From: The Office of the Community Director of Malitiaville
To: Lady Evelyn Constantine
It has come to our attention that the spirit of Malixius Constantine–the registered tenant of 1011 Pandora Lane–is no longer detectable, indicating he has perished.
Malitiaville’s bylaws, which you agreed to when you moved into the community, clearly state that all entities sponsored by the registered tenant must vacate the premises immediately upon notification of the individual’s death.
However, seeing as the month is nearing its end and in recognition of the good will you have cultivated with Second Prince Mephistopheles, we are graciously indulging his request to permit you to take the remaining five (5) days in your current rental period to get your affairs in order and relocate.
Included with this letter is the bank draft you remitted to us for payment of next month’s rent. Your security deposit will be returned to you after the unit has been inspected. As a reminder, the cost of cleaning or making repairs to the home will be deducted from the amount.
If this notice is in error, then Malixius Constantine must present himself to the community director before the end of the grace period, so we may update our records. Otherwise, the unit must be vacated by the end of the month.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Malitiaville Community Director
Evelyn tucked the letter and bank draft slip back into the envelope and slipped it into the large bell sleeve of her robe where it was devoured by a small swirling vortex of dark energy. Folding her hands in front of her, she drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the foyer’s cool air. Even this far away from the kitchen, the faint smell of strawberry cupcakes tickled her nose. Another six minutes and they would be ready.
I can’t sense him. Luella’s words dripped with unease. But my shard has not returned to me. That means he’s still alive, right?
Inside the vial hanging on the silver chain around Evelyn’s neck, a small ball of iridescent blue energy slowly floated from top to bottom and back again as though pacing thoughtfully in the confined space. Luella had been hinting for months that something was wrong with Malix. To be fair, though, it wasn’t the first time the spirit had raised the alarm. Malix had a talent, unmatched by any other, for getting into trouble and always managed to claw himself out of it somehow. She had assumed that if he needed…wanted her help, he would have messaged her. At least that’s what he yelled at her the last time she’d rushed unbidden to his aid.
He may be really, really hurt and can’t contact us. I don’t know why I can’t sense him.
Trying not to let Luella’s rising anxiety muddle her thoughts, Evelyn looked around the foyer. Like the prologue to a novel, the space was an introduction to their home. She had spent a lot of time and resources adorning it with pieces that appealed to both her and Malix’s sense of style and created a welcoming atmosphere that hinted at the beauty and elegance found in the rest of the house. Why, just the authentic busts of Alexander III of Macedon and Constantine the Great—both artfully positioned on opposite sides of the archway—took six years and a handful of favors to obtain.
Her eyes fell on the large painting, mounted on the wall by the stairs all those years ago. She studied it for a moment before saying with a decisive shake of her head, “I’m not going to spend years grooming a new house.”
Pressing her lips together, Evelyn retrieved her timepiece from a pocket hidden on the front of her robe. She had one hundred and nineteen hours and fifty minutes left to find her husband.
*This is the second chapter of my supernatural series Malitiaville. I’m currently working on chapter 3. I have no idea when it’ll be ready :p