\Finally finished the third chapter. Still not sure if I’ll ever finish the whole story. Anyway, the list of all previously written parts of the story is in the post, followed by the grand finale of the third chapter\
Lazarus (2nd part)
However, before Trent could gather some strength to get up from his seat, the door was opened from the outside. After all, the man behind the door once knew perfectly where the spare key is, how many times it should be turned before the lock clicks, how to undo the latch so that the old wooden door could stand ajar with a creak of relief. The man behind the door knew better than anyone else how to handle it. He just needed some time to remember.
It seemed that the man, who now entered the house, needed some time to remember everything. He walked like a puppet, recently freed from its strings which didn’t quite come to terms with its new ability. He placed one foot before the other as gingerly as if he was made of glass and any rash movement could break him to pieces. He also looked old, this unexpected visitor, as old as the Earth itself. In fact small lumps of soil were falling from his wild and greasy hair and from his worn-out suit as he walked, scratching himself with long yellow nails.
Little Duncan was the first to break the silence. “Granddad!” he shouted, already running to hug the old man, paying no attention to all the dirt. Sophie, the older sister, tried to follow his example, but her mother forced her to sit still, firmly putting her hand on her daughter’s shoulder.
The old man hugged the little boy, but when he spoke, he spoke to Trent
“My son” – uttered the old man in his coarse and raspy voice – “You called. I came. How is this even possible?”
“Yes, Trent!” – There was a shrill note in Janine’s voice – “Please, explain! How is this possible? He’s been dead for three years!”
“Sit down, father, please! There is a place for you! Sit down and listen!” – Trent sprang up to his feet and gave a feverishly elated and painfully incoherent recital of his strange morning encounter, the bargain he struck and the wish he made.
“So, you just wished for your father to come back to life?”
“Yes, my dear Janine!” – The old man now seemed elated as well and his voice wasn’t so strained any more – “Trent called and brought me back to life! Not really in one piece though. Spirit and flesh, once parted, can’t be put back together completely. So, now I can leave this frail pile of bones if I want to. I can be all sorts of things now!” – Trent’s father strengthened up and bowed theatrically – “Watch me! I am a ghost!”
The old man’s body suddenly went limp, as his pale and transparent yet young and well-groomed copy emerged right in front of it.
“I am a zombie!”
The old man’s ghost now disappeared and his body started to move in a strange, restrained manner, with its hands stretched out, its stare dead and unblinking.
“I am a poltergeist!”
The body went limp once again, but this time the ghost didn’t appear. Instead, the plates and forks started to clunk and rattle, while little Duncan, squealing with delight, was lifted up to the ceiling by some invisible force.
“Very well! Let’s do something with this mess!”
Now scissors, razors and combs from God knows where flew in through the windows and started to dance around the old man’s face, stopping only briefly to let flacons with soap, shaving foam and toilet water to spill its contents wherever the old man saw fit. Meanwhile little Duncan kept swinging back and forth in the air.
“Let go of my child! You crooked bastards, young and old! Is this some sort of a confidence trick?! Did you expect me to fall for your gibberish about angels and feathers?”
“Oh, but I can prove it!” – Trent’s father exclaimed – “My spirit is now able to pierce through space and time, so wait for a moment!” – And the moment passed, and somewhere not so far away the angel flinched from a short jolt of pain. Another rush of air followed and a single feather landed on Janine’s hand – “Make your wish, my dear!”
Janine clutched the feather and screamed plaintively “Take us away from them! Please!”
However clumsily the wish was formulated, the feather carried it out in perfect accordance with Janine’s freshly formed understanding of ‘us’ and ‘them’.
The house was utterly empty now. Janine and the children disappeared as soon as the wish was pronounced, alongside with all the furniture, upholstery and whatever else the house contained.
The old man sat on the floor, slumped and miserable, devoid of his former defiance.
“What have we done, son!” – He moaned desperately – “Where can they be now?”
“Never mind, father!” – Trent came closer, smiling with uncanny carelessness – “Janine made her choice. We don’t need her.”
“But why would you need to bring me back?! Don’t you realize that the dead should stay dead?” – The old man lifted up his trembling hands, staring at them with profound disgust – “This body is so old and withered, and I can still feel the graveyard chill deep inside my bones! For some reason I can’t abandon it now, even temporarily!”
“You can’t, because I won’t allow it!” – There was hard edge in Trent’s voice now – “You see father, I didn’t wish for you to simply come back to life. I wanted you to stay with me, forever with me. This, apparently, gives me some measure of control over you. Your flesh and your spirit will stay at one place and in one piece as long as I want them to. I felt so alone without your support, hopelessly lost without your guiding hand!” – As Trent took his father’s hand, his eyes burned with maniacal tenderness – “Stay with me, father. Don’t you ever go.”
“Possessive freak!” – Sue issued a verdict with her usual bluntness.
“I hoped that my power would serve to strengthen the family ties, not to sever them!” – The angel was stricken with grief – “What should we do now?”
“What can we do, but watch? Let’s proceed to our next test subject.”
“Yeah, but did he even made his wish?”
“He just did. And therein lies a rather unexpected problem problem” – Sue got up to her feet, her eyes wide with wonder – “Our second patrol-man just wished for me.”
And then Sue simply disappeared from the motel. Azrael tried to reach out for her mentally, to follow the trail of her thoughts and desires, but there was none. As if she never existed.