Killing Him Back to Life
By Patrick M. Tracy
“We’ll have to kill him back to life,” Rodriquez groaned.
“Yep, looks like.” Marchinko got her hands beneath O’Leary’s armpits and started to tug. His head lolled back, like heads do when the neck within is shattered into a hundred wet shards.
“Just put him out of the way. The storeroom’ll be fine.”
“Got it, Boss,” Marchinko grunted. O’Leary was a big dude, and he didn’t miss many servings of fish and chips. She came back winded, flexing her shoulders.
Feru, as usual, sat comfortably, watching the hard work without feeling the slightest compulsion to join in. “I assume you have a Hartblade, then,” he asked, his tremulous voice causing Marchinko’s face to squinch up.
“One more,” Rodriquez told him. He pulled the sharpened bone out into the light. After a minute, you could see the runes on it, moving, twisting, dancing around the milky blade.
“Then what, pray tell, shall we do the next time one of us is striken with a case of, ahem, mortality?” Feru asked.
“Oh, blast the horns and be damned,” Marchinko swore. “You fucking pussy. What? Did you think we could fight the angels of the ninth world and come out clean?” She went for Feru, but Rodriquez caught her, holding her back. Feru never moved, never uncrossed his thin, tidy legs.
Feru smiled faintly. “The question stands.”
Rodriquez let Marchinko slip from his grasp, but her anger was fading. She’d only been fucking O’Leary. It wasn’t as if she’d loved him. Love…that was funny, considering what they were doing. Kicking out the underpinnings of the light universe, one angel at a time. Not a lot of room for love there.
“We die. That, or you call us up to walk under the shadow of the Necrogods. For me, I don’t really care.” Rodriquez walked into the front of the diner, where the customers were bound together with lamp cord. After a few moments of quiet, the screaming started. As big as O’Leary had been, it would take five, maybe six deaths to kill him back to life. They’d need to find another group of sacrifices when it came time to bleed their way to the ninth world again.
“And what if I’m the one killed?” Feru asked as the screaming reached a manic crescendo in the next room. “What then? How do you think you’ll fare in the ninth world without a necromancer?”
Marchinko shook her head. “We’d do all right. You’re not irreplaceable, Feru. We could always find ourselves another wizard.”
“Is that so?”
“It is. Listen, just because I wouldn’t let you…” she shivered, “do your sick shit to me like Bainbridge did, that doesn’t mean you have to be pissy all the time. I just don’t do that.”
Feru smiled. “I know. That’s why I wanted to.” He steepled his hands and waited while the horrific screams subsided.
It was hard to recognize Rodriquez when he came back. So much blood. He and Marchinko went into the storeroom. The noise when they plunged the Hartblade into O’Leary’s chest was low and hollow, like a butcher’s cleaver going through a rack of ribs.
O’Leary sat up, coughing and twitching as the life went back into him. “What happened?”
Marchinko took his face in her hands. “Nothing, baby. Just a speedbump.”