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The Ten-Year-Old Necromancer: Chapter Two, Part Two

by Horisun


The car engine is still running in the driveway. Through the window, my mom rests her head on the steering wheel. Her mouth is moving as though she’s in prayer, though neither of us have ever been particularly religious.

I drag my feet, letting my bag thump against each of the steps down the porch. When mom sees me, she pulls back the gearshift and straightens her back.

“Where are we going?” I say hoarsely, sliding into the car.

Mom doesn’t answer. As soon as I close the door behind me, the car moves in reverse, the rubber wheels groaning in protest.

We pull onto a highway. My fear melts into simple apprehension, and then just boredom. Through the glass, familiar landmarks disappear behind us, and before long, we’re nowhere I recognize.

The digital clock on the dashboard reads 3:56 when Mom pulls into a gas station. “Stay here,” she says, as she leaves me in the car and heads into the building. She comes back holding a bag of blue Doritos and a Sprite, and hands them to me without meeting my eye. “Here, we have a long drive ahead of us.”

Despite my nagging fear, I quickly polish both off. Yet, since Mom rarely let’s me eat anything she deems unhealthy, I can’t help but worry this is a ‘last meal’ of sorts.

We drive for many more hours. “Where are you taking me?” becomes- “Are we there yet?” -as the sky turns purple overhead. By the time we pull off the freeway and onto the gravel road, pinpricks of stars wink at me.

Mom maneuvers downhill at a snail’s pace. I fear if she lets go of the wheel, we would tumble down into the dark, twisting wilderness below us. It’s like clambering down a cliff face, just while carrying a-thousand-ton blue civic behind you.

We descend into the maw of a monster. I remember the swamp my class visited, but we are surely thousands of miles away by now.

As the ground evens out, Mom brings the car to a halt.

“Listen, Kim-“ she contorts herself to face me. Her eyes are red rimmed, and I realize, quite suddenly, she’d been crying, “-there’s quite a bit about your family you don’t know, but I’m really not the person to explain it all.”

“So you’re not sending me away?”

She shakes her head, and my heart plummets.

“Honey, I love you very much. And I promise it you won’t be here long. But home isn’t safe for you right now.”

My face burns, and I’m afraid my mom’s going to boot me from the car and leave me in the swamp to fend for myself. “You’re- you’re leaving me here?” I croak.

Moms eyes widen, “No, no.” She says quickly, “I’m taking you to your grandmas.”

Somehow, that’s worse. “You told me all my grandparents were dead.” I say slowly.

The guilt is written all over Moms face. With her mouth pressed into a thin line, she turns and starts the car again.

I can’t see out the window anymore. If I peer out windshield, the headlights barely illuminate anything at all; I don’t know how my Mom can drive like this, it’s as though we’re swimming through the deep sea.

We drive slowly for another twenty minutes. I can just make out the shapes of crowded thickets of trees, so close together, so close to me, I feel claustrophobic.

The car jumps and jitters, we might be off road now. I keep expecting us to slam straight into a tree, or slide into a pool of mud. The wet marsh slosh beneath our cars wheels.

“Are you trying to get us killed?” I murmur.

“That’s never worked here before.” My mom responds.

The trees part, but only slightly. Up ahead, there’s faint, flickering light, like a will-o-the-wisp. I pray my mom won’t drive for it, but of course, that’s where the car is heading.

We draw closer, and a witch’s hut comes into view. I can just barely make out the silhouette of a short and squat house with a billowing chimney. The glow from inside is warm, like it’s lit from a fireplace, but I’ve never seen a house that looks so cold.

The side of it is brick, with weeds and ivy crawling up the side of it. The plants weave back and forth in the nonexistent wind, and I wonder if ghosts haunt the gardens.

I think of the witch who must live here- tall and sharp with an unholy scowl. Surely, only the most wicked of people could call this place home.

My mom exhales a sigh as our car whimpers to a halt. Her arms fall limply beside her. “I know everything is super scary right now,” she says, “but your grandma is an amazing woman. I promise she’ll tell you everything.”

That’s the thing I’ve learned about grownups, they always lie.

We get out the car. My mom leads us to the front door, a single, green-tinged lamp illuminating it. I watch a moth flurry about the low hanging roof, wishing I too had wings to fly away.

I notice my mom hesitating before she knocks. Maybe if I ask really nicely, we could get back in the car and go home.

But then, she takes a breath and pounds on the door. Not a moment later, it swings open.

The woman standing there is much like the house itself, short and squat, yet terribly, terribly cold. Her skin, slightly darker than mine, is stretched thinly across her skull, as though she’s half dead. Her eyes are bloodshot orbs protruding from her head, though they’re entirely focused on Mom. Fear shivers up my spine, for this witch is death given flesh.

She doesn’t seem surprised to see my mom. Rather, her expression conveys something else entirely. Her withered hand quivers on the doorknob, and her voice shakes when she speaks.

“Amelia,” she says, “what do you want now?”

My mom’s eyebrows raise a fraction, “Beatrice, this is your granddaughter, Kimberly.”

She glances down at me, and I’m horrified to find a resemblance. We have the same rounded nose, the same uneven smile.

“Oh,” she says. Her nose wrinkles slightly, though more in confusion than anything. “I was starting to think I’d never get to meet you. Come on in.”

I wait for my mother to go first, but she doesn’t move.

“Mom,” I plead, gesturing inside.

She kneels down beside me, placing a hand on my arm, “I love you so very much, be good-“

“No!” I cry, “No, no, no! You can’t leave me here!” I hug her as tight as I can, sobbing, “Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!”

“Kim!” My mom shakes me off her. Grandma is standing awkwardly at the door, as though she’s not sure if she should intervene. “This is what’s best for you. Now, you are going to behave yourself for your grandmother.” She rises to her feet and takes several steps back, clutching her purse tightly to her chest. “I’ll see you soon.”

With that, mom disappears into the darkness. I hear the car start and drive away. I move to run after her, but my grandma grabs me by the shoulder.

“She should’ve stayed the night. I wouldn’t recommend driving through the swamp when it’s so dark out.”

I hate how amused my grandma sounds. I whirl around to face her, but she isn’t smiling.

“Why don’t you come in?” She asks again. Her grip is too tight, and I want to fight against her, but I find I don’t have the strength. “You must be hungry. I’ll prepare dinner. Then, we will talk.” 


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Fri Dec 09, 2022 8:06 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okayy well this went largely as predicted, except for it being a grandma that Amelia lied about. So gotta love an unexpected twist and also in general I liked the way this scene was handled here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The car engine is still running in the driveway. Through the window, my mom rests her head on the steering wheel. Her mouth is moving as though she’s in prayer, though neither of us have ever been particularly religious.

I drag my feet, letting my bag thump against each of the steps down the porch. When mom sees me, she pulls back the gearshift and straightens her back.

“Where are we going?” I say hoarsely, sliding into the car.


OKay well here we go. Its pretty clear right from the just that moment the mother spends in prayer that things are definitely not about to get any better and we're just getting more and more confirmations that her mother does in fact know something.

Mom doesn’t answer. As soon as I close the door behind me, the car moves in reverse, the rubber wheels groaning in protest.

We pull onto a highway. My fear melts into simple apprehension, and then just boredom. Through the glass, familiar landmarks disappear behind us, and before long, we’re nowhere I recognize.

The digital clock on the dashboard reads 3:56 when Mom pulls into a gas station. “Stay here,” she says, as she leaves me in the car and heads into the building. She comes back holding a bag of blue Doritos and a Sprite, and hands them to me without meeting my eye. “Here, we have a long drive ahead of us.”


Well, you definitely something is up when food needs to be bought in such a rush without stopping. I think you're capturing the feelings involved here quite well especially with how you show that progression of Kim's feelings. I feel you could perhaps try and show us that a bit more than what we have at the moment, but at the moment, it still works quite well I think.

Despite my nagging fear, I quickly polish both off. Yet, since Mom rarely let’s me eat anything she deems unhealthy, I can’t help but worry this is a ‘last meal’ of sorts.

We drive for many more hours. “Where are you taking me?” becomes- “Are we there yet?” -as the sky turns purple overhead. By the time we pull off the freeway and onto the gravel road, pinpricks of stars wink at me.

Mom maneuvers downhill at a snail’s pace. I fear if she lets go of the wheel, we would tumble down into the dark, twisting wilderness below us. It’s like clambering down a cliff face, just while carrying a-thousand-ton blue civic behind you.


Well that is certainly quite the terrifying sequence of events there, especially the way that Kim references the unhealthy food there. I wasn't sure if that would be something out the ordinary for them, but now that Kim has confirmed it is in fact something out of the ordinary I really can't help but almost agree with Kim on the last meal possibility.

“Listen, Kim-“ she contorts herself to face me. Her eyes are red rimmed, and I realize, quite suddenly, she’d been crying, “-there’s quite a bit about your family you don’t know, but I’m really not the person to explain it all.”

“So you’re not sending me away?”

She shakes her head, and my heart plummets.

“Honey, I love you very much. And I promise it you won’t be here long. But home isn’t safe for you right now.”


Aha well that confirms everything I needed to know, also gotta love the old our family is much crazier than you think it is trope. It is a bit of a trope, but I adore it somehow and you're definitely doing it pretty well so far, its not hard to imagine the reasoning behind why this would be kept hidden. Kim is also still quite young to be doing this sort of thing.

My face burns, and I’m afraid my mom’s going to boot me from the car and leave me in the swamp to fend for myself. “You’re- you’re leaving me here?” I croak.

Moms eyes widen, “No, no.” She says quickly, “I’m taking you to your grandmas.”

Somehow, that’s worse. “You told me all my grandparents were dead.” I say slowly.

The guilt is written all over Moms face. With her mouth pressed into a thin line, she turns and starts the car again.


Well that certainly makes things interesting. I was expecting some sort of distant uncle or aunt situation, but grandparents and once that Kim's mom has actively lied about, well that opens up a entirely different can of worms, let's see how this proceeds.

“Are you trying to get us killed?” I murmur.

“That’s never worked here before.” My mom responds.


Well if that isn't one of the most chilling throwaway lines I've seen in a long time, I really don't know what is. That is giving me more goose bumps than whatever creepy place it is they seem to be driving towards here.

The trees part, but only slightly. Up ahead, there’s faint, flickering light, like a will-o-the-wisp. I pray my mom won’t drive for it, but of course, that’s where the car is heading.

We draw closer, and a witch’s hut comes into view. I can just barely make out the silhouette of a short and squat house with a billowing chimney. The glow from inside is warm, like it’s lit from a fireplace, but I’ve never seen a house that looks so cold.

The side of it is brick, with weeds and ivy crawling up the side of it. The plants weave back and forth in the nonexistent wind, and I wonder if ghosts haunt the gardens.


Okayy, now I do have to ask, what exactly makes this a witch's hat specifically and not just a regular hut in the middle of a creepy swamp. You can get away with a lot of these things because of Kim's age but even she calls it a hut a bit later so randomly calling it a witch hat seems too out of left field given Kim knows nothing about this part of the family yet so even if that is an actual witch hut with a witch that's too much of a conclusion to just jump to even for a ten year old.

My mom exhales a sigh as our car whimpers to a halt. Her arms fall limply beside her. “I know everything is super scary right now,” she says, “but your grandma is an amazing woman. I promise she’ll tell you everything.”

That’s the thing I’ve learned about grownups, they always lie.


Well, that's an interesting moment. I am definitely inclined to trust Kim's mother here, and I can get what Kim's thinking here because her mother just showed she was lying earlier but something about the way its written here makes it feel more like this is a future Kim saying that more than the one in that moment.

We get out the car. My mom leads us to the front door, a single, green-tinged lamp illuminating it. I watch a moth flurry about the low hanging roof, wishing I too had wings to fly away.

I notice my mom hesitating before she knocks. Maybe if I ask really nicely, we could get back in the car and go home.

But then, she takes a breath and pounds on the door. Not a moment later, it swings open.

Well clearly that person knew they were coming from several miles away and was probably listening to that conversation too. Or at the very least that's the effect this particular entrance is giving off here.

The woman standing there is much like the house itself, short and squat, yet terribly, terribly cold. Her skin, slightly darker than mine, is stretched thinly across her skull, as though she’s half dead. Her eyes are bloodshot orbs protruding from her head, though they’re entirely focused on Mom. Fear shivers up my spine, for this witch is death given flesh.

She doesn’t seem surprised to see my mom. Rather, her expression conveys something else entirely. Her withered hand quivers on the doorknob, and her voice shakes when she speaks.


Well that is certainly not someone who seems to care too much about her appearance there, either that or there's some sort of costume party situation going on and I highly doubt its the latter.

“Amelia,” she says, “what do you want now?”

My mom’s eyebrows raise a fraction, “Beatrice, this is your granddaughter, Kimberly.”

She glances down at me, and I’m horrified to find a resemblance. We have the same rounded nose, the same uneven smile.

“Oh,” she says. Her nose wrinkles slightly, though more in confusion than anything. “I was starting to think I’d never get to meet you. Come on in.”


Well isn't that fun... at the very least it seems that Beatrice isn't exactly hostile although I definitely detect that this family isn't normally on the best of terms here, or at the very least they remain distant enough from each other they might as well be strangers to some degree. I definitely get the feeling Kim's mom here chose a path that Beatrice didn't exactly want her to and that's pulled them apart.

I wait for my mother to go first, but she doesn’t move.

“Mom,” I plead, gesturing inside.

She kneels down beside me, placing a hand on my arm, “I love you so very much, be good-“

“No!” I cry, “No, no, no! You can’t leave me here!” I hug her as tight as I can, sobbing, “Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!”

“Kim!” My mom shakes me off her. Grandma is standing awkwardly at the door, as though she’s not sure if she should intervene. “This is what’s best for you. Now, you are going to behave yourself for your grandmother.” She rises to her feet and takes several steps back, clutching her purse tightly to her chest. “I’ll see you soon.”


Well, that was definitely some lies there. I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised about that, but I guess I really though Amelia would hang around there given quite how protective of Kim she seemed earlier at the school.

With that, mom disappears into the darkness. I hear the car start and drive away. I move to run after her, but my grandma grabs me by the shoulder.

“She should’ve stayed the night. I wouldn’t recommend driving through the swamp when it’s so dark out.”

I hate how amused my grandma sounds. I whirl around to face her, but she isn’t smiling.

“Why don’t you come in?” She asks again. Her grip is too tight, and I want to fight against her, but I find I don’t have the strength. “You must be hungry. I’ll prepare dinner. Then, we will talk.”


Well, at the very least Beatrice here seems like a nice enough lady, not exactly the type of grandma to bake you cookies and knit you socks, but she doesn't seem the type to trap children in gingerbread houses either.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this is a solid chapter two here. We're immediately getting a solution to a problem and being shown this alternate world. I like how little this answers our questions too, only really adding to the pile here, it balances nicely between giving us enough to confirm a few suspicions while opening quite a bit more so that we definitely find ourselves wanting to read that next chapter.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




Horisun says...


Thank you for the review!



KateHardy says...


You're Welcome!!



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Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:42 am
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hello!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

I really like how things are progressing in the story. I found this chapter to be a lot more smoother in its transitions, punctuations and tense. You did a very good job of portraying Kimberly's emotions. At times, I could feel her apprehension growing as time lapsed and they continued driving. And yet, even in the middle of all that tension, her age is again so very apparent in her narration. I loved easy it was for me to build her character in my head. Usually, I find it a little hard to connect with first-person POVs, but you have given Kimberly such a strong narrative voice, that it instantaneously makes us care for this person and feel connected with her.

I also liked the light humor that appeared as a much needed tension breaker for Kimberly. Her way of perceiving things is rather light hearted and it made me empathize with her all the more because it highlights her innocence and reminds us that she is way too young for her world to turn upside down like this. That said, I think you should focus on that aspect of the story a little more. Kimberly is definitely nervous and a little scared, but her disbelief should be strong enough for us to believe it. I just think she isn't really really addressing how insanely crazy all this is.

Now coming to the plot, I was a little surprised that her mother left her like that without any explanation or justification or even some forethought. She appears to be visually shaken and conflicted and on a level, I can really relate with her. She is the grown up who has to do the right thing by her daughter, no matter what it takes. However, it is a little difficult for us to empathize with her when we don't know her reasons. Hopefully, we will get more explanations as we move on!

As for the character of the grandmother, I really liked the way you have built Kimberly's perception of her. She is equal parts creepy and horrifying and while I do feel sorry for Kimberly, I have a feeling that things are not exactly what they seem to be right now. Buried family secrets are one of my favorite tropes, so I really can't wait to find out why Kimberly's grandmother has been living in the middle of the woods quite literally like a witch abolished from society.

My fear melts into simple apprehension, and then just boredom.

This sentence is so typical of a child's reaction, it really made me smile.

That’s the thing I’ve learned about grownups, they always lie.

In the middle of all the tense uncertainty, this line hit really hard as it reminds us that though Kimberly is only ten years old, her maturity exceeds her age. She perceives and understands more than an average child and this line just shows how capable she is of recognizing the hard truths of the adult world and accepting them.

Maybe if I ask really nicely, we could get back in the car and go home.

This line in all its simple innocence made me laugh out loud!

With that, mom disappears into the darkness. I hear the car start and drive away.

I thought this part was a little rushed. This is a pretty significant and terrifying moment and I think it could become more impactful if you had slowed down a little in this part.

That's all!

Keep writing and have a great day!




Horisun says...


Thank you so much for the review! I'm glad you called me out on the line where her mom drives away, because I mayyy have been getting a little lazy at that point, lol! Definitely something I'll have to fix later down the line.



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Mon Sep 26, 2022 4:07 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



I have no idea if Beatrice or Amelia should be trusted. Amelia didn’t even explain things to Kim. She just sent her to the mysterious Beatrice. If I’m not mistaken, Kim’s villain arc is about to begin. It’s very rare to see someone good come out of this situation. Maybe Kim will be a hero. Who knows? I wonder if she’ll see or hear about her beloved father…Maybe he too is a monster. I wish you a lovely day/night.





The emperor is rich, but he can't buy another day.
— Chinese Proverb