This book is dedicated to Marissa Duken,
Without who's help this book would not be possible.
And you've always been an inspiration to me.
You truly have.
Where am I?
I see... lights.
My name's Michael Garter, but... call me...
I remembered that.
I died on September Ninth, 2009, at 9:09 PM.
So they say. In a car crash, they say.
Actually, I'm not sure.
Am I dead...
Or am I alive?
The last thing I remember was... waking up.
From a bad dream?
No... That can't be.
I can't feel my body. It's torn apart.
But I'm not dead.
I'm sitting in the old town cemetery, next to the huge, creepy, tall...
It's a clock?
Midnight, it says.
This is a true story.
Now whether or not you agree with that statement remains to be seen.
But I know what I know.
I know what I saw, what I lived.
What I lived through.
So it doesn’t really matter to me whether you believe it or not.
But be sure of this:
Whichever side you pick, you will still deal with the consequences.
You can count on it.
And on that note, I welcome you -
I welcome you to the world of magic,
The world of Vampires,
And the world of The Dead.
Welcome to my world.
There have been, over the course of human history, many, many tales of the “Undead”, and, consequently, of Vampires.
But none, to me, have seemed remotely accurate.
None of them represented in the slightest bit of detail the accuracy I'd been expecting from some of the biggest names in literature.
None of them, not even Anne Rice, with her Vampire Chronicles, Bram Stoker's Dracula, or even Stephen King's The Night Flyer.
None of them measured close to what I'd experienced.
But all of them came close to what I'd been expecting.
I hadn't known about The Institute,
I hadn't known about the Umpirs,
And I had never, never known about Death, or about the Vewlyn.
Nor do I believe I will ever want to.
I never want the truth.
But I'll have to face it when it finally comes for me.
I know I will.
Aside from that, the fact is, with all these past tellings of the “Walking Dead” and the supposed “Immortal”, none of them have come forward to explain to me why the world is the way it is.
I'd have to find that out for myself.
As for you, I'd rather you not go through what I did.
As a result, I've taken my records and rewritten them, in a way that will help you understand your world, and to maybe help mine.
This way, you will know.You will know the truth, without having to live it.And, being immune to life - and the world, in general - you'll live, growing old, contentedly, and then, one day, you'll see your loved ones when you die – because you can.
Are you ready for the truth?
Now, even though I've said otherwise, I'd like you, just for a moment, to step into my world, fill my shoes, and see the things I've seen.
No one's ever told a tale without living the life...
The ones that do are unaware of the consequences that follow them.
I'd never thought of death being a privilege.
But now that was all I was thinking about, as I sat here, surrounded by the wet mist and cold fog.
It was a cold, winter night.
What was I doing out here?
And why in the world was I outside?
I knew I shouldn't be here, where I was.
I knew I should be somewhere else.
For one, somewhere warm.
But also, for some odd reason, I had this feeling that I shouldn't be able to live in this world.
In this physical, materialistic world.
I just knew I wasn't supposed to be here.
I couldn't feel any part of my body.
I could feel that it was torn apart, but it also felt light and oddly empty.
It was almost like I was floating.
No pulse, either.
I had checked, I had pinched, I had waited.
I had gotten nothing.
My butt, though, was suffering.
It was aching, the only part of my body that could feel.
Underneath me was a large, tall, rock, rounded around the top.
Rubbing my aching butt, I bent down closer to examine it.
The moon wasn't out tonight. It was covered by clouds.
But even then, I could still read what was engraved in the stone.
That, alone, surprised me.
REST IN PEACE
Michael J. Garter
August 16 1992 – September 9 2009
It was a car crash that ended his life
“Love is like a treasure; it may be hidden away,
but never forgotten”
So the reason my butt’s been aching was the fact that I was sitting on a big, hard tombstone.
But how could I be dead?
I sat back down, suddenly feeling very tired.
Running my fingers through my hair, I tried to remember how I’d gotten here.
None of this made any sense.
Resting my head in my hands, I grew gradually sleepier. An image blurred into focus in my mind.
The shooting baseball streaked through the cool, spring air.
On the receiving end of the ball was Number 47, running to catch up with it.
Finally, as the ball began its decent, the catcher leapt, and it landed smoothly into his glove.
For a moment, all he could hear was the sound of screaming in his ears, as the team closed in on him.
Then, the coach arrived.
He told everyone to break it up, and came to hug Michael.
No one seemed more ecstatic about winning the championships than the coach.
Just as he was announcing that the entire team would be eating an extra large pizza dinner tonight, courtesy of him, Michael felt a hard hand go down on his shoulder.
He turned around.
There, grinning possibly even wider than the coach, stood the team’s star pitcher and Michael’s best friend, Steve.
With bright blond hair and twinkling blue eyes, Stephen Benjamin had always been called “Steve”, dislike for his true name apparent.
Michael, who’d always been the team’s greatest batter, never could measure up to Steve’s pitching – Steve, Number 42.
Nevertheless, he and Steve had been the greatest of friends for as long as he could remember.
Steve gave him a huge hug, and wouldn’t let go until Michael had gasped that he was suffocating.
Laughing, Steve and Michael followed the rest of the team to the van, suddenly starving.
This was too weird.
I took a deep breath and nearly choked.
No breathing for a while, I told myself.
If I was going to be here a while, I should at least make myself comfortable.
So I went to find myself a bed, until - Wait…
Where was I supposed to go to get a bed?
Did I have someone who missed me?
I couldn’t remember a thing.
So I decided to just walk around a while until something hit me.
Now what was that dream I had about baseball?
Marissa, be a dear, would you – and get me the Scrying Globe, I need a minute to myself.
Her mother’s voice stung like pin needles in Marissa Duken’s head.
Grudgingly, she got up and thought,
Coming, mum. Give me a sec. Oh, by the way, the mail just arrived. Would you like me to bring it up for you?
Yes dear, that would be lovely.
Her mother sounded busy, absent-minded.
Usually, it would have bothered Marissa – but not today.
Lately, her mother’d been quite busy and absent-minded, Scrying on her ex-husband – just to see what he’s up to, she’d say.