DIE ONCE MORE, excerpt #4: What Happened after 9/11 (in the DIE FOR ME world)

What happened after 9/11 in the DIE FOR ME world. (My tribute to the heroes.) Note for those who haven’t read DIE FOR ME: Good revenants, bardia, die saving someone’s life, resurrect, then spend eternity in a cycle of sacrificing themselves for humans and reanimating at the age they died the first time. (Thus immortal.)

EXCERPT from DIE ONCE MORE, chapter 2:

“I remember my volant spirit’s introduction. ‘What’s Ground Zero mean?’ I ask.

‘What about Ground Zero?’ Faust asks.

‘That’s how Ryan introduced himself,’ I clarify.

Faust answers, ‘Ground Zero. Twin Towers. September eleventh . . .’ and before he even finishes, I get it. ‘Onze septembre,’ I translate, ‘of course. Ryan was there?’

‘We all were,’ he responds, ‘most of us pre-council newbies you’ll meet at the Warehouse. More bardia made that day than in the entire history of New York City.’

We turn, heading toward the Williamsburg Bridge, and follow it away from the river. Frosty walks a few paces in front of us, but I can tell she’s listening to every word.

‘We heard all about it in France,’ I say, and think about the ramifications of what Faust just told me. ‘But the dead were so high profile! There were leaflets with your faces all over the place. How were you even able to stay in the New York area after animating?’

‘Gold made sure those of us he recovered were certified dead and taken off the search lists. Those who had families or communities who might recognize them were moved farther away. Ryan, Tirado, Oreo, and me . . . we all decided to stay. My parents are dead, but I have a little sister I like to keep an eye on. I visit her when I’m volant.’

He’s quiet, studying the ground in front of his feet.

It’s got to be hard for him. He still has surviving family members he can’t show himself to. Everyone I knew before I animated has been dead for generations.

As if reading my mind, Faust glances up at me. ‘At least I get to do what I love: save lives. Never thought I’d be signing up for an eternal contract when I became a firefighter . . . but I can’t think of a better reason to exist.’

Frosty slows, puts an arm around Faust’s shoulder, and gives him a sideways hug. ‘One of New York’s finest,’ she says.”

DIE ONCE MORE releases February 3. You can get it here: (Amazon/B&N).

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