Read Orphan of Mythcorp Online
Authors: R.S. Darling
Tags: #urban fantasy, #demon, #paranormal abilities, #teen action adventure, #school hell, #zombie kids, #paranormal and supernatural, #hunter and sorcerer
Maybe this Ash would even know how to lift my
I made a point of following him at the end of
the day. Unfortunately the Goth chicks seemed to have the same
idea, though I imagined their intentions were somewhat
How to ditch these chicks?
The final bell rang. Halls filled with
students. By the time Ash and his black-clad shadows reached the
former Undertaker Classroom, I was stewing in impatience. What were
these girls expecting, a four-way albino quickie?
one more giggle and I’ll—
Misty (or Missy, I can never tell the
difference) giggled, reaching out to grab Ash’s hand.
Achoo!” I added a nose wipe for show
and pretended to flick snot on the floor. The chicks snapped off a
trio of ‘Eew’s’ and pattered away. Like every other yahoo at
Philicity High, they’re convinced my ‘condition’ is
Ash stood there looking me over, feet facing
the stairs to his dorm. I approached and he shifted so that his
entire focus was on me. “It’s Ash, right?”
That’s correct,” he nodded and for a
second I thought he might bow. “You are Charles Henri
I gave him a questioning look. At least, I
thought it was a questioning look; I can’t actually feel my facial
muscles move, so for all I knew I was giving him some silly
He explained: “Mr. Monmouth, back at the
Home, gave us a student manifest and we studied it before our
And you happen to remember my name
because?” It came out sounding rude.
The school was empty now. I could hear the
Iconocops doing their rounds. Better make this fast.
We have pretty good memories,” Ash
explained. He peered in my eyes. Was this that Mesmer thing the
Iconocops had warned us about? I didn’t feel mesmerized. But his
eyes were massively eerie. “Did you want something, Charles Henri
It’s just Charlie. I was listening to
your convo with the Goths.” The thud of boot-steps sounded around
the corner and down the hall. “And I was wondering if you knew how
to lift a curse. I got a real bad one and I figured since you’re
extra-human . . .” We turned as the footsteps grew louder and more
rapid. What the heck?
Come on, follow me,” Ash ordered. He
turned and made for the stairs but slammed to a halt when he
realized I wasn’t following him. He looked shocked. “I can help
you, but not if you’re caught breaking curfew. Follow me now,
What an arrogant prick. He was actually
ordering me to follow him. What, did he think he could
? Maybe you need a
pulse to be mind-screwed by these Morai yahoos. I lingered, wanting
to follow but wanting more to see if I could resist his best
efforts. Ash cocked his head at me like a curious bird. Poor fool.
The footsteps went BOOM-PATTER-BOOM and Mr. Dodds rounded the
corner, followed by some kind of clatter.
He was dragging one of the Morai. “—and if I
catch you clowning around down there again after curfew, without a
teacher, you’ll be on the first bus back to the Home.” He bent down
and shoved his face to within an inch of the Morai’s pale mug. His
chem-shades were definitely still on. He probably wouldn’t risk a
face-to-face with a Morai otherwise. “Got it?”
I am going to find that beastie,” the
Morai braved. “You can’t stop me.” With that he stomped up the
stairs, nodding at Ash as he passed him.
Wes ignored me, lingering only long enough to
play the staring game with Ash and make sure both Morai fled up
into the old undertaker room. When the sound of his boot steps had
died down, I marched up the steps and knocked on the door. I didn’t
even get to my second knock when Ash opened up. Another Morai was
with him. Apparently it took two of them to yank the oak mother
Thank you Lamorak, but he’s cool,” he
said. Lamorak disappeared into the depths of the room.
Was that the dude Mister Dodds just
Ash smiled. It was a pleasing sight even for
a straight-shooting straight guy like me. “No. Mister Dodds caught
Pellinore. You can tell the difference by their hair. Lamorak wears
his in three braids. He thinks one or two come off as girly.”
But three are manly?”
Ash shrugged. As he opened the door to pass
through it, I noticed Morgan was watching us. Ash closed the door
and followed me down the steps. I asked him about the gawker.
He grew up with us at the Home,” he
explained as we chummed down the hall towards the gym. “Morgan has
a variation of our gift. He’s cool—a little off. Mumbles to
himself. Now, tell me about this curse.”
For the first time in my life, I told the
full tale of my storied family, all the way back to before the
French Revolution, and covering all the royal executioners in our
family tree. Ash listened better than any shrink would have. He
waited until I was done to ask about my disease. I told him
everything about that too. He asked me if I was a zombie. “I
suppose,” I said, surprised to find I wasn’t insulted. “But hey,
zombies are people too, right?”
He nodded. “Now, I am going to tell you a
little story, and when I am done, maybe we can strike up some kind
It wasn’t a question.
Maybe,” I offered, trying not to sound
enthusiastic. Was it possible that I’d finally stumbled on someone
with the ability to lift my curse? In the gym he told me his tale.
I wasn’t sure if I believed him, but he sounded confident. And hey,
when you’ve got a 300 year old case of bad-juju, you’ll grasp at
any straw you can find, no matter how short.
A crash like a plane belly-flopping in the
hall. Ash ran out through the gym door with me hot on his trail.
Another clatter guided us towards the back doors, a few yards past
the Morai stairs. By the time we arrived the booming had stopped.
Shards of glass lay strewn about, and the aluminum doors themselves
were all twisted and bent out of shape. Someone had wanted
No blood,” Ash said. His calm demeanor
was a tad disturbing. If I had a pulse, it’d be racing right
Did you hear that?” I stepped through
the remains of the doors. “Across the baseball diamond. Look, the
trees are moving. Someone’s fighting out there.”
Just the wind,” he said. Why would he
bother to lie about this? There was clearly a fight going down out
there. I could only just make out what looked like a bear. The
other aggressor seemed tucked neatly into the shadows.
Someone’s coming,” Ash said. “We’ll
finish our discussion tomorrow. Good night.”
When I turned around Ash was gone, the Morai
door slamming shut.
I sighed, breath-clouds lingering around my
face. Was Ash a yahoo, or my future savior?
Word of Ash’s ‘possible Mesmer’ spread faster
than . . . well, nothing spreads faster than rumors in a high
school. The student body, feeding on this Morai fodder, split:
about two thirds were convinced Mrs. Deem had been bamboozled,
while the other third weren’t not completely half-duped into
thinking Ash hadn’t not made a somewhat good point.
The views among the Morai were just as
Meanwhile, I lost track of Sanson and by 3:00
P.M. was convinced the day was a bust. But then, while Ava and I
were dusting off our nasty cots, someone knocked on the door. Ash
and Lamorak opened it and I sneaked a peek.
Son of a snitch,” I mumbled, so low
only a ghost could’ve heard me.
You eye-screwing that boy again?’
Castor taunted. Of all the spooks, Castor is the Crown Prince of
Sarcasm, and he looks the deadest. His clothes, entrails of an old
Iconocop uniform, are torn and stained with blood. His face is
split by a cut, so when he sneers—which is always—he looks like a
ghostly version of the Joker. ‘Why don’t you shimmy on over there,
ask your boy-toy for a cuddle? Little fairy bastard.
Go hump Cleopatra,” I ordered the
spook. He sneered and drifted on his back over the floor in an
attempt to peep under Ava’s skirt.
A few ticks later Lamorak walked away,
leaving Ash to banter with Sanson. I shuffled over to the bathroom
door, used it to hide while eavesdropping on my favorite Morai. But
Ash was still fifteen feet away and whispering. Who whispers?
Baddies—that’s who. He was up to something.
Whatcha doing?’ Naked Charles asked,
popping into existence between me and Ash.
Ah, jeez-friggin-Louise!” I hissed and
ducked behind a dust-encrusted cot. Naked Charles hovered over to
my hidey-hole. He, like all my other blasted spooks, never walks—he
glides to wherever he pleases, his feet always riding on a two-inch
cushion of air.
Whatcha doing down there?’
For the love of all that is holy, go
away!” When I looked up, Naked Charles was gone. But the memory of
his happiness was not. “Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou
Naked Charles hanging around again?”
Ava, standing over me. She knows I always recite Murderers Row
whenever I need to banish the memory of Naked Charles’
I peaked over the cot. Ash had closed the
door and was now passing time communing with Lamorak. I kicked the
butt out of an urge to sneeze. Forcing your peepers to stay open
during a sneeze-urge works, but whenever I do it I can’t help but
cringe at the thought that my peepers might pop out.
You can’t hide from him, you know,”
Ava pointed out.
Did she mean Ash or Naked Charles? The door
burst open and Pellinore backed inside, roaring “I’m going to find
that beastie and you can’t stop me.”
I expelled the air I’d been holding in and
traced Ash’s movements as he cinched over to the door. Apparently
satisfied, he then slipped out. I stood and made for the door but
Ava grabbed my arm. “Where are you going?”
I need some water. I’m totally
parched, sure as sure.”
There’s water in the kitchen back
I groaned. “Yeah but . . . I like the
fountain water downstairs. It’s got more flavor. Seeya.”
That did it. Ava huffed and puffed away,
muttering something about my treating her like a dum-dum. Free of
friends and spooks, I was finally able to pursue my paranoid
investigation. Just as I reached for the knob, Naked Charles walked
through the oak, his cock-a-doodle-do emerging from the brass
Ah!” ratcheting my hand back. “What
the flip, Chucky? That was frigging nasty.”
For once he wore a serious expression. ‘That
boy is surrounded by my kind. I think he died.’
I knew he didn’t mean Ash. Even my spooks
keep their distance from that little punk. So Sanson must be out
there with Ash. Something was going down. I walked around Naked
Charles, fully aware of how absurd this would look to anyone
watching me, and stepped out.
I tore down the steps two at a time.
Ripped up the hallway. Empty. Where had the dickering duo gone?
“Marie? You around?” Sometimes my voice summons her. There’ve been
times when I managed to detain her attention long enough to get her
to do some spying. She could be incredibly useful.
being the operative
Where would you go for a tete-a-tete?’
her voice wafted down to me.
I craned my neck. Marie was passing through
the metal beams overhead, spiraling like some mystical corkscrew.
Her white dress, impeccable as ever, twirled, looking like milk
being stirred into a hot cup of coffee.
I don’t know,” I answered.
Why don’t you think on it some, hmm?’
Marie drifted through a rafter.
Why don’t you just tell me where they
are instead of spewing your ghostly riddles?”
Think,’ drifting down to me, wearing a
I sighed. Sometimes she gets in these funks
and there’s nothing to do but haggle with her until you either win
her respect or she grows bored and just spills the beans.
Where would you go in a school if you
didn’t want anyone to be able to sneak up . . . on you?’ Her focus
was shifting to something outside. I followed her glance through
the huge windows here at the back of the school out to the lacrosse
field and baseball diamond, where late afternoon shadows were
creeping. I didn’t see anything. But I’ve learned that spooks see
much that we do not.
A light switched on in my noodle. “The gym.
You stand in the middle of the gym and no one can sneak up on you.
That’s dynamite. Thanks Marie.” But she wasn’t listening. I didn’t
want to think about what might be out there. What spooks a
I raced down the hall lined with
tempered-glass windows towards the gym situated on the far end. On
reaching its double doors, I stopped to catch my breath. You can’t
sneak up on people when you’re wheezing like a moth-eaten
The chrome sign above the doors
Charles Ward Gymnasium Est.
. So, it was founded in the year of the War. I
wondered who Charles Ward was and if he’d been among the masses to
lose his life to the tragic events of that disaster fifteen years
I tip-toed closer and eased open the right
door. Thankfully it did not squeak. Something wicked bad was going
on inside, a true obamafest. The gym was full of people who no
longer possessed pulses. No, not zombies, not vampires, but spooks,
a whole gym full of dead people too pathetically emotional to have
crossed over. I did not gasp like some pansy-pants feckling. I most
emphatically did not gasp.