moonlit night, the mist creeping up your ankles… It reminds me of when I was a young necromancer…”
“Dammit, why do I have to dig, though?”
Elisabeth draws her knees up to her chest and starts what I assume is an attempt at a pout, pursing her lips and looking away from me.
“Look, boy, you have to earn your keep in this club somehow. I wanted to involve you in what I was doing, and this is how you repay me?”
Goddammit. I sigh, realising I’m not going to make her budge, I keep digging. Fortunately, it’s only another minute before my shovel finally hits the wood of a casket.
“Hey, looks like I’ve got iiiii-FUCK!”
I nearly slide off the box as it’s wreathed in a purplish light and floats out of the hole with me still standing on it. The lich lands it gently back on the ground and opens it to find… Nothing?
It’s empty. No bones, no valuables, hell, the thing isn’t even lined, it’s just a rotten oak box. I look over to Elisabeth, who’s playing with her (somewhat overdramatic) black cloak impatiently.
“I could’ve sworn… Is there anything in the hole, boy?”
I look over into the empty grave. I don’t see any bones or anything…
“Ah! Here it is! Forgot I put it in my cloak when I pulled it out. Must’ve been… Uh… No, the twenties were after that… Well, a while ago, in any case.”
I peer at the headstone in the dark. It’s worn, but I can just barely make out an inscription…
DOCTOR ELISABETH DIJK DE VRIES
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of Eternity -Seneca
“Is this yours?”
“Yeah, thought I left this ring in there, but I forgot I took it.”
“I… I’ll try not to get mad about the ‘making me dig for nothing’ thing. But, that inscription’s a little on-the-nose, isn’t it?”
She giggles a little.
“Oh, probably. Still, it’s a nice little joke for anyone who knows what’s going on, don’t you think?”
Well, I guess when you’re immortal you can afford to make jokes you stick to for a few hundred years.
“Oh, yeah, I didn’t know you had a middle name, Elisabeth.”
“It’s a bit silly, so there’s no real reason to use it.”
She seems to be trying to avoid the topic completely.
“Oh? you’re not a proud dyke?”
I end up giggling a little bit.
She gives me a dark look from inside the shadows of her hood.
“I’ll give you a single warning. After which, I’ll beat you to death, raise you from the dead into a cute little zombie girl, and then fuck you to death with the most uncomfortable dildo I can find. Then we can see who’s the goddamned dyke.”
“U-uh… Wouldn’t it still be you, if you did that, though?”
Her eyes begin to glow brightly in the dark of the graveyard and she clenches her fists.
“Maybe you’d like to say that again, boy. If you’re lucky, I’ll let you get away with kneeling under my desk for a few hundred years to apologise after I kill you the first time.“
“Well, I’m just saying… Wouldn’t that still be kind of… lesbian, though?”
“I’m not a lesbian, damn it!”
“Well, you’re not really saying anything to convince me you’re not.”
“I’m not, okay…?”
I tried not to grin at her, really. It just… kind of happened. In response, she pulls her hood over her face and wraps her cloak more tightly around herself, hiding inside and turning away from me.
“Just… S-shut up, Samuel. I don’t want to talk about it.”
I was so young and naive when I thought I was tired after digging the hole for just one grave. I hadn’t even filled in the thing yet. I’m thankful it’s a cool night, because here I am, waist-deep in hole number three, pretty well soaked in sweat. I feel like I’m going insane with just the sound of my shovel and the crickets, though, Elisabeth hasn’t spoken to me since I tried to joke around with her- even when I dug up the first coffin with a person in it, all she did was shake her head to tell me it wasn’t any good. I wonder if she’s actually angry with me… Ah, fuck it, I need a break. I collapse against the wall of the hole and slide to a sitting position.
The lich’s dark figure appears at the edge of the grave, still wrapped in that long, black cloak. It’d be terrifying if I knew it wasn’t a five-hundred year old girl sulking because I called her gay. As it is, well… It’s kind of cute.
“Hey, uh, Elisabeth?”
She stays quiet, looking over me with her face shadowed by her hood.
“…Do you have any water or something? I’m getting kind of tired.”
Although the fact that it’s three in the morning is probably helping. She disappears again, leaving me alone in a half-dug grave. Ah, shit, she is mad, isn’t she?
Suddenly, a cloth-wrapped glass bottle hits me in the face. Fuck, that hurt.
“Ah, shit… Thanks, Elisabeth.”
I pull the cork and take a sip from the bottle. It’s pretty refreshing, feels like my cramps are just melting away.
“Uh, so, I jes’ wnt’d ta sey…”
What? It wasn’t supposed to come out like that. I try again, only to find myself completely unable to move my mouth. Or anything, actually… The bottle slides out of my loose grip and falls to the ground.
I start to panic a little. Did she do this? B-but why? She’s harmless, isn’t she? Did I cross a line?
The lich floats slowly into the hole and takes a step towards me.
I can’t even defend myself or say sorry or… Oh, god, I’m going to die. I was so young, there was so much more I wanted to do…
She kneels over my motionless body, her eyes glowing brightly as she places a hand on my neck.
I do the only thing I can and close my eyes. I’d like to avoid having my last memory be the sight of my esophagus dangling out of her hand. I feel something as cold as the grave press against my… lips?
My eyes fly open to find Elisabeth kissing me as passionately as a woman who can’t manage many facial expressions can, her hood drawn back and her silver braid dangling over her shoulder, gently tickling the side of my face. She pulls her lips away from mine and looks deeply into my eyes.
“…Would a lesbian have done that?”
She gives me a peck on the cheek and takes out a small phial, pouring the contents into my mouth before standing up.
My body begins spasming in panic, and I end up looking ridiculous as I flail my limbs for a few seconds, my breathing ragged.
“W-what was that?”
The lich holds a hand up to her mouth and starts laughing wildly.
“Oh, god! You should’ve seen your face! ‘O-oooh, jeez! She’s gonna kill me and leave me in the grave, isn’t she!?’ Holy hell, boy, it’s been decades since I got a reaction this good!”
I can’t tell if I want to cry out of relief, get angry or feel betrayed, so I decide on a combination of all of them.
“I thought I was really going to die, you absolute dick!“
She pauses, looking at me with some concern.
“It’s ‘Dijk,’ actually.”
I crack a little bit at that, giggling half out of trying to imagine my face when I realised what was happening and half out of gratefulness that I was okay.
We both end up sitting there giggling like madmen in that grave for longer than I think either of us meant to.
“So, is this just like… the grocery store for you?”
“I like to think of it like organ donation. It’s not like they’re using them anyway, so there’s no point letting them just rot and-“
Elisabeth holds up a finger, poking her head over the top of the dirt mound briefly before sliding back down into the hole.
“Ah, looks like we’ve got a comrade-in… shovel?… out here trying to dig up something over in row H.”
“Like a grave-robber? …Should we stop him?”
“For doing exactly what we’re doing?”
“I don’t know, isn’t it like… desecration or something?”
“Do I look like a woman who cares what people do to graves? Besides, if he’s a necromancer, walking up and talking to him is right out.”
“C-can they control you? I-I guess I could try to handle him alone, I have the shovel if he gets-“
“Back up, boy, back up. I’m not having one of my students beating people to death, whether or not they’re dangerous. The problem, is that they think they can control me, and then it ends up all… awkward. Have you ever had an entire coven of necromancers try to draw a pentagram around you while you to tell them off? And after that, they followed me around like lost dogs for almost forty years trying to get the secret of immortality out of me. So- I am not talking to any more necromancers.”
“We’re just going to leave, then?”
“I wouldn’t say that. How do you feel about Saint-Saëns?”
Digging through her bag at length, the lich pulls out a rather expensive-looking violin and bow.
“You play the violin?”
“You pick up a few things in five-hundred years. You might even call me a real… renaissance woman.”
Her eyes sparkle as she stares at me expectantly.
Was that… supposed to be funny?
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh? Because I was born in it?”
I… Guess so? I give her a little scoff, more to be polite than anything else, and she turns around, whispering something about ‘still having it’ to herself.
“AH! Right, let’s get going.”
I peek over the top of the mound of dirt, spotting a man leaning on a shovel about fifty yards away from us. He jumps, dropping it when Elisabeth starts fiddling harshly. It takes me a minute, but I recognise the tune- the Danse Marcabre.
The man looks around in a panic, letting out a blood-curdling scream when he looks toward us. I almost join him when I see the lich gently floating out of the grave, looking a little like death himself in her cloak.
“EGO TERRENS. TU TERRERIS. ERGO FUGE!“
At this, the grave-robber nearly falls flat on his face in his rush to escape, Elisabeth continuing her demonic-sounding performance until he sped off in his getaway car.
“I don’t mean any offense, but… Should you have been that loud? There’s a gravekeeper, isn’t there?”
“Oh, pish-posh, the old codger wouldn’t wake up for an apocalypse. So, how was the performance? Spooky enough?”
“Classical’s not really my thing, but it was pretty scary with the Latin. Is the Danse Macabre some kind of signal amongst necromancers? Like a ‘time to leave’ thing?”
“Hmm? Oh no, I just thought it’d be the right amount of spooky with the ‘death’ look I’m going for, here.”
“Uh… Campy, but I guess it worked.”
“Nothing wrong with the classics, even if they’re a bit on-the-nose. So, tell me, if it isn’t classical music, what is ‘your thing,’ Samuel?”
“Uh, I’ve been pretty into eurobeat lately…”
She cocks her head in confusion.
“Actually, there’s British eurobeat, too, but I’m mostly into the Italian- …Hang on, I’ll play some for you.”
I pull out my phone, putting on my favourite song for her.
“This Italian guy named Rodgers wrote it, but his stuff’s pretty popular in Japan, so he-“
I notice Elisabeth giving me a judging squint from the other side of the grave, having backed off from me.
“If I was still capable of vomiting, I would.”
“Aw, come on, it’s not that bad, it’s got a catchy rhythm.”
“…I don’t know exactly how it works, but I know you can play nearly every song ever recorded off those telephones. So why, pray tell, did you decide this was the best it had to offer?”
“Oh, come on, don’t be so closed-minded, Elis-“
Our heads both snap to the caretaker’s house as we hear the sound of a door slamming.
“What in the Sam Hill is that racket?”
Elisabeth leans down to whisper to me.
“Oh, well done, boy, your music taste is so bad it can practically rouse the dead. No ‘a’ in that, either, you’ve made the mood about as romantic as a foreign legion outpost.”
“I didn’t… S-sorry. But what was that about-“
She puts a hand over my mouth, holding up a finger to hers.
“Maybe I’ll fix this if you admit your music taste is terrible.”
“Shouldn’t we be… Fine, my music taste is bad. Can’t you-“
“Ah, ah, ah. That’s no way to butter me up. Come on now, ‘I’m very sorry, doctor, you’re soooo beautiful…'”
I sigh loudly before continuing.
“I’m sorry my music taste isn’t as good as yours, Dr. De Vries, and you’re ever-so-gorgeous. Would you do me the honour of getting us out of this?”
She winks at me before pulling her hood up and flying out of the hole.
“Drop-dead gorgeous, and don’t you forget it, boy.”
She slowly hovers towards the man, one ghost-white finger outstretched.
“JAMES FAWCETT, YOUR TIME HAS COME.“
He jumps, peering at Elisabeth through the dark, his lamp held high.
“Dammit, I told ya I’m not going with ya! Y’lose every damn time, so go on back to hell and tell ’em Jimmy ain’t comin’!”
She continues floating toward him, silent.
“God dammit, I said shove off!” The man reaches inside his shirt, holding up… a rosary?
Throwing the rosary at Elisabeth, the man runs back inside. Ah, guess we’re in the cl-
“DAMMIT, WHERE’S MY SHOTGUN?”
I’m suddenly pulled bodily off my feet, and I start flying toward the lich, who grabs me out of the air and starts running for the exit, holding me like a football and shoving the severed arm we found into her cloak.
“I can run by myself, you know!”
“Just shut up and act like a corpse, boy!”
At this, she lifts us up and we fly into the night sky.
Now, I hadn’t really noticed this much before, but I never really had much occasion to find out. I mean, I felt a little queasy when I went up the CN tower when I was a kid, but I thought that was pretty normal. It turns out I’m FUCKING TERRIFIED of heights.
“Hmm, I doubt he’ll shoot at us all the way up here.”
She ignores me, glancing back down at the graveyard. I follow her gaze and… OHGODOHFUCKJESUSSHITTITTIES. We’re at least three-hundred feet in the air and getting higher. I’m hyperventilating now, and pulling desperately at the hem of her cloak to try and get her attention.
“Hmm? Oh, Samuel, are you afraid of heights? Hang on, let me just adjust you a bit.”
Thank god. I close my eyes. It’s all going to be okay now, even if my stomach feels like it’s still dropping. I take a deep breath and open my eyes again to see the lich looking down at me… From about fifty feet away.
I start screaming, trying desperately not to vomit.
“LIZ YOU FUCKING CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-AAAAAAAAAH!!”
A purple light glows around me, and I’m abruptly pulled back up to her by my feet, dangling upside-down as she laughs uncontrollably.
“Oh my god, your face when you opened your eyes!”
“Y-you f-f-fucking…” I grab onto her, still shaking all over. I-it’s just… I don’t want to fall, I’m not scared!
“Aww, poor little Sammy.” She pats my head patronisingly. “Did you at least get a look up my skirt when you were down there?”
“What? T-the hell? I was falling, I had better things to do than look up your damn skirt!”
“Will you stop being mad if I give you another chance?” She sniggers, lifting the hem of her skirt teasingly.
“F-fuck off, Elisabeth.”
“Oh? Something wrong with ‘Liz’ now that your life’s not in danger?”
I stay quiet. Goddamn sexual-harassment-ass professor probably thinks she can get away with it because she’s cute.
She puts an arm around my shoulder and keeps flying, letting out something between a sigh and a giggle.
“Ah, I haven’t had this much fun in forever. Come along next time, won’t you, Sam?”