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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

Somnetimes it's hard to come up with puns for these titles. Yet, I endure! For your benefit!

The group of vampires approached nervously, chittering among themselves nervously. They had a laptop, with the broadcast playing on loop. After a quick, fierce debate, the unluckiest one among them stepped forward, shaking in his boots.

“U-Uh, M-M-Master…?” he began.

“Yeah? ‘Sup?” Brian said. He was floating in the air in the lab, playing a videogame on a 3DS. Without looking, he said “Everything going alright? We turned the kid’s mom, yeah?”

“Uh, y-yes, my lord.”

“Perfect. It sucks that we lost Mielios at the school, but eh. At least that place’s gone, even if we didn’t get any new material. I hated that place. Glad it’s gone. Thank Gulm for me, will you?”

“Err, yes, Master. B-But, it’s actually related to that…I, I’m afraid that that accursed necromancer has made a move…”

“What? How? Show me.” Brain said, tossing the game away. It vanished before it hit the floor. Seeing his lord turn to business, he turned the laptop and let him watch. Brian’s face grew stony. “M-My lord, the necromancer, for it can be no one else, has for some reason declared his intent to destroy the town, taking the mayor hostage. Th-The mayor has declared him the one who has destroyed the school. I don’t know his objective, but he seems to have something planned, s-so we should…” Those were the last words he ever spoke. Without even meaning to, and caring even less, Brian had turned him to ash instantly, crumbling to nothing.

“WHAT!” he bellowed, shaking. A computer screen appeared in midair, and he started going over it again. “How DARE HE! No, NO NO NO NO NO! He-He took credit for what I did! That little bastard! He’s trying to cover it up! He’s trying to reduce me to nothing, AGAIN! NO! He-He won’t steal my thunder! I won’t allow this!” He turned his attention to the two terrified vampire mutants, huddled together. All eyes in the lab were on him. “You! Mobilize the vampires!”

“Y-Yes, my lord. Which s-squads d-do you-” she began.

“No. That’s not enough. I’m gonna crush him once and for all.” Brian stated, fury bubbling beneath his veneer of calm.

“M-Master? Then…?”

“Call everyone together.” He slicked back his hair and rose higher above. “No, this’s gone on long enough. We’re enacting the final stage. I want everyone ready and mobilized in twenty minutes.”

“B-But which squads-”

“Didn’t you listen? I said everyone! We’re gonna paint the town red literally!” He smiled fiercely, imagining his revenge. “And Scott’s the first to go!”

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“We’re going to jail for this, we’re going to jail for this, we’re going to jail for this…” Amber muttered over and over, a haunted look in her eyes, staring ahead unable to get the sight of the terrified clerks out of her mind when they’d driven through the door of the jewelry place.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” Scott had proclaimed immediately, standing on the hood, firing a gun he’d snagged from the security officers into the air. “You have been graced with the presence of the great Deadzone! Do not resist, and you shall be spared! I demand all the gemstones you have-diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, the works! Please see my lovely assistants to hand over the goods, thank you! No!” he cried, pointing to a shaking clerk who had tried to comply, handing over a necklace to a sour-faced Detective Cross. “That won’t do at all!”

“Wh-What?” the clerk had said, white-faced.

“That necklace is pure gold! I need gems-every size, cut, and color! It doesn’t matter about the quality, just give us all the gems you have!”

“Aw, don’t worry about it.” Scott piped up, reclining in the back seat next to a huge sack of precious stones. “If we are to succeed it was a necessary step, the second to last phase in the plan to protect the town. It’s for a good cause, really. I just hope we have enough.” he muttered darkly, going over the minerals.

“We’re going to jail for this.” Amber reiterated.

“In a rational world, we would.” Cross snorted, focusing very hard on driving right now. Her knuckles were white on the wheel.

“Fortunately, we don’t live in a rational world, no?” Scott said, grinning.

“I’m gonna get you for this, kid.” she growled, her every vein standing out. “What exactly is the final step in the plan, exactly?”

“All will be explained when we get to the bluff overlooking the town. It’ll be easier to explain to everyone at once. You texted Kevin to meet us there, right?” he asked Amber. She nodded dumbly. “Perfect.” He rubbed his hands together.

After ten more minutes, they pulled off the road, a small cliff giving away to a fantastic view of the entirety of Craven Falls next to it. Nightfang and Genevieve were already there, her bike leaning on tree. If it weren’t so cold and dreary, Genevieve thought it would be a lovely spot for a picnic.

“Excellent. It hasn’t started raining yet.” Scott said, hauling the sack out. “How are you guys holding up?”

“Well…” Genevieve started, but Nightfang answered immediately.

“Brian turned my mother into one of his beasts. I had to remove her head to put her down and burn my house to cover our tracks. She no longer exists. I don’t want to talk about it.” he said flatly.

“WOW. Uh. Yeah. S-Sorry ‘bout that. Um. I’m gonna go over here now.” Scott said, shaking his head. This was…way out of his league. Amber was going over to comfort him, she was much better at that stuff than he was, so he decided to start the ritual. Grabbing a stick, he knelt and began to draw strange sigils around a circle in the dirt. Nightfang blinked and rubbed his eyes; he could swear Scott was drawing some of them in 3-D.

“So, uh, we heard about the commotion in town.” Genevieve said. “What’s going on? We got the message to meet here and…what is he doing?” she trailed off, watching Scott inscribe a double layer of sigils, muttering strange words in an alien tongue. He pulled out a vial of sickly-sweet smelling liquid and began splashing it over the circle.

“Not exactly sure, and judging by the rest of the plan that worries me.” Cross growled, folding her arms and leaning against the tree. She’d taken the ridiculous mask off, and had donned her overcoat. “Amber, go see what he’s up to. He’s never spent this much time drawing things before.” Indeed, Scott finished up the third layer of sigils with a practiced, steady hand, and began adding a fourth. He kept checking the sky, and started waving the stick over the design. Sparks of green light flashed.

“Me?” Amber squeaked. Scott had never looked so intense casting a spell before, as he poured the bag of jewels into the circle’s center. There was a low buzz emanating from it now. “Um…he looks kinda busy, I’d hate to be a bother…” She really didn’t want to approach that circle. Even if she was a ghoul and empowered by necrotic energy, it made her skin crawl to stand even this close. Nightfang and Genevieve shifted uncomfortably as well.

“Listen, the kid said he needed those jewels and the highest point in town in order to carry out his plan. But he hasn’t told us what the plan is, and while I don’t think it’ll end up bad for the city, I’d like to know what’s going on. Call it professional curiosity.” she sniffed. She was starting to feel uneasy as well, and it had nothing to do with the lack of information. Whatever the kid was brewing up, it was something fierce.

“W-Why me, though?” Amber said with a sinking feeling. Damn it, why did the hard jobs always fall to her? Cross snorted.

“If I go over there, it’ll be a fight, and you know it. I can’t allow much more of this…chaos. The kid and I, we’re too different. We won’t know what’s going on.” she said levelly, as thunder started to rumble overhead. The lightning started to flash, emerald bolts illuminating the dark sky. The vampires turned up to it warily.

“Too alike in some ways, though.” Amber muttered under her breath.

“What was that?” Cross perked up.

“Nothing!”

“Anyway,” she said with narrowed eyes. “You’re the one he opens up most to. So get over there and open him up. Though I really shouldn’t be saying this, if you just bend over in that uniform a kid his age is gonna spill his guts real quick.”

“H-Hey, I think that’s g-going a bit far, don’t you think?” Amber said, face furiously blushing, covering her chest.

“Then why are you wearing it, instead of having it refitted like mine?” Cross asked pointedly, the vampires looking on this exchange in fascination.

“W-Well…” Amber’s eyes travelled to Scott, still chanting. “I’ll…go talk to him.” she slunk off, redder than an apple.

“Good girl.” Cross nodded.

“Wait, I’m still confused. What is he doing? Because you…forgive me, you made it seem like he was casting a spell.” Genevieve said. Nightfang and Cross nodded.

“He’s a necromancer, ‘glorious master of dark magic’, or so he claims.” Cross said. Genevieve’s eyes bugged out.

“He uses magic? Magic is real!?

“You’re a vampire and you don’t know that?” Cross asked.

Back at the edge of the cliff, Amber padded over to Scott, still chanting strange and terrible syllables. They made her teeth rattle.

“So, uh…hey, buddy. What’cha up to?” she asked slowly. He spared her a glance out of the corner of his eye.

“Hey Amber. Did Cross send you over here?” He took her wince as a yes and grinned.

“N-Not just her. We’re all a little worried.” she continued, rallying her thoughts. A foul, pungent smell filled the air above the circle, like rotting eggs mixed with old meat. Such a combination should have made her ghoulish stomach rumble, but all it did was make her eyes water. “Jeez, how can you stand this? This odor, it’s so…unnatural.”

“Gee, I didn’t realize.” he deadpanned, clasping his hands together and checking a passage in the Necronomicon, open at his feet.

“Anyway, we were wondering…well, we’ve done all this for the plan, and we trust you, and I’m sure it’s a great plan…but what is it?” Amber asked, nervously drumming her fingers on her knee. He continued chanting for a moment, then turned to her. He had the same sad smile as he did earlier.

“It’s a part of necromancy I don’t dive into very often. It’s pretty difficult, and for something this big I need like five times the preparations and sigils, plus it’s really draining. And honestly…”

“I don’t like messing with it too much. It feels like I’m trespassing on something I shouldn’t. I know if it were me, I’d hate it. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And I will not let Brian take the town. I will be a villain if that’s what it takes. Although, I should’ve let you in on the plan. I’m sorry, but it’s nearly done anyway. It’s just been so hectic, I’ve had a lot on my mind. And I have to hope the zombies I made are doing their jobs properly, it’s hard not to be there to supervise. I’m sorry. Forgive me?”

“Maybe.” she replied dryly. He shook his head, making a complex finger motion.

“Anyhow, they’re coming. Brian’s army, they’re on their way into the town, don’t exactly know when. You’ve seen how bad those things are, I don’t want their numbers spreading. I also don’t want to put the town in danger, no matter what it may look like. So, I got to thinking, how can I ensure people’s safety while denying Brian’s growth scheme? And as an added bonus, no one will be around to see any supernatural shenanigans that might ensue. Hey, Detective!” he suddenly yelled out to Cross. “All your men out of the town, right?”

“Should be.” she called back. She was not getting close to that circle. In unspoken agreement, the trio even took a step back away.

“Good! If not, oh well!” Scott turned his attention back to the circle. “Alstagh nagotos elium manm ahh, Clieedos nAgbs’a, ctlthzmgbtasmphztigm anangh hool ahh.” Amber blinked, hearing him pronounce the strange words with such precision. “C’ore, kture, al’mnaw’vtvulmda voumka. C’ore, kture. Think of it like this: everyone just goes to sleep for a little bit, no fuss, no muss. And, should the worst come to pass, at least the people won’t turn into vampires.” He stood up, the wind whipping his coat, the clouds above a thunderous vortex centered over the necromancer. He closed his eyes. He breathed slowly, deeply, feeling the pulse of the necrotic energy, balancing on the paper-thin edge of life and death. He could feel the power around him, the bright beating of the life forces around him, the familiar comfort of the necrotic forces filling Genevieve, Kevin, and Amber beside him. And, far off in the distance, the forces of the mutant horde, stampeding towards town. He opened his eyes, shining with toxic emerald brilliance. Amber looked around nervously, the jewelry in the center beginning to rise and glow as well. “This definitely wasn’t my first choice. G’anhanlaghst gnas’hta gunann. But like I said, I’m the villain. Bastholth erebio hign.” Green energy crackled around him. He raised his arms. “Tulsth rthjknm srdi uimano ka’thull tib-suugith!” He turned to Amber and grinned. “I’m going to steal the souls of everyone in town.”

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“Dan, be careful, okay?” Rebecca Havenbrook said nervously, kissing her husband goodbye before he opened the door.

“I know. I will.”

“Y’know, I could go if you wanted me to.” Clay offered. The geek hadn’t been answering his phone, and with all the insanity happening his dad decided to try and find Scott.

“No.” Dan replied sternly. “I don’t wanna risk you too. Nobody’s out, and I’d rather be here as well. But Scott’s still out there, and I have to find him. We’re not going through this with you, too.”

“Probably holed up in a dark corner somewhere.” Clay muttered under his breath.

“Don’t worry. I’ll find him, and I’ll bring us both back safe.” Dan reassured his family. After a quick hug from Clay, he laid his hand on the doorknob. At that moment, Scott’s spell went off.

There was a flash of green, and Daniel Havenbrook collapsed to the floor, along with his wife and other son.

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“I’m sorry, Mr. McLaren. I’m afraid it’s…inoperable.” the doctor said softly to the devastated father. His wife sobbed. Connor of course, didn’t notice, as he was too absorbed in his videogame. They watched him through the glass of the hospital door. “The tumor’s rooted too deep into his brain. Even if we could get in there, I’m afraid removing it would be just as bad as having it grow.”

“How long?” Mrs. McLaren asked quietly. She needed to know how much time she had with her baby boy. The doctor shook his head sadly.

“I know he’s been complaining of headaches for a while now, so taking the first report into account, plus the obvious time it’s been there without a problem, it’s hard to say. I’d guess…up to a month. This is a very aggressive strain of cancer. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t last the night.” They stared at his small, bald head. Chemo had done nothing but make him weaker.

“Oh God.” Mr. McLaren said, nearly collapsing.

“I’m sorry. If there was anything I could do…”

In the room, Connor couldn’t hear them. But then again, he didn’t need to. He could feel the pressure in his head, and knew he didn’t have long left. He pressed buttons in silence, not even paying attention. He just wished it was all over.

There was a flash of green, and his body was no longer a concern.

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“D-Do you think Amber’s all right? We haven’t heard from her since the school collapsed.” Jenny Harris said. Amber’s father sighed and shrugged, pulling his keys out.

“I’m pretty certain she’s still alive.” he said as they entered the warehouse. Lisa had said there had been unusual activity from Scott’s cordoned-off office. Amber had told them about the vampires, and how she was working with Scott to stop them. “Or whatever she is right now. We’re just going to have to trust her, I suppose. I’d trade places with her in an instant, but you saw how strong she is now.” He had a flashback of Amber vacuuming the rug, absentmindedly humming while holding the entire couch up with one hand. He shook his head. “I’d rather not her get mixed up in all this, but she’s the only one who can deal with all this crazy crap. I have to have hope that I raised her to be able to make it through this, and you should too.”

“I guess.” she said glumly. “But what if-” They opened the door to Scott’s lab. Two dozen zombies were there, carefully monitoring and adjusting several large fish tanks, while others were steadily inscribing strange sigils on the walls and floor with chalk. They moved rotely, doing exactly nothing else but what they had been instructed to. As some finished their jobs, they went over to a corner and stood there, blank and mindless. Some finished and left out the back door, disappearing into the increasing fog. It seemed to Michael Harris as nothing more or less than an organic assembly line.

“What the-” he started, then collapsed as his soul was sucked from his body.

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All across town, thousands of lights sparkled, a multicolored rainbow hodgepodge swirling and flying through the air. They were inexorably drawn to the magic circle Scott had constructed, each soul zooming and sinking into one of the glowing gems. Amber watched in both horror and wonder as in less than five minutes the population of the entire town had been absorbed by the various diamonds, rubies, sapphires, opals, emeralds, and more.

“Holy hell,” she said breathlessly as the lightshow wound down. The gems fell to the ground, a small wail or cry coming from each of them as the souls packed in. “Scott, why-” Thud.

Amber turned to see Scott lying motionless on the ground, his chest still. “Scott!” The others clustered around him as she put her fingers on his neck. He was so cold. There. She breathed a sigh of relief; it was weak, very weak, but he still had a pulse. She listened to his chest to hear his incredibly faint heartbeat. He still wasn’t breathing.

“Move.” Cross ordered, checking him herself. Without hesitation, she pinched his nose and huffed into his mouth, beginning CPR. Compress, one, two. Repeat. After ten long seconds, Scott coughed and sputtered, his eye cracking open.

“Ouch.” he said weakly.

“Scott! Thank God.” Amber sighed, an immense weight off her chest. “Now, what exactly happened there? What do you mean, ‘steal the souls of everyone in town’?” All eyes turned to Scott, and Cross raised her fist, still holding him.

“Spill it, kid.” she warned.

“Ah, yeah (cough). Well, y’see…” He reached over to his pack, and a rat head extended out a pack of bagels and trail mix to him. He began ravenously munching down, pausing only to speak. “The plan was simple. Kevin, what do you have to lose to become a vampire?”

“Your soul.” Nightfang replied, realization dawning on him. Scott nodded.

“Exactly. So therefore, if no one has a soul, no matter how many times they get bit they won’t turn, even into a mutant like Brians'. It’s simply impossible. It’s not exactly a step I was eager to take, but there’s no safer option right now. What works, works.” He turned to the gems, each containing an incredible number of souls, and bursting with necrotic energy. He could feel the power pulse in them, ready to shape it as he desired. “And since I sealed the souls, I can use my magic to manipulate them.”

“How?” Cross asked, gritting her teeth. She lowered her hand, but only to subtly reach for her Glock. If the kid didn’t have a very good answer, he’d officially gone too far for her tastes. Scott blinked.

“To make them forget about all this trouble, duh.” he said, eyebrow raised. “Why? What did you think I was gonna do?”

“Never mind.” Cross sighed, rubbing her head. She was the precincts best in interrogation, and the kid was a terrible liar face-to-face. His body language was clean. ‘How can this kid be so smart, and so dumb at the same time? Ugh. Teenagers.’

“Wait, then why did we need to take the mayor hostage, if all we needed to do was steal the jewels?” Amber asked, brow furrowed. Nightfang turned to her stiffly.

“Took the who hostage after stealing the what now?” he asked incredulously.

“Oh, you didn’t hear the broadcast? We had to legally, at least legally enough, declare every structure a private residence, and make sure people had reason to stay inside. I think a crazed villain on the loose makes a good reason, yeah?”

“You sneaky bastard.” Genevieve said, reeling at the thought while the necromancer stuffed his face. She looked over at the town below.

“Now no vampire can enter or access any building in Craven Falls. Everyone’s safe inside. Sure, they could work together to demolish a building and drag any survivors out, but that’s such a poor and inefficient waste of time for literally nothing. Craven Falls cannot be vampirized." Scott said proudly. “But-”

His next suggestion was to move quickly, get away from the circle that was still radiating magical energy. The reason why appeared as the air shimmered, and Brian stepped forth.

“What. Did. You. DO.” he said ominously. Scott grinned like a maniac.

“Hey there, ol’ pal. How ya been?”

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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

Dun-dun duuuuun!


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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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