I know I’m a university-aged bachelor, but pizza two nights in a row? Liz wouldn’t hear otherwise, so she practically jumps in glee when a zombie stumbles back into the library with a box of Canadian.
“Can we at least go to a restaurant next time?” She halts when she hears my question, turning to look at me.
“…Are you suggesting… in town?”
“Yeah, there’s this-”
“No, no. T-that’s a bit, well… I’d rather not. Out of the question really. For me, that is.”
I nearly drop my pizza when she plops herself down on my lap unexpectedly.
“Uh, any reason for sitting on me?”
She kicks my shin with the heel of her boot before leaning back into me, making it more than a little awkward to eat.
“You’re warm. Just shut up and take the hint.”
I… I’m pretty sure now. I wrap an arm tentatively around her waist, and… Well, no complaints. She rests her head on one of my shoulders and stares off into the library. I swear I can hear a muttered “…inally.”
I decide to push my luck a little and see just how far she’s willing to go. “So, uh, are you sure you don’t want to go somewhere sometime? I know you don’t get out too much, so we could make it like a date, if you wanted.”
There’s a long, awkward silence. Did I mess up? I thought it wouldn’t be that bad… She fidgets a little before she answers me. “Um… Bo- Sam. I-I… Well, I’m not opposed, you see. About having a… um… date. It’s just that… somewhere more private would work better. I think…”
She shifts uncomfortably, looking over her shoulder at me. It couldn’t be. Is she…?
“Are you… scared of leaving?”
“NO! I-I mean, no. I’m not scared, I’m immortal. That would be stupid. Unfathomably stupid, in fact. It’s just… Well, it’s been so long. What would I wear? I’d probably just make a fool of myself anyway. I’m just an old lady. I mean, the last time I left the campus to go out in public was… Oh, it was after the puritan…, Ah, it was when I went out to tell that damn Frenchman at St. Anne’s that he had no right to even try to stop me from building a permanent school, even if he thought a woman shouldn’t be allowed. I mean, really. I’d have been doing the governor a service if I’d have burnt down his house myself. Though I suppose they did do that the year after…”
I interrupt her reminiscing with a cough. She lost me pretty quickly there. I mean, I don’t even know where it is she’s talking about.
“Ah! Right, anyway, the point is, I haven’t been out in public since… oh, seventeen fi-” She abruptly turns her head away and clears her throat. “Er, a long time. I’d look silly. So, n-no. Are you done eating? I just had an idea about the phylactery…”
“Are you… Sure about this?”
“Of course, boy. It’s simplicity itself.” Liz is teetering precariously on the top of one of the tall bookcases lining the walls of the library. “If I just die, my body’ll just reform near the phylactery. It should be obvious enough from there.”
“I just… Are you sure-sure? I mean, about coming back from dying?”
“Oh, don’t be so squeamish, of course I will. Now, do you think this will do it, or should I stack some books up?”
Why? Why am I helping her kill herself? This is… I just want this to be over with. I don’t do well with blood, and the thought of watching her die is making me queasy.
“Sure, let’s just… I’m going to turn around, okay?”
I brace myself, covering my ears. It doesn’t help. I hear a rustling of skirts followed by a sickening- bounce? It sounded more like a rubber ball than a person. I nervously turn around, finding Liz staring up vacantly at the ceiling. D-did it…?
“…Well, this is a bit awkward.” I nearly jump when she turns her head to look at me, still laying on her back. I don’t want to say I’m relieved, but…
We share an awkward moment as she sits there, unmoving.
“…I can’t move, by the way.”
“What!? Well then… what are we going to do now?”
She turns away. “Hmm… Well, I can’t do anything. Completely helpless, you know.”
Uh. Um. Fuck. Should I call an ambulance? No, what would I even say? ‘Hi, this magical dead lady was trying to kill herself, and she’s paralysed now, would you mind fixing her up so she can try again?’ Shit. Uh…
“Should I get the zombies to help? Wait-”
“No, that won’t do, Sam. Think about it. I’m lying here, helpless, so what would a young, virile man do?”
I’m starting to panic. Where am I supposed to take her? Does she… oh god, is she telling me to finish her off? I don’t think I can. My throat is starting to burn with the telltale taste of puke. I almost mutter the question, afraid to meet her eyes.
“W-where do I take you?”
“Hmm? Oh, you can take me right here.”
Oh, god. She does want me to kill her. Should I… I mean, what would I even use? Maybe I could just drop something heavy and look away? I’m trembling already. I can’t-
“And remember, as violently as you like.”
I’m starting to dry-heave. Why me? Oh, god. Everything was okay up until now. Even the zombies aren’t bad, once you get used to them, but murder?
“You could even stick it in my eye, if you really wanted to.”
L-like a letter opener? I fall to my knees, shaking all over.
“It’s a bit dirty, but there’s nothing I could do to stop you, you know… Eheh… Just make sure to take my glasses off, you wouldn’t want any pieces of glass getting stuck in your peni-”
I look over, nausea replaced with anger. She’s giggling softly and… Paralysed my ass, she’s spreading her legs. For fuck’s sake.
“Goddammit, Liz! I almost puked! Why are you fucking with me like this?”
“Don’t you have that backwards, big boy? I think I’m supposed to be the recipient, here~”
I stand back up in a huff. “God damn it. I have an assignment to do, Liz! I can’t just spend all day sitting down here.”
“No you don’t, Sam. Don’t you remember? Dr. Browne gave you an ‘A’ on that one.”
“What? No he- Liz, are you actually going to tamper with the grades so I can stay with you?”
“I happen to know you were doing to do quite well. It’s already ‘A-’ material, and the only thing you really have work to do on is that horribly awkward conclusion. You’d fix that tonight and get an ‘A’, it’s as simple as that.”
I sigh deeply. Of all the people in all the world to come back to life to sexually harass me, why did it have to be the one secretly controlling the school?
“Don’t look so dour, boy. Why don’t you come over and give me the Joy of Man’s desiring?”
“What are you talking about?”
She starts singing, the verses interspersed with a few giggles.
“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring, sexy wisdom, love most bright; Drawn by thee, our souls aspiring, soar to uncreated…” She looks at me, her eyes sparkling. “Eh? Come here, I’m already on my Bach.”
That wasn’t funny. It wasn’t. I don’t know why I sniggered at that. In fact, that was probably the worst joke I’ve ever heard.
“Oooh? Am I brightening you up, Sammy?” She stands up and saunters over to me. She looks the same as usual, but she has ‘stupid grin’ written all over her voice.
“…You’re not going to sucker me in with a dumb joke and bribing me, you know. I mean, why the hell would you-” She stops me, putting a finger to my lips.
“How about flattery, then?” She clears her throat, then flips her hair over her shoulder, staring into my eyes. “Should I get us some violins, boy?”
“Because I think you ought to let me see that Canon in D major.”
I struggle to keep a straight face and fail when the lich bursts out laughing at her own joke. God damn it. I’m supposed to be mad right now. She pats me on the back, covering her face with a hand.
“Your reactions are priceless, boy. Come on, don’t be mad over a harmless little prank.”
“I don’t handle blood and… that kind of stuff well, okay? I really was about to puke.”
“Really? Hmm… Ah! Then be a dear and fetch me one of those electric bread-toasters from the kitchen across the hall, would you? I have another idea.”
I come back, hefting one of the bigger toasters I could find. Is she going to stick a fork in it or something? I nudge open the door to the library with my hip, and find… She’s brought an entire bathtub into the middle of the reading area.
“Where’d that come from?”
“Boy, I may not sweat any more, but I do have standards for hygiene, you know. It came from my bath-room.”
Suddenly I feel a bit stupid. I guess it’s just a strange thought, imagining an ancient undead being taking a bath, even if it’s one who makes awful jokes and sexually harasses me.
“In any case, attach it to that electrical cable, there. You can toss it into the water once I’m in.”
I plug the toaster into the extension cord she was talking about and turn around. I guess this is better than before? I still feel a little uneasy, but at least it should be over, soon. Liz stares at me, halfway through taking off her jacket and covers herself with her hands.
“Really, Samuel, peeking at a lady when she’s undressing? You absolute scoundrel~”
I’m about to interject to tell her that I’ll see her naked if I have to throw the toaster into the bathtub, but I realise it’s pointless. She knows exactly what she’s doing. Whatever. Fuck it, I guess. I turn around, muttering an insincere apology.
“You’d better not peek, boy. I’m going to be painfully, shamefully naked soon…”
She’s playing me like a fiddle. I try not to think about what she might look like under all the clothes she usually wears. I attempt not to think about what those legs and her butt might look like. I fail. Goddammit. Stupid, sexy magic corpse lady.
“And don’t even try to get another look at those underwear you were staring at so intently earlier~”
I accidentally snort in amusement a little louder than I meant to when she mentions her great-great-granny panties again.
“Is something funny over there, boy?”
“What? Uh, no, no, I was thinking of something else, to get my mind off things.”
“Well then. Perhaps you could answer me a question, then? You know, while I’m sensually disrobing right behind you.”
I sigh. One of these days, I’m going to have to get back at her. Teach her a lesson. Aaaaand here we are, back at imagining her naked again. I try to distract myself with her question.
“Uh, sure. Shoot.”
“No, I’m asking you a question. We don’t have any guns, anyway. I meant to ask earlier, but… Do you remember the name of that picture that was on at the sorority house? I’ve never seen one that seemed so interesting, so I haven’t seen more than a few minutes before. The boys in the old occult club watched one down here, once, but all they did in it was kill some poor, helpless zombies. It made me feel sick. Metaphorically, of course.”
I searched my mind. Was there a movie at the sorority party? I think it was something stupid, like Sabrina the Teenage- Wait, no, I remember, right before I fell asleep.
“Harry Potter? Did you want to watch it?”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind, if you could get me set up with it. It seemed rather interesting, with the magic in it. And, I mean, those… uh… something-visions are popular these days, aren’t they? I should really catch up a bit.”
“Uh, sure? I think I have a boxed set of all the movies somewhere in my dorm…”
A pair of bare arms wraps around my chest, and I feel Liz pressing her body against my back. I-is she…?
“I’d love that, Sam. Oh, and I’m done dressing down, by the way~”
I hear her slip into the water in the tub behind me. “Well, come on, boy, we don’t have all night…”
“Uh… I’m going to have to turn around…”
“Well, do what you must, even if you’re sullying my purity~”
When I turn around, She covers herself with her hands and shouts in mock surprise. “Oh, Sam, you absolute lecher!”
She’s reclining in the tub, wearing everything but her jacket. It looks like she rolled her sleeves up as far as she could, too. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I actually expected her to undress. She’s looking about as smug as a girl who can’t move her face possibly can, leaning back.
I sigh again. Well, her shirt’s soaking through. Oh. Huh. I guess she doesn’t wear a bra. I blush a little, and when she notices, she folds her arms over her chest and clears her throat.
“Er, well, you know what to do, I guess. Go ahead, I’ll see you in a bit.”
I drop the toaster into the water and Liz’s body immediately tenses up, spasming wildly. I look away until the splashing stops and unplug the cord. I hesitantly look back, and see her, dead-eyed, with her head lolling loosely. I’d wonder if we’d done it this time, but she lets out a low groan of pain and looks toward me.
“…We’re not doing that again.”
She tries to climb out, but only ends up sliding deeper into the water.
“…I can’t drown, so would you mind taking me out?”
“And you’re sure about this? Like really, really sure?”
“Of course, boy.” She lays her hands on mine, wrapping them around her neck. “You just have to squeeze the life right out of me. Now go on, get strangling.”
I gave her throat a tentative squeeze. At least she’s not floor pizza? I don’t like it, but if it’ll get things done…
“Harder, Sam, I can hardly even feel it!” She presses my thumbs deeper, gasping a little when I push more firmly. “Ah, just like that… Come on, do it for me! Harder!”
I press as hard as I can and she grabs my arm, her eyes squinted. “K-ah-kiss me Sam!”
“Just do it, boy!”
I press my lips to hers, almost forgetting what we’re doing. I mean, this is our first real kiss… I hope my breath isn’t- She takes me by surprise when she slides her tongue into my mouth, grabbing the back of my head. She gives a pleased-sounding moan, wrapping her legs around my back as we continue. She pulls away briefly to look at me with sultry eyes. “C-come on, boy, you’re slacking up… t-tighter…”
“Liz.” I pull my hands away from her and sit up. “Didn’t you say you couldn’t drown?”
“Because I happened to remember you haven’t ever needed to breathe.”
“Well, you see, that’s not quite… well, that is-”
“Did you ask me to do this for fun?”
She looks left and right in a panic. “N-no! No! I, uh… Actually, I just had an idea! Aha… magic and all that! I can just incinerate myself! Ahahaha…”
“Uh, nice kiss, hot stuff! See you in a bit!” She snaps her fingers, and before I can interject, a cold, blue flame surrounds her, leaving me about to yell at a rather tidy pile of ash.
I walk through the library a bit, looking for her. She seemed certain that she would come back, so I trust her about that, but… What if that… Uh… It started with an ‘F’, I think? Anyway, the respawn point thing might not be here, so what am I supposed to do if she’s halfway across the world or something? I turn a corner and look down the rows as I walk past.
Books. Chair with books on it. Ladder with books on it. Mona Lisa or something. More boo- I stop in my tracks and backtrack, finding someone with their back facing me, wearing some kind of floor-length velvet dress with strange sleeves. Is that…? She pulls off a cloth cap and throws it to the floor, letting her conspicuously grey hair fall down her back. She puts a hand on her hip and shouts.
“BOY! I’M BACK!”
Yep, I guess it is. When she turns around, I see why I mistook her for a painting. Her usual ensemble isn’t exactly modern, but this is… Well, she looks more like she belongs in a movie about Henry the eighth, more than anything else. I decide to pick up where I left off, before I get distracted.
“Liz, were you really having me choke you for, like, a sex thing?”
She stares blankly at me for a moment before lifting her hand to her face. “Did I? I was so long ago… worlds and ages away… All I remember before our parting was that beautiful kiss…”
“Liz, are you trying to get out of this?”
“I can’t say I know what you’re talking about… Oh, my handsome Samuel… every time I die, I spend fourteen years in hell for my sins, but I’m pulled back by my own magic…”
I feel a pang of guilt. Really? All this for a book? I might’ve looked harder if I knew… I mean, she said it was important, but hell? And it really exists? I mean, if magic exists, why not the afterlife, but- I’m interrupted when she grabs my face, kissing me again before changing back to her usual tone of voice.
“Well, anyway, come on then, boy, it should be in this row somewhere.”
She lifts the bustle of her skirt and starts scanning one side of the row, scurrying along as quickly as her clothes allow.
“So, uh… what’s with the dress?”
“W-what’s wrong with it?”
“Just, uh, a bit…?”
“Oh, shut up. I’ll have you know this was high fashion at the time. And I can’t help that I always come back wearing the clothes I died in, anyway! Besides, it’s not like fashions are any less ridiculous today. I mean, really, women in trousers? And they show off their ankles and knees to everyone! You should at least like them!” She turns away in a huff, leaving me to look through shelf upon shelf of books in silence.
Well. A little defensive, I guess. I look through the usual suspects, ‘E’ for Elisabeth, ‘L’ for Liz, ‘F’ for… that thing we’re looking for, ‘D’ for De Vries, ‘V’ for Vries (de). Nothing, all over again. I head to the beginning of the row and reluctantly start going through the books one-by-one. Nothing catches my eye until a small, unmarked notebook stands out in how unremarkable it looks.
I pull it out and open the cover. In the top corner of the front page is Bet De Vries. Sounds close? I look at the rest of the text, but I can’t make heads or tails of any of it, since it’s written in German or something. I’m about to ask Liz what this is when I hear her voice. I jump and look over at her, but she’s still scanning the shelves, not even looking at me. I glance back at the book again. Did it come from there? I stare hard at the page. The words are still the same line that I don’t know what to do with, but when I really focus, I hear Liz’s voice again.
I’m leaving Leeuwarden for Amsterdam today to get away from the unrest. I’m going to live with an old friend of father’s, who he met in church. I’m excited, but I hope the Hollanders don’t make fun of me for my accent.
I met the dreamiest man today at the docks! He’s a trader in from Italy, and he’s soooooo cute and exotic! He had these puffy pantaloons, and his doublet was so… so… handsome! I tried not to look at his codpiece, but even that was so fancy! I wonder what he’d say if I propositioned him?! Wait, wait, Bet, don’t be so forward! We’re Christians, after all! Ah, I wish I had a painting or some kind of token from him, though…
I hate Italians. They’re filthy and they smell and their food is godawful and they’re two-timing, miserable bastards who belong in hell! I think I’ll vomit if I see another one of those Roman knockoffs. In fact, the last man from Italy who deserved to live was Seneca! A thousand years and all they’ve done is be filthy, nasty, scummy degenerates! Cheating on his wife! And then just… just DUMPING me for some stupid whore from Flanders!? I hope they all choke on those noodles they love so fucking much.
I have to stifle a snort. Oh, god, this is gold. I flip to the middle of the book and pick out a random page to look at. It looks more rushed, and it seems like she gave up with the dates.
Minister said he had something to show me in the graveyard tonight. Said something about holy power? He kept talking about Christ, but I couldn’t figure out what he meant, past all the metaphor.
Met minister. He did… something. Said the Malleus Maleficarum was written by heretics, and they blackmailed the Pope into sanctioning it. Magic has to come from God, he said. Shouldn’t write anything more, here. Meeting with him again tomorrow.
Is this…? I skip a few more entries ahead.
Had to help dig today. I’m more tired than I’ve been in my whole life. Minister J. said I did a good job and we’ll give him the treatment tomorrow.
He stood! Like Christ from his tomb, HE STOOD! Dropped straight back down without a word, but we’ve made progress! The room filled with blue light right before he got up. Have we made contact with God himself?!‘
A zombie? This must be Liz’s… Maybe just a few more entries. I skip to the second-to-last page and pick back up.
Probably November? It’s cold out, at least.
I don’t know why J. kept insisting that we were using some kind of holy power all this time. I think he went insane when he realised we weren’t doing anything that was getting us into Heaven. I guess it was funny seeing him try to explain away pentagrams as being holy symbols or something, though. He really freaked out today when I brought up the sacrifice thing again, though. I never imagined he’d break his own neck trying to lunge at me, though. Idiot.
Raised J. after the incident yesterday. I was hoping I could at least have some… male companionship, but it came out as a girl. Yet again.
I may have kissed her anyway. It’s not even that bad. It was a man two hours ago. Not even gay. NOT.
Realised I could use the incident as my sacrifice for the ritual. I’m scrambling to get all the materials together, so it looks like you’re going to have to be my phylactery, diary.
I look at the last page, and it looks vastly different than the rest. I can still hear Liz reading, but it’s all in English this time, and the bottom of the page is steadily filling with more letters.
Man, I hope he buys that line about going to hell. It was pretty good for something I had to make up on the spot.
…Does he really think my dress is stupid? God damn it! I thought it looked really cute! I mean, it’s a little more dressy than usual, but… Heh. Dressy. Anyway… It seems like he doesn’t mind what I usually wear, at least… I wonder if he noticed the ankles thing earlier?
WAIT! He must be mad he can’t see as much in this dress. Oh, that absolute beast of a man. Not that I mind, of course.
And he even asked me on a date! I want him to take me out. Or just take me, eheh. Why won’t he just make a real move on me? Am I not sexy enough?
…I feel funny. Did he find my- OH GOD, HE’S HOLDING IT! NONONONONONONONO! S-stop it! Oh… he’s f-flippping the pages… Come on, Liz, just… oh, fuck… You’re going to look stupid if you just lay there on the floor c-cu-ah… D-DAMMIT, SAM! STOP F-FUCKING- Gonna… f-ah-fuck…
I snap my head over to Liz, who’s laying on the floor, twitching. Oh, god, am I killing her?!
“Liz? Liz, are you okay?”
“OTHER THAN YOU FONDLING MY SOUL, I’M-AH-OKAY, SAM!”
“What?! This is your soul?”
“YES, YOU STUPID… STUPID…FUCKING…”
I glance back down at the book in surprise. The page I was just reading has been replaced by a new one, nearly full already.
CummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingSAM YOU FUCKING SEXY ASSHOLECummingCummingCummingCummingSTOP TOUCHING MECummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCummingCumming
She’s absolutely writhing on the ground now, consumed with herself. I take a hand off and she looks up at me… visibly upset? She’s… making a face.
“Liz, uh… I can… well, you’re… your face is moving.”
“W-what? Don’t look at me face right now!” She buries her face in her hands, covering up a blush.
“But… You could make faces before?”
“You’re holding my soul, stupid! Of course you can see my emotions now! Now give me the book and stop making me cum-AH!”
“Is this… Liz, are you getting aroused by this?”
“N-no, you complete dunce! N-now just give it here, you’ve caused enough trouble already…”
I glance back down at the diary again.
Yes, you asshole, but cut it out! You should at least have the good grace to be between my legs if you’re going to pull this!
Suddenly, I can’t hold myself back from grinning. “Well, that’s odd. It seems to say right here,” I poke the page and she shudders again, “that you seem to be enjoying this. What was that about being between your legs?”
Horror washes over the lich’s face as she looks up again, staring at the phylactery.
“No. No. Nonononononono! Don’t read that! SA-AH!” She’s cut off when I delicately stroke the page, sending her back into convulsions.
“You know, I seem to recall something about you lying with the whole ‘hell’ thing, come to think of it.”
“I-I’m sorry! I can’t take any more! Stop it, please!”
“I accept your apology, Liz. Are you going to apologise for earlier, too?”
“I’m sorry! I just thought it would be funny! I just wanted to harass you a little so you’d do something! A-and staring at my chest doesn’t count, by the way!”
“Well, I’m sorry, too, I didn’t know if you were serious or not… Do you want to watch those movies next week?”
“R-really? Yes! Yes, definitely! I’ll get Annie to bring us a… er, one of those screens down here, a-and then… Um, sorry, I just… I got kind of excited.”
“Oh, you weren’t already?”
She frowns at me. Man, she’s cute when she pouts. I could get used to this.
“How’s this for making a move?” I lick my thumb, flipping through all the pages in one go. Liz screams in extacy, curling into a ball and shaking violently. I stare at her as she finishes and lies motionless, her dress starting to soak through.
“…Y-you… You’d better at least help me up… You absolute… asshole.”