His mind felt hazy, as if he were in a dream. Unable to focus on the spacious room filled with rickety furniture and fine art. How the floor was a dark chestnut that was polished until it’s dark surface was mirror like. How the walls were a pleasant cream color. He didn’t feel the hard wood under his bare feet or the soft cotton of the standard issue gray clothes he was wearing.
Yet he did know was that a young, female human was standing before him. She was shorter than he, the top of her head only reached his chest. He felt her small hands resting on top of his shoulders and he saw how she stood on her tiptoes to look closer at his face. How her eyes were rings of green and brown halos veined with gold. How her skin was pale, pocket marked, and littered with the occasional freckle.
He saw how the natural sunlight pouring through a nearby window brought out gold and red natural highlights in her dark brown hair that twisted and curled wildly. Whereas the artificial lights only made it seem a simple brown.
He felt a surge of warmth bubbling from his chest that once felt hollow. His palms itched with the desire to reach out and touch her as she did to him. Her right hand moved from his shoulder and cupped his cheek.
“come on, Will, you gotta remember” She urged, Will shivered, her voice was husky and sweet, it reminded him of honey suckle growing in the deep forest and the misty Irish hills that echoed with the voices of the past.
He stared hard at her, the warmth in his chest was overwhelmingly sweet and gooey. But then it twisted sharply. His stomach felt as if it were filled with rocks. Memories filled his mind, painful and heart wrenching. The feeling of summer romance turned rotten, the only exception was that there never was a romance and he loved her far longer than a summer.
“Maria?” Will croaked.
Her pretty hazel eyes went wide with surprise and an expression of confusion contorted her beautiful face.
Her hands fell away from his face.
The absence of her touch left him feeling wretched and awful. Reaching out he hugged her tightly, as if it were the last thing he’d ever do. After a moment he felt her arms wrap around him, hesitant at first but then they tightened reassuringly.
“Holy shit dude” Came a new distinctly male voice. Pulling away from Maria, and looking around him for the first time. Realizing there were 18 individuals in the room with them. All male and he knew them all. His baseball team, a tight knit group of friends from a small town.
It was then Will felt wetness on his face, he was crying.
Will looked back to Maria, she bore a tortured expression. “Maria, what’s going on?” Will asked as he wiped the tear streaks away with the heel of his hand.
A worried expression took prominence, “Ah, I suppose you wouldn’t remember, but you died, all of you” Maria said.
Will looked to his friends for validation. Brenton, the team captain, held out the counties local newspaper. The headline read ‘19 dead in deadly car accident’ then it went on to explain how a bus carrying the local high schools varsity baseball team skidded off the edge of Howells Bridge over Mary’s canyon into the Talco river, a deep, fast flowing river. The bus crashed through the ice covering the surface of the river before being carried downstream by the current. The only survivors were the coaches and the bus driver.
Will turned quickly, staring at Maria in disbelief and confusion. “Then how are we standing here?” Will demanded angrily.
“Ah, It’s a long story” Maria said weakly. “Then start talking” Hayden, one of the five seniors, growled.
Maria ran her hand through her hair, “It was a month after you all died, I buried myself into my work. I received a summons two days ago, from the Summer Court, essentially the governing body of people like me. So I went, I didn’t know what it was about. When I arrived, there you all were. Just standing there, your bodies and minds were alive but all independent thought and personal memory were stripped away. Standard protocol when it comes to resurrection. They said the gods demanded you to be revived and given to me. I refused, but they said if I didn’t take you then you’d be destroyed. I couldn’t stand to lose you a second time so I accepted. I brought you back home and for the past day I’ve been restoring your memories and now here we are” Maria explained.
The double doors to the room burst open revealing a teen with dark wild hair, gleaming gray eyes. He was tall, taller than any of the teens present in the room. He had calcite colored skin and wore loose fitting jeans and a simple white shirt.
“Ah, they all came back, alright?” He called out to Maria. “Yeah, I was just telling them about their memories” Maria replied.
He crossed his muscled arms over his thick chest and rolled his eyes, “That was such a bitch, billions of memories between the lot of you, what a pain in the goddamn ass, collecting them all, not to mention what would’ve happened if we got caught” He said as he fell into a nearby chair.
“What do you mean?” Jakob, another senior, spoke. Weariness in his voice.
“giving the memories back to revived corpses is highly illegal, a class ten offense, punishable by death and the revived corpses would be destroyed” Maria said.