After Death

November 8th, 2017

It’s been six hours since I woke up in the hospital. My chest is covered in more stitches than my sister’s old Raggedy Anne doll and my entire body feels about as limp and lifeless. This is the second time I’ve died, only to wake up and find my body parts replaced with a stranger’s. What’s so much worse this time is I actually saw the man, whose heart is now beating inside of me. I woke up during the surgery and he was lying next to me. He was probably the most average man I’ve ever seen. Average height, build, and average facial features. I’m a detective and I don’t know that I could spot him in a crowd. But, he was a person. A person made in the image of God,who had a story.. maybe people who loved him. And he was dead. His chest pulled open like a soft shell crab. Someone decided he should die so that I could live.

My hands won’t stop shaking.

I made a choice and accepted death. I didn’t want it to happen, but I did it knowing that I would protect the lives of people I love. What better way to go out huh? A big mystery was revealed: I learned who has been trying to kill me for these past two years and why. Back when I first started heroics, I committed a horrible mistake. The person hunting me, Holly McAlister, wanted justice for the death of her father, a man I killed in one of my earliest forays into super heroics. In those days, I was a broken man seeking vengeance and I got careless and a man died as a result. Ironic that my quest for revenge just produced more of the same.

I was outplayed by Ms. McAllister. I was rendered defenseless and chained to the ground. She explained her position simply. I had killed a man and not faced justice. This was unacceptable. She made it clear that if I was not willing to surrender then everyone I loved would face the consequences. I asked her to step forward and look me in the eye and let me speak to her. She did and I saw a broken woman. A woman consumed by the same hatred and grief I had been burdened with years before. I briefly considered fighting. Resisting her and fighting for my life, but I decided that risked too much. If killing me could protect the people I cared about and help this woman deal with her grief, then I would be okay with dying. Having made my decision, I felt at peace. I had been given a second chance at life after that car wreck and I had tried my best to do something with it.. something I could be proud of. As she stepped forward and leveled the gun to my heart, the last thing I remember thinking was a simple prayer for her, my “enemy”… “God, help her break the cycle of vengeance I’ve created….

I don’t remember hearing the shot go off…

I woke up in that hospital. It’s been six hours since then. Now, now, I don’t know what to do.. From what I’ve gathered, people think Autopsy is dead and Ralph Containe is probably listed as missing. In a sense, I think they’re both missing. I’ve done nothing but think for these last six hours and I’ve come to a terrifying realization: I don’t know what I am or why I’m here, breathing. I don’t think I can call myself human at this point. Why am I still alive? Should Ralph Containe have stayed dead in that room? Did Autopsy die there as well? I don’t think I’m going to get any easy answers. I do know that someone went to a lot of effort to ensure I didn’t stay dead. I think that’s what I need to focus on now. Begin digging, follow the clues, and stay in the shadows. At least that last part shouldn’t be too hard.

After Death

Marvel Superheroes JNHutch