Chapter 3 - Ci-Ci: Crystallized Soul

 
I stare into the small diamond that holds Justin’s soul. If I had time to prepare, I could have gotten a sapphire and used that. Typically, they last much longer than diamonds. Diamonds are for quick usage, if they’re used at all; I’m surprised this one managed to hold onto a soul for so long. 

The night Justin died was Halloween, but we weren’t passing out candy to neighborhood kids. Instead we were trying to hunt down a child vampire. He had been turned by accident and clawed his way out of the grave. Nobody wants to stake a child, and we didn’t intend to. Justin had this idea of turning the kid over to a group of benevolent vampires we knew. He had hoped they’d take care of the kid and give him a safe home where he could learn that slitting throats wasn’t the best way to feed. 

We thought we had the kid cornered; I can still hear Justin screaming. I thought he was telling the kid to back down, or leave someone alone. I rounded the corner and there he was, body covered in what looked like tab wounds but no knife was anywhere near and they were deep. I did what I could with magic to seal up his wounds, but it just wasn’t enough. I knew he would die, without ever waking up to give me his last words. There was no one around, and I didn’t have time to go looking for a killer that didn’t leave any obvious evidence.  

I rushed him home as fast as I could and skimmed through my spell books as fast as I could. I knew regular medical treatment wouldn’t be enough. In the end, I couldn’t find any solution that would heal him, or even wake him up. In the end I found a spell that could trap a soul inside of a gemstone. I broke the diamond from my wedding band, and cast the spell. At first, I didn’t think it worked, as his body was still there, breathing as if nothing was wrong. But it did, slowly the gem began to change over time. Grow a little bigger to encase his soul, the color changed from almost crystal clear to a bluish hue, the color of his soul from what I understand.  

This little shop of oddities is what helped me understand what I had done. For now, his soul isn’t free to pass on from this Earth. Heaven, Hell, Anubis, or whatever waits after this life is out of reach for him. I feel bad for trapping him there, but it was for his own good. With time drawing closer, I need to get a husk, and the shop has just what I’m looking for. 

Madame Griselda’s is a mess on the inside. Magic tomes placed on shelves with no common theme, trinkets alongside real ingredients. From what I was told Madame Griselda died long ago, and the shop just remained in the family, although the current owner doesn’t have much interest. I rummage through unaided by the shop keeper, a young man with dyed white hair that I don’t recognize from any of my previous visits, likely a new hire.  

I know exactly what I’m looking for, a premium husk. A dehydrated human, almost like a mummy, almost like beef jerky. Organs and everything else is intact. They’re classic dark magic, murdered through a spell that turns their bodies into these forms. The soul leaves the body after death, but the body can be brought back with the right spell. From there, you can place any soul you want inside. Doesn’t matter what kind, human, animal or something else. I choose the husk labeled “male” and make my way to the front counter.  

“You don’t want that,” the boy says to me. 

“Excuse me?” 

“Those things, they never turn out how you expect.” 

“I know what I’m doing,” I don’t. 

“I don’t think you do.” 

“And you do?” 

“No, that’s why I leave them alone,” he rolls his eyes as if he’s just said something brilliant. 

“So you know even less than me. Thank you for your insight,” I bow. 

“Look, if you don’t believe me, that’s fine. But, go down to the Shadow Realm tonight, and take a look. They mess with dark magic all the time. I heard they’re doing a revival tonight. Go check it out if you think I’m lying,” he’ sincere. 

“Sure, I’ll check it out,” I won’t. 

“I don’t believe you.” 

“Just wring me up so I can be on your way. Once things leave this shop, it isn’t any of your concern what happens. On top of that, I used to work as a cashier. You’re not even supposed to comment on what a person is buying.”  

“Fine,” he says typing into the register and taking my card. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you when some kind of twisted monster returns begging for death.”  

That young man is barely old enough to be a little brother to me. I know he only has my best interest at heart. The world needs more people like that. People who care about a stranger's life enough to say something instead of wait for the chaos to take place. Unfortunately for him, my mind is already made up. If he was warning me of bad sea food or something like that, I might have taken his word for it but this is something entirely different. Just something I have to do.  

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