Excerpt: Bob Wacszowski, Necromancer

BobBob Wacszowski, Necromancer is the harrowing and hilarious tale of a regular guy who stumbles across an ancient tome of Atlantean necromancy and decides to make full use of his new powers for good, despite the world’s increasingly negative reaction to his expanding army of skeletal minions.

On his way home from being broken up with by his girlfriend Anna for the nth time, mild-mannered, unemployed janitor Bob Wacszowski stumbles into an underground chamber where he finds a huge leathery codex of ancient death magic. After he and his best friend Tony use it to animate and command a graveyard full of skeletons, Bob becomes determined to use the magic to make a living for himself, while also proving to Anna that he can be a force for good in the world. Unfortunately, Bob lives in the heartland of America, and despite his assurances of goodwill he finds much difficulty convincing his countrymen that he is not the Antichrist and that it is not the End Times.

Bob Wacszowski, Necromancer tackles a range of topics from contemporary American politics and culture to religion and metaphysics, all with a modern comedic voice.

Bob Wacszowski, Necromancer is to be the first in a series.

Below is an excerpt from the story, about three-fifths of the way through, when Bob and his group are being attacked by a jet fighter while he tries to find his girlfriend Anna.

I’d love to hear any thoughts or remarks on the piece, if anyone felt like sharing.


“Why don’t you just give up?” the aggressive man’s wife asked Bob from behind her husband. “They’re obviously not going to stop until they’ve got you, and as long as you’re out here, you’re putting us and our houses in danger.”

“The lady’s got a point,” Tony agreed.

“It’s them who need to stop, who need to give up,” Bob demanded, pointing aggressively at the ground and actually stomping his foot in frustration. “I haven’t done anything wrong except raise some skeletons. What, do they belong to somebody? Have I stolen someone’s property? Don’t think so. People aren’t their bodies. Now we know that. Or at least I do. So… that makes things different. These bones aren’t the people who died. And the other shit I’ve done – I, I put some people to sleep. Is that a crime? I do not deserve this kind of reaction, so while this is all sort of my fault, you can’t really blame me. This is them. This is y’all.” He pointed at the small group of bystanders as if they were all personally culpable for the present havoc. “If you all would just consider it from my side for a second…”

He shook his head, stopping himself, and put one hand over his eyes for a moment. The darkness was calming; it made him again want more than anything just to be in bed with Anna, inside a calm moment, with no one else around.

From down the street, causing Bob to open his eyes, Spencer’s voice shouted, “Bob! Tony!” He was jogging, with Officer Kierny limping behind him and some of the other peripheral followers they had recently gathered walking behind, with all the skeletons marching after them, filling the street.

“Spence!” Tony shouted. “Are you guys okay? Who’s hurt?” He jogged down the street to meet them.

Bob also started in that direction, but stopped again when he began to hear the sound of the jet fighter getting louder, reverberating off of everything so its direction was unclear. He wondered if it was the skeletons that it was trying to destroy, or him specifically.

“Spencer, are you commanding the skeletons to march right now?” he called down the street, but Spencer didn’t seem to hear him over the conversation he had started to have with Tony once Tony got to him.

“So wait – is he the one who commands the skeletons?” the aggressive middle-aged man asked Bob.

Bob turned around to face him. “What’s your name, man?”

“Gene,” the guy said after a moment.

“Leave me alone, Gene,” Bob told him. “I need to not have to worry about you right now.”

“What are you gonna do – put me to sleep?”

Gene’s wife smiled at that question, and asked Bob, “Could you teach me to do this stuff? He has such a hard time getting to sleep sometimes…”

With a casual utterance of the mental spell and the tiniest flick of Bob’s hand in their direction, Gene and his wife fell upon each other on their lawn, instantly fast asleep, at which many among the group of onlookers gasped. Bob turned back around to face his crew and the incoming skeletons, who were almost to him now.

“They blew up Travis’ truck, Bob,” Spencer cried.

“I know, man, I’m sorry,” Bob nodded, his mouth grimly taut. “What do I say?”

“McGalliard looks like a slaughterhouse,” Spencer added, his eyes welling up. “Kierny’s leg is all fucked up…”

“I’m okay,” Officer Kierny assured Bob, holding his hand to a bloody wound on his calf, where his pants were torn. “Really.”

“We’ll get you taken care of somehow, man,” Bob nodded with concern.

He didn’t know how they were going to take care of Kierny’s leg, though. He hadn’t come across any healing spells in his book of death magic. Realizing that made Bob wonder why the book focused so exclusively on the weird and macabre. He wished he had come across a book of fairy magic or something like that, instead.

The jet fighter caught Bob’s eye through the trees above the houses, heading in their direction, its high-pitched roar rising.

“I’ve got chickens – coming through!”

Bob turned to see the guy who had run off to get a chicken now pushing past people in the crowd of onlookers with three of the big brown birds hugged together in his arms.

“Bob – I wasn’t sure how many you’d need, so I brought all three.”

“Great, thanks,” Bob muttered, preparing himself to have to quickly kill one of the poor things. They smelled, and were greasy with filth. “Just let me try one, first – but quick. Now which one is the most innocent?”

The guy gave Bob a quizzical look of uncertainty.

“The least evil, I figure, is what that means,” Bob quickly tried to explain.

The guy looked at the three chickens for a few moments of real consideration, then chose one with a hesitant nod to himself.

“Give it here.”

“Alright then, man,” the young man with the chickens said quietly, putting the two more evil ones down on the street. He held the last one carefully, and eyed it lovingly. “My brother’s been keeping these three as pets for about a month. They’re actually really good pets. But the plan was to eat them for Easter anyway. So I figure stopping an attack jet is a better use for ‘em, right?”

“It’s very valiant of you,” Bob acknowledged as he reached out to take the chicken from the man’s hands. “And them. Thank your brother. We’ll remember these chickens.”

The man transferred the wiggling bird into Bob’s cradling arms.

He would never have thought it possible, they not really being animals with forward-facing binocular vision, but for a split second, Bob had what felt like eye contact with the chicken. He felt compassion for it.

He considered what it meant to murder something as he was about to do. Bob had never gone hunting or fishing, but he had done things like blowing up frogs with firecrackers as a child, and he had killed plenty of bugs in his life. Plus, it struck him, he ate meat which came from an enormous system of torturing and murdering any number of animals like this that he wasn’t sure why he didn’t care about. He took a moment to wonder what might have made the young man choose this as the least evil chicken. For a moment, in his mind, the chicken and Travis were the same, and he quickly came to the decision that every living being was a morally complicated individual who apparently wasn’t really defined by their body anyway, so all he would really be doing was moving whatever self-being was in this chicken body into some other situation.

Steeling his will, he grabbed onto its feathery little neck with a tight fist and quickly twisted its head right off as hard as he could, unwilling to have to pull more than once. Luckily, his instinct was right, and the head came off instantly, releasing a series of pulses of hot blood into the air. People in the crowd shrieked and backed away; some fled.

“Oh Jesus!” the guy who had brought the chicken ejaculated, and fainted onto the grass next to Gene and his wife, and half on top of the two chickens he had just set down, which squawked and wiggled out from underneath him.

Bob turned toward the plane, threw the chicken’s body off into the street to his right and bellowed, “Be cursed, chicken!” with the long and complicated accompanying mental phrasing he had just read for officially sacrificing someone’s soul (though he was still unclear what doing so really even meant).

The moment the final mental syllable was complete, he felt a surge of what he would normally otherwise have attributed to adrenaline, but had to imagine now was actually some kind of soul power, pushing against the previous heat from the frog to suddenly all overflow into a set of phantom organs just beyond the edges of his fingers on both hands that he never would have guessed he had.

When he looked at his throbbing hands, the fingers seemed almost thinner, as if refracted somehow visually by the powerful energy surrounding them. That or his hands had just aged fifty years today.

He looked up at the aircraft in the sky, much closer now, clearly threatening to soar down onto the city imminently, reached up quickly with both arms and mimed the rending of the sky, at which gesture actual massive gashes of purplish limbo were torn across the atmosphere right up between Bob and the plane, just above the trees. The edges of what appeared to be a laceration in space shuddered for a moment when Bob finished the gesture, then came to a rest as a throbbing-edged pinkish gash quivering in the sky just above the trees of the neighborhood.

The quickly distorting jet fighter tumbled end over end out of its course and swirled twice in decaying orbits around the breach, causing great gasps in the crowd on the street with each accelerating swoop through the sky and leaf-belching arc through the treetops, until it came to a twisting halt at the center of the portal, folding in on itself, exploding quite grandly and then suddenly disappearing into the just-larger than man-sized portal along with all the fire and force of the explosion, casting out a powerful and strange wave of eerie sudden silence.

But the throbbing purple gash in the sky remained.

Bob felt his skin tighten in a long, painful throb that coursed through his body from the inside, out. His hair visibly grew for a long, chilling moment that many of his friends noticed but were certain they had imagined.

The crowds surrounding him gasped, some groaned softly with confused terror, but after a moment a distant slow clap gradually inspired the people on the street hesitantly to applaud. The fighter plane and its missiles were clearly gone somehow, lost into the swirling wound in the sky. And it had unquestionably been a visual experience unlike any previous.

Everyone expressed elation and relief to each other except Bob, who had just had to be what he imagined evil meant. He had no idea what the results of his curse might be upon the soul of the chicken, or how that worked at all. The murder-curse combo had given him some undeniable power, though, so there must have been something to it.

The cheers of the neighborhood bystanders quickly morphed back into a mass of confused, fearful whispers. Bob looked at the people surrounding him and regretted what he had just done. Despite himself, he began to cry again, unsure whether Muncie really deserved that chicken, and pretty sure now that underneath the nervous systems everyone, even that frog, was made of various amounts of the same stuff.

When he was done crying and looked up dry-spirited at the awe-struck crowd all staring up at the new purple vagina-looking thing shivering opalescently tens of meters above the tress, Bob felt distinctly older. In his mind, for a split second, he silently celebrated his thirty-second and thirty-third birthdays, as he wiped his warm chicken blood covered hands on his bathrobe.

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