Curse of the Necromancer: Jigsaw of Souls Series Book 1
Curse of the Necromancer: Jigsaw of Souls Series Book 1
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The dead walk. And only one man can end their reign of terror…
For Vincent Donnelly, waking up in a field in the middle of nowhere was just the beginning. Frantic and terrified, he has no idea who he is, or how he got there. Nor does he know the five dead bodies lying next to him. All he knows for sure is that he hears whispering in his head. Voices that are not his own…
With no memories or friends to rely on, Vincent finds himself drawn to the town of Alder Falls. Somehow, he is certain this place is connected to his hazy past. But the local townsfolk urge him to leave before nightfall. For when the sun sets, the dead walk these shadowy streets and prey upon the living.
A chance encounter in town reveals that the voices in Vincent's head are the memories of lost souls, trapped within his shattered mind. Including a powerful necromancer, who has amassed the army of corpses plaguing the town. To solve the mystery of his past, Vincent must exorcise this sinister enemy from the confines of his mortal shell.
But setting such an evil presence free could unleash an even deadlier power. A being of pure darkness, who hungers for Vincent’s soul…
The field was secluded, over a mile from the nearest road. There was an altar next to the remains of what had been a large bonfire. The earth and surrounding grass were scorched black. Grass and weeds were trampled in a large circle. It had been a gathering of some size. More people than the corpses left behind.
The grass was cold and wet when Vincent awoke. Morning dew. He felt the cold all the way through himself. The situation had been disorienting. He remembered thinking he must have gotten drunk. But he could not remember where or why.
He sat up. The sky was overcast, and the sun had been little more than a white smudge behind a foggy gray cloud cover. He saw the altar first, a simple stone pillar with scorch marks across it. Then the remains of the fire. Large, half-burned pieces of timber and stumps. There was something that looked like rib bones.
When he got to his feet, he saw a person in the grass a few yards away. He went to them, asking if they needed help, who they were, and what was going on. It was easy to see why they were not answering, however. The man in the grass was dead. His throat had been slit from ear to ear. The wound was deep and angry-looking. Someone had nearly removed his head. His eyes had been open, morning dew beading on them.
There were other bodies. A woman who had perhaps been attractive once. She was stabbed again and again from the looks of her clothes. Bloody wounds all over her body. And then there was an older man, his bald head crushed somehow. His brain was exposed, and Vincent nearly vomited.
The last two bodies were further away. A lanky-looking man whose head was twisted right around so that Vincent couldn’t see his face. And then the last one. Vincent stared at that one the longest. It was a child. He guessed no more than six or seven years of age. He could see no sign of trauma on that one. But the young boy’s eyes were open and milky white. He was freezing cold to the touch. As dead as the others.
There were signs of more bodies in the fire. Bones and a few discernible limbs. The fire must have burned long after they were thrown in, however. To burn them away so completely. Vincent could not begin to imagine what had happened.
He fell to his knees there, among the death and ruin. Tears stung at his eyes as he struggled to make sense of it. But he couldn’t remember. Not just the surrounding faces, but his own. He couldn’t even remember his own name.
He didn’t know how long he had sat there in the field. The cold glow of the sun didn’t seem to change at all. It may have only been minutes. He had so many images in his head, but none of them had made sense. None were arranged in any kind of logical order. He felt like he was watching TV with someone who kept clicking through the channels.
“Where are we?” a voice asked then. The voice was very calm and quiet, masculine but oddly soothing. Vincent yelped when he heard it. He hadn’t meant to, but it was such a surprise to hear someone. He thought someone had sneaked right up on him at first. Somehow got right against his ear to speak the words. But there was no one there.
Fix’s voice had been soft but insistent. Later, Vincent came to think Fix would make for a good therapist. His voice was always level. The fact he was calm was perplexing to Vincent. If anyone had less reason to be calm than Vincent, it was Fix.
“Who are you?” Vincent asked. He scrambled back from the disembodied voice. But there was no one to flee, to protect himself from.
“I don’t know,” Fix said. “Who are you?”
“I don’t know,” Vincent answered in a whisper. “Where are you?”
There was a long pause then. Vincent was shaking, from the cold, and from panic and fear. He tried to force his memory to work. His name should have been at the tip of his tongue. But it was not.
“I don’t know,” Fix answered. “Why don’t I know?”
“I can hear you in my head,” Vincent said. The voice was not coming from close by. No ghostly whisper or trick of sound. It was in his head.
“I don’t understand,” Fix said. Vincent laughed, a nervous kind of bark.
“You tell me,” he said.
“Can you hold up your hand in front of your face, please,” Fix asked.
“Please,” Fix said again. His voice was so even and reasonable. Vincent tried to take a calming breath. He raised his hand and looked at it. There were scratches on the back and palm.
“That’s not my hand,” Fix said.
“No. It’s mine,” Vincent agreed.
“But I see it. I see it in front of my eyes. Your eyes?”
Vincent looked at both of his hands, then turned to look at the bodies.
“Is that me?” Fix asked. Vincent was looking at the body with its head twisted around. He took a deep breath.
“I don’t... do you want me to look at the face?”
“No. No, thank you,” Fix said. “I don’t want that.”
“Are you dead?” Vincent asked. The words made him feel stupid. But nothing made sense. What difference did a ghostly voice in his head make now?
“I don’t know. Do you think I am dead?”
Vincent felt tears welling in his eyes again. He tried to calm himself, tried to adjust his breathing. He told himself it would be okay. He would figure this out. He could fix whatever happened. He had to.
“I can’t remember anything,” Vincent said.
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