“I haven’t seen any news since I woke up. Frank dragged me out of bed when they arrived, and I thought I should keep an eye on my cleaners to make sure they didn’t raid the remains of my pantry,” Sky grumbled. “Forgot about my phone.”
Nolan moved to stand next to Sky as he swiped through the security lock and discovered a ton of messages waiting for him.
“Oh fuck,” he whispered.
“The short of it is that the dead crawled out of their graves last night,” Nolan stated.
“What?” Sky squeaked, his phone falling from his fingers to clatter to the floor.
Nolan bent and picked it up while Sky remained frozen. “Yep. Crawled right out of their graves. Looked a lot like what happened when you summoned the dead against the vampires, except they didn’t put themselves away before dawn.”
“Are you shitting me? Is there video proof of this? Which cemetery?”
Nolan handed the phone to Sky, who clutched it with both hands. “I haven’t seen anyone post actual video of the dead climbing out of the ground. Just lots of pictures of rotting bodies and skeletons lying in the grass near open graves, as if they crawled free but ran out of energy to continue.”
Sky’s fingers tightened on his phone. “Which cemetery? Was it the one we went to for your brother?”
“No.” Nolan paused and shook his head. “I mean yes, but not only that one. All of them. Or rather, a huge number of them scattered around Hartford. They posted a list online of the graveyards that are closed to the public as the police investigate and return the bodies to the right graves. Had to be at least twenty to thirty names.”
“Holy fuck.” Sky exhaled. Nolan grabbed one of his arms as he sank to the ground. With a grunt, he got Sky moving so that he could sit comfortably on the couch. The necromancer appeared shell-shocked. His soft lips parted, but no words were coming out. Just quick pants. His eyes were wide, staring at some distant spot.
“Was this from the demons’ visit? Did you guys pop out and cause some mischief between TV shows?” Nolan inquired.
“No!” Sky jumped and blinked at him as if waking from a nightmare. “Of course not! We didn’t use any magic last night. Seriously, it was me and five demons lounging in my living room, watching TV while they attempted to eat all the food in my pantry. When they left, I think the sun was peeking over the horizon. As far as I know, they went straight home.” Sky pursed his lips together for a second before shaking his head. “No, not the demons. Zal’s not the type to cause trouble like that, and he wouldn’t have allowed any of those demons to run amuck.” He shook his phone at Nolan. “This has nothing to do with me…for once.”
“Okay. It’s okay. I’m not saying it does, honey.”
Instantly, Sky calmed and even flashed him a smile.
Yes!This was a beautiful magic weapon, and he was going to need to be careful with its use. He couldn’t abuse this new power. But right now, it was necessary. Sky was exhausted and frazzled. Nolan didn’t need Sky to panic.
“You’re right. But I need to dig into this. Find out what caused it. As the only necromancers in the region, it’s my job to look after the dead.” Sky leaned toward Nolan and laid his head on his shoulder. “Besides, even if you know this isn’t my fault, there are going to be lots of others who are going to blame me.”
“Could this have to do with the fae?” Nolan wrapped an arm across Sky’s slumped shoulders, giving him a supportive squeeze.
Sky shook his head without lifting it from where it rested. “Nope. Not unless the dead were trying to make a run for it on their own. The fae have zero interest in the dead, and as far as I know—which I will admit, my knowledge is limited with the fae—they don’t have any power over the dead. I don’t think they could do this even if they were right here at this second.”
“So either someone escaped from the underworld and is causing problems, or it’s another necromancer.”
The necromancer sat up, his frown deepening. “I can’t imagine a single necromancer doing this. I’m powerful and I was exhausted after waking up one graveyard. What kind of beast level would this necromancer have to be, in order to raise twenty or thirty throughout the city? If this was a necromancer, it would have to be an entire group of them.”
“You mean a scourge,” Nolan chimed in.
“A scourge.” He stopped and rubbed his chin. “Or maybe a graveyard. A graveyard of necromancers. Or a plague?” He grinned at Sky, who was staring at him as though he’d lost his mind. “I looked it up the other night and discovered that necromancers don’t have a collective noun. You know, like a coven of witches and a basement of vampires. There’s also a gossip of mermaids and a devilry of gremlins. My favorite is a cackle of mad scientists. But there’s nothing for necromancers. I’m trying to come up with something good for your kind.”
The big anime eyes were back as Sky gazed at him. “I love you,” he whimpered. “If you get any more perfect, any freaking sweeter, I’m going to move in with you. There’s no way you’ll ever be able to get rid of me. Even if you try to kick me out, I’ll sleep on your porch.”
Nolan’s heart skipped so hard he could feel it in his throat. He tried to remind himself that Sky was exhausted and not thinking clearly, but they were still the best three words in all the world. Just ahead of “I brought cake” and “I made coffee.”
He folded Sky up in a tight hug, mostly to give him a moment to rein in his tongue that wanted to whisper the same three words in return. It was way too early for that, but the feeling was flourishing in his chest.
“I’ll help you figure out what’s going on with the graveyards,” Nolan promised. He wasn’t sure how he was going to help, though. “But I don’t think it’s only the dead. Your roses out front seem restless. When I walked up, they were rustling and twitching in their beds. I don’t remember them doing that during the day.”
Sky made a noise against Nolan’s chest and lifted his head. “That is weird. They’re never active during the day. I—”
A man’s panicked scream followed by cursing cut off what Sky was about to say. It sounded like it was outside the front door.