The Necromancer

Part 3.

With a glass of absinthe mixed with Perrier water on the low table beside me, I curled up on the settee trying to relax. It was impossible. My thoughts continually returned to the ritual. Why had it not worked as I expected? What was the blue light? We had both seen it; otherwise, I would have considered it my imagination, or a trick of the natural light.

My thoughts of sleep were a lifetime away, so with nothing better to do, I sat at my desk in front of the computer screen, the photocopied sheet in front of me. I tried to make sense of the scrawling letters, but so many were unclear, almost out of focus, as if it were the intention of the writer to make the words indecipherable. One sentence I could almost read contained the unrecognised word ‘FRUCISSIRE.’ For want of something to occupy my mind, I wondered if I might find a translation on internet. I typed the word into the search box of the internet browser that would prowl the World Wide Web through multiple search engines looking for a match.

One after another, they came back, with the message, ‘Nothing found.’ I wondered if there was a likelihood of my misinterpreting the letters and was looking for alternative ways of spelling the word, when the screen flashed an icon to show a success. An obscure web spider had found a link marked as "Cabalistiques Magiques, grands secretes des Liber Juratus."

Clicking the mouse on the link led me to a page containing reams of text, similar to that in Sébastien’s book, but also with an English translation. It was a list of demons with summoning rituals. To save time, I did a page search for the word and read the highlighted text, “FRUCISSIRE revives the dead…”

Revives the dead?

To reanimate! Not to communicate!

A thousand thoughts must have clamoured for attention in my head, but one above all others. Did Sébastien know this?

He had certainly shown little surprise that Nicole’s spirit did not appear. It would also explain why he seemed in such a hurry to get rid of me when the ritual appeared not to work.

I continued reading, “The symbol representing the name of the demon must be marked on the abdomen of the corpse.” The blue marks that Sébastien said had been made during the autopsy?

My inevitable conclusion, he did know. He knew, but was he aware of the danger he faced? A mindless corpse, reanimated without a soul.

A zombie!

I picked up the telephone, and dialled his number. The phone rang for a long while, but there was no answer. Either he was asleep, or… I dared not think of the ‘or.’

At this hour of the morning, almost 4.00 am, by the time I phoned a taxi and waited for it to arrive, I could be almost at his address on foot. I grabbed a coat in one hand and the cell phone in the other and ran from the house.

The adjoining roads to the one on which the parlour was situated were deserted. I had never before in Paris felt so alone. Even the regular hum of twenty-four hour traffic seemed to have been silenced. The yellow glow of streetlights in an early autumn mist gave an eerie feel as I turned into his street from the main boulevard.

The funeral parlour was several hundred yards in front of me when I noticed the figure dressed in white, lurching along the far side of the street away from me. Something, which I assumed to be a bag or parcel, the figure was to far away to be certain which, dangled from its left hand. Moving slowly, staggering as if under the effect of alcohol, it vanished into the misty darkness of a side street heading toward the river.

Then I was at the doorway of the shop.

The plate glass in the door was shattered. Shards of glass had showered onto the step and pavement. I looked inside. There was enough light from the outside lamps to show the interior as a chaotic shambles of vandalism. I detected the stench of death, blood and rotting flesh wafting through the opening. My own flesh shuddered in involuntary trepidation.

“Sébastien!” I called his name as loudly as my laboured breathing would allow. I was only answered by the lingering silence from within. I rang the bell, which I knew was also wired through to his apartment.

There was no answer.

My senses screamed against the foolishness of further investigation, but I tried to ignore them. I went in, treading over broken glass with caution to make as little disturbance in the debris as possible. The inner door to the parlour, where the coffins rested, was hanging at a crazy angle supported by one hinge. It was partly open, so I peaked inside.

My finger found the light switch and the sudden illumination showed the extent of the chaos. The two coffins and the lilies Sébastien had cleared to the edge of the room were now thrown across the floor. One coffin was missing its lid, tilted so the corpse of an elderly man lay face downward in a heap of green vegetation. The third coffin was as it had been earlier—except, now, a large gangly pair of white legs hung out of it.

I inched forward until I could see inside. The torso of Sébastien was twisted from the waist at an unnatural angle as if he was turning, and struggling to climb out. But the thing that made greatest impact on my tortured awareness?

There was no head!

Of course… the twisting of the shoulders made perfect sense if the head was physically twisted from the body!

Then the drink from earlier regurgitated in my throat. I staggered in mindless shock I assume, back into the street. I was aware of the wet pavement through my trousers as I threw up into the gutter. I don’t recall phoning the police, but I must have done. They found me sitting hunched up on the doorstep among the shards of broken glass.

The Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris, originally known as the Sûreté Nationale, held me for two days during which time they asked many questions I had no wish to answer. I told them under the pretext that I was helping him with his studies that I had visited Sébastien earlier in the evening, and then having returned home, had tried to phone him with answers to a project on which he was working. Having left him such a short time before, I was concerned at being unable to contact him, so with no more than a ten minute walk, had decided to check he was OK.

Anything more I could have told them, they would not have believed, therefore there was little point in divulging the information. Fortunately, the taxi drivers who had taken me to and returned me from his apartment were able to confirm the story, as far as they knew.

One further bizarre fact came to light when I resided as guest of the Police Nationale. They were convinced Nicole was having sex at the time of her murder, with the killer attempting to restrict her breathing by tightening the stocking around her throat to intensify orgasm. Unaware of his own strength, the outcome had been a tragic case of over-enthusiasm on his part. They had a DNA profile of a man suspected of her murder taken from a semen sample. The genetic code matched in every detail samples of Sébastien’s blood. To me, it gave the reason he was so fixated in his desire to resurrect her.

They never questioned, to me at least, why his body was found naked in the coffin. His death was accredited to ‘person or persons unknown’ in their belief that Nicole was involved in organised prostitution, and that he was the victim of a revenge killing by the syndicate bosses who then removed her body for burial.

Of course, I know differently…

I moved away from Paris some six months later, but still keep close interest of any unexplained disappearances or murders in that area. I have a list of mainly young men, more often students, who have vanished over the two years since I left. The incidents seem to occur quite regularly, about every two months. I’m certain the authorities have never made any connection between them. After all, it is common for students do drop out; move on from their studies leaving no forwarding address. No bodies have ever been found, so foul play is never suspected.

I say no bodies were found, but the lower half of one arm and hand was discovered trapped in the grating of a storm drain. The flesh had been half eaten! I dread to think what we unleashed on that fateful night, and what now skulks in the sewers beneath that beautiful city.

© 2009 Robert A Read. aka Mysteral.



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