art by Cheryl L Owen-Wilson
How to Love a Necromancer
by Jess Hyslop
The first time he knocks at your door, be cautious. Your mother will pluck at your sleeve, hiss at you to come away--but do not feel you have to obey her.
Do not feel you have to open the door either.
Watch him instead through the window. Note the oil in his hair, his newly trimmed nails, the clumsy stitching on his robe's fraying hem. Count the minutes he waits, the number of times he entwines and untwines his fingers.
Count your own heartbeats. Measure this against your qualms, against your fear of his sorcerous, moon-pale eyes. Study the arithmetic of your desires.
Catch his expression as he turns away.
Do the same the second time he knocks. And the third, if you choose.
When finally his knocking and your decision coincide, ignore your mother's entreaties. Shake her off your sleeve, muster your courage.