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The Zombie's Witch by KB Hurst

Photo by KB Hurst edited using WERBLE

Man is born in the bondage of his passions, but he can reach emancipation through intelligence. -Èliphas Lèvi

As above, so below.

Meaning that the earth reflects heaven. What is within also lives outside of the self, and death is, in turn, life. It is something that can create and destroy. It is what is understood as Magic, even if you, as a regular person, don't believe in it. It was the one rule that you had to live by. The principles still hold truth and meaning to anyone that has even a basic comprehension of it. Anything made from it is meant to be for the greater good. It is here to serve not just yourself but to everything around you. It is a gift from the Gods bestowed upon us all, the day that Adam and Eve betrayed God. The day Eve took from the tree of knowledge, her Third Eye was opened, and the knowledge of the ancient ones crawled inside her. The knowledge became innate and part of us as a species, like roots to a tree or to our own DNA.

You see, I know a lot about Magic and what it means to be a witch. I, Karli Valentine, was born into a very esoteric family. For generations, the Valentine family practiced their Magic in secret. My grandfather was a high priest in the coven of our ancient ancestors, and my grandmother was the high priestess of that same coven. Years later, my mom was initiated as a high priestess into the same coven as part of the family tradition. To be initiated in the coven, you had to prove that you could control life and death. There were tests, and it wasn't just mastering the four elements, as many are led to believe by watching too much television. You didn't have to show you could create fire out of thin air, know telekinesis, be clairvoyant, telepathic, or tell fortunes because those are all things you could master as soon as you could walk and talk. It came as natural as breathing. The test you had to pass was the dark yet expressive art of necromancy. You had to use the four elements and your inner powers to bring something to life that was once dead, which we referred to as animation.

The darker arts were so much more than life, death, curses, though. You see, it was about power, such as having it and knowing when to use it. It was also about self-control and self-worship, not unlike some controversial religions. We just never put a label on our beliefs because we didn't believe in labels. We were what we were, and that was a powerful family of secret occultists with Magic to bend life at our will. However, there were laws in Magic, and the biggest one was the law of three. What you put out there initially will come back to you three folds. You had to be mindful of that, especially in the case of hexing. It wasn't forbidden to hex someone; you just had to do it correctly and with just cause. You had to accept that some part of yourself had to be sacrificed to allow the curse to be done. It was the same reason that when my dad stepped out on my mom, she didn't curse him because she knew there was a chance it could come back on her daughter, me. That is how the universe works; there is often no prediction of how it will work when using the dark arts. Everything must be precise, with no room for mistakes.

My mother and I lived alone after my parents divorced when I was about 5 years old. We were well off, and my father let my mother keep the large mansion. It was okay with my mother because she loved to entertain and had people in and out of our large home regularly. For a while, she and the rest of my family hid that she was a witch from me until I was about 12 years old. None of them even acted the least bit strange around me. Growing up, I recall her often telling me to take sea salt baths to cleanse my energy and sage the house before and after the company visited. I was used to her weird hippy ways, as I liked to think of them until I realized she was dead serious about her work with the craft.

The week before my 13th birthday, she gave me a black book to write in that I now know as a book of shadows. She also gifted me a white dress and red robe and told me it was for my coming of age ceremony.

This was no hobby for my mother, and most moms may go through weird new age phases after a divorce. They take up yoga by an Enya cd or something, but my mother was born into it, and she started taking it way more seriously. It was a way of life, and I never understood it until the night of my coming of age ceremony. My grandparents and mother tried to drop little hints about what it was about and why it was necessary, so I wouldn't be totally freaked out.

On the eve of my 13th birthday, my mother invited people I had never met before to our house for another of her gatherings. I had no idea what was really going on until she came to my room looking somber and wearing a long dark cloak. She had provided me with strict instructions to wear no makeup, be completely naked under the dress, and be as natural as the creator made me. I rolled my eyes at the request because I figured she had lost it. I didn't think it would matter what I had under the gown because it wasn't like anyone would see me in it anyhow. That is where I was mistaken.

At the toll of Midnight, there was a procession of people heading down the spiral staircase to the basement, which was like a ceremony all by itself, as they winded slowly downward. They wore masks with animal heads to cover their real faces and black and white robes while carrying large white candles. I didn't think much of it because we frequently had people wearing weird costumes. I usually just stayed to myself in my room, and the parties never seemed to go past 3 am. Nothing clicked till that night.

Tonight, I got to be part of those parties, and I was excited. My mother walked me down last to the basement, where there was a large square of white marble outlined by black marble, again representing the "as above so below" concept. In the center of the white marble, a gold pentagram was painted on it, and strange symbols were adorned on the walls. I now realize these were alchemy symbols representing the sun, the moon, and the four elements. There was a fireplace in the corner of the basement, which was very large. In it, there was a cast-iron cauldron in a fire and some strange metal objects I had never seen before. There were rooms off the central area of the basement, which my mom hid storage in. The main square was for entertainment, such as this ceremony. I was never allowed down here till tonight.

We walked together to the center of the golden pentagram, and she kissed both of my cheeks and then led me over to a tall man wearing what I can only place like a bull's head. He wore a belt with a strange cloth around his waist, and I recall it being awkward because you could tell he had nothing under it. Some odd chanting had begun, and he took out a vile of oil and anointed my forehead with something that smelled like patchouli. He then took the strap of my gown down off my left shoulder and turned my back to him. I had no idea what was about to happen. He was standing in front of a man who was in front of the fireplace. I could see out of the corner of my eye the man handed him something. I turned and looked down to the floor, and when I did, I felt something burn right through my left shoulder. I screamed, but he held me in place even as tears poured down my face. Within seconds my mother was at my side, putting some coconut oil on the wound.

The pain was excruciating, and I shook in fear. There was more chanting after that in which my mother gave me a red robe to represent my sacrifice and kissed me again. I hated her at that moment, but I learned to understand the meaning behind it and the power in our bloodline. The branded mark was a symbol that represented air with the initials of our family's last name, a V. I was marked by the coven to show I "belonged" to the coven, but I still was not a full member. It was an honor to partake in that ceremony, and it meant I had shown signs of already possessing darker magic abilities. I had begun to have strange prophetic dreams and suffered from night terrors. Once my mother realized I had symptoms of maturing Magic, it was time to initiate me.

After the ceremony, everyone slowly went back upstairs, put their regular clothes back on, and one by one wished me a happy birthday and welcomed me into the coven. That was my first experience as a member of the coven, however, I still needed to pass specific tests, or I would have to leave the coven of my birthright and find my own coven.

Now, let us fast forward to about five years later. Upon my 18th birthday, I was going to be tested on my powers by these elite witches. The tests would be based on my ability to control life and death. I had to show I could bring the dead back to life. I had seen the ceremony done by my cousin, Brian, just a few years before. He raised a dead man to his feet, and he danced for a few seconds, then fell to the ground as though he were just a puppet. That was all I would be required to do, but I was nervous. The only things I had ever moved with my mind were small things like inanimate objects, like my cell phone, when I was too lazy to get up and get it from across the room. I could move plates of food or even a dead insect here and there, but I once tried to move a dead coyote I came across in the woods and nothing. I was scared I'd fail, and between my growing anxiety about the upcoming ceremony, I was going through a lot of stuff in my personal life.

My boyfriend of 2 years, Matt, had decided to break up with me literally the week before my ceremony. I never told him or my other non-preternatural friends about my abilities because I was told I had to keep them sacred. If you shared those abilities, chances were, it would just alienate them.

To say I was upset over my breakup was an understatement. I cried for hours and hours and refused to leave my room. After spending my entire Saturday in bed and calling off sick from my job at the mall, my mother put a stop to it. She came into my room with this look on her face like I was an insane mental patient.

"Are you going to cry all day, Karli? No man on this earth is worth that many tears."

"I know, mom, but I just keep thinking about all the little things, and I want him to call me and tell me he made a mistake."

"I know, Karli, but maybe you have heard there are other fish in the sea?"

You had to love my mother's free way of thinking. I don't think she cried once when my dad left us. She would blame it on Mercury being in retrograde and that my dad was a Scorpio, and it was against his nature to fall in love with one woman. She had been so flip about it.

I almost envied her insane way of thinking. It just wasn't my way of thinking.

"Maybe I should do a love spell, make him come back!" I said, hopefully sitting up.

"No. It is forbidden, not to mention stupid. Don't you want someone that wants to be with you for you and not because you willed a man to love you?"

"I guess." I looked down at my nails, which were raw from biting.

"Don't forget, after school on Monday, you have to pick your subject. Brian will meet you at the county morgue."

I almost forgot about the testing of my abilities. I rolled my eyes secretly, wishing I could be from a typical family.

Monday came faster than I wanted it to, and after school, I met my cousin, Brian. He was a freshman in college and worked the early evening shift at the morgue, just doing security. I called him from my cell, and he buzzed me in the back gate.

"Hey, Karli! Welcome to the county morgue! Let's go in on the side; there are no cameras this way."

I followed him to go pick out my animation subject, and the entire time I kept thinking how completely weird this was even for a witch that harbored magical powers.

"Are you excited?"

"Excited for what?"

"Your test! It isn't like you don't know that you will be amazing at it; you always are. You are one of the best witches in the family."

I appreciated his support, but lately, I lacked confidence in any form.

He led me down a long hallway, which had a large locked door at the end. He used his hand to open the door with Magic, and we went in as he turned on the fluorescent lights. As the room lit up, I noticed how cold it was, and I shivered.

"I'm actually annoyed that I have to do it. I just want it over so my life can go back to normal, and my mom will stop asking me if I have picked out my subject. I mean, whose mom wants you to go hang out at the morgue to choose a dead body to re-animate like it's as common as picking out a puppy."

"Um, I guess I get your point." He said, opening a drawer and pulling out the body of an ancient man with a gunshot to the head.

"Ewe, no way!" I grimaced.

Brian rolled his eyes.

"Okay, how about this one?" he removed the second drawer, and it was a woman with a massive stab wound to the stomach.

"Is there anyone that didn't die grossly?" my patience was wearing out at this point, and I was going to be sick.

"They are dead. What did you think you were going to find here? Most people die traumatic deaths."

"Seriously, Brian, are there any at all without their guts and brains hanging out?"

He sighed, and I wanted to hit the back of his head with my purse. It was amazing to me Brian ever passed his tests when he became an official coven member. He could be such a moron sometimes.

"The last one is this guy. If he doesn't fit the bill, then you will have to find another body some other way!"

"And how might I go about that?" I was getting really annoyed now, and we had only been in here roughly a few minutes.

"Grave robbing?"

"Even bigger, EWE!" I crossed my arms and looked at the last drawer.

Brian opened it quickly, and when he did, a man's muscular arm fell out under the sheet he was lying under. "This one was a drug overdose. So, unless he was shot buying drugs, there shouldn't be any blood and guts." He looked at the paperwork in front of the drawer. "Oh, and you are in luck, no foaming at the mouth, just a brain aneurysm." He smiled like he was some twisted salesman.

"How are we even related? You can be so disgusting."

He laughed it off, and when he pulled the sheet back, there was a very handsome young man under the sheet. He was just a young man, probably a few years older than me because he looked about my age. I almost felt bad for having to use him for the animation test. It felt wrong in some way just stealing a body like this then putting it back. It felt like I was desecrating a grave.

"His family must be so sad," I said, leaning over to get a good look at him. I suddenly felt pity for him and the life that had been snuffed out at such a young age.

"Probably. Now can we go? I have to get this guy prepared to be taken out of here, so we don't get caught." Brian was all business, and now that the decision had been made, it was time to go.

"How long can he stay out of here before anyone will notice?"

"You have 48 hours, but I put a spell on him, so no one will notice he is missing. Most funerals take about 5 days for the family to prepare in my experience, and this guy just died last night."

With that, I left Brian to prepare the secret body snatching. I prepared myself for a long evening at the hamburger joint I worked at 4 days a week at the mall.

I was late getting in, and one of my co-workers, Tara, was glaring at me.

"Thanks for finally showing up." She said, taking off her apron. "It's my Break time."

I looked at the long line she left me to take care of, and under my breath, I muttered, "Bitch."

I could have turned her into a toad, but I chose not to. Why waste any energy on Tara anyhow? I had to save all my energy for my test, which was less than 72 hours away. I had to make my mom proud.

A while later, Tara got off her break and joined me so she could continue to taunt me. She and I also went to school together and were both in the same classes. She had teased me since we were in elementary school. I dressed weirdly, I had the odd mom, my dad didn't love me. All those fun bullying tactics they tell you to be aware of on tv but in real life are more of a joke. I hated her, and she always seemed to be around when things were going badly for me. The day Matt broke up with me, she saw me in the bathroom crying, and she laughed at me. She was a nasty piece of work. I always secretly wished that someday she would come to understand how I felt.

It was a hectic evening, and it didn't stop from the time I arrived till my first break. I gave my last customer his change and prepared to go on my break. I noticed Tara was talking to someone on her phone, and then she came over to me. "I'll take it from here. If you want to go take your break, it's fine. I think today we both earned it. Plus, my new boyfriend wants to visit me tonight, and I'll need you to cover for me."

She was charming, but I didn't question it. I needed water and to just sit down. I went out the back door and propped it open with a bucket. I sat at a small picnic table in the back of the mall for employees to take smoke breaks. The sun was still out on the chilly early September night, and I just sat enjoying the fresh air. I played on my phone when about 10 minutes later, the back door shut. There was no way to get back in, and you couldn't walk around to the front without climbing a 10-foot fence that blocked the delivery trucks at the back of the mall. I suppose I could have used Magic to open the door, but I was so mad it never occurred to me. I was out there for about 45 minutes, and I tried calling Tara's cell and the restaurant, but no answer. When the door swung open again, it was my manager, Bill.

"Is this where you have been during the dinner rush?"

"Let me explain-"

"You're fired, Karli. I'm sorry, I just can't have someone this irresponsible working for me. This isn't the first time you have messed up in the last few weeks."

I was abnormally distracted lately, and I knew there were days I was late to work or forgot orders. I always made up for it, though. It seemed like my bad luck just kept getting worse.

When I walked out, I could feel tears ready to stream down my face, and that is when I saw him. Tara was sitting in the food quart, taking her second break in 4 hours, sitting with a guy, and they were sharing fries. My manager's back was turned to her as he continued to lecture me about the importance of being responsible. She was laughing, and when I saw the guy lean in to kiss her, I realized it was Matt. My heart broke all over again, and I ran out of there. She had been the reason for the breakup all along.

I had my mom pick me up, and when I did, I sobbed the entire way home.

She left me alone for once and didn't ask me anything. I stayed in my room listening to Lana Del Rey and tried to meditate, preparing myself emotionally for the upcoming event. I lit black candles and tried to imagine everything going smoothly. I burned incense and drank kava tea.

The day I had been dreading had finally arrived. I had spent every day that week home from school. I just couldn't bring myself to see Tara and Matt together. My mom didn't mind me staying home, though, as it gave me a way to focus my energy in other ways, such as preparing myself for my big night. She didn't want any distractions from everyday life. My final days of being a child were going to be over soon. I tried to put everything out of my mind that had happened last week. I got ready in my room, and I looked forward to not being 17 anymore. I combed my long blonde hair and even painted my nails black. It seemed fitting as I was still grieving over my breakup. I was sad but also feeling unusually angry. I dressed in a long black gown and wore a black ceremonial cloak.

I was standing off to the side of the basement stairs where everyone was gathering to talk before things got going, and an older gentleman by the name of Charlie came over to me. He was a total creep, always flirting with all the attractive young girls. He made my skin crawl.

"So, you look rather lovely this evening." He leaned in, touching his slicked-back dark blonde hair. He had a thin mustache and smelled like beer. He wasn't close to my mom, but he was a member of the coven. He had married my mother's cousin, and even after the poor woman passed away, Charlie stuck around.

"Thanks, I guess," I said, avoiding eye contact.

"Just think, after tonight, you will be a legal eagle, as they say. If you catch my drift?" he winked and slapped my butt. I looked at him with utter disgust and walked away as quickly as possible.

Finally, my mother called everyone to their places, and I prepared by standing in place. I had been sick to my stomach all day. What if I failed? I didn't want to disappoint my mom or my grandparents.

The ceremony began in the usual way. There were chants, candle lighting, robes, masks, and a circle was drawn.

The room grew silent, and the room was growing darker by the second. The shadows created by the flames of the candles danced obscenely on the walls. I closed my eyes and called forth the four elements. I prepared my body for the jolt of energy I hoped would pass through me into this dead soul that would soon be before me.

It finally came time to do the animation test. I braced myself and tried to forget my nerves. Brian wheeled the young man's body in front of me, and I looked down into the handsome stranger's face. They had prepared him by putting him in a pair of white pajama pants. He wore no shirt, and his body could have been still alive; he was so fresh. He did not appear like the others I had seen. He wasn't old and blue in color. He even had some color to his face and chest, and his light brown hair was still styled. There were smiles and whispers at the fine specimen I had conjured up.

I closed my eyes and held my hands over him, pulling in the energy force. I called upon the dark Gods by their names, one by one asking them to allow me to move this man's spirit. "I call to you Astarte, queen of the dead. I call upon Supay to hear me in the underworld. I call upon the angels of the night Nija, Orias, and Samael!" You may think of them as demons to me; they were Gods set forth to bring once was dead back to life. I cut my hand with the athame and used the blood to anoint his forehead. It provided enough of my essence to fuse with his so that he would be under my command.

I held this man in my third eye and concentrated on moving him from the other side. There was a gust of wind that seemed to come from nowhere. He suddenly moved his arm slightly, and I cringed inwardly. He wasn't moving enough, and I looked around the room, and unimpressed faces were staring back at me.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, his body rose, and he sat up and turned his head in my direction. I looked at his eyes; they had thread sewn in them in an X form to keep them shut. His mouth remained unsealed and opened wide as though he were trying to talk. There was no sound at first, and then it came. He let out a scream so loud that the echo bellowed and vibrated along those cold basement walls. I remained in place and excited. It worked; it really did!

The entire room backed away but still stood in the circle. I tried not to think of how afraid I was because no one had ever possessed enough power to have the dead make sounds before. I took a deep breath and called the living dead man out loud. "Rise to your feet and walk." I took a few awkward breaths and waited. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he stood. The dead man walked a few steps, and I knew then I had passed with flying colors. I was relieved, and I glanced up at my mother, who was smiling proudly at me.

Something in the air changed then, and I froze. The atmosphere in the room grew hot, and the already dark room became darker still. I motioned with my hands for the animated corpse to return to me so I could get him to return to the table. He just stood there motionless and expressionless like a statue. He slowly moved, crouching down and then looking up into the dim light, granted by the dancing candles.

However, before I could control him and cause him to back down, he ran towards one of the elders, suddenly moaning and yelling. The full circle all backed away. He stood there, just smelling the air like he was an animal. He tilted his head, and then he rushed toward the first person in his path, Charlie. He stopped in front of him as if he were a dog smelling his pant leg. Charlie froze, and then as he tried to back away, the creature ripped into his face and neck biting off his ear. The crowd backed away, this time in shock and wide-eyed. They slowly began to break the sacred circle, and people were already trying to get the hell out of there, running up the stairs. I started to panic, unclear as to what was going on.

He ran around the room, attacking anyone in his way, tearing at their flesh. The Zombie I had made had a bloodlust unmatched by anything I had ever witnessed. He did not care who or what it was; all it had to be was flesh. The Zombie tore at a woman, nearly severing her arm, chewing it as though it were a turkey leg on college game day. He clawed at another man's eyes. He was fast, and before I could stop him, there were bodies dead on the basement floor. I didn't know how many, but my fears were turned to hope because as tears ran down my face, I realized none of the people were my immediate family. Most of the coven had made it up the stairs and out of the house. Brian was running away, too, and called for me to follow him.

My mother screamed at me as she approached the top of the basement stairs, pointing her shaking finger at me. "What have you done? What have you done? You stupid girl! Fix this! Only you can fix this!" She ran up the stairs and bolted the door behind her. When I heard it lock, my heart sank, thinking I was about to die of my own making. There was blood everywhere, and the creature was sucking on his fingers, something I could only make out like blood from the carnage. With the crippling thought, I was alone. I tried to brace myself for certain death.

I was paralyzed with fear as he ran towards me, screaming. I readied myself for an attack, but instead, he stopped in front of me and kneeled down. He smelled the air sniffing my gown, burying his bloody face into my abdomen. I cringed as he held on to my waist tightly as if I were his own God he had to worship. I could not move, and he would not budge from me. There was something about him that held an intelligence behind it. I felt as though he connected to my spirit, and he could feel my emotions and thoughts. I was terrified beyond words. Realizing I wasn't breathing, I took a strained breath as I saw he wasn't going to hurt me. Looking down into the face of the creature, I realized he was more confused and bewildered than I was. This Zombie was trying to understand why he was alive. There was something else too. I felt love for him like I had never had for any living man.

I touched his head with my right hand the way you would pet a dog, and I found myself instinctively stroking his head. I tried to explain to him through my telepathy. The creature seemed saddened, so I waved my hand over his face releasing his eyes from their bondage. He opened them and looked right at me with his milky white eyes. I looked over at the two men whose faces he had eaten, and I braced myself to move away from him. I pinned him with my Magic to stay in place. I had to keep him there until I figured out how to reverse the spell. I used Magic to unbolt the basement door and ran to my freedom upstairs, locking the door behind me.

When I had cleaned myself up, I tried to think of what I should do next. I decided that until I could figure all of that out, my mother was better left evacuated from the house. She left, hugging me tightly and blessing me in her way. The spell I had unconsciously released could not be broken by anyone except me. She left me alone in the house, which seemed cold when empty. Depressed and sullen, I was at a loss about how to fix the mistake I had made.

I left the Zombie in the cellar for two days while I did research. I read and re-read books on the subject, and nothing was found as to how I could release him back to the underworld. I found an old book in my mother's library that was bound in what I could only figure was flesh of some sort. The book had absolutely no name on it, but I recognized the word death in Latin on its cover, Mortem. I concentrated and looked at the book trying to will it into showing me something that could make me understand. There was a passage written in gold on the second to last page of that book.

"Man is the shadow of a shadow and the image of greatness and the divine. Operating such magics when the heart is not whole can create a physical guardian of the night. Act accordingly within the sentiment, and what you call to rise will be once again put back down. This is done through the healing of one's own masterful heart. Do not act in the impotence of action."

I had done my animation spell while grieving over a broken heart. I was suffering in the same way you want your dead loved one to come back to life. I wanted Matt to go back to me. I just wanted someone to care about me to love me. I had brought him to life as a reborn version of the worst qualities in my current state. When I anointed him with my blood, he felt everything I felt at times ten. Whether it was unconsciously done or not, I was left to pay a hefty price. There would be no way to release it unless I could stop feeling so sad. I was foolish to have acted so irresponsibly with my Magic. If I had listened to my mother and not allowed myself to feel so heartbroken, none of the carnage would have occurred.

As I came to this realization, I heard a loud moan from the basement. I assumed that it could only mean my new zombie guardian was hungry. I warily went to the fridge, looking for anything to take with me to the basement to keep him from attacking me even though I was sure he would not. I found a roast in the back of the fridge marked "Tuesday." My mother had this annoying habit of planning meals for weeks out. I took out the beef and braced myself for another encounter with the Zombie. I opened the door to the basement and slowly descended the stairs, and found it to be still quite dark, and the smell was horrid. At once, he rose to his feet, moaning and rocking back and forth. He emerged from the corner he had been living in. I couldn't tell if he was angry but again felt pity and sorrow for him as he managed to come toward me once again, smelling the air and kneeling at my feet. I threw the beef at the ground and watched as he greedily ate, tearing at it. I hoped that would be enough for now, and I went to walk towards the spiral stairs to go up. I stopped feeling a hand at my ankle. I looked down, terrified and wide-eyed, but he only bowed his head as if he was trying to tell me how grateful he was. I had also felt the need to please him by finding him more food. I went to the fridge, grabbed everything I could that was edible, and took it to him. He always seemed grateful by looking at me, and he may have smiled; I couldn't tell; I was still so terrified. It was as though the connection was getting stronger somehow.

This routine continued for a week or so, and I kept in constant conversation with my mother. She wouldn't come back to the house until everything was okay. I was afraid to leave the house, though, so obtaining more food for my new zombie pet was going to be difficult. My mom promised to send over a fresh supply of groceries for Mr. Zombie in the basement and help me figure out how to undo the spell so I could return to school. I stayed home and got little else accomplished because my only task was to feed the Zombie.

One evening I woke in the middle of the night in some sort of trance. I went out to the street in front of my house where there was a dead squirrel, picked up the roadkill, and took it to him. I knew he would eventually require more flesh, and there was no quenching his thirst. I wasn't sleeping, and I hadn't eaten. I was beginning to change physically, and I even lost weight. My only desire was to feed the creature.

I spoke to Brian the very next day via Skype. "I don't know what to do. I'm compelled to serve him. I can't stop it. I'm so tired, and I'm sick to my stomach every time I remember what happened. There was so much blood."

"I'm really sorry. I will continue researching ways to help you. So far, I have come up with nothing. It does sound like your Zombie serves you too. I mean, as you say, you feed him. You provide all those sacrifices, so he rewards you by getting rid of things that cause you pain. I realized after the massacre that all the people he went after were horrible human beings. They aren't anyone the coven will miss. I can promise you that."

"No, I think I'm just a Zombie's bitch."

"You mean witch?" He smirked.

"Whatever, call me later if you find out anything."

I stood in the kitchen and looked at the pile of meat wrappers that had accumulated. I noticed there was one pack of beef I had missed in my last haul to the basement. It had been a few hours since I had last fed him, so I decided to take the last bit of meat to my Zombie.

I held it out in front of him, and he did something strange. He didn't take it right away. Instead, he touched my hair and smelled it. I shivered when he did it, and my sudden movement caused him to back away.

"I promise I'm going to find a way to fix this," I said, whispering to him.

Just then, I heard the doorbell ring.

He looked up the stairs and screamed, trying to get past me but he stopped in his tracks. The magic barrier I placed upon him kept him in place as though he were wearing a shock collar. I wasn't sure who was at the door, but he really wanted to go up those stairs.

I knew it wasn't Brian or my mother because they wouldn't dare come until I had fixed this mess. I peered out of the window of the door and saw it was Tara.

Just great, I thought, what could she possibly want?

I opened the door suspiciously and peered out at her through the screen door.

"There you are! The entire senior class thinks you are dying of cancer because you have been out for 2 weeks. Miss Hanson asked me to bring you your Chemistry homework since I live close to you. Can I come in?"

I reluctantly opened the door, letting her in as she walked past me. She had a box in her hands. "So, this is where weird Karli lives."

"Just give me my homework and go, Tara."

She ignored me. "I am guessing you know Matt and I are together now and that I'm the reason he dumped you. He also wanted me to drop off some of your things." She pulled out a Teddy bear. "Isn't that sweet? What are you like, 6? Who gives someone a Teddy bear in high school?"

Tara continued pulling out little things like a card I made him for his birthday, photos of us from homecoming last year, a necklace I had made him with a rose quartz stone. Each time she pulled something out, she'd make a fake sympathetic face. She finally stopped when the box was empty. I couldn't believe how many gifts I had given him, and I felt ashamed.

"I get it! Just leave it and go."

"Fine. I was just trying to show you that you were getting all your stuff back. I didn't want you to think he forgot anything, so there would be no reason to bother contacting Matt. He also asked me to tell you that you have some things of his he'd like back."

"Like what?" I was really getting annoyed at this point.

"He said you have a few of his sweatshirts, a t-shirt, and a diamond necklace."

I stood there seething with anger, barely able to think. "Can you do me a favor, Tara?" I asked, controlling my urge to scream at her. Tears were welling up into my eyes at the thought Matt could really be so insensitive. I wouldn't let her see me cry, so I hid my gaze from hers.

"I guess what would that be?"

"All his stuff is in a storage room in the basement. Grab your box, and come with me. It's the first room off to the left, just down the basement stairs."

Tara rolled her eyes and picked up the box as she stomped over to the basement door, opening it, then stopping to turn and back at me. "Jesus, Karli, it smells like someone took a giant shit down here! Ever heard of Glade air freshener?"

I watched her stomp down the stairs; I lifted the barrier allowing the Zombie to move about just long enough to find Tara freely. I slowly closed the door behind her, locking it into place.

There was a blood-curdling scream from the basement, and I smiled, sitting down at the kitchen table. All my sorrow and all my rage dissipated. I felt a sense of release fall over me. I didn't hear anything else from the basement as it all went quiet. I stopped feeling the urge to feed something that was only making me sicker.

The spell was broken.

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