He was a practitioner of dark arts.
Professor Bert Hammar was a man skilled in magic. Not the magic of conjuring and illusion, rather he was proficient in spells both brutal and malicious.
He was, according to word at the university, scheduled to teach several classes regarding the translation of ancient magical texts. In actuality, I learned he was there to teach skilled students the finer points of creating and casting spells.
His first task, I was told, was to rid the university of an unpleasant thorn.
Hammar arrived on my porch late one evening, and weaponless, I answered the door. He asked to come in, and I obliged him, taking his coat and hanging it up before leading him to the study. As we sat down, I saw his nose twitch. The man could sense the magic in the house, and his eyes widened, then narrowed with greed.
I could see him calculating how best to search the house once I was dead.
He made small talk, to which I paid attention with half an ear, watching, instead, the way the fingers on his left hand moved. Clumsily they made arcane symbols, and I could see the mistakes he was making.
This was the wrong house to practice badly in.
He realized this a moment too late.
Hammar stiffened, tried to stand, and they were there.
I’m not quite sure what they are, only that they linger in the darker portions of the house. They are shadow and cold, nightmares trapped within the walls of my ancient homestead.
And Professor Hammar learned that the hard way.
They latched onto him and dragged him out of the chair. He opened his mouth to speak, though what he was going to say was lost as the shadows slammed his mouth closed and pressed his lips together. His wild eyes darted about the room, and they moved him inch by inch across the floor. There was a shadow, disturbingly large and deep by the hearth, and they were pulling him toward it.
When they reached the corner, they began to compress his flesh, blood exploding from his mouth and eyes, spurting from nostrils and ears. His body went into spasms, and a long, maroon smear was left on my floor as the nightmares vanished into the shadows of my house with their meal.