Authors: Nicole Martinsen
Tags: #love, #friendship, #drama, #adventure, #comedy, #humor, #fantasy, #dark, #necromancer, #undead
A Different Kind
Copyright © 2015 by Nicole Martinsen
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Part One: Inval's
First came Soma and Myalo, twins of Flesh
Through their strengths these brothers two
brought glory on Mankind
They knew not that the Third did watch
that wicked Witch of Pox and Plague
And from the depths of Nethermountain,
Astheneia, patient, her time bade.
Soma and Myalo came and sprung the foul
They fell into the Nethermount and hit its
Vindictive Astheneia struck the brothers
will her ill
And with her servant, Ponos thus, she cast
her culling spell
Salvation came from Psychi, in whispered
words of sagely Lore,
Soon, my bright and mortal friends, you will suffer this no
And once their hearts were filled with hope
they knocked on Thanos' door.
He bent over the hollow men, ghosts of what
they used to be
And plucked the breath from dying lips to
show them Death's mercy.
Song of the Six Houses
In this world
two things terrify me to the point of
And my mother.
And as she stood over me, seconds
after coming-to from my most recent episode, I felt my heart drop
into the pit of my stomach.
," she crooned, making no
effort to hide her disgust, "How have you managed to disappoint me
If I stayed silent, I was
If I told the truth, I was double
If I lied, I was
However, being a glutton for punishment and
bound by my conscience (cursed thing that it is) my choice was
"I fainted during the autopsy."
She threw her hands above
her head; the skeletal form of her too-tight skin stretched out
even thinner, and my mother let out an ear-splitting
. Somewhere in
the back of my mind I wished I had died rather than just blacked
But knowing my
That would only be the beginning
of a far darker hell.
." She slammed her palms beside
my shoulders; I receded into the couch. "You are
forsaken years old, and you still can't watch a body, not
even rotten, mind you, being cut
Her nose was like the tip of a bayonet. After
the better part of a minute, she withdrew.
Her hair was piled up into a bun so taut it
was painful to look at. The black and gray strands eerily resembled
the angry feathers of a raven.
"Look at your family." Her
voice became pleading; she lifted a hand to motion to dozens of
portraits on the wall. "Do you see how
they are? How talented? How do
you think they'd feel if they knew that my eldest son didn't want
to continue their legacy?"
I did my best to meet the
faces in the frames. To me, each and every single one of them
looked like they were dying. Not in the sense that any living
creature is in a perpetual state of getting closer to death, but in
a way that suggested my ancestors made it their mission to
Pallid skin, shallow eyes, bluish
"Mother, have you ever thought that I might
not be cut out for the family business?"
Her eyes narrowed into blackened slits; the
click of her heels stabbed my ears with every step she
There is no such thing
muttered dangerously. "You may be a disgrace; the greatest I've
ever known, but you are still a part of this family. Get over your
idiotic phobias and take up the mantle, or else I promise you, my
son," she curled a razor finger beneath my chin, lifting it to meet
a terrifying smile, "What you now refuse to do for your lifetime, I
will see that you do in death for eternity.
I nodded numbly.
"You have one month." Her shawl slapped my
face on her exit.
I didn't know how much time passed between the
instant she left and the moment I became unfrozen, but I knew with
utter certainty that this was my last chance. I needed a plan...
the first part was to get my mind functioning again.
My name is Marvin.
I suffer from acute necrophobia.
And I have thirty days to become a
Or else I am very,
I spent the remainder
of my evening barricaded in the attic, an
unappealing place for the rest of my family on account of the
sunlight that pierced through the rafters. I peeked through the gap
between the wooden boards, at the wasteland of the Howling Desert
-named for the winds that screeched across the dunes at
The majority of our home was in
the depths of Nethermount, where cool earth and lack of humidity
made it ideal for storing bodies. As for myself, well... I never
quite fit in.
It was a point of pride for relatives to show
off exotic new acquisitions; dwarves or elves or various fey.
Stitched limbs and bizarre tumors were the norm at family dinners,
where I did well not to vomit at the table.
And now, unless I somehow managed to get over
my lifetime aversion, I would be the newest addition to my family's
I leaned against a pile of dusty crates,
debating over whether I should give this whole necromancy thing a
try, or make funeral preparations while I still had time to order
never hurt me," I
said, facing the corner. "Right, Diana?"
Diana tilted her porcelain head to the side. I
wasn't certain if this meant she agreed with me, or just nodded
because she assumed it was the right thing to do. It's hard to tell
with porcelain dolls.
I found her back when I was
twelve, nailed shut inside a coffin. I never discovered why she was
tucked away like this -she seemed harmless enough.
I grabbed a bone comb and sat on the floor,
running it through her hair.
"You have to take better care of yourself."
She turned her head and blinked once, giving me an opportunity to
admire her glass-blown eyes. They were pink, like the petals of a
cherry blossom, nestled under long brown lashes. I braided her hair
at the sides, fastening the strands over her shoulder. "Whoever
made you must've loved you very much."
The peachy paint that made up her lips spread
at the corners, forming a tiny smile. A blush bloomed across her
the apples of her cheeks.
"You know, you're the closest thing I've ever
had to a friend."
The paint disappeared, forming an
appalled frown. Sunlight passed above us, landing in her eyes. It
made it look like she was on the verge of tears.
Diana placed a hand over mine, the ball-joints
of her knuckles moving to squeeze it tight. She should have been
cold, but her touch was as warm and alive as my own.
I told her about my latest flub at the
autopsy, and my mother's ultimatum.
No one born to Nethermount has the
option of being anything other than a necromancer. Most people are
convinced of our obsession with death, never realizing that it's
the other way around. We are scientists that worship life in every
incarnation, regarding life after death as the highest form of
To call my aversion an embarrassment was the
understatement of a century.
Once I'd had a few minutes to brood over
everything I felt a tug at my sleeve. Diana lifted her other arm
and pointed at a tarp against the wall.
She grabbed the sheet and tossed it into a
pile, revealing a very old fireplace. Kneeling, I saw that some
bricks had fallen out, allowing sunlight to stream on the
Or at least, where ashes should have
Instead I found a bed of nightshade. Tiny
purple trumpets reached towards the sky, so bright and beautiful
that, for a moment, I forgot all about my impending