12. Born-again Zombie (5)

My mouth fell open, one hand reached involuntarily toward the wall. I could feel my breath quicken, my heart beating faster, so fast it was dizzying. The image, the beautiful image of the body, began to darken and fade. A thick numbness spread through my legs. I felt them buckle. Unconsciousness was rushing toward me again, and I fought it, fought it impotently. I was losing my grip, drifting back into darkness . . .

Then I smelled it: something new, someone else, another being entering the room. A spicy scent: sweat, warm muscle and blood. It smashed into me, held me hard, a fist tacking me to the moment just before my collapse. It was electric, vitally charged. Sound followed: words in Japanese also crackling with force.

“Eh, nani? What the . . . ? Oh, you Gods, she’s alive!”

That voice penetrated the layers of encroaching unconsciousness. I lunged for the sound, the “dead” girl grasping at it like a drowning woman gasping for air. Desperate, my nails found their pothook in flesh, sank like talons into muscle. I had to pull hard to pull myself out from insensibility, so I dug in, clutching at the source of the voice. He was not as large as I, and I climbed all over him, trying to drag myself back. He fought me hard, struggling in an explosion of Japanese:

“Stop it. Get off. Get off me. What are you? Some kind of . . . zombie?”

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 12.5/Born-again Zombie

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