The Revenants Attack.

They attacked. Before I could even figure out whether Reverend Tommy could see them, whether Brigitte could see them, whether I could do anything about them, they attacked.

Revenants move fast! I had been dealing with them only on a social level, or from afar, and only for a week (if you count since I woke up or whatever) or many years (if you go by when I'm dreaming) but either way, I don't think I'd ever seen one move like this. They go like wind, literally, and I don't mean "literally" the way you think people my age--

-- what is my age, do you think? I'd guess that most of me is 21 or 22--

-- people my age use "literally," I mean that revenants move just like the wind moves, whipping up and over and around things that are in their way and changing direction unexpectedly.

They did not attack me.

They did not attack Reverend Tommy.

They went for Brigitte. I saw that instantly, that they were going for her because they looked at me, they looked at Doc, and then they never looked at us again. They didn't even look at Reverend Tommy as they went past him, knocking him down, baring their teeth that looked somehow like fangs even though they were just teeth, I mean, as I remember them they were fangs but revenants keep the shape, mostly, of the human body that they ate to keep the spirit alive, mostly because they are longer and stringier but still look human-ish, so they don't have fangs.

I didn't think any of that then. I watched as they knocked Reverend Tommy down. I saw from the corner of my eye Brigitte stopping and looking at me and I heard Doc say

Don't let them get her

So I didn't. I moved in between Brigitte and them, pushing her back gently and they swarmed towards me and bowled into me. I grabbed the first one that got near me, grabbed him by his stinking t-shirt (I've always wondered why revenants wear clothing at all. They don't stay in the clothes their bodies wore when they died; they change clothes, but not often. I think they wear clothes until they rot off their body, and then get new ones), a t-shirt, I noticed, that had Pink Floyd written on it, and pushed him back.

I have no great fighting skills. I'm not magic or anything. I don't have psionic powers. I don't do magic. If you give me a ray gun I can fire it. I can hit people with a bat. You'd think that whoever grew me or put me together or cloned me or whatever would have done so with some specific purpose in mind but he or she didn't. I'm just ragtag, a mutt. I'm like a quilt person.

I pushed the revenant back and he pushed forward and one on the side of me grabbed my arm and bit it, hard. I didn't pay him any attention because while I don't have any great fighting skills, I also don't feel pain. Whatever construction went into me, it didn't include all the nerves or receptors or whatever. I feel some things -- I feel Brigitte's soft tongue tracing around my nipples and making them stand up -- but not others. I never feel pain.

The revenant bit in and hung on and pulled, and I kept pushing the other one back into the third, so now I had all three of them blocked from Brigitte, who I told to run.

She didn't.

Doc, though, went and hovered by her and the revenant I was blocking got by me while I held the first and the second continued chewing on my arm, but that third guy I couldn't stop and he went around me and was about to Brigitte when I saw a flash of yellow and heard a "pop!" and smelled burning, and the revenant dropped for a second.

So did Doc; he fell out of the sky and his balloon-head went limp. That shook me up, too, because Brigitte has been in my life only 4 days while Doc has been in it for 14 or so, making him my oldest friend when I'm awake. He says he's mostly electronics, that he'd be a Walkman and a food processor 100 years ago, but I still like him.

But I was still busy trying to figure out what to do with the two revenants that I had, and then the problem was solved because Reverend Tommy stood up and said something portentous about casting off demons as he grabbed the one that was biting me and pulled it off. The biter took a hunk of my arm with him.

Also, I don't bleed. Reverend Tommy saw that. He looked at the revenant, and looked at my arm, and then looked up at me. His eyes actually got wider!

The other revenant broke free and tried to dodge around me so I stuck out my leg and tripped him. I can't believe that worked. He fell right down and I turned around and kicked him, hard. I don't know if you can knock the wind out of a revenant because I don't know if they breathe. I don't think they do. I just kicked him because it felt natural.

Reverend Tommy, meanwhile, had the other revenant in front of him, and it was motionless. He had done something to it, but I didn't see what. He was moving in my direction, and I thought he was going to help me, but he didn't; he grabbed at me. I pulled away just in time.

"You're one of them!" he bellowed. Only a deep south reverend can actually "bellow."

"Let me go," I panted. The revenant I'd kicked was standing up and Reverend Tommy bent down and touched it.

"Be still," he said, and made the sign of the cross. It stopped moving. "That will hold him," he said. I was amazed. That gave him a chance to grab me and when he did, I felt it.

His grip was warm, almost hot, a little uncomfortable, but mostly, it pulsed. He had some kind of power that I didn't recognize.

"It's the power of the Lord," he said.

I pulled back but he kept his grip.

"Yes. You may not Share but that does not stop me," he told me. "I still see into you. The Lord runs through me. He guides my hand. He allows me to see and to know. And I know what you are."

There was another pop! and arc of yellow and burning. His hand fell away and the pulsing stopped. I looked. Doc was floating again and had zapped the Reverend Tommy.

I needed to recharge he told me.

How great have microchips gotten when they can be so small they can fit into a tiny floating octopus and make it sentient, or almost sentient? I think Doc is sentient.

The two revenants were still motionless. Reverend Tommy was out cold, but breathing; he had a scorch mark on his forehead. The third, the other one Doc had zapped, was moving a little.

Brigitte was breathing heavily and looking scared. I tried not to notice how her breasts moved with each breath.

"What's going on?" she asked.

"What did you see?" I asked her.

"I saw you fighting or something, and Reverend Tommy," she trailed off. "What bit you?"

"You don't see them?" I asked, gesturing towards the revenants.


Had Reverend Tommy known they were there? They had been behind him, after all. Why could he see them, and not Brigitte?

My arm still tingled where he'd touched it.

We need weapons. And to leave, Doc said.

Making a Revenant.

I don't know how I know things sometimes, but I know how I know what revenants are. I know them because I see them in my dreams.

They are not always nice in my dreams, but one was, once.

It's weird to have no waking memories that go back more than a week but have dream memories that go back, apparently, a long long long time. In my dreams, I am very old. I still look and feel and act like me, but I've been around an extreme amount of time. It's something I ponder when I'm awake, then, since I can remember all of my dreams in vivid detail. I thought, for a day or two, that I only felt that old in my dreams because of how young I am when awake, in a sense. Because I only can think back, when awake, to that moment when I realized I was working in that restaurant in New York City and that I knew nothing else about my existence whatsoever. But I know that I must have existed before that day, a week ago, because I know how to do things. I know about Doc, and I know how to activate a shower in the salonroom and I know what cities are called and I even was not surprised when I saw the sign about The Church of Our Savior of Living People Only.

So if I only have conscious memories for a week, but I've been alive for 25 years (which is how old Brigitte says she thinks I am) and if in my dreams I can remember all of that existence, then my dreams are 25 x 52 times longer than my conscious life. I am 1,300 years older in my sleep than I am when awake, right?
Or am I older than that? It's thoughts like that which make me whimper and cuddle Brigitte closer. I'm glad I found her.

Revenants are spirits-made-solid. When a person dies, I found out from the one who talked to me once in my dream, the spirit escapes through their eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul, and all that. That's why eyes flutter when we die: The soul escapes. I was skeptical but he told me that scientists had proven this almost a hundred years ago, and he seemed to know so I took his word for it. He also was guiding me across a river that was burning and filled with skulls. That's what the landscape is like in Hell. So I kind of had to trust him, I guess. Or I did trust him, even if I didn't have to.

He said that when the soul escapes, it usually heads to the afterlife, but it can be captured. The easiest way to capture it is to make sure that a person's eyes can't open as he or she dies. That traps the spirit in the body. The longer you hold it there, while the body rots, the stronger the revenant will be. Spirits need the afterlife to survive. They are only anchored in our world by our lifeforce, and when our lifeforce is gone, they want to leave. They want to get to Heaven, or they are forced to go to Hell, where the laws are different and they survive without lifeforce.

Spirits are strong, though, and can get desperate. If you trap them in a decaying corpse for long enough, some will try to survive, and they'll do that by pulling whatever energy they can from the corpse. Doing that makes the spirit solid, and the longer you do it, the more solid the spirit becomes.

As you can imagine, cannibalizing one's formerly-living body is not the act of a spirit that was going to make it to Heaven easily. The process can be sped up by torturing the person before they die, getting them to say and think all kinds of evil thoughts.

Revenants are not nice.

And because of how they came into existence, they crave humans. The flock to them. They want to draw on the lifeforce again. It's not easy to do that. It can't be done while a person is living, and most people die in their turn, dying when they've used up all of their lifeforce. Revenants can't, then, wait until someone dies because when you die your tank is on empty, there's no force left. So they trap people, and they kill the people they trap, kill them with their eyes sewn and glued shut, and then inhale the life force, the little dribs and drabs, that leak out through the pores. And create another revenant in the process.

You also have to want to see the revenants, which is probably why Reverend Tommy wasn't paying them much attention. There were three standing behind him. They were drooling.

We Have To Get Going

"We ought to be moving," said Doc once we were a little ways away from the Church. Brigitte was on my right, and Doc hovered near my left ear. He spoke quietly. He always spoke quietly. Since that day, I've learned that when they first invented Octopi, they called them "spiders," and they didn't float, they walked and they could stick to walls and ceilings. People hated them.

Doc always wants to be moving on. He was the one who suggested I come here in the first place.

"Where are we supposed to be moving on to?" I asked. "And when?" Brigitte looked up at me but didn't say anything right away; she recognized, even after a few days, when I was talking to Doc and not her. She didn't take my hand, either, even though I wanted her to do so, because we were in public. It was all right that I stayed with her for a few days, because I was (she told everyone) a cousin from New York. Pretending I was her cousin made it even sexier when we made out, she told me. I didn't know what to make of that then, and I don't now.

I wish I could Share with Brigitte. She's told me about Sharing and I don't know why I can't but I can't. It would be beautiful, to be lying naked next to her and able to feel her long legs against my own while our hands intertwine and caress... and we get to Share, too. I would love that.

"Today," said Doc. "And East." He answered out of order, I noticed. I must have gotten a look on my face, because he played a little bit of music, directing the sound waves towards my ear so that only I could hear it, a song I particularly liked and that was bouncy and happy and made me feel a little better, already.

"I want to go with you," said Brigitte. "How'd you... never mind." She might not have heard Doc, but she had heard me. I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes. "Why?" I asked her.

"Because I love you," said Brigitte. "And because I want to protect you from whatever it is you dream about at night," she said "When you're tossin' and turnin' and sweatin' but not in a good way."

When I dream at night, I dream of Hell. And after listening to Reverend Tommy, I wasn't so sure it was dreams.

"And because I'm pregnant."

I stared at her.

"I thought you said you were a virgin," I pointed out to her. We were almost to our apartment, the little rooms above the restaurant where she worked. When we'd first made love, that first day, she'd said she'd never done that before and that nobody had ever touched her, down there, before. She'd said that just after I'd raised my head up and kissed her, let her taste herself before she tasted me.

"I am. I was. You're the only person I've ever been with."


It was impossible for her to be telling the truth about all of that. I started to reach out for her.

We got in site of the restaurant and our apartment and I saw, waiting for us, Reverend Tommy.

And I saw what he didn't see, which were the revenants behind him. I usually only saw them in my dreams.

Meet Doc

When we left the church, my Octopus was waiting.

I have an Octopus, and I don't Share. That's two things that set me apart, and I don't know why either of them is true.

My Octopus I call "Doc." He's like any other Octopus, I suppose. I haven't seen many of them. Nobody has. They're very expensive. Brigitte noticed Doc first, I think, and maybe she only talked to me that day because of him. I blinked in the sunshine as we stepped outside. We left quickly to avoid Reverend Tommy's eyes and his handshake. I don't like to shake hands with people because I don't Share and it weirds people out. I didn't even know about Sharing until I met Brigitte because I hadn't talked to anyone on the walk here. I hadn't talked to anyone at all since I was sitting in my apartment that night and decided I had to leave.

My apartment was not bad. It was not overly nice, but it was not bad, either. I was sitting there that night that I came home from work and couldn't remember anything. I mean anything. I couldn't remember how I ever got a job as a waitress in the first place. I looked around the apartment that I knew was mine and didn't recognize any of it. I opened up the cupboards and looked at the dishes that I-- I assumed I had done it -- had stacked neatly away. I wondered why I would put the cups and glasses all the way away from the sink and Coldzone. That seemed like the kind of thing that someone does when they first move into a place and they haven't given any thought to how to arrange things, but I didn't know.

I wandered around the apartment and looked at the shelves that had some pictures of me with people that I didn't recognize. I looked at the furniture and couldn't decide if I liked it or not. Was it picked out by me? Was it given to me by someone? Was it left here by someone? I thought maybe I liked it but I wasn't sure. That's when I got creeped out and needed to get back inside my own head. I went to the salonroom and stripped and stepped into the Showerzone.

"Shower," I said. "Mostly hot."

The water started up. I didn't know how I knew to command it to do that. That freaked me out again. The water was the right temperature, I thought. It felt pretty good. It felt almost hot enough to be uncomfortable, but not quite. I stood there, the water running down my hair, matting it down, straightening it out more, until it reached almost to my waist in back. I wondered if I liked it long. I brushed my hands over my head and looked down at my body.

My body was not familiar to me.

More than that, it was weird. My body was not me. I looked at my breasts. They were firm, and round, and the nipples were hardening as I watched them. I realized that I was getting aroused by looking at my own breasts.

Then I realized that they were two different breasts -- slightly different sizes, slightly different shapes. The nipple on the left one was longer and straighter. The skin was a little darker. I stroked it, out of curiousity, to see if it would feel like mine. It felt like I was feeling myself, and someone else, at the same time. I put my left hand on my left breast and my right hand across from it, and cupped my own chest. They were different sizes.

I just stared and started to cry. I didn't know what else to do. What are you supposed to do when you aren't even you?

That's when Doc flew in, as I started to cry. That's when I learned that I had an Octopus. Doc came floating to the salonroom, near the shower, in that weird helium-balloon way that Octopi fly/float, and his tentacles, which I now think are cute, trailed behind him, and he turned his eyes to me and said

What do you need

I didn't need him. I screamed and threw the first thing I could reach at him, which was the soap, and he dropped a few inches and it missed him and he darted back, burbling in that Octopus language that they talk in when they aren't talking to us, I think it's like a computer code but I'm not sure if it is because I don't really know if Doc is alive--

-- look, it's just a little hard. Technically, my memories only go back about a week and most of that was spent walking, so bear with me --

And I kept throwing stuff at him until he calmed me down and explained that he was my Octopus and he was there to help me. He showed me where the towels were, floated off to the kitchenette and arranged, through some sort of telepathy that I think is like the Sharing that people do, to get a hot drink going and then he sat with me while I drank that and he played some music that I liked a bit and it cheered me up. I asked him what he was, and he explained that he was an Octopus. I asked him what that was and he explained that he's my solar-powered biometric assistant -- like a personal organizer and phone and music player and computer, only with little tentacles and he can float -- and I asked him how he picked the music and he said I'd picked the music.

And I asked him what I should do, and he said

Take over the world.

He also told me what direction I should start walking. So I did that. It was as good an idea as anything else.

I didn't take any of those pictures with me. They were all of people I didn't recognize, including the ones that had me in them.

At The Church Of Our Savior Of Living People Only: The beginning


"Lesbian zombies are taking over the world!" Reverend Tommy hollered. He was in a lather.

So was I but that's because Brigitte was sitting next to me and had her hand on my knee. Above my knee, actually. Her little, soft, pink hand was resting right where my miniskirt would end if I wore my miniskirt to the Church of Our Savior of Living People Only, but I don't wear it there because Reverend Tommy wouldn't approve.

He wouldn't approve of my thoughts, either, or of what Brigitte and I had been doing just before we left for church in our church-y clothes: We'd been having sex, which Reverend Tommy disapproved of. Reverend Tommy disapproves of any sex, and he's not one of those preachers who say they disapprove of sex but then they're fucking the girls (or the boys) behind the curtains by the chapel; he was the real deal. Reverend Tommy hated only one thing more than sex, and that was zombies. And he hated only one thing more than zombies, and that was lesbian zombies.

That's what he was tearing on about, and it made me wish that Brigitte and I had not rushed to get there because if I'd known the whole sermon was going to be about nothing but how I'm supposed to be taking over the world, I would have skipped. But I doubt Brigitte would have skipped. She's not like that. Even though she's a lesbian, she's very religious. I don't know how she got mixed up with the Church of the Savior of Living People Only. I don't know how she got mixed up with me, either. She's going to be mighty confused when she finds out. If she finds out.

And I don't want to let her find out. Not yet, anyway, because I've got plans. I may just make her like me, for one thing. But even if I don't, I can't resist her lips. That's what almost made us late for church. I took a look at her lips as she was putting lipstick on them, and couldn't resist. Without even strapping on my bra, I had to lean over behind her and turn her head to face me and started kissing her.

I pushed my tongue into her mouth, forcing her lips apart so I could feel them on either side of my tongue, soft and pliable and gently sucking on my tongue and she pushed her tongue into my mouth, so I tried to return the favor, but my lips are always a little dry, probably (I think) as a result of being me and probably because I'm not very ladylike except in public and I associate wet, soft, moist lips with ladies. We kissed like that for a while, pressing our lips more and more firmly together, and I couldn't take it anymore, I wanted those lips everywhere else on me. I moved her mouth away from mine and stared into her eyes for a few moments and then lowered her head down to my breast. She took the hint, and she took my nipple and she nuzzled it and sucked on it. God, her lips were so soft that I almost came right then and I cupped her hands in mine...

So you can see why we were almost late. And here's Reverend Tommy, who's actually not a bad guy except he says I'm going to hell and he wants to kill me, and I don't even know why, ranting and raving:

"These lesbian zombies walk among us. They dress like us, they talk like us, they look like us..." although technically, Reverend Tommy, I don't look like you, because you are a man, I wanted to say. Brigitte squeezed my thigh. I thought she did it inadvertently but she leaned over and said

"They don't look like him," in a whisper that tickled my ear and made me start to perspire. She was so much like me already! Could I make her more like me? Would she like me more if she were more like me? Word games in my mind were better than Reverend Tommy:

"And they will come out in broad daylight and mock us, and then after dark they will steal into our houses and steal your wives and your daughters, they will corrupt them and drag them down to the bowels of hell with them. They move freely between the Life and the Afterlife."

That startled me. Do I? Do I move freely between the Life and the Afterlife? I'd never thought of it. Maybe those dreams I have where I go to Hell aren't just dreams?

"And they will leave our women in the fires of Hell and return to take your souls and eat them." I looked around, furtively. We sat midway back in the Church, and the Church attendance was evenly divided between men and women and children. Most of them were attentively listening to Reverend Tommy. Some of the women looked a little flushed. I guess maybe they wouldn't mind a little corrupting.

"And Jesus doesn't want them. He wants YOU. He wants to save you, but you've got to be vigilant against the newest trick of the devil. The lesbian zombies are out there. They are after your souls, and they are taking over the world!"

I should a few things straight.

First, I am a lesbian.

Second, I am not a zombie. I don't think so, anyway. I'm not a revenant, either, because nobody controls me. I'm some kind of creation. I think that because none of my parts match. I have dark black, straight hair, but my pubic hair is brown. My left hand is larger than my right and doesn't look the same. I have one green eye and one blue eye and who ever heard of that? Plus, my right shoe is size 6 and my left shoe is size 9. I have a slight limp. At least my torso appears to be all one piece and I don't have any scars, so I'm not a Frankenstein. I don't think. I've never met anyone like me. Or at least, anyone who I knew was like me.

Third, I'm not sure why I'm here. Not here in the Church of Our Savior Of Living People Only. I'm here because Brigitte goes here and I'll do anything for those lips. Not here in this town, either. I wandered here a few months ago after living in New York City for a while and then deciding that I couldn't go on working at a diner and wondering why I didn't have parents, or didn't rememer any parents, or even a childhood, or even anything before one day I was just there, working at the diner and serving people egg platters and refilling their coffee without any idea of who I really was. People called me by my name (Rachel) and seemed to know me but nobody talked to me much and I didn't live with anyone. That first day was kind of scary -- I left work at 5 and I didn't know why I was leaving at 5 because I didn't remember being scheduled to work or even that I worked or who anyone was, and then I started walking home and got on the subway but I didn't know what a subway was, and I was riding the subway and I realized that I was going home but I didn't know where home was or if I had one at all.

I got really scared, then, and then tried to clear my mind and relax, which worked because when I stopped thinking about it I just headed home, which turned out to be a kind of crummy little studio apartment that had a view of a wall and some furniture and a TV in it. So maybe someone is controlling me because I went home, but I don't think so because why would they let me just wander away?

But fourth, I think maybe I am trying to take over the world.
Go on to part two-- Meet Doc-- by clicking this link.