Meanwhile, In New York... Some visitors.

Meanwhile, In New York:

The last zombie project, still unfinished and still at the stage where recapture had not occurred, lay spread on most of the work benches. As he watched in dismay, the three men who had not been carrying the corpse walked over there and began brusquely moving the body parts and nearly-completed woman off the table, putting the pieces wherever they could.

“Be careful with those!” he told them. “That’s worth a lot of money to me. And dangerous!”

One of the men looked up at him and said “We’ll do the ordering around, thank you.”

He felt they needed him more than he needed them, but they had ray guns and could bring a lot of attention to bear on him. So he kept quiet. Then he could not keep quiet any more because one of them was putting the torso too near another part and he said, less loudly but equally urgently: “If you touch those together she’s going to start moving around and that’ll be trouble.”

The man looked up and said “What?”
“Yeah.” He did not elaborate. The thug put the torso on the workbench next to the computer monitor and the man sighed in his dull way and went over and moved it. He was careful not to activate the monitor, which would show the details of his client list. As he turned around he brushed against the thug and got a flash-transfer:

A dead dog. Revenants rushing in and attacking. A naked girl, spreadeagled on a table. A cop. A reverend. Not a cop. This guy. He was dressed as a cop but was not a cop and had seen the fight, had seen the man now lying on his table die they were trying to get the naked spreadeagled girl to do… what?

Then the contact was broken and he saw nothing more of what the man was thinking. He thought the man should have worn long sleeves. He thought he, too, should have worn long sleeves. He wondered if the man had gotten anything from him and feared that he had but also thought that it would be mostly just annoyance and worry, and images of the nearly-finished project wasting away and how tired he would be by the end of the day.

It was because of flash-transfers, he knew, that most people never showed any bare skin any more. In warmer climates, he understood, that could be a problem. People had taken in some places to applying plastiskin spray to their body, which could be uncomfortable for the first few hours because it prevented sweating, but if you were going to be in one of the crowded places that filled the Amusement States it was that or wear a sweatshirt, and neither was very optimal.

The body lay on his workbench and the men who had carried it in were backing away, looking for a place to sit and not finding one, and looking distastefully at the bins of carefully frozen body parts. The three goons who had cleared the table looked towards the door expectantly and the man waited.

A revenant walked in.

The man had not expected that.

Very few revenants just walked around. Plus it was daylight. Plus this revenant was clearly in charge of this operation. Plus it wore a polo shirt, which was unusual for revenants, who tended to favor looser fitting clothing and especially t-shirts, and especially “ironic” t-shirts. The word “ironic” had come to be associated with the stinking, sucking, gasping undead creatures because of that. This revenant was also older, apparently about 50 when created, unlike most of the revenants who were in their 20s, a fact that was true because revenants were stronger if created in their 20s. Created too young and they were useless and childlike, and who could use a 12-year-old undead evil attack revenant? Beyond 30, though, revenants tended to require too much lifeforce and were always slowing down and easy to destroy.

Also, many revenants were in their twenties because, it had recently been revealed, it was a fad among students in the Colleges to create revenants as a joke – picking on the less-popular kids by turning them into revenants. Those unattached revenants were generally easier for the police to spot and destroy. The need to destroy revenants, though, and the manner in which they had to be destroyed – by disintegrating the body somehow, usually through dissolving it in acid – made it one of the less-popular tasks for the police, who then focused on finding out who was creating the monsters and tried to destroy them.

The penalty for creating revenants was to be destroyed like a revenant.

The penalty for creating zombies was worse.

That was why he worried that the door was open but he did not want to argue with this revenant. He divided his attention between watching it walk stiffly over and stand there, sucking for breath and looking at him, and watching the door. He finally decided he had to do it.

“We should close the door,” he said, quietly. He kept his eyes on the revenant, but it was hard.

The revenant flicked his hand and two of the men went and closed the door and stood by it.

“He was killed,” the revenant told the man.

“Yes,” the man agreed.

“We killed him,” the revenant said.

The man did not ask who “we” was.

“We did not mean to do that,” the revenant told him.

The man waited.

The revenant sucked for air but it needed lifeforce. The breathing was reflex only, as revenants did not need oxygen. The man wondered if he might be a target but realized they needed him. For now, he was safe.

He despised this. He just wanted to run his diner and make his zombies. He did not want to be caught up in politics.

The body lay on his table and he looked at it now.

“I’ll do what I can. Men, it doesn’t work so well on. How long has he been dead?”

The revenant shrugged.

“That makes it harder.”

“Look it up.” The revenant snapped his fingers. Or tried to. Instead, they sort of ground and slimed. A henchman, also wearing a polo shirt, said “His name’s Brigadoon Thompson.”



“That’s an unusual name.”

“It’s his name.”

The revenant was watching him carefully. The man watched the revenant.

“You don’t recognize the name?” the revenant said, finally.

The man shook his head.

“I don’t follow the news.”

“Why did you agree to this then?”

“The caller told me. I recognized his voice. I don’t recognize you.”

“But you will do it.”

“Yes.” The man paused. “I’ll try.”

“Do it,” the revenant told him. “This is an unparalleled chance.”

The man looked down at the body on his table again and then at the parts of his other project that would be delayed. He was going to be very tired. He should not have answered the phone.

“How long?” asked the revenant.

“I don’t know.”

“Work on this only. Nothing else. Don’t leave here until it’s done.”

The man shrugged.

“How much am I getting paid?” he asked.

The revenant looked at him. “We are not paying you.”

“My time and skill are worth something.”

The revenant considered. “You’re in a poor position to bargain. We could reveal you.”

“And I could refuse to do this.”

The revenant considered again.

“Maybe,” it offered, “If you do this and do it properly, then, when you die, we’ll open the gate just a little.”

He considered that, as he looked at Brigitte’s father’s dead body on his table, and then again at the corpse on the floor awaiting its returned soul, at the body parts around him, at the computer screen that if lit up would show a list of clients demanding zombies for services, mostly sexual. At the revenant he was bargaining with to create an undead person.

“I doubt I’m going there,” he told the revenant. “I’d rather just have money.”

No comments: