I have another fallen scene for you, today. This one used to be where the current Wyatt, Quinn and the Grim scene is. I liked it, very much, but I needed to replace it with a scene that forwarded the story as well as revealed more about the characters. So, this scene got the axe and the Grim arose in its place. Reading it again, I kind of miss this one.
Wyatt seized Quinn’s arm, dragging him backward.
They stood at a safe distance, watching tiny forms materialize like mist from a garden hose sprayed into the summer air. With the haze came first the smell of flowers, heady and sweet. As the clouds gave themselves a shadow of form, the odor became the suffocating stench of earth, bone and blood. The infantile hazes lingered there, straining to form in the cloying scent of their graves.
“This isn’t possible,” Quinn said.
“Apparently it is,” Wyatt’s forehead creased into a frown. “These children’s astral corpses have always been different. They’ve been here for a very long time, trapped in their graves by some form of magic.”
“Still, astral corpses don’t just jump up out of their coffins to say hello.”
“I think our power called to them.”
“How? That’s never happened before and we’ve passed this site dozens of times.”
“Maybe it’s that change we’ve been feeling, some outside factor allowing them to contact us.” Wyatt gazed thoughtfully at the shades for a few more moments, and then sighed. “Whatever caused it, we have to try to release them, or at least put them back. We can’t leave them hovering here like this. I should have helped them a long time ago… Before something like this… Stupid to leave them there, tortured…” Wyatt trailed off, his face a mask of misery and self-loathing.
Quinn gave his uncle a modicum of privacy by turning his attention to the materializing spirits. He closed his eyes, quieted his mind, and connected with the spark inside that fed his ability. Instantly, his head filled with a clamor of tiny voices, all howling for his attention. The spirit children’s plaintive calls stirred a mixture of horror and pity within him.
“They want our help,” he said. “They’re angry.”
“They were unfairly treated when they were tethered to their graves, and now that they have our attention, they want something done about it.” Wyatt’s voice held the detached quality Quinn had come to associate with the practitioner aspect of his uncle’s personality. “They want their turn to live.”
Initially, he had found his uncle’s removed professionalism cold and uncaring. Soon enough, though, he learned it was the only way to survive the continual parade of grief that, if not exactly brought on by him, was reinforced by his actions as both an aspiring mortician and necromancer.
The spirits writhed in the shadows, arms beseeching them to draw near enough to bring them to life. He shuddered, chills wracking his body. The sun still beat down mercilessly, but, for all he could tell, it shone on a different planet.
For these children, it did.
“They don’t know their bodies aren’t around anymore?” he whispered, careful not to draw their attention further.
Power prickled along his skin, but this time it was the familiar–if not particularly pleasant–magic of Wyatt. He moved to stand beside his uncle. Although he was not certain what his uncle was about to do, he allowed his power to surge to the surface.
His heart constricted as their tiny consciousnesses reacted, channeling the hope of life towards him. Their momentary glee filled his mind. Mommy and Daddy, play, laughter, friends, love. It sliced through his chest–a knife edged so sharp with longing it nearly cleaved his heart. Then, he followed Wyatt’s lead and sealed it off, severing the painful link of humanity between them.
The only thing they had left in common now was death.
It was a lie to say he and Wyatt brought the deceased back to life. They only re-delivered them to the grave.
Wyatt had begun chanting, low and steady. He added his voice to the melody of the Release–the incantation used when freeing a Raised spirit. For a moment, the specters became clearer, solidified by both their struggle to become material and their outrage at their perceived betrayal.
A cry arose among them, a horrific, screeching parody of their living peers. Over the din his uncle raised his voice as his hands spread in the air, casting his supplication to the Beyond.
As suddenly as it began, the noise ceased. The spirits dissipated without further struggle, vanishing like powder in a breeze.
They were left standing by the graves, both of them breathless from the effort, and on his part, wretched guilt.