Well they do nowadays, anyway, but it’s a trend that first started with me and Seph.
See, I bring the dead back for a fee and for a cost, which are two different things. The fee is my going rate of three gold coins per body—real gold, mind you, though I don’t care about when or how they were minted. The cost though; that’s not about me, that’s about the necromancing.
I bring back someone who’s died, who’s been to the Other Side, and not only that, but I bring them back in their original body, no matter how far along in the decomposition process it is.
(Hey, I’m a necromancer, not a rejuvenator. They charge a hell of a lot more than I do and for good reason.)
So the cost is that my shades come back rotting to varying degrees. I had to start warning people about that after the first few times I got a nauseated customer yelling in my face and demanding a refund and return. I really didn’t think I needed to explain what being dead does to flesh and bone, but I guess there’s no accounting for common sense.
The problem was, making that fact clear to people meant I lost a lot of business, because people are generally squeamish. Still, I scraped by with resurrecting the more recently dead…until Seph opened her florist shop up across from me, and we got to talking. We became fast friends, which kinda sucked because at the time, I was about a month out from needing to declare bankruptcy and having to move out.
I just wasn’t making the rates I needed.
So I was talking about the dead (which was par for the course with me) and flirting with Seph (because what did I have left to lose) and that meant I was talking about how the dead like flowers.
“Do they really?” Seph asked me, a private smile pulling at her mouth, like she knew exactly what I was doing but also knew I wasn’t lying or exaggerating, and that made me charming rather than sleazy.
I nodded seriously. “They do! Why do you think people leave bouquets on graves, or make wreaths for coffins, and fill funerals with more flowers than they do weddings? It’s because the dead like them, because flowers smell like life. They make the dead feel less displaced, you know. Less out of touch in the Great Beyond, less cut off from the Here and Now.”
Seph got that look in her eye, that jewel-bright look that meant she’d had a brilliant idea and I was about to struggle with the urge not to kiss her.
“Oh!” she said. “Oh, I think I’ve found a way to save your business!”
(I ended up kissing her. She kissed me back though, so it really was all coming up roses).
So that’s how our joint business Phantasm Florals was born. The shades are happy, and the customers too; they get their dead back as a personal, walking garden of blooms that hides all scent and sight of decay, and the dead don’t have to feel self-conscious or get shunted back behind the Veil simply for being who they are.
On a more personal level, flush with the success of our business and delighted with our blossoming relationship (pun fully intended), I asked Seph to marry me.
She said yes.
Fictober is a challenge where writers respond to a prompt a day for the whole of October.
This year's prompts are from Deep Water Prompts on tumblr.
Welcome to the blog!
Featuring prompt fills, excerpts from my wips, posts about my writing process, and more.