Had he called a spirit?
No, he couldn’t have. First, he was no sorcerer. Second, only powerful sorcerers could make a spirit sentient, and Thad wasn’t powerful. And third…he couldn’t come up with a third, but there had to be one because he couldn’t call spirits.
Perhaps it was a dream. He’d never steal from the black market. He’d never do something so incautious; he wasn’t stupid. His life might be depressingly dull, but he still liked living it.
“Do you remember how you ended up…” Thad gritted his teeth. “Eh… dead?”
Sandulf stopped, and for a few seconds, everything was quiet. His laugh started slow, like a huff, but it grew into a deep, rumbling belly laugh. Thad watched, stunned. He was magnificent, all tall and broad-shouldered, exactly like Ric except his laugh lit up his entire face, despite it being a bit translucent.
“For a wizard, you’re funny. I’m not dead.” Sandulf gestured at himself.
“So you don’t remember.” Thad nodded. It was for the better. It would’ve helped if Sandulf could point out his killer, but it was best for his sake he didn’t remember.
They didn’t speak as they walked through the city. Could people see Sandulf or did they only see a freaked-out man hugging something to his chest while trying to not draw attention to himself?
Thad took the last turn toward the station, ignoring that Sandulf had stopped to look at a pumpkin and spider web display in the shop window.
How the hell would he tell Ric? Unless this was a dream, he’d brought Ric’s brother back from the dead—or not back from, his spirit had been trapped in the skull this entire time. But how to explain? Saying he’d made a mistake wouldn’t be sufficient in Ric’s eyes.
Nine years. He shuddered and it wasn’t the October cold doing it.
They looked so alike, Sandulf and Ric. Sandulf’s hair was a little longer and he had a bit of a stubble whereas Ric was clean-shaven, but they could’ve been twins.
The skin on Thad’s body prickled, and he had a hard time breathing.
With a swoosh, Sandulf appeared by his side, and Thad sucked in a deep breath as the prickles ebbed out.
“What did you do?” Sandulf snarled at him, sharp canines growing longer as he spoke.
“Nothing.” He hadn’t.
“I was standing there minding my own business, and all of a sudden there is this pain, and I’m forced here.”
“Yeah, forced. One second, I’m there, the next, I’m being dragged here.”
Thad grimaced. “Weird.” Or maybe it wasn’t. Growing up, Thad had been told a spirit was tied to its skull, and Thad was holding the skull. Spirits couldn’t walk around freely, at least he didn’t think they could.
“Weird? That’s all you have to say?”
Thad sighed. “I don’t know anything about this, Sandulf. I’m not a sorcerer, I know nothing about—” He swallowed his next word. How would Sandulf react to being called a spirit?
“You’re a wizard.”
“I am.” Thad nodded. “I’m a mage. It means I can cast a few spells, using the magic within me.” Though he’d never been powerful, and he’d never managed to connect with another living being which was what mages and wizards did.
Sandulf narrowed his eyes. “The magic within you?”
“Yeah.” Thad grimaced and threw a rain of blue sparks over him. He didn’t react, but his skin got a little rosier.
“You can do fireworks?”
Yeah, it was what it looked like, wasn’t it? Thad nodded and jogged up the small stair to the entrance of Rockshade’s police station. “Okay, we’re here. We have to talk to…the guys.”
“You live here?” Sandy studied the building.
“It’s a police station.”
“You’re handing me in?” He frowned at Thad.
“Is there something you’ve done I should know about?”
Sandulf shrugged and Thad grinned. “I work here.”
“You said you worked with Ric.”
“I do.” Thad rubbed his forehead. How long had Ric been a detective?