The Reburialists - J. C. Nelson Page 0,3

it, she whispers in dreams. Carson’s blood will pay if it isn’t returned.”

He liked to talk, so while I could still breathe, I wanted to set a trap, luring information from it that might lead me to its true home. “Let’s say I had it, and I wanted to give it to you? Who would I send the heart to?”

“The darkness follower. The edge walker. The eater who lives in sin and walks the new temple. You know only what I am commanded to tell you, lesser Carson.”

And that right there, that pissed me off. With my free hand, I drove a stubby silver blade into the arm holding me, and when my feet hit the floor, I hurled myself at the meat-skin. Four years of high school football taught me how to lead with my shoulder, drive with my feet.

Using my momentum to drive a stake through an animated corpse when we hit the hull wasn’t covered in physical education, though. Thank God my dad had homeschooled me in corpse killing.

The stake sizzled and popped as it drove the Re-Animus out. Black clouds of smoke billowed out into the night. To me, dying Re-Animus smelled like burning hair. Three breaths later, I stood alone. Me, a once-again dead body, and the lap of the waves.

I snapped a picture of its finger painting with my cell phone and called Dale. “I put our walker back to bed. You’ve got to see what it was drawing. I’m sending a picture now.”

After a moment Dale swore. He’d tweaked the inflections on his voice module to get the curses just right. “You didn’t repeat any of that out loud, did you?”

“According to you, I can barely read the instructions on a condom wrapper. Pretty safe bet I didn’t read the glyphs. That what I think it is?”

When Dale spoke, his voice trembled, as much as it could, being mostly mechanical. “Wipe it off the walls, get the hell out of Dodge. I’m booking you a flight back to the U. S. of A. We need to talk to the director.”

I rolled the corpse over, making sure it was dead for good. “The Re-Animus threatened me. It might just be some sort of curse.”

I waited for what seemed like an eternity for Dale to answer.

“No. I’ve seen that pattern before. I think it’s a spell.”



I didn’t do evenings, weekends, or fieldwork. Not because I had a six o’clock bedtime, a social calendar, or a problem handling guns. Working for the Bureau of Special Investigations didn’t pay well enough to justify staying past five, missing the evening news, or getting torn to pieces by an animated corpse.

So a phone call at three in the morning on a Saturday from the BSI headquarters in Seattle started my day off wrong. Having to travel from Portland to Seattle before seven o’clock on a weekend didn’t fit my idea of an auspicious beginning. If I had my way, starting the workday during single-digit hours would be illegal.

I made good time, catching the train in Portland, and then a cab to BSI headquarters at the south end of the lake. Like every day in Seattle, the clouds hung overhead, obliterating vitamin D and drizzling depression on every inch of the city. No wonder those folks worshipped coffee.

Unlike our Portland branch, BSI headquarters in Seattle never closed. I walked through the door at a quarter to six, waving to the security guard in the lobby.

He looked me over, letting his gaze linger in all the wrong places, and gave me a cheesy smile. “Receptionist training doesn’t start until eight, miss. But if you wait, I’ll show you around the cafeteria when it opens for breakfast.”

I let the friendly demeanor I preferred to use drain away. I could be a bitch if I had to. “That’s Senior Analyst Grace Roberts. I’m here for an emergency meeting, so you can sign me in now and show yourself the cafeteria.” Men tended to look at my hair and think “Blonde, and dumb.” They’d look at my face and say “Barbie got a college degree.” God only knew what they thought about my figure, but regardless of what my first supervisor thought, the only assets I used to advance my career were between my ears, not my legs.

He kept his mouth shut while I signed the logbook and scanned my badge. When I stepped out of the elevator on the twentieth floor, I found a shriveled, ancient man in a lab coat, waiting. His