Jason Dark: Night of the Necromancer
'Night of the Necromancer' by Jason Dark, translated from the original German by Dr. Tony Page (2007)
An ancient delivery van rumbled along a bumpy country lane, almost at walking pace.
In the driver’s cab sat three men.
The man behind the steering wheel was Professor Ivan Orgow. He stared out into the night from deep-set dark eyes, only sparsely illuminated by the light of the two headlamps.
Ivan Orgow’s thoughts were wholly fixed upon the task which lay before him. His eyes flickered at the thought of the power over which he presided. He, Ivan Orgow, held dominion over the dead. And this very night a deceased person would be restored to life.
The two men beside him could no longer think with any clarity – they were not masters of their minds any more. Professor Orgow had placed them under a hypnotic spell. All they could do was blindly carry out his orders.
The ancient delivery van reached its destination and stopped in front of the old, wrought-iron gates of the cemetery. Professor Orgow turned off the headlights. Then he pushed open the door of the vehicle and jumped out.
The mist had thickened. It bore down upon the chest like an oppressive suit of armour, impeding the breathing.
Professor Orgow beckoned to his two helpers. He pulled forth a bunch of keys from his pocket and opened the primitive lock of the cemetery gates. They squeaked as he pushed them open. Silently the three men slipped into the graveyard, and soon the mist had swallowed them up. Only the delivery van remained vaguely visible, standing, temporarily vacated, close to the fissured wall.
Ivan Orgow knew his way around. With singleness of purpose he made his way towards the old house of mourning, which was constructed of thick stones and served additionally as a mortuary.
The professor also had a key for the heavy wooden door. He took a deep breath as he unlocked it. He was in the grip of a strange sense of excitement - the feeling of anticipatory excitement one has on the brink of an all-decisive event.
Orgow momentarily hesitated. He concentrated his mind on what was soon to occur. Then he pushed against the solid door. With a creak, it swung open.
Orgow fetched out a torch from the side-pocket of his long, dark overcoat. He advanced a step forward into the mortuary and switched on his torch. Its beam of light flitted like a lost soul through the little chamber. Orgow groped his way along the walls, which were festooned with box-tree sprigs and whose fragrance he breathed in as though it were balsam. Ivan Orgow let the light of his torch dart further about. The cold marble floor of the chamber partially reflected the light and sketched reflections on the professor’s gaunt, grey face. Orgow directed the torch towards the opposite wall.
And there it was – what he was seeking: a coffin!
It was an expensive oaken coffin, resting on a small pedestal and adorned with wreaths and flowers. The funeral ceremony was appointed for the following day.
The professor’s eyes darted round like will-o’-the-wisps as he slowly advanced towards the casket. His free left hand twitched feverishly. Orgow could scarcely contain his excitement.
Suddenly he tossed the flowers and wreaths aside in a wild, uncontrolled gesture, and supported himself with both hands on the coffin lid, panting heavily.
“I’ll restore you,” he muttered. “You will return from the realm of the dead. You will bring devastation upon mankind, and I shall be your master. I have the might and the power to restore all the dead back to life, and then they will wreak vengeance upon the living.”
Orgow, bathed in sweat, straightened himself up. Unadulterated madness flickered in his eyes. He stretched his arms out, wide like a vampire, and laughed. But it was a maniacal laugh and seemed inspired by the Devil himself.
His two assistants stood motionless like tin soldiers at the door. Not a muscle twitched on their faces.
It was some time before the professor had recovered himself. When he had, he turned his gaunt, hollow face towards the two men.
“Come on!” he whispered roughly. “To work!”
Like two automata, the pair began to move. They were almost of the same height and were both mightily built. Beneath their shabby jackets they wore checked shirts, and old corduroy trousers covered their legs.
“The tools!” Orgow flashed a fierce look at the men. They reached into their pockets and pulled out two chisels, which they then wedged beneath the locks of the coffin lid. After a short while the first lock was cracked open. The second lock likewise did not endure long.
“Raise the lid!”
The men obeyed their master. Slowly they lifted up the heavy coffin lid, while Professor Orgow waited and watched with half-open mouth and outstretched hands, like claws. The torch in his right hand trembled. Only very slowly could the coffin lid be pushed aside, but finally the men accomplished their purpose. The coffin was open!
A deep sigh escaped from the professor’s throat as he looked inside. Yes, there she lay: Mary. Barely twenty years old when she died, three days ago, of heart failure.
Even in death the girl looked wondrously beautiful. Her curly black hair framed her pale face like a fleece. Her shroud was of pure silk and the inside of the coffin was adorned with dark-red velvet. Mary had her hands folded across her breasts. Professor Orgow gently passed his bony fingers across her lifeless bosom.
“Soon you will live again, Mary,” he whispered. “I promise you. But first you must come with us to the castle. There you will be restored.”
Professor Orgow’s face twitched and bore testimony to an immense inner excitement.
“What’s going on here, then?” a voice sounded from the door.
The professor and his two accomplices jerked round. In the mortuary entrance stood an old man - the cemetery attendant. He was holding a table lantern in his right hand. The flickering light of the candle was refracted on the walls and cast long shadows upon the ground.
Slowly Professor Orgow moved menacingly towards the curious cemetery attendant. The old man withdrew a few paces, trembling. Indefinable sounds came from his toothless mouth.
“Kill him!” Orgow suddenly commanded, his hand shooting forth like a dart.
The two assistants began to move, still clutching their chisels in their hands. The old man stood rooted to the spot in utter shock. He still did not comprehend the deadly danger which confronted him. And by the time he did – it was too late.
The two men raised their weapons aloft …
The cemetery attendant staggered back, collapsing to the ground. In a flash the uncanny assistants were upon him.
When they had straightened themselves up again, the old man lay on the floor in a pool of blood. His life had been snuffed out as quickly as the candle in his table lantern.
“He should not have disturbed us,” said Professor Orgow in a hollow voice. Then he turned to his two assistants again. “Lift the dead woman out of the coffin.”
They obeyed his order like two robots.
“Don’t handle her so roughly!” Orgow snapped in a forceful whisper.
The murderers lifted Mary out more gently.
“Now to the van, quickly,” Orgow whispered.
The three men left the mortuary with the dead woman in their grasp.
Meanwhile the mist had grown ever denser. One could scarcely see one’s hand in front of one’s face. Professor Orgow brought up the rear of the little group and suddenly stopped in front of a family vault. He slowly extended his right hand.
“Soon you will also return to life,” he whispered. “You will leave your coffins. Satan himself will bring you back to life. Very soon the graves everywhere will open up. Very soon …” The professor turned aside. He followed his assistants, muttering to himself.
They had reached the delivery van and were now heaving the dead girl into the back of the vehicle. The professor sat down behind the steering wheel once more and, as he started up the engine, a satanic fire blazed in his eyes …
To continue with the story, click on 'Jason Dark: Night of the Necromancer 2' below!