This week, Stolen Parts concludes with part three.
Can Odette come back to life?
And will she lose Jeremy after all?
Read on to find out.
We got back to my apartment before the moon rose. He had the cooler with the heart into my bedroom minutes later. Neither of us thought Sam could possibly be all the way out of the game. Blows to the head hurt, and that cut on his hand drained his power for the moment, but Sam’s magic is nourished by pain, no matter how much it slows him down in the moment more pain means more power later. Neither Jeremy or I wanted to kill another necromancer.
Life. Death. Things just can’t ever be simple.
Jeremy flipped on the lights and set the cooler on the floor beside the bed. My body lay where it had been when we left, still indecent, still bloody. For some reason the flecks of blood in my hair made me feel the worst. They just looked so haphazard. Probably won’t be easy to clean. Jeremy closed the bedroom doors and drew the thin curtains on the window by the bed. He set the witch dagger on the sill.
He flipped the top on the cooler. My heart would have skipped a beat if it hadn’t already been lying frozen in that box. He raised the heart carefully, the ritual of restoration requiring his skin to touch the raw flesh to work. He set it in the hole in my chest, blood and ice water on his fingers.
He came over to break my heart and found another guy had already torn it out. Jeremy might be the only person I know who would do what he had just done. He went charging into danger to save someone he didn’t want to see anymore. At that point I still didn’t know exactly why he thought we had grown apart. Questions are hard to ask sometimes. He chanted the spell to heal the joins and repair the veins and arteries. His eyes glowed blue. I thought about how hard it was gonna to find another guy like him and I got sad.
My pulse throbbed painfully as it returned.
He withdrew his hand from around my heart, but my soul remained joined to Jeremy through the collars we wore. Its a strange feeling, looking down at one’s own unconscious body.
“You ready to go back?” Jeremy asked softly.
“You’d better not sneak out before I wake up.”
He shrugged his aching shoulders. “I’ll stand guard. It’s dark now. Sam will probably send some Zs after us.”
“You don’t think he’ll come by himself?”
“He could. I doubt I slowed him down much.”
“Good move with the cooler. Never mind that my heart was in there.”
“Sorry about that.” Jeremy wiped his hands on his jeans. Then he folded them and started chanting again, eyes closed. In that darkness with just his voice to guide me, I drifted down, felt like falling. My heartbeat announced my return, sore and tremulous. The pain in the rest of my chest was gone, and the wound sealed without a trace or a scar.
I opened my eyes and looked up at Jeremy. He stood at the foot of my bed, further away than he had been when he started chanting. “Odette, we need to talk.”
“I guess we do.” My voice sounded strange and high coming out of my mouth. I had kinda gotten used to sensing the words rather than hearing them.
He leaned against the wall by the door, arms folded. “You know why I came over?”
“I’ve been reading your thoughts all evening. So yeah.”
Moonlight glimmered on the floor of the kitchen, visible through the open door. Jeremy stared down at me. I sat up and covered myself with my arms. A chill ran through me, not exactly bundled up, and it was mid-October.
“Jeremy, I think tonight proved we can trust each other. We work together.”
He sighed and walked over to my bedside, then took my hand gently. “Odette…”
I shook my head, upset. “You’re gonna tell me we’re done. You respect me or something. I can see it in those pretty eyes of yours.” Funny how I could be so calm the whole time without my body, but getting it back had me panicked.
“Odette, I think we had better sleep on it.”
I stared at him. A smile formed on my face.
Outside, in the moonlight, a zombie groaned. I reached for the witch dagger. “Sound’s like trouble.”
Jeremy released my hand. He reached up with a both hands to unlock the cold metal collar from around my neck. “Not so bad you’ll need this.”
My hand found his again and stopped him. “Not a bridge I want burned just yet.”
He lowered his hands slowly and nodded.
I slipped my legs over the side of the bed and walked over to my closet. I opened the doors and glanced at Jeremy. “You think I ought to dress up?”
“To take down a few Zs?”
“And for afterward.” I reached inside and moved aside a pale colored dress in favor of a plain dark t-shirt. I shivered in the cool air of the room.
He shook his head, but I saw his smile. He reached for the scroll case in his jacket pocket and took it out. Then he slung off the coat and hung it around my shoulders. I slipped my arms through the rough material of the sleeves. The jacket felt like home inside.
I buttoned up the front, and then reached out, took the dagger’s bone handle and picked it up. We walked through the apartment and took the stairs down.
A couple dozen ragged zombies advanced down the street. The big Z who had been patrolling outside the morgue dragged his foot at the back of the mob. Probably only a matter of time before Sam shows up. Jeremy unfurled the scroll and smiled at me. I smiled back and then took a defensive stance, dagger extended in one hand.
Zombies approached and I fell back step by step toward Jeremy. “Second incantation, remember?”
He coughed to clear his throat, then started to chant. The zombies wavered in their advance. The big one in the white tee rushed at me. His reach beat mine, but the dagger slice into his forearm, turning magically animated muscles into dead flesh. A jab to the shoulder finished the zombie completely. He went down. Before any other zombies could reach me Jeremy completed the incantation. Any dead that should hear these words shall sleep.
Zombies male and female tumbled into the street, their bodies returned to rest. Along the street the lights flickered. A shadow winged its way over the rooftops, far too large to be a bat. I recognized him first by the glow of green in his eyes. Sam’s dark wings carried him down toward street level. He wore a look of mild surprise.
“I expected they would keep you busy longer than that.” He landed on the pavement in front us. His cloak of shadows deepened around him and he wore a collar of his own, but rather than the iron Jeremy and I shared, his looked brighter, more silver in color. I didn’t dare hope he had just been using it to command all those zombies. I knew him. At the very least he could use it to reanimate the zombies the scroll had just destroyed. Every tool Sam used was multipurpose.
My fingers clenched on the dagger. I glared at Sam. “I don’t buy this ‘other dimension’ bullshit! What are you trying to do?”
“Odette, you really are a simple creature.” A smirk surfaced from the shadows.
My face grew hot, half from annoyance at his tone and half from my tension at having to fight such a dangerous opponent. “Go back to the Morgue. You don’t want this to go further than it already has.”
“Don’t I?” Sam’s infuriating smugness radiated like an insufferable star. “I have the two of you together now. Two hearts should be enough to open the gate.”
“A gate to where?” Jeremy lowered the scroll.
“Somewhere you would never dare go, boy. But I will take you there.” He grinned. “Part of you anyway.”
I lunged the few yards between us. My dagger thrust toward his chest. He sidestepped, flowing through shadow. Jeremy called out a warning. I passed Sam and dropped to one knee. His fist swung over my head. I counted my good luck, I’d known how to read Jeremy’s tone.
Sam put on a burst of shadow speed and raced toward Jeremy, who held nothing but the scroll.
Not enough time for Jeremy to chant, and I was too slow to catch up. I flipped the dagger to change my grip, pivoted on the spot, then threw the weapon. The blade missed Sam, but the bone hilt hit him in the back of the neck. He let out a gasp and stumbled, breathless.
“Looks you still need to breathe,” I said.
Jeremy dashed to my side, scooping up the dagger as he approached. I rose to my feet. Jeremy slowed as he reached me, then turned toward Sam again. “Now what do we do?”
I shrugged. “We’ve got to stop him.”
He handed me the witch dagger. “We can’t put him down.”
I glanced at the scroll rumpled in his hand. “You know what the first incantation on that scroll does, right?”
“For all living who hear the complete chant, except the reader,” I said. “Yeah.”
Sirens wailed in the distance. Someone on my street had called the cops. I returned my eyes to Sam as he turned. “We only need to buy time until the cops get here.”
“You think that’ll work?”
“Sam won’t expose himself to the normals. That would break the law too.”
Jeremy set his jaw. “Hope you’re right.”
Sam looked over his shoulder at us. His eyes burned green. The zombified corpses all around the street began to stir. Such a showoff, he was doing it without a single word. I readied the witch dagger. “Start chanting. I’ll protect you.”
A zombie reached for my ankle. I slashed its wrist, then kicked its head back. The others were moving slowly. Jeremy started chanting, slow and measured. His voice echoed in the street, even over the sound of approaching sirens. Behind Sam the lights approached on the main street, but not the lights of a police car, the lights of an ambulance. Paramedics would be much less useful than cops for my plan.
I cut down a zombie as it staggered to its feet. Sam turned to face me and Jeremy. “That toy won’t stop my zombies forever,” he said. “And that scroll is less powerful than amateurs like you want to think.”
He walked between the rising forms of reanimated zombies. I stared at him, worried he could be right. With a few stabs I took down a few more zombies. If it wasn’t for Sam probably being ready to counter anything I tried, I’d have a lot more options. The ambulance sped down the street, not slowing.
“Jeremy,” I said. “Keep going.”
Sam towered over me, just like he had back in the kitchen at home. His fingers locked around my wrist, keeping the dagger from stabbing into his side. I glared up at his face. His other hand drew back. I shoved uselessly at his chest, trying to push him back.
Jeremy finished the chant. I froze. My muscles locked tight, and my heartbeat slowed. My knees went weak and I might have fallen except for Sam’s grip. My eyes remained fixed on his green glowing gaze. His lethal hand still moved in jerky fits and starts, down toward my heart.
“Odette!” Jeremy shouted and dove into Sam from the side where I held the dagger. His momentum hit my hand and Sam’s with a crack. Despite the paralysis both hands slammed into Sam’s side. The blade of the dagger vanished between his ribs. I gasped with pain from my wrist. Sam fell.
Jeremy tugged me out of his grip. The witch dagger came with me, coated with Sam’s dark blood. He stared up at the sky with an empty gaze. The green glow faded as I looked down at him. My heartbeat began to accelerate back to normal as Jeremy led me through the moaning, mindless handful of zombies toward my apartment building. “We can’t stay here,” I said. “He’s dead, Jeremy.”
A far off look formed in his eye as we passed the front yard and headed into the parking lot that wrapped around the back of the building and led onto an adjacent street. Jeremy turned to me as I regained the ability to walk on my own.
“Looks like we’re going on the run,” he said.
The two of us walked away from the flashing lights of the ambulance. I nodded.
We just killed another necromancer. That won’t stay hidden for long. I looked up at his face. “Guess you’re stuck with me.”
His arm wrapped around my shoulders.
Funny how life can seem so simple sometimes.
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