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Benighted: (2) The Case of Elmo Moretti

by Delsy Gonzalez 9 months ago in Series
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Investigative necromancer Zelmyr receives a bizarre request from a nephew with a deceased uncle.

Zelmyr glanced over the young man who opened the door. “Mr. Moretti?”

“You can call me Guido,” the man said with a small smile. He extended his hand toward the visitor.

Zelmyr’s eyes moved toward the offered gesture before he swallowed and gave a polite nod. “You called regarding something in terms of your uncle?”

Guido flexed his fingers and gave an awkward clearing of his throat. He lowered his arm, moving aside after. “Yeah. Thanks for coming. Glad you could make it actually.” He motioned toward his apartment’s interior. “Come on in.”

Zelmyr took one step forward, peering into the home before entering it. He noted the wooden floors, the couches placed in a semicircle, the rug beneath said couches, and the coffee table in the center. When he proceeded further, he noticed pictures along the walls, a television set positioned parallel to the entrance, and a shelf lined with numerous trinkets. A kitchen stood ahead toward the right with a hallway located adjacent to it. From there, the details disappeared into darkness.

Guido watched him briefly while gently closing the door. “Um…this shouldn’t be long. Let me just get…” His sentence trailed off as he stood to the right, merely a couple paces from the door. He scanned over the figurines on the shelf before him. “This one was his favorite. It has the most ties to him because he got it when he was a kid, and it meant a lot to him.”

Taking his attention away from the apartment’s interior, Zelmyr’s eyes found him. The young man had not explained much over the phone—only that this was about an urgent matter concerning the uncle.

A matter that police supposedly had been unable to solve.

Guido picked up a small golden bull from the shelf. “He got this over in Spain. There used to be a matador in front of it, but it broke off.” He chuckled lightly while facing his visitor. “That’s why the bull looks kinda angry here.” He held the item out toward the other man. “Here. This should help you communicate with Uncle Elmo, right?”

Zelmyr began lifting his gloved hand toward the figurine, but stopped as soon as he heard what was said. “I’m sorry? Communicate?”

“Yeah.” This visitor really was an odd one—almost as though he was nervous or unsure about something. Guido had heard about the man’s praises though, and he knew someone who worked directly with the quiet inspector or whatever he was. “My Uncle Elmo’s dead. I just wanna know who killed him. You could do that, right? My brother, Vinnie and I have been looking for his murderers, and the police don’t got any leads. Vinnie and I trust you to find out who it is.”

Zelmyr stared at him. This had been the first time that anyone had ever asked him to perform a mortis-communication ritual. He had rarely stated that he could do such a thing, but he supposed that people would assume.

Guido remained holding out the figurine. “You could do that, right?” he repeated.

Zelmyr’s bright-colored gaze roamed along the face of the other as he prevented himself from swallowing again. “Did you hear that from somewhere, Mr. Guido? I’m just curious…”

Guido put on a sideways grin. “We figured you were into that stuff. Remember when you helped out on the Rosalyn deal? She’s Vinnie’s ex-girlfriend. The way that you explained that you could feel life and death threads—come on…it’s pretty obvious.” He chuckled again.

Zelmyr quietly cleared his throat. He did remember the case with Rosalyn Truman. It was about four months back, and he had found the young woman barely clinging to life. It had been why her life and death threads kept crisscrossing.

“So…?” Guido held the bull figurine up higher now.

Zelmyr assessed the item for a second or two before slowly reaching forward to take it. The animal was in a defensive stance—head lowered with the lip curled upward. The artwork was pretty detailed.

Guido shoved his hands into his pocket with an exhale through his nose. “I guess that’s it then? You’ll call me if you get anything?”

Zelmyr turned the figurine in his hand to inspect it more closely. The question had him returning his attention to the man. “Yes, Mr. Guido. I will give you a call if I find anything.”

“Good. Thank you. Vinnie’s gone nuts with this, and he could use some peace of mind. We both could.”

Despite the situation being an odd one, the investigative necromancer went home that evening to get started on the ritual required for the case. He could have saved it for tomorrow, but the moon held much power tonight; and thus, he would get to work.

Zelmyr had grabbed one of his herbal oils, and dipped a brush in them to draw a circle onto the floor. Within the circle, he sprinkled soft blue powders. He set the bull figurine amongst the powders before dripping some of the aforementioned oils over it. It was not long after all of this when he sat on his haunches in front of his design and closed his eyes.

As he began to mutter a spell, he rested his hands along his thighs and concentrated on the energy around him. If Guido’s uncle was indeed attached to this bull figurine, then the deceased man’s shade would feel its phantasmal molecules being pulled toward it. The oils enhanced the “scent” of the uncle’s former life energies, and the powders protected the space in case the intangible visitor was hostile.

After Zelmyr finished reciting the spell, his eyes opened to the dim room in which he sat. He gingerly lifted one hand to pour a nearby pitcher of water into a crystal glass. He then took the glass and set it beside the bull. The water would open up a portal in case the shade became lost on its journey.

The seconds ticked.

The seconds became minutes.

And after the fifth minute, a tender breeze wafted past Zelmyr’s left ear. He kept his eyes forward as his bare hands picked up the thickening atmosphere. A faraway presence entered, and it made itself visible in the form of a faded torso with a jaw, chin, and mouth but nothing else to the rest of the face. The image was wispy white—almost string-like in appearance with barely any discernible details.

“Mr. Elmo Moretti? My name is Zelmyr. I was summoned by your nephew—Guido Moretti—to reach out to you.”

The shade’s form undulated as though it were a flag in the wind. A long and strained exhale sounded from it, but no words were spoken.

Zelmyr studied it closely. Many shades or apparitions needed time to adjust and figure out their locations first. To be conjured in this format sometimes took a toll on them since they might not have known they were dead, or in some instances, they had forgotten who they were. Others aimlessly wandered far and off to unknown locations before being called here, disorienting them further.

In essence, shades were tricky to deal with—unlike direct spirits, which were a completely different subject. Shades could more or less be described as the residual afterlife forms of the departed.

It was how Zelmyr would explain it to others anyway.

After a couple moments, the necromancer cautiously reached forward to set two of his bare fingertips against the bull figurine. “Mr. Moretti…”

There was a sharp intake of breath from the space within the circle. Then a croaky voice followed. “Guiiiido…”

“Yes. Yes, Mr. Moretti. Guido, your nephew, has some questions for you.”


“Yes.” Zelmyr silently cleared his throat. “You recall him. He wants to know if—”


Zelmyr stopped speaking instantly. Oftentimes, a shade wanted to reestablish elements that it recalled of its life; but the fact that this one kept repeating the same name in lower yet louder octaves each time—this warranted curiosity.

“Guiiiidooo, ssstop! Nooo!”

With his fingertips still on the bull, Zelmyr suddenly received a burning sensation in three parts of his chest as though he had been attacked. This caused him to exhale sharply, his breathing threatening to become heavier and more ragged.

However, what came next almost made him collapse.

His entire head pounded with a fury—reminiscent of an explosion within his skull. Elmo had been shot through the face some weeks ago, and Zelmyr felt the aftermath of the agonizing event.

His eyes slid shut as he attempted to contain the onslaught of abrupt pain. An eerie howl arose inside of the room, and the air rapidly dropped in temperature. Mental images of Guido’s apartment flashed through the necromancer’s head—images of bloody walls and a corpse hunched over the coffee table.

It took a moment for Zelmyr to pull his fingers from the figurine while releasing another heavy breath. It was a breath that formed in the cold air in front of him. “Mr. Moretti…” he whispered in the abrupt silence. He glanced toward the area in front of him, seeing that the shade had vanished, and all its energies had gone with it.

“…it was Mr. Guido…who took your life…”


About the author

Delsy Gonzalez

An eclectic collection of the fictional and nonfictional story ideas that have accumulated in me over the years. They range from all different sorts of genres.

I hope you enjoy diving into the world of my mind's constant creative workings.

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