Lush green covered the banks of the river. It would have been beautiful were not for the scull in my hand. Finding bones on an archaeological dig wasn’t unusual, but his one was different. Caucasian, male, one gold tooth, just like Brendan Harper, one of the students who disappeared three years ago.
The university didn’t seem to notice how many students dropped Professor Hamilton’s classes or simply vanished over the years. And I mean years, as in decades. My boss red flagged the case and I’d spent two years undercover waiting for him to slip up.
“Are you ready to join your classmates, Miss Van?”
Icy fingers touched my shoulder and the scull crashed to the ground. It felt as though the temperature dropped fifty degrees. I could feel a tug on my soul, feel my life force drain away even through the protections. Panic closed in. If I didn’t act soon I’d be nothing but a withered corpse for some future victim to find.
A twist of my wrist slipped the magic dagger into my hand as I spun around. I plunged the weapon deep into the lich’s emaciated chest. His red glowing eyes widened in their dark sockets. Bony hands clenched my neck even as his body disintegrated.
“You can’t destroy me,” he hissed. “I’ll be back within a week. Your soul will be mine.”
“Not this time, Lich. I destroyed your phylactery this morning. Oh, and my name isn’t Miss Van. It’s Miss Van Helsing.