A tale of two people.

JENNY.

In a small apartment on the 3rd floor of a residential building in New York City, rested a young girl in her early twenties, her body slumped on the couch of her shared home unaware of the television blaring in the background due to the substances in her system numbing most of her senses and thus she wasn’t able to be informed of the bizarre issues of world today, or rather in New York City today. The television aired a breaking news story about a recently deceased person strangely being reanimated back to life in a shrieking revival only to fall back into death, also reporting that there have been several of these cases reported across the country, but mostly in New York. This report was being accompanied by an interview with a theology professor and priest named Father Corbin and Neurologist named Dr. Stein who offered their opinion on the strange phenomenon that is occurring. The young girl, still in the state of lifeless slumber, is not able to register this news report in her head. But that wouldn’t matter as later on she will have had experienced this first hand, and wished that she was better prepared for it.

The interview airing between Father Corbin and the Neurologist is about to begin, both men staring at each other with some uncertainty. Unsure and stressed, what could they say in response to these actions which defy both logical and religious comprehension? The father begins.

Father Corbin: There are some things in this world that cannot be put into human logic, that cannot be understood by the human mind, it is too great, too divine to grasp. That can only be the work of God.

With a shrug, the Neurologist hesitates to rebuttal, his eyes lost in the sight of the floor below and his hands massaging his head. He shakes his head slightly at the priest and sharply exhales with frustration.

Neurologist: It can be some sort of advanced postmortem spasm, it is still being researched so we cannot have a definite answer, though it may seemed like some sort of spiritual interference, remember this, at one point we thought sneezing was a sign of demonic possession.

Father Corbin lets out a dry laugh.

Father Corbin: In modern times I would like to think that we can finally accept that some things can and cannot be explained. That we would have to accept when the presence of God is known, every day we sin with glee, without fully understanding the consequences and it is only getting worse. For heaven’s sake our corpses are being brought back to life with no warning, no explanation. It isn’t a coincidence that we can only calm down these said corpses within minutes by using the word of God.

Neurologist: No, that was not reported at all, doctors and nurses are taking it upon themselves to try and coach these recently deceased back to death using spiritual words but since there is no significant research as to what we are actually dealing with, you don’t know if a prayer is all that is needed. What about the reports of people dying outside of a hospital and come back to life. We hear those reports every day; these people come back to life only to fall back into death without the presence of a spiritual leader guiding them. Our bodies are changing; this has to be some sort of evolutionary stage of human death. You cannot guarantee a divine reason behind this.

Father Corbin stares at the neurologist for a couple of moments. There is no certainty in his face, just fear, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear from being in the dark from something so drastically against nature and God’s law. The possibility of this occurring was only explored in video games and horror movies with political agendas. Life after death, it just wasn’t something that was considered a possibility.

Father Corbin: I cannot excuse something that is out of our grasp to excuse. This can only be God’s work, we as humans just need to accept it, accept and live according to him. After so long of ignoring his word, he may be giving us a wakeup call.

Before the neurologist got a chance to enter his rebuttal the television airing this interview, turned black. Jenny was awake and had to remote next to her side here she fell into the slumber. Still feeling disoriented she tosses the remote to the side groans as she realizes that it is late in the afternoon, having no knowledge of the interview that aired. Jenny, like many other people in the New York City tristate area, have heard the of the recently deceased quickly reviving from their death, but like many who have never seen this actually happen and are hesitant to pay attention to such reports, Jenny does not realize the full extent of this phenomenon. “Mom I’m up, I’m heading to the store”, Jenny calls out, but no reply is given.

“Mom do you need anything” Jenny aggressively repeats, but still no reply. She walks around the apartment looking for her mother. She notices her mother’s cane is next to the door. This confuses her, as her mother’s right leg was weak and traveling without her cane is a difficult task.  Jenny walks to the bathroom and knocks but the door just opens slightly. She opens the rest of the door with caution hoping to not see anything that would take her by a surprise but still no sight of her mother.

“What the fuck” She says silently, confused by her mother’s absence. The young woman takes two steps toward her mother’s bedroom before seeing that the door was completely open and nobody was occupying the bed. Jenny walks back to the bathroom to splash her face with cold water, hoping to wake herself up and become more alert. In front of the mirror she examines her right eye, then her left, checking her pupils for dilation. She rolls up her sleeves for obvious markings. There are only a couple and Jenny shrugs it off, thinking that nobody would notice. She walks to her bed and grabs her jacket to head out. Looking at her mother’s cane by the doorway her thoughts linger for a moment as to where her mother may be. Then her arm starts to itch and stomach cramps up and her mind is again to a dark place. Jenny grabs her jacket and rushes out the door to, without her mother’s absence in mind..

NURSE ABIGAIL.

In a busy hospital in the heart of a busy city, a nurse is reading the scripture. She is on her lunch break and is concentrated on the Word in front of her tracing along the pages as she reads. She doesn’t notice the elderly priest that comes to sit down beside her. He does not disturb her but takes out his lunch bag and opens it to reveal his sandwich and water inside. The nurse’s head pops out of the bible that she is reading and greets the priest as he takes a bite of his sandwich.

“Oh hi Father Perez, when did you get in” The nurse asks.

“Awhile ago” Father Perez sighs out.

“What’s the matter? You seem a little tired”

Father Perez takes out his handkerchief and wipes his eyes and forehead. The nurse hands him a few napkins.

“I just came from blessing a revived”

The nurse’s face formed a frown. “Oh” she says lowly.

“Have you encountered any today Abigail” The father asks

Nurse Abigail shook her head. “No and I’m hoping not too”

Both Nurse Abigail and Father Perez were trained in dealing with revived corpses. The government founded the Revival Therapy program in an effort to help the revived accept death so they can fall back into death easier rather than leave them in agony until they die again. After a couple of protests and viral video footage of recently deceased that have revived and have been left to their twitching fit, it was decided by the government to work with various religious and medical organizations to create a program specifically to help the process of dying again less painful. Only a handful of people from each state volunteered. Many were psychologists, most of whom decided to train others participating in the program, rabbis, priest and imans. Others like Nurse Abigail were persuaded with higher pay.

Father Perez didn’t need much persuasion as he dutifully took it upon himself to assist doctors whose dead patients awoke in screaming outbursts after they have passed. Even with the her raise, Though she was given a considerable raise, Nurse Abigail would too come to think of her participation in the program more as a duty to humanity then a financial opportunity. In the first month that she was participating in the Revival Therapy program, the nurse was assisting a doctor whose patient was a little girl who was brought in from a deadly car crash. When the little girl died on the operating table only to revive shortly after he had just announced her death, the doctor had a heart attack. After seeing how these occurrences deeply scar people,  Nurse Abigail developed a strong feeling of obligation to coaching them back to death as she knew they would only revive for a couple of moments, but the agony from the confusion they suffered when they were revived was intense and declared cruel and unusual. Seeing peace in their eyes after helping them to accept their fate was comforting and something Nurse Abigail felt every revived deceased should feel before dying again.

But things were taking a toll and soon the Nurse began to regret her decision, as others around began to withdraw further from her in paranoia and herself began to withdraw from the sanity she was barely hanging on too. Many people felt like the dead coming back to life were the start of a Zombie apocalypse; since the Nurse was one of the only ones trained to deal with the undead revivals in the hospital, not too many people felt safe around her, as if she was constantly exposing herself to some supernatural disease.  These feelings were mostly unjustified as the U.S government have never released any kind of statement, giving birth to the idea of an airborne disease built to bring people back to life nor have they or any scientist researching these occurrences, released any reports of the revived attacking those around them in a violent manner.

Father Perez began eating his sandwich, Nurse Abigail anxiously waits to talk to him. She noticeably sighs in front of the father and looks down on the floor, waiting to release whatever thoughts she has burning throughout her mind.

“Can I just tell you something father”

Father Perez nods his head, eating as he awaits the Nurse’s expectant rant.

Nurse Abigail lingers in her emotions for a moment before starting off her story.

“I’ve only been doing this for two weeks now and it still seems so surreal, like it isn’t really happening, every time I encounter a revival, I feel like I’m in a nightmare and when I look into their eyes, I can immediately tell, they are feeling the same thing. Death has never scared me so much. Last week I was tending to a victim of a car accident. This man’s body looked mangled, his arm was almost dismembered and his face, it was unrecognizable. I guess that was the only positive thing about it, I couldn’t really tell his facial expressions, anyway, there was very little we could have done for him, so he died five minutes after coming from the emergency room. He revived shortly after they covered him with the white sheet. I was still in the room, I knew I had to tell him that he was dead and that the pain would stop once he fell back into death, but I didn’t even have the courage to take off the white sheet. Because he was moaning and moving around so much, his arm ended up ripping off and falling on the floor, and he screamed louder. I froze, nobody came in, they knew it was a revival. I let him feel that pain for ten more minutes before he finally fell back into death. I know that was against what I was supposed to do, but I couldn’t get myself to move. I don’t think I even breathed. The air felt so stiff and I blacked out. Then the rest of the staff came in to haul the dead man away. Only after they knew it was over.

Father Perez continued to eat his sandwich throughout the whole story told by the nurse. She knew he was listening, she continued to speak as he took long sips from his drink.

“How long has it been since the first national report of a revival, how long has it been since they government starting looking into this, since reports of people crazily shooting recently deceased and gravely injured or ill people in the head in fear that they would come back as a zombie. How long before an answer? Just trying to talk and coach these people into accepting that they are dead is not a solution, this program that they created, there was too much emphasis on it and not enough on what was actually needed. An answer, some sort of relief, we are in such a state of fear and confusion and there is no sign of action to relieve us from this state”

“So are you saying that this program you and I are a part of is pointless” Father Perez sternly said, interrupting the nurse’s rant. Nurse Abigail shook her head.

“That’s not what I am saying at all, it’s just I don’t really see how this helps us”

“It isn’t meant to help us, in case you have forgot”

Nurse Abigail stood silent as Father Perez continued.

“It is obvious that we are in dark times. Something has changed. No, there is no answer, not from the church, not from the government. There’s nothing we can do about that.

Nurse Abigail nodded in agreement.

“Imagine yourself awakening, no breathe comes out your mouth, everything is numb, there is this excruciating pain that you can’t comprehend, and you see nothing but fog, you senses deplete and your head feels light. Your body weighs heavily against the ground and your muscles are won’t surrender to your command. You try to speak, but your vocal cords produce no words just groans, physically you feel as if you are being torn apart then put back together to be torn apart again. You are trapped and no matter how hard you try, you’re brain just won’t function to even let you think about what is going on. Now wouldn’t you wish for some sort of relief, would you not want someone, anyone with a sweet sounding voice speaking to you to tell you everything will be alright, the pain will end soon and heaven’s gate is but a step away. This Revival therapy program was meant to help the revived understand what is happening to them so they can accept it and move on sooner. It is cruel for us to believe we should leave them in their last moments in dire confusion or unexplainable pain. It is the first humane thing this government has done in a long time. We should be grateful that the funding for this program was available and that we are allowed to become a part of it.”

Nurse Abigail hangs her head in shame. A small tear flows down her cheek onto her hands. She looks at her watch and even though her lunch is not over, she picks up her food tray preparing to leave.

“Are you on call tonight” She softly asks Father Perez.

“I am” He quickly replies.

“I doubt there will be a revived tonight though, seems to only happen once every couple of weeks, I was even surprised I encountered one this morning. But we shall see”

“Yes we shall” Nurse Abigail walks away, leaving the priest to eat by himself. She gives her food tray to one of the cafeteria workers and somberly. She passes by a couple of doctors who dryly wave to her. She starts to head toward the chapel of the church to kill some time. There are two people already in the chapel praying. A middle age man and middle aged woman. They are holding hands and crying. It was obvious to the nurse that they had just experience a loss. She hesitates to walk all the way, not wanting to disturb the mourning pair, but the couple slightly turn her way at the sound of the creaking of the floor by her foot. The woman stares at her for only a second before hanging her head in despair as the man rubs her back and gives her a light kiss on the forehead. Nurse Abigail silently backs out of the chapel and turns around to see Father Perez standing behind her.

“Back to work” He points at his watch. Nurse Abigail slowly nods her head as the woman in the chapel breaks down hysterically behind her.

JENNY

At a friend’s house after taking several hits at home with her mother leaving her unsupervised, lies Jenny on a couch, half naked with eyes half closed. The male friend, whom she was visiting, is right next to her sitting upright and seemingly asleep. She flutters her eyes wide open and pushed herself up on her feet. Jenny walks toward the kitchen and opens the fridge in search for a snack, her stomach growling as it often did after a hit. She is met with disappointment as the only thing she finds it is a couple of beers and some cheddar cheese. There are also a couple of Tupperware with unidentified food inside. Jenny goes with her gut and decides not to touch the containers, knowing that her friend had a habit of leaving food in the fridge for long periods of time without ever throwing it out. She grabs a beer and cracks it open, taking large gulps despite still feeling the effects of the heroin she injected in her arm.

“Andy you need to go grocery shopping” Jenny yells, but hears no response.

Jenny heads back to the couch in the living room and turns on the television to watch the news, her friend Andy still not awake. On purpose Jenny puts up the volume but Andy is still knocked out. She shrugs it off and grabs her cell phone from the table stand next to her to check for any missed calls or texts from her mother. When she sees that she hasn’t received anything she begins to remember back to this morning when her mother was absent from the apartment. Her attention shifts again to the. A breaking news story about a man who was in a fatal motorcycle accident begins to air. The reporter on the scene explains how the man riding the motorcycle, collided with someone’s car and he flew into the air, slamming down on the ground several feet away, dying on impact. The reporter is standing several feet away from the ambulance that is carrying the dead man away. As the reporter carries on about the accident, a paramedic behind him suddenly shoots out the back of the ambulance screaming. Jenny jumps up, surprised just as much as the reporter on the scene. The reporter motions for the camera man to close in on the scared paramedic.

“The body bag is fucking moving” the terrified paramedic is shaking on the ground, the ambulance doors, which were opened by the paramedic. Begin to shake as the stretcher rolls out and causes the black body bag to fall on the ground. The paramedic jumps up and runs points. The body bag is wiggling on the ground. The reporter whispers to his camera man, “Do you hear that”

Jenny hears what the reporter is talking about, slight groaning sounds are coming from the body bag, at first they are unrecognizable, after the third groan, Jenny can clearly hear what the dead motorcyclist is saying.

“Did…se-, did….nt…..seeee

After that, the footage was interrupted and the news was back to the anchors, the male anchor, shaking his head in disbelief, and the female anchor trying to clear her throat, also in a state of shock.

Finally the female anchor spoke. “It seems that the motorcyclist revived. We are sorry for whoever that footage may have offended. Our hearts and prayers who out to that young man’s family and to whoever this may have affected.

Jenny’s breath gets heavier. She had never witness a revived corpse before. Her body sinks back into the couch trying to process what was just witnessed. She turns off the television embracing the silence around her. Andy, who is still asleep on the couch, is snoring loudly breaking Jenny out of her silent trance. Shortly after Jenny closes her eyes again, Andy stops snoring. She notices but doesn’t pay it much mind. Then she feels Andy sliding fast off couch and face down to the floor.

“Andy” Jenny shouts.

She rushes to the floor and just as she grabs Andy by the shoulder to turn him over, he quickly twist his body around, putting his hands around Jenny’s trembling shoulders and shrieks in her face.

“Braiiiinns” Andy’s voice rings through Jenny’s ears.

Once Jenny realizes the joke that was just played on her, she pushes Andy back into the floor harshly.

“You stupid asshole, how is that even funny” She gets up and back on the couch with her legs and arms crossed.

“Do you need a reminder of what’s happening in the world, do you really think you should be playing pranks like that”

“Okay first of all it’s not all over the world. Just New York”

“And other states”

“Other states have already confirmed that those people who returned were visitors from New York. It’s probably something in our water system, I don’t know” Andy pulls himself up to sit next to Jenny, still laughing about the prank he pulled.

Jenny shakes her head. “What if I really thought you died and came back to life, what if I grabbed something that was nearby and bashed you over the head”

“Relax, you would have just panicked just as you did now, you would not have hurt me. Besides I’m not ignorant I know this whole dead coming back to life is freaky and trust me it scares me too. With nobody knowing what the hell is going on, or no answer on how to fix it, we really can’t do much about it. So why lose sleep at night, these things aren’t hurting us. You don’t see them attacking people. You don’t see them do much of anything but scream”

Jenny shakes her head “The screams are what scare me”

It didn’t make sense, how could Andy, how could anyone deal with this. Jenny couldn’t understand. Was it his version of a defense mechanism? Was the rest of New York just brushing this off as if this is supposed to happen, as if this isn’t what nightmares are made of, how apocalypses start, and how people go insane and start killing each other out of paranoia.

“This is death evolving, can’t do anything about that” He sighed. Andy rubs Jenny’s shoulders and gets up to go to the kitchen. “You thirsty”

Jenny shakes her head no. Then her phone rings. “Oh shit it might be my mom, I left when she was still out” She leans over the coffee table for her phone. When she picks up, immediate crying and words mixed is heard. Jenny’s face turns pale and she hangs up her phone. Andy gets back to the couch with a beer in hand.

“Everything okay”

Jenny doesn’t answer. Instead she snatches her purse on the floor next to the coffee table and grabs a needle. Andy within second jumps on her grabbing the needle from her hand and pinning her down to the floor.

“What happened Jen”

Jenny punched Andy in the chest, but his grip on her only tightens.

“You just got out of rehab, your mom was counting on you staying sober”

“My mom is dead” Jenny screams out. Her hysterical sobs follow after.

Andy is silent, his eyes showing no initial reaction, but wraps his arms around Jenny soon after.

NURSE ABIGAIL

It was late in the afternoon and the exhausted Nurse was feeling the effects of a long 24 hour shift. It was has been one month since the first person was reported coming back to life, but months felt like decades to Nurse Abigail, who’s new duties appointed by protesters of the men of cloth to the Government, were to bring the dead back to God.

“Do I help them get to heaven or hell” She wondered. The ideals of church and state were always thought to be separate, but considering the recent events, these two congregations would merge. Or maybe the state decided that it was time for the church to intervene and finally gave in to demands of religion, either way, things in this world were changing, the faith, the science and perceptions already set in the minds of so many, were now being devastatingly challenged. Nurse Abigail was no exception.

The couple she witnessed crying in the chapel were now going into a hospital room. The woman stops her husband before entering the room. Nurse Abigail was standing across from them, and was able to hear the woman speak.

“I don’t even want to see her David” The face of bitterness and anger is obvious on the woman’s face.

“Please Lisa I know it’s hard but please just let her say her goodbyes” David replies, pleadingly.

The woman named Lisa walks back inside the hospital room, her husband follows after. A couple of minutes passed and Nurse Abigail proceeded to walk to the water fountain on the floor. After taking a couple of sips and then looking at the clock to see the time, she turned her head to the hospital room she was just in front of and spotted a young girl with a blue bubble coat slowly walking into the room. Out of curiosity to know if this young girl was the girl the couple was talking about she walk towards the room to casually pass by. She was about two feet away when a loud shriek was heard coming from the room, accompanied by a loud crash. Nurse Abigail saw the couple run out, the woman gasping for air, the man holding her and. A nurse also came rushing out and turned to Nurse Abigail, as silent and still as stone. Nurse Abigail, immediately knowing what just happened, runs into the room grabbing her mini bible out her sweater pocket.

JENNY

Jenny just got out the cab, she was alone as she told Andy not to come. She was numb, stoic and fearful as she walked toward the hospital doors where her mother was being held. Over the phone her uncle called her to tell her that her mother had a seizure and fell down the stairs. Now she was in a coma and Doctors estimated that she would not make it. Every step she took, toward the elevator out of the elevator, through the double doors, felt like more like she was slowly floating. Everything around her was foggy, distant and unrecognizable. The air felt thick and painful and it was becoming harder to breathe the closer she got to the hospital where she was told her mother laid.

She walks towards the door and from the hallway can see her Aunt Linda and Uncle David standing near the bed. Linda did not turn to look at Jenny’s face as she walked inside the room. She was softly stroking her sister’s head. David grabs Jenny’s hand as she comes closer, now realizing that her mother was just pronounced dead, minutes before. Jenny’s chest tightened and she squeezed her Uncle’s hand. He leaned in toward her ear and whispered.

“She fell down the stairs while she was on the phone with Linda, she said she thought you had run out to get high, she didn’t see you in your room”

Jenny’s face drained itself of any color, and she began to weep with guilt heavy laying on her.

“She noticed money missing from her purse when she woke up this morning” Linda finally broke her silence.

“That is why she thought you ran out the house, she thought you took it for your drugs” Linda said. There was a sternness to her voice, as if she was holding herself back from screaming at Jenny.

There was a nurse standing next to the bed observing Jenny’s mother’s body.

“Time to say goodbye, I’m sorry for all your loss” The nurse said.

Linda didn’t move. David let go of Jenny’s hand and walked to his grieving wife.

“Come on Honey, Let’s go” He grabbed Linda by her shoulders and let her away. As they walked behind Jenny, Linda kept her head down, avoiding Jenny’s eyes. Jenny trembled each step she took next to her mother’s bed. Her mother looked so pale and lifeless. Jenny could not sit, or kneel. She had her feet firmly on the ground feeling physically incapacitated. After a couple of deep breathed and choked tears she kneeled down to her mother’s cold and clammy forehead and gave her a kiss.

…….In return her mother’s dead arms clasped around her in return.

Linda screams as she see’s her dead sister return from death, David rushes her out the room. The nurse comes from the side of the bed and sprints out the the hospital, leaving Jenny in a state of shock as she is face to face with her mother’s corpse. Looking deep into her mother pupils and feeling her grasp tighten. Seconds later another Nurse comes into the room and grabs Jenny from the corpse’s arms. The Nurse sits Jenny on the floor a couple of feet away from the bed.

“Are you okay” The nurse asks but Jenny cannot answer. She can only widen her eyes at the morbid sight of her mother’s arms extending her reach toward her, groaning. Each groan gets louder and louder until finally the dead woman utters a word.

“Come…ba…ack….Jennn”

The nurse grabs Jenny’s chin and turns her face to her.

“My name is Abigail okay, I want you to listen to me, Do not look at her, she is trying to pass on, Do not respond to her at all. I am going to help you but I need for you to get out. Understood”

Again Jenny doesn’t respond. Nurse Abigail gets up regardless and walks to the mother. Jenny witnesses her grabbing the shoulders of the reanimated dead body and pushes her down, the mother still gazing at Jenny with her twisted mouth. Jenny shoots up from the floor and sees the Nurse with a Bible in her hand. She turns around and runs out the hospital room toward the exit.

NURSE ABIGAIL

Seconds after grabbing the shoulders of the presumably dead mother, Nurse Abigail started to notice her chest move.

“Oh my god” Nurse Abigail runs out the room to speak to the Nurse that was handling the patient.

“She’s alive, get the doctor in there now, she isn’t a revived she’s actually alive”

The nurse was astonished. “Abigail I swear she was dead I felt her heart stopped”

Nurse Abigail shook her head. After she noticed the patient’s chest moving, realized that she was breathing. Revives don’t breath after coming back.

“Just get the doctor back in here asap” Nurse Abigail turns the other nurse and pushes her down the hallway off the I.C.U

Nurse Abigail looks at the man and woman, whose faces are astonished by what they just overheard, but notices the young girl was missing. She walks outside the exit of the floor to look for the daughter of the woman. She sees nobody. She assumes that the young girl went downstairs to go outside to take a breather from thinking that her mother was dead. She takes the elevator all the down and when the elevator doors open, she sees a crowd of people in the entrance. She sprints to see what is going on outside. She assumed right. The young daughter was outside but she wasn’t breathing.

Jenny’s body was collapsed on the ground in front of the hospital’s main entrance. A pool of blood surrounding the back of her head, her body was twisted about and appeared to have lots of broken bones. The Nurse overheard one EMT worker explaining how Jenny suddenly jumped from the top of the hospital building to commit suicide. Nurse Abigail was confused and distraught.

“How did she get to the roof so fast” She thought to herself. Seconds later, Father Perez came rushing next to her and stared at the distorted body. He said a prayer and did the rosary for the dead Jenny. Nurse Abigail turns and looks to him crying. Father Perez turns to her, understanding her grief. Then, both slowly turn their attention back to Jenny’s body as they hear a low moan coming from that direction.

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