When Craig arrived home from the cemetery, he carried Lara's corpse into the house. With much effort, he managed to bring it upstairs and place it into the bathtub. He cut away her clothing with scissors and filled the tub half way with warm water. He wet and soaped up a washcloth and wiped away the dirt. Although Lara's body felt cold and slightly clammy to the touch and exuded an odor of decay, he enjoyed touching it. He knew that he was being a pervert, a necrophile, but she was so beautiful and had such a perfect body, he could not help himself. After he had removed the grime of the grave from her, he shampooed her hair.
He let the water out of the tub and took the largest towel he could find to dry her off. While she was in the tub, he dried her legs and arms and the front of her body. Once that was done, he lifted her onto the bathroom rug, turned her over and dried her back and her hair. He combed her hair to remove the snags, carried her into the bedroom and carefully laid her on his bed.
For a while, he gazed at her nude body lying there. The makeup that the mortician had applied was gone. Her skin was grayish green in color, and she had bruises where he had touched her. In the condition she was in, he was slightly repulsed. He even felt a little bit queasy, recalling what he done while she was in the bathtub. His thoughts turned dark. He wondered whether he was going mad, digging up dead bodies and hoping to bring them back to life. It was not how he pictured himself. But what was done was done. He might as well finish what he started out to do. He covered Lara up with a blanket and left the room to look for Morgaine.
The cat was sitting in front of the fireplace cleaning itself. By telepathy it remarked, "Seem to be clouding up outside. I'm afraid that we're in for a little rain."
"Enough chitchat about the weather. I've cleaned up Lara's corpse . What do I do now?"
"Find the proper incantation to bring her back from the dead. There should be one in the Necronomicon, I would think."
"Will she truly be alive? Or will she a corpselike decaying creature with gray clammy skin?"
"Oh no. She will be just like any other living woman, with all the warmth necessary to give you pleasure. Her beauty too will return."
"What about her mind? Will she be simply a zombie who does only what I order?"
The cat licked its paws for a moment as though considering its reply. "She will have an intact mind but will be so in love with you that she will do anything that you want her to do. Of course as soon as she comes to life you must give her that love potion that I had you prepare."
"So, I'll be able to converse with just like I'm doing with you right now."
"Absolutely. Of course, you and she will have to use actual sounds. I don't know whether there'll be any telepathic connection."
"You swear that you're telling the truth?"
The cat raised its paw. "I swear on my mistress Lilith's will. May she pitch me into the lowest hell if I told you any falsehoods just now."
Although Craig was still suspicious, he realized that he had no choice but to believe her. He recalled the way Lara looked in that mirror the first time he saw her and thought about his loneliness. He must go through with whatever came next. He cast away his doubts and went to the wall safe and removed the Necronomicon. He shuddered as he touched it. The book gave off evil emanations that were disturbing. His mind filled with wicked thoughts. He wanted to go back upstairs and touch the corpse in inappropriate ways. He desired to do murder. He wanted to steal. He shouted out a stream of blasphemous words. The thoughts whirling through his mind frightened him. He quickly dropped the Necronomicon on the coffee table as though he held something burning hot.
He sat down on the sofa and did not touch the book. He shivered, terrified of its power to send psychotic thoughts through his mind. Suddenly, a loud crack of thunder sounded and lightning lit up the gloomy room momentarily. The cover of the Necronomicon opened and pages rapidly flipped. He gazed at the page uncovered. It was titled, Bringing a Corpse to Life. It contained instructions on how to perform an incantation that would bring the dead back to life.
The storm broke with fury. Lightning flashed every few seconds, followed by loud thunder that shook the house. The wind gusted wildly rattling the windows and driving the torrent of rain against the house with a sound as though it was being attacked by an army of machine gunners.
Without touching the book, he read over the conjuration to be performed. He got up from the sofa and gathered the items that he would need and placed them on the coffee table next to the book. They included several bottles, a long black robe, a pointed lead cap engraved with mystical signs, a charcoal crayon, string, measuring instruments, nails, wax candles, and a brass brazier.
He rolled up the carpet and moved all the furniture against the walls to make a large cleared area in the middle of the living room. In the center of this he pounded a nail into the floor and tied a string to it. He measured off the proper distance and tied a piece of charcoal to the other end of the string. He used this to draw a large circle. Inside the large circle he drew a smaller circle. In the space between the two circles, he wrote mystical symbols along the circumference as indicated by the instructions in the Necronomicon. Within the inner circle he drew a pentagram.
He went upstairs and uncovered Lara's corpse. To his horror, her lips were curled into a smile. Had they been like that? He tried to recall. It seemed that her expression had been bland before. Perhaps it has something to do with rigor mortis, he thought. He lifted her off the bed and brought her downstairs. He laid her on the pentacle he had drawn.
He donned the robe and cap and poured the bottle's contents, a noxious mixture of laurel leaf juice, camphor, salt white resin and sulfur into the brazier and lit it, filling the room with evil fumes. When the liquid burned away, Along the perimeter of the larger circle at primary points of the compass, due north, east, south and west, he placed black candles and lit them. He filled the brazier with hemlock and henbane and poured camphor and brandy over the herbs, which he fired. More noxious fumes drifted over the corpse. He took out his ceremonial dagger and cut a vein in his wrist. He allowed several drops of blood to drip on Lara's forehead.
Now he was ready to perform the ceremonial part of the incantation. He checked the Necronomicon to make sure he had all the words right. Once he was sure he had them memorized, he raised his arms. In a loud, commanding voice, he chanted the words of power that would bring Lara back to life. The room grew dark and a chill permeated it. The flickering candles and the light from the flaming brazier cast shadows that loomed like monstrous beasts ready to strike. Outside the storm raged with more fury than ever.
Craig continued to repeat the incantation in a loud voice three times. On the third repetition the room trembled. There came a rumbling as though an earth tremor had rocked the house. Morgaine, the cat, leaped upon Lara's chest and placed her lips close to the corpse's as though she was going to kiss it. A kind of mist or vapor came from the cat's mouth and entered the mouth of the corpse. A moment later the cat vanished, and Lara opened her eyes.
Craig knelt down by her side. All the grayness had left her skin. It was a healthy rosy pink. There was no longer the odor of death about her. He touched her arm. It felt like living flesh. At his touch, she turned her head to gaze at him. He lifted her head and put the love potion to her lips. "Drink this."
After she swallowed the liquid, she smiled and wound her arms about his neck. "Craig darling, I'm alive."
"How do you know my name?" he asked still in a daze after the wonders he had just witnessed.
"What does that matter? Kiss me."
He obeyed. Her tongue darted into his mouth, and she hugged him tightly. One of her hands took hold of his hand and pressed it against her breast. Craig forgot everything then. He was in some kind of enchanted bewitchment, a heaven on earth. He tore off his clothes and pressed his body against her. Ecstasy followed ecstasy. No heaven could be joyful as he felt that moment. This was what he had been waiting for his whole life. He whispered in her ear, "I love you, Lara."
"I love you too, Craig."
They made love several more times until Craig was exhausted and fell asleep right there on the living room floor.
* * *
Sunlight streamed through the living room windows, and Craig opened his eyes. He was lying alone on the bare floor on the pentagram he had drawn. The candles had been extinguished. Neither Lara nor her corpse were anywhere around. Craig sobbed. Had what transpired the evening before been simply a wonderful dream? As he rose and began to dress, he smelled the odor of frying bacon from the kitchen.
When he entered the kitchen, he found Lara, naked except for an apron, cooking bacon and eggs. Coffee was brewing in the coffee maker. Two places were set on the kitchen table. Lara turned and smiled broadly, lighting up Craig's world. "Good morning, sleepyhead."
"Good morning, Lara." He went over by her and kissed her on the cheek. She put down the food turner she was holding and turned off the stove. She wound her arms around his neck and kissed him properly. They stayed locked in embrace for a long time. Finally she said, "Breakfast is ready. We have all day to make love."
"Okay." He allowed her to finish her cooking and sat down at the table. In a couple minutes, everything was prepared. Lara place bacon, eggs and toast on their plates and poured two cups of coffee and two glasses of orange juice.
As they ate, Craig asked, "What was it like being dead?"
Lara shrugged. "Was I dead? I recall being in Michael's house and collapsing. The next thing I knew, I was on your living room floor naked." She giggled. "It was funny. As soon as I drank that stuff you gave me, I knew who you were and that I loved you dearly."
"What about Michael? Do you still have feeling for him?"
She shook her head. "I don't think so. In fact I wonder what I ever saw in him."
"You know, I was told that you're Russian and have only been in this country a short time. I expected you to have a Russian accent."
"Actually, I believe I did have one before I woke up here. I used to call Michael, Mikhail. You say, I was dead. Did you revive me? Are you a doctor?"
"Not exactly. I'm a necromancer."
She chuckled. "Are you saying that you used magic to bring me back to health? Are you pulling my leg?"
"You may not believe me, but it's true."
"And how did I get here?"
Craig did not want to tell her that he had robbed her grave. "The doctors at the hospital had pronounced you dead. They were going to put you in the morgue. I spirited you away."
"So you kidnapped me. That's naughty. But the way I feel about you, I don't care. Tell me about this magic spell you used to cure me."
Craig described the procedure he had used. "The strangest thing was that Morgaine vanished at the same moment that you came alive."
"Morgaine? Do you have another woman?" Her eyes flashed angrily.
"Morgaine is my cat. At the very moment that I pronounced the words that brought you back from the dead, Morgaine leaped upon your chest and vanished."
"What? Oh Craig, I think you're making this all up. You're like Michael, believing in the occult and that you can do sorcery." She pursed her lips in a pout. "Nonetheless I won't ask you any more questions about it."
"Tell me about yourself. Where were you
born and raised? Why did you come to
"Well ... I was born in a suburb of
The Morgaine Series of E-books can be obtained at Renaissance Page Turner Editions On Page Turner Editions, click on Futures/Past SF/F/H and then on Fantasy. At other online booksellers search on Author - Vadalma. Also available on Page Turner Editions and online booksellers, Raven Lenore, Psychic Investigator, a series featuring the character Raven Lenore from the Morgaine series.