Book Four : Forsaken, Chapter 2- Awakening
Death hung in the air. The earth littered with what remained of the combatants. Blood soaked every crevice. A chilling silence haunted the air, the unheard cries of the fallen, a calm shattered by the squeak of a old, rusted wheel. A tall figured, robed in torn, brown cloth, dragged cart and spade into the scene.
"Well, well," his dead lips hissed, "seems ta be mah day." Dragging up the rusted spade, the grim figure plunged it into one of the many corpses, pulling it into his cart before wheeling along to the next creature. Finally, he came upon a human. Pausing for a moment, he realized who laid before him. He braced himself, leaning against his tool, stuck in the ground, enjoying the moment. "Ah cun ba'ely believe it. Dun 'spect ta see ya he'e so soon. Ah guess yah time be shortah dan ya thunk it, but ya knew ya cunnot outrun mah fore'er." His moment of triumph passed, he resumed his chore: gathering the souls of the dead. Pulling the shovel from out under his weight, he wedged its head underneath the body, beginning to lift it.
"Not... yet." He stumbled backwards, dropping spade and body. In his line of work, not much was expected to catch him by surprise. This was most unnatural.
"It cunnot be," he vehemently protested. "Yah dead! Ya gotta bleedin' hole in ya! Yah time is o'ah!"
"I don't know what to tell you," the corpse responded as aching efforts at motion were undertaken. Clutching the gored wound, the body staggered to foot in spite of the mind warping pain. "But I can't die yet. I'm not done."
"No! No mortal ought ta survi'e dat," the Grave Yard Keeper raged at the resurrected.
"What can I say? I'm no ordinary mortal. Besides, this wouldn't be the first time I've caused disappointment by not dying." Choking out the words, a finger struggled to be lifted to push the falling spectacles back against the battered face. "After all, they don't call me Spring Heeled Jack for nothing," Jack Edward Daws reminded him. "I never stay down." Gagging on his own blood, he removed his hand from the considerable hole in his chest to study it.
"Lucky ya," the skeletal man feignly complimented, "it missed all yah good parts, yah breathers an' pump." His withered face swayed in disgust from beneath the frayed brim of his tall hat. "I dun e'en see how dat's poss'ble."
"And aside from a few broken bones," Jack muttered, tearing pieces of his shirt off to use as bandages, "nothing else seems damaged."
"Well, ain't ya da special un," the Keeper snarled as he returned to collecting those who had actually died. "Ah will be seein' ya 'gain, ya know. Ah will." Drained and trampled, literally, Jack saved his breath, never questioning just who this stranger was. He obviously meant no harm, probably just a crazy, old scavenger looking anyone's guess. Jack knew that he was luckily. No one should have survived what he went through: a hole bored into his chest, his body smashed beneath a giant beast. His wounds were not fatal, appearing much worse than they really were, clotting quickly. He was fortunate enough to wake up from the trauma. He had been crushed, defeated, robbed, and left for dead. Most people would only see this as an end, but Jack saw only new opportunities, chances to get back at those he loathed most, for, as far as the Rockets knew, their enemy, Jack Edward Daws, was slain. While testing his shattered leg in gait, he happened upon Mooky's broken vessel. With restrained tears, he stepped past his lost pet. A cold, night wind picked up, signaling the Keeper elsewhere. As the two strode passed one another, a mutilated cadaver slid from the cart of rotting things.
"You dropped something," Jack grunted, tormented enough by breath let alone speech. Not wanting any trouble from the stranger in his condition, he tried to be as passive about the appearance of a dead body as possible, assuming such is even possible.
"Ah dun know wha' ya mean," the Keeper returned. "'Tis yah body de'e, not mahn, an' a good find at dat. He got nice garb on 'em, roughly yah size. Why, ah dun think ah'd know da diff'rence." He turned his head back, gazing at Jack with cold, empty eyes, making it clear that this "accident" was more a command. "Now dun ya go dyin' on mah just yet. Like ya said, ya still got work ta do. Besides, ya bettah get un hell o' a death aftah all dis." Turning his head again, he cast a haunting smile. "An' someun gots ta keep mah busy." Trying to overcome the fact that it was someone else's death garment, he donned the tattered, bloody coat the dead man, nevertheless. He knew he had a long path ahead of him. Leaving the corpse, which was maimed and disfigured beyond recognition, in his place, he reported the scene to the officials to spread the news of his demise further. As his wounds healed over the following weeks, he did his part in advancing the rumors surrounding his downfall. As far as his enemies, friends, or family knew, he had died on that day. In a way, part of him truly did, for he could no longer return to his old life or anyone from it.