Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Samuel the Black Warlock, Chapter Six

Sipping his coffee while eating his third donut, Samuel relaxed back in his chair as he watched the teenage girl continually check her phone for the time. She clearly had plans to show him around campus before school, and a passive scan of her mind said she wanted to have him join some of the student organizations as she’d taken a peek at his older records and noted his high grades and standardized test scores.

He also noted she was comparing him personality-wise to a thorny reptile.
“Are you ready to go yet, Sam?” She asked, tapping her foot impatiently.
“I was planning on watching you squirm for a few more minutes, but I’ll be nice. It is my first day and all… impressions and all that.” He said, letting his legs down from the table to stand up, moving fluidly out of the kitchen to head upstairs. “You stay here; I just need my book bag and my shoes.”
“Well hurry up!” She pouted, hoping it would have an effect on him. The fact he was still reading her mind made it doubly ineffective.
He leisurely made his way up the stairs, turning the corner to allow himself into his room, where Imogen was napping in her bed in the guise of a large furry cat. Sitting on the bed, he laced up his boots and flipped through a few pages of his Grimoire looking for any luck spells. Sadly, and ironically, no such luck. Scooping up a brown over the shoulder satchel from a hook on a hat stand by the door, he made his way back downstairs to see Tiffany standing there, arms crossed beneath her modest bosom, looking quite irritated.
“We only have twenty minutes to get to school,” she said.
“Fortunately, it’s only ten minutes away by car,” Samuel said with a wry smile. Walking to the closet by the front door, he opened it up and pulled out his coat, a long trench coat he’d had the sense to pick up in London that kept him warm even in the middle of a blizzard, thanks to some enchanted stitching in the inseams. Throwing it on, he looked over at Tiffany and quirked an eyebrow at her smile.
“What?” He asked, canceling the mind scanning spell out of respect for her innermost thoughts. That and the fact it was a major pain to keep up.
“You’ll definitely fit in with the Goth kids at school. Could you wear any more black?”
“Hey,” Samuel said, pointing a finger. “Black is slimming.”
“You already look like a skeleton, why should you want to look slimmer?” She blurted out before throwing her hands over her mouth. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have said that it’s just my mouth has a mind of its own sometimes and you look-”
“I know how I look. And I don’t hold anything against you for merely commenting on it, mostly because you were just doing that: commenting on it. I don’t take kindly to being teased or made fun of because of it.”
“Then why don’t you put on some weight?” Tiffany meekly asked.
“I have a medical condition,” Samuel lied, knowing his magic ate up calories to fuel his spells. “Now are we ready? We have school soon and I don’t want to be late my first day of class.”
“Oh, of course!” Tiffany said, moving forward and opening the door, stepping outside into the brisk cold air of San Antonio’s winter. Samuel stepped out behind her, locking the door with his keys after pulling on his black leather gloves.
“So where’s your car?” She asked, looking in the front driveway, which was bare.
“In the garage, it’s a classic so I try and keep it in pristine condition,” Samuel said, moving to pull open his garage door.
Once opened, the light shone in on a black Ford hearse from the late nineteen fifties, a simple silver eagle set into the hood. The car was polished and shined like new, much to Samuel’s pride and Tiffany’s growing horror.
“You drive a hearse?” She asked, horrified.
“Yup! Rebuilt it myself when I turned sixteen last year. Took me about a month to find all of the parts, but it was easy from there on out.”
“Why would you want to drive around in a car that’s possibly transported dead people?” Tiffany asked, looking at him as if he were mad.
Samuel merely smiled at her, contemplating the truth of the matter. Spirits disliked hearses due to what they stood for and generally avoided them save of course for Cloakers. Cloakers, incorporeal wraiths that resembled capes with a long trailing tail and a face imprinted where the upper back would rest, loved to find hearses and search them for bodies. As a Class III monster, they were pests at most, and generally harmless unless they gathered in large numbers. Rumor had it that a Cloaker also brought bad luck on whoever saw one though Samuel thought that was an old superstition.
Tiffany stared at him as he unlocked the door on his side, peeking over the top of the car. “Your sides open,” he said with false cheer.
Sitting in the vehicle, Samuel turned on the radio as he buckled his seat belt, his CD player switching to the heavy metal he liked as he turned the engine on, roaring it to life. Looking over at Tiffany, he gave her a lopsided grin. “Ready to go to school?”
He didn’t give her a chance to answer as he popped it into first gear and sped out if the driveway, pressing a small button on his cup holder to close and lock the garage door behind him as he swerved out onto the street. Sliding into second gear, he hauled the heavy vehicle even faster as he left the subdivision of Lincoln Park, stopping briefly to check both ways before hanging a right towards the high school.
Traffic was pretty dead, so they made it in a record time of six and half minutes, Tiffany a bag of nerves from all of Samuels sudden starts and stops and general recklessness. Pulling up in front of the school, he leaned over her and pulled the tab to open the door open for her. “Here, let me drop you off. We got about ten minutes before classes, you can show me to the admin building after I’ve parked.”
“O-Okay…” she stuttered, getting out of the vehicle quickly, clutching her own backpack to her side protectively.
Turning down one of the rows parked cars; Samuel found his spot (number thirty-seven) and pulled into the parking spot with a squeak of the wheels. Popping it into park, Samuel killed the engine and sat back for a moment, smiling. Then he noticed it.
Or rather them.
Cloakers, five or six of them, crowded around a tool shed on the edges of the property of the school, behind two posts with a chain running between them. The ebon-skinned specters flapped soundlessly as they circled the shed, their twisted faces full of misery and despair. One was whipping its tail about, thrashing violently.
There was a ghost in that shed… and they couldn’t enter it for some reason. Getting out of his car (and locking the doors) he moved towards the front of the school, eyes locked on the tool shed as he moved. Only when he got within twenty feet of her did he look at Tiffany.
“What’s with the shed?” He asked, pointing over at it.
The shed was rusted over iron and tin, a slanted roof with a small chain link fence surrounding it making it appear to be a home for little people that is if the little people had no taste and didn’t mind tetanus. Barely visible from this distance was a large stone cross planted in the ground on the side of the building, behind the fence.
“That’s the land that belongs to the church right behind the school,” she said with a smile. “I go there every day after school to study and do my homework, at least, when I’m not in a student council meeting or at cheerleader practice. You should come by!”
“No thank you, I’m a devout Atheist,” Samuel said with conviction. “I’m a firm believer in show-me-the-evidence and I’ll believe in it.”
“Oh,” Tiffany said, unsure of what to say next. “I’ll just show you to the admin building, okay? I’ll give you the grand tour some other time.”
“I’m sure I’ll manage without having to undergo the supposedly grand tour, but thanks anyway,” Samuel said, moving into step beside her, walking up the steps to the entrance of the crowded building. Students were milling around in clumps on the stairs, leaning against the cement railings, all talking about the latest movie or who the cutest celebrity was.
Samuel tuned it out as he walked up the steps, thinking of the Cloakers he’d seen assailing the shed. It has to be on hallowed ground if they can’t enter it, he thought as Tiffany blathered on. Otherwise, they’d just drift through the walls and get what they’re after.
Ghosts in graveyards, or battlefields of places where death is either commonplace or venerated, were particularly potent creatures, as they had a lot of psychic residues to pull from, allowing them to take on shapes and forms of all manner of shapes and sizes. It also tended to make them a tad bit more arrogant, as the hallowed ground was usually something that bolstered their abilities, assuming they were blessed when they died. An unblessed spirit, such as the poltergeist dwelling in Samuels’s attic, was something that avoided hallowed ground at all costs.
“…and that is why I think you’d be perfect for the school Chess club!” Tiffany finished, dragging Samuel from his thoughts as they stopped in front of a door embossed with the words “Principal” across them in bold face.
“Yeah, I’ll think about it. Listen, let me go on into here and we’ll catch up sometime. I have to get my admittance cleared by the Assistant Principal and all that.”
“Mr. Hatmenczech is a very nice guy,” Tiffany said before flicking Samuel on the ear. “And pay attention to what he says, will you? I could tell you were spacing out when we were walking up the front steps.”
“Alright, sheesh. Just don’t do that again!” Samuel said, rubbing his ear as it throbbed from the stinging blow.
“Okay then, I’ll see you later for your tour of the school. Let me be the first to welcome you to John Marshall High School!” Tiffany said, extending a hand for Samuel to take. He awkwardly shook it, wondering what this spastic girl would do next, but all she did was turn around and walk away, backpack slung over her shoulder.
Opening the door to the administrator’s office, Samuel leaned in to look around. He saw a long wall of opened slotted mailboxes, each with a small name slot, followed by a hallway that turned to the right. To the left was a receptionist’s desk, with a plump, cheerful woman sitting behind it, smiling at him.
“Is there something I can help you with dear?” She asked, putting down the papers she’d been holding.
“Yeah, I just transferred here, and I need to get my class schedule and a map of the school,” Samuel said, looking away from the cheerful woman so as not to make eye contact.
“But of course, may I just have your name, please?”
“Samuel Graves,” he said with a resigned sigh.
Her cheerful demeanor dropped instantly, as did the pen she was holding. Her eyes narrowed to slits and she hissed out at Samuel, causing him to roll his eyes.
“So you’re the Black Warlock, are you? I’d always wondered what you’d look like! I must say I’m a little disappointed.”
“I get that a lot,” Samuel said, looking at the woman as she truly was, his eyes seeing through her illusions. She wasn’t a secretary, nor a human.
She was an Ogre.

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