Today’s prompt is from Deep Water Prompts. I liked this one just because it was simple and intrigued me. What kind of person would be looking for necromancy books, especially advanced? And where would they be looking? This one got a little spooky for Halloween!
Spend 30 minutes today and write! It might not be this prompt. Check out some of my older prompts if you’d like to use another idea.
Jess’ eyes scanned the bookshelves for the fifteenth time.
“It’s not there,” Kye said. He folded his arms over his purple hair and put his cheek down on the wooden table. “I told you, they wouldn’t just keep that kind of thing out for public use.”
“Well I didn’t think there would be that many people looking,” Jess said. She folded the creases of her pleated skirt before collapsing into the chair beside Kye. “It’s not like the whole village comes here looking for zombie spells.”
Kye blinked at her. “What would I know? I don’t know how those crazy village people think.”
“What are we going to do?” she asked. “Pedro said that if we don’t find the spell by tomorrow, he’s going to kill her.”
“Well if it takes longer than tomorrow, at least we’ll know how to bring her back,” Kye mumbled into his sleeve.
Jess tapped her fingers on the table. “It’s not funny, you know.”
“I know.” Kye sat up again. His disheveled hair was sticking up in odd angles. The collar of his wrinkled button-down was askew. “I know, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t make fun of this.”
“I didn’t even like her. And now I have to try to save her before All Hallow’s Eve?”
Kye stood up and started pacing the length of the table. Jess watched him, arm leaning against the back of the chair.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
“The professors are bound to have private collections. And you know that Jaxby would be the one to have something like this.”
Jess touched the cover of the only book they they had found on the subject of Necromancy. They were both surprised that the cover and pages were worn with use. The binding nearly crumbled as they opened it. But it was just beginner’s prattle. Mostly warnings and starter chants. Not anything like what Pedro had asked them for.
“So how do we get to his stash then?” Jess asked.
“We take the book to him. Ask him if he’s seen anything more in-depth. If he starts to act worried, we definitely know he does.”
“Yes,” Jess said. “I think that would work. But then what, we break into his office? He’d know who took it for sure.”
“We just need the spell,” Kye said. A smile was spreading across his lips. “Just a spell. Not the whole book.”
Jess stuffed her belongings back into her shoulder bag and Kye followed to do the same with his things.
“We can still catch him tonight,” Jess said. “He stays late. Mites, he never leaves this place.”
Jess nodded. “Okay, let’s hurry then.”
The two raced down the hallway, paying no mind to the students who balked at them to calm down. They both knew they were acting strange, but it wasn’t anything new. Especially when they were together. The halls were covered in decorations for the holiday. Moving charmed bats hung on strings from the ceiling rafters. Shadows of ghosts walked beside them when they passed by glass windows.
After crossing through the courtyard, where dozens of pumpkins were lit up in perpetual illumination, they came to Jaxby’s office.
Kye looked to Jess. “Go on, you knock.”
Jess rolled her eyes as she pulled the beginner’s Necromancy book from her bag and knocked on the door.
“Professor?” Jess called.
No answer. Jess knocked again. Silence.
She sent an exasperated look to Kye, who reached for the doorknob. Jess swatted his hand away.
“Are we just going to go in?” she hissed.
But Kye was already going for the doorknob again and pushed the door open. The room was dark except for two blue candles — not real fire but the closest thing they had to electricity at the school.
“Be quiet,” Kye whispered and slipped through the door.
“What if he’s in the back or something?” Jess asked, but she followed him anyway.
The room was colder than the chilly October courtyard, which confused Jess until she spotted the open window at the far end of the room. Kye was already making his way to the bookcase pressed against the wall of the office. It took up nearly half the wall, and a thick sheet of glass separated them from the books inside.
“There’s no handle,” Kye said.
“It’s a spell, stupid,” Jess said. “Do you think that a Professor would just trust his private collection with a normal cabinet?”
Kye shrugged. “Well, do you know the spell?”
But Jess’s eyes were focused on Jaxby’s desk where a book was closed and covered in scattered essay papers. Surely it couldn’t be that easy. But maybe hiding something valuable in plain sight was Jaxby’s style.
A grandfather clock went off, striking eleven booming drones before resuming its ticking nose.
“Jeez that made me jump out of my socks,” Kye said, pressing a hand to his chest. “Jess, do you know the spell — what are you doing?”
Jess was pushing the paperwork carefully aside, taking note which order the papers were stacked. Beneath the papers was a green-tinged tome, thicker than the beginner’s guide. An energy rose from this book as if it was breathing.
She reached down to touch the cover. The runes embossing the front in a square border kept swimming in her mind’s eye when she tried to translate it.
“I think this is our book,” she said softly.
Kye came beside her and looked down. “This book?”
Jess pulled back the cover with unusual effort, as if the tome didn’t want to reveal its secrets to her. At first the runes that covered the pages shifted as the cover had, but then they settled and formed tight scrawling handwriting.
She began ripping through the contents. “It’s here. It has to be here. Jaxby’s so sensitive to events that he must have gotten some sort of feeling this book was in danger.”
Kye watched her as she searched the pages with vicious eyes until her finger stopped at the top of a page.
“This one,” she said.
Kye stared at her finger. “Are you sure?”
Jess nodded and held the page with her hand as she flipped to the end of the spell.
“Holy mites,” Kye breathed. “It’s like twenty pages long.”
With a single flourish, Jess ripped out the entire section. She was quick enough that it left minimal damage to the spin. Slamming the cover closed, she heard rustling in the courtyard.
Kye’s eyes widened as she stuffed the spell pages into her jacket and had just enough time to push the papers back over the tome as Jaxby walked through his office door. His eyebrows rose into his fluffy gray hair as he noticed them standing by his desk.
“Kye. Jess,” he said with confusion radiating from behind his spectacles. “What are you doing here so late? And without me?”
Kye stammered as Jess answered, “We were looking for you. We thought you were here when the door was open.”
“It’s only been a moment,” Kye said then added, “Sir.”
“Right,” Jaxby said neutrally. “Well, what is it that you so desperately wanted to see me for?”
“We—” Jess said, feeling like she was trapped. They couldn’t ask him about the beginner’s guide now. If he saw the spell was missing, he would know it was them. He would probably know it was them anyways.
“I was wondering if you did private tutoring?” Kye asked.
Jess bit her lip in surprise at Kye’s quick thinking.
“Ah, a bit behind are we?” Jaxby said, wiping his glasses. “I can’t say I’m surprised. You seem to spend more time on your hair than your homework, Kye.”
Kye stifled his indignation with trembling closed lips.
“Oh, for me, Professor,” Jess interjected. “Kye was asking for me.”