Time lurches.  The Universe does something temporal to my body and returns my cells to a previous state.  Atmospheric chemistry plays loose probabilities with speeds and collisions, resulting in clean air.

Someone is shaking my shoulder and I wake.  Homeostasis boils like a bad hangover.  My organs howl with endocrine greed, a cacophony of jealous snatching as they drain my blood like a class full of toddlers catching sight of the birthday tin.

It’s Frank:  ‘Ah, resurrection is it?  Good for you, Sir.  You’ll be needing this, I brings one with me, just in case.’

He hands be a sports drink.  The kind that’s orange but tastes of salt and copper; vitamins and minerals assault my system like cocaine and make me dizzy.

Frank is keen to help and guides me out of the room.  He takes me somewhere with dull windows and soft chairs.  A radio plays quiet orchestral music.

When I remember how to speak with air I ask:  ‘You’ve seen this happen before?  Does it happen a lot?’

He sighs and looks like he’s wrestling with uncomfortable thoughts.  Eventually he says:

‘No, can’t say it happens often but I will say it happens more than it used to.  We here, Sir, are criminal only because the law says we are.  We are not evil, Sir. We do the best we can in the knowledge that were it not us, there would be others with less kindness in heart.

‘Like when these rooms first opened, Sir.  Back then, the button was pushed and light was lit; you closed the door and someone opened a hatch in the wall and shot you.  Bullets are cheaper than gas, you see?  Then, thems that runs things, had what you might call a change of heart.  Strictly as the catalogue says.  S’after that when people started to come back.

‘For what it’s worth, Sir, I’m always glad to see a second walk.  For some it leads straight back here, for others, not.  My advice, Sir, don’t dwell of what’s over.  Could be there’s something out there worth doing.’

What can bring a person back from the dead?  For me, it was an inferred statement of fact:  The Universe wants change, constantly, but doesn’t care what that change is.  It supports anything that makes the future different from the past; and it can be tricked.

Jemma is all better now; she’s happy and well as are the first two dogs we ever owned.  This is their third walk.  I keep thinking I’ll bring back my brother but The Function made a good point; some people loose eternities wondering what I am.  I think the world today would be stressful for him.

In the end it was I who started a religion, of a kind.  I think it works because I don’t understand the physics.  I was advised once that sometimes, knowledge of how something works can stop that thing from working.  Because knowledge is a consequence in and of itself.  Knowledge is influence enough.

We only have one rule.  Not because we’re cruel but because limited experience has taught us that not everyone is capable of simple gratitude and nothing more.  If the question burns you, it’ll keep burning you until all your fuel is exhausted and influence is repurposed as heat radiation and gas.  The rule:  If the first thing a reconstitutee asks is, ‘where am I?’ we put them back.

There’s a new meme now, people have tattoos on both forearms saying:  ‘Don’t ask where you are.’  It’s cute.

Slowly, the world is calming down.  We’re a big part of that.  Whilst we don’t officially exist, there are no actual laws against what we do so I’m not worried.  Governments are going out of fashion anyway.  It turns out that knowledge of a second chance at life makes angry people mellow.  Things don’t have to be done now, all at once.  People are enjoying what’s around them more than they used to; taking time to understand.

As for me; the circumstances that led me here are tragic, but my training served me well.  I’ll stay for a while but one day, when there’s nothing left to do, I’ll sleep.  As I understand it, right now, my influence is incomplete.