This is the second story. You might like to read this other one first.


Back when I first started learning necromancy, I kept it a secret from Mum. Her views on necromancy were well known. "Filthy practise," she'd say, "bringing people back from the dead. It just isn't right!" I used to ask her why it wasn't right. "It just isn't!" she'd reply. I didn't understand her point of view. I saw the good that necromancers were doing in the world; settling will disputes, solving murder cases, providing closure for the families of those who suicided. Why was that not right? So I followed my heart but kept it hidden from Mum.  I told her I was studying to be a counsellor. It was only a half-lie. Most necromancers who specialise in closure for sudden death families simply team up with a counsellor. It's neater that way, just concentrating on bringing the dead to life and leaving all the messy emotional baggage handling to someone else. I wanted to have a better understanding of the whole process though, and perhaps provide some extra support too. So I took extra classes in counselling to supplement my necromancy major, and only told my Mum about those classes. She seemed happy with my choice to become a counsellor.

I never got the chance to break my actual career choice to Mum gently. I planned to graduate, get registered, maybe even have a few months of working for myself, then present it to her fait accompli. Instead, close to graduation, she died. It was a shock. I could hardly think straight and my grades started to slip from non-attendance; I wasn't fool enough to try necromancy with my head in a whirl. Someone handed me a card for a top necromancy firm and suggested having her body preserved. In a haze, I visited the place and got a quote that gave me a second shock. The price was astounding. I guess fair enough though; preservation spells are only performed by necromancers at the peak of their craft, having spent most of their lives honing their skills.

The thing about necromancy is that you never stop learning. Sure, you're a full necromancer once you learn the basics, pass the tests, and register with the Board of Necromancy. But nothing replaces hands on experience, and the extra flourishes & shortcuts that you add to your repertoire after the certificate proclaims you've learnt enough. Plus, of course, the tradition of trading your services to a more skilled necromancer for years in return for being taught more advanced skills. Naturally, you still have to graduate before trading your services; regulations require it as a strict safety measure. New wannabe necromancers are too likely to skip steps without strict supervision, and more than one inattentive newbie ends up killing themselves with an incorrect summoning circle. Every new student has to sign a multi-page waiver before starting their studies, which basically boils down to "I know the risks. If I die while a student here, it was my own fault. No further legal action can be taken."

Anyway, in the end I decided that spending such a large amount of money was nothing compared to keeping Mum's body in good condition perpetually. So I paid the price and got the deed done. I graduated the next month. Being top of the classes has its perks, like the fact that even after my grades slipped I still had a decent score and graduated easily.

My next step was obvious; go raise Mum from the dead. Except I couldn't. I was scared. What if I got it wrong? What if she hated me for doing it? What if I screwed up the circle because I wasn't paying attention properly, because who isn't emotionally uneven when raising their own parent from the dead? So I left her body in her mausoleum. With the preservation spell, I didn't have to worry about her body deteriorating before I felt ready. I'd do it in a month after I had raised a few other bodies on my own, I told myself. Then I told myself I'd do it on the anniversary of her death. Then longer. It was easy to put it off, always rationalising it away and pretending it wasn't just me not being ready.

Two years later, I met Richard, and six months later he proposed. I wasn't ready for that either. I needed to talk to someone, but my friends didn't understand why I hadn't said yes already. Finally, late one night and unable to sleep, I packed the salt, candles, and a warm jacket, and took a drive to the cemetery.

The summoning circle took me a while. I was tired and my mind was going round in circles, so I purposefully slowed down and checked each step multiple times to make sure I didn't make any mistakes or miss anything. When the circle was finally done, I sat down with my back against the wall and stared at it. Was I actually ready for this? It had been two and a half years since Mum died and my heart had never quit yearning for her, but it was still somehow scary to think of finally raising her. Would she understand? Would she hate me, and what I was now? Would she berate me for taking so long to raise her? What if she hadn't even thought of me at all since she died? Why did I think I still had a right to her advice even after she died? Didn't she have a right to rest in peace?

My thoughts went round and round and round, and underneath it all my heart pulsed a steady beat of "I need her, I want her, Mum, Mum, Mum." Once I finally stopped listening to my thoughts and started hearing my heart, I realised that my mind had been made up all along and had simply needed that last gasp of time to settle itself. So then, no more delays.

I lit the candles and began the chanting.