12. Born-again Zombie (3)

Like many victims of cerebral trauma, I was reborn with a kind of amnesia. Was it a relief to leave my old “self “ with all its sorrow and disappointment behind? In some ways, yes, but I must tell you that I’ve never felt more isolated than I did when I returned from the dead, though I wouldn’t have believed it possible. Overall, it is ghastly. Sometimes I think that I don’t exist at all, that I am no more than a miserable little corner of Erin’s consciousness locked off from the rest of her mind for reasons I can’t fathom, though I’m sure they have something to do with Clément’s fugu potion. But that is a one-way ticket to oblivion. More recently I’ve come to believe that the old Erin and the distracted creature I’ve become are one and the same, though we are often like dance partners that can’t decide who’s in charge. Thankfully, the intelligence I am determined to claim as the real me usually fights for the lead . . . and wins.

I finally managed to open my eyes. It seems that my pupils were dilated, so that when my eyelids fluttered up, the incoming brilliance was blinding. There were shapes lurking off in the corners of what seemed to be a very large space. I was laid out on a table without clothing, and it was cold. I settled into my new situation. The icy kiss of steel on my backside finally jolted my body into action. I sat upright quickly—too quickly. I was swimming in nausea. Eventually I managed to stand, coughing and gagging, in the small pool of my own regurgitation, my long hair in my face. An orange eruption ran down my chin, spattered onto my chest and my breasts. An acrid taste filled my mouth.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 12.3/Born-again Zombie