Meanwhile, In New York.

Meanwhile, In New York:

The man slumped against the desk where he kept his monitor and looked around the room. It was a mess, and he had to do something about it. He could not leave it that way. Not for lots of reasons. What would customers think, if they came in and saw a messy shop? That he was one of those grab-and-hack purveyors, that’s what they’d think, and would not pay top dollar. What was the point of staying up all night cutting and sewing pieces of bodies together and then reanimating them for a few dollars? No point, that’s what.

Plus government officials might come in. He’d thought the revenant and his men were government officials in the first place. They drove gasoline powered vehicles, for one thing. That was something only soldiers or government officials did, anymore. IF government officials came in here and saw the scattered parts of the men he’d used to try to reassemble the old guy, the blood, the ray gun scorch marks, they’d start investigating and he didn’t need that.

Plus it wasn’t right to have this mess in front of the Display.

But he couldn’t clean it up now. He had to get upstairs and open the diner for the day. It was nearly 7 a.m. and people would be expecting their breakfasts. He sighed and stood up, walked over to the Display’s cabinet and looked at it, glittering and sparkling and seeming almost alive the way the light played along the thousands of little chips sculpted into the shape of a beautiful woman, reaching up, reaching towards Heaven, where the man sent the souls of the women he’d taken and turned …

… turned. That was where he left it.

He reached out a hand, held it just alongside the face of the Display, almost as though he was about to caress its cheek. But he didn’t touch it. He knew he was not worthy enough to touch the Display.

He wondered where she had gone, the one that looked like this.

“You’re quite an artist,” a voice said behind him.

The man jumped, startled, and turned around. He had been surprised, but was not scared by the voice because he recognized it.

“Lieutenant,” he said, and put his tired hand up in a salute. There was blood on his arm and he was exhausted.

“At ease. We’re not in the service anymore, are we?” Samson stepped to one side, gently pushed the man to the other so that he could see the Display. “Did you do this?”

“Yes,” the man said.



Samson reached out a hand, but he, too, did not touch the chips. He wiggled his fingers a few inches from it. “Looks 3-D but it’s not, is it? That’s excellent work.” He turned back to the man. “I knew you had it in you way back when, didn’t I? I told you you could do this and you did it.”

“You were right,” the man said.

“Making you a lot of money?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you use the diner for cover?”


“Good. Nobody’s suspicious? Nobody’s found you?”

The man wondered if he should tell Lieutenant Samson about the revenant. The revenant had sworn that he would know if the man talked about him at all, that he’d find out instantly, had said I can read your thoughts, you know, and the man wondered if that could be done, could be done from far away, that is. He worried that it could.

“Nobody,” he told Samson.

“Nobody except the revenant. Steve. Is that right?”

The man bit his lip.

“I’m not reading your mind. I know he’s found you, though. I know what he had you do. Did it work?”

The man tried desperately not to think about anything the revenant would be able to read and nodded his head once.

“So you can do it with men, too?”


Samson considered.

“Who’s this modeled after?” he asked, pointing towards the Display. “When did you make this?”

“I began that with the first one, years ago.”

“You did.” It wasn’t a question. Samson was thinking, the man realized.

“Yes. I began making it and sculpted it over the years. It’s a mosaic.”

“Yes. I see. It is.” Samson turned back to him, then. “It looks like someone, doesn’t it?”

“Yes. It looks like…” The man thought for a moment. He was bad with names. “Rachel.”

“Why’d you name her Rachel?”

The man shrugged. “I just go with what pops into my head.”

“Did you recognize her when you made her?”


“From this?” Samson pointed at the Display. “It looks exactly like her.”

“I didn’t realize that until later.”

“And you didn’t recognize her from anything else?”

The man shook his head. Should I have? He wondered. He was nervous about thinking, though, and so he tried to stop again.

Samson pondered a moment and said “How’d you make her the boss?” The man just looked at him. Samson waited, then said “You know she’s the boss, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“She commands them.”

“She does?”
“You didn’t know that?”


“You didn’t know she was the head zombie?”


“You didn’t do anything special to her when you made her?”


The hand, the man thought, a little guiltily. Samson was not touching him and so he wouldn’t have picked that up, right? The left hand. He could see it in its velvet-lined box.

“Who ordered her?”

The man panicked. “I’m not… I don’t…”
Samson looked at him and his eyes were smiling and kind, just like in the old days. “Hey, bud.” Samson said. “Hey. Remember, sitting there in the treefort in the jungles of
London? Ray beams flashing all around us? Leaves pilfering into nothingness, firebombs falling to strip away foliage, it’s just you and me there on the platform, and you got hit? Remember what I did?”

“You saved my life.”

“I did that for a reason,” Samson said.

“You did?”

“Yeah. I did. I knew you had talent, and I knew we needed your talent. There’s another war on, buddy. Another war, and you’re helping me fight it again. I saved you for a purpose and your purpose has been to create these zombies, so that they can become an army for us, an army helping us fight the greatest of all wars.”

The man got tears in his eyes. “My life has a purpose?”
Samson said “It sure does.”

“A good purpose?”

Samson said “You bet.”

The man started crying, and smiling. “I don’t even know what to say.”

“Say the name of the person who ordered Rachel, who gave you the specifications.”

The man said, “I wish I could.” He sniffled and shook his head and wanted to hug the Lieutenant. All those years mucking about in blood and sewing things and working in the diner and now I find out my life has a purpose! My life is worth something! He wanted to help Samson. But he said, now, “But he never gave me a name.”

“How were you going to deliver it?” Samson asked.

“I was supposed to knock her out and ship her via lizardline,” the man said.

“To what address?” Samson asked.

The man walked over to his computer screen, waved a hand. A few thoughts, a wave of the hand, and the address came on the screen. Samson walked over and saw it.

“Damn,” he said.

He recognized the address: It was God’s vacation home.

Are you Afraid of Public Speaking?

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