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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Horror  ➡  Paranormal

I, Darcy

 

I, Darcy

 

 

 

Works by the Author

A Visit From the Soul-Eater: A Collection of Horror Stories, Flash and Short, Self-published, 2015

Musings of a Blerd, Self-published, 2015

April Showers Always Bring Musical Flowers: NaPoWriMo 2015, Self-published, 2015

“The Musical Mechanism”, Grayhaven Comics The Gathering Anthology: Time Travel/Faith, 2014

“Uirusu”, The Sirens Call eZine, August 2014 Issue #16 Apocalyptic Fiction

Poesy Rainbow: NaPoWriMo 2014, Self-published, 2014

The Unconsciousness of An Ethiopian Princess Attack On Love, Self-published, 2014

“New Possibilities and Partnerships: How Superman Partnered Academics and Comics at Seminole State College Library,” Florida Libraries Journal, Florida Libraries Association, Fall 2013

The Unconsciousness of An Ethiopian Princess College Days of Future Past, Self-published, 2013

“Tzedek: The Forgotten Ones,” Grayhaven Comics The Gathering Anthology: Crime, 2013

“Willehmina Kings of Thieves: Never a Dull Moment,” Grayhaven Comics The Gathering Anthology: All Women 2, 2013

‘Defect: Light to Combat the Darkness,” Womanthology: Heroic, IDW 2012

“June,” Womanthology: Valentine’s Day Special, Golden Gate Studios, 2012

“Don’t Let the Light Go Out,” Womanthology: Holiday PDF, Golden Gate Studios, 2011

 

 

Published by: Talisha Harrison at Shakespir

Copyright 2015.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is available in print at most online retailers

Cover art created using Hero Machine 3 and Canva.com

ISBN: 9781310603709

 

This book is dedicated to all of my people in the struggle. Never give up, never surrender. Rock hard, soldier on, and stay woke.

 

Contents

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

-Lao Tzu

 

Darcy’s Story

Glossary

Acknowledgements

Author Bio

0

A lot of life is dealing with your curse, dealing with the cards you were given that aren’t so nice. Does it make you into a monster, or can you temper it in some way, or accept it and go in some other direction?”

-Wes Craven

 

You know that scene from that TV show’s first episode where this guy in his naivety spots a little girl? He calls out to her and she turns around revealing herself to be a monster and she charges at him much quicker than her undead counterparts could have and he puts her down?

Remember that? Well that’s me, I’m the little girl. I’m not exactly her, but I’m her. I’m what everyone calls a revenant. You see Mommy when she was pregnant with me, unknowingly carried a virus that was passed on to me. When I was born, it caused me to die and then immediately return…but not without some distinct differences from normal babies.

These differences caused babies like me to be labeled as monsters or abominations, and the fact that when we bit people we caused them to die and then return so they could infect other people didn’t help much. People hate us, some of them even tried to prevent other Mommies from having us.

You got all that? Good. If not go read some history books that’ll educate you more on the topic. Like I said before, I’m that little girl. I’ve been shot before, but thankfully not in the head. Though I wonder when that’s going to happen to me. Whether or not one is having an episode, it’s not against the law to put a revenant down. It doesn’t matter if they’re a child, teen, or an adult. Many people fear what they don’t understand, so I live with the daily notion that I’ll really be dead at any Moment.

‘Live,’ humph. Except for a few differences, I look and act like a human being. I go to school with other kids-human and revenant. I have a family my Mom, step-Dad Eric, and two younger siblings. They’re not monsters though.

I guess that’s what I am; it’s what people call me though they used different names. Sometimes they’ll yell out a slur, those hurt but not as much as being called a monster. I can’t tell you how many times someone has approached me and say something like, “Oh that’s a cute dress!” Only for them to be shocked to learn that I’m a revenant.

All their friendliness quickly turns into hate and I’ve been slapped, my limbs have been pulled off, and I’ve been shot at, while walking home from school or wandering off in the store from my Mom. When I was a baby, Mom took me to the store and a man slapped me right in front of her! Mom cursed him out but everyone else didn’t do anything. None of these physical assaults hurt though, revenants are immune to physical pain, but we’re not immune to emotional ones.

Both Mom and Eric have always been protective of me, even more so after Daddy died. He killed himself he couldn’t take any more of the emotional abuse he and I received from strangers, family and friends. I wish he was still here…I miss him dearly. It’s my fault that he died, I infected him. It was an accident honest! I still have Eric and Mom, but they can never fully understand how I feel.

That’s why I say I’m the little girl. Technically I am I’m only eleven years old after all. I’m so scared a person is going to approach me and say, “Little girl? I’m a policeman. Little girl, don’t be afraid. Little girl.” And when they see I’m a monster and not a human being, I’ll hear a BANG! Then I’ll forever remain still…there are days I wish they do it. I would get to be with Daddy again, but I don’t want to break my promise to him or Mom’s heart.

He always told me to “Stay true to yourself, don’t conform to what society dictates, and march to the beat of your own drum.” Daddy had a favorite book, it’s about this kid who lives with his two older brothers and they’re orphans.

They’re in this gang with their friends and they’re different from other people and people think that their strange. Despite not fitting in and going through a traumatic experience, the kid is determined to keep a promise to stay true to who he is. The book has become a favorite of mine. Daddy would read it to me over and over again until I could read it myself over and over. We would watch the movie version all the time too. Mom couldn’t understand why we loved it, she thought it was depressing but we didn’t think so.

I have to go now. Its dinner time and Eric made Caesar salad, garlic bread, pizza, and baked ziti. This little revenant girl loves Italian food!

June 24, 2010

-Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe

1

unbeing dead isn’t alive.”

― e.e. cummings

 

Bianca

Fourteen years ago…

I remember the first time I took you to the store, and as you sat in the cart, you began to get a little cranky and started to make a fuss, and a young man came over to help me to get you to quiet down.

“Aw what’s the matter with the baby?” he had asked as he made his way over to us. He was friendly but once he got a closer look at you-you had stopped crying at this point-his demeanor changed and he became disgusted at the sight of you. And the unthinkable happens as I watch the man slap you.

My dear child, you had no reaction whatsoever to the slap, as you didn’t cry or move. You sat there silently as I got between you and the man. It was the first time I realized that you didn’t feel physical pain. “If you ever touch my daughter again I will cut your damn hands off.” I said to your attacker. He stood over me with his tall, muscular frame peering down at us with hatred and disgust in his eyes.

Pointing at you he said, “That thing is a fucking monster.” He then turned around headed towards the exit. “She’ll get shot in the head one day.” He said, passing onlookers as he sauntered out of the store.

I was left there shaking, holding back the tears, as I attempted to comfort you with my words. You just sat silently as if the slap had no impact on you, but your eyes told me that you felt the man’s hatred. It was the first time that you knew what it was like to be hated and feared for being different…at ten months old you knew. And as I watched the other shoppers avoid my gaze and go on about their business, I knew right then that the only people I could count on were those who had a child like mine.

******

Present day…

“IT WAS…MY FATHER’S! YOU DON’T…UNDERSTAND ME! YOU DON’T…WANT TO!” My husband and daughter had been arguing again, they’ve done this a lot in recent years. This time, it’s at a dangerous tipping point. My eyes are fixed on my daughter as she’s in the initial stages of RIED, Revenant Intermittent explosive disorder. Her body’s shaking, her hands are clenched, her eyes are bulging, and her face expressed what some cops used to describe some folks a dehumanizing stare

Standing in between Darcy and my husband Eric, I move cautiously towards my daughter. She begins to twitch. My child was in pain, a stinging, gutless pain. It was the same type of pain her father used to feel before he violently ended it. I had to move quickly, for if I didn’t, Darcy would enter an unstoppable stage of rage and she would hurt herself and others.

She’s never had an episode before, though she came very close when she was six, it had been a few weeks after her father’s death. I had been there to calm her down, and I was here now. I would not lose her to the madness that took him.

*****

Darcy

Earlier that day…

“Dammit.” I whispered, looking at the digital clock on my wall. It read 6 a.m. I grudgingly get out of bed. Sleeping was one of the few joys I had in this life, and it seems like I never get enough of it. Trudging into my bathroom, I look at my Sailor Moon Crystal calendar that hangs on the door. I had circled today’s date in red. I’ve got three more weeks before Thanksgiving break, and on top of that it’s Monday which means it’s once again Vamp Day. Groaning, I enter the bathroom and begin to get myself ready for school.

Every Monday, vamps-our local RTF police-swing by homes where the undead reside to take blood samples from us and our human relatives-if we have any. Supposedly it’s to “monitor and prevent further spread of infection,” but in reality it’s a way to keep us in line. You either ‘volunteer’ or risk being taken away for weeks or months at time, and that depends on who does the checkup.

Some vamps are okay and treat us undead folks as fairly as possible, others…not so much. A lot of times, people in positions of power take advantage…but that’s life. Life’ now that’s a funny word. My mother gave birth to me and I do pretty much everything just like a living person and yet I’m treated like a monster.

A lot of times I feel embarrassed of who I am, of what I am, and I know I shouldn’t be. Every time human eyes peer at my discolored brown skin, I’m reminded that I’m what they fear the most. Lots of folks truly believe that one day I will attack and devour them…There are days when I’m often tempted…sometimes very much so. And that’s not my innate hunger acting up, it’s my anger.

Finally dressed, I took a look in the mirror and sighed. Today’s outfit consisted of my favorite tattered Warhol Lewis shirt which reads “Bite Me” over my short black puffy Lolita dress which has silver glitter dotted throughout the fabric accompanied with my black platform boots. All that’s left is to do my hair. Carefully, I ran my comb through my thick curly black hair. I put it up in a bun with a silver band. I take one more look in the mirror and sigh.

Society thinks people who look like me are disposable. To them, I, Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe am a revenant, the monster they see on their TV shows, books, and films. But if I’m a monster, why don’t I terrorize the same way they terrorize me on a daily basis? I think to myself. Why don’t I make unhuman noises as I walk? Why don’t I rip their flesh apart and eat them?

“Darcy, breakfast is ready!” My mother’s voice jolted me momentarily from my thoughts. “Coming!” I replied as I began to head downstairs. Returning to my ponderings I say to myself, “Just because they believe you’re a monster, doesn’t make it so.”

As I entered the kitchen, I’m greeted by my step-Dad Eric, who’s proceeding to take out a mug from the top cabinet right above him. “Morning Darcy, how are you?” “Fine,” I say as I sit to eat my breakfast, “Where’s Mom?” Please don’t notice the shirt. “She’s walking the twins to the bus stop.” Eric’s pouring coffee into his mug, his back is turned from me; I hurriedly eat my food, trying to keep him from noticing my shirt.

“Are you all ready for school?” “Yup.” Don’t look at the shirt. I don’t want an argument; Mondays are the worst for that. Weekends were much better, since I can get away from the house for a while…before curfew at least. But I knew this one was coming. Finishing my breakfast, I place my dishes in the sink as Eric looks on.

“Well, see ya!” I avoid making eye contact with him as I attempt to leave the kitchen and enter the living room. But before I can even step into the room, Eric stops me. “Just a minute young lady.” he says. With my back facing him, I’m frozen in my tracks, epic fail.

“What?” “You’re not going to school like that.” Eric didn’t approve of me wearing anything by Warhol Lewis. A renowned and controversial fashion designer and artist, Lewis was also a reanimate. Unlike natural revenants like me who had been born with our condition, Lewis had been infected by one of my kind. Once a human, he’s now to the revenant cause what Magneto was to the mutant one.

Hesitantly, I turned halfway towards him. “Why?” “You know why.” Lewis wasn’t a purist, but he did believe revenants could and should use any method necessary to obtain our equal rights, including violence. I didn’t agree with everything he did or said, but his words spoke not only to me but too many of our kind. He was one of us, he understood me. By actively speaking out against the discrimination and abuses revenants went through on a daily basis, he was fighting for our very existence.

When he was alive, my Dad-also a reanimate-thought Lewis was a hero. Eric didn’t. I finally turned fully around facing Eric, who’s looking at me disapprovingly. I’m defensive as I speak. “What’s the big deal?” I ask. Flabbergasted, Eric answered, “You know better, it’s not something you should wear.” “Why shouldn’t I-” “Because he promotes violence.” Eric’s became visibly frustrated as he tries to remain calm. I’m becoming even more annoyed and I looked towards the living room, hoping for Mom to come in and end this.

“No he doesn’t.” “Yes he does.” “Can you understand that he speaks out about how I’m treated?” Eric sighed. “I’m trying to hon, I really am. I’m worried for your safety as well as that of the twins…can’t you understand where I’m coming from on this?”

He always makes the situation about himself, and all of his attempts to understand were half-assed. I’m so sick of it. Getting angrier by the minute, I don’t back down as I’m determined to leave home wearing my shirt. “Yeah I can see you’re more worried about what people like your parents think.” “Darcy…” “Those are the same people who fear me, who fear what I am.”

Before our disagreement can continue, the house door slams shut as Mom announced her return. Relieved, Eric says “I’m sure your mother will agree with me on this.” Mom strolled into the kitchen wearing a yellow shirt and grey jogging pants. Her black curly hair is rolled into a bun. She has yet to notice the standoff between her husband and child, and proceeds to get a mug from the cabinet above Eric, looking visibly frustrated about something as she does so.

“The bus driver was late again. This has been going on for a while now; he has no reason to be late. You know what I think it is?” Both Eric and I remain tense as Mom pours herself a cup of Joe and answers her own question. “He’s prejudiced. Every morning he has something snarky to say to the twins and the other kids. I’m going to report him.”

Sipping her coffee in one hand, Mom used the other to sort through a stack of coupons as our face-off remained at standstill. “Are you ready for school Darcy? How bout I drive you ther-” Mom turned towards me and glanced at my shirt. Disapproval rushed onto her face and before she could speak, Eric does.

“I already told her it’s inappropriate.” Mom nodded her head in agreement, “You need to find something else to wear Darcy.” Dammit. Looking at my parents in shock, I notice Eric has his “I told you so” look on his face. It consisted of a smirk proclaiming that he was victorious. Of all the things I knew she would side with him on, this wasn’t one of them, and he had finally gotten to her.

“Why?” I persisted, concerned, Mom answered, “It’ll cause trouble and I don’t want you to get hurt.” She’s so bloody overprotective. Angry and defiant, I shout “I won’t get hurt. It’s a statement and I want to wear it, I will wear it.” Eric doesn’t take to me defying well, he’s used to me accepting defeat. Not today Satan. Having had enough, he shouted back, “You will not be disrespectful to your mother or me. You’re not going to school with that horrible shirt on and that’s final.”

Nearly belligerent, I shout back at my parents who are in pure shock at this point. “IT WAS…MY FATHER’S! YOU DON’T…UNDERSTAND ME! YOU DON’T…WANT TO!

 

 

2

We may overcompensate for our feelings of powerlessness by attempting to control and manipulate other people and our environment. Or we may eventually burst forth with uncontrolled rage that is highly exaggerated and distorted by its long suppression.”

-Shakti Gawain

 

Darcy

Now…

Mom stands in between me and Eric, who’s shocked as to what’s happening to me. My body’s shaking, my hands are clenched, my eyes are bulging and my face expresses what some cops used to describe some folks as having a dehumanizing stare.

I’m losing control.

Trying to regain it, I attempt to focus on Mom, but Eric’s a distraction. I’m trying to keep calm but nothing’s working. My emotions, especially my anger is rising like a geyser. Staring at Eric, I notice he’s uncomfortable while standing very still. He knows better than to move. One slight movement and the rage will overwhelm me. I’m glad the twins aren’t here. I don’t want them to see me like this. Eric doesn’t want me to get hurt but he doesn’t want Mom to get hurt either. She’s been through so much already.

And it’s all because of me.

Right now, I’m having an out of body experience. I can see and hear things but I’m frozen in time. My body won’t follow my commands. I’m a ghost right now. Eric nearly moves, but though she’s focused on me, Mom catches it. “Stay where you are dammit!” she says in a hissed whisper, “It’ll be fine.”

Looking reassured, Eric’s feet remain firmly planted. “OOOWWOOOWOO.” A moan leaves my mouth. I’m so focused on Eric, that I don’t notice my Mom appearing right in front of me, slowly putting her arms around me. Embracing me tightly, Mom looks straight ahead as she calmly says, “Ready.”

*****

Bianca

I’ve done this so many times. When Darcy’s father was alive, Yoh had many episodes. Apparently reanimates are more prone to them than natural are. I keep my arms locked tightly around my daughter while Eric slowly backs out of the kitchen towards the den. In her state, Darcy’s still focused on him. During RIED, revenants focus on the last thing or person that provoked them.

Still in her sights, Eric continues to back away while I cautiously lead Darcy out of the kitchen towards the living room. Eric hates this, he worries but he knows better than to interfere. The last time he did, Darcy and I were nearly killed, and Yoh lost an arm. Yoh was never the same after that and eventually we lost him too.

After that last episode, Eric constructed a hug box. It’s there to meet Darcy and me as we enter the living room. They were originally designed to calm hypersensitive persons. Nowadays, the deep pressure device is used to help calm down revenants before they go over the edge. It’s fifty percent more effective on natural than reanimates. We rarely use it but it’s still a vital resource.

When Darcy was little, my hugs worked and nothing else was needed. As she got older, our doctor recommended a hug box since it wasn’t known how much longer my hugs would work. Today my hug had helped, but for Eric’s and my peace of mind I place her in the box. As I slowly back away from my daughter, she’s already in a trance, starting to calm down as the rage recedes. How much longer can we go through this?

*****

Darcy

An hour later…

A sensation of relief accompanies me as I emerge from the hug box. Now calm, I take a look at the clock, its 7:20. I look around for my backpack and locate it on the nearby chair. On top of it is an excuse note. The handwriting belongs to my Mom. My parents are nowhere to be found, they’re probably in their bedroom trying to recover from the episode. Remorse overcomes me. I hate getting into fights with them.

Having REID isn’t fun at all. When you’re in the midst of an episode, it feels as if you’re in a nightmare that you can’t wake from. Like Fred Krueger, the rage chases you around and the only way to escape from it is for someone or something to help calm you down and let the rage recede.

Still wearing my Warhol Lewis shirt, I leave the house and walk to school. My parents didn’t even hear me leave. When we’re ready, us revenants can be extremely quiet. It’s part of what we are, it’s something innate, and the living hate it. I use it to escape the house when I’m upset, while a small portion of our people uses it to do bad things. The entire revenant population gets blamed and labeled for their actions. We’ve always got to apologize; humans never have to for their bad apples. And they’ve got some really rotten ones.

Some of them attend and work at my school. It takes me an hour and four minutes to arrive at the front gates where two security guards wait for me. Did I mention how I hate Mondays?

The two vamps appear stern as they look at me. Their eyes tell a different story as they eye me worryingly. “You’re late.” one of them says. Meet Jackie Friday and Barry Gannon, vamp security for Lyman High. “Yeah Friday, I’ve got a note.” I say as I hand them the piece of paper. Friday looks over the note while Gannon speaks to me through the gate. “Everything’s okay?” “Yeah things are good.” “
Are you sure?” “Yes I’m sure.”

“Okay, have a good rest of the day.” Gannon opens the gate and I proceed to enter the school grounds. Out of the six vamps assigned to my school, these two treated me the best. In spite of that they still had their reservations about me; I am a revenant after all.

As I walk through the gate Friday hands me back the note. “Stay out of trouble.” “I’ll try.” “Try harder.” “Yeah, yeah.” I said rolling my eyes as I walked towards the school’s main doors. Gannon closes the gate shut as Friday keeps her eyes on me as I enter the building. This morning’s argument made me very late; I was missing first period, Algebra. I didn’t give two shits about that class; I hate math and the stupid dude who teaches it, but not as much as the man in charge of Lyman, Principal Rooney.

Walking through the school’s main hallway, I pass the school’s administration office on my left and the gym on my right. As I round the corner, I bump into whom else but principal Rooney. Speak of the devil and he shall appear.

“Oh excuse-” he says. Rooney recognizes me and his pleasantries have turned into disgust. “Darcy.” “Rooney.” Ferris Rooney, hater of the undead and the school board’s main bitch. Three of them had accompanied the principal this morning. A standoff develops between me and Ferris and his snotty guests who look on with a mixture of disgust and curiosity.

Rooney finally breaks the ice. “Why aren’t you in class?” “I just got here.” He shakes his head and turns to his guests and says “This is just one example of delinquency that our revenant students showcase.” They nod in agreement, I roll my eyes and say, “I have an excuse.” “Oh I bet you do, give it here.” I begin to hand Rooney my note, but he pulls out gloves from his pants pocket.

“Wait a minute! I need to put on my gloves.” The irritated Rooney says as he puts on one glove. His colleagues look on in amusement as I hold out the note “You asked for the note.” Rooney puts on the other glove, “Yes, but I’m not getting infected. It’s bad enough we have allowed your kind in our school for the sake of quote unquote diversity.”

“Dickhead.” I muttered. “What did you say?” An incredulous Rooney asks, both gloves now protecting him from infection. “I said there are only four of us here so the school’s not diverse. Are you ready for my note now or do you need to put on your gas mask?”

Rebuffed by my comments, Rooney tries to save face by laughing as he turns to his guests again. “Goons are always difficult.” My anger rises but I bottle my emotions. Rooney takes off the gloves while dismissing me. “I don’t have time for this.” He waves me away. “Go to class and for Pete’s sake cover up that shirt!”

I give a mock curtsy to Rooney and his guests. “Will do sir, thank ya kindly sir.” Not surprisingly, they weren’t expecting that. “You hear that?” “They don’t have any manners!” “How dare she!” I make my way to class, smiling as I go.

I ascended the staircase to get to the second floor where my locker was located I checked my phone for the time. I wasn’t disappointed to see that I had five minutes of class left. I could just go ahead and skip, but if I didn’t show up that would cause problems for me and I already had enough for the day.

Opening my locker, I notice Gannon coming out of a nearby classroom. Grabbing my books, I shut my locker as Gannon walks by. “You ain’t in class yet?” “I had a run in with Rooney.” “Don’t worry about him.” “I don’t.” “Enjoy the rest of your day.” “It’s Monday.” “Try and enjoy it then.” “Right, later.” Gannon waves as he walks away.

I approach the classroom door and take a Moment to breathe before I open it. Stepping inside, the entire class and my teacher Mr. Gaudreau greet me with their stares. “Well, well, look who’s here!” the teacher says.

And here we go.

 

 

 

3

Being famous is just like being in high school. But I’m not interested in being the cheerleader. I’m not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She’s the cheerleader, and I’m out in the smoker shed.”

-Courtney Love

 

“You’ll have to play catch up Darcy.” Mr. Gaudreau says as the students snicker. Embarrassed, I head to the back of the almost filled to capacity classroom and take my seat next to the wall, while my teacher and classmates look on. “Meet Mr. Gaudreau, another person who is the bane of my existence. An arrogant asshole of a human being, he thinks he’s the smartest guy around. In reality he’s by far one of the dumbest people I have ever met.

I’m surrounded by three empty desks as no one sits beside me, in front, or behind. My classmates look on nervously at me. I tend to keep to myself. I don’t have any friends, don’t need any. Being a teenager sucks already, but being an undead one sucks even more. Sides’ they’re afraid of me.

Despite their fear, I actually get along with most of them. A few of them have revenants in their families but none are their age. This leads to their curiosity outweighing their fear and oftentimes they talk to me. Other kids avoid speaking to me unless they have to. Most aren’t mean, well not intentionally as far as I could tell. Most of the shit I deal with comes from the adults.

Like this stupid math teacher. “Darcy, it can’t be helped that you’re late. After all, you’re a revenant and revenants walk slow…like this.” And just like that, Mr. Gaudreau starts mocking the way I walk and a small portion of the class begins to snicker.

Embarrassed and angry, I firmly gripped both sides of the desk, trying to contain the rising anger inside. Some of the class peeked over at me, gauging my reaction, as they giggle nervously. Not giving them any satisfaction, I grinned back at them which surprises the hell out them.

I really wanted to mimic Mr. Gaudreau and tear right into his neck, but then the bell rings. “Remember, homework’s due tomorrow!” The asshole says. As the students leave, I get out of my seat and approach Mr. Gaudreau holding my note in my hand.

“Mr. Dick-I mean Mr. Gaudreau, did you want to see my note?” “Note? Nah, I don’t need it. I know why you’re late.” Surprised, I ask “You do?” Arms folded and with an arrogant all-knowing look on his face, Mr. Gaudreau leaned back on his desk.

“Oh yeah, you must had had a big breakfast” What the hell are you talking about? “I don’t understand.” “Wellbeing what you are, I’m sure you couldn’t control yourself and had to take a few bites outta some folks on your way here. Am I right?”

Say it with me reader, ASSHOLE.

With one of my fists clenched, I smiled and rubbed my belly for emphasis as I answered. “Oh yeah, I had about five or six-no it was ten brawnies for breakfast, you know a champion’s meal. It was Mmm, Mmm, mmm, good.” I give a salute as I walked out of the classroom leaving an astonished and for the first time in his life, speechless Mr. Gaudreau behind. “You have a nice day teach.”

Three hours later…

Lunch time.

It’s nice to take a break from the mundanely of class. I don’t care for school, I do enjoy learning but I feel the school structure holds me back and my education is being dumbed down. This school used to be what they called an A+ school, but after the ‘Bloody Mary Massacre’ things changed. Private schools increased and money was prioritized and given to them while funding was cut from public ones like Lyman.

Private schools are only for the rich brawny children now, revenants aren’t allowed. And those among the living who can’t afford to attend them are stuck with us ghosts. I supplement the poor education I receive with my own studies at home-from books to open courseware programs online.

For the half hour of lunch each day, I get to unwind from the dismal educational scene. While other students head to the three lunch lines to get their meals, I head towards a table in the far left corner of the cafeteria. I sit down, get my books out and put on my mp3 player. Today I’m reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar while listening to Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady Album.

Most people didn’t bother me which makes things somewhat pleasant. It was the few, however, that did for nefarious purposes which made social interactions very unpleasant or even deadly.

Like the Tiaras.

If they didn’t bother me at lunch, they would find another part of the day to harass me. It was their goal to bother me at least once a day, especially on Mondays since they don’t get to on weekends. The girls have me surrounded on both sides of the table; the cafeteria is about half full, with some kids looking on at the scene. The Tiaras are my school’s version of the Heathers, and consisted of four girls.

There was Jennifer Dixon, the tough-as-nails girl and cheerleader whom I called her Bionic Girl. Next was Kim Campbell, captain of the swim team. While she enjoyed causing harmless pranks, she’s never done anything truly malicious to me. She’s often voiced concern about what the girls do to bully me. Kim’s actually sweet-natured and compassionate, but she’s let the girls push her around and gives in to do what they want.

Katrina Smith was popular both with the black kids and everyone else. She’s a comedian, and was named class clown last year. She’s very perceptive and stuck-up. She wears her permed hair straight up in a scrunchie with the ends sticking out of it. Usually she wore a long t-shirt and baggy jeans or shorts. She’s made fun of me for not having my hair permed. You can bet money that when the end world comes, there will be at least one black person who’s concerned with the state of another black person’s hair.

Finally there’s the leader of the group, the arrogant, cunning, manipulative, only interested in herself, Wendy Phillips, a.k.a. Queen B. An archetypal spoiled rich girl, Wendy was one of the popular girls. You know the one that the guys my age are all in love with. She prided herself on being able to have her pick of the litter. To Wendy, boys were fashion accessories, and when she got bored with one, she tossed them away like trash and move on to the next one, which happened quite often.

I didn’t worry about guys, after all I was a revenant and no human guy at school looked at me that way. Well no I take that back. There were a couple, but they exotified me. Many times I would get “You’re pretty...for a revenant.” or "I love revenants! I have ghost friends, you know -- now can I take you home?" or “You’re pretty cute for someone who’s half-human.” or “I bet your human side is very gorgeous.”, you know shit like that. There were a couple of human guys that I had a crush on but I didn’t take it further than just day dreaming about them once in a while.

As for my fellow revenant classmates, they were all reanimates and were more accepted at school than I was. There were two were guys and a girl. One of the guys was gay and the other two were dating. In addition, they were seniors and I didn’t find the one guy attractive, though I think he found me attractive and that pissed his girlfriend off real bad. I steered clear of them, the other guy was nice and sometimes I hung out with him, though he gave off superiority about being a reanimate since he as he put it “Had once been fully human while you will never be.”

Reanimates were always viewed as better than us revenants. They had once been human after all and it wasn’t their fault they were what they were now. It wasn’t my fault that I was born the way I was either. Even though they’re potentially more dangerous since they have to fight harder than natural do to control their hunger and their humanity, they’ve got more rights than us.

Humans were more comfortable around them since they knew what they were had been. As for us natural, the living who didn’t have a natural relative or friend, felt really uncomfortable with my kind. We’re viewed as the other, we were the unknown, the unpredictable factor in the world and that made us dangerous in their minds. I guess that’s one of the reasons why Wendy and her gang liked to harass me. It could also be that they’re just a bunch of a-holes.

I’ve known her majesty since I was a kid. From the day I met her, she’s always been mean to me. Let’s flashback to elementary school, shall we? The first thing that came out of her mouth when she first saw me was “Why do you talk like that? Are you retarded?”

Revenants speak a little bit differently from humans. Our speech patterns are slightly slower and there are brief pauses between some of our words. You would think that her being a kid meant that she didn’t hold any prejudice toward people like me but no, her parents were already grooming her to hate and fear my kind. Fast forward to the present, and the damage has been done, irrecoverable damage.

She’s gotten worse with time and has garnered more followers to her cause. It’s one thing to have one bully but it’s another to have a group. In elementary school, it was just Wendy but in high school she’s got a following of girls, her Tiaras, to help her do her dirty work, and the work was even dirtier.

The gang was always pulling off my arms when I didn’t have any lunch money. They also made fun of the way I walked. I really hated them mocking me in their stereotypical fashion. I mean yes, I do walk slightly slower than the living…slightly. It wasn’t as slow as the Tiaras depicted. What’s worse was when they made insulting noises. The moans and howling sounds the girls made, it was so demeaning.

I hated interacting with Wendy and her friends. I wasn’t afraid of them however, revenants don’t feel fear. It makes me upset how they treat me and a lot of times I felt embarrassed of who I am and I know that I shouldn’t be.

But that wasn’t what hurt me the most; no it’s the way they stare at me-their eyes peering at the discoloration of my light brown skin. I can deal with their hateful pupils, hell I’ve done that all of my ‘life’. It’s the fear in their eyes that I can’t deal with. They truly believed that one day I would attack and devour them…I’ll admit there are days when I’m tempted to do that…very tempted. But it’s not my innate hunger acting up, it’s my anger. And today I was really being tested to keep it in check, especially after what happened this morning.

Katrina led her Tiaras in bullying by knocking my book out of my hands while the other girls looked on. “Where’s your lunch BB?” she asked. “I ate it, it’s lunch time after all.” “What are you reading?” Kim asked, curious. “The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.” “Isn’t that an old book?” “Somewhat.” “Didn’t she kill herself?” Jennifer asked. “Yeah, she turned on her oven and placed her head inside of it.”

I pick my book up off the floor, placed my bookmark inside and closed it. Wendy then knocked it away as she said, “I thought she shot herself in the head in Seattle.” “No you’re thinking of Kurt Cobain.” “Who?”

I picked up my book, “He was a great musician.” Wendy sneered at me and asked, “If he’s so great, how come I’ve never heard of him?” “It’s because you listen to shitty artists like Iggy Azalea.” She knocks the book away again and as I bend down to pick it up, Katrina kicks it away and the game of keep away begins. Jennifer kicked it to Wendy, who kicked it back to Katrina.

“Come on,” I said, “Give me back my book.” Keep away continues for a few more minutes, until Wendy says “Apologize.” “For what?” I asked. “For saying Iggy’s a shitty artist.” “But she is.” Not liking my reply, Wendy angrily pushes me to the ground. “Shut the hell up!”

“Wendy, chill! It’s not a big deal.” Kim said. That a girl Kim! “Shut up Kim.” Katrina said. “Guys, lunch’s going to be over soon,” Jennifer said, looking at her watch. “Jimmy wanted us to go to his place.” “Fine.” Wendy said looking at me, her eyes were filled with disgust. “Stupid lurker. What the fuck could you possibly known anyway?” Way more than you’ll ever know tssishit.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” When she walked past, Wendy hit me on the head. Jennifer and Katrina did the same, each uttering an epithet at me as they walked by.

“Bye deadbeat.” “Stupid rotter.” Last but not least, Kim marched up to me. “Sorry.” she whispered as she handing me my book. “No worries.” “Perhaps I could borrow this sometime?” “Sure.” “Kim come on!” Katrina shouted “Thanks!” Kim whispered. “Anytime.”

Leaving me on the floor, Kim sped walked away my and caught up to her friends. As the Tiaras exit the cafeteria, I pick myself up off the floor and start packing up my things. Gannon walks up to me, pointing at Kim who’s giving me one last glance before she exits the cafeteria.

“That one’s not so bad.” He said. “Yeah but the company she keeps is.” “She’ll turn around you’ll see.” “Maybe, see you around.” “You okay?” Gannon asked. I turned around and smiled at him. “Aren’t I always?” He smiled back as I continued my exit.

In the past, Gannon had interfered with the girls bothered me, but their parents had complained to Rooney who gave Gannon a talking to. It wasn’t his place or any other vamp’s job to protect me, as it would appear as if the school was showing favoritism towards the revenant kids and that wasn’t appropriate.

As I headed out of the cafeteria, the bell rang, announcing the arrival of fifth period.

 

 

 

4

I have to take care of myself. It’s about self-preservation.”

-Danielle de Niese

 

With lunch over, it was time to skip fifth period, gym class. I don’t need to do gym since I don’t gain weight. My metabolism is more accelerated than a human’s. When they find out about this, some folks will say “Oh I wish I had your problem!” Ah, no you don’t. If I don’t eat food after seven days, you’re going to be the solution to my problem, and that isn’t going to work out so well for you.

The gym teach didn’t care too much whether or not I showed up, either way she was passing me. Mrs. Shellhammer was a feisty lady who adopted two revenant kids whose parents had died. No other family members wanted them so she took them in. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body unless someone else was being mean. That’s when her feistiness came out. From time to time, she’s asked me if I wanted to participate in class, but I’ve always kindly declined.

Sides, I had better things to do with my time like reading, jamming to my music, writing, drawing, or working on my independent studies. I always kept busy. During fifth period, I hung out in my secret place on the school grounds. It was near the site where the Bloody Mary Massacre had taken place. It was a morbid area marked by a medium sized memorial that had been vandalized many times over the years.

It’s where I go and get away it’s my bat cave, nobody follows me over here. No one goes near this part of the school unless they have to. Folks think it’s haunted, and in a way it is. Often, I can see the ghosts of the people who died there-revenants and humans. Other times, I could see exactly what took place on that deadly day. It was bad thing and it should have never happened, but people are people and they do horrific things everyday…I tend not to weep over that.

After fifth period was over and done with, my favorite part of the school day, sixth period arrived. Sixth period was my free period, I leave my post and go back and check in with Mrs. Jackson for attendance purposes and then I return to my cave. I would go home if I could but I’m not allowed to leave school grounds till the bell tolls, so I remain a captive. When the announcements come on, I return to the teacher and check out. Sometimes she lets my classmates and I leave early before the bell. When she doesn’t I get caught up in the ocean of flesh and try to avoid the Tiaras to no avail. They always find me, accursed tissshits.

Today she let us out early and I sprinted to the exit. Freedom was finally in my grasp. “Darcy!” Shit. Standing at the door was Principal Rooney. I attempted to turn around and veer towards another exit. “Darcy! Darcy Munroe! I know you hear me!” “What?” I answered. “Come over here!” “Huh?” “Come here!” I pointed in my direction. “Here?” “Here not there!”

“I don’t understand.” “Look you goddamn goon! Get over here now!” Don’t go! Don’t go! If I wanted more trouble I would have. There was only a minute left before the bell rang so I wanted to make myself scarce. Over the loudspeaker, the announcements were coming to an end. Speaking with Rooney wouldn’t take too long, hopefully. “Yes?” I answered as I approached.

“Didn’t you hear me calling you?” “Nope.” “You didn’t?” “Nope.” “How come?” “Well Rooney, we revenants have bad hearing.” “Really? Hmm, well yeah I guess that’s something you inherited from your ancestors.” “Dumbass.” “What?” “What do you want Rooney?” “Hmm? Oh! Why haven’t you covered up your shirt?”

“Do you want the long answer or the short one?” “Don’t get smart with me!” “Trust me, I’m not. You don’t look like you could handle smart.” “How dare-” “Look I’ll spare you the speech. I had my shirt covered up all day. Since school’s over I figure I could bare all for the world to see.” “School is not over young lady, and you’re going to have detent-” Ding! Ding! Ding! Saved by the bell. “Oh look at that!” I said. “School’s over, time to go!”

As students poured out of every orifice of the building, I moved past Rooney and opened the door. “It was nice chatting with you!” “Darcy!” “See you tomorrow!” “Darcy! You better not wear that shirt again! You hear me? You do, you’ll have detention for the next two years!” Leaving, I saluted him as he continued to yell. “Do you hear me? Darcy! You good for nothing goon!”

School was finally over

As I walked home, cars filled with teenagers passed me. I lived about four miles away from Lyman, but I wasn’t allowed to drive to school. I couldn’t drive anywhere since my parents wouldn’t let me out of fear for my wellbeing. It was dangerous for revenants to drive as we were pulled over by vamps more often than humans were.

There was always the school bus, but I never took it. Walking wasn’t a tiring thing for me, though it did take longer to get to where I was going. I was hoping to get a Vespa for Hanukkah but with finances being tight as they were, I wouldn’t get one. Maybe I could get a bicycle, it would definitely reduce my traveling time and I would have a bit more freedom. Having one would also help me escape the Tiaras’ grasp; usually they would be waiting for me after school.

Today I had gotten an early start but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t find me. As I continued my trek towards home, I had yet to see the Tiaras. Hopefully I wouldn’t for the rest of my trip. My luck runs out when I see a familiar blue car approaching me. I start to walk faster, but to no avail as the car pulls up alongside me.

The passenger window slides down, it’s Kim and she’s alone? Was this a trick or was it just my luck? She hails me, “Hey Darcy!” “Hey.” “Do you want a ride?” I looked around. “Where are your friends?” “Oh them.” she answered rolling her eyes, “They still at Jimmy’s doing stupid stuff.” “It’s okay then?” “Yeah definitely.” “Okay.” I opened the passenger door and climbed in.

“Thanks again.” “No problem, so which way are we going?” “Keep going straight and at the third light you’ll make a left.” “So what kind of community do you live in?” “It’s a mixed neighborhood, you?” The car stopped at the first light. “Separatist.” Kim replied, “It’s in Altamonte, six miles away.”

With the arrival of revenants during the late 70s, people all over the world began to pick different political spectrums on top of what they already had to differentiate how they felt about us. As a result, this in turn affected the type of neighborhood a person chose or was forced to live in. You either lived in a separatist or a mixed neighborhood. Separatist neighborhoods were either all revenants or all humans, while mixed neighborhoods had a mixture of both populations.

“Shouldn’t you be going to Brantley?” I asked. “Can’t afford it, my parents are rich but not that rich.” “I see.” We’ve reached the third light and are about to turn left. Kim continues our conversation, “Last month I started working at Hot Topic in the mall to earn my spending money. You ought to come by sometime.” “We’ll see.” “Do you have job.” “No, it’s hard for revenants to find work as most jobs don’t want to hire us.”

“Really?” Kim says surprised, “I’ve heard the reason ya’ll have no jobs is because your kind’s lazy. It’s part of your nature.” Angry I reply, “That’s bullshit! Where did you hear that?” “People say that a lot especially the experts.” “Well its utter bullshit, don’t believe everything you hear.” Remorseful, Kim said “Okay.”

An awkward silence falls upon us as Kim continues driving me home. “Where do I go now?” Kim finally asks. “Keep straight, at the second light you’ll turn into my community. It’s on the right hand side.”

Changing the topic, Kim asked “So what were you listening to earlier on your mp3?” “Janelle Monae’s Electric Lady Album.” “Sounds interesting.” “She’s awesome, want to listen?” “Sure!”

I get out my mp3 and plug it into the car’s stereo. “Dance Apocalyptic” begins to play through the speakers as we approach the light to turn. Kim’s digging the sound as we turn into my neighborhood. “Love it!” she said. “Sweet.” “I’ll have to look up her up tonight.” “Cool, you’ll enjoy her music. At the third stop sign make a right, my house’s on the second on the left.”

We drove past homes on both sides of the road. Like any other neighborhood, some are well kept while others aren’t. Kim pulls into the driveway and sees my Mom waiting on the porch. “Is that your Mom?” “Yeah she’s always waiting on the porch for me.” “She’s beautiful! You look just like her.” “Thanks! Would you like to come in?” I ask as I get out of the car.

Kim’s a little apprehensive about the offer. “I…I can’t. I gotta head to work, maybe some other time we could hang out.” “Really, you mean that?” “Yeah…just don’t mention it to anyone that would cause problems.” “Yeah, I know.”

Disappointed, I start to head to the porch. “I’m sorry about today and all the other times.” “No worries just drop the Tiaras and you’ll be fine.” “I don’t know…we’ll see. But we’ll definitely hang out okay? Thanks for telling me about the book and the music.”

“Thanks for the ride.” Kim begins backing out of the driveway. “Later Darce.” “See ya!” I waved goodbye as she drove off. As Kim drove away, I smiled at Mom who smiled back and gave me a hug. “Hey Mom.” “Who was that?” “A friend…I think.” “You think?” “I hope.” Mom smiled again and as we walked inside the house she said, “Come on, we’ve got a few things to discuss.”

 

 

 

5

We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.”

-Henry Ward Beecher

 

“Am I in trouble?” I asked. We had just sat down for dinner. I usually go and eat in my room, but Mom wanted all of us to sit and eat as a family at least three times a week. Out of those three times, one was spent eating each Friday night at the home of Eric’s parents, while the other was spent eating out at some restaurant or fast food joint.

My mother was insistent that we do things as a family. She didn’t want us to feel any more different than we already thought we felt as a mixed family. She also didn’t want me to feel left out or even more estranged than I already believed I was. I appreciated her efforts, I really did. I knew she was trying to help me and keep me from falling off the path into the deep abyss like Daddy had…I missed him.

“No. You’re not.” “Good. So what did you want to discuss?” “How was school?” “It was fine.” “Just fine?” Eric asked.

Jesus, why did he have to butt in the conversation? I always felt uncomfortable talking to him. I couldn’t tell whether he was judging and analyzing each word exiting my mouth to perceive if I was a threat, or whether he was just trying to get to know me. It was really hard to tell.

“Yes, just fine.” “Did you have any problems?” “Oh, just the usual but I think it might change for the better.” “Does it have anything to do with that girl who dropped you home?” Mom asked. “Yes. Her name is Kim. She’s one of the Tiaras.” “The Tiaras?” “It’s this group of popular girls at her school.” My Mom answered. “Ah.” “Yeah remember Wendy Phillips? She’s their leader; they’re the ones who bully me all the time.” “Weren’t you guys friends?”

And the showdown begins.

We have been through this already! “Frenemies. We were frenemies in elementary, people change.” As the tension builds, Mom’s monitoring the situation between Eric and me carefully. She doesn’t want a repeat of this morning. The twins meanwhile are keeping each other occupied with their food hijinks.

“True you but you hope that they change for the better.” Eric said. “Guess it’s part of human nature.” I replied. “What do you mean?” “Humans self-destructive, in the end they’re just going to destroy themselves and everything else.” Annoyed, Eric responds, “Is that what that guy on your t-shirt’s been teaching you?”

And here we go.

“Nope. It’s what I’ve observed.” “Well about Kim?” Mom asked, attempting to diffuse the tension. “We’ll have to see.” “What about your Dad and I Darce, we aren’t destructive.” I relax and think about Mom’s question. “Well you aren’t but Daddy was, though he wasn’t always like that.”

“Right…your father wasn’t like that.” Eric said. I shoot him a look as I respond, “Guess someone got to him and helped him self-destruct.” Mom’s taken aback as Eric and I stare each other down. The twins continue to keep each other’s attention, ignoring what’s taken place on the left side of the table. Before things get worse, Mom interrupts.

“Ahem.” She said clearing her throat. Our attention is brought back to her as she says, “We have something to tell you.” Please don’t be pregnant. “What is it?” I’m getting impatient, I’ve finished eating and I want to leave the table. My parents looked excited. Oh god, I hope there’s not a baby coming.

“As you know, it’s hard to for revenants to get a job, much less hold them down.” No shit, Eric. “We know that you’ve always wanted to be more independent and we’ve found a way for you to do so.” Get to the point Mom; I’ve got a podcast to listen to. Nodding eager to know the news, I sat up straight and paid attention.

“The public library has a part-time position available and we had a meeting with the director today. We told her about your love of books and libraries…” Sometimes the man actually pays attention to the positive things about me. Bubbling with excitement, I was on the edge of my seat as my parents continued.

“Uh huh…” “She would like for you to have the position.” Oh my god Mom! “You’ll be paid ten bucks and hour and work twenty-five hours a week Monday through Thursday after school.” Excited, I jumped out of my chair. “Are you serious!?” “We’re dead serious.” Nice one Eric. Mom shoots him a look, but I’m too happy to care. “When do I start?” “After Thanksgiving break.” “This is beastie! Thanks Mom!” I said as I hugged her. I then hugged a surprised and stunned Eric. “Thanks da-Eric!” I haven’t hugged him in a long time.

I looked over at the twins. They were in their own world, not paying attention to the conversation. While Eric and I cleared the table, Mom interrupted the twins’ ongoing discussion. “Wynonna, Peter. Are you excited for your sister?” “What did she do?” Peter asked. “She’s going to work at the library.” “Yay!” they both said as they came to hug me.

Only eight years old, my siblings are on the righteous path of geekdom. They love cartoons, manga, Legos, and always want to work on projects. Where they diverge in interests is Wynonna loves Star Wars, while Peter loves Star Trek-I like both FYI. In addition, Wynonna’s more outspoken while Peter’s shy. Both are protective of me and I of them, I love them so much.

After clearing the table, everyone helped washed the dishes. Since she was a little kid, my Mom had always washed the dishes by hand. It wasn’t like there weren’t any dishwashers around, we just did it that way. It also saved money and in these times a family like us needed every cent. We weren’t dirt poor, we were middle class. Except as a family who had a revenant in it, we were at the bottom part of that social class, which meant there were many times when we struggled. Somehow though, we always made it through.

After the dishes were done, I went to sit down and watch a rerun episode of Star Trek with my family in the living room. Eric sat in his lazy boy chair reading the newspaper while the twins sat on the floor in front of the TV, eyes fixed on the screen. Mom and I sat on the couch.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Mom said to me. “Me too.” “I haven’t seen you that excited and happy in a long time.” Eric peeked over at us, curious about our conversation. He’s so nosey.

“Yeah?” I replied. “Yes! I mean you were grinning.” “I do that sometimes.” “No you don’t, you usually have a scowl on your face like Yumi.” “You’re not going to get a head brace for me are you?” “Nah, beneath that scowl lies a compassionate teenager.” “You see that in me?” “Yes and other things.”

“Good things?” “Yes.” I hugged Mom. “I’m sorry about earlier.” “There’s nothing to be sorry for, we all get angry sometimes, and it’s part of human nature.” “Does that mean I’m human?” Before she could answer, a hard banging on our front door brought the conversation to an end. “LRTF, open up!” The vamps were here.

Blood drawing time had arrived.

 

 

 

6

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.”

-Earl Warren

 

Eric turned off the TV and Mom quickly got up off the couch. “Mommy.” Wynonna said, clutching our mother’s leg. Peter grabbed Mom’s other leg. This part of the evening always scared the twins, and I didn’t blame them. Mom attempted to reassure them. “It’s okay.” she said to Wynonna, “You and Peter go sit at the table with your sister.”

Worried at Mom’s suggestion, Eric intervened. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Mom shot him a look, and I placed a hand on her shoulder as the loud banging continued at the door. “POUND! POUND! POUND!” the twins squeezed Mom’s legs harder, cutting off her circulation. “He’s right.” I said to her, “They might make it more difficult if I’m around the twins, I’ll stay on the couch.” Mom nodded and escorted my brother and sister to the table. Eric walked quickly to the door as another pound rang out. “LRTF! Open up now!” a male voice said from the outside. “Coming!” Eric shouted as he reached the door. He turned towards us and whispered, “Keep quiet about this morning and your job.” We all nodded in confirmation and Eric opened the door.

Before he could open the door all the way, a hand pushed him up against the door while another held a gun to his face. Both hands belonged to a young officer. He had short brown hair, hazel eyes, and white skin. “Daddy!” Peter cried looking up in horror at Eric pinned up against the door. “It’s okay.” He said calmly to Peter. “Why didn’t you open the door?” the officer asked, gun still pointed at my step-Dad. The officer was now visible to the rest of us, the twins began to cry and Mom and Eric make attempts to calm them down, Eric with his words and Mom with her hugs.

Eric tries to calm the situation by answering the vamp. “Sorry officer, we didn’t hear the door, we were in the kitchen washing dishes.” “Whoa rookie, settle down.” Another vamp said as he entered our home, standing in the doorway. He’s a slightly older white male with blonde hair and blue eyes. He looked disapprovingly at the young vamp who then slowly backed away from Eric with his gun still drawn. Noticing this, the elder vamp said, “Put your gun away.” Slightly embarrassed, the vamp puts his holsters his weapon. The elder vamp apologetically speaks to Eric. “I apologize for the rookie; he’s been on the job for just a day. We just came from an intense situation in Casselberry.” he points to himself, “Name’s Officer Pete Reed and he’s Officer Jim Malloy.”

Eric smiled and introduced himself, “I’m Eric Munroe and this is my family.” “May we come in?” “Yes.” The vamps followed Eric into the living room. As he introduces each of us, the twins hold tightly onto Mom while I remain still, carefully watching the vamps. “This is my wife Bianca, our twins Wynonna and Peter, and our eldest Darcy.”

Reed smiled at us and said, “Nice to meet all of you. We apologize for scaring the children.” While looking around our home, the rookie’s eyes and mine met. I waved to him and he signaled his partner. “Reed.” Malloy said. Reed looked at me and asked Eric, “Is she the only revenant in your household?” “Yes sir she is.” “Alright, we’ll get this done quickly so you can return to your evening.”

Reed nodded at Malloy who headed back outside. Reed then began to ask me the procedural questions. “What’s your name young lady?” “Darcy.” I answered nervously. Just keep calm. I say to myself. “How old are you?” “Sixteen.” “And what type are you?” “I’m a revenant.” “I thought so it’s rare nowadays to find reanimates under the age of twenty-five.”

As Reed wrote down my information, Malloy returned with a medical bag. Curious about the events in Casselberry, I asked Reed, “What was the situation that you and the other vamp had to deal with?” “Darcy!” Eric said looking at me disapprovingly. With a smile, Reed put his hand up and said “It’s okay.”

Malloy knelt down by me, opened the bag and took out gloves, a needle and syringe, alcohol wipes, a vial, and a band aid. As Malloy got out the supplies, Reed answered my question. “We had to deal with a separatist group of protesters that was out in front of a mixed church located in between two mixed and separatist neighborhoods. “They were armed.” Malloy chimed in. He was all set to draw my blood. Even though my family was concerned, I was more curious about the situation and wanted to know more about it. “Were they undead?” “Nope, human.” Reed answered. As the vamps and I chatted, I noticed that the twins had relaxed a little bit. Eric had gone to sit next to them alongside Mom.

It was now time for vamps to take my blood. With syringe in hand, Malloy nodded at Reed who said, “Alright, I take it by now you know the drill.” I held out my left arm, my sleeve already rolled up. “This is the one they always use.” Malloy wiped the vein area with an alcohol wipe and tied a big purple rubber band around my arm. “Is that too tight?” he asked. “I don’t feel pain.” “I know, but it’s still important to ask.” I give him a slight smile. “I appreciate it.”

With the needle in my vein, my dark blood gurgled out and went into the vial that Malloy held. When it was full he removed the needle and placed another alcohol wipe on top of my vein. “Place your fingers here.” He said. “Don’t you need anymore?” I asked a bit confused. Usually the vamps would take like two to three vials of revenant blood.

Malloy shook his head. “No the requirements have changed a little bit.” Reed nodded, “That’s right; we’re now only required to take one vial of blood from revenants.” Surprised and a bit suspicious of this news, my parents inquired more from the vamp.

“When did that change?” Eric asked. “It went into effect this morning at midnight.” Reed answered, he handed Eric a paper. “This will tell you everything concerning the new changes. The government website has been updated as well.”

Malloy pulled out some sort of scanning device. “What’s that?” Mom asked. “Non-revenants living in revenant households are required to be scanned for infection.” Reed replied. “This scanner was created by Dr. Saki and will make things a little easier.”

Malloy began to scan my family starting with Eric and working his way down to the twins. Mom had to hold and comfort Wynonna, while Peter seemed fascinated with the device. “That was fast.” Mom said. “The doc’s working on a revenant scanner. She’s got a lot of experience working with revenants, so hopefully that scanner will be out soon and replace the sticking.” Malloy said. He packed up the scanner and his other supplies back into the medical bag.

“I’ve heard of her and my husband’s a little familiar with her work.” Mom said as she looked over the paper Reed had given Eric. “I didn’t think the scanner would arrive so soon.” “Will you still come every Monday?” I asked. “From now on it’ll be every two weeks and as more scanners are produced and distributed, that’ll change to an even longer period between visits.”

“Sweet.”

Reed jotted down a few notes while Malloy placed his bag over his shoulder. He then turned to Eric and held out his hand. “I apologize again for earlier; I was a little high strung.” Eric shook Malloy’s hand. “It’s alright,” he said. “I hope we get you and Reed again, we need more cops like you.” “Thanks.”

Eric escorted the vamps to the door where they said their goodbyes as they exited our house. “Goodnight Darcy and goodnight everyone.” Reed said as he waved. “Goodnight.” we replied. With the vamps gone, a sense of relief filled our house and we all felt much more relaxed.

“That went better than expected.” Mom said. “Yeah.” I said as I got up from the couch. Eric held up the paper that the vamps gave him. “We need to do some research on the scanners, to make sure it’s all legal.” “Right.” My mother agreed.

It was time for the twins to get ready for bed. “Little ones, it’s bedtime.” “Aw, can’t we watch one more Star Trek episode?” Wynonna asked. “Yeah the vamps interrupted our show.” Peter chimed. “Only after you take your baths.” “Yay!”

On my way out of the living room, I got a pack of cashews from the breadbox on the counter. “Darce, you’re going to sleep already?” “No Mom, I’m going to listen to my podcast and work on some stuff.” “Okay don’t stay up too late.” “I won’t. Goodnight Mom.” I give her hug. “Say goodnight to your sister.” Eric said to my siblings. “Goodnight Darcy!” they said. “Goodnight guys.” “Goodnight Darcy.” Eric said. “Goodnight.”

I head upstairs and shut my room door. Plopping onto my futon bed I let out a huge sigh. “What a lovely, lovely day.” I say out loud. Lying on my purple Powerpuff Girls blanket and my main pillow I’m surrounded by my purple heart-shaped pillow, a purple cylinder pillow and my Kuroneko head pillow. I get up, grab my laptop, turn it on, and plug in my headphones and place them on my head.

To unwind, I like to listen to the UnGeek podcast that airs every Monday night while I surf the internet. It’s a revenant nerd podcast that discusses comics, fantasy, sci-fi, and more from a revenant perspective. Just like our human counterparts, revenants who are interested in these topics are also called geeks.

When humans are called geeks, they wear it proudly but we’re called geeks our reaction can vary. Depending on who uses it, calling a revenant a geek can be derogatory. It’s one of the slurs used for my kind. While there are many who don’t want anyone using the words, there are those of us who use them as terms of endearment, solidarity, or affection and find them non-offensive except when they are used by the living.

We’re trying to take back the power away from the humans. I’m on the fence about it sometimes I use them sometimes I don’t. Plus we have slurs for humans, so I’m not sure. Mom doesn’t want me using the words, especially not in front of Wynonna and Peter. Anyway I’ve been thinking about creating a blog but the FCC win of the RTF’s been cracking down recently on blogs, social networks, and websites by revenants. The slightest hint of what the government believed to be insurrection-whether it was or not-can lead to the site’s termination plus or a fine and or the arrest and imprisonment of the site’s owner. I didn’t want any problems for my family; we already had enough to deal with.

When the podcast ended, I continued to surf the internet. I watched some YouTube videos from my favorite subscriptions. For video walkthroughs, I like to watch theRadBrad, for my movie needs I watch CinemaSins, Beyond the Trailer, and Screen Junkies. For my nerdy needs, I watch ilikecomicstoo, the Gorgeous Geeks, Aggressive Comix, Think About the Ink, and Black Nerd Comedy.

After an hour of watching videos, it was nearly midnight. I turned off my computer and took a shower. Afterwards I wrote an entry in my journal. Recently, I had been contemplating creating a blog, but the FCC wing of the RTF had been cracking down on blogs, social networks, and websites by revenants. The slightest hint of what the government believed to be insurrection-whether it was or not-led to the shutdown of a site in addition to a fine and or the arrest and imprisonment of the owner. I didn’t want any more problems for myself or my family; we had enough to deal with after all. Finishing my writing, I read The Outsiders until I drifted off to sleep.

Monday was finally over.

 

 

7

Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.”

-Elsa Schiaparelli

 

There are many places that refused to serve revenants on religious and moral grounds all over the state and throughout the world, but June’s welcomed us with open arms. Though the original owner, June had been killed by a reanimate, and while no one in her family had been turned or was born a revenant, they insisted everyone be treated fairly. The family owned and operated diner had been in historic Longwood since the 1950’s. It was where “Longwood Meets To Eat!” was also one of my family’s favorite food joints.

The family’s from the islands of Tortola, St. Thomas Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They were one of the best chefs around, specializing in Caribbean and Southern food. Mom’s side of the family’s from St. Thomas. Mom never gets to cook the food, so anytime we ate at June’s was a big treat.

Eric wanted to drop me off at school, so I let him. It was too exhausting to get into another argument the day after we had a huge one. We had left a little bit early so we could have enough time to eat at the diner. I was very excited though I hid it from Eric. I was still a little peeved at him, but my anger was waning as we entered the diner.

We were greeted by the diner’s current owner and son of the late June Cline, Henito. “Good Morning Munroe family!” he said. “Good Morning Henito.” Eric replied. “Where are the missus and the twins?” “The kids are on their way to school and Bianca’s at home resting. It’s just me and Darcy this morning.” “We’ll since it’s just the two of you I take it you might want to sit at the counter?” “Yes please!” I answered. “Well right this way!”

Henito led us to the counter where Eric and I took sat on two of the blue shiny stools. We were welcomed by Henito’s sister Alicia, who started to take our order. “I’ll have a beef pâté and a Johnnycake with bowl of callaloo and fungi on the side.” “Okay and what do you want to drink Darcy?” “A glass of maubi and a malt please.

“And what would you like Mr. Munroe?” “I’m going to have a mix.” “Oh?” “Yes, I’ll have a plate of salt fish and conch with your famous eggs and the biscuit and gravy platter.” “Okay how would you like your eggs cooked?” “Scrambled please and I’ll also have a glass maubi and a malt.” “Alright it’ll be out in a few. I’ll go ahead and get your drinks.” “Thanks Alicia.”

Eric looked at me and smiled, I returned his smile with a wan smile. Alicia returned with our drinks and we just sat there sipping and adjusting our bodies on the stools, relaxing. The Moment was ruined when Eric began to speak. “Darcy.” “What?” “About yesterday, I was trying to protect you.” “Okay.” “Did you have trouble with those Tiaras yesterday because of the shirt?” “Nope.” “So then why did you have trouble?”

Are you serious? Are you fucking serious right now? I took a deep breath and answered. “You don’t get it.” “Darcy I’m trying.” Try harder. “I always have trouble with them, no matter what I’m wearing. It isn’t about that. It’s about what I am, who I am.” “So this has been going on for a while.” “Yes.”

“Have you’ve tried-” “I’ve tried everything. It doesn’t work. The only way they would stop bothering me is if I was a human. And that’s not going to happen.” “Darcy, look. I’m not trying to cause problems with you.” “Okay.” “You’re my daughter. I just want what’s best for you.” “Sure whatever you say.”

Eric just looked at me and sighed. Thankfully Alicia came with our food before our tense conversation could continue. “Enjoy.” she said, setting down our plates of food. The food was delicious; oh my god was it delicious! It was just what I needed. Eric was also filled with joy as we feasted. Whoever said that food was for the soul, needed to be thanked and hugged. The time went by too fast and before we knew it, we had finished eating and it was time to go.

Now stuffed, we rubbed our bellies as we rose up off the stools and made our way to the register where Henito was stationed. “I have some extra food just for Darcy.” Henito said as Eric handed him cash. “Okay. I’ll wait for you in the car.” As he exited the diner, Eric waved his goodbyes to Henito and Alicia. “Henito, Alicia, as always it’s been a pleasure.” he said.

They waved back and then Henito handed me a big box that his sister had brought to the front. “There you are.” he said as he gave it to me, “It’s got all of your favorites in there so enjoy!” “Thanks.” I said. As I stood not too far from the door holding the box, Henito became somber as he spoke to me.

“Don’t be so hard on him, Darce.” “I’m not trying to; he shouldn’t be so hard on me.” “Both of you used to be very close when you were younger.” “Things change.” “Sometimes, they don’t have to.”

“Look around you Henito, the world has changed. Growing up did you ever see the day when people like me would arrive on the scene?” Henito laughed as he came from around the register. “Darcy you are young, the world is always changing. There’s this old saying ‘A person’s a person no matter how small.’ Do you know what that means?”

I shook my head no as he stood in front of me. Henito rested his hands on my shoulder and looked me right in the eye. “It means that no matter your size, color, etc. You should be treated with kindness and respect. It means you are a person, you do matter. In my day people who looked like us were treated horribly, words can’t describe how bad.” “I know, Mom told me about all of that and how they murdered grandpa’s relatives in the gas chambers…there are still people like that now.”

Thinking upon my words, sadness filled Henito’s eyes. “Yes, that is true…” The sadness quickly disappeared from his countenance and was replaced with cheerfulness. “I have to get back to work and you need to get to school. I’ll leave you with this quote: ‘Never give up hope, no matter how dark things seem.’” I smiled. “Thank you Master Henito. May the force be with you.” “And with you, young padawan.”

Waving goodbye I exited the diner. When I reached the car, Eric had popped the trunk so I could put the box inside. Closing the trunk, I open the front passenger side door and get in. Eric meets with a knowing grin. “Want to have a little bit of that for lunch?” he asked. “Nah, school’s not worthy to have such regal food on display.” “I agree.” “Thank you for breakfast.” “You’re welcome.”

We pull out of the diner parking lot and head towards my school. After a few Moments, I broke the silence and said, “I know you’re trying to protect me. But can you try harder understanding where I’m coming from?” “I’ll do my best.” “Okay.”

At that Moment, part of me felt a glimmer of hope, while the other part of me firmly held on to the belief that our relationship would remain in the mire of distrust and frustration that it had been stuck in for the past few years. As we pulled up to the school entrance and said our goodbyes, my thoughts turned to Henito’s words. Was I chasing pavements leading nowhere? Was it a waste? Knowing who I was and the burden it placed on my family should I just leave my hopes and dreams there? Should I give up? These questions plagued my mind as I entered the building and sped walked the halls towards a restroom.

 

 

 

8

Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”

-Benjamin Disraeli

 

I never had to pee as bad as I did right then. I shouldn’t have drunk so much liquid at June’s but I rarely get to indulge in such delicious drinks, so I regretted nothing. As I sped walked towards the nearest restroom, Rooney spotted me and said, “Darcy, you better not have on any inappropriate shirts!” “Yeah, yeah.” I said as I entered my place of urinary solace.

Finishing my business, I washed my hands at the sink. I checked myself out in the mirror, straightening my clothes. I was decked out in a green that hid my black “Support undead” t-shirt. I wore my dark blue jeans and looked down on at my dark green Vans shoes. While I took another look in the mirror and reapplied my Nicka K. New York Black lipstick, the Tiaras greeted me.

Kim entered first followed by Katrina and Jennifer, with Wendy taking up the rear. “Hey Darcy.” Kim said. “Aww look, Kim thinks Darcy’s her friend. Ain’t it cute?” Katrina said. “Yeah she’s just like Lizzie. Maybe she wants to be like Darcy.” responded Jennifer. “I do not!” Kim said, visibly embarrassed. “I just was saying hi that’s all.” “Whatever.” Katrina said. “Shut up all of you!” Wendy said. She had pieces of paper in her hand and a lighter in the other as she moved from behind the girls and approached me.

“Darcy, we didn’t see you in the courtyard. Were you hiding from us?” “No. I have more important things to do.” “But we wanted to give you a present.” “I don’t want anything from you.” Wendy lit a paper and threw it at me as she said, “But we insist!” I dodged it. I was afraid of fire, but it wasn’t like she had a flamethrower right?

Suddenly, Katrina and Jennifer joined the fray and threw flaming papers at me. “Knock it off!” I said. “Oh no, we’re not done giving you your present! Come on Kim! Kim?” Wendy turned around to look at Kim who was hesitant about joining in. She avoided eye contact with me as she poorly threw a fiery paper at me. I attempted to leave the bathroom but Wendy and her squad blocked my path.

“Let me through!” I said. “Nope you’re not going anywhere!” Katrina shouted as she pushed me into Wendy who then pushed me into Jennifer. The roundabout pushing continued as Kim watched the door. She was uneasy and avoided all eye contact with me. “Hurry up you guys!” she said. “We’re going to get caught.”

After Kim’s protest, the pushing stopped. Kim looked somewhat relieved until Wendy said, “Don’t worry Kim, something tells me that we’re going to have fire drill!” To Kim’s horror and mine, Wendy pushed me away from her and the Tiaras. She then lit more papers and threw them at me. Laughing, the girls began dropping more pieces of flaming paper on me from above. I ducked into the nearby stall and locked it. Trapped, I started to yell.

“Knock it off!” I said. Outside the stall, Wendy said. “Quick everyone give me the rest of your papers…Kim where’s yours?” “I used them all already.” “You idiot, you were supposed to save them for the big finale!” “Don’t worry about it, we’ve have plenty.” Katrina said.

Suddenly three fists sized fiery paper balls flew over the stall. One luckily fell into the toilet, the second I dodged, while I managed to kick the last ball back out. And that managed to set off the fire alarm. “Damnit Wendy I told you!” Kim shouted. “Kiss my ass. Come on let’s go.”

The sprinkles rain down and put out the remaining fires, blood ooze out of my ears thanks to the noisy alarm. Soaked and bloody, I came out of the restroom where Rooney and the vamps were waiting for me. “What the hell happened?” Rooney asked. “Wendy and her friends were bothering me as usual. They trapped me in a stall in the restroom and tried to burn me alive by dropping pieces of flaming paper me.”

“This is ridiculous! What did you do?” “I did nothing!” “You’re always causing problems here! If you would act right-” “Fuck you Rooney!” I yelled. “How dare you speak to me like that!” Rooney yelled back as he slapped me. “That’s enough!” Gannon yelled. He moved in between me and Rooney. “Rooney go back to your office and settle down.” “I’ll call her parents so they can pick her up.” Friday said, reeling at Rooney’s actions. “No. I can walk. I have better things to do than be here at this shitty school.” I said.

Upset that his authority was being undermined by the vamps, Rooney shook his finger at me and spewed insults. “You’re nothing but an empty lame brain lurker! You’re a monster!” he said. Enough of this shit. Moving from behind Gannon, I got up close and personal with Rooney. He tried backing away but his body didn’t respond to his feelings.

You slap me again; I’ll tear your hands off.

“Look who’s talking you stupid ignorant dumbass,” I said staring him down. “I could have lost control right then. I could have crushed you for slapping me. But I didn’t.” Rooney shook violently as I looked him up and down and said, “Rooney, what’s good?”

“Come on Darce.” Friday said, her hand touching my shoulder. I smirked at the pale loser standing before me and said, “Huh, you’re the one who’s nothing.” and walked away. I could have sworn Rooney fainted and Friday almost let him hit the ground.

Gannon escorted me outside. “You sure you don’t want us to call your parents?” he asked. “Call them and let them know, I just want to walk. Thanks Gannon.” “Anytime, just be careful.”

*****

As I started the second mile of my trek, a car pulled right alongside me. It was Kim. Annoyed, I asked her, “What the hell do you want?” “Darcy I’m sorry.” “I bet you are.” “Please let me drive you the rest of the way.” “That could be dangerous. How do I know you won’t look the other way?” “What could I have done?” “You could have said stop!” “Yeah but then we both would have been trapped in the stall.”

“At least I would have had company.” “Please let me drive you home.” “Nah I’m good. Go back to school. You’re missing out on your education.” “Darcy!” I stopped and turned towards the car. “Just go. I’m good. I don’t feel pain remember?” “Yes you do.” “Go.” “Okay.” Kim turned the car around and drove back towards the school.

 

 

 

 

9

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”

-Michael J. Fox

 

When I reached home, nobody was there to greet me. That wasn’t surprising as both my parents were at work and the twins at school. Mom would be home soon and I didn’t want her to see me all wet and bloody, so I changed out of my clothes and took a shower. Afterwards I took a nap and was abruptly woken an hour later by my siblings.

“Darcy! You’re home!” Wynonna said. “Yay! We want to play!” Peter said. “Ha-ha, okay.” I said yawing. Mom came into the room; her face was full of concern. “Kids, Mommy needs to talk to your sister for a minute.” “Aww, we want to play!” Peter said. “You will when Mommy’s done okay?” “Okay.”

The twins went out the door and Mom shut it behind them. She then plopped herself onto my bed and said, “Are you okay Darce?” “Yeah I’m good.” “Why didn’t you want to be picked up?” “I wanted to walk besides gas is expensive.” “That’s not for you to worry about.” “I know but still I wanted to walk, I hear it’s good for the soul.” Mom smiled but the concern remained in her eyes. “Are you sure you’re okay?” “Mom, I’m good, really I am.” “I want you to stay home tomorrow and just rest from all of the drama alright?” “Sure.”

Who am I to complain about staying home from school?

Mom rubbed my shoulder and said, “Okay, now go play with your siblings.” “Alright.” I got up from my bed, put on my sneakers and walked to the living room where my siblings were watching TV. I sat on the couch in between them and gently punched each one on the shoulder.

“You don’t have homework today?” I asked. “Yeah, but we finished it in class.” Peter answered. “It was too easy, we need a challenge.” Wynonna said. “Believe me I understand.” I said. Only eight years old, Wynonna and Peter were very smart and mature for their age. Growing up in world that’s trying to understand the phenomena of the dead coming back to life will do that to you, especially if you’ve got a family member who’s a revenant. Kids pick on my siblings because of me but they love me to a fault, even when I distance myself from them due to Eric’s fear.

But he wasn’t there to make me feel guilty so it was playtime. “So what do you guys want to do?” I asked my siblings. “We need help with our tree house!” Peter answered. “Yeah we need to decorate it.” Wynonna said. I rose up from the chair and said, “Well let’s get to it!”

It took us two hours to find and collect all the things we wanted to put in the treehouse. Then it took another hour to load all of it up and put our stuff into the tree house. I hadn’t been in the tree house since I was a kid. Eric had made it for me after my father’s funeral. It was my own Themyscira; I didn’t have any friends-still don’t-so I had to improvise. In my treehouse I could be anything I wanted to be. I had many adventures there in the backyard, it was one of the few good memories I’ve held onto.

When my siblings were old enough to use the treehouse, I handed it over to them and stopped using it. Over the years the wear and tear took its toll and not too long ago, Eric finally finished renovating it. The tree house is now the size of a studio apartment; it has its own plumbing and electricity both of which are environmentally friendly. Technically speaking, we could have someone rent the place out but that wasn’t going to happen. The treehouse belonged to the twins and me. We weren’t giving it away without a fight.

“Where do you think this should go?” Wynonna asked me. “Huh?” I had been daydreaming. “Where do you think my picture should go?” She handed me the piece of paper. On it was a drawing that she had made of herself, Peter, and I. Smiling, I replied, “We should put it over there on that wall.” I pointed to the wall directly across from the door. “Yeah that way people know it’s our home.” Peter said. “Okay.” Wynonna tacked the picture onto the wall. “We’ve officially finished decorating!” I cheered. “Yay!” “Ring! Ring! Ring!” Mom’s voice echoed from our telephone can. “I’ll get it!” I said.

“Munroe Treehouse, Darcy speaking.” “Hello little one, are you guys hungry yet?” “Yes!” the twins shouted behind me. “Hahaha, okay come down and get some food. Its burgers, tater tots, and fries tonight!” “We’ll be right down.” I hung up the phone and turned to the twins and said,

“Let’s go!” As we dined on our delicious meal, Eric arrived home to join the celebration. Wynonna couldn’t wait for him to sit down. “Daddy guess what?” “What?” Eric seemed tired, he must have had a long day at the office. “Darcy helped us decorate our tree house!” “Oh really?” He peered over at Mom disapprovingly.

“Did Mommy help as well?” He asked. “Nah, we didn’t need her help.” Peter responded in between bites of his burger. He was on his third one. “Oh, okay.” Eric said. He continued to look at Mom, he didn’t look happy. Mom ignored his stares. “I think the kids had fun. It was great to see them working together and laughing. I haven’t seen that in a while.” she said. “Yeah I had fun.” I said. “Me too!” said Peter. “Me three!” said Wynonna.

Everyone started laughing with the exception of Eric, he wasn’t too pleased. When Daddy died, he was right there for Mom and I. Soon they were married and he was a good Dad to me. But when Mom became pregnant with the twins, something changed. Granted he was still kind to me, he has never mistreated me or abused me. But just as I could see the fear in the eyes of the Tiaras, I could see it within his own eyes as well.

Whenever I played with the twins I could hear the anxiety Eric had that he tried to hide in his voice, I would recognize it in his body language. Oftentimes, after watching the news or reading something related to the revenant population, he and Mom would argue and I would hear it. I knew Eric was embarrassed to have a daughter who was a revenant. I remember when his parents came over for a family dinner one night, and I overheard his mother reassuring him about me. She told him, “At least she’s not a reanimate like her father.” He just nodded and didn’t defend me. That hurt me deeply then as it did now.

The twins don’t know much about my Daddy, they believe Eric was my Dad and they love me dearly regardless. I have always loved them back and would never intentionally hurt them. When Eric told me not to play with them as often as I used to, I pushed them away. Even when I did this, they still loved me. Deep down, Eric was afraid I would hurt the twins or worse.

“You should have watched them.” he said to Mom as we continued our meal. “I didn’t need to. That’s what they’ve got a big sister for, Darcy was very responsible.” “Hun, after everything that’s happened we promised to stay cautious remember?” “I didn’t bite anyone! Why can’t you be happy about this?” I snapped. “Darce, that’s not what I met.”

“Yeah it is. You’re afraid that I’ll hurt them.” “Darcy wouldn’t do that!” Wynonna said. “I didn’t say she would.” Eric replied. “I just think it would have been safer if Mom had helped, just in case someone fell.” I glared at him as I rose from my seat. “Whatever, I’m done.” “Darcy!” Mom said. “Goodnight, I’m going to bed.” I looked at my sister and brother. “I had fun! We’ll have lots of adventures in the treehouse.” “Yay!” “Adventures that are safe.” Eric added. “Goodnight.” I said curtly.

I went to my room, shut the door, and locked it. I didn’t want to be bothered for the rest of the night. I stayed up way past my bedtime-12 am-reading, drawing, and listening to music. I woke up around noon the next day and to my delight everyone was out of the house, I had it all to myself. On the fridge, Mom and the twins had left me a cute note which made me smile. I loved them very much. I even loved Eric even though he’s been a huge dick.

After I ate my breakfast, I continued my TV marathon on Netflix which consisted of watching one episode each of The Wire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Dragnet, Adam-12, the original Star Trek series, Jem and X-men the animated series. It was more fun to do my marathon this way instead of just watching one series.

As I finished “The Rains of Castamere” episode from Game of Thrones, the house phone rang. The caller ID showed it was Eric. I let the call go to voicemail. A few minutes later, he called my cell. If I didn’t answer he would continue to call and I wasn’t about to let him ruin my day off.

“Hello?” I answered. “Darcy. How are things going?” “The twins aren’t here so why are you asking?” “Darcy, look I don’t have time for this-” “Neither do I.” “I’m just checking in with you okay?” “Did Mom ask you to?” “No.”

That’s a surprise.

“I’m good, just watching my TV marathon.” “How’s that going?” “I just finished Game of Thrones.” “Which episode are you on?” “The Red Wedding one.” “Oh yeah, that’s a good one. I know you read the books, but were you surprised?” He remembered? Wow, that was a while ago. “Yeah I was a little bit.” “I’m glad you’re enjoying your day off. Make sure to do your homework, and get something to eat okay?”

“Okay. Thanks for checking in.” “Thanks for talking. I know we haven’t done that in a while…” “Yeah we haven’t.” “We’ll have to do it more often.” “We’ll see. Talk to you later. Enjoy the rest of your day too.” “Thanks, I’ll try, I rather be doing something else, though. Later Darce.” With that I hung up the phone, and finished my TV portion of my Netflix viewing. When that was done I took a break and went upstairs to nap.

Two hours later, I went down to the kitchen to take my Alimentos and made a meal with the leftovers in the fridge. I then sat down to watch Frank on Netflix. When I was done it was time for the rest of my family to return home. I made my way upstairs and started working on my homework, until it was time for dinner.

All in all it was a good day. The day went by too damn quick, why can’t bad days go by quicker instead? Life’s a fucking sadist I tell you.

 

 

 

 

 

10

While people are quick to praise the wisdom of the crowd, being an old-school journalist, I look at the wisdom of the crowd and know it can quickly turn into a mob mentality.

-Jason Calacanis

 

After having such a wonderful time during my day off, I really didn’t want to return to school. But seeing as though I had missed one day, left early on another, and had been late to school on earlier during the week, I had to go. Besides, I didn’t want the truancy vamps coming to my house causing a ruckus.

When I arrived, the Tiaras were in their usual spot in the courtyard. To my surprise, they didn’t bother me. I brushed it off and went on my way assuming they would harass me later, but it never came. Friday was the same, none of the girls bothered me…perhaps Kim had finally stood up to them? We still had yet to hang out and whenever she wasn’t with them, Kim would only say hi as we passed each other by during the school day.

When I came home I learned to my absolute joy that my step-grandparents, Rachel and Emil had canceled Friday night dinner. They had gone on a cruise to the Bahamas and would return the following Tuesday. They were family being the twins’ grandparents, but I felt no affinity towards them. I tolerated Friday night dinners and always tried to find a way to get out of them. Sometimes I escaped but when I couldn’t I endured a merciless evening of Rachel’s micro aggressions. Emil wasn’t too bad, I didn’t mind talking to him. But talking to Rachel was like Deadpool having to listen to Cable’s lecture in his video game…and that almost made me want to shoot myself in the head.

The weekend came and went with hardly any drama. In the morning and evening, Mom and Eric argued about the news and how much time I could spend playing with the twins. The twins had friends who also had revenant family members and they were off in the backyard playing with them and showing off the tree house while our parents kept their friends’ parents company. I stayed in my room and did my own thing. I didn’t care for company. It was either folks who had a mixed family or folks who didn’t. Either way they always had invasive annoying questions for me to answer, so I hid.

When Monday arrived, the Tiaras left me alone again, Tuesday the same thing happened. For the rest week, the Tiaras completely left me alone. My only interaction with them was saying hello to Kim. The next Monday it was the same and I was truly enjoying not being harassed, though I was a little bit suspicious of this new found routine.

Monday was the second to last day of school before Thanksgiving break began, and at the end of the day, Kim came up to me in the hallway and said, “Have a great break! I hope to see you when I come back.” “You too!” I replied smiling. Kim didn’t return my smile, she appeared stressed. “Are you okay? You look worried.” “Yeah, I’m fine…I’m fine!” she smiled. “Are you sure?” “Yes…I got to go. I’ll see you later.” “Alright later!”

The next day, the remaining Tiaras were not in the courtyard which surprised me. I was hoping that they might had left early for break like Kim. Having them not harass me like they’ve done previously confused me but I accepted it, perhaps life was being kind to me now.

Relieved, I made my way to the school doors and just before I touched the door handle, it busted open, knocking back onto the grey concrete. Looking up I saw Wendy, Jennifer, and Katrina rush out the building towards me. When they got to where I had fallen, they began yanking my limbs apart until they were no longer connected to me.

What the hell is going on? Why are they doing this?

I asked myself as I lay limbless, wide-eyed, stunned, and embarrassed. The girls encircled me, making unfathomable stereotypical noises as their sneering leader walked up to me. There was an object bugling in her pocket but I couldn’t make out what it was, as I was too disoriented.

Wendy looked down on me with superiority and said, “Aw, look at the lurker! What’s the matter how come you’re not trying to come at me and eat my brains? Why aren’t you making noise so your backup can come, huh?”

I don’t do that.

“You’re not so tough when you don’t have your limbs. You can’t grab our hair or our limbs to scratch and bite us and make us turn!” Wendy said as she walked around me continuing her taunts.

I’m very tempted to now but I can’t.

A couple of onlookers had gathered to watch the pitiful scene, and some even joined the Tiaras in their snickering and mocking of me. Someone in the crowd yelled, “That’s right!” The rest echoed their approval as more students and non-students came to the scene creating a circle around Wendy and me. Meanwhile no vamps, principal, faculty or staff were anywhere to be found.

Anxiety overcame me as I saw the crowd getting bigger and bigger…no it wasn’t a crowd, it wasn’t even a mob…it was a horde. A horde of angry humans that I was in the thick of and riding on the rising tide of angst from the horde, was Wendy who continued circling-she was the shark and I the prey. Lunging towards me, she spoke even louder “But you’re worse than reanimates, at least they used to be…one of us, they were human once…but you never were. You’re a…you’re a…”

Turning to the horde, Wendy looked for an answer. A voice answered, “An ugly creature!”

I’m not! I screamed in my head.

Another yelled “A monster!”

I’m not!

And yet another shouted, “An abomination!”

NO!

“Yes that’s what she is, that’s what it is!” Wendy said as she whipped around back to me. Seething with rage, she moved as close as she could to my face avoiding my mouth. Screaming at the top of her lungs she expelled, “YOU’RE AN ABOMINATION!”

NO, enough!

For years, I had been patient and up till then I had considered Wendy and her friends a nuisance. I had always put up with their antics, but in that Moment, things took a darker and more sinister turn. I had it up to the heavens, no to space. I could not take it anymore.

Why the hell did I wait till I had no arms, and legs to get angry?

 

 

 

11

Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.”

― Elvis Presley

 

As I waited for my limbs to grow back, fear began to encompass me. The only thing I could do in that Moment was to defend myself, I had to try and “bite” Wendy. It was extremely risky, but it was the only thing that would scare her and the horde away while saving my life in the process. I didn’t want to really bite her or did I?

She did deserve it, I had spared her life many times…all I had to do was make contact with her skin and turn her into the monster. After all it was the reanimates that had lost their humanity and struggled on a daily basis to keep it. They were the ones who had eaten people during the black wave…they were the ones who were out of control…they were the monsters…just like Daddy had been at the end of his life….

When we natural revenants first came into existence no one understood what we were, hell, they still don’t. Though we share almost all of the same traits that humans have, it’s our “undead” traits that make us an enigma.

It also didn’t help that after the first of our kind were born and began teething, their innate hunger developed and when they bit anyone, the person they bit became infected and turned into a monster who feasted on flesh, a reanimates. As the reanimate population increased dramatically, a series of outbreaks-now called the Black Wave-broke out for a period of ten months and thousands of people were killed.

We were Gizmo while they the reanimates were the mischievous, reptilian Gremlins. But were we monsters just like them?

Focus damnit!

My wandering mind landed back in reality, and I lashed out teeth snapping at an unfocused Wendy who was basking in the voluminous rage of the horde. My teeth barely missed fully grasping her neck. Upon closer inspection, I managed to give the girl a scratch.

Shit!

Wendy screamed in horror as she leapt back knocking down Katrina and Jennifer as she fell. A hush came over the mob. Smiling, I looked around to see if there was a way out of that hell. My arms were regrown and my legs were almost back. I would have to crawl out of there quickly before the mob snapped out of their trance, otherwise they wouldn’t just pull my limbs off again, they would bash my brains out and my ‘life’ would come to an end.

Wait a minute. Maybe I could use this to my advantage, they were afraid of me after all. They believed in their heart of hearts I was a monster. If they wanted a monster, they were going to get one.

Rising slowly, I began to moan as I went along like the caricature monster they believed me to be. “Oooaaaaaaaaaaah!” Snapping out their trance, the horde freaked out and began to scatter. “Come on let’s go! More are going to come!” A man in the crowd said as he turned to run.

Dumbasses, didn’t they know that rumor was false? Of course not, they had allowed their fear to overtake their pitiful minds. Grinning, I watched the horde continue to scatter, running like hell. How could one revenant put so much fear in a human mob? My slow paced rotting heart was heavy as I headed towards the unfixed hole in the fence from long ago, a remnant of the Bloody Mary massacre. I had been a child then…but now wasn’t time to reminisce. It was time to get out of this place alive.

I chuckled to myself at the irony of the situation. Here I was an undead girl, trying to escape the living. Humph…guess I am alive. I thought to myself as I continued crawling towards the fence.

In stereotypical fashion, I continued making my way to the fence, moaning as I went. No one moved towards me in fact, the majority of the horde had scattered and only a few remained. Amongst them was Wendy. She was freaking out on her own accord about the scratch she had inadvertently received, begging for help from anyone who still remained.

Grabbing Katrina’s arm, she pleaded, “Help me!” Katrina shrieked in disgust and pushed Wendy back to the ground. Wendy quickly grabbed the girl again as she loudly begged, “Don’t leave me here Katrina! Please help me!” Shaking her leg to loosen Wendy’s grip Katrina shouted, “Let go of me Wendy! Jennifer help! She won’t let go!” Jennifer flew over wielding a baton in her left arm and hit Wendy over the head with it.

Bomp!

Wendy went down hard, losing her grip as her hands hit the ground. Relieved, Jennifer and Katrina looked down at Wendy, who was wallowing in the realization of her newfound state. She looked back at them, desperation flowing out of her eyes, “Please,” she said in a low voice, “Help me.” “We can’t Wendy.” Katrina said, pity resounding in her voice, “There’s nothing we can do for you, I’m sorry we have to go now before more of your kind come.” Jennifer and Katrina took one last look at Wendy, then turned their backs and ran away. Wendy looked on after them. Close to the fence I looked back on the scene. The horde was gone and only the “abominations” remained.

 

 

 

12

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

-Winston Churchill

 

As Wendy and I sat there on the concrete a few feet apart, thoughts ran through my mind.

Should I go to her? And do what? Comfort her? Lie to her, tell her things will be okay? Should I tell Wendy the god awful truth, those looks she received from her friends were just the beginning, there will be more hordes but next time they would call her the abomination? Maybe I should leave Wendy to her own pitiful devices…

No. I wasn’t as cruel as Wendy and it was kind of my fault for Wendy’s current state. Yes I was angry, but I didn’t mean for Wendy to lose her friends, her family, or her life. No, I would not leave Wendy alone, I would go to her.

With my legs now fully regrown, I turned around and walked at normal pace, over to her. I stood behind her watching as she continued to stare in the direction where her friends had headed after abandoning their fearless leader and saying goodbye forever in disbelief. Not sure what to say, I stood quietly listening to Wendy’s weeping and moaning. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I spoke.

“Wendy…I’m sorry.” Violently shaking, Wendy turned around. Her face was full of hatred as she stared intensely at me. No words left her mouth so I continued. “I did not mean for this to happen to you. I was angry and I had enough.”

Not a peep from Wendy’s mouth as she continued to stare, her anger rising. “You’ve been bothering me for years now and I took it but today…today was different. I would have died today if I didn’t do anything.” Reaching her boiling point, an enraged Wendy bellowed, “YOU’RE ALREADY DEAD YOU DUMBASS!” “NO I’M NOT!” I bellowed back.

Calm down.

I had to keep my anger in check. I did not want to make things even worse and go into a rage. I spoke the words again, this time affirming them in a much calmer voice. “No I am not.” Taken aback by my words, Wendy didn’t know what to say and remained silent.

“I may be somewhat different from the ‘living’ but I am alive. Though I feel no pain, I still feel. I have emotions I am alive.” Surprised at my response, Wendy remained speechless and continued staring, her hatred briefly replaced by curiosity as she looked wide-eyed at me. I wasn’t angry anymore I was just annoyed at her silent responses.

Wendy had always been talkative. She craved the spotlight, but in that Moment as it shown on her, she had no words. Say something dammit! Having nothing else to say at the Moment, I sighed and sat down a few feet away from the crazy infected human. Finally, she spoke.

“What am I now since you bit me?” “I didn’t bite you. You were scratched.” “You were trying to bite me.” “I wasn’t really,” Liar. “I did it to scare you.” “Well it worked. You scared the shit out of everybody.” I grinned. “I did, didn’t I?” Nodding, Wendy said bitterly, “Yeah and now they’re afraid of me too.” Her speech pattern had begun to change to the way me and other revenants spoke, she spoke again.

“You didn’t answer my question. What am I now that you bit me?” “I didn’t…” “Okay scratched me. Just answer the damn question.” “You-” Wendy interrupted, “I know I’m going to turn. Hell I’m already talking differently. I’m going to lose everything that is me…” Taking a huge breath, she went on, “I’m going to die and when I come back I’ll be a monster like you.” “No not like me. I’m not a monster.”

“Oh you’re not? That’s bullshit, you are one. Whether you like it or not you are one and I will be too…just like my brother.” Brother? “I didn’t know you had a brother.” Tears again flowed down Wendy’s cheek. “Yeah, I had an older brother. He was a reanimate. My parents kept him hidden from our neighbors and friends. They were ashamed of him and they had every right to be.

“Why is that?” HE WASN’T HUMAN! At first I thought he still was. He was my big brother and we had always been close…until he got infected by the stupid baby he was babysitting, and then he changed. A couple of times he tried to kill my Dad and afterwards he would feel bad about it.”

Her brother must have had a rage episode and Wendy and her parents didn’t understand. The talkative girl I knew was back because Wendy continued, “He didn’t even try! He didn’t even try to be human! I got so ashamed of him and so Dad sent him away, I’m glad he did…Now my parents are going to be ashamed of me because I’m a fucking monster!”

I tried to be encouraging even though I knew my words were lies. “It’ll be hard but you can still live.” Live? Hah! Wendy would live alright, just like Daddy lived after he became infected and turned. She would fight just as her brother and my Dad had fought every day to keep their humanity. Wendy would learn fighting the insatiable hunger gnawing at her day in and day out was a loss cause just as they had. She would know what it was like to be chained like an animal when she lost control in order to prevent her from mauling down her own family like they almost had on numerous occasions.

Live? Wendy would live a nightmare and every day she would wish to be snuffed out of her torturous existence. If only she had been a natural…her life would have been a little more bearable. But I couldn’t bring myself to tell her this and as I looked into Wendy’s eyes, I knew I didn’t need to, she knew. She understood her new ‘life’ would be far worse than her death, and she did not want that.

Just as quickly as it had left, the hatred returned to Wendy’s face. This time though, the hatred was different. It wasn’t rooted in fear, it was rooted in jealousy and bitterness towards me. Soon Wendy would be a reanimate, just like her brother and Daddy.

“You know Darce, when we were kids I used to like you.” “Yeah we got along ok.” “You know why?” “No I don’t, please share.” Wendy flashed an evil smile just like the Grinch when he came up with his dastardly plan. “Because you were inferior to me, you weren’t as smart as I was…but then you started to show me up in class and started to get better grades than I did as the years went by. I hated you for that… I hated you because you were better than my brother. I hate you because you’re better than me even though you’re not supposed to be.”

What is she doing? Reaching for the object in her pocket, Wendy’s words flew out of her mouth like a spitting cobra, reeking of anger and envy. “You know Darcy you’re right, you’re absolutely right. You’re not a monster.” Wendy revealed the mysterious object. It was a silver Colt M1911 pistol. She clutched it furiously in her hands and laughed maniacally. “This was going to be for you it’s funny how things turn out isn’t it? I was going to end you today but you…”

The feelings I had thirteen years ago begun to overwhelm me as Wendy placed the gun to the right side of her head. No not this again. “Wendy…” “As I was saying before you’re not a monster but you’re not human either. You’re nothing…YOU’RE NOTHING!” BLAM! And in that Moment Wendy delivered the message I received when I was only three years old.

 

 

13

All major changes are like death. You can’t see to the other side until you are there.”

― Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

 

After the gun went off and Wendy’s body slumped to the ground, I couldn’t move. I just stared at her lifeless body, numb from what had taken place. I had never seen a dead human before; they looked the same as dead revenants did our specific features notwithstanding. I wanted to leave and go home, but my body wouldn’t move. I was out there for about an hour before Gannon and Friday found me.

Apparently the Tiaras had locked them, Rooney, the faculty, staff and the few students who came on Tuesday inside the gym. It was all part of Wendy’s plan, which hadn’t gone the way she wanted it to. Wendy’s suicide resulted in me being immediately kicked out of school. Rooney was so delighted when he told me that I had been banned from Lyman. His eyes were drunk with glee as he pronounced judgment upon me.

I remained in Gannon and Friday’s custody as protocol had been enacted. School was cancelled immediately and the rest of the students returned to homes, excited about starting Thanksgiving break earlier than expected. I couldn’t go home and thus remained at school under lock and key in the vamps’ office waiting how my fate would be decided.

Unfortunately I was arrested and despite my hopes it wasn’t Reed and Malloy who came to pick me up. It was two dirty dipshits who took me from the school and to the Seminole County jail. Thankfully, they didn’t do anything to me. I had heard of a few revenants who were raped by dirty vamps or even civilians.

When I arrived, I didn’t stay in a cell long. I was glad about that as there had been various reports of revenants and a few humans being found dead in their cells. I saw a judge who promptly sent me to the Connor Revenant Facility, a place for revenants who had seriously lost control. I was to remain there until my court date. Throughout this whole ordeal, no one seemed to care about notifying my parents, not even Gannon and Friday. Once they saw Wendy’s body whatever kindness they had for me vanished. For three weeks, I resided in a tiny solitary safe cell for intake purposes. I hadn’t heard from any of my family members.

As I sat in my cell, I opened my eyes after dozing off for an hour or so. I began to wish that the horde had bashed my brains out, and Wendy’s words kept echoing in my mind as the final act of her life played over and over again.

You’re an abomination, you’re nothing.”

BLAM!

ABOMINATION! NOTHING!”

Daddy’s suicide crept into the repeating picture and both images came together creating a short film. The first scene was Mom and I screaming as we watched Daddy shoot himself.

BLAM!

Then came his lifeless corpse hanging on the chair and Wendy with her poisonous words followed,

ABOMINATION! NOTHING!”

A gunshot echoing.

BLAM!

The stories repeated going faster with every turn.

Our screams.

Daddy shooting himself.

BLAM!

His lifeless corpse on the chair.

Wendy’s poisonous words.

ABOMINATION! NOTHING!”

Gunshot.

BLAM!

Rinse, wash, and repeat.

“Ooooohwaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” Provoked by these images I suddenly let out a moan that sent shivers up the guards stationed outside spines. They sprang into action, rushing to my cell.

“She’s losing it! Have your guns at the ready!” One of them said. “Brain waves are crashing, she’s not gone yet but there’s little time. Bring the sedative,” screamed another guard. My arms began to whale about as if I was having a stroke. My moans continued as I could not shake the entrapping cycle.

Screams, father dead.

BLAM!

ABOMINATION! NOTHING!”

BLAM!

“Oooohwaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” My eyes rolled back in my head as my limbs continued to violently flay about. The guards had entered the room and began to pin me down. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Easy Darce, you need to calm down.”

Pinned to the floor, they attempted to sedate me with the specially designed revenant sedative. It had to be injected directly into my brain, but I was making the task difficult. My body was shaking and I couldn’t control any part of it. “Hold her head still! We don’t want to damage her, she’s extremely vulnerable right now.” Things began to swirl in my head. I saw images-no memories of things past.

What is happening to me?

“Hurry god-damnit! We’re losing her!” Snikt! Finally, the guards succeeded and as I started to black out, I overhear bits of their conversation. “What was that?” “What just happened to her, I’ve never seen or heard of any revenant doing that. It was as if she had a nightmare or was stuck in some type of trance.”

I could not move. I was almost gone as one of them stood over me. “I don’t know…we’ll have to wait for Dr. Saki to get here to find out. For now stay alert, I want a 24/hour triple manned guard for this one.” “Yes sir.”

I faded to black.

 

 

 

14

Appetite, craving for food, is a constant and powerful stimulator of the gastric glands.”

-Ivan Pavlov

One week later…

I’ve had this unpleasant dream before.

I see myself walking down the street minding my own business. The birds are chirping the sky is blue and it’s just a beautiful day. But then in a flash the sky turns dark, thunder booms and lightning flashes, and suddenly there’s a group bearing torches and pitchforks chasing me down. They yell out “Monster!” “Abomination!” “We’ll kill you!” amongst the many curses spewing from their lips. They get closer and closer and I run faster and faster, but soon my gait slows down until it’s just a shuffle. And right before the mob pounces, I scream.

ABOMINATION! NOTHING!”

“NO!”

Like a bolt of lightning, I woke up from the recurring nightmare that had tormented me. Looking around, I discovered that I had been handcuffed to the wall, and confined in the right corner of my cell. I was in plain sight of my cell door and right above it was a camera that the facility staff used to keep an eye on me.

What happened to me?

What I experienced in the cell was something that had never happened to me to before and I wanted an answer. But at that Moment an insatiable hunger poured over me. My stomach pounded and ached for nourishment as it sent electric shockwaves throughout my brain. How long had it been since I ate?

“Guard” I yelled. A guard opened the door slot and peered through. I could only see their eyes and an impulsive thought overtook me.

Wonderful delicious eyeballs.

“What is it?” answered the guard. “How long have I’ve been unconscious?” “Seven days.” was the reply, and then door slot closed again and I was left alone in the dark. Didn’t the guard realize I was in a dangerous state? Did they even care?

I had gone without my medication for seven days. Who in their right mind would let a revenant not have their medication? How the hell could a newbie guard be assigned to watching my cell? If it were a veteran they would have recognized my present state and go through the proper procedures. I hoped this guard would come to their senses and notify someone.

The facility wasn’t known for making a grave mistake like this, but it often happened at other facilities. Time was of the essence since I was rapidly giving into the insatiable hunger. Never in my ‘life’ had I been without Alimentos, the medication created to pacify our insatiable hunger for flesh.

Because of their condition, revenants and reanimates and reanimates have to deal with their undying hunger for flesh. In order to keep it at bay they must take a medication called Alimentos four times a day three days each week for the rest of their lives. If for whatever reason they stop taking their medication, their innate hunger activates and they’ll attempt to eat humans, making them a danger to society.

A revenant can’t go without it after seven days, and for reanimates it was even less-three whole days. After that we go into a state that’s extremely hard to come out of. Since Alimentos came onto the scene, there have been many reports of family members, friends, etc. who didn’t pay attention or heed the warning labels on the medicine bottle. And that put them and us in grave danger, particularly if it’s a reanimate since they have a harder struggle of trying to contain their hunger.

I remember hearing stories as a kid of reanimates who were overcome by their hunger. My parents always worried that one day that could happen to me and so they made sure to keep an ample supply of Alimentos in the house. Alimentos is an expensive drug, even if you have a discount, and not all insurance plans cover it. The price can be as low as $56 for supply of 180 pills to $184 for a supply of 260 pills.

And it’s not just the undead that are required to take it. Humans who had weak immune symptoms took the drug in order to prevent getting the HCMV virus which caused my existence. Because of the great need of Alimentos, there have always been con artists who try to cash in by making bad batches of the drug, or even worse fake versions of it.

From the few times I can remember, Daddy had taken a bad batch of Alimentos and as a result it accelerated his appetite. Mom had to lock him in a room while she went to pay for good Alimentos with money that she didn’t have. During one incident, she and Eric had to hack off Daddy’s left arm. He was never the same after that…

Now just like Daddy, my innate hunger had sped up and the signs arrived quickly. I could smell the marrow within the bones, the blood vessels, muscles, and skin of the humans throughout the eight story building. The scents from the three guards outside were very strong and intoxicating. Before this Moment, human flesh had never appealed to me. Now it smelled sweet and divine, and I wanted it even more.

Thanks to being handcuffed, I had some time to try and fight the powerful urges. I thought of Mom and the twins…I was glad they weren’t there to see me in that state. It would remind Mom of Daddy and the twins would be terrified of me. Eric would probably give me his notorious “I told you so” look, taking Mom and the twins far away from me, never to return. I tried to think happy thoughts of them, but darker things came to my mind.

Flesh! Flesh! Glorious flesh! No! Focus on someone else, like daddy.

After Daddy died, Mom wanted to move out of our old house to leave the nightmarish memories behind. Our new home was free of any pictures of Daddy. There were none around the house for any family member or guest to see. When I was younger, Mom had given me two pictures of Daddy- one of him before he turned and the other after. I keep them in a secret place in my room away from everyone else who only remember the bad about him. I loved his reanimate picture more than his human one because though I had more of Mom’s physical attributes, I was more like Daddy, even more so after he turned.

After all, it was my fault that he was a reanimate. I was only a baby when it happened, about nine months old. Daddy was feeding me mashed carrots and I accidentally bit his thumb. Though I often blame myself, my parents ever blamed me for what happened. They loved me and expressed it in their actions.

When he wasn’t having his violent episodes, Daddy was a loving and kind father. When I was born, he was so happy to become a Dad. He always wanted me to excel and be able to accomplish whatever I wanted in life. He would often tell me, “Don’t change who you are. Live your life brilliantly.” His suicide hit me very hard.

I was only six years old when he died, and I wish I had more time with him. Besides Mom, he was the strongest person I had known. Though he struggled he always had hope. Over the years he lost it little by little, especially when he lost his arm. The little that had remained vanished. He was so sick of having episodes, sick of terrifying his wife and child. He was tired of Eric getting so close to Mom, and he definitely didn’t want to go through the decaying process…so he took his ‘life’ into his own hands.

But none of that mattered now.

The flesh was something I couldn’t possibly ignore, though I tried. I focused on what Wendy had said before she blew out her own brains… Mmm…Brains…No! It was too late, the smell of the guards’ brains triggered an immense release of dopamine into mine. A bolt of adrenaline shot into my brain’s nervous system and I started violently yanking the handcuffs off.

My hearing waned and I couldn’t hear the guards being startled by the loud banging of my cuffs against the cell wall. I began to suffer from myopia due to the degradation of my corneas. My eyesight failed and I became color blind, I barely saw the door open as the guards stepped through.

My ears did not strain to hear the excited moan escaping my mouth, nor did I hear the guards yelling, “Get me Captain Simone and call Dr. Saki! HURRY!” “Ooowaaaaaaaaaaaah!” “God damnit! She’s almost loose!” It was done, the craving had won and I was hungry for human flesh.

 

 

15

It isn’t natural for a human to crave the flesh of another, it’s in an undead’s nature to eat human flesh. Giving them Alimentos isn’t going to make them human, it just pacifies their hunger but for how long? Eventually they’ll revert back to the food that their basic instincts tell them they’re supposed to eat…And God help us when that time comes.”

-Pat Romerty, Human Separatist Leader

 

That was all that on my mind, nothing else even mattered anymore. Not family, safety, or my dreams. All that remained was the hunger, and there was plenty of food nearby to satisfy it. With most of my senses gone, I could only depend on my sense of smell and instinct. Now loose from the bonds, I couldn’t see what a bloody mess my struggle had made.

The fact that I had no hands was trivial. I didn’t care that my facility garb was stained with my dark black blood, nor did I care about the two guards advancing towards me with weapons drawn. All I cared about was flesh, it called to me, beckoning me to come and feast. “Arise!” It said, “Come to me, come and eat!”

I was on cloud nine. My brain triggered with excitement as I neared closer to the guards. My ears were deaf to my moans which became even louder with every step I took. I could not see the guards and my movements were much slower than before.

When am I going to eat? I need flesh NOW!

The devolution was complete; my body had completely given in to the innate hunger. My mind, body and soul all were ensnared by the constant craving. Unless something was done to save me, I would soon be lost forever to it and then put out of my misery.

*******

Dr. Saki

Ever since the day I put my husband down, I’ve devoted my life to studying the revenant and reanimate populations and finding a cure. When the revenants first came into the world from their mother’s womb, it intrigued me and I became obsessed with their kind.

Since the Black Wave ended, I’ve moved from facility to facility all across the world to learn all I could about them. I’ve been at the Connor Revenant Facility for a year with no new discoveries, but that all changed this afternoon.

As I sat in my office studying reports that accounted in great detail the first revenants being born, I was interrupted by a hard knock at the door. Not losing my focus on the examining the documents I answered, “Come in.” Captain Simone the head of the Connor facility opened the door.

An Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran, the captain had also been on the front lines during the Bloody Massacre several years ago. She had many years of experience dealing with the undead. I looked up, annoyed at the interruption and said, “Captain, wha-”“We must hurry doc, the new revenant patient has accelerated.”

Excited, I abruptly rose from my desk and briskly exited my office with the captain tailing right behind me. She caught up real quick and kept pace with me as we walked side by side. It had been many years since the facility had a revenant accelerate. “How did this happen?” I asked, “We’ve had safety measures implemented to prevent this sort of thing.”

Scoffing, Captain Simone answered, “In the world we live in, nothing is ever safe doc. You should know this by now.” “We don’t have time for debate captain. Briefly tell me what happened.” “The revenant-” “Darcy.”

The captain refuses to call revenants patients by their name. She never used derogatory terms to describe them, only revenant or creature. In her eyes they were something unnatural. She had a better affinity to reanimates as they used to be human. “Yes…Darcy. She was brought here three weeks ago after having an episode at her school in which a girl was killed.” We rounded the corner and entered the elevator. “Did Darcy kill the young lady?” “No the girl killed herself, in front of the revenant.” “Her name is Darcy, captain.”

The captain looked sharply at me. “I don’t give a damn what her name is, she isn’t human. She’s…hell, I don’t know what it is. All I know is that we need to get the revenant under control or we’ll have to kill it.” She pondered on her last words as the elevator came to a complete stop.

“Humph. It’s already dead but we still have to kill it…that’s kind of fucked up isn’t it?” I attempted to say something, but she waved me off. “Anyways, it, the revenant-” I frowned. “Okay Darcy. Darcy was brought here. She then had a weird episode and we sedated her. She was out for a week and now she’s accelerated.”

I looked at her in shock as we exited the elevator, “There was no food tube for her while she was out?” “That was a mistake my people’s part, I have a few newbies who started their tour of duty here.” The captain acknowledged. I shook my head in disgust as she continued, “The shinnies get too excited and then forget the procedures that they’ve been extensively trained for. There are still options, though. We just need to hurry.”

“Yes and when this is over, I need more answers about Darcy’s episodes as well as finding out who were the dumbasses that let her be unconscious for seven days without any food, now resulting in her present condition.”

Nodding the captain and I reached the hallway where Darcy’s cell was located. As we headed towards it, we heard the girl’s moaning and the yells of the guards. Our pace quickly picked up from a speed walk, to a jog, and then an all-out sprint. We arrived to find two guards pinned up behind barricades as the wailing, mindless girl in blood stained facility clothing aggressively hit the barricades.

The guards had set up the barricade for their protection as well as for the girl’s. The facility is a No Kill facility but on very rare occasions an exception would be made if all other options had been exhausted. It wasn’t like the early days when viable options did not exist. There were many times when a revenant was killed when they could have been saved. Reanimates were a different story, the options for saving them were few and far in between. It all depended on their will and sometimes that wasn’t even enough. Many had to be put down…like my husband.

Approaching cautiously I whispered to the guards, “Whose blood is that on her clothes?” “It’s the revenant’s.” The guard on the right confirmed. The other guard nodded in agreement. I looked up to observe Darcy. She smelled my flesh and started in even more violently on the barricades.

The steel square shields were specially designed to take a beating from at least three reanimates. They were the more aggressive than revenants in this state while revenants were more aggressive when having a rage episode. It still wasn’t known as to why that was. None the less, the revenant was still dangerous and could cause a mass infection which would result in an outbreak, class 3 and higher. The guards were holding up well against the revenant’s beatings the girl’s hands hadn’t, as they had been smashed to a pulp by her erratic pounding.

The captain came up behind me and asked, “Is she savable?” I nodded, “I believe she is. We don’t have much time left. If we’re going to do anything, we must do it now.” “What do you suggest?” “Shoot her with an electrical current to stun her and then we’ll pump 100 ccs of Alimentos solution into her brain.”

“Will that work?” “I don’t know I haven’t done this to a revenant so far gone, but we must try, we have to try.” “Right.” The captain pulled her gun out of its holster and set it to stun. As Darcy continued to mindlessly pound and moan, I spoke hastily to the guards. “Stay vigilant and alert. Either she’ll be back under control or we’ll have to put her down for good. As soon as the captain shoots her, pin her to the ground with the shields. Do not get bitten!”

The guards nodded their heads, remaining focused on the revenant. “Yes sir!” Captain Simone was at the ready, holding her gun in a firing position. I counted down, in a clear and steady voice. “Three.” The guards tighten their grips on the shields, eyes steadfast on Darcy who was oblivious to the plan. “Two.” I moved out of the way and stood outside the cell door. Captain Simone moved in closer, her laser pointed a bull’s-eye on Darcy’s body.

“One!” The captain shot and hit the girl who was fried by the 100 volts of electricity. Like a crocodile snatching its prey, the guards quickly pinned her to the ground. Sliding into home plate, I swooped in and stabbed the wreathing Darcy in the brain. In an instant, she became motionless. “Did we do it?” The guard on my right asked. “I…I’m not sure. Stay alert.”

“Please work.” I mumbled. A minute went by with no movement from the revenant. I measured Darcy’s vitals. “It appears the acceleration has stopped.” “That’s good then?” The captain asked, her gun still pointed at Darcy’s lifeless body. “Yes, but I’ll need to keep monitoring her.”

Five minutes passed, ten, fifteen, and then twenty. Finally, my monitor beeped. Darcy’s body slowly moved up and down, and a sigh came from her mouth. “Acceleration continues to go down. I need a medication tube in her now!” I demanded, as I continued to watch the monitor. The medical team had been notified and quickly arrived on scene. They inserted the tube into Darcy’s stomach, and Alimentos solution entered her tummy through the tube. I was astonished. Never in the history of study of these creatures, has a revenant that was so far gone come back. This was a turning point in my research.

I turned to the captain. “I’ve never seen this before. Usually once a revenant has accelerated and it has been stopped, it doesn’t go down. Depending on the damage they will be like a reanimate, fighting to keep their hunger under control. But this…this is different.”

Confused, Captain Simone came closer and kneeled down beside me. “What do you mean doctor?” “The damaged caused by the acceleration is healing. Darcy will be as she was before when and if she wakes up.” Shocked, Captain Simone looked on at the revenant before her. I too looked at Darcy, and shook my head in disbelief, “We have something special here.”

The captain nodded “Okay Amanda.” She stood up firmly and said, “Listen up. This revenant, I mean Darcy must be cared for on a daily basis. Move her to Dr. Saki’s lab and keep her isolated from the others until she awakes. Contact any family she may have and keep this incident silent from the press. Anyone who leaks anything will be dealt with. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir!” “You have your orders move out!” The team quickly and cautiously placed Darcy on the stretcher and wheeled her off to my lab. I watched them go filled with excitement and hope as to what my study of this revenant would bring.

 

 

 

16

Trust is hard to come by. That’s why my circle is small and tight. I’m kind of funny about making new friends.”

-Eminem

 

Darcy

Three weeks later…

When I woke up, I found myself no longer in the tiny cell. I had been moved to one of the facility’s labs and was now chained yet again to a hospital bed. I was relieved to be free of the cell, free of my hunger, and alive…but being chained annoyed the hell out of me. Even though the reason was painful, I understood the why.

Am I not alive, am I not a person?

The answer came down with a thud.

No you’re not, you’re a monster remember?

Beside my bed was a table with a medium sized dull lampstand and standing next to it was a calendar. Looking at it, I angrily tugged on the chain as my cloudy, discolored, gelatinous tears ran down my cheeks. I wanted to be free of the facility, I wanted to go home and have my ‘normal’ life back. I had already missed Thanksgiving break, celebrating Hanukkah, and there were now only three days before Christmas. It was more soothing to be with Mom, the twins, and even Eric during this time than it was to be here alone…

I wondered if they even knew what was going on. If they knew, they would be very concerned and worried. Though Eric had his issues, he was always deeply concerned about me. Despite their differences, he promised Daddy he would watch over me. But he wasn’t here now and I needed him more than ever. I was really worried about my family. I hadn’t seen nor heard from them since the morning before Wendy died.

I let out another sigh as I continued to stare at the lab’s ceiling. When the hell can I get out of here? The sound of approaching footsteps brought me out of my daydreaming and my eyes focused on the door of the lab where a black lady donning lab coat stood. She had the body of a model and short hair brownish-black hair. Her appearance reminded me somewhat of one of the heroines from DC comics. The lady smiled as she opened the door and walked over to my bed.

Her smile didn’t sit well with me, and I kept my gaze fixed on the lady as I didn’t know what her intentions were. I’ve had heard good and bad stories about the doctors in these facilities and my parents had even told me a few stories of what Daddy had gone through.

Whenever he had had an episode that Mom and Eric couldn’t handle he had to be baker active that happened more often after he lost his arm. Sometimes things went well and other times things went sour. I really didn’t want things to get even worse, life was bad enough already. If I had to, I was prepared to bite the lady to protect myself.

What’s there to lose if I do? Plus I could try to escape. Before I could take any course of action, the lady spoke. “Hello Darcy.” “Who are you?” I answered, ignoring her greeting. “My name is Dr. Amanda W. Saki and I’m here to help.” “Are you in charge?” I asked my eyes fixed on the doctor. Nodding Dr. Saki said, “I’m one of them, I’m head of the health division.”

“Who is the other person?” “Captain Octavia Simone, she’s in charge of the facility and the 105th RTF division that’s stationed here.” In addition to having general and medical staff, the facility also had an RTF division whose sole purpose was to enact protocol PCP 24/7. PCP stood for: Protect (protect the general population), Contain (contain revenants & reanimates), and Prevent (prevent any spread of infection). The 105th were one of the best RTF divisions in the country. They had a spotless record and their leaders commanded respect, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to learn that Conner had an excellent record in following the PCP protocol.

I looked down at the handcuffs and back up at the doctor who continued to have a beaming smile on her face, I was already getting tired her. Annoyed, I asked, “When can I go home?” “You won’t be able to, not until you are cleared mentally fit.” “Will I remain in chains? Can I see my family? Have they asked for me?”

The stupid grin on the doc’s face remained as she answered, “Yes you’ll remain handcuffed for a while until your acceleration has stopped…it’s amazing really how much your body has healed from it. I’ve never seen anything like it before. In fact I think you’re the first revenant-and I’ve been doing this for a long time-you’re the first I’ve seen who has gone through an acceleration but is healing from the process…it’s amazing!”

Great, I didn’t need a Dr. Samuel Sterns right then. I shook as I glared at the doctor. “I’m not a guinea pig for you to experiment on, I’m not your property, I am a person I have rights! I want to see my family.” The doctor looked into my eyes. Though they were discolored, I was determined to show her that I wasn’t giving up; I wasn’t surrendering to the fate society had for me. She sighed and said, “Okay. I understand. Look, I know this hard for you, but I am on your side. I’m here to help you get better.”

Bullshit.

“I don’t trust you.” “I will not treat you like an animal, none of my staff will.” Liar. My blood began to boil. “I don’t trust you.” “You are a human being. You have rights.” “I DON’T TRUST YOU!” I shouted, as my body violently shook causing the handcuffs’ bolts to cautiously bend. The doctor and I knew that if we didn’t get me to calm down, the rage would take over and then nothing could be done to save me.

She spoke softly, “You must calm down. I hear you. I will do everything in my power to earn your trust. But you must calm down.” “Okay…okay.” I drew a breath in and out as I closed my eyes focused on the song Mom sometimes sang to me whenever I got upset.

Please tell me you’ll fight this fight

I can’t see without your light

I need you to breathe into my life

Don’t tell me this is goodbye…

“Breathe.” The doctor said, “Breathe.”

So keep breathing

Go on breathe in

Keep on breathing

Go on breathe in

Just breathe

The song was Superchick’s “Breathe,” and anytime I heard it I calmed down…I missed Mom…I wondered was I so far gone that they had given up on me? “I haven’t given up on you.” “What?” Opening my eyes, I saw the doctor still sitting there smiling at me.

I don’t trust people much, especially those who were so happy go lucky…they were the ones that you had to look out for. There had to be something wrong them, no one could be that happy all the time. This doctor was giving me the creeps with her bloody smiles. “I said I haven’t given up on you, so don’t give up on yourself.” “I haven’t, I just don’t trust you.”

“Hmm, you are one tough revenant.” she mused. “Perhaps that is why you were able to overcome the acceleration? But then again, you were also charged with manslaughter so…I’m not sure what to think. Hmm…” “I know what I think.” I muttered. “Huh?” “I want to see my mother.” “And she wants to see you.”

My eyes lit up and I felt a lump in my throat. “When?” “Now. Your mother is here now.” Dr. Saki rose and headed towards the door. I kept my eyes glued on her like an eagle stalking its prey from the sky. “I’ll let them in.” Them? The doctor disappeared and when she returned, my Mom accompanied her followed by the twins, and…Eric? WTH?

 

 

17

These are our people. They are our sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, wives, and husbands. Reanimate and revenant, they are our family and if we treat them less than human then we are truly the monsters.

-Bernice Olsen, Human Equalist leader.

 

As she entered, the doctor held the door for my family. I smiled wanly at them as the twins ran up to my bed and hugged me “We missed you Darcy.” Wynonna said as she and Peter squeezed me tightly. “I’ve missed you too.” “We didn’t know where you were.” I looked at my little sister. Her brown curly hair hid her freckled face, while Peter’s brown curly Mohawk didn’t. Both of their green eyes were filled with worriment as they looked at me. Peter spoke. “Yeah, we didn’t know what had happened to you.”

I squeezed them back and reassured them, “It’ll be okay. I’ve been very sick so I was brought here to get better, I’ll be home soon.” “We’ll stay here with you!” Wynonna chimed in, “Yeah, and we’ll make you soup.” They hugged me even tighter. I really needed their hugs, it had been too long since I last had one.

I burrowed my head in their embrace and brought it back up only to see Mom and Dr. Happy smiling, and Eric’s worried expression. He always had to ruin things, how much longer did I have to wait till he understood that I wouldn’t hurt them. How much longer did I have to endure this? My smile turned into a sour, bitter expression as I spoke in a firm voice to my siblings, “No you must go home. You’re not needed here.” “Please! We want to stay!” “Yeah, let us stay.”

I sighed. I hated to be cold and distant but it was for their safety, I didn’t want them to get too close to me, or that’s what I kept telling myself anyway. They had been through much in their young lives. Being bullied at school, they had to go to a peer group for children who had revenant or reanimate family members. Oftentimes they were excluded from birthday parties by their classmates, and a few of their teachers were mean to them. I didn’t want to add to their problems with my standoffishness, but what could I do? Damn you Eric.

“No.” I said, “You’ll get in the way. Go home.” “But sister…” “Go home!” “Darcy!” A frown had replaced the smile on my Mom’s face as she looked at me disapprovingly. Tears were about to run down my siblings cheeks. I’m so sorry guys. “Wynonna and Peter go sit in the waiting room for a bit, mommy needs to speak with your sister.”

“Okay.” I could feel the disappointment coming from her eyes as my brother and sister exited the room. “Why did you do that?” She asked closing the door. “They missed you!” “It’s nice to see you too Mom.” “Oh don’t patronize me! We’ve been worried about you!” “Then why didn’t you come see me sooner?”

“We didn’t know where you were at first, but thanks to Reed and Malloy, we were finally able to find out after three days! Three damn days! Then the judge told us visitation wasn’t yet allowed. They wouldn’t let us come until now. If it wasn’t for Dr. Saki we probably would have never seen you at all, oh Darcy!”

Mom hugged me tightly and sobbed on my shoulder. The tears warmed me up and I felt bad about being rude to her. It was nice to be around her again…and then Eric spoke. “You didn’t have to be rude to your siblings or to your mother Darcy.” Here we go.

“Eric…”He put his hand up to stop Mom. “Don’t defend her honey.” He went on, “The reason you’re in here, is because you did something you weren’t supposed to do. So don’t take this out on your mother or the twins…god, I knew-”

“You knew what?” I was seething with anger, the rage wanted to be let back in, but I kept myself in control. This wasn’t the time to let Eric prove his point about me being a danger. No, I would not allow him to win, not this time.

“You knew that this would happen? You have NO CLUE what happened. You think you know but you don’t. You are afraid of me. You don’t want me around the twins and that’s why I push them away. You think I’m a monster. You think I will hurt them or my Mom.”

Shocked at the words coming out of my mouth, tears continued to flow down Mom’s face. It was hard for her to watch me fighting to hold back my own. Intrigued by the drama happening before her, Dr. Saki pulled out her notepad and began to take notes.

I was seriously beginning to dislike her happy ass.

Eric began to speak but I held up my hand. “I’m not finished.” I said firmly, trying to keep control. “What happened on that day was what happened every other day, except this time I would have been killed. That girl who you-I raised my trembling finger pointing it at him-said I should take the high road and be nice to, she planned to kill me that day.”

Mom gasped as I went on, I had lost the battle and the tears fell as I spoke. “She had a gun! A GUN!”

Don’t lose it now.

“She had a mob-no a horde-of angry people! What I did that day was what I was supposed to do all along. It was what YOU-my finger raised again shaking and pointed at Eric-should have done. It’s what Daddy would have done…I defended myself.”

Silence hung in the air as the mic I had dropped hit the ground with a resounding clang. Stunned, Eric said, “I…I…I didn’t know…I didn’t know.” Before he could say anything else, Dr. Saki intervened. “Mr. Munroe, I think you’ve done enough here. Please step outside, you’re upsetting Darcy and she has come too far in her recovery to fall back now.

“Okay. Okay.” Once he had left the room, Dr. Saki turned to Mom, “You have a few more minutes and then you’ll have to leave so she can get her rest.” Nodding, Mom stooped down and hugged me. “I love you little one. Don’t ever forget that. We’ll come again as soon as they allow it okay? Please don’t give up, I haven’t given up on you and I never will.”

She kissed me on the forehead, soothing me and I managed to smile. Dr. Saki let the twins back into the room. “Say goodbye to your sister and then you’ll have to go home okay?” The twins ran and embraced me once more. They never could stay upset with me long and neither I towards them. “Goodbye, please get well so we can play together okay?” “Sure Wynonna, but we’ll see about the playing thing.” “Darcy!” Mom gave me another disapproving frown as she walked towards the door. “Kids stay with your sister for a few minutes I need to talk to your Dad.” “But Mom, I need my rest! I-” “It’ll only be a minute, Darce.” “Okay!” Elated, the twins began to talk to me rapidly before I could get another word in.

As she opened the door Mom winked at me as I pouted. She kept the door opened. From my viewpoint I could see the outside. Eric sat on one of the chairs with his head in his hands. Upon hearing the door open, he looked up and saw Mom. He stood up quickly. “Where are the twins?” “With their sister, they’re saying goodbye.” “You left them in there?!” His mouth was wide opened like a sinkhole.

Damn you Eric with your fearfulness.

I ignored my rage as best as I could, concentrating on both my siblings and my parents’ conversations.

******

Bianca

“Of course.” I answered. My husband looked at me, concerned. He was worried about the twins instead of being worried about Darcy getting better. I knew he loved her, but his concerns about the twins’ safety around their sister were unfounded. His overprotectiveness and prejudices had been driving a wedge between him and our daughter for far too long.

It needed to stop.

“Bianca…” “Let me finish, that’s my child our child. Why do you treat her like this?” “I saw what it did to Yoh, what did to you, and Darcy. I don’t want that for our family.” “Darcy is our family! You’ve hurt her more than you realize.” “I don’t think I’ve hurt her that much.”

I shook my head at Eric and snapped, “Really? You don’t think so? After all she said you’re going to think the same way?” I rarely lost my temper, but when I did, it usually was for a good cause and a sight to behold, unless you were the person to whom I was pissed off at of course.

“You didn’t listen, you never listen to her! Remember that day when she wore the Warhol Lewis shirt?” “Yes, I remember.” A grimace fell on Eric’s face as the memory washed over his mind. “Do you remember what she said? She told you to hear her. You’re not doing it! Dammit Eric! What you’re doing is almost similar to what Yoh did to us. You’re destroying our family!”

Now it was Eric’s turn to lose his temper. “How dare you put that on me! I’ve done nothing but protect our family!” That’s kind of true. “Eric,” I paused, trying to catch my breath. This day had really drained me, I wanted to just take a breather but I couldn’t. I really hated arguing but it seemed that’s mostly what we did, especially in recent months.

“Listen to me please. Hear me. Do you love Darcy?” “Of course, how can you even ask me that?” “Just listen to me please.” “I am listening to you.” “No you’re not.” “Yes I am!” “No you’re not, no you’re not, NO YOU’RE NOT!”

My shouting shook Eric to his core. The last time he had heard me yell like that was when Yoh had accelerated yet again and Eric had no choice but to chop off one of my first husband’s arms…otherwise Yoh would have bitten and eaten both Eric and I and smash our little girl’s brains to bits.

My voice, it had pained Eric so much to hear me sound the way I had…never again did he want to hear me yell like that again. Unfortunately he had heard it this very day. The door had suddenly shut behind me, most likely thanks to the doctor. Our arguing most likely disturbed our children, and we didn’t Darcy to have a relapse.

Eric held me in his arms and whispered as I violently tried to break free from his grasp.

“You’re right…I’m not listening. I’m sorry I will try for you and Darcy, for the twins and for our family.” I looked up at him, tears running down my face like a torrential downpour. If I had on mascara it would have been gathered in ruined patches under my eyes. I managed a smile, perhaps there was hope for the man yet.

“Okay. Okay.” I nodded, “I will not give up on this family and I won’t give up on Darcy or you, understood?” “Yes I understand.” “Good let’s go home. I’ll get the twins.” “Just a minute.” Dr. Saki’s voice rang out and stopped us in our tracks. She had just cracked the door open and had to catch her breath before she spoke again.

“The head of the facility, Captain Octavia Simone would like to speak with you for just a few minutes.” “Is she a good person? Are her personnel good people? I’ve heard and witnessed abuses before at other places.” I said holding tightly to Eric’s hand. The doctor nodded. “Absolutely, she and her team are professional and of good character. She does have some bias towards the undead due to her personal experiences of course.”

“She’s not the only one.” Eric said, looking downcast at the floor in shame. “But hopefully she’s learning to be more accepting and she’s not letting it affect the way she does her job and how she treats the patients here right?” I asked looking for reassurance in my question. The doctor nodded enthusiastically. “Right.”

“Doctor, how much longer must Darcy be here?” Eric asked. “It depends on how long she’s a safety hazard to herself and others.” Said Captain Simone, she looked at us with intrigue as she briskly whisked her way up to greet us. “Captain, we were just speaking about you.” “Of course you were.” “Captain, this is Mr. and Mrs. Munroe, they’re Darcy’s parents.” “Ah yes, the revenant, the doctor believes she’s special.”

“Her name is Darcy and I would appreciate it if you didn’t just think of her as a science experiment! She is a person! A person…” I said as tears began to well up in my eyes, Eric comforted me by rubbing my shoulder.

Realizing her error, the captain grasped my hands and looked directly into my eyes as she spoke to me. “Mrs. Munroe, I apologize. I will admit it is hard for me to accept them as people. But I do try. I think it is also a way for me not to get emotionally attached. Like many others, I lost my family during the Black Wave and the other incidents that followed. I’ve seen many horrible things…My team and I along with Dr. Saki and her team will do our very best to bring Darcy home to you.”

“Thank you.” “I will not lie to you, she faces a manslaughter charge, and she has a lot against her. But we’ll do our best to assist your family in any way possible. Do you have legal representation?” “Yes.” Eric answered. “We do?” I asked surprised at his response. “Yes, we do. We’ll discuss it when we get home.” “Oh, thank God.”

Relieved, my countenance peacefully returned as a weight had lifted from my shoulders. Our daughter wasn’t alone in this fight, our family wasn’t alone, we had backup. I just hope that Darcy knew that as she listened to the entire conversation (revenants have great hearing). The captain nodded at me, confirming what I was thinking. I smiled and said, “Thank you Captain Simone and Dr. Saki.”

“Not a problem.” Dr. Saki said, hugging me. The captain held out her hand as she was not fond of hugs. That’s how Darcy is too she doesn’t care for hugs, only certain people can hug her. I responded to the captain in kind, extending my own hand to shake hers. The handshake might as well have been a hug since felt so reassuring to me. Looking at Eric I said, “Let’s go home.”

*******

Darcy

As our parents headed back towards my room, I lay back down and the twins went back to talking to me. They too had been listening to the conversation. I figured they did that at home, but I had never caught them doing it.

Mom entered first and said, “Kids say bye to your sister.” “Love you Darcy.” Wynonna said as she hugged me. “Love you, Wino.” “Get better soon.” Peter said as he gave me a hug. “Thanks Pete.” Mom was next. “Love you little one. Don’t give up.” “I won’t.” It was Eric’s turn. “I’m sorry.” “It’s fine.” I replied. He didn’t attempt to hug me, instead he patted me on the shoulder reassuringly. I rolled my eyes, I just wanted him to go.

Lastly, was Miss Sunshine. “You have a loving family.” She said as she cried arms opened for a hug. “Yeah.” I said my arms crossed. There was no way in hell that I was going to hug this lady, she’s so weird.

“Darcy…” Mom said sternly. This was the third time in a day! I was on a roll. “Fine.” I let the doctor hug me, she lingered there for about a minute.

Good lord.

“You can let go now, doc.” “Oh sorry.” With that, my family waved goodbye and left for home. “Now,” the doctor said grabbing a chair as the door shut behind her. “Let’s focus on getting you better, shall we?” “Yeah.” This was going to be a tough road but I was determined to make it, cheerfulness be damned.

18

When you meet someone for the first time, that’s not the whole book. That’s just the first page.”

-Brody Armstrong

 

Two weeks later…

After being left alone to recuperate for a week, I had returned to my normal self…well what’s normal for me anyway. No longer in solitary confinement, my custody status had gone from extremely dangerous to normal. I was now allowed to be amongst my fellow ‘inmates’

The Conner Revenant Facility was many things. On the outside, it had the appearance of a mansion with all the resources of a supermaxim prison, rehabilitation center, and boarding school on the inside. Basically it was the undead version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. In addition, the facility also had an excellent reputation of its staff and the treatment of its patients, so I felt safe here and had been treated fairly so far.

Out of the four floors that housed revenant living quarters, my room was on the top one. One allowance of my newfound freedom was that some of my personal belongings were sent to me in order to make my living space more comfortable. Since I wasn’t in school, my school work was also directly mailed to me. Though I felt much better about my living situation, it wasn’t home.

I had missed my family and was happy to see them when they came to visit weeks before. But after their initial visit, I didn’t want them to come back. I’m a somewhat antisocial person and I enjoy being alone left to my thoughts and devices. It was how I vent and deal with the bad shit in my life.

Besides, Mom would most likely nag and worry about me or Eric and I might get into multiple arguments if they were to constantly visit, and that wouldn’t be good for me or my family. Thankfully, my parents understood and respected that I wanted to be left alone.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like my family or appreciate their company-I loved them dearly, even Eric who could sometimes be unbearable-there were just times when I wanted to be left alone like the Hulk. And for me, those seven days of rest I had was an answer to prayer.

Prayer, huh I can’t remember the last time I prayed. As a child, I prayed a lot, I was more optimistic back then. But as I grew up and experience more pain, my faith was slowly but surely lacking. I attended shul and enjoyed the ritual, service, and the feeling of community, but as far as my personal beliefs went, I wasn’t sure if God existed at all. If she, he, or it did, they had a sickening sense of humor, creating a world where a devastating virus could exist and destroy so many lives.

But then again, who’s to say God created the virus? For all I knew, it could have been brought into the world by one of the living. It had happened in I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, and in the Resident Evil film franchise. Perhaps somebody got inspired by those films and decided to make a virus just for the hell of it. There were certainly a lot of capable folks in the world who could do it, a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda, or some misogynistic, homophobic, racist, white dude who wanted to start a race war…or maybe RHCMV-X2 was just a result of man fucking with Mother Nature and she had enough and released the virus as just punishment?

From my history classes as well as the stories Mom told me, I had learned humans had again and again done things to destroy themselves and the non-human life living alongside of them. Whether it was due to hate, fear, greed, jealousy, lust, anger, or selfishness, humans had a universal flaw-they had the capacity to destroy and it was this flaw which continued to make their lives miserable.

Dwelling on these thoughts, I finished my homework and worked on my arts and crafts projects. After an hour, I got ready to attend my second weekly session with Dr. Saki. No longer in the lab, my new room was a much cozier dwelling with a comfortable queen-sized bed, medium sized desk and bookshelf, and a small walk in closet and bathroom which contained a bath, toilet, and sink. A window was the only thing lacking. It was more of a safety issue than an aesthetic one. Having no windows was to protect inhabitants from outsiders and vice versa, but it was still a downer not having one. I love looking out at nature, that’s why I liked how both of the houses I had lived in were located next to a forest. I enjoyed sightseeing and sounds that come from looking out a window, I missed that. I sighed as I stared at the wall where the window should have been.

Fully dressed and ready to go, I opened the door and walked out into the hallway. I was very excited about being around others like myself. Ever since I got out of the lab and around other revenants, I felt different…connected. For the first time I felt like I belonged, I guess that’s how humans feel all the time.

I had introduced myself to the other revenants the first chance I got, with mixed results. Word had spread fast about the criminal charges I faced, and many revenants didn’t want anything to do with me. They were embarrassed and ashamed of me. I’ve had at least three different people come to me and say to my face that I was making things harder for them. It was one thing to be an outsider among the living and another among your own people.

Regardless, I still felt I belonged. Thankfully there were also many who didn’t care about why I was in the facility. One of them was an eighteen year old guy named Kurt Hoult. He was a surfer, artist, and musician who played the guitar, he had such a beautiful voice, it was a mixture of rock and pop which his low tenor/high baritone vocals expressed to the world. I loved how creative he was and the fact that was hot was a bonus. He had mid length blond hair and blue off colored eyes. His discolored white skin was soft and barely showed signs of decay. He was tall and slender but slightly muscular.

Kurt was an easy down to earth guy who also had a good sense of humor. I would never tell him to his face but I loved his laugh. He almost sounded like Goofy when he laughed. When he was ready, Kurt could also should a serious side of himself. We met each it last Wednesday.

******

I was sitting down in the lounge reading Nicki Giovanni’s Love Poems as he played his guitar and sang Ryan Gosling’s “Put Me In The Car” with his friend drumming along behind him. A crowd had gathered and my focus went from reading my book to watching him. Our eyes connected and they didn’t stray from each other and even when our view was blocked, we could still feel each other’s gaze. It was a beautiful feeling I had never experienced before. It was hard to describe, all I know was it felt right.

After they had finished playing, there was applause, and a younger girl who was about ten years old asked, “That was beautiful! Is it your own song?” “Oh I wish.” Kurt answered. “No it’s by a guy named Ryan Gosling. He’s a very good actor who was popular with the ladies.” “You ought to check out his band Dead Man’s Bones.” I interjected. “I used to have their album but it got destroyed by bullies at the school I use to go to, it’s very good.” Kurt smiled at me and said, “Yeah that’s a band you’ll enjoy. Their music has a dark gothic quality to it. It’s perfect for us dead heads.”

Thanks!” said the girl. “Anytime.” The girl waved goodbye and left the lounge beaming with the knowledge she received. Kurt continued to smile at me as the crowd dispersed. His eyes, god his eyes! They captivated me with their piercing sharpness. They reminded me of some of my celebrity crushes Chris Pine, Tom Hiddleston, or Michael B. Jordan.

You seem like you got a good music palette.” He said continuing to stare at me. Damn his eyes. “I was going to say the same thing about you.” I replied. “My name’s Kurt.” “Darcy.” “Ah, you’re popular around here.” “So I’ve heard.” “Want to know why I’m in here?” I shrugged. “My Mom decayed recently.” “I’m sorry for your lost.” “Thanks. She was a great Mom…My Dad he bailed on her when he found out she had gotten infected and his child would be a revenant. Now that she’s gone, all of sudden he wants to be in my life.”

Do you want him there?” “Nope. I’m eighteen and I want to go to college so I can get my business degree and not get screwed by the music industry. He wants to be my legal guardian but I don’t him to.” Revenants have to be in the custody of their parents or guardians until we turn twenty-one. “Do you have someone else?” “Nope. I’m trying to get emancipation.” Aren’t we all.

I guess your Dad isn’t happy about that?” “Yeah…we got into a fight. I went into rage mode and broke his arm and destroyed part of the house and his car.” “And here you are now.” “Yup.” “Entertaining us.” “Hahaha, yeah I feel stupid.” “It’s contagious.” We busted out laughing.

We became friends very quickly and every day we played a favorite game of mine, UNO. As I headed down the hallway, I passed by his room. He stuck his head out as I walked by. “Hey we’re playing UNO later?” “Yup.” “Cool. Where you headed?” “The same place I head to everyday, Pinky.” “Huh?” “To see the doc.” “Ooh okay. Narf!” “Hahaha, see you later.”

I stopped at the elevator and pressed the button. The door opened and I stepped in, happy to have it to myself. I didn’t like riding with other revenants much, nor did I enjoy riding with the guards and lab coats. Oftentimes, some revenants would say condescending remarks about me and the guards and lab coats would just stare at me with a mixture of curiosity and fear, like I was some type of zoo attraction. Many times I was tempted to go “BOO!” and scare the shit out of them. But I didn’t want to go back to solitary confinement. At least riding the elevator was a short trip. Taking the steps was even worse since it took longer to get to get to my destination and the condescending talk and attraction like stares were also more in abundance.

Another thing I hated was that I so close to freedom and yet so far away from it. I couldn’t leave the facility since both exits were blocked by computer tech and human personnel. A week of not having my family around was nice, but being at home in my own room, in my own bed would have been even nicer. I missed my old life and wanted it back. ‘Life’, I chuckled out loud to myself. All this talk about revenants not being human, and here I wanted the life I had back…what fuckery was that?

The door opened and I nearly bumped into two of the revenants who refused to associate with me, Dharma and Ricky. These two had been born two days apart and had been friends since birth. They were very close and had become even closer when Ricky came out to his parents. They couldn’t handle their son being both a revenant and gay so they kicked him out. He came to live with Dharma and her family. If some of the living who had a hard time understanding how some humans were gay, they had an even harder time trying to figure out how the undead could be.

When Ricky’s parents wouldn’t give up their custody rights, Dharma’s parents became locked in a custody battle with them, leaving Ricky living at the facility until the battle was over. Dharma had a good home life but she had been hanging out with the wrong crowd. She used her parents’ car to drive her new friends around and they got into an accident in a separatist neighborhood, which lead to Dharma’s incarceration.

Her parents were devastated but Dharma didn’t care. As long as she was with Ricky, it didn’t matter where she was. They understood each other. Understandings aside, these two avoided me like the plague, but sometimes we bumped into each other and things often got ugly. Dharma sneered at me as she said, “Look Ricky here’s the murderer.” “Yes, indeed it’s her.” They look up and down at me analyzing my outfit-the duo were also the fashion police. Dharma clucked her tongue and said, “Goodness is that a trash bag dress she’s wearing?” “Indeed it is.” I said. “We murderers don’t just use them to bag bodies you know.”

I smirked. The sarcasm in my voice could cut a stick of butter in two, it was that sharp. My retort shut Tweedledee and Tweedledum up and they shamefully hobbled away into the elevator, not even voicing a reply. I made my way down the health wing to Dr. Saki’s office. The door was slightly ajar but I knocked. “Come in.” Dr. Saki was doing what she always did, studying reports old and new. She didn’t look up as I entered, she never did. I sat down on the worn old brown couch that was across and to the right from her desk like I did every session and waited for Dr. Perky to speak.

“How is everything going for you Darcy?” “Fine.” “Can you expand on that?” “Not really.” The doctor looked up as she put away the reports and picked up her notebook. She frowned. “Darcy this is our fourth session and you have nothing to add in addition to that you’re fine?” “Pretty much.”

I hated speaking to this cheerful lady about my feelings. Hell, I didn’t really like to talk to anyone about my feelings and problems. Not that I had a line of people. It was hard to let others in and most didn’t even think the undead could actually have emotional issues. The people who had ever been close to me were Mom and Daddy. Trust no one. That was the motto Daddy had taught me. Being what I am-who I am, I couldn’t afford to trust anyone. I couldn’t even trust Eric to defend me, I couldn’t trust Wendy and the Tiaras to change and I definitely couldn’t trust Dr. Saki.

Trust no one. That was what I intended to do. “Look, if you don’t know this by now I don’t trust you.” I said. “You made that perfectly clear two weeks ago.” I rose from my seat and moved to the door. “I’m sorry, that was mean. Let’s start over. Darcy I told you before that I want to help you and I’ll do whatever I can to earn your trust.”

Bullshit. “Why do you want to help me?” “I believe that you are special. I think you’re part of an astounding change in the undead population.” “Hmm…”“Look, you healed completely from your acceleration. I’ve never seen that before in any revenants or reanimates. That was a new thing-an evolution.” “So you basically want to study me. You want to keep me here forever.” I balled my hands into fists, tension rose in my face. I was getting angry.

Dr. Saki stared nervously at me. “I don’t want to keep you here. You are not a science experiment to me.” “Then what am I?” I demanded. “I think what happened to you and other revenants may be the answer to curing the virus.” “Oh?” I’m seeing transitions in a lot of the revenants here. I think your healing sparked something in the others. “Okay doc if that’s what you believe; I’ll take your word for it. But I still don’t trust you.’

“I’ll earn your trust. You’ll see.” “Would you like to come back next week?” “Do I have a choice?” “You always have a choice, Darcy.” “Then no, I don’t want to come back.” “Then you will lose the privileges you’ve received.” “I thought I always have a choice!” “You do, but there are consequences to your choices.”

“Whatever doc, I’ll come back.” I left the doctor’s office and walked down the hallway back to the elevator. Dr. Saki smiled as she looked on. That woman’s smile was working my last nerve, but perhaps she was on to something…

Two hours later, Kurt and I were outside on the veranda playing UNO. We could go on forever playing the game. For me, it was a game of strategy and win or lose; I always had fun when playing it. Usually, we played UNO in Kurt’s room but today he suggested we go outside since I had yet to do so.

It was nice to finally be outside and see the beautiful blue sky and the trees, minus the wired fences around the building. I began to miss home once more. “What’s the matter Darce?” Kurt’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “I’m melancholy”

“Ah, you miss home huh?” “Yeah, even though at times it can be difficult.” “At least you have a family.” “Yeah I know.” He wanted a fatherly figure in his life and it had been difficult growing up. He didn’t really talk about his personal life much, he focused on his music. It was good to see I wasn’t the only one having a hard time opening up to others.

“UNO.” I had won again. “You’re on a streak right now.” “Yup.” “Hey Darcy?” “Yes?” “I enjoy talking to you.” “Same here.” I really loved looking into his eyes; one could get lost looking into them. That’s so weird coming from me; I’m not the romantic type. I hate romance books, TV shows, and movies. Our flirt stare was interrupted by two revenants that had come outside. Kurt beckoned them to come over and they came hesitantly. They had heard of the infamous Darcy Munroe and weren’t sure what to make of me.

“What are you doing?” I whispered. “I’m introducing you, chill.” The duo stood next to Kurt who made the introductions. “Harley, Joe. This is Darcy. Darcy, meet Joe and Harley.” Joe extended his hand first, and I took it. “Nice to meet you.” “Nice to meet you too.” Impatient, Harley interrupted. “You know, you don’t seem violent like everybody says.” “Harley!” Joe exclaimed.

“What? She doesn’t.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry my twin can be blunt when she’s ready.” “It’s fine.” He continued, “We’ve been here for three months due to our parents divorcing.” “Sorry to hear that.” “I’m not, our Dad’s an asshole. He’s been one ever since we were born.” Harley blurted out. “Harley, hush.” “But he is!” “Sorry.” Joe said.

“It’s okay.” I said. These two reminded me a little bit of my brother and sister. “Do you want to sit down and play UNO with us?” Surprised, Harley and Joe were speechless. I wondered what exactly they had heard about me. “It’s even more fun with more people.” Kurt said. “You mean you’re not having fun with me?” I teased. “It’s not fun losing against the same person all the time.” He playfully shot back. “How do you think I feel? It’s boring defeating the same person over and over. I need a new challenger.”

The twins laughed. “Okay we’ll play that way Darcy won’t get bored.” Joe said as he and Harley sat down. Joe sat next to Kurt and Harley next to me. As a new game began, Harley looked at me. “Is something wrong?” I asked. “No not exactly. You’re not like what everyone’s been saying.” I knew it. “Oh? And what do they say?”

Harley looked at her brother before continuing, “Well they say you’re a cold blooded murderer and other mean things.” “And who says this?” Joe answered, “Dharma and Ricky.” “Well they’re right about one thing…I am cold blooded.” I said. “Seriously?” Harley was shocked. “Yeah I’m mean, I am dead after all.”

“Oh, right!” We all started laughing. “They’re bunch of a-holes who haven’t even tried to get to know me.” I said as I put my card onto the growing pile. “That’s true.” Joe and Harley said. “Jinx, oh and UNO!” Harley yelled as she slapped her last card onto the pile. “See? I said to Kurt, “I get to lose to another person and you’re not bored anymore.” We erupted with laughter. For the first time in a while, I was actually enjoying myself with other people. “This is fun. Thank you.” I said. “No problem Darce.” Harley said as Joe, Kurt and she smiled at me. I think I’ve moved up in the friend count. We played UNO for another hour.

 

 

 

 

19

It was my father who taught me to value myself. He told me that I was uncommonly beautiful and that I was the most precious thing in his life.”

-Dawn French

 

Sunday arrived and I was notified that I had a visitor. I was excited until I came down to the visiting area and saw…Eric. Confused, I looked around for Mom and the twins. Surely they had come too, why would Eric come to see me alone? Unless…unless he had finally decided to take them away so I could never see them again?

I walked quickly over to him and before he could say anything I blurted out, “Where’s Mom and the twins?” Taken aback, he answered, “They’re at home.” “The same home I was living in since Daddy died?” “Yes…why? Are you okay Darcy?”

No not really. “Yes…why did you come to see me? Is Mom mad at me?” “No, no, no. She had to take the twins to visit grandma and grandpa today. They’ll be back this weekend to see you.” “Okay good.” Relief rushed into my face pounding away the worry that had been there only Moments before. Still, I didn’t understand why Eric had come. What are you up to?

“I take it that you want to know why I’m here.” I nodded. “I know things have been strained between us for a while and I wanted to clear the air.” “Okay.” I looked around. There were other revenants talking to their human visitors, undead ones weren’t allowed due to the potential threat that could arise if one of us had an episode. They’re contagious.

I could feel their judgmental stares and suddenly felt stuffy being in the visitors area. Eric noticed. “Speaking of air, would you like to go outside?” “Yes.” I had to hand it to him for being more self-aware, perhaps he was really trying. We walked outside and sat down on one of the benches on the lawn a few feet away from the veranda. Eric spoke first. “I want you to speak your mind, tell me how you feel okay?” Here we go. I nodded and began. “Why are you ashamed of me? You don’t defend me. Why are you afraid of me?”

“I’m not ashamed of you. I’m more afraid for you than of you. I don’t want you to end up like your Dad.” “Did you hate Daddy?” Shocked, Eric answered “No. God no! Is that what you’ve been thinking all this time?” I nodded. “Oh, I’m so sorry kiddo.” He called me kiddo! Kiddo was his nickname for me. He hadn’t called me that in years.

“I’ve never hated your Dad. I loved him like a brother. Yes, there were disagreements but I loved him to the end. I promised him I would protect you.” Eric sighed, as he went on. I continued listening attentively. “I guess…I guess that in promising and wanting to protect you, I took it to a point where I’ve pushed you away, where I’ve made you push others away like the twins. That was never my intention. I know you love the twins, I know that Darcy. Please hear me when I say this, everything that I’ve done was out of love for you. I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve been shitty towards you and I’m sorry. You are my daughter Darcy. You always have been and will be. I am your father. I can never replace your Dad but I will do better. I will defend you. I love you kiddo. Always have, and always will.”

Yeah but actions speak louder than words. “I do hear you. That means so much to know all of that. I’m sorry too; I’ve been shitty towards you as well.” Tears rolled down each of our faces, and Eric hugged me tightly just like Mom would have. “We’ve been pushing each other away. Now it’s time to come together. We will get through this Darcy okay? I love you kiddo.” “I love you…too Dad.” Dad, Eric let out a sigh of relief. I hadn’t called him that since I was a little girl. He hadn’t lost me and he wasn’t going to now. I looked up at him, as my gloopy tears ran down my cheekbones.

“God, you look so much like Bianca and Yoh in this Moment as I look at you.” “Can you tell me more about Daddy?” Eric smiled. “Of course I can kiddo.” For the next hour, Eric told me stories about Daddy. Eric had known Yoh since they were kids. Eric’s parents had been stationed in Japan and traveled throughout the country for Emil’s job. They finally settled in Sendai and that’s where Eric met Daddy.

Daddy had protected Eric from some of the local bullies and they instantly became friends. Yoh was tough having been raised by his single alcoholic mother. When he was ready he could be cruel and violent, but for the most part he was kind, loving, and gentle. Daddy was tall and muscular and wore glasses. He had black eyes and black medium length spiked hair that always sailed in the wind.

Eric talked about how he and Daddy often got into trouble for fighting the local bullies or going to pachinko parlors. They had a good time together and they always had each other’s back. Though they weren’t from the same family, they were blood brothers. Eric never married but Yoh did and Eric was Daddy’s best man. Eric was loyal to Yoh all the way to the end, even though he had to help hack off his arm…

“I miss your Dad deeply.” “I miss him too…” Looking at his watch, Eric stood up. “I’ve got to get home. Your Mom will have a fit if dinner isn’t ready.” “I miss your cooking.” Mom cooked once in a while and it was great, but Eric’s cooking was amazing. He could have been a chef. “I know you do, don’t worry you’ll be out of here soon. Dr. Saki tells us that you’re progressing quickly.”

“She does?” “Yeah, she calls every day to update us with your progress.” Well I’ll be. That cheerful doc was keeping her word. Perhaps she wasn’t so bad after all. “Alright kiddo, I’m going to go. I’ll talk to you later.” “Alright, give Mom and the twins’ hugs for me.” “Will do.” Eric began to walk back towards the facility’s back door and paused. Turning around he said, “Oh one more thing.” Eric loved to mimic Uncle from Jackie Chan’s Adventures whenever he said that phrase. “Yeah?” “Your lawyer will be here tomorrow at 10 am sharp alright?” I nodded. “See you later kiddo.”

Monday came quickly and I had woken up late, after staying up all night talking to Kurt and I forgot all about the lawyer. It was 9:30 when I slid on my Hello Kitty sweatpants and purple shirt, and hurriedly walked to the elevator, making my way downstairs to the visitor’s area. I hadn’t bothered to even check my hair. Thankfully it wasn’t a complete mess since I had put it in a bun with a Wonder Woman scrunchy.

When I arrived, I didn’t see anyone there. It was 9:56. I wasn’t late and wished I had grabbed some breakfast before I came down. My hunger wasn’t in any danger of accelerating so eating wasn’t an imperative thing I had to do. But that didn’t keep my stomach from growling. Two minutes passed and still no one. I wondered if Eric had gotten the time mixed up…

And then he appeared. “Darcy?” Eric stood on my right holding breakfast in his arms. What are you doing here? “Eric? Did you come to meet the lawyer?” “No Darcy…I’m your lawyer.” My jaw dropped. No freaking way. No freaking way. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you correctly. What did you just say?”

Impatiently tapping his foot, Eric repeated himself. “I said that I will be representing you. I’m your lawyer.” “This isn’t happening.” I stood there numb. A rush of thoughts was going through my head. “Why? Why would he do this?” “Let’s go outside and discuss this.”

“Let’s not.” “Darcy…” “No we can talk right here and right now. I don’t want you to be my lawyer.” “Why not?” Eric demanded. “You’re still ashamed of me.” “I thought after talking that things were fine now.” “You can’t expect for everything to be just fine! I’ve got baggage and shit and that can’t disappear just after having a talk.”

Eric placed the breakfast on the table. “Darcy, I’m trying here. Give me a chance.” “I am, but you can’t be my lawyer.” “Why?” Eric’s yelled. Two security guards began to approach us. “You still have biases against me. They didn’t just go away overnight!”

“Is everything okay over here?” “Yes.” we answered. “We’ll be over here if you need us.” I nodded at the guards as they walked away. I joined Eric at the table and began to eat. “You made breakfast for me?” “I sure did. I know you’ve haven’t had a home cooked meal in while.” “Thank you.”

Though I appreciated Eric’s gesture, I wasn’t sure about him representing me. I really wanted to trust him, but all the years of hurt were going off in my head like a bank alarm. For all I knew, he could be plotting to get rid of me once and for all by messing up my trial. It had been done before in other trials for both the undead and the living.

“How will you approach the case?” “You’re up for involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor doesn’t need to prove intent, since malice isn’t an element of the crime. However, they must show that Wendy was killed as a result of an act by you and that the act was inherently dangerous or done recklessly and that you should have known the act threatened the lives of others.”

“Hmm…” “It’s my job to cast doubt on at least one of these three elements in order to successfully defend you from the involuntary manslaughter charge.” “Okay, which way will you go?” “We’re going to go with self-defense. You did bite Wendy.” “I didn’t. I scratched her.” “Did you or did you not reach out to bite her?” “I did but-” “Then you bit her.”

“That was not my intention.” “It wasn’t?” “No. I was snapping at her in order to scare her.” “So it wasn’t your intent to actually bite her?” “No I didn’t want to bite her. I admit, in that Moment part of me hoped I did, but I really didn’t want to.” Sipping his coffee, Eric leaned his right elbow on the table and looked intently at me.

“Why? Why did you snap at her? Why did you hope to actually bite her?” “I was scared.” I looked at my father’s face, hoping for a sign he understood my point of view. “How did you feel?” “I felt overwhelmed. There were so many of them, it was a horde.”

Eric stared at me, all business like, asking the tough questions. He needed the truth from me; he needed to verify what his heart told him but what his brain didn’t want to believe. He needed to know if I felt anything besides anger. “Did you feel as though your life was in danger?”

“Technically I’m dead Eric.” “Answer the question Darcy.” “Okay, when I was surrounded by all those people-” “The horde.” “Yes the horde. When I was surrounded by them I felt their rage, I felt their fear. I knew that if I didn’t do something, if I didn’t get out of there my brains would have been smashed to bits.”

Eric’s eyes stayed focused on me. Please, please say something. Please let me know that you understand me. I thought. “Okay. Okay.” “Okay?” “You felt fear Darcy. Your life was in danger. What you did in self-defense, to protect yourself. It was self-defense.” “So you believe me?”

“That what you did was self-defense? On that part, yes I believe you.” “Okay…What part do you not believe me on?” “When you left for school that day, was it possible that you were upset and angry?” “Angry about what?” “Wendy and her friends, attempting to burn you alive the week before, about Principal Rooney hitting you, any of the bullying you’ve been through. Could it be possible that that morning you had had enough and if Wendy and her group didn’t surprise you first, you planned on lashing out anyway?”

Seriously? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “No. I was fine after I was in the hug box, and I was fine after I stayed home after the fire incident. Plus they hadn’t bothered me for a couple of days until that morning. “So you’re telling me that you weren’t trying to get into trouble on purpose?” Exasperated, I looked at Eric in disgust.

“Really, you think I was acting out?” “I think that is a huge probability and things went wrong.” I began to rise from my seat. “I can’t, I can’t sit here anymore with you.” “Where are you going?” “I’m going back to my room.” “We aren’t finished yet!” “I think we are.” “Darcy look-” “No Eric, you look.”

I clutched my tea in my right hand as I stood there glaring at him. I wanted to throw it at Eric right then but that would just prove his point. I looked at him with anger-not the rage-filled kind. I could be angry hell I was always angry, angry at the world, angry at the hateful people who viewed and treated me as something other than a human being. Unlike Bruce however, I didn’t Hulk out every time. My days without incident had a much higher number count.

“You still don’t get it.” I said, “And you never will.” “I get it hon, I really do.” Eric said. He slammed his hand onto the table. I wasn’t the only one who was angry. “No you don’t. Just go home and leave me alone, I’ll find my own lawyer. Someone who won’t judge me the way you do, someone who won’t look at me with fear and loathing.”

Eric stood up and said, “Well good luck with that.” He turned and walked out not once looking back. “You’re a lost cause.” I muttered. I wasn’t sure if I meant Eric or myself. I picked up the rest of my breakfast and returned to my room.

******

Darcy Munroe. Darcy Munroe!” It was around two in the afternoon when I jolted out of my nap by a voice blasting through the intercom in my room. “Yeah?” I responded. “You have a phone call. Please come to the phone bay at once.” “Okay.” “It better not be Eric.” I muttered, stumbling out of bed. I slipped on my purple bed slippers and headed to the elevator.

The phone bay was located to the left of the visitor’s area. It was a simple medium sized room in which the telephones were located on desks that were lined up all around the walls. Each had soundproof dividers for privacy and a comfy chair. In the middle of the room were two loveseat sofas that faced each other and in between them lay a long mahogany wooden coffee table that had magazines and newspapers splattered on top of it.

Right outside the room was the operator bay. They were open from eight to five, Monday through Friday. The operators took incoming calls and assisted patients with making calls. On the weekends, when they weren’t available, the patients had to make their calls on their own. It was here where I first stopped after getting off the elevator.

“Hey Quinton, you said I had a call?” “Hey, Darce, it’s on hold at desk two.” Quinton said without looking up. He was intensely reading a novel called The Black Parade. I knew that whenever Quinton was really involved in a book, it had to be good. But just to make it official, I asked him. “Is that any good?” “Yup I think you would like it. It’s the first in a trilogy.” “Sweet, I’ll check it out. Is there a copy in the library?” “Yeah.” “Cool, I’ll grab it later.”

I entered the room. Ducking my head out, I asked, “Do you know who it is?” “It’s your Mom.” “Line two?” “Yep.” Reemerging into the phone bay, I headed towards the second desk on my right. The phone blinked a blue light, meaning it was a non-emergency call. If it had been an emergency, the blinker would have been red.

I picked up the phone. “Hi Mom.” “Hello, how are you doing?” “I’m fine.” “Sweetie, what’s going on? Why did you and Eric have a fight?” “Because he wants to be my lawyer and he wasn’t honest about it.” “Honey listen…”

I yawned and sat down on the chair. This was going to be a long phone call with Mom giving me another lecture on why I was supposed to be nice to Eric and yada, yada, yada. “You need to give Eric a chance. He’s trying to make things right between the two of you.” I played with a loose thread on my shirt as my Mom continued to talk. “He’s trying to get to know you better. He’s on your side; you don’t need to be so harsh towards him.” Bored with the thread, I stood up to get a magazine. Snatching a tattered copy of Wired off the table, I returned to the phone. Mom hadn’t noticed my quick absence and was still lecturing. “This bad attitude of yours isn’t helping anyone.” I rolled my eyes as she continued. “You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re not the only one who’s having a hard time. Think about your brother and sister, think about me and Eric!”

I got woke up for this? “I’m sorry; I don’t mean to embarrass the family.” I replied. “Darcy, don’t you dare speak that-”I squeezed the phone. “I’m sorry that I react the way that I do. If someone comes up in my face and calls me a ‘nothing’ and an ‘abomination’, well I guess I’m supposed to take their insults and try to understand them. I guess when someone rips my arm off; I should just stand there, turn the other cheek, and offer them the other limb.”

Not letting Mom get a word in, I slammed my hand down on the table and continued, “I’m sorry you have had to watch and hear the neighbors gossip about you due to my existence because it’s so important to care about what they think! I’m sorry you lost Daddy and when you got remarried you had me as baggage. I’m sorry your new husband’s too embarrassed by me that he doesn’t defend me nor want me to play with my siblings or even be around the family…I’M SO SORRY!”

I slammed the phone down as tears ran down my cheeks. I took a deep breath as I slowly rose from the chair humming a tune in my head, trying to calm the rising anger. When I was ready, I walked out of the room and headed towards the elevator.

“Darcy?” I turned around. “You okay?” Though involved with his book, Quinton was still aware of the dangerous rage I had and he was prepared to take the proper steps to defuse it before things turned violent and deadly. He looked at me, checking for any of signs. He saw none and when I nodded he went back to his book as I entered the elevator.

 

 

 

 

20

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

-Bob Marley

As I rode the elevator, I continued to hum. I was glad to have it once again to myself and when I got off on my floor, I was happy to discover my fellow inhabitants gone from our floor. I returned to my temporary Bat cave and turned on the record player on my Crossley Radio Musician 5-In-1 Entertainment Center.

A modern take on an antique, it was a birthday present Daddy had received from Mom. Daddy loved collecting music related items, and he loved them even more when he turned. Music helped him stay connected to his humanity. When he passed away, he left his Crossley to me. I had inherited both his and Mom’s love for music and in this fucked up world, it was my salvation as it kept me sane.

My entertainment center could play MP3 files, CDs, the extremely rare cassette tapes and 33, 45 and 78rpm vinyl records, in addition to radio stations. The only thing it could not do was play satellite radio. I was able to listen to satellite radio online for free via an app a revenant hacker created. I would listen to the stations that broadcasted music from decades past-from the 20’s to the early 2000’s. My favorites were 90s on 9 and Lithium the home of 90s alternative rock and grunge.

Aside from the entertainment center, Daddy had also left me his Nirvana collection. They were one of his favorite bands and they also became a favorite of mine. I put on Nirvana’s first album Bleach as I finished up my homework and surfed the net. The hour flew by and when I looked at the clock, I groaned. In another two hours, I would have to go to Dr. Saki’s office for our weekly session.

I was not in the mood to talk about anything and I wanted to be left alone. But there was no avoiding it. If I skipped the meeting, my privileges would be taken away. So to prepare myself for when the bell tolled, I decided a dance out was in order. I hoped by dancing, I might be in a better mood for the session, which would hopefully help me leave it earlier, but that was up to Dr. Saki.

Bleach ended and I turned off the record player and plugged in my mp3. I turned up the volume to full blast and began to dance out my anger and frustration out. Through Hole I danced out my parental frustration. When ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ came on, I danced especially hard. Tupac and Biggie helped me dance out my anger towards Dharma and Ricky and all my other bullies. Accompanied by Nicki Minaj, I danced out my feelings about the events leading up to my incarceration. With Eminem, Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedys, I danced out my rage at Daddy’s suicide, my life, society in general and their treatment of the undead.

“Whew!” When I emerged from the dark side, Nirvana and Bad Brains helped me enter a calm and positive state. “Don’t care what they may say we got that attitude. Don’t care what they may do we got that attitude. Hey, we got that PMA. Hey, we got the PMA.” I sang out kicking one leg in the air. Unbeknownst to me, a small group had gathered right outside the open door. I only noticed when I was half turned around in one of my dance moves. With one small flicker of a flash from a camera, I was immortalized in that pose forever. Stunned, I froze to see Dharma, Ricky, and Kurt staring at me.

“What are you doing?” Dharma asked Crap. Unfreezing, I mumbled “I was dancing and singing.” “It looked like you’re having a good time.” Ricky said. I didn’t have time for this right now. Yelling I responded, “Are you making fun of me? Because I don’t really need your crap right now. I’ve put up with it ever since I got here and I’ve had enough!”

Dharma shook her head and answered, “Whoa. He wasn’t making fun of you and we’re not either. Ricky and I, we’ve been talking to the others. We see how you are and we’ve come to apologize to you.” I rolled my eyes. How much bullshit did I have to deal with? “You’re truly sorry?” “Yes we’re really sorry Darcy. We shouldn’t have mistreated you; it’s bad enough we’ve got to deal with shit from the fleshings. We don’t need our own to that to us, please accept our apologies.”

“Why did you take my picture? I hate pictures I don’t look good in them.” “I can…answer…that!” Said a voice from the back of the group, it belonged to Harley; she made her way up to the front. “I’m making a zine for all the ‘prisoners’ here, and our people on the outside. Your dancing will definitely improve your image among the populace.”

“Oh really?” Harley nodded eagerly. “It shows your human side.” “Why should, I care about what they think? At this point this,” I waved my right arm in a circular motion, “is all the fucks I give.” “You need to care.” Dharma answered. “We’re trying to help you. We want to be character witnesses it might help you in court.” “You want to help me? Why the change of heart all of a sudden, huh?”

Ricky answered, “It won’t just help you, and it will help all of us. We won’t look like monsters anymore.” I glared at him and said, “Huh, I thought I was the monster, when did that change?” Balling his fists Ricky looked down and answered, “You never were a monster. Each of us has gone through a lot of shit because of whom and what we are. Sometimes we take out our pain on each other, Dharma and I were wrong for that, dead wrong. We are very sorry.”

“Can you ever forgive us?” Dharma said. I looked at tweedledee and tweedledum; the looks on their faces were genuine. They were telling me that they understood the pain I felt. I kept my eyes fixed on them; they looked back at me their eyes searching for an answer as they stood there. Finally, I broke the uneasy silence and said, “You said dead.” Ricky looked at me confused, I smiled. “Ricky you said you were wrong, dead wrong!”

“Oh…yeah…I did say that!” We busted out laughing while confusion filled our friends’ faces. “Uh, I’m confused.” Kurt said. “What’s going on? Is everything good now?” Joe asked approaching us. “I’m not sure. Darcy are we okay now?” Dharma asked, looking at both Ricky and I. We were still laughing. “Huh? Oh, yeah. We’re cool.” Dharma smiled, “Good, thank you.” “Now that that’s out of the way, can you fill us in on what you two were laughing about?” Harley asked. “Sure. I said I was wrong and-” “Ricky we get that part we were here when you said it.” “I wasn’t.” Joe said raising his hand.

Harley rolled her eyes. “Can you just explain the damn joke?” “Harley we’re already dead, get it?” “Oh yeah I get it now. God that’s corny.” The laughter began again and this time Will, Joe, Dharma, and Harley joining in. After a few minutes of giggles, I looked at Kurt. “Are we really though?”

“What?” “Dead, are we really dead?” “Scientifically speaking…yeah we kind of are.” “But how is it that? We feel pain, we have emotions, and we can smell and breathe. How is all of that possible?” Kurt paused and then said, “I don’t… don’t know. If we’re not human, and we’re alive, what are we then?” “Monsters, I guess.” “Yeah I guess.”

Harley angrily slammed her fist on my desk. “We’re not monsters!” “Then what are we?” I asked. “I don’t know what we are, we’re alive, that’s all I know, that’s all that matters.” It doesn’t matter to humans. “Yeah who cares what we are!” Dharma said as she headed out the door.

“Let’s go. We’ve got more pictures to take and some fun to be had.” “Roll out!’ Ricky said following Dharma out the door. Harley and Joe left next leaving Kurt and I behind. “Are you coming?” Kurt asked. “I’ve got an appointment with doctor feel good in an hour so I can’t stay long.” I said, grabbing my sweater from the closet.

“What are you doing?” “I’m getting a sweater. It’s cold.” Kurt laughed as he said, “Darcy we’re dead remember? Our skin’s always cold.” I shook my head as we left. “You’re a mess.” Time flies when you’re having fun and two hours passed before I realized I was extremely late. Entering the doc’s office, I met the doctor who wasn’t smiling for the first time, which surprised me. I smiled sheepishly and braced myself for the rest of the not fun part of my day.

“Darcy-” “I know I’m late. I was hanging out with my friends and I forgot.” “It’s important for us to have consistency with our meetings. You’re lateness throws a wrench into that.” “I know.” “We’ve talked about this before. While I’m glad you’re interacting more and making friends, you also need to show that you can be responsible. When you are late, you’re telling me that’s not the case.”

“I know.” “This is the fourth time that you’ve been late!” “I know.” “You keep doing this you’re going to lose your privileges that you’ve worked so hard to obtain.” “I KNOW!” I slowly sat down across from the startled still unsmiling doctor. Usually I couldn’t stand her smiles, but at that Moment I actually began to miss them.

“Darcy…” “Please don’t start okay?” “You’ve just had an outburst of emotion! Do you know what this means?” I glared at the doctor as she excitedly grabbed her pen and pad to document the Moment, her smile making its triumphant return. “That I’m ruining your study?” “What? Oh no of course not! This proves to me that you are in total control of your emotions.”

“Huzzah, do I give myself a pat on the back?” Ignoring my sarcastic remark, the doctor continued. “This is a human trait! In the past it was thought that the undead-particularly revenants-were not in control of their emotions, that it was in their innate nature not to be. But after studying them and you specifically I know that not to be true! This is amazing!” I didn’t reply as I stood up and walked toward the door.

“Wait, where are you going?” “I’m going back to my room. I’ve had enough of being your lab rat.” “Darcy,” the doctor said, placing her pad and pen down. “You’re not a lab rat.” “I’m not? That’s funny because ever since I’ve been here, you’ve been studying me, taking samples of my bodily fluids and shit.”

“Observing and studying you is important. I’m trying to help you. I want to prove to others that you’re not a monster.” “I don’t think you’re trying to help me doc. I think you’re trying to help yourself.” “No. That’s not what I’m doing.” “Bullshit!” “Darcy calm down.” “You don’t care!” “Yes. I do.”

“If that were true then how come you don’t ask me how I feel about all of this huh? How come you don’t talk to me about personal stuff, like what music I listen to, or do I have a crush on anyone? Why don’t you ask me how I feel when people call me a monster? No. You’re more concerned with how I react to others and how it affects them and not how people react to me and how it affects me. You’re right doc, you do care. You care about yourself.”

“Darcy…” “I’m going back to my room; we’re done with these meetings.” “These meetings are mandatory, you can’t leave yet.” “Why? You’re not done observing me yet? Screw you doc.” “Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be Darcy. Please sit back down in your chair.” “So I can behave like a good little lab rat?” “Darcy enough! Sit down!”

“YOU SIT DOWN! I’M LEAVING!” I clenched my fits fighting the rage that was infiltrating my body. “I thought you said that these meetings were optional that I always had a choice.” “Yes you always have a choice. But the choice isn’t whether or not you attend the meetings. It’s in how you carry yourself, how you behave. Right now you’re letting your emotions control you.”

“I don’t care anymore, you don’t understand me.” Tears began to rush down my face. “I want to understand you Darcy. I’m trying to.” “NO YOU’RE NOT!” A lab assistant poked their head through the open door and asked, “Is everything okay Dr. Saki? We heard a lot of yelling.” “Yes. Everything’s-”

I spun around to the lab assistant and asked, “Why am I making you uneasy? Do I frighten you?” “Darcy.” The doctor said calmly motioning to the lab assistant, “Go back to your post, Johnny. I can handle this.” “Yeah go back Johnny,” I jeered, moving closer to them. My body shook and my fists were still clenched. “GO BACK BEFORE I TAKE A BITE OUT OF YOU!” “Yes ma’am.” Johnny said. He turned and ran down the hallway. I turned back to the doctor and said, “You see doc? I’m in control of my emotions; I’m choosing to be angry right now. I’m done hiding how I really feel so you tissshits can feel comfortable around me. I’M DONE!”

Dr. Saki slowly walked towards me as she said, “You’re still in control of this situation. You can choose to calm down.” She’s right I can, but I don’t want to… “NO! I’M DONE!” “You are not done Darcy! Fight the rage! I don’t want to lose you to it!” “Dr. Saki stand back.” Captain Simone and four of her officers had arrived on the scene, their guns were cocked and at the ready. Dr. Saki was only six feet away from me and would not move.

“Captain I’m handling this.” “No you’re not. We’re going to handle it.” “Captain, I can get her to calm down!” “It’s too far gone!” “IT? IS THAT WHAT I AM TO YOU?” I yelled continuing to face the doctor. “I finally figured out what I am.” I said slowly turning to the guns aiming at me. “Darcy!” Mom’s voice rang out as she entered the office and stood behind Captain Simone and the guards. “Mom.” I said unclenching my fists.

“Is everything alright?” Eric asked as walked up to Mom. I rolled my eyes. “Does everything look alright to you, Mr. Munroe?” The captain asked facing forward with the guards, their eyes fixed on me, their fingers firmly planted on the trigger of their guns. Again I clenched my fists and yelled, “NOTHING IS ALRIGHT! NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN ALRIGHT!” “Darcy please,” Dr. Saki said. “Your parents are here because they care about you, we all do.”

“BULLSHIT!” “Darcy! Stop this!” Mom pleaded. “We’re going to have to take her down.” Captain Simone said. “Ooh, now I’m a girl.” “No please don’t!” “Listen to the Miss Simone, Bianca.” Eric said as he held her back. “It’s Captain Simone Eric. Go ahead Mom do what Eric says again. Let them take me down just like you two did to Daddy.”

Tears ran down Mom’s face as she watched the rage quickly take over me. It was a mean thing I had said, but I didn’t care. I was angry, bitter, frustrated, and tired of their lies. They were trying to understand me…what an utter load of crap.

“That was different, kiddo. We had to.” “NO YOU DIDN’T!” “Darcy, listen to me.” The doctor pleaded, “You need to calm down, and you’ve done this many times before. Please do it again or else I can’t help you.” Eric nodded. “Listen to her sweetie. You can do this.” “Hey doc…I just wanted to tell you…” Kurt said as he entered the room.

He’s stopped in his tracks by the scene. “Kurt right now is not a good time.” The doctor said. She had taken a couple of steps back to the needle stand. “Return to your room. We’re now on lockdown.” The captain said as she continued to face forward. “No way what’s going on? Darcy are you alrig-” “GO AWAY!” I yelled. Damnit, why did he have to show up now? “No. I’m not going. I want to help you.”

“WHY?” “Because we’re friends and I care about you!” “You care, she cares, and everyone cares…ABOUT THEMSELVES!” I began to topple over the doctor’s desk and destroy the room. The rage had taken over.

 

 

 

 

 

21

We are born of love; Love is our mother.”

-Rumi

 

Bianca

“It’s your call cap!” The doctor whispered holding up a needle full of sedative. The captain sighed. “I’m sorry but we’re going to have to take her down.” “We can save her!” “She’s too far gone! Look at her she’s destroying everything. If she gets her hands on one of us…” “Enough! Let me go to her now!” I said edging closer to Darcy. My daughter didn’t even notice, she heard our voices but she wasn’t paying attention to what they uttered. All Darcy cared about right then was the destruction of whatever was in front of her. The captain and her guards tried to block me.

“No, it’s too-” “I CAN HANDLE THIS! LET ME GO TO MY DAUGHTER!” “Let her go. She knows what she’s doing.” Eric said. He turned to me, “She’s my daughter too.” I smiled as the captain motioned to her guards to move. “Let her through.” The captain placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “You have five minutes. If you can’t get her to calm down, we’ll have to sedate her or put her down.” I nodded, “Okay.”

“Mrs. Munroe?” “Yes?” “I hope you can calm Darcy down.” I nodded. From what I had heard about Kurt, he seemed to be a good kid and a good friend, Darcy needed people like him. The captain turned to Kurt and said, “Escort him out. We don’t need both of them going into a rage.” “Yes sir.” “Why?” Kurt asked his eyes fixed on Darcy. “You know the rage is contagious especially when emotions are running high. Go on, Darcy will be fine.” Eric said as he put his arm around Kurt. “I’ll come with you. Our ladies will be fine okay?” “Okay.”

The guards escorted them out of the room while the other two remained with the captain. “Guard the door. No one comes in until this is over…hopefully there will be a happy ending.” The guards nodded. As I cautiously made my way to Darcy, Captain Simone moved slowly over to Dr. Saki and asked, “Do you really think she can calm her down?” “Yes.” was the reply.

The two nervously looked on as I edged even closer to my child. She was attacking the doctor’s supplies and was so focused on them that nothing else caught her attention. I seized the opportunity and grabbed her from behind holding her arms. Darcy viciously struggled nearly knocking me down which startled the captain. Captain Simone rushed towards us but I cried out, “No! Stay back. I’ve got this!” “Let her do her job, Cap!” Dr. Saki whispered pulling her back.

Firmly holding onto her, my grip did not loosen even when Darcy violently shook her arms and let out a blood curdling moan. I hugged her as tightly as I could which kept Darcy from biting or scratching. As I held onto my daughter, she continued to moan. I began to sing Switchfoot’s ‘Home’.

With each verse the rage diminished further and further until nothing was left except for a girl crying in her mother’s arms. With the danger passed, Captain Simone and Dr. Saki walked towards us but were halted when I shot them and the guards a warning look. “Let’s give them a Moment.” the doctor said as she ushered her colleagues away from us.

With no further interruptions, I slowly turned Darcy around to face me and held her tightly in a protective hug as I encouraged her. “You are not alone child! You are not alone; we’re all here for you. We do care about you, never forget that.” She started to weep, no longer in a state of rage.

*****

Darcy

Two hours later now calm, I sat with my parents in the visiting area with the doc and the captain sitting across from us. “I’m extremely convinced that your daughter is unique amongst the revenant population.” A guard had brought us tea, coffee, and cookies. “Thank you.” the doctor continued she finished sipping her coffee. “There’s an evolution happening and it’s starting with her. Her presence among her peers here is witness of that. Their human qualities have evolved even further since she’s been here.” The captain nodded. “I agree with the doctor.”

“Ever since I lost my husband and friends, I’ve been hell-bent on finding a cure. I’ve been extremely curious about the undead and how they came to be.” “Do you think your studies and observations of me will bring about a cure?” I asked, ever more curious then I had been before. “I don’t know, what I do know is that you are special, there’s something about you that makes you different-in a good way. I’m sorry that I’ve let my curiosity-my obsession-take over. I’ve thought of you as an object and not as a person…I sincerely apologize to you Darcy and your family.” The doctor said as she looked at my parents and me.

“I’m sorry too.” Dr. Saki took my hands and held them as she looked directly at me. “I promise that from now on, I will help you. I will do all that I can.” For the very first time, her smile felt soothing. I still didn’t like it but it didn’t annoy me as much as it had. “I will as well.” the captain said. “I want to apologize to you Darcy, you are not an object, and you are a person.” “Thank you.” I said. The captain looked at her watch and then rose from her seat.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some paperwork to fill out.” “Thank you captain.” Mom said. The captain nodded and headed towards the elevator. The doctor also rose from her seat. “I also have to go; I have an office to clean up.” “I’m really sorry about that doc.” “No worries. Besides, I’ve needed to rearrange it to make it more me and less blah. So this had a couple of great outcomes! Later.” The doctor waved goodbye to us. She seemed to always find a silver lining in a bunch of stormy clouds.

“I need to go get the twins ready for dinner and then bed. I’ll come back with some food for the both of you okay.” Mom said as she rose. “Okay.” Mom kissed me on my cheek and Eric on the lips and then headed towards the exit. When she was out of sight, Eric took out his pad from his briefcase and said, “Alright kiddo let’s get to work.” “You still want to be my lawyer after all of this?” “Yes, you’re my daughter and it’s my duty to protect you and that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my ability. I’m going to give you one hundred and ten percent. All I ask from you is that you give me your trust.”

I paused for a Moment. Can I really trust you? Are you really going to be there for me? “Darcy? Do I have your trust?” I looked at him and said, “Yes, yes you do.” Relieved he said, “Good. Now let’s get to work.” For the next three hours we went over Eric’s defense strategy. In that time, Mom came back and brought us dinner and left again to get the twins ready for bed.

At the end of the third hour, Eric said, “I think that’s enough intensity for today. How about you go do something fun with your friends and I’ll go home and hangout with your Mom?” Why don’t you hang out with that Kurt fellow? He seems nice, just no funny business okay?” “Eric!” “Alright I’m outta here, we’ll call you tomorrow okay?” “Okay.” Eric pecked me on the forehead. “Love you hun.” “Love you too.” Eric smiled.

Finally.

He had never heard me say those words until now, and he teared up as I waved goodbye. I was finally his daughter.

*****

“Whew.” I said plopping onto my bed. The day had gone from bad to good and then worse in a few hours and now it was back to good again. I hoped it would remain that way for the rest of the night. I took a shower and a quick nap and then got up and hustled out of my room towards Kurt’s. I had to apologize to him after going on a rampage earlier. Facing his door, I knocked and took a deep breath. Please don’t answer, please don’t answer.

The door opened. Damnit! “Hey.” “Hey.” “I’m really sorry about earlier I was angry.” “No shit.” “I wasn’t angry at you.” “It was sure hard to tell, what were you angry at?” “Stuff.” “Stuff?” “Just things.” “Things?” “Yeah.” “Look, you know you can talk to me about anything okay?” “And you can do the same thing.” “Okay, I’m not mad at you Darcy.” “You’re not upset?” “No.” “Okay well, I’m going to go.” “And do what?” “I don’t know.”

“Why don’t we go outside and watch the sky.” “Just watch the sky?” “We can use my telescope.” “Sure why not!” Minutes later, we sat outside viewing the skies as we dined on peanut butter cookies. “You can see Jupiter very clearly tonight.” Kurt said looking through his HD telescope. “Cool beans I would love to see it up close.” “Yeah it would be nice, but you know when they figure out how to get there, they’re not going to let us dead folk go.” “I don’t see why we can’t.” “They say it’s for quote unquote infection prevention.”

Taking another cookie off the plate I said, “I get that but they could at least let us have our own area or something.” Kurt nodded. Sitting down beside me, he grabbed a cookie off the plate. “They’re going to have to, things need to change.” “You’re changing things.” I rolled my eyes. “How am I doing that? I’m on trial for involuntary manslaughter and the living hate us even more now.” “That may be but you’re changing things for the better I know things will get better. We might have to fight for it to but it will be worth all the bloodshed.”

Flabbergasted I asked, “How? How do you know that?” Kurt moved closer to me and held my hands as he looked into my eyes; I was going to get lost in them again. “You’re special Darcy. You’re such a creative and passionate person. I’ve never heard of or met anyone like you before.” “Wow, so you’re not angry at me?” Kurt pulled me to him and hugged me as he said, “No, don’t you get that I care about you?” “I care about you too Kurt.” We kissed as the moon shone brightly overhead.

 

 

 

22

From the day we we’re conceived, we’ve been discriminated against. We’re the outsiders, the outcasts, the bastardized children. We’re the muties, we’re Frankenstein’s monster. In a world which continually sings Gaston’s anthem, “Kill the beast! Kill the beast!” We’re the hunchback of Notre Dame trying to find sanctuary in a world that hates and fears us.”

-Warhol Lewis, Undead activist

One month later…

On the early morning of my court date, I awoke to a thunderstorm. It was a day I had both dreaded and hoped for. Today would decide whether or not I would be able to return home and interact with the outside world once more. It was a scary proposition for me since I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on the outside, but I had a pretty good idea.

Despite all of their efforts, my parents, Dr. Saki, Captain Simone, and the rest of the employees at the facility could not keep the events and reactions to Wendy’s death away from me. I was able to find out bits and pieces of information about the public’s reaction to my alleged crime. I heard about the marches both for and against me, I heard how most of the media-particularly the TV pundits-had already cast judgment on me. Though they tried to hide it from me, I was well aware of the stress and strain that wore on my parents, especially since Eric decided to be our family’s spokesperson to the public.

I wasn’t naive about what was waiting for me out there. The world already feared and hated my miraculous, crazy existence and now that they knew what I was accused of, they would loathe me even more. I was apprehensive about going to court but if I wanted freedom, I would have to face whatever was thrown at me. And so as I got up, showered, and dressed during the early thunderous morning, I did so hoping with the little hope I still held that I would be free.

I was wearing my favorite purple dress which had a few tatters but still looked nice and professional. It was accessorized with my purple butterfly necklace and earrings and on my feet were my shiny purple glittery shoes. Eric wanted me to wear a boring dress suit but I kindly declined. I knew he was just trying to help but I was determined to be myself.

Boarding the elevator, Kurt surprised me with a kiss and an embrace. “Good luck hon.” “Thanks.” We kissed until the elevator finally stopped and when the doors opened; my friends were there to greet us. “Ooh! What were you two doing?” Harley asked. “Stuff.” Kurt answered. “Things.” I answered. “Stuff, things, right.” Joe said winking.

“Anyways,” Dharma said rolling her eyes, “We wanted to wish you good luck before you left.” “Thanks I appreciate that.” “Shall we feast?” Ricky asked. “Heck yeah I’m starving.” Dharma shook her head at Ricky. “There’s a dark joke trying to rear its head somewhere in there.” “We’ll have to find it later Robin, to the cafeteria!”

After we had breakfast, it was time for me to go. I said goodbye and the captain and two of her guards escorted me out. Whether it was an employee or a prisoner that we passed, each one wished me nothing but good luck. I now had the support of everyone in the facility-undead and human. Our quartet was met by Dr. Saki in the main entrance before the security checkpoint.

“Captain.” she said as she acknowledged my entourage. “Doc.” the captain responded. The doctor took a look at me and said, “You look nice.” “Thanks.” “It’s a big day for you.” “Yeah it is.” “How are you feeling?” “I’m scared shitless.” “That would have sounded weird a few months back.” Captain Simone said turning to me. “But honestly after watching your progress, I think it’s a normal reaction for you.” “Thanks, I think.”

Dr. Saki nodded in agreement and said, “Let’s get going shall we?” We passed through security and went outside to the pickup area of the facility’s parking lot. There were three black SUVs and four police cars waiting for us. “This is all for me?” I asked. “Yes. It’s for your protection.” the captain answered. “My protection, that’s ironic.”

“Ironic or not, it’s our responsibility to get you to the courthouse and back unarmed. It might appear that things are calm, but I can assure you Darcy they are not. We’re on private property and since you’ve been here we’ve had a few flare ups that were taken care of them without incident.”

“What?” The captain continued, “That’s right, it was nothing we couldn’t handle.” “And you didn’t tell anyone? You didn’t tell me, none of you did?” I asked looking around at the group. “At that time it was not your concern. We did not want those incidents to harm your progress.” the doctor answered.

“I guess you’ve got a point there.” I mused. This revelation made me wonder, how many times has someone come to kill me? How many times has someone tried to threaten or harm my family? “Things must be really bad out there.” I said. The captain nodded. “As we head out we’re going to run into a lot of people, and they’re going to be either angry at you or the justice system. Some may get violent and things will become very dangerous. My men and I have to be cautious, alert, and vigilant. You have my word that we will make it to the courthouse unscathed. Okay?”

I took a deep breath and then exhaled. “Okay. Let’s do this.” The captain opened the door for me. I sat down, and buckled my seatbelt. The captain closed the door and said into her walkie talkie, “Patient secured, roll out!” “Yes Sir!”

The caravan pulled out from the facility and made its way down the road. We were on our way to the Seminole County Courthouse in nearby Sanford. The thunderstorm may have stopped when we had left, but there was a new storm on the horizon, and we met the beginning of it when the vehicles turned onto the main road. Lined up in huge clusters along both sides of 17-92 were protesters-living and undead alike-and representatives of outlets from the local, national, and international media.

As we proceeded down the road, I looked out the tinted bulletproof window. I saw the anger, fear, shame, embarrassment, and the pride and empathy in the eyes of the protesters who stood with posters and blow horns behind the barricades the vamps and RTF guarded. “Monster!” some screamed as they pointed their fingers at the SUV. “Murderer!” Others yelled. “You’ve brought shame to our community!” a few undead said. There were still others who said, “Free Darcy!” But their cries were drowned out by the hate, “Murderer! Murderer!”

What usually takes about ten minutes took thirty minutes to reach the courthouse. Upon entering the parking lot, there were even more protesters and media encampments to greet us, dotting the lot every few spaces. A few protesters even managed to bang on the windows of my SUV but the RTF guards were on top of the situation and forcefully dragged them away. For the few seconds of their banging, I could see the intense hate and fear in their eyes. It reminded me of that fateful day…I started to shake but the doctor reached out to reassure me.

“Darcy, look at me. Keep calm and don’t stress alright?” “If you say so, doc.” “I know you can.” “Okay, okay.” The SUVs pulled up to the front of the courthouse. Protestors and media lined each side of the entrance while RTF guards provided a barrier between them and the path that my group would take.

“Alright here’s the plan,” the captain said as she and her guards readied themselves. “My men and I will exit first, and then you and Darcy will exit. There will be two guards in front and two guards in the back with you and Darcy in the middle. We won’t run we’ll walk in a calm and speedy manner alright?” The doctor and I nodded in agreement. The captain continued, “Darcy, there’s going to be a lot of people talking and yelling at you simultaneously. Look straight ahead and keep walking. If you want to stop and say something let one of us know and we will stop.”

“Do you think I should say something?” “It’s up to you. If you’re not comfortable then don’t say anything, just keep straight and keep calm.” “I’ll try my best.” “We’ll go when you’re ready to go.” I unbuckled my seatbelt. “I’m ready.” “Alright let’s hit it.” The captain gave a nod to the guards, and one of them tugged on their earpiece and said, “We’re moving.” The captain and her guards opened their doors and exited the vehicle, the doctor and I followed. The team made a semicircle around me and the captain asked, “You ready?” I nodded.

“Then let’s go. Remember look straight ahead and keep walking.” “Okay.” The walk towards the entrance was slow moving there were a lot of bodies in the small space. I noticed a local reporter, channel 9’s Vivian Echols begin giving viewers a detailed account of the scene. “Are we live?” She asked, straightening her outfit, and reading her microphone. The cameraman gave her a signal and said, “Going live in 3…2…1…”

Six months have passed since the fateful incident at Lyman High school in which sixteen year old Darcy Munroe a revenant allegedly took the life of sixteen year old Wendy Phillips, a human. Today Darcy will appear in court for the first time and make her plea. She will also find out whether or not she will remain at the Connor Revenant Facility or go home to be with her family.” Signaled by the cameraman, Vivian turned slightly to her left to see our group approaching.

“Darcy is about to enter the courthouse. Let’s see if we can get her to answer a few questions.” Vivian motioned to her cameraman and he moved closer to her. Their eyes were fixed on me, watching as I dodged the other reporters who lined both sides of the walkway. I tried to keep my eyes on them but to no avail, their Moment arrived when I was about three feet away, Vivian pounced and took it. “Darcy! Darcy!” she said as she leaned on two of the guards shoulders. Her microphone was inches from my face. “Vivian Echols, Channel 9 news. Did you kill Wendy? Was it an accident? What are you going to plead today? Do you have anything to say to the public?”

Before I could say anything, the captain stepped in between the reporter and me. “You’ll find out right along with the rest of the public. Now please step aside, we’re already five minutes late.” Vivian began to move back as the captain swiftly and forcefully moved ahead with our crew in tow. More reporters rang out my name and more questions were belted out as we made our way up the ever increasing claustrophobic path.

“Darcy! Darcy!” “Did you murder Wendy Phillips?” “Are you innocent Darcy?” More insults and slurs were also hurled. “Murderer!” “Monster!” “Biter!” “Skin eater!” I barely heard any nice things but they were there as well. “Darcy we believe in you!” “Free Darcy! Free Darcy!”

I mouthed “Thank you.” to my supporters as we approached the courthouse doors. When we entered, the doors were quickly shut behind us. I let out a huge gasp of air and the smothering feeling left me. One of the guards gently patted me on the back. “You did good kid.” I smiled and replied, “So did you.” He smiled back.

Up next was the screening station. There weren’t any problems or glitches, and it was smooth sailing to the courtroom, or so I thought. Nearing the doors, we came upon Wendy Phillips’ parents. They were standing across from the entrance. When they saw me, Mrs. Phillips began to yell. “You murdering lurking goon! I hope they put you away for life! You took our child you took her away from us! You took…her…away…” Now in tears, Mrs. Phillips’ husband cradled her in his arms. “Just go away,” he said. “I can’t stand the sight of you, you rotting skin eater!”

“I’m-” “GET AWAY FROM US!” Mrs. Phillips screamed as she tore away from her husband. She came real close to hitting me but her husband quickly restrained her. The captain jumped in front of me. “That’s enough. Mr. Phillips please escort your wife to the break room down the hall until she’s able to compose herself.” She said pointing in the direction of the room.

Mr. Phillips nodded and calmly escorted his wife all the while glaring at me, hatred spewing from his eyes. As they walked, Mrs. Phillips continued to scream and utter curses at me. I expected them to be upset but I didn’t know they would be so hateful to me. From the few times I had met them back in my elementary days, I knew they held prejudicial beliefs about the undead. I just figured they were ignorant and didn’t know any better. But today seeing them for the first time in years, I saw that their ignorance had bloomed into full-fledged hate. They reminded me of the people in the horde…they reminded me of their daughter…they reminded me of the man who had slapped me in the store when I was ten months old…

Had he been right? Was I a monster who deserved to have their brains blown out their skull? The captain put her hand on my shoulders and asked “Ready?” “Huh? Oh yes, I’m ready.” The guards opened the doors and we entered the courtroom. As they escorted me to my seat, I took around the room. Eric was at the defense desk in the front going through his many notes and papers. Mom and the twins sat on the right side two rows behind where he stood. They had seen me enter and the twins waved and I waved back as Mom cried. It had been a long time since we last saw each other, Wynonna and Peter had grown a little bit taller.

“Happy New Year! We love you Darcy.” “I love you too. Happy New Year” I wanted to hug them but it wasn’t allowed. Reaching my seat, Captain Simone and her men wished me luck and left, leaving me in the care of my attorney and doctor. Eric greeted me. “You look nice definitely better than the suit.” “Thanks.” “You okay?”

“Yeah, it was hectic outside. There are so many people.” “I know, but you stayed calm and you got through it. You’ll get through this as well-we’ll get through this together.” I smiled at him. “You haven’t given up on me huh?” “Nope and I never will.” Dr. Saki touched me on the shoulder and said, “Good luck Darce.”

The doctor left and returned to her seat alongside my family. I sat down and Eric blew a kiss to them and proceeded to take his seat. He scanned his notes again. A few minutes later, the bailiff entered the room. “All rise…. this court is now in session. The honorable Judge Avery presiding.”

We rose as the judge made his entrance. “Thank you bailiff. You may be seated.” “Will the defendant please rise?” Eric and I rose. “Please state your full name for record.” “Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe.” There was a crack in my voice as I spoke. I was so nervous. “And what is your date of birth?” “March 30th, 1999.”

“All right, in the case number 162016CF021043B you are charged with the felony complaint of involuntary manslaughter in violation of statute 782.7 subdivision 1 which is a felony committed on or about November 18, 2014. Do you understand what you’ve been charged with?”

“Yes your honor.” “Your attorney has advised the court that you wish to enter a plea of not guilty to that charge.” “What!?” yelled out an onlooker. Murmurs began to rise among the audience. “Order!” said the judge banging his gavel. The murmurs got louder. “Order I said!” Finally, the noise died down and the judge continued. “I will repeat the question. Your attorney has advised the court that you wish to enter a plea of not guilty to that charge. Is that correct?” “Yes your honor.”

“Before the court can accept your plea, I must advise you of your constitutional rights, and you must understand them and knowingly and voluntarily give up those rights before the court can accept your plea. You have the right to a preliminary hearing. Do you understand that right?” “Yes your honor.” “You have the right to a trial either by court or jury. Do you understand that right?” “Yes your honor.” “Do you waive and give up your right to a preliminary hearing and trial in this matter?” I looked over at Eric for guidance, he nodded. “Yes your honor.” “If you were to have a preliminary hearing or trial, you would have the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against you. Do you understand that right?” “Yes your honor.” “Involuntary manslaughter is a felony in violation of statute 782.7 subdivision 1 on Wendy Phillips. How do you now plead?”

“Not guilty.” “Counsel, do you join the pleas and wagers?” “Yes.” “Before I set the trial date, does the state have any it would like to present to the court?” “No your honor.” “Does the defense have anything to add?” “Yes your honor. I would like to request the release of my client from the Connor Revenant Facility. She has been there for six months and would like to be reunited with her family.”

With Eric’s words, there was another outburst. “Give me a break!” And then another. “What about the Phillips family? They would like to be reunited with their daughter!” And another. “You’re going to hell! May God have mercy on your soul!” The murmurs again erupted. Emotions were running high and things could turn ugly quickly. I grimaced and Eric placed his hand on my shoulder reassuring me. “Stay calm.” He whispered.

Judge Avery banged his gavel, sweat pouring down from his balding white haired head onto his brown face. “Order! Order! Order! ORDER IN THE DAMN COURT!” The murmurs simmered down. “Bailiff, the next person who disrupts these proceedings will be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.” “Yes sir.” Looking at the prosecution the judge asked, “Are there any objections?”

“Your honor, at this time we request that the defense provide proof that Miss Munroe is not a danger to herself or anyone else.” “Counsel, do you have any witnesses?” Eric nodded. “Your honor I can prove that my client is not a threat to herself or others.” “Alright, you may proceed.” “Your honor I would like to call Captain Simone to the stand.”

The captain made her way down the aisle and into the witness box. She stood with her hand placed on the bible the bailiff held. “State your full name for the court.” “Octavia Estelle Simone.” “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.” “You may be seated.”

Eric stepped forward from behind our table and walked up to the witness box. “Captain Simone can you please state your occupation to the court?” “I am in charge of the Connor Revenant Facility as well as head of security.” “How many years of experience do you have?” “I have thirty-five years of experience which includes police, military, and private security detail.”

“How many years of experience do you have interacting with the undead?” “Twenty years.” “So it’s safe to say that you’re very knowledgeable about security?” “Correct.” “Are you familiar with my client?” “Yes I am.” “Can you point them out to the court?” The captain pointed to me. “That young lady is Darcy Munroe.” “That young lady’s a monster and murderer!” A man yelled out. “Bailiff, I want that man arrested.” “Yes sir.”

The bailiff nodded to his fellow officers who stood in front of the courtroom doors. They picked the man up and carried him out as he yelled at me. “Rotter! Goon! Zach!” He screamed. I didn’t look back and kept my eyes focused on Eric. When the doors slammed shut, the judge motioned for Eric to continue. Eric cleared his throat and said,

“How well did you get to know Darcy?” “Pretty well.” “Can you please elaborate for the court?” “I see her on a daily basis, and check on her each day and speak to her on a regular basis.” “So it’s fair to say that you know her very well?” “That is correct.” “Would I also be correct in stating that you would know for certain whether or not Darcy is a security threat?” “Yes.”

“Is Darcy a security threat?” “Absolutely not.” “Is Darcy a danger to others or herself?” “No. In fact she is one of the most docile revenant that I’ve interacted with.” A murmur again went up throughout the room, but this time it was a curious chorus and not an angry carol. Docile? Really? Am I an animal? Does that mean I’m alive? “No further questions.” “Very well, does the state want to cross examine?” “Yes your honor.”

Known for her controversial strategies, state prosecutor Anna B. Constance wasn’t very popular among the undead. Her critics charged that she had prosecuted a far higher number of undead than her predecessor and had put a disproportionate number to death. Many believe that when she charged a human for a crime against an undead, she charged them with something which is very hard for a prosecutor to win. Many speculated that she somehow rigs each case, setting them up in a way so that she fails each time. In contrast, whenever she prosecutes an undead she’s very overzealous and applies the law as she sees fit. It’s almost as if she’s trying to teach my kind a lesson.

I just hoped I wouldn’t be made an example of.

She briskly walked up to the witness bench, turning to look at me and then back at the captain. “Captain Simone, I would like to first thank you for your years of service fighting the living as well as the undead to keep our nation and our world free and safe.” “Thank you.” I covered my face and rolled my eyes, Eric listened intently as he took notes.

“No one here doubts your years of experience. After all you were on the frontlines in Afghanistan and Iraq, but one must ask these questions as it is not only vital to the safety of the public but also to Miss Munroe’s safety.” Pausing to allow the gravity of her words to set in, the prosecutor continued. “Captain, is it not true that Miss Munroe had not one but two episodes and possibly a third in which she put not only herself in danger but also you, your team, and the rest of the inhabitants and perhaps the entire community at risk as well?”

“Objection!” “Sustained. Captain please answer the question.” “It is true that she did have two episodes, however-” “Thank you Captain. No further questions your honor.” “Counsel do you wish to cross-examine?” “Yes your honor. Captain, when you were answering the prosecutor’s question, it appeared that you had something else to add.”

“Objection! The witness has already answered the question.” “Counsel please ask another question.” “Of course your honor. Captain, though it is true that Miss Munroe had two episodes, did she put you and everyone else in the community in danger?”

“Objection! Counsel is asking the same question.” “Your honor I am not. I’m asking if my client put anyone in danger as to which the prosecution implied that she did. Those are two different things.” “Sustained. Captain please answer the question.” “For a Moment Miss Munroe was in dangerous territory, never to come back from it. However-” “However?” “However-I must stress this-Miss Munroe did come back from the brink. She did the impossible and came back from it. She accelerated and once it had been stopped-it usually doesn’t go down-but in Darcy’s case, it did go down and she returned to normal.”

“So Captain to answer my question did she-” “No, the answer is no. At no time during her stay did Darcy ever put my crew or the community in any danger.” “No further questions your honor.” Judge Avery looked at the prosecution who responded, “We have no further questions.” “Alright, captain you may step down. Counsel please call your next witness.” “The defense would like to call Dr. Saki to the stand.”

 

The doctor waited as the captain exited the witness stand and returned to her seat. The doc quickly walked to the witness box. As she entered, the judge acknowledged her presence while the bailiff spoke to her. “State your full name for the courts.” “Doctor Amanda W. Saki.” “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

“I do.” “You may be seated.” Eric approached the stand and greeted his new witness. “Good afternoon doctor.” “Good afternoon Mr. Munroe.” “Can you please tell the court what kind of doctor you are?” “Certainly, I am a medical doctor who holds an M.D., O.B, and a Ph.D. in psychiatry, and thanatology.” “And how many years of experience do you have?”

“I have thirty-five years of experience, twenty-five of which focusing on the undead population.” “And is it true that you are in the top of your field?” “That is correct. I am one of the top three leading scientists in both of those fields.” “So it’s safe to say that you’re very knowledgeable about psychiatry and undead?” “That’s right! It’s an interesting combination really, I-”

“Doctor please just answer the question.” “Oh sorry! Yes I am very knowledgeable.” “And are you familiar with my client?” “Oh yes!” “Please point her out to the court.” With great enthusiasm, Dr. Saki pointed to me. “There she is!” Good lord, that woman’s perky. “Doctor will you please tell the court about Darcy’s state of mind and body?” “Yes this is something I’ve never seen before. Darcy is evolving faster than other undead. She is on a whole new level.” “Please elaborate.”

“Why the whole restoring to pre-acceleration levels is unheard of. Her ability to continue to improve controlling her rage has increased by twenty percent. This revenant is evolving, she’s becoming more human.” More murmurs of curiosity and confusion grew loud and once again the judge slammed his gavel to the bench.

“Order, damnit!” Once the murmuring died down, Eric continued his questioning. “Dr. Saki how is it possible for Miss Munroe to become more human when she’s technically dead?” The doctor shrugged. “I don’t have the answer to that yet. There’s a quote which says ‘life will find a way.’ And it has…somehow it has.” “No further questions.”

“Prosecutor?” “Yes thank you, your honor. Doctor Saki, if you don’t know how it’s possible for Miss Munroe to be more human than how do you know that she’s becoming “more human” as you call it?” “The proof’s in the pudding, Ms. Lebeau. I have scientifically documented the changes in Darcy-mental and physical changes.”

“Well I would love to hear about it during the trial.” “Oh you will, you will. And it’s not only herself who’s changing.” “Oh?” “Darcy’s changes are also affecting other revenants that are around her in a positive way. They too are becoming “more human”.” Caught by surprise at the doctor’s responses, the prosecutor could only say, “No further questions.”

“Does the defense wish to cross-examine?” “No your honor.” “Okay. Doctor Saki you may step down from the bench.” “Thanks your honor.” Making her way back to her seat, the doc gave me a quick smile and I smiled back. I was feeling better about the way things were going, but there was one thing that still made me anxious: would I be able to go home? The judge was about to give answer.

“I have set the trial date to Monday, June 13, 2015. Furthermore, considering witness testimony, I have decided that Miss Munroe will be able to leave the facility and return home until the trial. Because Miss Munroe has no prior convictions, I’m setting bail at $25,000. We will resume then. Have a good afternoon the parties are dismissed.”

When the judge slammed his gavel for the final time, I let out a huge sigh and hugged Eric. Dr. Saki then joined in on the hug along with Mom and my siblings. “Hey cap, you want in?” the doctor asked. The captain shook her head as she looked on. “No thanks. I’m good.”

Finally, I could go home.

Escorted by the captain and her team, my family and I walked out of the courtroom. Outside the mass circus of reporters and protesters encircled us yet again, yelling out jeers, cheers, and various questions. Multiple flashes went off like strobe lights at a rave. Mom gripped tightly onto me while Eric shielded the twins as best as he could from the mob.

“Mom,” I whispered. “I’m fine. You don’t have to hold me so tightly.” “Am I hurting you?” “No, but I wish you loosen up a little.” “I almost lost you, I’m not letting anyone hurt you.” Making our way through, Vivian Echols greeted us as she pushed her way through the chaos. She met us in the middle of the craziness, pushed her mic into Eric’s face, and began to rant off her questions.

“Mr. Munroe. You were successful in getting your client released. How are you feeling?” “I’m grateful the judge saw that my daughter is not a threat. Right now we’re going to go home to eat as a family that is now whole.” “There are many people out there who believe that your daughter is a threat and ought to be locked up or worse, what do you say to these people?”

“Well-” “She is not a threat!” Mom said, jumping in. “Darcy is a sixteen-year old girl who loves music and fashion. She reads books and is a good daughter and older sister.” Taken aback by Mom’s response, Vivian retorted “You’re speaking as if your daughter is a normal regular kid, but she’s not.” “You’re right, she’s not a normal regular kid…she’s special.”

Before Vivian could speak, Eric said, “No more questions.” and brushed her aside. Our family moved on towards our awaiting vehicle leaving Vivian and the craziness behind. What usually took fifteen minutes took two hours to reach home, but I didn’t care. After six months of being away, I was home. Entering the house, I hugged the twins.

“I’ve missed you guys so much!” “We missed you too!” Wynonna said. I then hugged my parents. “It’s so great to be home.” “It’s great to have you home kiddo.” Eric said. “We’ve cooked a big dinner to celebrate your homecoming.” Surprised, I asked. “You did this even though you weren’t sure?” “We didn’t give up hon.” Mom said. I smiled.

“Mom, Dad. I love you very much.” “We love you too. Never, ever doubt that sweetie.” Mom said. Eric nodded and said, “Never doubt it.” Eric’s phone rang. “Go on, I’ll be just a Moment. Hello?” Fifteen minutes later, Eric sat down at the dinner table. He had something important to announce.

“Tomorrow I have a phone interview with Points of View to discuss your case. In these coming weeks I’ll be working very hard on it. I’ll have to interview witnesses, police, and experts. There will also be interview requests from various media outlets-I will handle that.”

“What do you want me to do?” “Kiddo, I want you to relax and be yourself. Do not be afraid and do not worry okay?” “Dad, I don’t get afraid. I’m a “walker” remember?” “Sweetie, to us and to your friends you’re a young lady who’s full of life. No matter what people tell us what you’re supposed to be, somehow you’re defying that. Doctor Saki is right, you’re evolving, and you’re changing things.”

Wynonna tugged on my shoulder, “Do you feel different?” I thought for a minute and then answered, “I don’t have a tingly feeling, spider sense, or anything like that. I feel…like myself.” “Then be who you say you are and not what they say you’re supposed to be.” Mom said. “We like who you are.” Peter said. “Thanks. I like who you are too.”

Eric smiled approvingly at us. For the first time in a long time, I really felt I was part of the family. “Enough talk, let’s eat!” Wynonna chirped. We dove into our delicious meal for the first time in a long while as a whole and much closer knit unit than we had ever been before.

 

 

 

23

The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.”

-Sam Levenson

 

Ah, Friday night dinners…have I mentioned that I dislike them? No? Well I do. It had been a while since I had been to one, and during my incarceration I had almost missed them…almost. I enjoyed the good food and all but I didn’t like being around my grandparents. Technically, they weren’t really mine anyway.

My real grandparents on Dad’s side lived in Japan. I had never been there, but they had come to see me three times in my life. The last time they got in an argument with Mom and Eric. They blamed him for Daddy’s death and did not approve of their marriage. Eric told them that until they changed their views, they were no longer welcomed, so they haven’t returned. Once in a while I receive gifts from them. I miss them. It’s expensive to travel to Japan, in addition to being problematic. There are so many security procedures that the undead have to go through, many of us rarely travel by plane.

One day I’m going to go, I’ve always wanted to live there or on the west coast here in the states. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and even Hawaii have huge populations of the undead. Not only that, they were thriving and were treated well by the human populations. Well that’s what I gathered from the many blogs, news stories, and rumors on the topic.

If I’m found guilty I’m thinking about fleeing to Japan, they’ve got what they call Sanctuary Laws in place for the undead. These laws allow for undead who are or have been prosecuted in their homelands to stay in Japan until the statute of limitations of what they’ve been charged with run out. Some of my kind decided to live in Japan for the rest of their life. Other countries also have Sanctuary Laws but Japan’s are the most flexible.

Anyway, on Friday night we headed to Eric’s parents’ home. This was the only part of being home I wished I wasn’t there for. They were ashamed of me and the last time they visited, they had said some nasty things about Daddy. I didn’t hate them, in spite of their embarrassment, they still worried and cared me. It was their fear and shame which kept them from really getting to know me and I’ll admit my anger and resentment towards them kept me from really getting to know them as well. Out of the two, I was much closer to Emil than I was to Rachel. He was easier to get along with and he wasn’t as talkative.

Emil and Rachel Munroe lived in Longwood off of Markham Woods road in a gated Separatist community. Their $500,000 house had six bedrooms, four and a half baths, a three car garage, and a bonus room with a pool and a huge backyard. Both of them were from families of old money and they each had invested part of their inheritance in stocks and bonds throughout the years. In the early days when the first Black Wave hit, they had seen the signs had been very prepared. They had read the Zombie Survival Guide over and over again, which had helped protect their son and friends when the world went to shit and slowly began to recover

Separatist communities have security gates where private guards stood watch over twenty-hours a day. They would scan vehicles and their inhabitants to make sure none were infected. It was a routine process for any visitor and it was very quick. The only time the undead were allowed in was when they had a special pass which stated what type they were and that they had permission to visit. The passes were expensive and needed be renewed once every four months for reanimates and once every six months for revenants. If the undead didn’t have one, the security process would be become very difficult. Thankfully, Emil had paid for my pass.

It was an annoying and a somewhat humiliating experience, whenever I came to visit them. When I couldn’t get out of tagging along, I dreaded every minute of the ride there. I made sure to pack some books, my notebook, tablet, and mp3 player to keep me occupied before and after dinner. I tried to avoid small talk with them-Rachel especially since we had nothing in common. This trip, I packed my usual things in addition to my portable sewing machine kit as I had begun to work on a new dress.

“Why do I have to go again?” I asked, as we drove down 434. “Emil and Rachel haven’t seen you in a while and they’ve been asking about you.” Bianca answered. “Usually they wish that they didn’t have to see me.” I muttered under my breath. “What was that?” Eric asked, turning onto Markham Woods road. “Nothing.” I replied.

Soon we were at the Markham Woods Valley subdivision. We drove up to the gate and waited for our turn. One car had just pulled away from the checkpoint so there was only one in front of us. Eric turned to Mom. “Do you have the pass?” She looked into her purse. “Yes, it’s right-” “What?” “It’s not here. That can’t be right, I know I put it in there before we left.” “Yeah I saw you do it.”

My parents looked around and asked the twins and me to look too. I barely moved while my kid sister and brother were enthusiastically searching. The car was about to drive away from the security booth and another car had just pulled up behind us. Mom looked again in her purse, thoroughly searching it, sighing in frustration as the car drove off.

“I don’t know where it is.” Eric pulled up to the booth. “Are you sure? Perhaps it fell on the floor.” No it didn’t… Mom looked down Eric lowered his window. “Good evening.” said the vamp. “Evening.” “We’ll do a quick scan and then you can be on your way.” Eric nodded. As the officer began to scan, he recognized Eric and his upbeat tone quickly disappeared and he became serious and abrupt.

“Pass please.” “Yes, about that, my wife has seemed to misplace it. If you’ll give us just a minute to-” “Pass please.” the officer meant business. If no pass was produced, Eric would have to turn the car around and leave. If he or anyone in the car gave the officer any trouble-which the vamp could define at their own discretion-the police would be called and we would be banned for months or even for life from visiting…or things could turn deadly.

“We need that pass.” Eric whispered to Mom. “She’s getting it.” He said to the officer. “You have ten seconds to comply otherwise you’ll be ask to leave the premises.” “Where’s the damn pass?” Eric whispered. “I honestly don’t know.” Mom said, throwing her hands up. “I know I had it in my purse and I gave it to Darcy to hold and-” Mom looked up sharply and said, “Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe! Give me that pass!”

The game was up, damn. I didn’t want us to be banned for life so I quickly pulled the pass out of my pocket and gave it to Mom. She frowned at me as she snatched it from my hand and handed it to Eric who in turn gave the pass to the grumpy vamp. The officer looked over a little longer than usual. He then gave it back to Eric and said, “Enjoy your visit.”

Eric gave the officer a smug smile and drove through the gate. “Asshole.” he muttered. After making the usual three turns in the maze that was my grandparents’ neighborhood, Eric turned to Mom and asked, “How did you know she had it?” “She’s done that before.”

Flabbergasted, Eric said, “Really? You mean those couple of times when I had thought that I forgotten the pass she had it?” “I have done that four out of those eight times.” I answered proudly grinning. “Which times exactly?” “Uh, I can’t recall.” “Uh huh.” Eric shook his head as we drove into his parents’ driveway. “Well it didn’t work tonight kiddo. I know you don’t like coming here, I don’t either but just be on your best behavior okay?” I rolled my eyes and said, “Fine.”

An hour later it was dinnertime. After we had said our greetings to each other, I darted into the house and found a safe corner to work on my projects. I had successfully managed to avoid Rachel. I even had a chance to talk to Kurt via Skype for a bit before she found me. He was still at the facility but he had some good news.

“I’ve got a sister!” He said. “Really?” “Yeah she’s Mom’s kid which is great. She’s a bit older than me, she was one of those test tube babies from back in the day.” “Wow.” “Yeah, she looks just like Mom. Her father was black, but she’s got blue eyes and blonde hair like me.” “You do know that there are black people who have those eyes and hair color and don’t have white parents right?”

“Yeah I know that.” “So what’s going to happen?” “Well I filed my request already with my lawyer, and I’ve asked my sister if she’ll be my legal guardian.” “What did she say?” “She said yes! Plus she’s got a son who’s a reanimate, his Dad left them after the boy got bit.” “Wow, that’s awful. Hopefully you’ll get to live with them.”

“I hope so too.” We smiled at each other. “I miss you Darcy.” “I miss you too, I’ll come visit you okay?” “There you are!” Shit. Rachel had discovered my hiding place. “We’ve been looking for you, dinner’s about to begin.” “Okay I’ll be there in a minute.” Rachel looked at my computer screen, Kurt waved. “Who’s that boy?” she asked.

Quickly laying my tablet down, I said, “Don’t worry about it grandma, let’s eat.” Rachel huffed and walked away. I touched my tablet and the dark screen came to life with Kurt’s grinning face. “What?” I asked. “Who was that?” “My grandma, well she’s not mine, she’s the twins.” “Oh.” “Yeah I gotta go eat, but I’ll come see you okay sweetie?” “Okay baby.”

At the table, the twins were once again deep in their own conversation while Mom and Eric conversed with his parents. I was silent and munching on my food. Rachel noticed and nudged Emil. “So Darcy what was it like to be in the facility?” “Dad, now is not the time to ask that.” Eric said. “But we’re curious she was in there for six months, for crying out loud. We have a right to know what’s been going on with our grandchild. ” Rachel said. “It’s fine Dad.” I responded. Surprised Rachel remarked, “She’s calling you Dad now?” Irritated, I ignored her and spoke to Emil. “It didn’t look like a prison, it was more like a boarding school. Sure they had holding cells and a lab, but the environment was safe, compassionate and at times fun.”

“Fun?” Squawked Rachel, “Why would it be fun?” Gritting my teeth, I continued to look at Emil. “Because they want us to not be uptight all the time. Plus we’re kids and kids should have fun.” “I see…is that where you met that boy?” Surprised, Emil asked, “What boy?” “When I went to get her for dinner she was talking to a boy on her computer.” Nosey lady. “Oh, that’s Kurt, they’re dating.” Eric answered. “And you’re okay with this? She should date a human.” Rachel said. “Mother…”

“What? I think she should, it would make her look good for the trial and help with other things…” “What other things?” Eric demanded. “Well you know it might help her standing as well as the families in the community.” “You mean it would make you feel less ashamed of her?” “Eric what are you talking about?” “You and Dad have always been ashamed of her because she’s different.” “We aren’t ashamed. We’re fearful of what others think and may do especially now given the circumstances.” Emil nodded and said, “These are dangerous times for the family.” “You should have sent her away like we told you Eric.”

“Rachel!” Mom shouted. “You were going to send me away?” I asked. Knew it! “I suggested it as a protective matter, but your mother and father didn’t agree.” Rachel replied. “You didn’t agree?” I looked at Eric. “No we didn’t.” he answered. “I don’t see why you didn’t.” Rachel said, “You must think about the danger you’re constantly putting you, Bianca and the twins in, having Darcy around.”

Eric put his hand up and Mom shook her head in frustration. “How dare you!” He shouted at his mother. “How dare you say these things about Darcy? She is a teenager who despite what people say is fully alive. She feels, thinks, and loves. She’s my daughter and I love her and will fight for her with my every being.” Wow Eric, you’re standing up for me. You’re standing up for me! Holy Shit. Rachel sighed.

“Ever since she was little you and Dad-especially you-have put her and her father down. You care more about what everyone else thinks than you do about your own granddaughter!” “She’s not our granddaughter! She’s not really your daughter Eric!” Well I could have told you that. “She is my daughter Mom, just as much as I am you and Dad’s child. I’ve cared and loved Darcy since before she was born. If you can’t accept that then I don’t need you in my family’s life.” Drops mic, exit left.

Rachel and Emil were horrified. The twins were conversing amongst themselves though I could see that they were listening attentively to what was going on. This was their coping mechanism. This time though it wasn’t me and Eric who were doing the arguing which made me feel kind of strange in a way. Since I had returned home we hadn’t had an argument and I just assumed one was on the horizon. Guess I was wrong.

Not being part of the argument was a rare thing for me but I took it in stride. Instead of getting angry and inserting myself into it, I just sat back and relaxed as I beamed proudly while Eric continued to rant. Mom joined me as we watched the shouting match, this wasn’t our fight.

“Now more than ever we need to stick together and look out for each other. We need to be strong. Can you accept Darcy for who she is and stop worrying about who she is not? You should be proud of your grand-daughter, you should love her no matter what. Can you do that?” “It’s hard Eric, we want to so badly but it’s really hard.” Rachel was now in tears.

“I’m sorry but until you can make that choice, we will not come here for Friday night dinner or for anything else. Come on kids, we’re leaving.” Without another word we rose, grabbed our belongings and walked outside, leaving Rachel and Emil in disbelief. Outside, Eric hugged me and said, “I’m sorry.” “For what?” “I should have stood up for you a long time ago.” “It’s okay.”

“No it’s not. They love you Darcy I know they do. Don’t give up on them.” “Okay.” “Let’s go home.” Whenever we left my grandparents place and return home, Eric would always call them to let them know we got back safely. Night time was gang time-the undead and human alike and traveling on the road could be dangerous especially with was going on. Despite this, Eric wouldn’t call and Mom had to be the go between to let Rachel and Emil know we had arrived safely.

A few days later, I went to visit Kurt. Making my way to his room, I met an excited Harley in the hallway. She hugged me. “Tomorrow we’re going home to live with Mom for the rest of our lives! We won’t ever have to see that asshole of a father unless we want to.” “That’s awesome Harley. Who knows maybe your Dad will come around, Eric did.” She shrugged. “We’ll see.” “I wish you nothing but the best Darcy.” “Thanks, I wish the same for you.”

Saying our goodbyes, Harley went aboard the elevator and I knocked on Kurt’s door. He opened it and we greeted each other with a big bear hug and a few kisses. “You want to get something to eat?” he asked. “Sure.” We went to the cafeteria, kissing on our way down in the elevator. We grabbed lunch and then went outside to eat. “I’ll be getting out soon.” He said in between gulps. “What will you do?” “I’m going to return to college at Seminole State, I’m going to get my degree.” “Sweet.” “We have such a short time here to talk, I’m sorry.” I grabbed his hand. “No worries. When you get out we’ll spend more time together.”

And we did.

When I wasn’t being homeschooled-my suspension was still in effect, though I didn’t give two shits about it-and he wasn’t in class, our time was spent with each other. We played video games and watched movies. We couldn’t really go a lot of places partly because of safety and partly because most places didn’t want our kind there anyway. My birthday came and Kurt and my family took me canoeing at Wekiva Springs. His sister Anna Marie and her son Max also came to celebrate.

Kurt now lived with his sister and nephew and he was very happy. I was also very happy, which was unusually rare on my birthday. Daddy was born on the same day and I missed him even more on our birthday. This time though, I didn’t feel alone anymore and so I was very joyous. Rachel and Emil even came to celebrate. I hugged them and they gave me a cool present, a purple truck. I finally had my own ride, well one that I could share with my parents. I still needed to learn how to drive and my parents needed another vehicle so they could borrow my ride until I was ready to use it.

“Thank you Rachel!’ I said hugging her. “You’re welcome dear.” she replied, tears in her eyes. Though we had our differences they were still family. They even came to our home for our family Pesach dinner the next week. Soon April came, and I finally was able to start my job at the library. Due to my law issues, my hours had been cut in half to 14.5 hours each week. I was on probation and could start working the full 29 hours if all went well at my trial.

With my new job I was able to earn some money and when Mother’s day arrived, I was able to get my Mom a few things. She loved her gifts but her two favorites were the poem I had written for her and the shirt I had made her. She enjoyed her special day and could not stop crying.

Finally June arrived and I only had ten days left of freedom before the trial began. Kurt and I were in my room, we had been listening to music and Kurt told me that he had something for me. “I wanted to get it for your birthday but I had a hard time finding until now.” He handed me an obtuse object wrapped in purple gift wrapping paper. I squealed with delight as I unwrapped my gift. “Oh my god! I can’t believe you got this for me.” It was a Dead Man’s Bones album.

“I was rummaging through my Mom’s stuff, she has a lot of albums of hers that were unopened. She would collect albums so she could listen to them and write a journal about each of them. It was her way of preserving history for the future. She would always tell me, ‘Never forget the past, and if you do you’ll screw up the future.’ I remembered you once had a copy and it was taken away from you. I didn’t want you to have the bad memories, I wanted you to also have the good ones so the future wouldn’t be as screwed up as it might be.”

I hugged him, tears running down my face. “Thank you Kurt, thank you so much.” “Happy belated birthday baby.” I opened the album and we both sat down on the floor and leaned against my bed as the music played. When the fifth track ‘My Body’s Zombie For You’ came on, Kurt rose and pulled me up alongside him. We began to slow dance as the song played. I hugged him tightly and said “I’m scared.” I said.

“Hell I’m scared for you.” “Really?” “Yeah.” “What are you thinking?” “I might never see you or my family again.” “You’ll see us, babe.” “How do you know?” ‘You’re dead remember? You’ll see us in the afterlife.” I cracked a smile and said. “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

We both laughed and then Kurt grabbed both of my hands as he looked into my eyes and spoke in a serious tone. “It will work out, don’t be afraid. We’re all with you.” I looked back and saw reassurance in those gorgeous eyes that seemed to create a beautiful off colored ocean when they were put against my own. “Okay, we’ll make the most of it.” I said. And we began to kiss passionately.

As the song ended and the children began to chant, we chanted alongside them. “I’m a Z-O-M-B-I-E, undead! I’m a Z-O-M-B-I-E, undead! I’m a Z-O-M-B-I-E, undead! I’m a Z-O-M-B-I-E, undead! I’m a Z-O-M-B-I-E, undead!” After the eighteenth time, we busted out laughing and kissed again before both of us knew what was happening, we were both on my bed making love. Sacred or not, I only had ten days of freedom left and I was going to make each one count.

 

 

 

24

Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”

-Optimus Prime, Transformers

Dr. Saki

 

Doctor’s Report: Sunday, June 5th, 2015

Tension had always been a part of daily life for Homo sapiens, and we’ve dealt with it since the dawn of our existence. When RHCMV-X and its sequel RHCMV-X2 came on the scene, that changed. Our tension turned to fear which then turned to our fight or flight responses. With the arrival of the undead, our world was turned upside down never again to be right side up.

The events of the first Black Wave and the outbreaks that followed, destroyed families, left thousands dead, and the world in shock. With the arrival of Alimentos-a pacifier for the innate hunger of the undead-tensions returned to a steady level throughout world. Now with the death of Wendy Phillips, those tensions ran very high again. Especially in these last few weeks leading up to the trial, specifically in the medium sized Longwood community in where Darcy and her family dwelled.

Not a day went by when her friends, family, and Darcy herself were targeted and threatened by hate groups on both sides. Captain Simone had assigned herself as well as some of her guards from the elite 105th legion to personally protect the Munroe family. The 105th was the best company of soldiers in the entire southwest. They had an excellent survival and kill rate, essentially, they were the best of the best of the best.

Darcy’s parents feared for their daughter’s safety, everyday protesters lined the entrance to the Munroe’s neighborhood. Whether they sided with Darcy or not, most were respectful in their protesting. It was the bad apples whom Darcy’s parents were worried about. Among them were human and undead extremists and members of the Eastboro Crusader Church (ECC)-an International unaffiliated church known for its extreme ideologies. They hated gays, POC, Jews, Atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, and any other non-Christian religion. Above all they hated the undead. They believed that the undead were a curse that was sent among mankind due to the sins humanity had committed throughout the centuries.

There had been several instances of protesters throwing rotten food at the family whenever they left their home. Multiple reports of dead animals on the Munroe’s porch, and derogatory terms sprayed on the Munroe’s vehicles and home had been made. Threatening, menacing messages were left on the Munroe’s voicemail and other hateful things had been done.

With the days quickly counting down till the trial, the captain stepped up her security forces. They had gone from one arrest every two weeks to at least three or more a day. “Madness.” she said to me as two of her guards took a human and a reanimate into custody. With these unfortunate events, we had gotten to know one another better and had become close friends though our differing opinions on the undead and humans remained.

“This is pure madness.” “It will be over soon.” “What the hell are you talking about? It’ll never be over. From the day of the Black Wave, it has never ended and it won’t stop when the trial ends either.” I shook my head and said, “There’s an evolution occurring captain. Right now, we’re bearing witness to that. I believe that with it a change will occur and the madness will end.” “Bah!” she retorted, “What are you some kind of prophet? You can foresee the future of our world?” “The signs are everywhere Octavia, things will get worse before they get better but it will end.” “And the signs are what, Darcy?” “Yes, she’s one of the signs”

“How can you do that?” “Do you what?” “How can you put what little hope you have in this girl, this revenant?” “Because she’s tearing down the assumptions you, me, and everyone else-living and undead-has about who she’s supposed to be.” The captain rolled her eyes as I went on. “You and I have been through hell since the Black Wave, we have suffered great losses. I lost my husband and you lost your entire family, yet we carry on.”

“No. We do what needs to be done, it’s our duty.” “But isn’t part of what we do is because we believe we can enact change?” “I don’t know Amanda, I don’t know.” “When my husband turned, the entire world was in chaos. People were being torn apart limb from limb by their own loved ones, but with everything going on all around me I somehow held on to the belief things would get better, I had to be a part of making it happen.”

“So you’re telling me you dissected your husband for the greater good?” I paused. It really hurt to be reminded of what I had done years before. “Yes I did, I’m not ashamed of that. James would have wanted me to do what was necessary to stop this plague.” “Even at the cost of losing your humanity and going completely mad?”

I paused again. “You know, I almost lost it, it’s funny how I a living sentient being could be on the verge of losing the very thing that makes me who I am as I studied the undead.” “What happened?” “I met a young lady who by all accounts is dead, yet she acted more human than I had been.” “Darcy.” I nodded.

“Well I’ll be damned.” Captain Simone said. “I don’t know how you do it doc, I don’t know how you put your hope in someone who is not alive.” “I do it because she defies the odds, and that’s what humanity always does, in spite of all the doubt and fear. In spite of all the chaos, Darcy’s defying the odds.” “They were never in her favor, doc.” “Exactly captain, exactly.”

“I can try to hope again Amanda, I can try. Daryl always said I was stronger than he was. He had a hard time believing things would get better especially after he became infected…it was really a harsh time for both of us…especially when he…when he…”

I put my hand on her shoulder as she trembled. This was the first time I had seen the captain lose her composure. She had always been a nonsense type of person. People described her as a private person who gets the job done. It was extremely rare for her to open up to others and let them in to see who she truly was. Even though we were friends, there are still many things I don’t know about her.

“He ate our kids, doc, he ate them! He was having a really bad episode and I wasn’t home. Marcus and Angie thought they could handle it on their own but…”The captain took a deep breath as she continued. “After that, things were never the same between us, I couldn’t look at him without seeing a monster. My husband was gone, do you understand? Gone.”

“I understand Octavia.” “He couldn’t go on “living” anymore and one day he asked me to end it. In that Moment, he asked for my forgiveness but I wouldn’t give him any satisfaction, I couldn’t. He asked me to promise him that I would go on being hopeful, that I would never give up. I promised and then he smiled, closed his eyes and said that he loved me. Would you believe it, in spite of the entire monstrosity he still held on to his love for me and our kids! I told him that I loved him back then he opened his eyes and…”

“What?” “For a Moment I thought I saw hope in his eyes that I had never seen before.” “Then what happened?” “Daryl nodded and I put him down with the same shotgun he had used to protect me from the undead years before, do you see now?”

“Yes.” “I was supposed to be an undead!” “Perhaps he had hoped that if he protected you, you would go on living whereas if you had been infected he could not and would not live.” Captain Simone was deep in thought, pondering on what I had said, when one of the guards shouted, “Captain! We need you over here please.” “Maybe.” she finally said as she began to walk away. “Maybe.”

It was good timing our conversation ended since I was running late for a talk show appearance. I was scheduled to be on The Danai Olamina Show to discuss the case. It was vital for me to change public perception of not just Darcy but the undead everywhere. Danai Olamina was a new talk show host on the scene who had been discovered on YouTube. Some were calling her the next Oprah Winfrey as Olamina’s show was beating out The View, The Talk, and even Ellen. She was quickly rising to receive the crown of highest-rated talk show in American television history.

The Danai Olamina Show had become highly influential in the new post-undead world as many of its topics penetrated into pop-cultural consciousness. Raised during the years when the undead made their first appearance and becoming an adult during the later sequels to the Black Wave, Danai was very familiar with the undead population. Her father became infected when she was sixteen years old, due to her mother given birth to triplets who were all revenants. Each of their lives had ended in a tragic death.

At the age of 22, her show went national and Danai instantly became a millionaire and if her success continues, she’ll be a billionaire in no time. Like Miss Winfrey before her, Danai’s show has been a platform for teaching and inspiring, providing viewers with a positive, spiritually uplifting experience by featuring book clubs, compelling interviews, self-improvement segments, and philanthropic forays into world events in an ever chaotic post-undead world.

After a two and half hour plane ride, I had arrived at the Olamina studios in Atlanta, GA. Usually the show was taped but this was one of the rare occasions where it would go live. One of Danai’s top producers met me in my dressing room. “Welcome to Olamaina studios doctor.” “Thank you.” “I hope the dressing room was to your liking.” “It was thanks.” “We have ten minutes before we go live, I wanted to quickly explain a few things to you.” “Go ahead.”

“After Danai is greeted by the audience, she’ll talk to them for a few minutes and then she’ll introduce you. Once she does that, you’ll walk out and greet her and then the show goes on from there. Sounds good?” “Yeah. So I just walk right out?” “Yes, we’ll direct you so there shouldn’t be any problems.”

“Alright I’m all set to go.” When Danai introduced me I walked right out onto the set, greeted the host, took my seat, and the interview commenced. “Welcome Dr. Saki, thank you for being here.” “Thank you for having me Danai.”

“These past six months have been very chaotic and the community in which you live and work has been shaken up by the death of seventeen-year old Wendy Phillips a human as well as the arrest of sixteen-year old Darcy Munroe a revenant.” “Yes it has, our world has been very chaotic and many of us can remember a time before the Black Wave when it wasn’t.”

Danai nodded and said. “Oh yes. I remember the world before then, that world had its own troubles but nothing like what the Black Wave caused.” “Indeed.” “Tell me about you meeting Darcy Munroe.” “After the incident which left Miss Phillips dead, Miss Munroe was taken to the Connor Revenant Facility in Longwood, FL. Every patient admitted there is required to have a set of meetings with one of our qualified counselors. Because of what she was charged with, Miss Munroe was required to have her meetings with me.”

“What was her demeanor when you first met her?” “At first, she was very distrustful of me, she was somewhat in control of her emotions, but she had been through an experience which had taken her away from her family and she had been charged with murder.”

“ Involuntary manslaughter.” “Right.” “How much in control of her emotions was she would you say?” “I would say 85% obviously she was scared and angry.” “You say she was scared.” “Yes.” “But the undead don’t feel fear.” “Are we sure that they don’t?” “Well according to what we’ve seen on old TV shows, games, books and movies they don’t. During the Black Wave this was also proven.”

“It was proven but perhaps that’s changing. Perhaps the more human qualities the undead-particularly revenants-gain, the more it will be disproven until it is no longer fact.” The audience clapped in approval. “You’ve said that Miss Munroe is evolving, how so?” “She’s much more in control of her emotions-I would say 95%. Her human qualities show more and more each day.”

“Is it accurate to say that she is human?” “Physically, that’s hard to say, I mean I could say yes because she was born from a human and she has a human-like appearance. But at the same time I could also say no because humans can’t regenerate nor can we age at the slow rate that the undead do.”

“I see.” “Mentally however, I can confidently say yes she is human. She thinks the way we do, she has intelligence and she has emotions. She feels pain in a-” “Not physically.” “No not physically but she does feel pain.” “How so?”

“When someone calls her a zeek or a fant that hurts her just as someone calling us niggers would hurt us.” “I see what you’re saying.” Danai said turning to the audience who nodded in agreement. She then continued.

“It might not physically hurt but it does hurt. Most of you know my Dad was accidentally infected by my three younger siblings who were born. This is was during the Black Wave when we learned that the revenant children had an innate hunger that needed to be controlled or it would have deadly results…”

A tear ran down her face as Danai took a Moment to compose herself. She then continued, “While they were alive though they never felt physical pain they felt something whenever they were called names or even looked at with disgust. It was hard for them to explain to me but to each other they deeply understood what that pain was.” “It’s a human quality.” I responded, looking at the audience, they were listening intently to the conversation. I only hoped I was able to get through to them.

“I’ve read your article which appeared in the New York Times, you called Darcy and other the undead brave. That line made many people angry. Can you explain what you mean by that?” “Yes. I was not trying to be disrespectful to the many lives that have been lost changed with the arrival of the undead. What I was trying to say is on an everyday basis the undead-reanimates especially-are fighting to retain their humanity. It’s an extremely hard struggle-especially for those who haven’t had Alimentos within the proper time-and it’s something that we the living cannot begin to understand.”

“So in way, the undead are also fighting to save humanity?” I smiled. Danai had nailed it right on the head. “That’s exactly right! In their fight to retain their human qualities, they’re fighting to help keep humanity alive. And we should get behind them and support them.” “What can you say to the folks out there who are fearful of the undead? What can you say to the Phillips family about their loss?”

That was a hard question to answer. I took a deep breath and gravely responded. “We’ve all have lost people. I understand there are those who are scared or even hate the undead population. We fear what we don’t understand and that’s why my work is so important. I want to learn as much as I can about the undead. However, they are not objects or some vague, exotic thing. They are people-they are sentient beings who are trying to live a life. It’s a brave and scary thing to do but they are doing it, Darcy’s doing it. There’s this quote by a fictional character which states ‘Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.’ I believe that. We should not treat the undead as if they’re less than human.” “‘Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.’ That’s a powerful statement…What can you say to the Phillips family?”

“I am truly sorry for their loss and so is Miss Munroe. However, Darcy did not kill Miss Phillips. Miss Phillips unfortunately, took her own life.” “But wasn’t she infected? Didn’t Darcy bite her?” “No. Darcy scratched her and that was done in self-defense. Once again I must reiterate that Darcy did not bite Wendy, she scratched her in self-defense.” “How is Darcy doing?” “She’s happy to be home with her family, she’s worried about the trial and she is truly sorry for the Phillips family’s loss.”

“The trial begins in nine days. Will Darcy testify?” “I do not know if she will, but if she’s willing and able she’ll testify. I will testify for the defense.” “Thank you for sharing some insightful things about the undead and Darcy.” “Thank you Danai for having me. I hope that the negative perception folks have about Darcy and her kind will change for the better.” “Dr. Saki, everybody.”

A huge applause rose up from the audience as Danai shook my hand. “Good job.” she said as our hands met.

One can only hope.

 

 

25

Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.”

-R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience/The Bird of Paradise

 

Darcy

After the live airing of the show, polls showed public opinion of me and the rest of the undead population as whole started to slowly sway from negative to positive. This cheered me up considerably and I thanked Dr. Saki at our last meeting. Even though I was back at home, I still had to attend a weekly session with the happy, happy, joy, joy, doc.

“No,” the doctor said. “Thank you.” Taken aback, I asked, “Why are…you thanking me?” “You saved me from losing my own humanity.” “I don’t understand.” “When my husband was alive, we were very anal about our research. We worked very hard and played just as hard. On a scouting mission, he got bit and I cut off his leg hoping it would prevent infection.” “Really?” “Yeah. It worked on The Walking Dead.” “I don’t remember that from the comic…”

“You read those?” “Oh yes, my parents-especially my Mom-wanted me to learn all I could about being an undead. They didn’t want me going out into the world without that knowledge especially since those who hate and fear me would have it.” “That makes sense…I was referring to the TV show.”

“Okay, I haven’t seen that part yet.” “What season are you on?” “I just started two.” “Oh god you poor child, they’re going to be on that farm the entire season.” “What? Why?” “You’ll have to watch, no more spoilers for me.” I pouted. The doc just smiled. We had come a long way from our first meeting. I was almost beginning to like her smiling, perky demeanor…almost.

“Getting back to my story, James still got infected and this was during the Black Wave before Alimentos was created. I had to feed him live animals…I never fed him humans, I couldn’t do that. I’ve heard of folks who did that…they would pretend to help other people or they would get revenge on someone and the folks they tricked would end up being the meal…there were so many bodies…”

The smile went away and sadness came over the doc’s face. But just as quickly as it had left, her smile returned. It was as if the sun had risen and then set, only to rise again. “Anyway, the animals were not enough and eventually I had to chain him up. He fought for as long as he could but he couldn’t overcome his hunger and one day he somehow got loose and attacked me. I had to fend him off and he asked me to just finish it so I did.”

“Wow, wait a minute. You said he somehow got loose?” “Yes, there was nobody else in the house…I believe he unchained himself. Throughout that whole ideal I studied him and took notes. I…I began to treat him as an object and not a person and he went along with it until that day…”

A tear escaped the doctor’s eye. “After his death, I dissected his body and poured all my energy into learning as much as I could about the undead. From that day on, I dedicated my work to his memory and that’s what keeps me going.”

Damn, the doc had been through some shit. “I’m sorry for your loss.” I couldn’t understand how she could smile and be happy go lucky all the time though. “I’m sorry too but in a way I’m not you know?” I nodded. The doctor looked at her watch. “It appears our session is over for today.” “Already, that was fast.”

“I remember a time when you eagerly waiting for it to be over.” I shrugged and said, “Guess you’ve grown on me.” The doctor smiled and said, “Guess I have.” “I won’t see you until the trial starts, and if that goes bad I’ll see you again.” “But if it goes well, you won’t see me again.”

“Aww, doc you don’t want to see me anymore?” “Darcy, I would love too. I’ve come to think of you as a good friend. But it will be up to you if things go well okay? Remember you always have a choice.” I nodded and said, “Okay, I think I would want to help you with your research.”

“Really?” the doc was her usual self now. “Thanks that means a lot.” “I’ll think about it some more and then I’ll let you know. Goodbye for now.” “Goodbye Darcy.” I waved and headed out the door. Ten minutes later, I was seated in the car as Eric drove us home. I was deep in thought when he spoke.

“What’s on your mind kiddo?” “I want to learn how to drive.” “Really?” “Yeah I want to learn, I’ve been afraid for far too long. I want to be more independent.” “I’m glad you want to learn.” Eric said ever so proudly. “Yeah?” “Yeah, we’ve wanted you to for a while now.”

Surprised I asked, “Then why haven’t you taught me?” Eric shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess we just didn’t think you would be interested or that you would want to go someplace that didn’t require a car.” “Like Japan?” “Yeah, I know you miss you grandparents.” “I do…but…” “But?”

“You weren’t also afraid for my safety?” I asked, side-eyeing Eric. He responded sheepishly, “Yeah that too.” “I knew it. Look, I know you and Mom are worried about me being pulled over for simply DWU and the high level of gang activity, but I should be able to drive. I shouldn’t have to be afraid and stay in my house or nearby all the time. I want to do road trips and see interesting places.”

“I know Darce, I know. We want that for you. If you want to learn how to drive, we’ll teach you okay?” “Okay.” We drove in silence for a few minutes until I asked, “Dad, do you think things will change?” “Yes I do, it’s already happening with you.” “You believe that I’m evolving?” “Yes, ever since you were a little girl you’ve been evolving. I’ve noticed it but I kept my thoughts to myself.” “Really?” “Yes.” “Thanks for telling me.” Eric nodded. “So what do you want for dinner?” I thought a minute and said, “Hmm…Maybe-” “What the hell?”

As we drove into our subdivision, houses ablaze and neighbors fleeing their homes, greeted us. Members of the Purists-an undead group who believe we should reject Alimentos and eat human flesh-attacked our fleeing neighbors. While some purists only held their extreme beliefs, the majority was violent. As a result they were deemed terrorists by both human and undead leaders. Since Wendy’s death, their following but it has grown in number steadily.

“We’ve got to help them!” I shouted as we continued driving through the fiery scene. “I know, Darcy, I know. Let’s get to our house first.” “What about the people in front of us?” Eric looked. There were a group of six purists biting three humans in front of us. “Hang on.” He said, pressing on the gas pedal. Holding on, Eric drove right into the feeding frenzy knocking down the hunters on top of their prey. I looked back as we drove on. Most of the purists didn’t get up while their victims did. Their attackers had borne the brunt of Eric’s run over.

“I think you killed them.” I said. Eric grinned sheepishly, “Stand your ground.” I frowned at him. I didn’t have time to argue as we sped onward towards home. As we went, we knocked down and ran over many of the attackers who were in our way. Upon reaching our house, we found it to be on fire and Captain Simone and her guards were hastily trying to put it out while simultaneously fighting off purists.

Eric got out of the car and ran over to the captain. “Cap! Where’s my wife and kids?” he asked, knocking out a purist. “They’re at your parents’ home.” “Thank god. Darcy! Stay in the car!” Stay in the car? He was definitely acting like a Dad. He wasn’t even thinking about himself, or worrying that he might be turned or devoured. I couldn’t stay in the car, Eric needed my help whether he liked it or not.

I opened my door and ran towards Eric and the captain. “I can help!” “No, this is a dangerous environment for you right now. Do as your father says and go back in the car.” the cap said. “But-” “Go Darcy!” Eric said, knocking another purist down. He did have backup and he was handling things…

I’ll just stay by the car and keep an eye out.

I went back to the car only to find a purist waiting for me. He had fresh blood on his face. Thankfully, I couldn’t smell its intoxicating aroma…No, don’t even think about that. Perhaps this was what cap was worried about. Even so I needed to stay focus. “You should join us! We could use someone like you.” he said.

“Hell no!” “You rather go against nature and become more human like?” “It’s not natural for us to eat people. The purist spat a piece of flesh from his mouth, disgusted at my response. “You’re a sell out! You’ll die with your fleshings!”

Crap.

In a rage he leapt at me, pushing me to the ground. He bit into me and began to rip off my limbs. Not this again. As I attempted to fight him off, I could see out of the corner of my eye Eric, the cap and her team fighting off a swarm of purists who were about to overwhelm them. No!

I needed to get this deadie off me. Thankfully an armored fire truck rammed the back of the swarm, it was the fire squad. Ever since the Black Wave, fire brigades around the country were armed not only with tools to put out fires but also tools to put down the undead who attacked them. Their axes were sharp and double edged and so were their spears and pikes, and of course their vehicle was armored. Their water pumps and hoses sprayed out not only water at a high pressure but also an acid that ate away dead tissue in a minute’s time. Not many trucks carried the acid as it was somewhat toxic and very costly to make.

This fire brigade did carry the acid and in no time, the swarm was defeated and the fire was put out. “Thanks now go help the others! Move out, assist them, and retake this subdivision!”” I heard the captain say. “Yes sir!” As the fire engine rumbled, I could hear the squad moving out towards the other homes still ablaze. “Where’s my daughter?” I heard Eric ask.

“Over here! Help!” I yelled. “ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!” I was still struggling with my purist attacker. “You two with me!” the captain said. I was having a hard time fighting the dude off, for as fast as my limbs could regrow, he would rip them off again. “I WILL BASH YOUR BRAINS OUT!” he shouted grabbing my neck.

Instantly, something snapped inside of me. I was angry, I hadn’t felt this before as it was a different type of rage that boiled in me. I head butted guy, knocking him a couple of feet. My limbs grew back even faster than they ever had before.

As he stumbled back I leapt up off the ground. The purist regrouped and charged at me, his movements appeared very slow and I was able to block all his punches. I was a newly powered Peter Parker and he was same old Flash Thompson. I ripped his left arm off and then used it to hit his right leg, causing him to fall to the floor. Since he was a reanimate, his limb would not regrow. He was finally down for the count.

“Darcy!” I turned to see Eric, the captain and her guards running towards me. “I’m okay.” I said. “Good.” “What do we have here?” the captain asked, looking at my attacker. He spat at her and said, “Fuck you, tisshit!” “Read him his rights.”

A guard came up to him and pulled out a small book and opened it. “You’re under arrest for rioting, arson, battery, and murder. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand your rights?”

The man remained silent. “Sir, do you understand your rights?” “Yes fleshing, I do.” “Good now take this asshole away.” the captain said. As he was being led away, the purist said to me, “You are something else zach, I don’t know what but you’re something else.”

Damn right I am.

I looked at Eric who hugged me and said, “Didn’t I tell you to stay in the car?” “Yeah but he attacked me before I could get in.” “You fought back.” “Yeah.” “I’m glad you’re okay.” “I hope our neighbors are okay.” “Me too.”

“Hey!” We turned to see Kurt, an armless Harley, Dharma, Ricky, and Joe walking towards us along with some of our neighbors with the RTF bringing up the rear. “Oh my god!” I said, as I hugged my boyfriend. “What happened? What are you doing here?”

“We were coming to visit you when the fire started.” Joe answered. “We were getting directions from one of your neighbors when the meat bags started attacking.” Kurt said our eyes meeting. I hadn’t seen him in a few days, since school and our jobs kept us busy. And Kurt had gotten a job as a late evening-early morning stocker at Pick ‘N’ Save. I missed him and his gorgeous eyes.

“We couldn’t just do anything so we helped.” Harley replied, jolting me out my trance. Her arm had grown back. “They were very helpful!” one of our neighbors Ms. Joyce said. “We would have been dead if they didn’t do anything or worse…” I glared at her and said, “Well I’m glad worse didn’t happen to you.”

Ms. Joyce looked away embarrassed. She was one of the most nosey and gossipy neighbors that we ever had. Throughout the years, she had caused a lot trouble for our family. I almost wished she had gotten turned. “Anyway,” one of the RTF officers said. “Your friends were very helpful and we didn’t lose a whole bunch of people.”

“That’s good to hear.” Eric said. “How many of our neighbors did we lose?” I asked. “Ten were killed and four were bitten.” The captain answered as she approached us. “Thankfully many were not at home at the time.” “That’s still too many.” I said.

“Usually the purists target human separatist neighborhoods and communities. Attacking mixed neighbors such as this one is a rare occurrence, but to be expected due to what’s happened in the last few months.” The captain said. One of the guards spoke into his radio when he called out to the captain. “Sir, we’ve located the leader and he’s in our custody.”

“Tell them to head to the Munroe’s home.” “Yes sir!” The captain turned to us and said, “As of right now this subdivision is on lockdown. No one comes in or goes out without my say so. The RTF’s base of operations will be the Munroe’s home. All of you have the option to return to your homes or come to the Munroe’s no other places are authorized.”

“We’ll we have guards to protect us?” Ms. Joyce asked. “Yes you will.” “Good, thank you captain. Thank you Darcy for you and your friends help!” “Sure thing.” “Goodbye!” Ms. Joyce said as she and the other neighbors returned to their homes. “She seems nice.” Dharma said. I rolled my eyes. “Please, that woman is a nasty backstabbing person. I don’t consider her a neighbor at all. She’s been horrible to our family ever since we’ve lived here.” “Wow, why does she live here then?”

“She thinks she’s an ‘ally’. You should hear the shit that comes out of her mouth. One minute she’s ‘Undead or human, I don’t see any difference,’ and then she’s like ‘Why does this lurker have to always sit by me on the bus for? He’s always moaning and I’m afraid him. But not you Darcy, you’re one of the good ones.’”

“And you heard what she said about being dead or worse?” Ricky said. “God what an asshole.” Harley said. “Come on you guys,” I said, “Let’s go to my house.” My friends said their goodbyes to the remaining neighbors who gave them their thanks and headed to my house. When we arrived, the chief of the fire squad was there to meet us. He spoke with Eric and the captain.

“The house is safe to enter and live in. It received minimal damage.” “Thank you captain, were the rest of our neighbors so fortunate?” “Unfortunately no, while none were destroyed, fifteen homes were badly damaged. Thankfully most of the families have relatives to stay with until their houses are repaired and the rest have the UUALF to help them out with living situations.”

“That’s good to hear.” Eric said. “Yes, chief the subdivision is on lockdown. I need your men to do a sweep of the neighborhood for any purists that may be hiding. If we didn’t find all of them, everyone will still be in danger.” “Not a problem captain, my team and I will get started.” “Good my men will assist.” the captain nodded to one of her guards who yelled out “Move out!”

 

 

 

26

When the truth does not get printed, damage is done.”

-Ben Elliot

 

Captain Simone

Captain’s Log: June 8th, 2015. 3pm.

With the main attack over, the fire squad and my men went to work sweeping the subdivision while Darcy and her friends remained safely guarded in her home, watching movies and TV shows on Netflix for the rest of the day. I had some of the guards stationed around the home on alert and on the watch for any suspecting purist. Eric had spoken to his wife on the phone and both he and Darcy were relieved to hear that Bianca and the twins, as well as his parents were safely at Connor.

Per my orders, they would remain there until the end of the trial. “It’ll be safer for you all there and hopefully it’ll prevent further attacks from occurring.” I had said. “I agree, though it’s rare for them to attack a neighborhood such as this, I think it’s best for us to stay…I just wonder why all of a sudden the purists decided to this? Why now?” Eric had pondered. “Most likely it’s because the trial is right around the corner. Whatever the reason, it’s my job to find out, and trust me I will find out.”

Eric smiled. In these last few months, he has lost the small beer belly he had had and was a skinny shell of his former self. It wasn’t easy being a father/lawyer/spokesperson for his undead daughter. “I appreciate what you and your men have done for us captain.” “I want to thank you and your family as well Eric.”

“What for?” “You’re giving me reason to hope again.” “She’s a special kid. I just wish that her father was here to see it.” Surprised, I asked. “You’re not her father?” “Not her biological one at least, you can’t really tell anyway since she looks like her mother. Her father died when she was six, he was my best friend.”

“Did you have to put him down?” Eric paused as he fought back the tears which had quickly appeared. His voice was nearly a whisper. “Once we almost did, but we cut off his arm. No…He put himself down…right in front of Darcy and Bianca.” “Holy shit…the kid’s been through a lot.” “Yeah…but she continues to defy the odds.” “Son of a bitch…yeah she does.”

Guess the doc was right.

My second in command Sergeant Cody Dillon, came from the garage to where Eric and I stood. “Sir, we’re ready to interrogate the leader.” “Alright, Eric go inside the house we’ll handle this and get the answers.” Eric nodded and went inside while Dillon and I headed into the garage. When we entered, we found the prisoner sitting with his legs crossed. A muzzle covered his mouth, and he appeared to be mumbling to himself as he stared out into space.

“He’s been like that ever since we found him. He had attacked Rex. And ripped right into his the jugular…he didn’t have a chance.” Rex was Dillon’s best friend. They had done two stints in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and had worked together side by side in the RTF…they would never do it again.

I rested a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry Dillon.” He gave me a wan smile. “Yeah, I am too, at least he turned so he still has a shot.” “They were able to stop the bleeding?” “Thanks to the doc, she had created a really cool tourniquet which puts pressure on the wound and cauterizes it.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “Son of a bitch.” “I know.” “The doc’s very innovated, always coming up with valuable inventions.” “She’s a little quirky though cap.” “All creative types are. Give me the rundown, how many men did we lose?”

“Ten.” “That’s not good but it’s still low.” “Yes sir, it is. We searched the prisoner and all he had on him was a cellphone.” “Take off the muzzle.” I looked at the purist who continued to mumble and stare. “Get his attention.” Dillon motioned to one of the guards and they began to beat a garbage can loudly. The purist awoke abruptly from his trance and looked menacingly at my men and I.

“I’m Captain Simone leader of the RTF 105th squad. We have questions and you have the answers.” I said. “Do I fleshing? Where’s my lawyer?” He hissed. “The purists are recognized as terrorists in this country, so you don’t get one.” “You mean I don’t have the same rights as the living.” “Undead and humans have the same rights.” “Hahahahaha!” he laughed. “That’s bullshit and you know it.” “Maybe so, but we’re not here to discuss politics. We’re here to get answers and you’re going to give them to us.” “You’re going to torture me?” the prisoner sneered. “Oh no, please don’t hurt me captain! Don’t water board me, I’ll be a good boy. Hahahahaha!” “Tase him.”

One of the guards revealed a brain defibrillator. Similar to the experimental implant created for epilepsy patients, this device regulates brain waves via electrical shocks. Instead of being implanted, the defibrillator is attached to the undead’s head on the right side of the skull. The device gives a shock to the portion of the brain to which its electrodes are attached. With epilepsy patients the current was set at a level that couldn’t be felt by the patient, however with the undead, the current is set to fire at a current so high that it fries the brain giving the recipient actual pain (this result as you can see surprised scientists at the time). The pain is monitored by something which looks like a TV remote so that the administrator can read the results.

It was first used for experimentation on reanimates at the beginning of the Black Wave. As time wore on, the RTF and other government agencies found new uses for it including as a method for interrogating prisoners-undead and humans. It was the only thing that was ever found to give the undead pain. The public did not know of its existence but there had always been unfounded rumors about it in the undead community and we made sure to keep it that way.

The purist roared in agony as he was tased. “You fucking tissshit cunt!” “Listen you fucking zom, we don’t have time for games. Why did you and your friends attack this neighborhood? It isn’t your style.” “Maybe we got inspired by the fashion on the street.” “Wrong answer, tase him again.” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGH!” Shaking, the monster said, “Wait.” “You have our answer?” “Yeah go fuck yourself!” He said, waving his two middle fingers at us.

Time was of the essence, and he was wasting ours. I decided to up the ante. “You want to play games, fine. Raise the voltage!” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “You fucking brawny! I’ll devour all of you! You have no idea who you’re messing with!” “It is you who doesn’t know who you’re dealing with! I can do this all day, raise the voltage.” The guard raised the voltage, shocking the prisoner’s brain. He continued to cry out in agony. “Again!” I said. “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “Again!” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “Again!” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “Again!” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “One more time.” “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!”

I thought he had enough, but just to make sure, I knelt down cautiously in front of the prisoner. I looked the purist in the eye and asked, “Still want to play games?” He began to bellow and growl as he snapped at me, barely missing my face with his teeth. There were bits of flesh stuck in between the molars, I could smell the putrid stench of rotting flesh as I leapt back from his attack. The guard hit the ghoul with a higher voltage which brought forth smoke from its head.

“Mercy!” the purist cried, “Mercy, I beg you!” “Mercy?” I retorted, “Mercy? Did you show mercy to the people you and your friends attacked? Did you exhibit mercy as you bit down on them and ate their flesh? Hit him again!” “No! Please I beg you n-AAAAAAARGGGGGGGH!” “Sir! His vitals are dangerously low, we’ll lose him if we continue.” Dillon said.

I nodded and bent down again. This time, I smelled the burnt crisp smell of the purist’s body, it shielded the rotten stench from his mouth. I looked in his eyes and could actually see for the first time fear. His eyes provoked and reminded me that what sat before me was a human who had gone down a dark, twisted and unnatural path not of his choosing. Oh did he choose? I had heard of humans who volunteered to become one of the undead, the reasons for this varied greatly. It didn’t matter right then how he came to be what he was. I paused and looked directly into his eyes and then I spoke.

“No more games boy, why did you attack this neighborhood? Speak quickly your life depends on it.” The man coughed and a blotch of dark red coagulated blood appeared upon his lips as he replied. “We were contacted anonymously by someone who wanted to hire us to attack the neighborhood. They told us it was an all human neighborhood.” “Did they give you a name? Was it a man or a woman?” “It was woman living or undead I do not know for she concealed her speech pattern, they gave the name of Alacer.”

I looked at Dillon and said, “Trace the call.” “Yes sir!” Dillon plugged the prisoner’s phone into his portable tracking device. “We’ve got a hit.” I moved closer to him. “Where?” “Metrowest, the address is located in a separatist enclave.” “Send guards to that address, arrest any who reside there and any who give you trouble.” “Yes sir!”

I returned to the purist and bent down and said, “We’ve found your employer.” He spat blood and replied, “I see…” “Sir, D unit has apprehended suspects. Three females, two males, all human. It appears they’re members of an extreme separatist group. Looks like the purists were set up.”

I looked at the prisoner. He was now a shell of his defiant self. “Did you know that alacer is the Latin word meaning brisk, cheerful, alert, keen, lively, and alive? Your employer was a human separatist group…a hate group hiring a hate group to do its bidding of spreading fear. I’ve find that to be both interesting and pathetic.” Disillusioned at the revelation the man replied, “We would never had attacked this place if we knew our undead kin lived there.”

“But you still did.” Dillon replied. Nodding in agreement I said, “Apparently the revelation didn’t changed your mind much. All you heard was ‘human neighborhood’.” “They are traitors to their own race! They protected those stupid brawnies when they should have feasted on them! The money didn’t hurt either.” “It only hurt the people that you attacked.”

I stood up and spoke to Dillon. “Take him away with the others, I want an armored transport for him, the other purists, and the separatists.” “Yes sir.” The guards returned the muzzle to the young man’s face without any struggle or aggression from the prisoner. As the guards emptied the Munroe’s garage with their prisoner in tow, I recalled Dillon. “Dillon, wait just a moment.” “Yes captain.” I whispered something into his ear. He grinned and said, “It’s done.” I nodded and he left. I then went inside to speak with Eric.

*******

Later in the afternoon, we all gathered to watch the five o’clock news on Channel Nine. Vivian Echols was reporting live from in front of the sheriff’s task force headquarters in Orlando.

Breaking news in the Darcy Munroe case today. Earlier this afternoon the subdivision where Darcy resides was attacked by the undead cult and terrorist organization the Purists. Twenty people were killed-ten neighbors and ten RTF guards. An RTF soldier was among the five who were infected.

The neighborhood is on total lockdown-no one goes in or out…hold on there’s an update…oh wow…okay it appears that though the Purists carried out the attack, they were anonymously hired by a human extremist separatist group based out of Metrowest. All the suspects have been apprehended or killed…it also appears that Darcy and other undead helped protect and assist the human neighbors, the RTF and fire brigade forces….”

“Notice how she doesn’t call the separatist group a terrorist organization.” Kurt said. He’s been a good boyfriend to Darcy. He’s loyal, loving, compassionate, and fierce…he reminded me of Daryl when he was younger. “There’s law in congress back by the Undead Council that’s in the process of being passed that will change that.” Eric said.

“I hope it passes.” Ricky said. “Me too.” I replied. “It will make my job a little easier.” “One thing bothers me.” Darcy said. “How did news get out so quickly, with our neighborhood being on lockdown?” “When there’s a will there’s a way.” I answered with a twinkle in my eyes. “Mrs. Echols is a great reporter and she gets the job done.”

“I don’t know…I didn’t see any type of media here.” Harley said. “Maybe someone tweeted about it?” Eric said. “Maybe, it could have been Ms. Joyce.” Dharma replied. At the mention of her nosey neighbor, Darcy rolled her eyes in disgust. “Who knows?” I said, “Hopefully this information will further change people’s perceptions about you Darcy.”

The next day the news Ms. Echols reported had spread like wildfire. Every news and social media organization was talking and debating about it, and Darcy’s image continued to improve. “This is great news kiddo.” I told said giving her the newspaper, her picture was on the front page. “I guess so,” Darcy said. “Every little bit helps but I’m sad that people had to die.” “That was none of your doing. You had no control over the purists’ actions. You only had control over your actions and you did what you were able to do. I’m proud of you.” “Thanks cap.”

Whether she knew it or not, Darcy was changing my opinion of the undead. I didn’t mind reanimates too much, they had once been human after all. It was the revenants who I didn’t feel comfortable around, they were such an anomaly. I wouldn’t have thought their existence could be possible, but there they were and Darcy and her friends acted more human than a lot of us living folk have been acting since this chaos had begun.

“The RTF and the fire squad have finished sweeping your subdivision. They found three more purists, one was charred but still breathing so they put that one of its misery. The other two are in custody.” “That’s good so do we have to still go to the facility?” “Yes, until the end of the trial. Gather your friends so we can get going.” “Okay.”

An hour later, Darcy was reunited with her family. She hugged her Mom and the twins and acknowledged Rachel and shook Emil’s hand. From the little she had told me about them, she wasn’t too fond of her grandparents, particularly. I didn’t blame Darcy, Rachel was very snobbish. “I’m glad you’re safe, but I’m sorry you had to come back here.” Bianca had told Darcy.

Mrs. Munroe was a brave woman, she had been through a lot. She loved her children and was fiercely protective of them, I admired her spirit and dedication. “It’s okay, I made friends here and my family’s here. The only thing I rather not have here is Rachel but it’s fine.” Darcy’s said.

“She’s your family hon.” “Tell her that.” “I think they’re coming around slowly but surely. Don’t give up on them okay? They’re very sorry for the dinner. And remember they did come to your birthday party and give you a truck, a purple truck.” Darcy sighed and said, “Okay I’ll try not to. Speaking of dinner, I’m hungry let’s eat.”

Dinner was a silent affair as everyone was drained of the recent events and had only enough energy to eat and then retire to their rooms for sleep. Darcy had one more day of freedom left before the trial and there was something she needed to do tomorrow.

“Just me, my family, and Kurt okay?” She told me. “I think that’s unwise,” I had told her, “You might be attacked, I can’t risk it.” “Please cap? I really need to do this since I’m not sure if I’ll get to visit him again.” “Who?” “My Daddy. I need to go see my Daddy’s grave.”

 

 

 

27

The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

Darcy

After the purist attack, it was really nice to recuperate at the facility and be amongst friends. I spent my time hanging out with my friends, being with Kurt, playing with the twins, and talking to Eric about my Daddy. Emil and Rachel were getting to know my boyfriend and friends and they had been speaking to Dr. Saki and Captain Simone as well and I think it helped them rethink their prejudicial views.

Today I was heading to the Longwood Memorial Gardens Cemetery to visit my Daddy’s grave. With the law the way it was, it was hard for a lot of families to find a proper burial place for their undead loved ones. Thankfully, our city clerk wasn’t crooked and made sure that the city provided a place where families could bury both their dead and their undead.

The cemetery was located in the historic district of the city and had been established in 1957. Unlike other cemeteries in the area, this was the only one where undead and human alike were buried together. Granted they were buried in separate areas within the five-acre oasis-due to local politics-they were still buried in a place that accepted undead.

It was a windy sunny day as we drove to the cemetery. Per my request, Rachel and Emil had stayed behind at the facility. In Daddy’s last days they weren’t very kind to him and I partially blamed them for his demise and I didn’t want to argue with them at his tombstone. They didn’t argue about remaining behind, but I could tell they were a little hurt that they couldn’t come. I felt a little bit bad since our relationship had slowly gotten better, but the memories of them being mean to Daddy were very fresh and strong.

As the car drove up the cemetery’s driveway, I looked out the window and watched the scenery go by. It seemed as though we were a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city of with the live oaks, southern red cedar trees, crepe myrtle trees, and Washington palms dotting the landscape. When we parked, Kurt and I walked ahead of my parents who held the twins in their arms. We headed towards the water feature and Columbaria, located in the middle of the cemetery.

“It’s beautiful here.” I said, looking around. “That’s because you’re here.” Kurt answered. I smiled and said, “This is one of the few places where I feel at peace.” “I think it’s because you’re technically dead.” “Hah. I think it’s also because I can really feel my Dad here.” “You don’t feel him anywhere else?” “Oh I do, it’s just here is where I feel his spirit most.”

“Why here?” “He’s at peace here.” “I wonder…” Kurt said as he paused. “What?” I asked. “Do you believe in ghosts?” “I’m not sure. I see some of the spirits of the folks who died during the Bloody Mary Massacre.” “You do?” “Yeah, I mean anything is possible, we exist.” “Yeah we do.” “Do you see your Dad’s ghost?” “No.” I answered, sadly shaking my head. “Maybe today you will.” “We’ll see.”

I looked back to see my family finally catching up to us. “Darcy!” whined Wynonna, “You’re supposed to wait for us!” “Yeah sis!” Peter chimed in. “I am waiting silly!” I answered patting my sister’s head. “It seems bigger than the last time we’ve been here.” Eric said. “Many people have died since then.” Mom replied. “This is the few places in Central Florida that will take undead so a lot of folks in the surrounding counties come to bury their-I mean everyone.”

“I’m glad that they allow it, everyone should get a proper burial.” “Yes, they should.” Peter went over to Eric and asked, “Why are we here? No one’s died in our family.” “Someone did die years before you were born.” “Who was it?” “Darcy’s Dad.” Wide eyed in amazement Peter said, “But you’re her Dad.”

Oh great, now he decides to tell them.

Eric shook his head and said, “Mommy and I didn’t make Darcy like we made you and Wynonna.” “That’s not true!” Peter said. He couldn’t accept it. “You’re just teasing.” “No I’m not.” In disbelief, Peter ran back over to me and Wynonna and asked, “Darcy, Daddy said that we’re here to visit your Dad.”

“Peter that’s mean, daddy’s Darcy’s Dad too!” Wynonna answered. “Peter’s not being mean, both things are true.” I replied. “What’s true?” Kurt asked. “Oh yeah I haven’t told you.” “Told me what?” “Eric isn’t my biological father.” “Why do you say that?” Wynonna asked as tears poured from her eyes. “Just because you and Daddy don’t get along sometimes doesn’t mean he’s not your Daddy.” “I can’t believe they didn’t tell you guys this.” I muttered.

Bending down, I held my siblings brother hands and said, “Look, your Daddy is my adoptive Dad. My real Dad died before you were born.” “Was he, was he nice?” Peter asked, joining in the crying. “Yeah he was. Sometimes he had incidents, he was a reanimate.” “Did Daddy know him?” Wynonna asked. “Oh yes.” Eric said. He and Mom had come over to us just in time to help. He bent down and joined us holding onto one of my hands and to Wynonna’s as he continued with Kurt, Peter, and Mom looking on.

“I knew Yoh since we were kids, we were like brothers. When he got sick, I promised him that I would take care of Mommy and your sister. Things were not always easy between us after that, but we still were brothers. Your sister didn’t know him as well as Mommy and I did because he was taken from us when Darcy was six.”

“What was he like?” Peter asked. “He was a great guy who always had my back and I always had his. He was tough and brave and though at times he could be mean, his compassion and love always won out. When we were kids he protected me from bullies and when he got sick as an adult I protected him…sometimes even from himself…”

Eric looked down at the ground and tears began to well up in his eyes. Mom and I did the same. The bad memories were running through our minds and would have continued to do so if Kurt hadn’t asked a question. “Where is he buried?” The question brought us out of the funk, and Eric answered pointing, “Right over there in the reanimate section of the cemetery.”

I rose up off my knees and grabbed Kurt’s hand and said, “Come on I’ll show you.” We led the way towards Daddy’s final resting place, my family following behind us. When we arrived at his tombstone, I stood apart from everyone else, and took a small booklet from my pocket. I then took three steps forward and then three steps back and began to recite the mourner’s kaddish.

“Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba… b’al’ma di v’ra khir’utei….v’yam’likh mal’khutei b’chayeikhon uv’yomeikhon…uv’chayei d’khol beit yis’ra’eil…uv’chayei d’khol beit yis’ra’eil…Amein. Y’hei sh’mei raba…m’varakh l’alam ul’al’mei al’maya. Yit’barakh v’yish’tabach v’yit’pa’ar v’yit’romam v’yit’nasei…v’yit’hadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal…sh’mei d’kud’sha B’rikh hu. l’eila min kol bir’khata… v’shirata toosh’b‘chatah v’nechematah…da’ameeran b’al’mah, v’eemru….Amein.Y’hei sh’lama raba…min sh’maya v’chayim aleinu…v’al kol yis’ra’eil v’im’ru…Amein. aleinu v’al kol Yis’ra’eil…v’im’ru Amein.”

When I was finished, Wynonna and Peter put two rocks on the ground in front of the tombstone. When Kurt saw this, he was confused and asked, “Why don’t you have flowers to put on his grave? Why use stones?” Mom answered, “In our religion, death is not a tragedy even when it occurs through unfortunate circumstances or early on in life. Death is a natural process and just like our lives, it has meaning and is all part of God’s plan. We leave stones because unlike flowers they’re permanent and don’t get blown away in the wind. It’s a little like letting the person who’s passed away know that we were there to visit them.”

“Is that why you raised me the way you do Mom?” I asked. “Huh?” “You don’t see death as a tragedy. I’m ‘dead’ but you don’t see me as a tragedy right?” “When you were born, your father and I thought you were the best gift a parent could ever receive, and we still believe that. Your life has never been a tragedy and it never will be.”

Thanks Mom.

Wynonna tugged on my shirt and asked, “Can Peter and I talk to your Dad?” This is why I love my sister and brother. They’re so selfless and kind. “Sure you can!” Peter went first. “Mr. Yoh, we didn’t know you but we know your daughter and she’s the best sister ever!” “Thank you for helping Mommy make her!” Wynonna said. “Yeah thank you!” Kurt chimed in, I grinned.

“I know Daddy would have loved you two.” I said, playfully poking them both. “Come on,” Mom said, “Daddy and Darcy would like to talk to Yoh in private.” Mom took the twins and led them back to the water feature and Columbaria. “I’ll see you both back at the car.” Kurt said. “Hey Mrs. Munroe, wait up!” “No Kurt stay with me please?” “Sure.” “Thanks I want you to meet Daddy.”

We stood a few yards away, waiting for Eric to finish speaking to Daddy. Being undead we have great hearing so even though we tried our best not to listen, we could not help but overhear Eric’s conversation.

Yoh…it’s been a long time since I’ve came here…it’s been too long. I wanted to let you know, I’m keeping my promise, and I’ll continue to keep it till the day I die. Our daughter she’s getting big man. She’s growing into a smart, mature, beautiful young lady. She’s got a boyfriend-don’t worry he’s a good guy. I’m keeping my eye on him. You’ll meet him in a minute.

We’re going through a hard time right now and we could really use your help. Things have been bad man, and tomorrow the trial starts. I’m scared shitless but Darcy’s so brave! You would be proud of her.

I miss you. We all miss you. Bianca…she’ll come later to talk. She misses you like crazy. She doesn’t miss the bad shit-you know the incidents. Sometimes I get jealous when she mentions you. I know you loved her, she knows. I hope you knew that she loved you-she still does. I know I’ll never replace you in her heart and that can be hard at times for me…But then I remind myself that I’m here and you’re not…that’s hard for you I bet. I know it’s mean to say. But then again, in a way we were always mean to each other…Our meanness didn’t overtake our love for each other though. We were blood brothers till the end, though did it? I hope you’re proud of me. Darcy’s going to talk to you now.”

When Eric was finished, he got up and kissed Yoh’s tombstone. “Love you bro.” He whispered as he rose. He walked over to us and said with tears in his eyes, “Every time I come here, it gets harder. I miss him kiddo.” “I know…I miss him too.” “I felt him. I know he’s going to be with us-he’s always been but for the past couple of years I didn’t feel him there ya know?” I nodded in agreement and said, “Yeah. I’ve always felt him but here is where I can really feel him and speak to him about things.”

“Go ahead, we’ll be waiting by the car.” “Okay.” Watching Eric head for the car, I tugged Kurt and said, “Come on.” Kneeling at the gravesite, I began to talk to Daddy. “Hi Daddy I’ve missed you. I’m sorry that I haven’t been here in a while, I was at the facility. Don’t worry it’s a good one, they’ve treated me very well there…I want you to meet someone. This is my boyfriend Kurt.” I beckoned to Kurt who stepped up to the tombstone. “Hello sir, I wish we could have met. Darce says that you were a musician, I’m one as well.”

“I feel that he would have liked you.” I said. “Thanks, I’m going to leave you two alone now. I’ll see you at the car.” As Kurt left, I smiled and placed both of my hands around the tombstone. I continued my conversation. “Daddy I’m afraid, I don’t know what will happen. I wish that none of it had happened. I wish you didn’t kill yourself, but then again…I wouldn’t have met Kurt or Harley, Joe, Dharma and Ricky. I wouldn’t have reconciled somewhat with Eric. Please don’t hate him, he’s okay he’s not you nor will he ever be. He can’t replace you, but he’s a good guy so don’t hate him. No matter what, I know you’re with me. Mommy loves you but you know that, you guys have your talks on a regular basis anyway so you know. I love you Daddy.”

I got off my knees kissed the tombstone. I didn’t see my Dad, but I felt a strong presence reminiscent of him. I knew he was with me. I waved goodbye and headed back to the car. Everyone was waiting for me at the water feature and Columbaria. “Ya’ll ready?” I asked. “Yes, let’s go.” Eric replied. As we walked to the car, I noticed two individuals approaching.

It was Mr. and Mrs. Phillips and they quickly recognized me and their pace quickened.

“Stay behind me.” Eric said as he and Mom moved in front of me and the twins. Oh God, please don’t let them have a gun. “You!” Mrs. Phillips screamed as she pointed at my parents. “You are the reason why my daughter is gone! You had to breed and produce that monster!”

“Mrs. Phillips,” Mom said. “We are truly sorry for your loss-”“Don’t speak to me you whore!” “Don’t you dare call my Mom that!” I said from behind. Alright I tried to be nice but I had it, they’ve been asking for this for years now. “Darcy-” Eric said “It’s okay. I can handle these two.”

“Like you handled our daughter?” answered Mr. Phillips. I’ll handle you, I’ll bite your damn face off, keep it up. “Don’t speak to my child like that!” Mom responded. “Your child is a monster and a murderer! Because of her we have to come to this horrid place to see our daughter since everyone else deemed her a reanimate at death and refused to bury her.”Mr. Phillips said.

“She’s an abomination!” Mrs. Phillips screamed. “She and that boy are abominations! They’re nothing!” Tears rushed down her cheeks as she pointed at me and Kurt. And what is your daughter then? “Mrs. Phillips,” I said as I started to cry, “You’re daughter called me that many times before she killed herself.” “Darcy-” Mom said placing her hand on my shoulder.

“No Mom, let me finish.” I said, moving in front of my parents to face the Phillips. “Ever since I can remember, your daughter had had it out for me. She was afraid and she used her fear to bully me and others like me. On the day she died she and her friends ambushed me and stirred up a mob they would have most likely killed me.”

I was shaking with a mixture of anger and sadness. I didn’t attempt to fight back the many tears rolling down my cheeks. “She said those same words to me when they pulled my limbs apart. She said them when she yelled in my face. And at that Moment I thought your daughter, her friends, and the whole mob would bash my head in.”

The Phillips stood there silently, their heads bowed at the ground as I looked directly at them. They would not look back, the damn cowards. Then I uttered words which captured their attention. “Right before she died Wendy told me she brought the gun for me. She was going to kill me! Your daughter! But instead she killed herself, and I had to watch. Her last words to me were the same ones you said to me. She told me that I was nothing.”

Mrs. Phillips sharply raised her head, her face flushed with emotion. She opened her mouth and moaned as tears rushed down her face. She collapsed and Mr. Phillips struggled to keep her upright. Eric moved forward to help but Mr. Phillips blocked his path and said,

“Don’t touch her! You and your family have done enough, just leave us alone.” “Mr. Phillips, I-” “LEAVE US! JUST GO! Just…go…” Mr. Phillips joined his wife in her mourning. Eric turned to us and said, “Come on, let’s go.” It was a solemn proceeding which moved passed the Philips. Mom and the twins went first, Kurt and Eric followed. I stayed behind looking at the Phillips, immersed in their grief. Realizing I hadn’t moved, Eric stopped, turned and said with an outstretched hand,

“Darcy. Come on, there’s nothing you can do for them.” I solemnly nodded and walked past the grieving couple and grabbed Eric’s hand. I held it firmly in my own, and we began to walk and soon caught up to the others who had reached the car. “Should I have not said anything?” I asked him.

“You had every right to say what you said.” he answered, “You didn’t say it in a mean way. You spoke the truth and maybe it hit a chord with them. Maybe they realized that the only monster that existed on that day was their own kid. Maybe they’ll change their beliefs about the undead.”

“And then they’ll drop the charges? I won’t have to go to court?” “People don’t change that quickly kiddo. Besides it’s the state that brought the charges against you and I doubt they’re going to drop them.” “We can always hope right?” Mom said. I smiled and said, “Yeah, we can always hope.”

It was a silent trip as we drove back, only interrupted briefly when we dropped Kurt off to his apartment. Aside from that there was no sound but the humming of the car’s engine. The silence wasn’t a dreadful one; no one had the strength to talk about anything after an emotionally charged day. The twins were asleep and soon I too began to drift away into the world of dreams drained and worried about what tomorrow would bring me and my family.

 

 

 

28

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.”

-Albert Einstein

 

On the first day of my trial, I awoke to a beautiful morning. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day…which meant it was going to be a very strange one for me. Everything was calm…a little to calm. “It’s too quiet for my tastes.” Captain Simone said to Dillon and the other guards who were ushering me and Eric into the SUV. “Stay alert, stay vigilant.” “Yes sir!”

This time there was no motorcade to escort us to the courthouse, and as we made our way down the road and onto 17-92, the tension rose. There were no protesters or reporters lining the street. No cops or their blockades were present, and no helicopters hovered above. Except for the humming of the SUV and the chirping of the birds, the street was empty and silent. It was a very eerie atmosphere.

Where is everyone?

“None of this feels right. We had a lot of people during the jury selection.” Eric said. “Yeah, it’s definitely creepy. Keep your eyes peeled, Dillon.” the captain said. “Yes sir!” he answered. Dillon looked into the mirror at the three guards sitting in the back of the SUV with me and Eric and said, “Arms at the ready men!” The guards readied their weapons as we continued down the silent road.

We were ready for anything but nothing came. Upon reaching the courthouse, the tension eased as we came upon a familiar scene. Sequestered six yards away from the entrance where the many protesters divided up into their own areas within the allotted space, while the police and RTF looked on and kept the peace. On the opposing side were representatives of the media whose vans were neatly parked in their own designated areas, while the owners were up and about, ready to report and discuss the trial.

This group of protesters and media were a bit smaller than the enormous presence we had witnessed on my previous visit. “Now there’s a sight for sore eyes, huh kiddo?” Eric said. “Yeah, guess the rest of them slept in.” I answered. “Don’t be fooled by this small crowd.” Dillon said. “Dillon is right. As the day wears on, there will be more and more people and that will continue to progress every day.” the captain said. “The mornings might be better than the rest of the day hopefully.” Dillon said. “Yes it might be, but we must stay vigilant regardless.” “Agreed.”

Pulling up to the entrance the captain turned in her seat to face me and said, “Same as last time are you ready?” “Yes.” “Let’s go.” Like before, the captain, Dillon and the rest of their team exited the vehicle first and formed a semicircle on the side facing the courthouse. Eric and I exited and two of the guards moved behind us as we walked towards the entrance.

I could hear some of the epithets that were being hurled, and winced with each one. Eric tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Try to block them out, focus on something else.” “Okay.” I tried to do what Eric suggested, and instead focused on keeping my cool. I found it to be much easier than it had been before and calmness settled over me as we entered the building.

After going through security, we entered the courtroom. This time, the Phillips were nowhere to be seen. This puzzled me but I didn’t dwell on it for long. My main goal was to be prepared if I decided to testify. Eric and I had debated this since the beginning. He wasn’t fully against me testifying, he was just cautious about it. “I don’t want the prosecution to get you worked up and then you lose control.” he had told me. “I won’t let them make me lose control.” I had answered, “I’m more in control now than I have ever been.”

“I know kiddo, but still I’m not sure. We’ll see how the proceedings go and if you feel in your heart that you want to take the stand, I won’t stop you.” “I don’t have a heartbeat so I won’t be able to feel anything.” “You know what I mean.” “I know.” I grinned.

Now as I waited for the trial to start, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I didn’t bother to look at the audience entering the room behind me, since Mom and the twins weren’t present. Mom would come to watch some of the trial in person and leave the twins with our grandparents. But not today, she was too tired to go. She would watch the trial unfold on the TV in the visiting area at Conner. That’s where everyone would watch it-the lab assistants, guards, ‘prisoners’ and their guests.

During trials, the undead were allowed in the courtroom but were only allowed to sit in the designated undead balcony, located directly above the gallery. Unless an undead was a witness or one of the plaintiffs, we were not allowed in the courtroom due to the ‘potential danger’ it held. My friends were among the undead folks who sat in the balcony. I appreciated how they lent their support by sending their positive vibes to me and my family. It was all they could do but we greatly appreciated their contribution, as I needed all the help I could get.

Public support for me had risen thanks to Dr. Saki’s appearance on the Danai Olamina Show in addition to my friends and me protecting the residents of my neighborhood. But support was still low and Eric had more to do to get public opinion to continue changing to our favor. And that time was now and he was ready.

Five minutes later the bailiff entered the courtroom, my trial was about to begin. “All rise….this court is now in session. The honorable Judge Avery presiding.” The judge entered. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, you may be seated. Calling the case of the People of the State of Florida versus Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe, are both sides ready?” “Ready for the People, Your Honor.” “Ready for the defense, Your Honor.” I hope so. Judge Avery turned to the clerk and asked, “Will the clerk please swear in the jury?”

The jury box consisted of six people-three men and three women. Four of them were White, two were Asian, one was Black, and all were human. It was rare for the undead to be part of a jury. They were only allowed in a case where both sides were human. Then and only then reanimates were allowed and revenants were forbidden. My only hope was that this jury would be fair and impartial even if they held any bias against me and my kind. I was going on a little faith…very little faith.

The clerk nodded and turned to the jurors and said, “Will the jury please stand and raise your right hand?” The group rose and each person raised their right hand. Once their hands were raised, the clerk continued, “Do each of you swear that you will fairly try the case before this court, and that you will return a true verdict according to the evidence and the instructions of the court, so help you, God? Please say “I do”.” “I do.” “You may be seated.”

As the jurors took their seats, Judge Avery said, “Ms. Constance, you may make your opening statement.” “Thank you your honor.” The district attorney stood up and walked towards the jury box. She smiled at the jurors and began her speech.

“Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, counsel for the prosecution, and Darcy and the Munroe family: Darcy Munroe is a monster. That may sound harsh, but it is the reality of the world we live in. Because of the virus RHCMV-X, humans who usually gave birth to beautiful bundles of joy, gave birth to something uncanny. Something we cannot yet explain. They may look human but revenants are not human, nor do they have any human qualities.

The defendant attacked a human being, Wendy Phillips by biting her on the neck. This resulted in Miss Phillips ending her life, as she did not want to be a monster. Darcy Munroe is a monster and therefore a murderer. The evidence in this case will prove that to you as well as show the people in this world who think otherwise are fools.”

The prosecutor let her words sink for a minute before returning to her seat. I really disliked her. Most likely she really believed everything she had spoken about me, I just hope the jurors didn’t. Eric gravely rose and approached the jurors. It was now his turn to speak.

“Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: under the law my client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If that is true, then that means my client is not a monster as the prosecutor so eloquently put it. It means my daughter Darcy Munroe is a human being. Granted, she and others like her are not what we call ‘normal’. They are unique individuals who were born into this harsh world that many have imagined or believed for centuries was a possibility but one that had the slightest chance of coming to past. When my wife gave birth to our daughter, we did not look at our child as an uncanny thing…we looked at her as a beautiful bundle of joy. Darcy Munroe is not a monster, nor is she a murderer. She was born from a human being; therefore she is a human being.”

After letting his words sink in for a Moment, Eric continued. “This is a case of misidentification of who the victim really is. Darcy’s life was threatened. She did not intend to bite Miss Phillips, but she did what she had to in order to defend herself. She stood her ground, she is the victim while Miss Phillips was the aggressor. The evidence in this case will prove that to you.”

With that Eric returned to his seat while the jury digested his words. Eric believed the words he spoke and so did I, the question was would the jury believe them as well? It was now time for the witnesses to take the main stage. First up were the witnesses for the prosecution.

“The prosecution may call its first witness.” Judge Avery said. With the two assistant state attorneys giving her the go-ahead, lead prosecutor Constance called her first witness. “The People call Katrina Smith to the stand.” The class clown rose and headed to the box.

I hadn’t seen Katrina in a long time. She still wore her permed hair straight up in a scrunchy with the ends sticking out of it, but today she wore a pressed pantsuit instead of her usual attire. The bailiff asked her to take the stand. Once in the witness box, the clerk said, “Please stand and raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

“I do.” Katrina answered. “Please state your first and last name.” “Katrina Smith.” “You may be seated.” As she sat down, the court reporter asked, “Please spell your last name for the record.” “S-M-I-T-H.” The lead attorney stood up and asked, “Katrina where do you go to school?” “I attend Lyman High.” “Were you there on the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “Yes I was.” “Was one of your friends the late Wendy Phillips?” Tears began to well up in Katrina’s eyes as she answered, “Yes.”

“Did you see Wendy on that day?” “Yes I did.” “Did you see Darcy on that day?” Katrina face turned from sorrow to hatred as she answered. “Yes I did.” “Can you please tell the court what happened on that day?” “We decided to surprise Darcy that morning, so we went inside the school and hid behind the main doors. As Darcy opened them we pushed the doors opened and she fell to the ground.” “What happened next?” “We…we pulled her arms and legs off and then Wendy began to call Darcy names. Then a group began to gather round us-students and people who were in the neighborhood.”

“Why did you pull Darcy’s arms and legs off?” “We don’t like her.” “Are you afraid of her?” “Yes.” “Have you ever felt that you were in danger whenever she was near?” “Yes.” Bullshit. “Please continue with what happened.” “I didn’t see anything after that because I went inside. The crowd was getting too big which worried me. I heard a lot of screaming and yelling and then after that a gunshot.” Liar. “What did you do?”

“I stayed inside and called 911. Once the RTF, the police, and the ambulance arrived, I went outside.” Liar. “What did you see when you finally went outside?” “I saw…I saw…” “Take your time.” “I saw Wendy’s body as they covered her up with a sheet. I saw Darcy just sitting by a puddle of brains.” “Did she do anything?” “No she was calm.” “Did she pick up any of the brains?” A murmur rose up in the room.

Now I really don’t like this lady. “Objection!” Eric shouted angrily. “Counsel is stereotyping my client and misleading the jury.” “Sustained. Counsel please rephrase your question.” “Let me rephrase.” the prosecutor said. “Did Darcy make any sudden movements?” “No. She was calm, very calm. Almost human-” “Thank you Katrina. I have no further questions.”

Judge Avery looked at Eric and asked, “Does the defense have any questions?” “Yes your honor.” Eric quickly rose and approached the witness. “You said that you and your friends pulled of my client’s limbs.” “Yes we did.” “Was she attacking you?” “No.” “Was she moving as to attack you?” “No.” “Oh so you just attacked her for no reason.” “Well…yeah.” “As you stated, you ‘don’t like her.’” “Yes.” “And you are a bully.” “Yes…” Another murmur went up in the courtroom, the judge slammed his gavel and it died down.

“You stated that you ran inside because you feared that the crowd was getting too big is that correct?” “Yes.” “You also stated that you called 911.” “Yes.” “That’s interesting because other witnesses stated that you were nowhere to be found on school grounds that you went home. Is that correct?” “Yes.” “So it can be safe to say that t in your testimony just now, you lied not only to the prosecutor but to the court as well, is that correct?” “Yes. Well-” “No further questions.”

Eric returned to his seat as Judge Avery asked the prosecutor, “Would you like to redirect?” “No your honor.” “The witness is excused.” Katrina stepped down from the bench and returned to her seat. “The prosecution may call the next witness.” “The People call Jennifer Dixon.” The tall light skinned girl built like a bionic woman with long flowing braids walked up to the stand, and the clerk swore her in.

“Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.” “Please state your first and last name.” “Jennifer Dixon.” The reporter stopped typing and asked, “Please spell your last name for the record.” “D-I-X-O-N.”

At the ready, the prosecutor began. “Jennifer, where do you go to school?” “I attend Lyman High.” “Were you there on the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “Yes I was.” “Was one of your friends the late Wendy Phillips?” “Yeah.” “Please tell the court what you saw.”

“We did like Katrina said, we pulled off Darcy’s arms and we all called her names. Not just Wendy.” “What happened next?” “A crowd was growing and Wendy was getting a rise off it.” “What about Darcy?” “She was calm which I didn’t understand.” “But then she bit Wendy?” “Yes.” “Then what happened?” “Darcy’s limbs regrew and she started acting weird.”

“Can you elaborate?” “Huh?” “Can you explain?” “Yes. She was acting like one of the undead you see in the movies, and that scared the crowd away.” “What happened next?” “Wendy was asking for help.” “Did you help her?” “No, neither did Katrina.” “Why not?” “She was now one of them.” “One of whom?” “One of them, an undead…she was a monster.”

“What happened next?” “Wendy grabbed Katrina and Katrina asked me for help so I helped her.” “How did you help?” “I hit Wendy with the baton that I had. She lost her grip on Katrina and we ran away…I didn’t look back.” “No further questions.” “Does the defense wish to cross-examine?”

“Yes your honor.” “Jennifer are you afraid of Darcy?” “No, I’m disgusted by her.” Once again a murmur erupted in the courtroom. “Order! I said order damnit!” Judge Avery said banging the gavel. Silence quickly gripped the courtroom as no one wanted to be thrown out. “You say you’re disgusted by her?” “Yes.”

“So you’ve never felt that your life was in danger?” “No.” “Did you actually see Darcy bite Wendy?” “I saw Darcy lunge at her, I didn’t see her teeth and Wendy’s neck connect. But she did lunge at her.” “Ms. Smith stated that she ran inside and didn’t come back out until emergency help arrived. Is that true?” “No, she was out there with me and Wendy. We only left after Wendy asked for help.” “So Ms. Smith lied to us?” “Yes she did.” “No further questions.”

The prosecutor stepped up to the box. “Jennifer, could it be possible that when Darcy lunged at Wendy she bit her?” “Yes.” “No further questions.” Again Eric stepped up. “Though it is possible for Darcy to have bitten Wendy, you didn’t see that. Is that correct?” “Yes.” “You only saw Darcy lunge at Wendy. You did not see her bite Wendy.” “Correct.” “No further-” “We were planning to kill Darcy that day.”

Everyone in the courtroom was in shock over Jennifer’s words except me. Judge Avery had to bang his gavel six times to quiet down the room, and Eric had to regain his composure before he began again. He was angry, angry at himself for not listening to me sooner, angry for not fully believing in me, angry at the girls, angry at this entire ordeal.

He cleared his throat and asked, “When did you guys decide to kill Darcy?” “We decided it three weeks before that day. Wendy always hated Darcy because she was better at everything except being a human.” “But why did you decide to help?” “I hate the undead. They’re a plague on our world and we’re being punished because of our sins! That’s why the undead came! That’s why-” “No further questions.” “The undead are a curse!” a wide-eyed Jennifer screamed. She pointed at me. “You are a curse!”

“That’s enough, Miss Dixon.” Judge Avery said. “She’s a curse! They’re a plague! A plague upon our houses!” Jennifer leapt from the witness stand, plastic knife in hand, the girl had lost it. She charged at me. Eric blocked her path and held onto her for dear life as Judge Avery shouted, “Bailiff, restrain her!”

With Eric’s help the bailiff pinned Jennifer down on the floor and handcuffed her as she shouted, “You’re a disease! You were cursed from the day you were born! You’re a plague! A plague upon our houses!” “Get her out of here!” Jennifer kicked, squealed, and yelled as the bailiff dragged her down the aisle and into the hands of the officers guarding the door. They escorted her out of the courtroom as she continued to yell, “A plague! A plague! A plague! A plague! A plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaague!” Her yells resonated throughout the courtroom until she was far away and they finally ceased. I could still hear her voice, but I blocked it out. She had finally snapped and I didn’t feel sorry for her.

Finally, silence once again overtook the room. Eric stood up and asked, “Your honor, I like to make a motion for a fifteen minute recess.” “Does the prosecution object to this motion?” “No your honor.” “Very well, the court will take a fifteen minute recess starting now. The jury is excused.” The judge banged his gavel and the jury were led into the chambers.

Once the jury had retreated back to their waiting room, the bailiff said, “All rise, the court is now in recess. Please exit the courtroom.” The onlookers quietly emptied the gallery and made their way to the restrooms, snack machines, and tables while the reporters readied their notes to update the public who were watching the case live on TV.

Meanwhile, Eric looked over his notes as we sat quietly. “You might want to get up and stretch Darcy.” “I’m fine. I don’t feel pain remember?” “Yes I know. But I think that you ought to get up and move around a bit before we start up again.” “Okay, you don’t think the guards will freak out if I do?” “Right…I forgot about that. I’ll call Dillon over and let him know.”

Eric stood up and motioned to Dillon who came over. He whispered to him and he nodded. He then looked at me and gave a thumbs up. I stood up and stretched, garnering the attention of the prosecution and a few onlookers who had returned to the courtroom. They looked at me half bewildered and half curious to what I was doing. Noticing the gazes I turned to look at my observers. I wanted to stick my tongue out but thought the better of it and just gave them a shy smile as I returned to my seat.

“How do you think the trial is going so far?” I asked Eric. “It’s hard to say right now. I don’t think it’s going bad, it has potential to become better for us. Only time will tell. I will say that there are chinks in the prosecution’s case though. I just hope that there aren’t too many in ours.” “Me too Dad, me too.” “The bailiff just walked in, looks like we’re getting started again.” The bailiff strutted to the front of the courtroom and like a town crier announced the return of the judge. “All rise.”

The jury and Judge Avery exited their respective chambers and entered the courtroom. Sitting down and looking over some papers, the judge said, “Thank you bailiff. Does the prosecution have any other witnesses?” “We do your honor. But before we call our next witness, we like to file a motion.” “Oh? And what is your motion?” “We would like to file a motion that the testimony by Miss Dixon be thrown out.”

“On what grounds?” Eric demanded. “Miss Dixon was not of sound mind when she gave her testimony.” “Your honor, the counsel never mentioned that the witness had any mental problems. In fact-” Eric retrieved some papers from his desk and approached the judge. “The witness has no history of mental illness. She is a member of the Eastboro Crusader Church however, which the prosecution had full knowledge about.” “Motion denied. Call your next witness.”

“Yes, Your Honor, the People call Luis Santiago.” An elderly man walked down the aisle and up to the witness stand. While he was administered the oath and answered the clerk and the court reporter’s questions, Eric rummaged through his notes. “Who is this guy?” I asked him. “He’s one of the people who were in the crowd that day.” “I don’t remember seeing him.” “There were a lot of people there and you were worrying about your life. He gave a written statement to the police, and I spoke to him, so he’s legit.”

The lead prosecutor’s voice sharply got Eric’s and my attention as she began her questioning. “Louis where do you work?” “I’m the supervisor of Santiago Landscaping.” “Were you at Lyman High school on the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “Yes I was.” “Could you please tell the court why you were there and what you were doing?” “Sure, the school contracted my company to do landscaping; we get there at seven thirty to start our work.” “Did you know Wendy Phillips or Darcy Munroe?” “No not before that day.” “Were you at the scene when Darcy killed Wendy?”

“Objection! Counsel is misleading the witness.” “Sustained.” “Were you there when Darcy attacked Wendy?” “Yes.” “Please tell the court what you saw.” “I saw the Wendy girl hovering over the revenant, yelling at it.” “And what was the ghoul doing?” “It was on the ground, the limbs were growing back.” “Did you see Darcy bite Wendy?” “Not exactly.” “What did you see?” “Everything happened so fast…one minute Wendy was yelling at it and the next minute, Wendy screamed, the crowd dispersed, and the zeek was up walking and heading towards a hole in the fence.” “What did you do then?” “I ran like hell, I wasn’t about to get bit.” “No further questions.”

Eric approached the witness box with a paper in his hand. Holding it up for all to see, he began his questioning. “Louis in this written statement that you gave to the police, you stated that you saw Darcy, my client bite Wendy.” “That is correct.” “But yet here on the stand, you stated that you did not see Darcy bite Wendy. Is that correct?” “Ah…yes. I want to amend my previous statement to say that I was unsure if she did.”

“Okay…you also stated that Darcy was heading towards a hole in the school’s fence?” “Yes.” “Was she attacking anybody?” “No.” “What was she doing?” “She was just making these creepy noises and walking like one of those goons from that TV show…I guess she was…” “She was what?” “This may sound crazy, but I really think that she was trying to escape and doing what she did-” “The creepy noises and walking?” “Yes. By doing that, I think she was trying to protect herself.” “Why do you say that? I thought you said that she was a goon, a monster.” “Yes.” “But she was trying to protect herself?” “Yes.” “So if she was trying to protect herself, would it be fair to say that she was doing this because she was in danger?” “Yes.” “No further questions.”

Deep in thought, the judge asked, “Does the prosecution want to redirect?” “Yes your honor.” The prosecutor approached the witness box holding her glasses in her hand. “Louis, you stated you were unsure of whether or not you saw Darcy bite Wendy.” “Yes.” “Could you not have also been unsure if Darcy was protecting herself?” “Yes.” “No further questions.”

Eric quickly rose from his chair and said, “Louis you did not see Darcy bite Wendy correct?” “Objection! Counsel is asking the same question.” “Sustained.” “Alright, Louis it has been confirmed that you didn’t see Darcy bite Wendy.” “Objection! Counsel is still asking the same question.” “Your honor, I’m not asking a question, I’m making a statement.” “Overruled, counsel get to your point.” “Louis, you didn’t see Darcy bite Wendy but you did see Darcy walk away not attacking anyone as she was trying to escape is that correct?”

“Yes.” “You’re not unsure of that?” “No, I’m not. I’m very sure that I saw her trying to escape.” “How sure are you?” “One hundred percent sure, there’s no doubt in my mind.” “No further questions.” The judge looked at the prosecutor who said, “I have no further questions.” Her team was visibly frustrated. Their witnesses so far had revealed a lot of chinks in their armor. “Does the prosecution have any other witnesses?” “Yes your honor. The People call Georgia L.C. Carter to the stand.”

A slender redheaded African-American woman in a green dress made her way from the gallery and into the witness box. After being sworn in, giving and spelling out her name, the witness sat attentively as the prosecutor questioned her. “Can you please state your occupation for the court?” “I am a practicing doctor with specialties in cardiology, endocrinology, and pediatrics. I’m also the coroner for the city of Longwood.” “And how long have you been a doctor?” “Twenty years and I was a nurse for sixteen years before that.” “What made you become a doctor?”

“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor it was expensive schooling though, so I couldn’t do it. But after the Black Wave began, there was a great need for medical staff and as things continued to deteriorate, the need became greater. I got a full scholarship for my schooling, but it was not easy.” “How do you mean?” “The world had become a different place and we all had to adapt. That meant whoever became a doctor or a nurse needed to know more than their predecessors, we had to be schooled in more than just one area.”

“Hence the three specialties.” “Correct, during that period of time, doctors had to learn at least three, and nurses had to be able to assist doctors in those multiple areas.” “You also had to deal with a lot of death first hand.” “Yes, but everyone has been dealing with death since the beginning of mankind’s existence, but especially since the Black Wave.” “You are right, could you please tell the court about your dealings with death?”

“Aside from learning three specialties, doctors also had to be able to recognize the symptoms of the RHCMV-X and its successor RHCMV-X2 and the death and pain that they cause.” “So we’ve talked a long while about this to get to this point. It’s correct to say that you are highly qualified in your field?” “Correct.” “Please tell the court the autopsy results of Wendy Phillips.” “Of course, she had a slight cut on the left side of her neck. Minimal blood came from it. The virus had begun to spread throughout her body.” “She was already infected?”

“Correct.” “How long does it usually take for a human to turn?” “If they have direct access to Alimentos, it’s twenty-four hours. If not, the infection is immediate taking 60 seconds to five minutes.” Another murmur erupted but instantly quieted down at the sight of the judge raising his gavel. “Was the cut the point of the infection?” “Yes.” “Please continue.” “There was a self-inflicted gunshot to the upper right side of her head.” “Was there anything else out of the ordinary?” “No.” “Thank you doctor, no further questions.” The witness stirred in her seat as Eric stepped up to the box.

“Doctor Carter, on behalf of everyone here, I thank you for your service to our community.” “What is your question Mr. Munroe?” the witness asked. “You’re very direct.” “In my field of work, I have to be, I don’t have time to think of the accolades. This world doesn’t give you that time, it quickly takes it away so I cherish the time that I do have.” “I understand. Speaking of time, we don’t have much of it so I’ll get to the point.” “Fine by me.” “You stated that the cut on Wendy’s neck was the point of the infection.” “Yes it was.” “Was the cut a bite mark?” “No it looked to be more of a scratch.” “And the gunshot wound was self-inflicted?” “Correct.” “No further questions.”

The prosecutor rose up quickly from her seat. “Doctor you just stated that the cut on Wendy’s neck looked to be more of a scratch. Is it possible it could be a bite mark?” “There’s a slight chance-” “Thank you. No further questions.”

Eric got up from his seat and asked, “What percentage would you give the cut to most likely be a bite mark?” “I would say point one percent.” “And for it be a scratch?” “Ninety-nine percent.” “And how sure of this are you?” “Ninety-nine percent.” “Thank you, no further questions.”

Again the prosecutor rose and spoke to the witness. “Though you’ve just stated that the percentage of the cut to be a bite mark would be one percent is it still possible for that to occur?” “Yes, however-” “No further questions.” Eric swiftly got up and asked, “Even if it’s possible for the bite mark to occur at a meager one percent, how much of a chance could there be for that to happen?” “Less than one percent.”

Eric sat down and smirked as he looked over at the prosecution. “Does the prosecution have any more questions?” Judge Avery asked. The prosecutor looked annoyed as she answered, “No your honor.” “Very well, the witness is excused.”

The prosecution huddled together while the witness returned to his seat. After breaking, the prosecution’s quarterback approached the bench. “Your Honor, the People rest their case.” “Alright, we’ll break for a two hour recess for lunch.” The judge banged his gavel and the courtroom began to empty out to eat their meals and discuss the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative.”

-Bill Hicks

 

The two hour recess was exactly what we needed. I found the trial to be a tedious thing, it blocked me from my freedom and I wanted it to be over as soon as possible. Eric had prepared me for the trial, he had answered any questions I had had and explained the entire court procedure. “I just want this to end.” I told him during the break. “I know kiddo, I know.” he had answered. “You’re doing great. Just hang in there for a little while longer okay?” “Okay.”

Mom arrived cheered me up considerably. She brought lunch and it was glorious. “Courtesy of June’s.” she said. “Wow please tell them I said thanks!” I replied. “Of course, this has been an interesting morning so far.” “You’re telling me.” “How do you think things are going Darce?” “I think they’re going okay. Eric’s doing a great job.” “The prosecution rested their case very quickly.”

“Yeah they did.” Eric said. “How long do you think your part will be?” “I don’t know, maybe two or three days. I’m going to get it done as quickly as possible, but I want it done right.” Mom patted Eric on the back. “You’ll do fine hun.” “I hope so.” “Okay I have to get back.” Mom said, rising from the table. “Will you come tomorrow?” I asked. “I will, I love you both.” “Tell the twins I said hello.” “I will. Bye, love you.” “Love you too.” Eric and I said. Mom hugged and kissed us both and then she left. “You ready?” I asked Eric. “Yes, are you?” “As ready as I’ll ever be.” It was time to head back into the courtroom.

With recess over, Eric went back to a serious and focused mode. He copiously looked over his notes deep in thought. I stood up by our table looking around the room. The prosecution was watching me nervously as were many who returned from the break. One of the assistant attorneys motioned for Dillon to come over to them.

He whispered in his ear and Dillon looked annoyed. Dillon came over to me. “What’s up?” I asked. “Sorry Darce, they’ve asked me to keep a better eye on you.” “Really, wow, what? Are they’re afraid I’m going to attack them?” “Don’t worry about them. Just relax and keep doing what you’ve been doing. I’ll ‘keep my eye on you’ from over there okay?” I grinned. “Okay, Thanks Dillon.” “No problem.”

Dillon was a cool guy. He had lost a lot of his pals during the war and he didn’t have anyone in his family who was an undead. But he did have girlfriend who also happened to be a reanimate, and they had received a lot of flack about it from other RTF troops who weren’t in the 105th, but Dillon didn’t care. He loved his lady and treated her very well. I had met her once, she was pretty cool.

As he left to return to his post, I noticed my observers observing me yet again. I just smiled and I think it freaked them out even more than before, it stopped them from looking at me though. I guess the phrase ‘Kill them with kindness really did work. Though, I wanted to kill them with my teeth. I’m kidding.

It was infuriating the way they looked at me, not because they were scared, but because they made me feel like a freak. It wasn’t too long ago undead zoos dotted the landscape of America and the rest of the world. People use to pay to observe my kind in enclosures, while scientists poked, prodded, and made their theories.

These undead zoos were visited by over one million curious visitors. Even after their closure, schools still taught that we were inferior to humans. Their flaws are strong, shouldn’t be surprised though, after all many years before our arrival they were doing the same shit to each other. And they still kind of do. The more things change, the more they stay the same. SMDH.

Once again, the bailiff announced the return of the judge who entered the room alongside the jury. “Please be seated. Is the defense ready with its case?” “Yes, your Honor.” Eric said as he rose. “I like to call Jackie Friday to the witness stand.” Friday walked up to the stand without batting an eye. I was surprised to learn she was a witness for me. Last time I saw her and Gannon they were so cold to me, I wondered what changed their mind if anything had at all?

The clerk spoke to her as she placed her hand on the bible. “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.” “Please state your first and last name.” “Jackie Friday.” “You may be seated.” As Friday took her seat, the court reporter replied, “Please spell your last name for the record.” “F-R-I-D-A-Y.”

Eric approached the stand. “Good afternoon Jackie.” “Good afternoon.” “Could you please tell the court where you are employed?” “I am one of four security guards or vamps at Lyman High school.” “Vamps?” “Yes, that’s the nickname we’re given by the undead. All forms of law enforcement are called that, especially if they’re part of the RTF.” “How long have you’ve worked there?” “Thirty years.” “Have you’ve seen my client before?” “Yes I have, she’s one of the four undead students who attend the school.” “I take it then, that you’re very familiar with her then?” “Yes I am.”

“Can you describe her to the court?” “Darcy is a quiet student, who’s very smart; I think she’s too smart for the class work she gets. She definitely tries to stay out of trouble. She’s friendly to the other students but she mainly keeps to herself.” “Does she gets into trouble or does trouble find her?” “It finds her. She’s been bullied by Wendy Phillips and her ‘Tiaras’ as they call themselves.” “How often is she bullied?” “At least once a day.” “How does she handle the constant bullying?”

“She makes snarky comments and never fights back. I’ve never seen her fight back at least.” “Are you familiar with Wendy Phillips and her Tiaras?” “Very.” “Could you describe Wendy to the court?” “She was very popular. Wendy was the ‘it’ girl. She was what all the boys wanted and she broke many hearts. She was also very snooty and rude. She really had a hatred for Darcy.”

“Can you tell us where you were on the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “Yes I was inside the cafeteria when an announcement played on the intercom.” “What was the announcement?” “It stated that all faculty and staff needed to report to the gym.” “And what did you do?” “I reported to the gym just like everyone else.” “What happened?” “Well I asked my colleagues what was going on, and no one seemed to know. Then I figured it must have been a mistake so I headed back out, but I could not open any of the doors. They had all been locked from the outside.” “So you and the entire faculty and staff were stuck inside the gym?” “Correct.” “How did you get out?” “Someone on the outside unlocked the door.” “Do you know who it was?” “No.” “What did you do next?”

“Gannon and I used our sweeper drones; he did a sweep of the inside while I swept outside. Everything was okay except for one thing.” “Is that how you found Darcy and Wendy?” “Correct.” “Can you give me a detailed description of what you saw?” “Darcy was a few feet away from Wendy’s lifeless body. There was a pool of blood stemming from Wendy and Darcy had blood on her as well. There was a gun lying next to Wendy.”

Eric nodded, and Dillon brought out the gun, it was wrapped in a plastic bag. He handed it to Eric who held it up and showed it to the opposing counsel. He then showed it to Friday and asked, “Is this gun you found lying next to Wendy?” “Yes.” Eric turned to the judge. “Your honor, I would like to submit People’s exhibit ‘A’ into evidence.” “Does the prosecution have any objection?” “No your honor.” “The gun will be admitted as People’s exhibit A.”

“What happened then?” “We enacted protocol and Darcy was placed in our custody until the police arrived.” “Did Darcy do or say anything while you were waiting?” “No she did not, she just sat there not moving.” “How long did that last?” “Until the police came and picked her up. “Why didn’t you call Darcy’s parents, to let them know what was going on?” “The police told us that they would call since it was their job.” “I see…So you just handed the buck to someone else.” “I’m very sorry Mr. Munroe.” “I have no further questions.”

Judge Avery looked at the prosecution. “Redirect?” “Yes your honor.” “You stated that Darcy never fought back against Wendy and her friends whenever they quote unquote ‘bullied her’. Are you sure that was the case?” “I’m 99% sure.” “Then why did Darcy fight that morning?” “Most likely because she had enough. I was bullied in school as a child, I know to an extent how that feels.” “Are you positive that Darcy never started any of the fights?” “Absolutely.” “What about that morning?” “I’m not sure. But-” “No further questions.”

The judge looked at Eric. “Would you like to redirect?” “Yes your honor.” “Jackie, tell us how you know that Darcy didn’t start any of the fights.” “She was always reading, listening to music, drawing, and minding her own damn business. Wendy and her friends made an effort to harass Darcy. They would go out of their way to bother her, and she always made an effort to ignore and avoid them.” “No further questions.” Eric returned to his seat. “Does the prosecution have any more questions?” “We have none your honor.” Prosecutor Constance said. “Alright. Ms. Friday you are excused.”

When Friday returned to her seat, the judge said, “I think that’s enough for today. The court is adjourned until tomorrow, we’ll reconvene at 10 am. Have a great evening.” He banged his gavel and the courtroom slowly emptied out with journalists and other folks murmuring amongst themselves about the days’ proceedings. “Alright kiddo, that’s a wrap for today.” Eric said, packing up his many papers. I gave him a wan smile. “You okay?” “Yeah, I’m just tired.” “I know.” Dillon approached us and said, “Mr. Munroe, we’re ready to leave when you are.” “Thanks Dillon. You ready Darce?” “Yeah, let’s go home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

-Ann Landers

 

When we left the courthouse, the number of protesters had doubled, but it still wasn’t enormous like the day of my arraignment. Returning to the facility, I was greeted by Mom and the twins. Emil and Rachel also greeted me. “Are you okay?” Rachel asked. “Yeah, I’m just tired.” “How could they let that crazy girl into the courthouse?” Rachel said. “Jennifer? I didn’t expect that either. I’m not sure if she was seriously crazy or just pranking everyone.”

“Didn’t Eric say that she was a member of the ECC?” “Yeah…I never knew that. Guess it would explain a lot of things, now that I think about it.” “Either way, it was dangerous. Thank goodness Eric and the RTF were there to restrain her. Otherwise you could have gotten hurt!” said Emil. “You guys were worried about me?” I asked. “Of course we were! We’re always worried about you.” Rachel replied.

“Darcy, you’re our granddaughter. We might not fully understand things about you, but you are our family. Please understand we’re trying to not be hurtful.” Emil said, holding my hands. He looked me right in the eye. “We love you very much, we really do. We also cared about your father.” “You did?”

“Yes we did, we were angry at how he treated your mother and you when he was in a rage. Our anger was misplaced; it wasn’t towards him it was at the virus and what it did to him. We are truly sorry for how we treated him near the end of his life.” Rachel said. “You forget that we knew him since he and Eric were kids. It was very hard for us to accept what happened to him. We had seen so much horror following the Black Wave.” Emil said. “So much…” Rachel said, tears dripping down her face as she continued. “Please know that we always will love you, no matter what. We don’t care that you’re an undead. You’re our grandchild, be patient with us please.”

I didn’t know what to say, I hadn’t really thought about how they felt. I had been so angry at them that I did the same thing they had done to Daddy. I knew they struggled with the existence of undead, and I knew it was scary for them to have a grandchild who came into the world the way I did. But even in the midst of their struggle, they still had a lot of love for me to give.

I rarely cry and it doesn’t have shit to do with being an undead, it’s just the way I am. I get it from my Mom. When she was a teenager, the film Titanic came out and at the end when-SPOILER ALERT-the ship went down and people died, many in the audience were crying, but not my Mom. “You knew they were going to die and you knew that the protagonist had to let go of Jack otherwise she would have died. It was sad but death’s part of life.” she had told me. Two years later death arrived at her door when she gave birth to me.

I cried right then, I just balled. I hadn’t done that in a long time. I’ve shed a tear when I’ve been upset, but the tears hadn’t flowed like that since Daddy died. I gave my grandparents a big hug. “I love you guys too. I’ll try harder, please be patient with me too.” “We will, we will.” We still had differences but they were my family, and they would always be my family.

I hadn’t seen my friends or my boyfriend in a while. I missed them especially Kurt. He was working hard in school and at his job, both of which kept him from me. We talked on Skype that evening. He told me had a plan. “When this is over,” he said strumming his guitar, “We’ll go on a road trip.” “Where to?” I asked. “Anywhere, the world is ours to explore.”

“I always wanted to visit Japan, my grandparents live there.” “Your Dad’s parents?” “Yes, I’m going to go see them one way or another.” “Then we’ll go together. We’ll see the world; we’ll be fugitives, like Bonnie and Clyde, except we won’t rob banks.” “Hah! Have you seen that film?” “Nope.” “You’re kidding right?” “No I’m not.” “Okay let’s watch it then.” And we did just that. It wasn’t the same as being together but it was still a fun evening.

The next morning, as we made our way back to court, I daydreamed in the car about me Kurt robbing banks and seeing the world. It was a nice dream… I only snapped out of it due to the noisy protesters, damn them. This group was bigger than yesterday’s and noisier too. Driving up to the entrance, I thought I saw Warhol Lewis amongst them, but I couldn’t be sure…

Dillon tapped me on the shoulder. “It’s time to go.” Inside the courtroom, I spotted Mom and Rachel? They both waved to me and I waved back. I also spotted the Phillips but they made sure to avoid all eye contact with me. Have you changed? I thought. My hopes were very slim.

As I took my seat, the bailiff entered the room. “All rise….this court is now in session. The honorable Judge Avery presiding.” “You may be seated…counsel when you’re ready you may continue your case.” Eric stood up. “Thank you. Your honor the defense calls Barry Gannon to the stand.” A young woman, who looked to be in her early thirties carrying a bunch of papers, began to head to the stand. One of the guards blocked her path.

“Whoa there, where do you think you’re going?” “I’m taking father’s place. He’s become very sick, and I have his written testimony right here!” “Do you have identification?” “Yes I do, I have all the proper documents. Please let me speak, for my father’s sake!”

The room began to rumble with discussion and debate. “Order!” the judge said. “Your honor, may I approach the bench?” Eric asked. “You may.” Eric and the prosecutor approached and began to speak amongst themselves. Unlike the crowd who were straining to hear the discussion, I heard every word.

“Your honor,” Eric said, “I would like to file a motion that Miss Gannon to be allowed to testify.” “I would like to file a motion that her testimony not be allowed.” replied the prosecutor. “Your honor, I had no idea that Mr. Gannon had fallen ill. Up to this point I expected him to walk up to the bench and testify.”

“How do we know that to be true? Perhaps this was done on purpose to cause a disruption.” “Like the disruption caused by one of your witnesses yesterday?” “How dare-” “That’s enough.” replied Judge Avery. “As of right now, we have yet to verify if she’s who she says she is. I will not make a decision until her identification and her documents are verified.”

While the trio debated, a murmur had risen up again in the room. The judge banged his gavel and it quickly died down. “I will make a ruling after Miss Gannon identification and documents are verified. Guards please escort her out of the courtroom and work on immediate verification.” “This way miss.” said the guard and the young lady followed her out of the courtroom.

Poor Gannon, I had no idea he was sick, I hoped he would be okay. I remembered Gannon speaking about his daughter and how proud he was of becoming a grandfather. He had showed me a picture of his kid-the photo was from when she was a teenager-the lady looked almost exactly like the photo. She just had more lines on her face from the stress and worry about her father.

“Counsel please call your next witness.” “The defense would call Ferris Rooney.” Rooney? What the hell? It can’t be. But there he was, Ferris Rooney walking up to the stand in his favorite blue suede suit to be a witness for my defense. I looked at Eric and mouthed, “Rooney?” “Yes, Rooney.” Eric said rising to meet my principal. I wondered how this came about.

After being sworn in, Rooney his seat and Eric began his questioning. “Mr. Rooney, could you please tell the court where you are employed?” “Certainly, I’m the principal of Lyman high school.” “And how long have you’ve worked there?” “I’ve worked there for twelve years.” “Are you familiar with Miss Munroe?” “Oh yes, he’s one of the four zeeks who attend my school.”

So much for hoping Rooney had turned over a new leaf. I rolled my eyes while the room reacted to Rooney’s slur with shocked whispers as if they were saints, please. I bet every one of them had used that slur or another to describe my kind. Guess they also forgot about yesterday when slurs had been used by the prosecutor and some of the witnesses. Humans could be so shady sometimes.

There was a flash of anger in Eric’s eyes, but he maintained his composure and went on to his next question. “Then you’re familiar with her?” “Pfft, of course I am! She’s always giving me lip.” “What do you mean?” “Well a week or so before she attacked that Wendy girl, Darcy was wearing a Warhol Lewis shirt.”

“Warhol Lewis?” “Yes he’s some savior to the geeks.” “Please refrain from using slurs Mr. Rooney.” “Sure no problem no problem at all, I forgot she’s your daughter. I don’t know how you deal with her. I mean-” “Mr. Rooney please just answer the counsel’s questions.” Judge Avery said.

“Yes sir.” Clearing his throat, Eric then asked. “What happened?” “With what? Oh the shirt! Well I told her it was inappropriate and not to wear it again.” “And did she do anything?” “Yeah, she responded with a sarcastic remark, you know like how these teenagers do. These millennials are more sarcastic and cynical then when I was a teen.” “Is Darcy a trouble maker?”

“Well yes, she gets into trouble but it isn’t her who starts it.” “Oh?” “Well it’s usually Wendy and her friends who cause problems. They locked me, the faculty and staff up in the gym that day when Wendy died. Before that they had tried to set the dead-I mean Darcy on fire in one of the girls’ restrooms.”

“Did you discipline them?” “Nah, I just made them apologize.” “That’s it?” “Well yeah, I mean it’s just a dumb rot-uh undead after all.” “Is that why on that same morning you slapped my client?” “Well no, I mean yes…well I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure of what?” “I-” “Did you or did you not slap my client on the same day after the Tiaras led by Wendy Phillips attempted to set my client on fire?” “Yes I did.” “Why did you slap her?” “Because she cursed at me, she needs to learn her place.” “Is that why you ignored the many complaints about the bullying made by Mrs. Munroe, Darcy’s mother, as well as Darcy herself?”

“ Well no I- “Is that why you never disciplined the bullies for the many times in which they harassed Darcy by pulling her limbs off, poking out one of her eyes, pushing her into things or people, damaging her personal belongings and threatening her life on numerous occasions?” “I don’t recall any of that happening.” Disgusted, Eric grabbed a stack of papers off our table and held them up for all to see.

“You don’t recall any of that?” “No.” “Then what are these Mr. Rooney?” “Uh-” “I want to you see these. What I have here in my hand are the numerous complaints filed by Mrs. Munroe and our daughter to the principal’s office.”

He handed the papers to Rooney. “Does any of that look familiar to you now?” “No.” “No? Look harder, what do you see?” “I see my signature and some comments that I must have written.” “Must have? Mr. Rooney every one of these papers you signed and wrote comments on, detailed comments. Why don’t you read a few of them for the court?”

Rooney turned to the judge who looked at Rooney’s predicament without any empathy or compassion. “Must I?” Rooney asked. “What do you think?” the judge was growing on me. Rooney began to read, “Mrs. Munroe, I will not do anything about the so called bullying that your offspring rotter claimed happened to her.”

“Read another.” “This is not my problem, you should be lucky that your ‘kid’ goes here.” “Another.” “I have friends who are undead, but they do their best to assimilate and act human like, they’re the good undead. For God sakes, if your daughter stopped trying to be a bad one then the bullying would stop.” “One more.” “If your daughter pulled up her bootstraps and worked hard she’ll be treated just like everyone else. Kids will be kids, “bullying” is part of growing up. It’s a normal part of life. Darcy needs to work harder at trying to be human. She needs to be more social and talk to the girls.”

“Do you still not recall any of that?” “No.” “Oh so now you recall all this, do agree that you lied to the court earlier?” “Objection! Counsel is being argumentative and is attacking the witness.” cried the prosecutor. “Sustained.” the judge replied. Eric took the papers from Rooney and held them up again. “So with your new recollection, is it fair to say that with the numerous complaints-there are at least fifty here-you had proper time to take a course of action in which Wendy Phillips wouldn’t have lost her life?”

“I guess so.” “Yes or no Mr. Rooney?” “Objection! Counsel is leading the witness.” “Your honor I’m asking for a definitive answer.” “Sustained.” “Fine one final question.” “What is it?” Rooney was whining like a baby, Eric had worn him down. “Do you believe that just because Darcy is not a ‘human’ in your eyes that she doesn’t deserve to be treated like a human?”’

“Yes.” “Hmm, that’s interesting because she acts more human than you do.” “Objection!” “Overruled.” Angry, Rooney said, “How dare you compare me to your rotting, empty, shuffler of a daughter! She’s a monster just like the rest of her kind!” Unfazed, Eric waved the papers at Rooney and said, “Your honor, I would like to submit Defense exhibit ‘B’ into evidence.” “Does the prosecution have any objections?” “No.” “The documents will be admitted as People’s exhibit B.” “Thank you. Mr. Rooney, no further questions.” “Fuck you!” “That’s enough out of you sir! You may step down and return to your seat quietly.” Judge Avery said.

Rooney stepped down from the witness box and headed straight over to Eric. BAM! Rooney had punched Eric. “Dad!” I cried out. “I’m fine kiddo, I’m fine.” He had stumbled away from Rooney who had a new target in mind, me. “You ugly zeek, my reputation is ruined because of you!”

His fist nearly connected with my face, but I dodged it, and he went flying over the table. He reset and made his second attempt but he failed miserably as the bailiff restrained him. “You’re done for the day.” he said. “Fuck you!” spat Rooney as he kicked and attempted to free himself from the bailiff’s grasp.

But to no avail, the bailiff was stronger than the asshat he gripped. I had never seen Rooney so lively. It was somewhat amusing to see him thrashing about but right was not an appropriate time to laugh. He could see it in my eyes, how I mocked him with them and that just pissed him off even further. He was able to slip out of the bailiff’s grasp and he ran towards me. “Fuck all of you! This thing’s a monster!” He screamed as he launched his attack. “You’re nothing! You’re nothing, you fucking rotter!”

BAM! Eric punched Rooney, knocking him out. “Shut the hell up.” Eric said. Applause filled the courtroom until the gavel banged to restore order. “Guards remove that filth from my courtroom.” The guards came over and picked up the unconscious Rooney.

“We’re done here.” the judge said, wiping the sweat from his brow. “We’ll resume tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Mr. Munroe, you and your daughter see the medic before you leave. This court is adjourned until tomorrow morning.” With that Judge Avery slammed his gavel down.

When the court finally emptied out, Dillon escorted Eric and I out and the medic took a look at us. Eric only had a bruise and I was fine. Well no, I take that back, I was a little rattled. “I’m glad you’re okay.” I said to Eric as the medic gave him an ice pack. “I wasn’t going to let that jackass hurt you.” “Does it hurt?” “Nah, that dude couldn’t land a good punch if he had a third eye. I’m good, are you?” “Yes, can we go home now?” Eric laughed and said, “Kiddo, I’m glad you asked.”

 

 

31

I think that one of the most fundamental responsibilities is to give testimony in a court of law, to give it honestly and willingly.”

-Adlai E. Stevenson

 

The third day of the trial proceeded somewhat smoothly. Rooney was back in the courtroom for the prosecution to question. This time though he entered the room dressed in a jail uniform, and his hands and legs in shackles with his personal lawyer-courtesy of the school board-tagging along. His left eye was swollen shut, Eric hadn’t pressed charges against him but the judge had. He was sentenced for assault and direct criminal contempt of court.

“Mr. Rooney,” the judge had said. “I hereby sentence you to 72 hours in the Seminole County Jail.” Neither Rooney nor his lawyer objected and my trial resumed. District attorney Constance stood up to question the criminal. “Good Morning Mr. Rooney.” “Stop with the pleasantries and just get to the point.”

Rooney wasn’t his usual social self, guess jail changes people. But so does also making a fool of yourself and getting your ass handed to you in court. “Alright sir, you stated yesterday that Darcy was a troublemaker at school, is that correct?” “That’s correct.” “Can you describe for the court what kinds of things she did to cause trouble?” “Certainly, she just didn’t know her place.” “What do you mean?”

Responding, Rooney looked straight at me and Eric with an evil smirk on his face. “The stiff doesn’t understand that she doesn’t have the same qualities our human students have. She’s always trying to things that are beyond a roamer’s capabilities. She doesn’t focus on what she’s supposed to do.”

“And what is she supposed to do?” “Keep her head down, attempt to do her schoolwork, and stop complaining about her situation. She needs to be grateful she’s allowed to attend school, just like the other decays.” “Mr. Rooney, you also stated that you slapped Darcy. What was the reason for that?” “She was being disrespectful.” “Did you feel threatened by her?” “Yes.”

“And as far as the quote unquote bullying, with the exception of the two incidents you mentioned-the fire and Wendy’s death-you had no recollection of any of the things which were written in the complaints, correct?” “Correct.” “No further questions your honor.” “Would the defense like to redirect?” “Yes your honor.”

Eric swiftly approached the witness box as Rooney glared at him. “Mr. Rooney, in your written affidavit you never stated that you were threatened by my client before you slapped her.” “I did feel threatened.” “So why didn’t you put that in your statement?” “I forgot.” “You forgot? That’s strange, very strange indeed. I mean that’s an important thing that you wouldn’t forget to mention.” “I guess.”

“You guess? Humph. You also stated in your sworn statement that you have never, ever felt threatened by my client. Do you want to change your story now?” “No I don’t.” “So do you feel threatened by my client?” “No.” “Have you ever felt threatened by my client?” “No. “So you just lied to the court?” “Yes.” “You slapped Darcy because you hate her.” “Yes.” “You willfully refused to do anything about the bullying my client suffered through, is that correct?” “Yes.” “Is it fair to say then that you are indirectly responsible for the events which transpired on November 18th, 2014?” “Yes.” “No further questions.” “Does the prosecution have any questions?” “No your honor.” “Mr. Rooney, you may step down.”

I watched Rooney as he was being led away. He wasn’t the same man he had been. Finally, the realization of his actions had hit him. I almost felt sorry for him…almost. Eric handed the bailiff a folder who then handed it to Judge Avery as Eric spoke. “Your honor, I have the verification results for my potential witness. She has been verified to be Miss Rena L. Gannon, the daughter of Barry Gannon. All documentation has been proven to be authentic.”

The judge opened the folder and read the contents. He then said, “Alright, will she be taking her father’s place?” “No your honor, I will be.” “Where is Mr. Gannon?” demanded the prosecutor. “Unfortunately Mr. Gannon is very sick. “Will Mr. Gannon be alright?” Judge Avery asked. “No. His health recently began to fail as a result of the radiation poisoning he received from the IPEC Incident, in all likelihood he will not make it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Me too. Except for the day Wendy died, Gannon and Friday had always been nice to me. I guess on that day they didn’t want to show any impartiality to me for fear of repercussions from the other vamps. I had no idea Gannon was sick, he didn’t look or act sick. But then again radiation poisoning could strike quickly or patiently wait its time. Either way it was very effective and ended in a deadly result.

During the rise of the virus, there were a couple of disasters, some were man-made, while others were caused by Mother Nature and others by the first undead who emerged on the scene. Each cause had a deadly and devastating effect.

I wish I could speak to Gannon one last time. Despite being ‘dead’ I didn’t really understand death. It didn’t make sense to me. I can move, speak, listen, love, and feel…that’s not death. In a way I could understand why humans feared death so much. You couldn’t do any of those things when you died.

“It is unfortunate Mr. Gannon is sick, but it doesn’t mean counsel can testify in his place. Unless you have a deposition…” “I do. Your honor I would like to make a motion to file Mr. Gannon’ deposition.” “Sidebar.” replied the prosecutor. The two lawyers approached the bench. Exasperated, the prosecutor asked, “Do you have it here?” “Yes.” Eric handed the judge stack of paper. “Any objections?” Judge Avery asked the prosecutor. “I have none.”

“Your honor, may I have permission to read the deposition out loud to the courtroom?” “You may.” “And would it be allowed for me to read the questions and have Miss Gannon read the answers?” “You may.” “Thank you your honor.” Eric smiled at his opponent who responded with the glare of the Ice Queen as she returned to her seat.

“Judge, I would like to now read the deposition of Witness Gannon into evidence. Miss Rena Gannon will help us by reading the answers given by Witness Gannon at his deposition. Miss Gannon, will you come forward with your copy of the deposition and sit in the witness chair.” Eric motioned to a young lady in a flower dress. She strolled up the galley and into the witness box. After she was sworn in, the judge explained to the jury how the deposition was just as important as live testimony.

“Please pay close attention.” He said to them. Eric then turned to them and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I am now going to read the questions that were asked to Witness Gannon in his sworn deposition before a court reporter. Rena Gannon is secretary at Seminole State College as well as being the witness’s daughter. She has agreed to help us by reading aloud the sworn testimony of Witness.”

Deposition in hand, Eric faced Rena and said, “Miss Gannon, will you now turn to page two and read the answers Witness Gannon gave to the questions.”

For the next hour, Eric and Gannon’s kid read his testimony. It was hard for Rena to read, knowing her Dad was quickly slipping away, but she got through it. He had said really nice things about me, and described me the way one would a human teenager. I had no idea I reminded him of his own daughter when she was a teen. When she read that part, both of us had tears running down our face. He disparaged the Tiaras especially Wendy. I had no idea that they teased him and caused him numerous problems. Out of the troublesome quartet, he only had kind words for Kim…I wondered where she was and what she was doing.

Did she know what was going to happen to me?

After the deposition was read, court was adjourned for the rest of the day. Gannon died four hours later.

 

 

32

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

-George Orwell

 

The day I had waited for so long had arrived, it was the final day of the trial and unlike the previous days, it would be long. Eric had two more witnesses to call and then the closing remarks would be made so the juror deliberation could begin. The day started at 8 a.m. sharp.

There were a ton of protesters, supporters, and media dotted all over the courthouse grounds. There were even folks having a trial tailgating party of sorts across the street on the Flea World property. The trial was the biggest event that had occurred in the area since the Bloody Mary Massacre and people were outraged, sad, and above else curious.

As we sat there in the courtroom waiting for the bailiff to announce the beginning of the end, I made a decision. With everything that had gone on so far during the trial, I wanted my voice to be heard. I had gone over it for a while now, and sitting there I finally made up my mind. I looked over at Eric. He was looking over his notes like he did every morning.

“Dad, I want to testify.” “Huh? What?” “I want to testify.” He took a long look at me and said, “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Okay, just keep your cool I know you’ll do well.” “Thanks.” “All rise….this court is now in session, the honorable Judge Avery presiding.” There was no going back now.

While the jurors and judge strolled in and took their seats, Eric patted me on the back to reassure me, I knew he had my back. He always had, I just didn’t see it till the past few months. “You may be seated.” Judge Avery looked at Eric and asked, “Mr. Munroe, whenever you’re ready you may begin.” “Thank you your honor.” Eric said as he stood up.

“Your honor the defense would like to call Captain Octavia Simone to the stand.” After being sworn in the captain took her seat and the questions began. “Captain, I would like to again thank you for your service.” “Thank you Mr. Munroe.” “I know you have to get back as soon as possible to your job, so my questions will be brief. Can you again tell the court your line of work?”

“Of course, I’m in charge of the Connor Revenant Facility as well as head of security with thirty-five years of experience which includes police, military, and private security detail. Twenty of those years are interacting with undead.” “So you’re very knowledgeable when it comes to security and the undead population?”

“Correct.” “Do you know my client?” “Yes, I know her very well. She was formerly an inhabitant of the facility.” “Given your level of experience, do you believe that Darcy is a danger to herself or others?” “No, I do not.” “Do you believe her to be a potential threat?”

“No.” “Can you describe to the court my client’s demeanor upon arriving at Conner?” “Yes she was in a state of shock, she did not move nor speak.” “She wasn’t threatening anyone?” “No.” “Did anything out of the ordinary occur during her stay?” “Yes. Three weeks into her stay, she had some sort of incident.”

“Was it rage?” “No.” “Innate hunger?” “No, she had that type of episode seven days after this incident. This was something else…something new. I’ve never seen it before.” “Was she in danger of hurting other people?” “No, it was if she was having a seizure, except she could still make out her surroundings and recognize and my guard and I. I think…”

“You think what captain?” “I think she was having a nightmare of some type or she was stuck in some type of trance.” “I thought only humans could experience those things.” “So did I…So did I.” “Now, you’ve stated that my client had an incident of innate hunger seven days after this.” “Yes.” “How did that come about?”

“It wasn’t Darcy’s fault. We had a rookie guard who had taken over our regular guard’s workload. The new guard didn’t change Darcy’s IV so she could get the proper nutrition she required.” “She had been unconscious since the first mysterious incident?”

“Correct.” “So when she awakened she was accelerating.” “Well not immediately. She asked the guard a question and it took a couple of minutes before the acceleration took over.” “Was that unusual?” “What was unusual?” “That she didn’t immediately accelerate.”
“Yes it was. Usually acceleration is immediate. I’ve never seen an undead go into delayed acceleration before and I’ve seen many if not thousands of undead throughout the years.” “Would it be fair to assume that Darcy was fighting to prevent acceleration?” “Yes it would.” “No further questions.”

Without waiting for the judge to ask her, the prosecutor quickly approached the witness box. “Captain you stated that you believe Mr. Munroe’s client could have had a nightmare. Are you suggesting to the court that Darcy is human?” “Yes I am.” “But at the same time you also stated that she had an innate hunger incident correct?” “Yes but I-” “Do humans have innate hunger incidents?” “No.” “So then Darcy is not a human.” “Technically she’s part-human.” “But she’s not fully human.” “Yes, but-” “No further questions.”

Eric snapped back up and approached the box. “Captain is it fair to say though Darcy is technically part-human, she has human qualities?” “Yes, she has many.” “And they have developed further since she first arrived at Conner, correct?” “Correct.” “No further questions.” The judge looked over to the prosecution. “No further questions.” “You may step down, captain.”

Stepping down from the box, the captain nodded her head at me as she walked by and returned to her post in the back of the courtroom. “You may call your next witness.” “I would like to call Dr. Amanda Saki to the stand.” Perky as always, the doctor walked up to the stand. When she was finished being sworn in and seated, Eric approached the box. “Good morning Dr. Saki.”

“Good morning Mr. Munroe.” “We’ve got a lot to get through so I’ll get these familiar questions out of the way.” “No problem.” “Please tell us your occupation and years of experience.” “I’m a medical doctor, holding an M.D., O.B, and a Ph.D. in psychiatry, and thanatology, with thirty-five years of experience. Twenty-five involve the undead. I’m also one of the top three leading scientists in the field. Many would say I’m the top one out of the three.”

“And you’re familiar with my client.” “Of course I am!” “Previously, you spoke briefly about Darcy’s state of mind and body. You stated and I quote ‘Darcy is evolving faster and she’s on a whole new level.’ Do you still agree with that statement?” “Yes I do.” “Can you please elaborate further on it?”

“Certainly, normally, once the acceleration has stopped in revenants and reanimates, it doesn’t go down. Both types of undead will have to fight harder to keep their hunger in check. Reanimates already have to do that but if they have an incident, the fight becomes more intense. When a revenant has an incident, the fight which was almost non-existent before becomes a reality. The revenant becomes like a regular reanimate, they now have to battle their thirst for flesh on a daily basis until they finally decay or if they’re ‘put down’.”

“So once the damage caused by the acceleration has been done, it can’t be undone?” “Correct.” “But that’s not what happened with Darcy?” “Right, after her incident Darcy began to heal and she healed quickly. Darcy remained who she was prior to the acceleration after she woke up.”

“Has that happened before to any undead?” “No, I’ve have read through numerous reports and documents and never in the history of undead-since they first arrived to now-has that ever occurred.” “Now you first spoke to my client after her recovery is that correct?”

“Yes, every patient admitted to Connor is required to have a set of meetings with one of our qualified counselors. Because of what she’s been charged with, Darcy was required to have meetings with me.” “Can you please describe to the court your interactions with Darcy?” “Yes. When I first met her Darcy was distrustful of me, and rightfully so.”

“Why do you say that?” “Because many scientists like myself do not view the undead as human. We view them as less than any other living thing and study them as if they’re just things that don’t have feelings or a viewpoint. We use scientific techniques and hypotheses to support or justify the belief that we humans are superior to undead.”

“I see. Please continue describing your interactions.” “Though she was distrustful of me, Darcy had control of her emotions. Please keep in mind that she went through a horrifying experience, charged with murder, and taken her away from her family.”

“Wendy was taken away from her family!” A man yelled. “Bailiff seize that man and escort him out of my courtroom!” “Yes sir.” Once the man was out of the room, the judge nodded at the doctor and she continued.

“As I was saying, despite the fact that Darcy had gone through a traumatic experience, she still had control over her emotions. As we got to know each other, my viewpoint of Darcy and undead changed.” “Please explain.”

“No longer do I view them as mindless things for me to poke and prod. They are sentient beings who physically may not be human in our minds, but in their mind, body and spirit, they are human. And I’ve come to think of Darcy as my friend. I firmly believe that the more human qualities the undead express, the more they become human.”

“It’s fair to say that the undead are evolving, that Darcy’s evolving?” “Correct, Darcy’s the catalyst for the next stage of evolution that’s taking place in the undead population right now.” “Thank you doctor.” “Redirect?” “Yes your honor.” The prosecutor stood up and said, “With all due respect doctor, are you publicly stating that undead are evolving?”

“Yes I am.” “That’s preposterous!” “It isn’t. We’ve seen undead evolve before, that’s how we got the reanimates.” “I’ll agree with you on that. However, both of your colleagues disagree with you.” “I’m well aware of that.” “Do you mind if I read what they had to say about your theory?” “Sure.”

Handed some papers from her assistants, Prosecutor Constance held them up. She approached the jury box and said, “I hold here an essay written by Professor John Stanhope Kant and Dr. Immanuel Christoph Hunter. They are the other leading scientists in the field. They’ve written a peer reviewed essay in which they debunk Dr. Saki’s theory. Your Honor, at this time we would admit People’s Exhibit ‘C’ for Identification into evidence as People’s Exhibit C.”

“Does the defense have any objections?” “No.” “The documents will be admitted as People’s exhibit C.” “Thank you your honor. I shall now read an excerpt from the essay.” She cleared her throat and began to read.

Since the arrival of the revenants and reanimates in our world, the evolution of their population has long been a critical issue in our society. While many measures have been taken to observe them, it is a controversial issue as to whether or not revenants and reanimates can evolve even further. Many are confident that they cannot, while a few others are convinced that they can. Hence, my topic for this column is to discuss the extent to which revenants and reanimates can evolve.

From birth, when they first arrived in our world, revenants and reanimates were mindless beings that had no motivation outside of satisfying their never ending craving for flesh. It was their persistent hunger which drove them to infect and murder a hundred human beings causing the Black Wave and its successor incidents. Thanks to the creation of Alimentos, the creatures became domesticated, imitating their lives as a human one, a state that they presently remain in. Are they human? Absolutely not.

They are agile, crafty, and otherwise smarter than their shuffling fictional counterparts. Though they are calm, curious, and conduct themselves as humans do, aspects of their need for flesh remains, only blocked by the medication which they require to curb their hunger. To make the assumption this new species of humans were not dead but rather people infected with a virus is wrong.

No rational human, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average revenant or reanimate is the equal, or the superior, of human beings. Despite their creation due to the virus RHCMV-X and RHCMV-X2, the smaller-brained, big jawed lurker cannot compete on the same playing field with their human counterparts.

Humanity stands at a tipping point. At some future period, the races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage race of revenants and reanimates throughout the world. If we do not then we are in grave danger of allowing this less inferior race to destroy ourselves as well as this beautiful planet that we inhabit.”

Finished reading the excerpt, the prosecutor looked proudly at the jury. She then turned back to Doctor Saki, full heartedly expecting a look of defeat on the doctor’s face. What she saw instead was the doc’s hands folded, unimpressed at the essay from her colleagues. “Is that all?” the doc asked. “Well yes.” “Hmph.” “Do you have a response to what they had to say, doctor?” “Sure.” “Why don’t you share it with the rest of us?”

“First they’re logic is just wrong. I mean both men are very smart, yet they let their racial biases get in the way of the facts. As you can see, the fact that my esteemed colleagues are not even here to back up the nonsense they wrote proves that. The undead are evolving and perhaps that’s due to the virus evolving or something else, but it doesn’t matter. The point is that they continue to evolve. Reanimates may be technically dead but they still hold on as tightly as they can to their human traits.”

“Yes but-” “I’m not finished, do you want me to answer your question or not?” “Go ahead.” “We’ve been wrong about revenants. In our studies, we’ve overlooked the fact that revenants aren’t dead but are rather people infected with a virus. They were born into this world, therefore they are living beings. Both races of undead are becoming more like us, they aren’t mindless The undead are undergoing another stage of evolution and soon the transformation from quote unquote “bloodthirsty monsters” to humans will be complete. Darcy is one of the starting points of this next stage in the process.”

“Please explain.” “She’s more in control of her emotions and her human qualities are well developed. Physically, she may not be human as we are, in fact I would say that her body is an evolved human form in a sense and that decay is a new way of death. She experiences fear, love, and sadness, and joy, mental and emotional pain just like we do. She’s smart, very smart, and has a vast imagination. She has strong relationship bonds, those are all human qualities. Darcy is not a monster. She’s a sentient being, a humanoid, if not a human.”

“No further questions.” “Doctor you may step down. Mr. Munroe I believe that was the last of your witnesses?” “No your honor. I have another witness.” A murmur erupted throughout the courtroom. “Oh?” Get ready Darcy. I began to rise from my chair when Eric put his hand on my back and whispered, “Not yet.” What? “Your honor, the defense calls Kim Campbell to the stand.” Kim? I turned to look and there she was. Kim Campbell a member of the Tiara squad had arrived to testify for me.

 

 

 

 

 

33

Acceptance does not mean that you placidly acquiesce to the myriad injustices that are all around you. In fact, that you are incensed about these injustices is the very reason you need to try your level best to ‘right’ these ‘wrongs.”

-Srikumar Rao

 

I couldn’t believe it. Kim was going to testify for me? Would she be like Rooney? Either way, it didn’t matter because the outcome would be in my favor. Well that’s what I was hoping for anyway. I looked at Eric, how long had he known about this? I needed to know. “I’ll tell you after the trial, right now let me do my job.” He had said as he walked up to the witness box.

Kim sat up there looking straight ahead at the courtroom. She appeared to be nervous but more firm in what she was going to do. Eric didn’t waste any time and began the questions. “Miss Campbell, can you tell the court where you attend school?” “I attend Lyman high school.” “Do you also work?” “Yes I work part-time at Hot Topic.”

“Are you familiar with my client?” “Yes I am.” “And were you familiar with the late Wendy Phillips?” “Yes I was.” “Please tell us what your relationship was with both girls.” “Well Wendy was one of my friends. I hung out with her, Jennifer, and Katrina. We were called the Tiaras.” “Why were you called that?” “Because all of our families have money and in middle school we had a small club of girls who would always wear tiaras. That’s what we decided our club would be called.”

“How long have you known Wendy?” “I’ve known her since sixth grade.” “And how long have you known Darcy?” “I’ve her since the sixth grade.” “Were you also friends with Darcy?” “No, I wasn’t” “Why not?” “Well Wendy and the rest of us always made fun of the undead who attended our school. We especially made sure to pick on Darcy.”

“Why?” “Wendy hated her.” “Why did she hate her?” “Honestly, I’m not really sure. I think it’s because Darcy’s better at things than Wendy is-err was. The only thing that Wendy was better at-or so she thought-was being a human.” “When did you guys begin to bully Darcy?” “In the middle of sixth grade when we began our club.”

“Did Darcy ever initiate any interaction with you and your friends?” “No she didn’t. From time to time she would talk to a few of them, but for the most part she did her work and stayed to herself.” “So you guys always initiated the conversations with my client?” “Yeah.” “And what would happen in these interactions?”

“We would push Darcy around, sometimes into other people and that would freak them out. Then they would check and ask other people to check them to make sure they hadn’t gotten infected. We would push Darcy into walls, pull off her limbs, call her names, mimicked how she walked and we would moan like the undead you see in films and TV. At first it was just fun and games, but every year it would get meaner and meaner.”

“What else did you do?” “Once we told Darcy that this cute guy liked her, we would show her letters that the guy had ‘written’ to her professing his love. But he never liked her; she believed it though and went up to him one day to tell him that she liked him.” I remember that. His name was Matt Francis, he was a hottie and a total asshole.

“What happened?” “He screamed at her and slapped her. He told her to stay away from him or he would bash her brains out.” I remember him slamming me into the locker, and the back of my head had gotten cut. “Did anyone stop him?” “No, most of us joined in and called her names like lurker, fant, geek, roamer, deadie, and stuff. Even a lot of the undead yelled at her. They told her she was stupid for going up to a human like that.”

They weren’t trying to be mean, they just didn’t want me to get hurt…but at the same time, they were both embarrassed and impressed with what I did. They thought I was brave, naive and stupid all at once. A lot of them didn’t make it out of middle school…

“What else did you guys do to Darcy?” “The usual stuff I’ve already mentioned. We took her skateboard and hit her with it, and then we smashed it into pieces. Once we pulled out one of her eyes, and we’ve tried to set her on fire in the girl’s bathroom at school.”

“When was that?” “A few days before Wendy killed herself.” “Did you do anything to stop it?” “I tried…it wasn’t enough…it wasn’t even much of a try.” “Were you there the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “No I wasn’t.” Tears began to well up in her eyes. “Did you know about what was going to happen that morning?” “Yes I did.”

They began to fall, and the audience began to murmur. The judge banged the gavel until they stopped. “Did you warn Darcy?” “No I didn’t.” “Why? Why didn’t you Miss Campbell? Why didn’t you warn my daughter?” Eric calm down. “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? Oh come on, you know.” “No I don’t.”

“Yes you do.” “No I don’t!” “Yes you do!” “NO I DON’T!” “YES YOU DO!” “Objection! Counsel is being argumentative with the witness.” “Mr. Munroe, please gather yourself and ask another question.” Eric turned around towards me, his head was bent down looking at the courtroom floor. He took a deep breath as he gathered his thoughts and then he returned to questioning Kim.

“Miss Campbell, what exactly did you know about the incident?” “I knew Wendy and the girls were going to attack Darcy before school.” “Did you know that Wendy had a gun?”

“No.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Are you positive?” “Objection! The question has been asked and answered.”

“Mr. Munroe move on to your next question.” “Did you know anything else?” “I knew that they were going to do what we always did, tear off her limbs and that they were going to beat her up real bad-not enough to kill her-but enough to put her out of commission for a few weeks or more.”

“You knew all of this and yet you didn’t say anything.” “I wanted to, I wanted to real bad!” “Then why didn’t you? Why didn’t you warn my daugh-Darcy? Why?” “Objection! Question has been asked and answered!” “I’m not asking the same question.” “Yes you are!”

“Enough, overruled.” “Your honor I’m trying to-”“Overruled! Next question.” “Miss Campbell why didn’t you tell the police?” “Objection!” “I’m not asking the same question.” “Sustained.” “I couldn’t.” “Why not?” “I could have lost my job, my friends. Don’t you understand? I would have been ostracized.”

“How would you have been ostracized?” “For ratting on Wendy, it went against our code.” “So why are you here now?” “I lost a friend and I may have lost another…”Kim looked at me. Her eyes had puddles of mascara on them. I could see she was genuinely sorry for everything. But was it too late?

Can I forgive you? “You believe you are my client’s friend?” “Yes I want to be.” “Why?” “I’ve gotten to know her. She has great tastes in music. Darcy has told me about Janelle Monae’, The Skins, Radkey and other cool bands. She’s also got great fashion sense, and writes stories and poetry. We were supposed to hang out and we never got the chance to…I want to have that opportunity.”

“You want to have that opportunity, but yet you may have lost it due to not warning Darcy or the police. How unfortunate you didn’t see my client’s humanity until it was too late.” “I’m so sorry, Darcy, I am.” Kim blubbered as she sobbed. I’m sorry too Kim.

“I have no further questions.” “Redirect?” “Yes your honor. Miss Campbell, you stated that you lost a friend.” “Yes.” “You were referring to Wendy is that correct.” “Yes and-” “Can you tell us more about Wendy?”

“Well she was nice sometimes when she wanted to be. She always had a chip on her shoulder. She didn’t like it when people were better than her at something. She would always put them down. She did that to me a lot…I wish I didn’t let her push me around so much…”

“But you were still friends with her.” “Yeah we had things in common, we liked the same movies, and TV shows. We got each other’s jokes and we were always there for each other. Our parents know each other.” “So then it’s fair to say that you too were close?” “Yes we were, but I didn’t like the way she was treating Darcy.”

“Why?” “She was really obsessed with Darcy and was going down a dark path. I wish I could have done more.” “But Wendy was more of a friend to you than Darcy is right?” “Well I knew her better and-” “You didn’t really know Darcy, in fact you don’t know her very well now.” “Well not exactly, I know-” “So then you can’t really call Darcy your friend, I mean you didn’t want to betray your real friend Wendy.”

“That’s not exact-” “Darcy was more of an experiment for you, you were curious about her and her kind.” “No that’s not tru-” “No further questions.” Angrily, Eric approached the box as the prosecutor returned to her seat.

“What’s Darcy’s favorite color?” “Purple.” “What’s one of her favorite songs?” “Black Hole Sun, Breed, Attitude, Vogue, Dance Apocalyptic, I could go on.” “Favorite food?” “Pizza.” “Those are general things, what else do you know about Darcy?” “She’s a caring, compassionate person, who’s also brave and thoughtful, and very smart. Darcy’s a fashionista and a music lover, she’s a poet, and literary foodie. She reads a lot and draws. She loves skateboarding and she’s a little shy. Darcy’s not ashamed of who she is and she’s a lot more human than most humans I know.”

Eric smiled and said, “No further questions.” “We have no further questions.” the prosecutor said snidely. “Is counsel ready to rest?” “Not yet your honor, I have one more witness.” “Who?” demanded the prosecutor. “Your honor the defense calls Darcy Munroe to the stand.”

 

 

 

34

Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”

-Bob Marley

 

When Eric uttered my name, the room erupted and the judge had to call for an hour recess. It had been a long and early morning and so the break was much needed. Mom came and brought us our lunch again courtesy of June’s. We ate in silence, there wasn’t a need for any conversation, I knew my parents supported my decision and wanted to be there for me.

The time passed quickly and before we knew it, it was time to return to the courtroom. We were one of the last few to return. Walking down the gallery, all eyes were on me. There were looks of both disdain and curiosity from the humans as I approached my seat, and Wendy’s parents still wouldn’t look at me.

When I looked up to the balcony, every undead was on their feet. They hadn’t done this since the trial started. As they stood there, I felt something inside which told me that everything would be okay. I didn’t know how, but I knew it would. The bailiff’s voice broke through the silence, and I turned back around to face the judge and jury taking their seats.

“Mr. Munroe, please call your next witness.” “Your honor, I call Darcy Munroe to the stand.” I rose and walked up to the separate witness box for undead. It was a feet from the judge and the human witness box. I stood there for minute looking at it. Fuck this. This time, an undead wasn’t going to sit there. I walked to the other box and took my seat. Astonished, the judge just nodded to the clerk who approached with the bible in hand.

“Excuse me,” I said as they placed the bible next to my hand. “Is it possible for me to use the Tanakh instead?” “Tana-what?” “It’s the Hebrew bible, my Dad has a copy.” The clerk looked at the judge who nodded yet again. Once they had Eric’s copy, they placed it next to me again and said, “Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

“I do.” “Please state your first and last name.” “Darcy Munroe.” As I was seated, the court reporter asked, “Please spell your last name for the record.” “M-U-N-R-O-E.” Eric then approached. “Darcy, where were you on the morning of November 18th, 2014?” “I had just arrived at school and I was walking through the courtyard.”

“Did you see Wendy Phillips and the Tiaras?” “Not at first, which was weird.” “Why was it weird?” “Usually they’re outside waiting for me.” “And they weren’t there?” “No.” “What happened then?” “Just before I touched the door handle, both of the doors burst open. I fell backwards onto the concrete.”

“And who burst opened the doors?” “It was Wendy, Jennifer, and Katrina. They rushed out and yanked all of my limbs apart.” “How did you feel when they were doing this?” “I wanted to know why they were doing this. They had stopped bothering me for a couple of days and I didn’t understand why they did that either.” “Looking back now, do you believe that they had planned this out?”

“Yeah, they caught me by surprise.” “What happened then?” “They started making weird noises and Wendy began to taunt me. I also noticed that Wendy had something bulging from her pocket.” “What kinds of things did she say?” “She was like, ‘How come you’re not trying to bite me? Why didn’t I make noise so others could come.’”

“Others?” “Other undead.” “What happened next?” “There were a lot of people gathering and that made me very anxious, they looked like a horde.” “A horde?” “Yes, there were a lot of them.” “Did Wendy or the other girls say anything else?” “Yes, Wendy was like ‘Oh you’re not so tough now, you can’t grab us and eat us.’ And then she was looking for a name to call me and she turned to the crowd and they shouted out things.”

“Such as?” “Monster, ugly creature, and…abomination. Then Wendy yelled very loud, I mean very loud. She was a close as she could get to my face and called me an abomination.” “I take it you were scared then?” “Yes, I knew I had to get out of there or I would be really dead.”

“So what did you do?” “I decided that I had to pretend to bite her. I wasn’t really going to bite her, but it had to look as if I was. That way she would move back and the crowd would as well.” “It was a diversion?” “Yes.” “Did it work?”

“Yes…a little too well.” “Meaning?” “I had scratched her.” “What happened then?” “She screamed and moved back and the horde began to scatter. My limbs had grown back so I headed towards a hole in the school’s fence which was nearby. I also began to make the stereotypical undead noise that they had first made and that really scared them.”

“You say you were making your escape, but how did you end up back with Wendy?” “Well because of the scratch, she became infected so her friends deserted her. They even hit her over the head with a baton because she wouldn’t let go of Katrina. Wendy was crying and everyone had gone.” “So what made you decide to go back to your attacker?”

“I felt bad about scratching her. I didn’t want to really bite her, though part of me really wanted to. I had enough of the bullying that I endured from her and her friends over the years.” “So you controlled your anger in that Moment?” “Yes, but I still managed to scratch her unfortunately.” “You regret that?” “Yes and no.”

“What?” someone in the courtroom said. The gavel slammed. “Order damnit!” “I regret getting her infected, but at the same time, I don’t regret my actions. I was in fear of my life, the horde could have killed me. Wendy was going to kill me that’s why she brought the gun. She told me she was going to use it on me.” “When did she tell you this?” “After we sat there for a while. Sometimes in silence, other times one of us would speak.”

“What did you talk about?” “I apologized to her, I told her that I did it to scare her. We argued over whether I was a monster or not, and then she asked me what she was turning into.”

“What did you say?” “She knew the answer. I told her that she could still have a life, but she didn’t believe me, I didn’t either. Then she got real angry and hateful and told me that I wasn’t a monster and that she had brought the gun in order to end me. Then she…”

“Then she did what?” “Then she…she called me a nothing…and shot herself in the head.” I began to tremble as the image entered my mind. No, stay focused. Eric came closer to me and with sadness in his eyes he said, “That must have been really hard for you.”

“It reminded me of when Daddy died.” “He killed himself?” “Yes, right in front of Mom and I.” “I’m sorry Darcy.” “Me too.” My gloopy tears ran down my face. “No further questions.” Eric returned to his seat and it was the prosecutor’s turn to bat.

“Darcy, you say that you didn’t mean to bite Wendy is that correct.” “No it’s not.” “It’s not?” “I didn’t bite her, I scratched her.” “But you did bite her.” “I did not.” “Yes you did.” “No I didn’t. It was a scratch.” “Darcy, you-” “Objection! Counsel is being argumentative with the witness.” “Ms. Constance, please move on.”

“Do you believe you’re evolving or do you believe it because the doctor told you so?” “I personally feel that I’m changing yes.” “Darcy you said that you really wanted to bite Wendy so why do you say it wasn’t on purpose?” “Look, I did not bite her, you can keep saying that all you want but I didn’t bite her. I wanted to but I didn’t.” “Alright. You obviously don’t know the difference-” “No you don’t know the difference. I would think someone like you would know.” Snickers filled the room, some came from the balcony. The judge banged the gavel as the prosecutor scowled at me.

“Did you really fear for your ‘life’ Miss Munroe?” “Yes I did, I was getting anxious, very anxious. I felt distressed because of all the impending danger around me.” “You believe the ‘horde’ as you called it, was out to get you?” “With Wendy as their leader, yes I did.” “What do you have to say to Wendy’s parents?”

“I’m truly sorry, I’ve told them this before when they came to visit their daughter’s grave. She’s buried in the same cemetery where my Daddy is buried.” “How can you say that when you also say that you don’t regret your actions?” “I was in danger. My life-though you might not think it’s worth something-was in danger. My life matters. I had to defend myself, I stood my ground.”

“I see.” “I’ve put up with Wendy’s bullying for years. No one did anything about it, until it was too late. Now she’s gone…” “Well you should have thought about that before you bit her.” “I didn’t-” “No further questions your honor.” Tsshit. Eric was up to the plate.

“Darcy you say that you felt fear what else do you feel?” “Today?” “Any given day.” “I feel happy, sad, angry, tired, nervous-like right now I feel nervous, fearful, worried, I feel a lot of things.” “So you have emotions?” “Yes.” “Do you feel when someone touches you?”

“Yes.” “So you can feel emotional and physical things?” “Yes.” “Do you feel alive?” “Yes.” “No further questions.” “Darcy how can you say you feel alive when you clearly are not?” The prosecutor didn’t even wait for Eric to return to his seat before she asked her question. “Being alive is more than just breathing to me.” “Is it?” “Yes.” “How?”

“It’s easiest for me to feel alive when I’m surrounded by the things I enjoy and love. My family, my boyfriend, my friends, music, fashion, food, movies, books, and art. Almost anything that touches my soul or gives me an exhilarated feeling makes me feel alive. It’s something that you can’t easily define; it’s something you know deep down in your heart of hearts. You just know.”

“I am alive, I am here. That’s what being alive means. It means you ought to take time to appreciate the people in your life, and the things that you have. It means that we ought to be the best person that we can be. We ought to be present, in the Moment. That’s what being alive means to me. It doesn’t matter that my heart doesn’t beat like yours Ms. Constance, I am here. I AM ALIVE and so are the rest of my kind-revenant and reanimate. We are alive, yes we struggle, but we are still here. And our lives matter.”

I looked into her eyes, she was perplexed and dwelled on my words. “Does that answer your question?” I asked. “Yes. No further questions your honor.” “I have none either.” “Alright, Miss Munroe you are excused.” I returned to my seat and greeted a smiling Eric. He was beaming. “I’m very proud of you kiddo.” he whispered. “Thanks.” “Does the defense rest?” the judge asked. Standing up, Eric answered, “Yes, Your Honor.” The judge then turned to the jury and began to give them their instructions.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am now going to read to you the law that you must follow in deciding this case. To prove the crime charged against the defendant, the prosecution must prove three things to you:

First, that the defendant committed an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony) or a lawful act in an unlawful manner; Secondly, the defendant committed the crime or act with criminal negligence and lastly, the defendant’s acts caused the death of another person.

If each of you believes that the prosecution proved all three of these things beyond a reasonable doubt, then you should find the defendant guilty. But if you believe the prosecution did not prove any one of these things beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean beyond all possible doubt. It means that you must consider all of the evidence and that you are very sure that the charge is true.”

Judge Avery then addressed the lawyers. “Are you ready with final arguments?” “Yes your honor.” said the prosecutor. “Yes your honor.” Eric said. Prosecutor Constance stood up first to address the jury.

“Your Honor, and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: The judge has told you that we must prove three things. There is absolutely no question about any of the three things we must prove. First, the defendant was arrested after she was found next to the body of Wendy Phillips. Secondly, our witnesses stated that Miss Munroe willfully lunged at Wendy and successfully bit her on the neck, thus infecting Miss Phillips. Therefore, all we have to prove is that the defendant bit Wendy on the neck causing a traumatic effect on Wendy so much so that she committed suicide.

The defendant admitted wanting to bite Wendy because she was tired of the bullying she had received. The defendant knew that such an action would be deadly but she did it anyway. That shows that the defendant intended to kill Wendy Phillips and ended up doing just that. While she may not have held the gun up to Wendy’s head or pulled the trigger, her actions were the direct cause of Wendy dying. Darcy Munroe is a monster, she is not human. According to what the judge just told you, that is all we have to prove. Based on the evidence, you must find the defendant guilty.”

It was Eric’s turn to speak, he turned to the jury to address them for the last time. “Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury: Darcy was unlucky to get into an altercation with Wendy Phillips and her friends. All she was trying to do was go to school. She never began a fight with Wendy; she always tried her hardest to avoid conflict and when she could not she never fought back. My client did lunge at Wendy only as a diversion tactic. She did not bite Wendy Phillips on the neck. The prosecution’s own expert told you that Miss Phillips had and I quote, ‘a slight cut on the left side of her neck, minimal blood came from it.’”

“I suggest to you that Darcy did not kill Wendy, Wendy killed herself. She’s the one who orchestrated the attack on my client. She’s the one who attacked my client. Darcy is a human being despite what anyone says. Would she have had to lunge at Wendy if she had not been attacked? No she would not. She used self-defense, she stood her ground since she could not flee.”

“Remember that under the law my client is presumed to be innocent. The prosecution must prove every part of its case beyond a reasonable doubt – that means that you must be very sure. One of the things they must prove is that my client intended to hurt Wendy. My client is the only person who knows she intended, and testified under oath that she wasn’t trying to hurt Wendy, but was trying to create a diversion to protect herself. The prosecution has presented no real evidence to you to show that this is not true. That means that there is a reasonable doubt and, therefore, you must find Darcy Munroe not guilty.”

“Thank you counsel. Jury I now release you to your deliberations. We will return here once the jury has made a decision. This court is now closed.” And with that, the trial ended. My fate lay in the hands of the jury, I could only hope and pray. As we walked out of the courtroom, I looked up to see every single undead in the balcony standing. I mouthed “Thank you.” to them and they nodded their heads in response.

We weren’t going home. We sat in one of the break rooms with Mom, Dillon and his men guarding the door. Captain Simone and Doctor Saki both came in to wish us luck. Kurt even surprised me with a visit. “Remember what I told you Darce,” he said. “I know, but let’s wait and see.” And that’s what we did, we waited.

Seven hours later…

It was nearing close to 11pm when Dillon told us that the jury had returned. We entered the courtroom and the trembling began anew. Eric held me and whispered, “Steady, it’ll over soon.” We took our seats and waited for the bailiff. We didn’t have to wait long.

“All rise….this court is now in session. The honorable Judge Avery presiding.” The judge entered and after we were seated, he got right down to business. “Will the jury foreperson please stand? Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict? “Yes your honor, we have.”

The clerk received the verdict form from the foreperson and handed it to the judge. He read it silently before handing it back to the clerk who read the verdict aloud. “In the case number 162016CF021043B, the State of Florida vs. Darcy Munroe, the jury finds the defendant not guilty.”

Not guilty? Is that what they just said?

I didn’t hear the cheers which erupted throughout the room and overpowered the weeping and outrage of others. I was in a state of shock as Eric and Mom tightly hugged me. I didn’t even hear the judge say “The jury is thanked and excused. Court is adjourned.”

All I could think about was that I was free. I was free! Then it finally sank in, everything from Daddy’s death, the bullying, and that horrible day till now…I was free. And all I could do is cry. I don’t even remember how I got out of the courtroom, into the car and back to the facility. I didn’t care. All I knew was I had regained my freedom.

 

 

Epilogue

Only you can control your future.”

-Dr. Seuss

 

Two months later…

Since the trial ended, things have gotten a little better for my family and I. We moved into a new home in another part of the city. I’m much closer to Eric and his parents than I’ve ever been before. We still have our differences but they’re not as major as they used to be and Friday dinners are still a part of our routine. It’s not as bad as it used to be, I still bring my stuff though.

Soon I’ll be done with my schooling and I’ve been applying to a few colleges, but most likely, I’ll attend school locally. Kurt and I are still an item, and things have been really great between us. We have yet to go on our road trip but we will. I’m also having fun hanging out with my friends and Kim and I finally got to hang out and it was pretty fun, we’re going to do it again.

I visit Daddy’s grave a lot more often. I see him there now and we enjoy our talks. Everywhere I go I feel his spirit and I know that I’m making him proud. After graduation I hope to go visit Daddy’s parents, I really want to see them before I start college.

Eric has officially become a lawyer full-time and his clientele are mostly undead. I still see the doc from time to time as well as the captain. Though they still disagree on some issues, Doctor Saki and Captain Simone have become good friends. They have found a newfound purpose to helping undead and humans live in harmony with each other.

Though we still don’t have equal rights with humans, our evolution continues. Evolution eventually will give rise to revolution and soon both populations will have to make a decision on how they want to exist. Will we exist as allies or as enemies? Time will only tell.

As for me, I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m fully embracing it and one way or another, I’m going to live my life as best as I know how. I’m here and I’m alive, and that’s all that matters.

August 16th 2015

-Darcy Mary Elizabeth Munroe

 

 

The Official I, Darcy Glossary

Written by Talisha Harrison

Copyright 2015

Preface

This glossary was created to give a detailed explanation of certain terms, people, events, and places that have been or yet to be featured in my novel series I, Darcy. Each one is listed in alphabetical order and not in the order which they’ve appeared in the story.

 

 

 

Alimentos:

Due to the media reporting and the devastating impact the Black Wave had on the population, the government needed to ease the public’s fears about the revenant children. There were calls by extremists to sterilize mothers who were carrying revenant babies (some sterilization by the government and private firms did occur) Thankfully, Afro-Latino scientists hailing from Harlem New York, developed medicine called Alimentos which helped to pacify the baby’s hunger.

Doctors instructed pregnant moms to take the medication four times a day, three times a week and after the babies were born they stopped taking the medication and gave it to their babies who also needed it four times a day three times a week for the rest of their lives or until a real cure is found. If not, their hunger for human flesh returns making them a danger to society.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The combination of the drug with the shedding of the virus in some pregnant women help keep their babies from having the condition at a rate of 90%.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Just using the drug during pregnancy kept the 20% of babies from having the condition

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Alimentos is expensive and not all insurance plans cover it.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Alimentos is also used on humans with weak immune symptoms.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The drug calmed the public fears but distrust of the people with this condition remained and continues to this day.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Scientists continue to look for a cure as they worry that the drug may not be enough.

 

As the years went by more outbreaks ranging from class 1 to 3 continued to occur, and it was mandated that Alimentos be tested on those who had been bitten and those who were already reanimated. The results showed that those who were injected with the Alimentos within 24 hrs. of being bitten died anyway and were reanimated. However due to the injection, they were able to retain their full intelligence, memories, skills from their life as a human. They constantly struggle to hold onto their humanity, as they attempt to keep their hunger at bay. Their hunger is not as controlled as revenants and their decay is slow. They also give off a slight smell similar to when food begins to spoil. Once the infection is full blown throughout their bodies, they can no longer procreate but can still have intercourse. They also have a highest rate of suicide out of the entire world population.

When tested on those who were already reanimated, the Alimentos had a weaker effect. After improvements on the drug were made, it was found that if the individual has received an injection within a 3 day period they would have the same results as those who had received the drug within 24 hrs. Any more than three days, the drug will not work and the infected cannot be saved and must be put down.

 

Appointed Highways:

Are highways and former tolls that have been appointed as secure routes in case outbreaks stage 3 and up occur. They are not used by the majority of the population unless and outbreak ensues. It’s against the law to use them if there aren’t any outbreaks going on. However since it’s been many years since the last major outbreak, the rules have become lax and many of these highways have gone into disrepair and need fixing.

After the outbreaks of the late 70’s and early 80’s, most cars were first modified by their owners into armored vehicles. And then came standard from the dealerships. In the late 90’s people’s interest in armored vehicles waned and dealerships began to lose money. Now only specialty shops or individual hobbyists make them, and few people-mostly the rich-own armored cars.

 

Bernice Olsen:

A human who’s a prominent voice in the Equalist movement. She’s an activist who advocates for the equal treatment of the undead in person and on social media.

 

Bloody Mary Massacre:

A massacre which ensued after the first Black Wave between the undead and humans at Lyman High School.

After a tension-filled debates and votes, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Lyman would not become a private school. Instead it, Lake Mary, and Hagerty would be the only high schools in Seminole County which would allow undead students to attend. All other high schools would become private schools where only humans would attend.

Angry anti-undead folks threatened to hold protests and physically block the undead students a group of 30 from entering the school which they did. Under the ruling, the state’s governor-who was anti-undead-the Florida National guard were brought in to aid them in their efforts. With no one to help them the pro-undead folks attempted to bring in the students but the guard fired upon them killing and injuring them. The first undead student to die was fifteen year old Mary Cookman.

This angered undead extremists who attacked the national guardsmen as well as the anti-undead protesters leading to a class level 2 outbreaks. The mayor of Lake Mary, asked the President to send federal troops to enforce integration and protect the now 10 undead students as well as civilians. The President ordered the 105th RTF division to assist.

Extremists on both sides escalated the conflict and there was more bloodshed. The RTF ended it but it had been massacre due to the extremist biting and turning humans and also due to the 50 humans who were killed and 80 undead who were put down. Out of the 10 students only 5 survived and with the protection of the 105th they attended school where they endured physical and verbal abuse. All 5 graduated and are still ‘alive’. They are social activists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, lawyers, artists, and musicians.

 

The Black Wave:

During 1975- first year of the revenant babies being born-it wasn’t known that they had a symptom of innate hunger, until it was too late. When they got their baby teeth, their innate hunger activated and when they bit people (those who were infected with HCMV healthy or not) their bite infected the person’s blood, thus activating a mutation in the person’s body that first killed them and then reanimated them and caused a class 3 outbreak. Officials were unprepared and many people were killed. Ten months later, the undead were successfully put down.

 

Brain defibrillator:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Similar to the experimental implant created for epilepsy patients, this device regulates brain waves via electrical shocks. Instead of being implanted, the defibrillator is attached to the revenant’s head on the right side of the skull. The device gives a shock to the portion of the brain to which its electrodes are attached. With epilepsy patients the current was set at a level that couldn’t be felt by the patient, however with revenants and reanimates, the current is set to fire at a current so high that it fries the brain giving the recipient pain.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The pain is monitored by something which looks like a TV remote so that the administrator can read the results. It was first used for experimentation on the primitive revenants and reanimates at the beginning of the outbreak. As time wore on, the RTF and other government agencies found new uses for it which included use as a method for interrogating prisoners-revenants and reanimates and humans. It was the only thing that was ever found to give the undead pain. The public did not know of its existence but there had been rumors about it in the revenant community and we made sure to keep it that way.

 

Curists:

These are humans, revenants and reanimates who believe there is a cure out there and are working to create it. They want equal rights for revenants and reanimates, but they believe the only to get them is through having a cure created, then and only then they believe that revenants and reanimates will be equal. Some revenants and reanimates think that those who are part of this group are ashamed of who they are and are sell outs. Others believe this group to be a cult. The revenants and reanimates in this group volunteer to have potential cures tested on them either by the government or by private pharmaceutical companies.

 

The Davis Self-Defense Act of 1985:

From 1982 to 1984, there were violent altercations between reanimates and humans. One such altercation involved a human family (the Davis family) and a gang of purist reanimates. Only one family member survived while the rest were killed and reanimated causing a class 1 outbreak which was quickly put down by locals. With backing from the Reagan administration, Romerty and his group submitted this law named after the Davis family and it was approved by congress in 1985.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. That law applies only in cases where a human and revenant or reanimate were involved.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The new states that “an individual has a right to self-defense when they deem that they, their, loved ones, and or property are under attack.”

*
p<>{color:#000;}. When humans use the law as a defense against revenant/reanimate attackers, they’re more successful than when revenants and reanimates use the defense against human attacks. The use of killing a revenants and reanimates is found to justifiable 50 percent of the time, while the defense when used by revenant in the killing of a human is successful 10 percent of the time

 

Derogatory terms for the undead developed by humans and reappropriated by the undead:

Fant

Zeek

Abomination

Decays

Dead Beat

Deadies

Empties

Ghoul

Goon

Lurker

Meat bag

Monster

Rotter

 

Derogatory terms for humans developed by the undead:

Tissshit(s)

Fleshing

Brawny

Meathead

 

Equalists:

A group who seek peaceful coexistence between revenants and reanimates and humans. Are comprised of revenants and reanimates and human social activists who fight for equal freedom, justice, and protection under the law in a non-violent way.

 

Immanuel Christoph Hunter:

A separatist extremist who wants to destroy the reanimates and revenants and reanimates for the sake of humanity. He’s willing to use any means necessary to accomplish his goal. Hunter has created a list of rules that he wants to become law, called The Separatist Articles of the United States of America:

Rising from the ashes of chaos, we the People of the United States of America, agree that all humans retain all of their rights in each country which they reside. However, in order to restore balance and order, establish justice, insure peace and, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the freedom of all American citizens, we do ordain and establish these ten articles for our country:

1. Whatever goes slow and lumbers is an enemy.

2. Whatever goes fast and walks is a friend.

3. No revenant or reanimate shall live amongst humans.

4. The reanimates are our fallen human brethren and should be put down respectfully. Revenants are the unknown and should be feared.

5. Humans may justifiably use force in self-defense without an obligation to retreat against reanimates and revenants and reanimates.

6. All humans are created equal. Reanimates are more equal than revenants and reanimates but are less equal than humans.

7. Revenants are forbidden to procreate.

8. Revenants are forbidden from:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. voting in any local, state, or federal election

*
p<>{color:#000;}. holding public office

*
p<>{color:#000;}. joining the military

 

Innate hunger:

Because of their condition, revenants and reanimates and reanimates have to deal with their undying hunger for flesh. In order to keep it at bay they must take a medication called Alimentos four times a day three days each week for the rest of their lives. If for whatever reason they stop taking their medication, their innate hunger activates and they’ll attempt to eat humans, making them a danger to society. Revenants who haven’t taken their medication for a week, their innate hunger is activated. For reanimates it’s three days. Here are the signs of innate hunger:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Smell: revenants and reanimates & reanimates have even more receptor cells. If the wind is right, they can smell humans from as far as several miles away. Dopamine: the smell of living flesh triggers a large release of this adrenaline-like neurotransmitter into their brains.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Sight: due to degradation of their corneas, they’ll suffer from severe myopia. In addition, they will be colorblind.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Hearing: they go deaf within a few minutes of the activation of their innate hunger

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Vocal: revenants and reanimates & reanimates let out excited moans whenever they’re around humans in this state which can put both the human and them at risk.

 

IPEC Incident:

One of the many nuclear disasters caused by a 7.6 Richter scale earthquake along the Ramapo Fault, which resulted in a meltdown of one of the plant’s nuclear reactors. Radioactive material was released from the containment vessels. Thousands were left homeless and there was massive destruction. Many folks contracted radiation poisoning. Food was scarce and disease was rampant. 11,000 people were killed by reanimates or died during the earthquake. Many of the survivors were affected by radiation poisoning and have developed certain cancers such as leukemia, solid cancers, thyroid cancer and breast cancer. Many have also displayed extreme anxiety about radiation exposure. They developed many psychosomatic problems, including radio phobia along with an increase in fatalistic alcoholism.

 

Quotes found throughout the book:

With the exception of chapters 15, 17, and 22, all chapter quotes are from BrainyQuote.com. Contents quote is from Socialmediatoday.com.

 

Pat Romerty:

A senator who’s a separatist who calls for peaceful segregation of the races. He believes in separate but equal treatment for revenants and reanimates. He has a son who is also a revenant and has a strained relationship with him. Romerty has been the creator/supporter of the following enactments regarding the undead:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Revenant Task Force RTF of 1975

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Revenant Burial Act of 1975

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The Davis Self-Defense Act of 1985

 

Professor John Stanhope Kant:

A leading scientist in the field of thanatology. He’s been doing work in the field since the first appearance of revenants and reanimates in the 60’s. He’s a fervent curist, he believes that the only way to save the world is to find a cure for the revenants and reanimates as well as the human population. He holds some prejudices against revenants and reanimates as shown in his 1988 column for the New York Times titled Demythologizing the revenant Evolution Theory.

Column featured in the Editorial section of the New York Times 1988:

Demythologizing the revenant Evolution Theory

By: Professor John Stanhope Kant

Since the arrival of the revenants and reanimates in our world, the evolution of their population has long been a critical issue in our society. While many measures have been taken to observe them, it is a controversial issue as to whether or not revenants and reanimates can evolve even further. Many are confident that they cannot, while a few others are convinced that they can. Hence, my topic for this column is to discuss the extent to which revenants and reanimates can evolve.

From birth, when they first arrived in our world, revenants and reanimates were mindless beings that had no motivation outside of satisfying their never ending craving for flesh. It was their persistent hunger which drove them to infect and murder a hundred human beings causing the Black Wave and its successor incidents. Thanks to the creation of Alimentos, the creatures became domesticated, imitating their lives as a human one, a state that they presently remain in. Are they human? Absolutely not.

They are agile, crafty, and otherwise smarter than their shuffling fictional counterparts. Though they are calm, curious, and conduct themselves as humans do, aspects of their need for flesh remains, only blocked by the medication which they require to curb their hunger. To make the assumption this new species of humans were not dead but rather people infected with a virus is wrong.

No rational human, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average revenant or reanimate is the equal, or the superior, of human beings. Despite their creation due to the virus RHCMV-X and RHCMV-X2, the smaller-brained, big jawed lurker cannot compete on the same playing field with their human counterparts.

Humanity stands at a tipping point. At some future period, the races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage race of revenants and reanimates throughout the world. If we do not then we are in grave danger of allowing this less inferior race to destroy ourselves as well as this beautiful planet that we inhabit.”

 

 

Purists:

Those who seek to control or eliminate humans to give revenants and reanimates & reanimates safety or dominance. This group is mostly led by reanimates.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Extremist purists:

The extremists in this group also view humans as a food source instead of the Alimentos. They carry out attacks in various forms (hacking, bombs, etc.).This cult has a small following but it’s growing in number slowly. This group has been labeled as a terrorist organization by both the human and Revenant & Reanimate leaders.

 

Reanimate Human herpes virus X2 (RHCMV-X2) aka Reanimates:

During that first year (1975) of the revenant babies being born, it wasn’t known that they had a symptom of innate hunger, until it was too late. When they got their baby teeth, their innate hunger activated and when they bit people (those who were infected with HCMV healthy or not) their bite infected the person’s blood, thus activating a mutation in the person’s body that first killed them and then reanimated them and caused a class 3 outbreak called the Black Wave.

As a result, scientists and health officials deemed them Reanimate Human herpes virus X2 (RHCMV-X2) or reanimates. Officials were unprepared and many people were killed. Ten months later, the undead were successfully put down. With the development of Alimentos which helped pacify their innate hunger, outbreaks occurred less and they were able to live amongst the living. Aside from the permanent health problems/disabilities mentioned below, they were just like their fellow humans in every way.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They are mobile but technically dead, without a heartbeat or other vital signs. They are vulnerable to destruction of the brain, which kills them and also anything that will kill a human and more damage than normal is needed to stop one.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Due to the combination of the infection and the injection, reanimates have a their own version of Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis CIPA (A person with CIPA cannot feel pain or differentiate even extreme temperatures. “Anhidrosis” means the body does not sweat, and “congenital” means that the condition is present from birth). They do not feel pain or sweat.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Within a few weeks of their mutation activating, they can go deaf.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have discolored skin and eyes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They can suffer from severe myopia and are colorblind.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have more receptor cells, and if the wind is right they can smell other people from as far as several miles away. The smell of living flesh triggers a large release of dopamine (adrenaline-like neurotransmitter) into the brain.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have emotions and are just as intelligent as a living person. They can speak clearly but pause after a few words in their sentences. They also have somewhat of a growl to their voice. The volume of the roar depends on the person and their emotional state- i.e. if they’re angry the roar can be really loud.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They are in a slow decaying state

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Have discolored skin and eyes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Carry the virus within their bodies and can still infect humans. Only extremists infect on purpose but these incidents are very rare.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Because of their condition, they have to deal with their undying hunger for flesh. In order to keep it at bay, they must take medication for the rest of their lives which alleviates and manages their hunger. They must take the medication four times a day, 3 days each week. If for whatever reason they stop taking their medication after 3 days, their hunger for human flesh comes back and they’ll attempt to eat humans, making them a danger to society.

 

Revenant Human herpes virus X (RHCMV-X) aka Revenants:

During the late 50s, a new strain of the human species of the Cytomegalovirus (CMV-5a) (HCMV-5a) arrived on the scene, which resulted in mass deaths worldwide and then the deaths of newborns in later years.

In 1975, as a result of the mutation of the virus, a secondary permanent mutation occurred in the bodies of half of the newborns who had died and continued to die. After flat lining and being pronounced dead, these children came back to life. These children had one of their feet planted in the realm of the living while the other was planted in the realm of the dead.

As a result, scientists and health officials deemed the children Revenant Human herpes virus X (RHCMV-X) or Revenants. Aside from the permanent health problems/disabilities mentioned below, these children were just like their fellow human children in every way:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They were mobile but remained technically dead, without a heartbeat or other vital signs.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Due to the virus, the children have congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis CIPA (A person with CIPA cannot feel pain or differentiate even extreme temperatures. “Anhidrosis” means the body does not sweat, and “congenital” means that the condition is present from birth). They do not feel pain or sweat.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have discolored skin and eyes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They can suffer from severe myopia and are colorblind.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have more receptor cells, and if the wind is right they can smell other people from as far as several miles away. The smell of living flesh triggers a large release of dopamine (adrenaline-like neurotransmitter) into the brain.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Within a few weeks of their mutation activating, they can go deaf.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have emotions and are just as intelligent as a living person. They can speak clearly but pause after a few words in their sentences. They also have somewhat of a growl to their voice. The volume of the roar depends on the person and their emotional state- i.e. if they’re angry the roar can be really loud.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The children continue to grow like regular kids. Unlike them, these children have regenerative properties. For example, they can be shot, stabbed, etc. and can heal from their wounds. The only exception is severe trauma to the brain.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They are vulnerable to destruction of the brain, which kills them once and for all.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They only begin to decay once they’ve been permanently killed. They’re decay rate is on par with that of normal human bodies.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Because of their condition, the children have to deal with their undying hunger for flesh. In order to keep it at bay, the children must take medication for the rest of their lives which alleviates and manages their hunger. They must take the medication four times a day, 3 days each week. If for whatever reason they stop taking their medication after 7 days, their hunger for human flesh comes back and they’ll attempt to eat humans, making them a danger to society.***The medication is called Alimentos***

 

Revenant/Reanimate Explosive Disorder (RIED):

When angry or emotionally provoked, these individuals will have an episode that is similar to intermittent explosive disorder (IED). Called Revenant Intermittent Explosive Disorder (RIED), it is Impulsive aggression that is unpremeditated and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived. During these great times of stress the following happens:

A: Initial signs when they’re on the threshold:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Voices are raised

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Body shakes

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Hands are clenched

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Eyes bulge

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Give off what cops call a dehumanizing stare

*
p<>{color:#000;}. if they begin to twitch then they’re almost to the rage

B: Once they’ve entered the episode:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Begin to moan and make noises similar to revenants and reanimates from various forms of media.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Become unemotional, with no mercy toward victims.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Are extremely violent and agile and or clumsy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Can be contagious especially if another undead’s emotions are running high.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. if there is a group that has become angry or provoked, they’ll attack in a horde and are more

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They don’t feel fear when they’re having an episode.

 

Revenant/Reanimate Task Force Act of 1975 aka RTF[+:+]

There was a degree of paranoid fear against the undead due to the huge possibility of them causing an apocalypse. The fear gave rise to an international agency known as the Revenant/Reanimate Task Force or RTF:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The RTF was created by members of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and was supported and advocated by Separatist Senator Pat Romerty.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Due to the events of the Black Wave, world governments have been in preparation mode for potential future outbreaks or the dreaded endgame an apocalypse and the RTF is their first line of defense.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The RTF is an espionage, military, and law-enforcement agency that protects public health and safety through the control and monitoring of the revenant and reanimate populations. It also deals with threats from extremist Purists and Separatists groups and other viral and health threats.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Sole purpose is to enact protocol PCP 24/7. PCP stood for: Protect (protect the general population), Contain (contain the revenants and reanimates), and Prevent (prevent any spread of infection).

*
p<>{color:#000;}. 105th:

An RTF military security squad assigned to Central Florida area, Captain Simone is one of the leaders of the squad.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. RTF Law Enforcement Division:

Enacted in 1978, this is the national police wing of the RTF. Regular police leave the dealings with the undead to this division. They conduct neighborhood sweeps in areas where the undead reside. Aside from enforcing the law, they are also an initial buffer to keeping infection at an extremely low to non-existent rate.

They do this by visiting the undead at their homes once a week to check up on them in addition to taking blood samples from undead family members and their human relatives. The purpose of which is to monitor and prevent further spread of infection, though the many of the undead believe it to be a form of control.

As a result, the undead gave the RTF police the nickname vamps. Depending on the area and who the person is, vamps can be good honest cops, or corrupt ones. Aside from the human population, police brutality is rampant in the undead community.

 

Sanctuary Laws:

These laws allow for undead who are or have been prosecuted in their homelands to stay in another country (that allows the undead) until the statute of limitations of what they’ve been charged with run out.

Examples of countries that have variations of this law are Japan, Norway, Germany, Canada, Nigeria, Benin, South Africa, Kenya, Chile, and a few more. As a country, the United States does not have Sanctuary Laws, but there are cities who give sanctuary immigrants that enter the country illegally that also give sanctuary to the undead.

 

Separatists:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Those who seek to control or eliminate revenants and reanimates & reanimates in favor of humans.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. These are humans who believe that the human and revenant/reanimate populations should live separately apart from each other. Though they claim not to harbor prejudices towards revenants and reanimates, some are extremist in their views and carry out attacks as well. They could be individuals but also belong to private and government agencies.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Extremist separatists:

They carry out attacks in various forms (hacking, bombs, etc.). This group has not been labeled as a terrorist organization by human leaders but has been by undead leaders, who continue to call on their human counterparts to follow suit.

 

 

Thanatology:

The scientific study of death. It investigates the mechanisms and forensic aspects of death, such as bodily changes that accompany death and the post-mortem period, as well as wider psychological and social aspects related to death. It is primarily an interdisciplinary study offered as a course of study at numerous colleges and universities.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanatology

 

The Undead Burial Act of 1975:

During the battle of Chicago, government officials feared that the remains of the reanimates would contaminate the dead bodies of the living that hadn’t been bitten and possibly activate and reanimate them. In response to that fear, Pat Romerty and a group of other lawmakers (Democrat & Republican) submitted this law which was enacted in 1976 and made it impossible for the undead bodies to be laid to rest in any way possible except separate from the living.

At first many of the bodies were just burned but there were always a few people who wanted to give their loved ones a proper burial and they did what they could when they were able. Many had to fight to get their family members, spouses, and partners’ bodies properly buried.

When it was discovered that the bodies of the undead did not carry the infection from dead to dead, the law was loosened. Families across the country who had a revenant family member lobbied for the law to be struck down. The law was not struck down but amended in order to give the option to families who wanted to bury their undead members in the same cemetery as their human members.

Romerty and his group added a caveat which stated that the cemetery had to agree. In some places it was very hard to find one so the law was changed again that there had to be at least one cemetery in each community who would take the living as well as the undead. But it was up to local lawmakers to define what their community covered as far as the location of the dead was concerned. It also put the power in the hands of the cemetery owners and unfortunately, many took advantage of a lot of families.

 

 

The Undead Council aka UC:

Formed after the events of the Black Wave, this is organization was formed as part of the United Nations. The UC does its best to represent and address the undead population’s needs and concerns.

 

United Undead and Living Foundation aka UUALF:

This charity organization assists the undead and mixed families (those who have an undead in their family) by preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Disaster Relief

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Military

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Health and Safety

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Alimentos

*
p<>{color:#000;}. International services

 

Vamps:

The nickname coined by the undead for any law enforcement or government agent who is a part of the RTF. The term refers particularly to those who visit the homes of undead families once a week in order to take blood samples from undead family members and their human relatives. The purpose of which is to monitor and prevent further spread of infection.

 

Warhol Lewis:

Lewis is a renowned and controversial artist and fashion designer who happened to also be a reanimate. He’s to the undead cause what Magneto is to the mutant one. He isn’t squarely a purist, but he does believe that both revenants and reanimates & reanimates should use any method necessary to obtain their equal rights-including violence.

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

Barukh ata adonai elohenu melekh ha’olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh. Blessed are You Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.”

-The Shehechiyanu Blessing

 

This is my first novel and it’s been a long journey that has taken me from inspiration, inception, frustration, wanting to quit, taking a break, and finishing the story. Now that the story has been finally put on paper, I have a few folks that I would like to thank.

First my mother Alicia and my sister Dorothy, these two ladies have always had my back and have encouraged me to write. Thank you to my cousin Regis who sent me an awesome message on Facebook when I became extremely frustrated and wanted to quit writing.

Thanks to my online friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. I appreciate your encouragement and kindness. Finally, I want to thank you the reader, I hope that you enjoyed reading Darcy’s story. Darcy’s journey is just beginning, and I’m currently finding inspiration for where her next steps will take her. Until then, I’ll catch ya’ll on the flip side.

 

-Tali

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

An awkward nerdy black 90s girl living in a dystopian world.”

[email protected]_Adina.

Talisha Harrison aka Tali Adina is a self-published Author who writes About Music, Poetry, Comics, Anime, TV, Movies, Writing, Fashion, Food, Love, Life, & Wherever Her Imagination Takes Her.

Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ATaleofPoesandfire

 

 

 

 


I, Darcy

Being born a revenant means combating the daily stigma, prejudice, and discrimination in a world where the undead live among the living. Such is the case of sixteen-year old Darcy Munroe, whose life’s gets more complicated when she’s charged with the murder of her human bully Wendy Phillips. With the court of public opinion already against her and her kind, Darcy’s fate rests in the hands of an all human jury. Will she be declared innocent or labeled a monster to be locked away or put down?

  • ISBN: 9781310603709
  • Author: Talisha Harrison
  • Published: 2015-11-12 20:20:26
  • Words: 85680
I, Darcy I, Darcy