Malik The Undead Menace

Submitted into Contest #221 in response to: Write a story about someone trying to raise the dead.... view prompt

4 comments

Fantasy Suspense Thriller

Malik walked down the hall with purpose, each step echoing through the grand halls of his home. Every dozen or so paces stood a pair of undead. Each one was ready to fight to the death with only a thought if he commanded it. Though it wasn’t like anyone was stupid enough to try and attack him—or to even get through his first line of defense at the bottom of the mountain.

As he walked, his estate reacted to his emotions. The anger and frustration he had felt over the past decades had only increased in recent years.

#

A long time ago, when he was only a boy, there had been rumors of a being so strong that, with a flick of his hand, he could shatter empires. Naturally, the legend said that the being had been defeated by a band of heroes and was sealed away—fated to live forever in stasis.

Malik had never truly believed such fantasies; that was, not until fifty years ago. He could still remember it like it was yesterday. A mass of people had come to his estate and told him they needed to speak with him, saying it was urgent. He assumed they actually wanted to fight, and since he was in the middle of meaningful work, which they had interrupted, he had decided to kill them all. After all, he was known as The Undead Menace.

So, when he opened the gate to the bright sunny morning day and saw them all bowing down before him, he knew they didn’t come here to fight. Instead, they led him down the road to a wooden box, which looked like it was rotting from the inside. No one among the crowd would even go near it. They wouldn’t even say what was inside. In fact, they all seemed terrified, and not of him.

Like anyone else would, he opened it cautiously. To his surprise, inside was a corpse. He immediately knew it was dead due to his keen familiarity with them. And he knew that it must have been dead for some time. What was interesting, though, was the lack of visible decay from the body. Instead, there seemed to be decay in the area around it.

 The body's skin was golden like a late afternoon sun. On the tip of each finger was a long, razor-sharp claw. It also had long, yellow lines that ran down the body from head to toe. After a few moments of studying the corpse, Malik turned toward the crowd’s leader. Everyone shrank as he turned his attention toward them. His body towered over them, and with their current states of panic, it seemed it didn’t take much to scare them.

He was curious about the situation. What he wanted right now was to take the body to his home and study it. He may even be able turn it into an undead and inhabit the body himself, due to the pristine condition of the corpse. While his current form was impressive and quite imposing, the body inside the makeshift coffin seemed robust.

The crowd didn’t argue with him when he said he wanted the body. It was quite the opposite. Actually, they seemed relieved. He supposed that should have been his first warning that the corpse wasn’t normal.

#

“Damn it!” Malik exclaimed, slamming his gigantic fists on the worktable. “Why doesn’t this stupid body accept the runes?!” He slammed his fist down again, making the corpse beside him shake, and a book fell off the bookshelf several feet away.

He slummed down into a chair and stared at the body before him. Over the decades he had worked on the corpse, it hadn’t degraded at all. Its skin was still the same golden color, and if his mind didn’t play tricks on him, it seemed like the lines that ran down the corpse’s body had only gotten brighter over the years. None of it made any sense to him.

Malik had tried every technique, skill, potion, rune, and item he could find. And still, none of it had worked. The corpse just lay there, motionless, almost taunting him. As if to say: “They call you The Undead Menace, Hah!”

 One thing he noticed over the years was the fact that the room that housed the corpse seemed to be getting eaten away by something. It reminded him of how that wooden box had looked all those years ago. That alone was remarkable since his home was made from the highest-grade materials money could buy.

He stood up and walked over to the corpse, which he had started calling Ned a couple decades ago.

“Now, listen here, Ned. You will accept this next rune, or I will throw you into the greatest depths I can find and leave you there. Okay?” Malik turned around and grabbed a rune device, which rested on the table beside him—even the tools seemed tired of the same fruitless daily efforts.

Behind him, in the room's entryway, four guards stood watch. It was a shame they couldn’t talk or help in his research. All they were good for was fighting; occasionally, he would hang his coat on their swords. Surely, they wouldn’t mind.

With a flourish, he took up the device in both his hands. It was circular and heavy. It had a spiraling metal piece on the bottom and two round, thick handles on the sides. Malik held the two handles over the corpse. He had grown tired and wanted to finish the work on this body. It was supposed to have only taken a couple months, a year at most. Now, more than fifty years later, he was still trying to reanimate this corpse.

That was why he decided to put everything he had into this attempt. He was confident in his ability, and he wouldn’t learn any more about it anyway, even if he took another fifty years studying it.

He began slowly, and the device hummed in his hands. The energy inside him moved out and made its way to where his will commanded. The device whined and protested as he poured every ounce of his being into it. For a moment, he lost his footing, his legs giving out slightly from the effort, but he regained control. He forced his willpower to channel all his power through the device. Then, the rune device activated and energy left his body like a dam letting go.

All of his might entered the device and came out as a dark, violet beam of energy through the spiraling metal piece. It hit the corpse, causing it to lift off the table. The corpse started to shake violently. Malik’s vision began to dance, but he maintained his concentration on channeling his power through the device. A high-pitched squeal emanated consistently, getting louder as he sent more energy through it.

Malik didn’t even dare to look at the corpse to see if it was working. If he broke his focus for a moment, the results could be disastrous. The amount of energy put into this attempt was monstrous. And he was trying to force it all into a singular place, and a specific shape. It was challenging, to say the least.

Finally, he felt the rune start to form, and the strain on his body lessened. Unfortunately, he felt his consciousness begin to play with him. He wouldn’t be able to maintain this beam of energy for much longer, but he wanted to give the rune as much of a chance to succeed as possible. The body he was in was only a vessel anyway. Even if the whole room blew up, causing him to die in the explosion, his conciseness would be sent to another one of the many bodies he had.

Then, he felt it all click into place. However, what happened wasn’t what was supposed to happen. 

Once the rune was finished, Malik expertly stopped the device and put it back in its place. Quickly, he went over to the body and carefully examined it. In the center of its chest was a symbol—a rune—but it wasn’t the one he had intended to create. The rune on its golden chest was…a resurrection rune?

A hand shot up from the previously motionless body on the table and grabbed Malik’s throat. He gasped for air and tried to peel the hand away. It was no use. The hand seemed to have an iron grip. Malik coughed and mentally commanded his undead guards to help.

He heard them rush to his aid, only for another sound to follow. It sounded like an arrow speeding through the air, only much louder and more powerful. When he turned his head to see what had happened, he was mortified. His undead were on the floors with huge holes blown through them, the edges of which had been charred.

Malik activated the item he always had on him in a panic: The Ring of True Escape. Then, he was in another room of the estate, gasping for air and holding his knees while trying to collect his thoughts. It had all happened so fast that. Malik knew the rune device had worked; he felt it, but the rune looked different. And he had never given the body on the table a command to move, let alone try and kill him and his guards. Some had gone wrong, and now he had to fix it.

He looked around and saw he was in his main throne room, with all his best undead around him. In total, there were eighteen, including him. He reached out mentally to his home and felt for anything unusual. There was a disturbance in the area around his workshop, where he had just been, and he knew he had to deal with the situation decisively. With a thought, the gang around him rallied and drew their weapons, a clattering of steel and the smell of perfectly preserved flesh was heavy in the air. 

They left the throne room and rushed down the hall, purpose filling him in a way he hadn’t felt in years. The feeling he was getting from his connection with his house led him to a small room. Without even opening the door, he knew the body he had brought back was inside there. Malik gulped and steeled himself because the only thing separating him from a unique and mighty being was about four inches of wood.

As a precaution, he ordered one of his undead to open the door. At the same time, he hid partially behind a few more—his expertise wasn’t in direct combat.

The door opened slowly, revealing a being of golden skin on his knees in a dark room. It didn’t move or react to them in any way. Malik waited, not wanting to kill the being he had spent so long working on. Not wanting to kill Ned. Slowly, almost too slow, the golden being turned its head toward Malik.

“Where am I?” That was all it said.

Malik cleared his throat, although he didn’t need to. “You are in one of my homes. I am Malik, The Undead Menace, and I have brought you back to life.” He paused, unsure if he wanted to mention that he had killed his undead, then continued. “You killed my undead, for which you must be held accountable.”

The being looked at Malik. Its eyes were a deep red. Malik returned its gaze and worried he had pushed it too far—after all, the being had just woken up. After several minutes of tension and red eyes bearing down on Malik—unblinking—the golden being spoke.

“Yes, I suppose I have a debt I must repay.” He replied.

Malik relaxed slightly, believing the being didn’t want to cause trouble. Then, he realized the being looked like it had been crying. How had he not seen that before? When Malik first opened the door, it was clear now the golden figure had been on its knees, crying. Malik wondered if he was reliving a past memory or simply confused.

“May I have your name? I have been calling you Ned for the past couple of decades because they never did have a name for you.” Malik said, sounding a little sheepish at the mention of the made-up name.

The dirt on the gold face of the being had a clear line running down from the eyes, evidence of the tears it had shed. “Ned. I like that. I can’t remember my name. The only thing I can remember is a feeling—one of deep, absolute loss.” Ned replied.

Malik blinked and was suddenly annoyed at all the guards around him. In the same instant, he sent them away with a mental command. The metal armor clanked down the hall as they returned to their stations. He walked over and gave his hand out to Ned. And Ned accepted it. 

They walked down the hall toward the throne room. Malik had a few things in mind that could restore some of Ned’s memories, but they weren’t guaranteed. Regardless, after fifty years of trial and error, he had finally completed what he had wanted. Even though it wasn’t what he expected to happen, he was still satisfied.

October 23, 2023 03:47

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Mary Bendickson
03:23 Oct 24, 2023

Definitely the start of something or the rest of the story for something beforehand.🤔 Thanks for reading my cookie story. Chapter in a life is good way of thinking of short stories.

Reply

Anthony Carello
03:35 Oct 24, 2023

Or a chapter in someone's life, that's the way I see all stories. It's impossible to capture everything. Glad you enjoyed!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
12:16 Oct 23, 2023

Malik: Arabic for 'Lord' - or 'King?' My Arabic is a bit rusty.😅 Really interesting! I love it. 💓 Reminds me a bit of Frankenstein - but Frankenstein himself is undead (Why is it that so many people don't know that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the monster? Anyway, it's irrelevant) A sequel is necessary for this one. Explanations!!! 😄 This would make a really cool series 😁

Reply

Anthony Carello
17:01 Oct 23, 2023

I didn't even though Malik was an actually word haha. I just thought of it. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the kind words! Maybe a sequel is needed!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.