The wind, blowing from the west, felt like the claws of time as they scoured the late evening air, drawing deep furrows of startled motion in the unbroken expanse of tall grass. It took something of the world with it as it passed. Its harvest was nothing great. It made no deep, bloody gouges from flesh and mind, but rather, stole the little things, bits and pieces of yourself that you didn't hold on tightly to because you didn't know you had to. The little fragments you would never miss, that you would never even realise were gone. It was a desiccating wind.
Amidst the cringing grass, a young man walked against the wind.
His cloak whipped wildly about him as he strode, extending in a vibrant shadow behind him. Although it whipped, the cloak did not whip with the wind. Rather, it danced to a different tune, following the arrhythmic cadence of the man's troubled heart. It tugged at his limbs as though seeking to halt his motion, or perhaps even drag him back.
As the man continued his unerring stride, his destination became clear. Standing alone in the sea of whistling long grass was a great oak tree, as indomitable as it was forlorn. It towered over its lesser neighbours, a king among paupers, having stood silent sentry for the past eighteen years. Beneath the tree was a small cairn of stones, marked only by a plain headstone which bore the crudely carved initials "S.V.".
The young man, reaching the grave, stood before it silently for a few minutes. At first, his lips were too dry to speak. Then he was tongue tied. He was thinking very carefully about what he wanted to say.
"Look at me, father," whispered the young man at last to the gravestone. "It is I, Vincent, your son. The Ghost Council showed me your final resting place. I am here, standing before you. I thought to myself: even though I never knew my father, you should at least have the satisfaction of knowing your son. Are you listening to me? Do you give a damn?"
"This is my life. This is your son's life. I achieve things, and I make terrible mistakes. I'm happy sometimes, and occasionally suffer a great loss. I'm growing up, with or without you."
Vincent waited a few moments for his words to sink in.
The cairn of stones made no sign of acknowledgement or protest.
"This is what you want from me, father?" blurted Vincent suddenly. "This is your child. I was born from your will, and I clad myself in everything you left behind. I am bitter, father, for I am what you feed me, and I have tasted nothing but your damn dregs. That is what I live on! I eat the emptiness of your absence. I live on your will, your words, and your whimsy. Your quest, which holds no personal meaning for me, is my sole purpose in life."
Despite the force of Vincent's accusations, the grave remained stonily silent.
"I could have used you, f-father, just as you use me," said Vincent, his voice catching slightly. The young man silently blamed the wind for stealing his breath away.
"Maybe you could have guided me to make better decisions, or helped me to make a better life of myself. Maybe you had another plan for your son; we could have worked towards it together. Perhaps you would have been a terrible father. Perhaps you would have led me into a deeper darkness than that which I am already in."
Vincent couldn't for the life of him understand why he had suddenly begun to cry. His tears flowed freely from his right eye like a river that had broken its dam, rushing down his hollow cheeks. He put his hand to his eye, trying to force the tears back selfishly and stubbornly, thinking that they might have been for his father. He did not realise that his tears were for himself.
The young man's lips trembled as he forced his heart out into the open. His final words came out as ragged, broken gasps.
"But at least then!"
"Following in your footsteps!"
"I would have been!"
"If I should die, think only this of me. That somewhere out there in a finite field lies a man not fallen, but freed. There shall be in that true death a truer peace achieved: a serenity not known to living man. Here I broke my stride and claimed this journey at its end.
And think, all debts discharged, a life well spent or squandered, distinctions vanish. A burning novel, full of words, words, words to move the soul, and passion, and power, is reduced to the language of ash fragmenting in the wind.
The loose tangles of life over which I fretted now blow freely, cut kite strings, half sentences, unfinished symphonies…No ending is too abrupt to be final. Sharp, or sweet, or"
-Liber Necronomicus, by Sarragin Vich
Author's Note: This is the end of the Baby Necromancer. Except that the story continues in the next book, the Armageddon Scrolls. Thank you very much for reading this far, you deserve a good break. I'm glad you have chosen to go on this journey with me. As a personal favour to me, please go to author's profile and fill up the poll for your favorite characters (you may choose up to 21)! It's very important! So far the results have been most confusing and enlightening at the same time, and will deeply affect which parts of the story I revise.