“Ugh! If you think they’ll be zombies, I’m leaving!” The corner of his mouth twitched, and I realized he was messing with me.
Wondering how long he’d keep it up, I asked, “Are you afraid of zombies, Luke? Don’t worry. I think you’ll be safe.”
“Hey!” Luke growled in mock outrage.
I laughed. It was good to see him back to his old self. Again, I wondered what it was that had him acting so out of sorts and hoped he’d be ready to talk to me about it soon. “Do you think there’s a chance we’ll have a problem with them? You don’t really think they’ll be zombies, right?” I asked seriously.
“Well, I don’t see why they would be. When you turn an arm or a leg back, it looks like it should. I bet all the important bits on the inside are just fine, too.” Luke assured me, even though it wasn’t very reassuring. “Why are you asking me, though? I know as much as you do.”
“Ok, so not zombies…what do we call them?” I tapped a finger to my lip as I thought, my eyes trailing over the bodies.
“How about we call them alive? They’ll probably go back to normal and have a second chance at life. Unless they continue giving me problems, then they’ll be dead again. No big deal. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Then you can try something else,” Luke suggested, shrugging.
“How long have they been dead? I don’t want them waking up and craving brains.” I didn’t think it was a possibility, but I felt like it needed to be said.
“If they do anything you don’t like, you can turn them into stone. Then we go home and order pizza.” He paused, adding, “And maybe you try this with fresher bodies next time.”
I nodded in agreement and walked over to the closest body. I waited for Luke to get into position and close his eyes. I laid my hand on the man’s shoulder and met his unseeing gaze. I wasn’t sure if bringing them back required eye contact or not, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Just as I was about to release my power, lightning flashed through the windows, and thunder shook the building. A very girly and utterly embarrassing scream escaped my lips before I could stop it as I lost my balance and fell over.
Luke was lying on his back, his eyes closed tightly, laughing his ass off.
I tried to be mad, but who was I kidding? It was funny. In a room filled with death, we were on the floor laughing uncontrollably.
It took a lot longer than it probably should have for us to get our laughter under control. When we finally composed ourselves, we stood up, brushing our clothes off. “Let’s get this done and get out of here. I need a shower.” I think I landed in a puddle of blood, but I was trying not to think about it since it was on my back.
“I think you’re stalling.” Luke crouched and held the dead man’s eyes open, turning his head away just to be safe.
Feeling lighter, I bent and leaned over the body. Pressing my hands to his cheeks and meeting the sightless eyes, I sent my power flowing into the man’s body. The building shook with thunder, and the sound of rain hitting the metal roof echoed throughout the room. My Gorgon tried to take over, but I maintained control and remained in my human skin.
Standing up, I replied, “Yep. I wonder how long it will take.” Just as I finished speaking, the body jerked and trembled, then shot up as if electrocuted.
Luke and I quickly backed up a few steps. Our earlier talks of zombies had made me jumpy.
Stepping in front of me, we waited to see what would happen.
“What the hell happened?” The man’s eyes were wild and bloodshot. He reached into the waistband of his pants and retrieved a gun. A gun that he now had aimed right at us.
I tried to get in front of Luke, but he was determined to keep me at his back. Didn’t he remember that I was immortal? It would hurt, but a gunshot wouldn’t kill me. It would take a lot more than a tiny piece of metal.
Luke’s body was tense, ready to fight. “We don’t want any trouble. You have a second chance, don’t waste it now.” His deep voice promised violence, even if his words didn’t.
With a quick glance around the room at his fallen friends, the man turned and ran for the door.
Sighing, I said, “Maybe we should take away their guns before we do any more?”
“Ya think?” he said with disgust. “I can’t believe we didn’t think to take the guns.” Shaking his head, he moved through the room, going from body to body, checking them for weapons. After tucking a gun into the waistband of his jeans, he put the rest into a box and then moved it to a dark corner.
Feeling like I needed a weapon, but not comfortable with a gun, I had chosen to hold on to a knife until we finished.
“Alright, let’s do this.” Looking around, I picked a clean-cut kid. He didn’t seem to be older than twenty. I wondered how he ended up here.
Luke leaned over the guy’s head, propping it up for me while he held the eyes open.
This time I put my hand on his leg, trying to keep my distance. I sent my power through him, and he jerked upright, slamming into Luke’s head.
“Son of a bitch!” Luke yelled, holding his nose.
The poor kid looked terrified and ran out as fast as he could.
“There’s two left, let’s finish up.” It took everything I had to keep a straight face.
Luke glared at me without blinking. “Don’t you dare laugh.”
“Hey, that’s not my fault!” I pointed to his nose that was still leaking blood.
“Let’s just get this done.” Holding his nose, Luke stalked over to our third body and knelt. This time he reached over with his free hand and leaned back, making sure to stay out of the way.
I did the same, taking a position by the legs. Unlike the last guy, this one was much older. His hair was obviously once black but was now mostly grey. His face, not only lined with age, had a deep scar running from his hairline to his jaw. This time, when my power had done its job, and the man jumped with life, we were both free and clear. Unfortunately, that didn’t last. He came up swinging and caught Luke on the side of the face. His head whipped back, and I cringed. This just was not his day.
It only took Luke a few seconds, and he had the grey-haired man flat on his stomach, one arm pinned behind his back. “I am going to give you exactly thirty seconds to get the hell out of here. If you try anything, I will end you, and this time it will be permanent.” His voice was rough, with barely restrained anger.
The man nodded as best he could with his face pressed into the cement floor, and Luke quickly pulled him to his feet then gave him a shove towards the door.
Once he was gone, we walked silently to the last body and stood looking down at it—a woman. I glanced at Luke, his nose had stopped bleeding, but his eye was starting to swell. “Look at it this way. It probably can’t get any worse.” My mouth twitched, I couldn’t help it.
“I can’t believe you just said that,” Luke ground out through clenched teeth. “And don’t you dare laugh.”
“What?” I replied, confused.
“You just jinxed us. Let’s just stop here and call it a day.”
“Oh, don’t be a baby.” I bit my cheek, trying not to laugh.
“Fine.” He crouched and grabbed the head by the hair and held it up.
Kneeling quickly, I sent my power through the dead woman and then jumped to my feet, moving several steps back, Luke at my side.
The woman stayed on the ground, then moved to a crouched position like a cornered animal. Just as I was about to tell her to relax, she jumped on me, slamming me to the ground. The back of my head bounced against the concrete floor, and stars swam in my eyes. By the time I sat up, Luke and I were alone.