Bistamonte knew he was going to die. He knew age had caught up with him. But before dying, there was something that he wanted to do. He wanted to see his parents alive.
They had died years ago, in front of Bistamonte’s very eyes. The sight of his parents running around in flames while their house burnt down was something he never forgot. They haunted his dreams and called out to him. He saw them just as they were before, in his dreams. Now, he wanted to see them in flesh and blood.
Bistamonte had, with much effort, learned the art of necromancy. So, one night he drew a circle with intricate signs and runes and sprinkled the soil of seven lands on seven corners of the circle. He chanted a mantra, the circle started glowing, and from it emerged a red-faced man in a black robe.
“What do you want, child? Why do you summon me?” he said.
“Master Death,” Bistamonte said and bowed deeply. “After all these years of worship, there is only one thing I request of you.”
“Is it immortality? That I’m afraid, I can’t grant.”
“No, sir. It’s not immortality that I want. All I want is to see my parents alive. Even if it’s for only a day.”
“A day, you say. A day is a long time. Perhaps for six hours?”
“Six hours would be wonderful, Master Death.”
“Okay then, six hours it is. Give me your hand Bistamonte.”
Bistamonte offered his hand to the man in the black robes, who extended a skeletal hand to cover Bistamonte’s hand. A red mist started to emanate from the black robes of Death. The light morphed into tendrils of smoke that then entered Bistamonte’s mind and started to poke around.
“They cannot be brought back from the dead, Bistamonte,” Master Death said, at last.
“But why? They are humans, just like me. Why can’t they -“
“They are not like you. No, they aren’t. Because they aren’t dead, and they won’t be dead for a long time.”
“But I saw them. I saw them burn with the building. I was the only one who was rescued from the flames.”
“That is true. You were indeed rescued from the flames and they did go down with the flames, but they did not die.”
“Well, if they aren’t dead, then where are they? Have they abandoned me? That’s not possible, right? Right?”
“Straighten up, Bistamonte. Such tantrums are for children, not for old men like you. I told you they are alive and well. My guess is that they are one of the five immortals that were ever created. That’s all.”
“Then they have abandoned me. Not that it has anything to do with you, Master Death. I thank you and undo my summoning.”
With those words, Bistamonte started to hum an ancient tune, and the spell was undone. The entire operation had tired Bistamonte. He was not a young man any longer, but the fires of curiosity burned within him just as bright as any young man.
The very next day Bistamonte left the village with a bag slung across his shoulder.