They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
In her self-imposed exile behind that locked door, I knew she would find no solace. She would not be able to channel any of her memories or to call upon her past experiences for guidance. She would find none, for they were gone.
As cruel as those who had resurrected her without memories had been, I understood the method to their madness. Replete with memories she would have been an unwilling puppet, an uncontrollable subject. Without memories, her mind was an open book with blank pages. Alas, the script was being written upon those pages by unseen hands.
I reasoned that imparting what I knew of her life, past and present, could only cause her more harm than good. This was no more evident than when she had found that folder only minutes before.
I was a certain that once she gained control of her emotions, she would be coming out of that room to face me. She would be full of questions. She would be wanting some answers. The answers to those questions, I feared, might be better left unanswered.
Yet, I could empathize with her. Both Michelle and I had gone through resurrections of our own. We too had awakened from death's sleep only to find find ourselves in bodies alien to us. We, however, had returned with our memories and identities intact.
I pounded my fist upon the arm of the sofa and growled, "What right have they to play God?"
I glanced at the bookcase against the far wall. Most of the books upon the shelves had been part of the collection that had belonged to our benefactor, the late Bishop King. Crossing the room I stood before a section of books which were housed behind closed glass doors. Rare and valuable, they were once King's prized possessions.
I scanned the spines searching for a particular tome. Finding the desired title, I removed it from the shelf and opened the book to the title page. I nodded in awe but was not surprised that Bishop King would have owned a copy of its first publication from the year, 1818.
With cautious fingers I turned the pages until I came to the author's introduction to the novel. Although it was fiction, I could feel the hairs on my neck bristling. Written almost two hundred years before, the eerie prescience of the passage was unnerving.
"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world."
I closed the book and read in a soft whisper the title upon the leather-bound cover, "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus." Mary Shelley would have surely turned over in her grave had she known how prophetic her literary masterpiece had become. I returned the book to its place on the shelf and closed the door.
Modern technology had far surpassed the science of the author's days. There were no electrodes powered by lightning storms giving life to a lifeless body. It was not alchemy that had brought Susan and Ben back from the dead.
Likewise, it was not the practice of magic that had given Michelle and myself a new existence. No one had chanted a mystical incantation such as Abra Cadaver. I groaned as soon as the phrase formed in my mind. Still, the phrase formed again and escaped as a vocal utterance, "Abra Cadaver, rise ye the dead and live ye hereafter."
I heard her gasp before I realized that she was standing by the open door of the guest room. She had heard my ill-advised chant. Her face was ashen and she began to tremble. She took one step in my direction, staggered and then collapsed onto the floor.
I knelt beside her and touched her neck. Her skin was warm but clammy. She looked up at me and tried to speak. Touching her lips with a finger I shook my head and said, "Don't talk. Let me help you into bed. You need to rest."
She remained silent until I set her down upon the bed. Placing her hand on my arm she pleaded, "Lie next to me. Please, don't leave me alone."
I shook my head, "No. I don't think that would be a very good idea."
Tears were forming in her eyes and she began to sob, "It ... it's true, isn't it?"
"What do you mean?" I responded. "What's true?"
"You ... you think I'm a monster!" she asserted.
"A monster? No. I don't think any such thing. Why would you think that?"
She ran the back of her hand across her cheeks and whimpered, "I saw you with that book. I heard you say its title!"
I swallowed hard and tried to find the right thing to say. "You're still upset about that folder you found. Your imagination got the better of you." Seeing that the tears were still flowing down her cheeks I offered a small but desperate white lie, "Look, I couldn't sleep. I was looking for something to read."
Whether she believed me or not, it was not apparent as she reached for a box of tissues on the end table next to the bed. Clutching the used tissue in her hand she forced a weak smile and muttered, "I don't want to be alone. Please lie next to me. Please?"
Giving in to her and against my better judgment I nodded, "Alright, but only until you fall asleep."
"Thank you," she whispered as I sat own on the other side of the bed and began removing my shoes.
When I turned around I was stunned by the sight of her. She was standing with her back to me, her derriere bathed in the glow of the table lamp as she slid her panties down the smooth contours of flesh. She was looking back over her shoulder, fully aware of her attentive audience.
Unable to turn away I watched as the final piece of garment slipped from her body. She pulled back the sheets and lie down but did not pull the material over her naked form. From her provocative posture it was obvious that she had no intentions of covering herself.
When I pulled the sheet over her and lie on top of it next to her she tendered a groan of disappointment. She lifted the edge of the sheet but let it fall back onto her when I belched a single order. "Go to sleep."
When I finally heard her steady breathing of sleep I relaxed my guard. I lie there for several minutes staring at the ceiling. I tried to fight the need to sleep. I tried ...
Sleeping With the Dead )