V.O Artist: Seraphim
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I Killed the Immortal
By: Oro Prizyvaushiy
A little imp or a possessed man. Nothing more. That was the conclusion I made while looking at the man’s breathless body. The rest of the amulet’s charge didn’t even come in handy.
Someone more serious wouldn’t have bothered himself with interrogations and would’ve rather spoken from a position of strength… or wouldn’t have spoken at all.
Hell knew who that girl who went missing in the Fog was and why he needed her, but following the demon’s lead was the last thing I wanted. My mum taught me well on how to interact with such bastards. Or rather not ‘mum,’ but an old asshole. He knew damn well how to treat them—just look at the amount of his ‘well-wishers.’
And I followed his example, as illogical as it may sound.
One of the main rules says: don’t accept favours from these bastards, or it may cost you more in the future. And the second one: be more cunning and more merciless. They don’t wish you any good, so you shouldn’t qualify them as equal either.
I’ve got what I could from him and don’t need anything else; all his promises are a decoy anyways. So…
No, actually, he could do something else for me. Bent down, I ransacked the pockets of my recent acquaintance… not much, but still. My loot was a thin purse—not a great fortune, but it will cover my expenses for a couple of days.
It was time to leave this cemetery where too much happened to me already. But before that, I had a little matter.
I turned around, stepped back into the ancestral crypt, and looked around. The bodies were lying in their places, and I didn’t see any way to the tracks. Putting the gravestone back in a way that no one would notice anything also seemed impossible: the tracks of breaking in were too obvious.
The bodies were going to be found, and it was going to happen very soon. It would be stupid to doubt that. At least one person knew where they were going. I didn’t remember the name the blond guy said, but I remembered the conversation itself well.
But I could at least leave a ‘surprise’ for the investigators…
It took me fifteen minutes to place the demon’s body in ‘my’ empty tomb and to put the cracked gravestone to its place in a way that it wouldn’t fall off from a simple sneeze. Let them figure out what that man was doing here and where did the dead body disappear. By golly, it could just get up and walk away.
I laughed. The joke wasn’t very good, but I still found it pretty funny. My laugh was so loud that it probably echoed throughout the whole vicinity.
Unable to control myself, I leaned on the wall and slid onto the cold floor. But… my laugh stopped as suddenly as it started, and sorrow took its place.
Could I have changed something if I stayed here? That was unlikely. Before Vissarion took me, I had been… ordinary. As ordinary as an heir of an aristocratic family that still retains its former power even in the 21st century. I hadn’t stood out in either a good or bad way. I was neither a complete weakling nor the world’s hope for salvation.
If I had been there, I probably would have died like my father and sister. Maybe I wouldn’t have even survived that damn marriage—who knew. But fate has chosen a different path, and, I hope, for a reason.
Staying in the crypt became almost physically hard. After getting up on my feet, I wiped my hands off the brown-haired guy’s clothes once more and put on my jacket.
The blackened amulet flew to the corpses. The artifact still could’ve been used, as well as the one hanging on the brown-haired guy’s neck. But I didn’t really want to find out if people in the last twenty years had found a way to track the location of a particular missing artifact. I was weak at artifactorics, so I decided not to risk it.
But I did take the crowbar—after all, it could help in some situations. I wish I also found a violin case to carry this piece of iron without raising any suspicions.
A car stopped near the moonlit cemetery gates. That place was not attended during the nighttime very often, but the man in the driver’s seat was in a hurry.
His straight brown hair, too early streaked with grey, was crew cut. He was wearing a black jacket and camouflage pants; his face was restrained but serious. He glimpsed the guy in a hood who was walking away from the gates towards the city but didn’t pay much attention to that.
“Get out,” he commanded, leaving the driver’s seat. An eighteen-year-old guy quickly and reluctantly followed him out of the car with a disgruntled face.
“You rushed as if…”
“Quiet,” the man cut off the comment in mid-sentence. “You’ll have time to speak out later, but now keep your mouth shut.”
“Come on, what have we done?!” The guy protested but nonetheless followed him. The man slowly exhaled. “These are just some bastards’ graves, and you act as if we robbed a bank!”
The man slowly exhaled again and didn’t answer anything. He neither wanted to start a skirmish with that brat nor stay in that place for long.
“So what.” They don’t even understand. Absolutely sincerely think that everything was alright.
But it wasn’t alright. The Gottfried family hasn’t seen many good things even in life, but now some creeps wouldn’t even let them find peace in death. Damn golden youth…
Even though it was his first time seeing it in the moonlight, the man remembered the way and didn’t stray for too long. The family crypt where the last Gottfrieds were resting could already be seen ahead. Overgrown with weeds, covered in spider webs, the place that nobody looked after.
He could’ve come here more often himself. However, he preferred to live rather than get obsessed with the dead.
In a minute or two, he was on the doorstep already…
“Stop!” He threw his hand to the side, right in the guy’s face, to stop him.
“What’s up?” He froze in surprise, not knowing what to expect from the man.
He also couldn’t say what to expect. He first smelled something sour, unpleasant, metallic in the darkness, and only then he noticed it. A familiar smell and a familiar scene… but in an unexpected place.
“Nothing,” he said abruptly and turned around to the guy. “Just stand still and come closer. I’ll explain everything later.”
Standing on the doorstep, he let his eyes adjust to the darkness. There they were—two corpses at the far wall. There was no doubt that the guys were dead.
…Yeah. It was going to be a great shock for his sister. First, her daughter went missing, now her son died.
He couldn’t stand his nephews—as well as his sister’s whole family—but he loved her. Besides, one thing was to dislike a nephew who followed in his father’s footsteps, but seeing his bloody, crippled body lying on the crypt’s floor was another.
The nephew was an exact copy of his father—both in appearance and in character. He had an unwavering self-confidence and a painful reaction to any insubordination. He was cruel, selfish, and had the desire and ability to go over the heads for the sake of his ambitions. Yeah, he wasn’t a very good person, but he still didn’t deserve this.
The niece… all the same could be applied to her too. As well as her brother, she thought she was above others. Still, if the guy was interested in power, she preferred simply showing off the fact of her privileged position. And I must say, she was quite good at it—she knew a lot about style and proper presentation of herself.
But… where did they both end up now?
The nephew’s friend was lying beside him. The one outside would’ve been there too if he had gone with them. Whoever did this, the boys could do nothing against him.
He looked at Sergey Gottfried’s grave. The guys didn’t even have time to open it. Whatever they were looking for here, everything happened very fast. And, surely, the culprit is already far away.
“Could it be that guy?” The man remembered the person he had seen at the cemetery exit. But… it was already too late to go after him, even if so. Besides, it was unlikely that the murderer would walk around so fearlessly after what he has done.
No, the rush won’t give anything. First… he needed to inspect the crime scene and examine the evidence.
So, they haven’t even touched the grave. The man moved his sight to the adjacent gravestones and started slowly inspecting them…
This is it. A large crack was going across one of the gravestones. It was too big to be a coincidence.
…To hell. He wouldn’t have dared to disturb the peace of the dead, but it was not the time to stand in the ceremony. The man came closer and pulled the gravestone that was barely staying in its place.
Somebody’s legs. However, the body didn’t look like it had been lying there since the funeral.
Yes, the corpse was fresh and completely unfamiliar. A surprised expression was embodied on its face. An abnormal tilt of the head indicated that the neck was broken with a single strong blow.
What the hell happened here? From logical to crazy, many different versions were creeping into his head, but it was too early to build theories.
Swallowing a lump in his throat, the man nervously chuckled. He looked at a cracked nameplate, froze for a couple of seconds, and then turned around to the exit.
An extra corpse in the grave was just half of the mystery. The second half was the disappearance of the body that was supposed to lie there.
“Uncle Sasha?” The guy was looking at him in surprise. Yeah, his face was probably reflecting everything he had just seen. “What’s there?”
“You’ll soon find out,” Alexander shook his head. He needed to call the people here, and then it was none of his business. Probably.
He looked at the graves again. Many familiar names were waking up his memories. That… had always been his business. The business he preferred to forget. The one he gave up to avoid further sacrifices.
They were all dead, and let God be with them. It was easier like this—to think that everything has ended and a new chapter started. Alexander had no idea what he would say. Let’s say, Arthur—if he was alive—how would he tell him about what happened? How would he explain why his sister, Arthur’s fiancée, married the one who was the reason for the Gottfrieds’ doom?
To be fair, Alexander wouldn’t even know how to look into his old friend’s eyes.