It was 10 AM when Dr. Browning watched the cadaver disappear into a metal tube.
Ten hours later, she was having dinner with him.
“So, what it like?” she asked, leaning forward eagerly.
“Which part?” the former-cadaver in question, Percival Wright, teased. “The dying part, the being dead part, or the coming back to life part?”
“All of it!” Dr. Browning grinned. “Your experience is remarkable.”
“You know, all the details are already in the report Dr. Metrich wrote. Asked me every question under the sun. And wrote down every answer.” Percival shrugged tiredly. Already, fatigue was wearing him down.
“I understand, but I would also like to collect information firsthand.” She smiled. “Excited to get back home?”
Percival nodded eagerly. “My girlfriend. She’ll be so excited to see me. Does she know I’m not dead?”
“She was the one who volunteered you, so she’s most likely been informed.” Dr. Browning looked down at her plate.
Percival’s face lit up. He reached into his pocket, presumably to get his phone, but looked confused when he came up empty-handed.
“Your phone was destroyed in the accident,” she explained.
Percival nodded slowly. “Dr. Metrich said my brother was driving?”
Dr. Browning held back a sigh; of course, Metrich would use the same cause of death each time. Constraints mattered, even if they were dull.
“You know, it’s quite strange. I … I don’t remember much of anything, but whenever someone says something, it feels like it clicks and makes sense.” He looked stricken for a moment. “I can’t remember my girlfriend’s name.”
“Maria,” she supplied.
“That sounds right, but … would it really matter what you told me?” Percival’s fingers danced on the table, making a weak attempt to mask his heavy breathing.
Dr. Browning cocked her head to the side, observing the way Percival’s eyelids seemed to be drooping, despite the fury that swept through the rest of him. “Is everything alright, Mr. Wright?”
“Nothing should make sense, but it does!” He stood up suddenly. “You – “
The table rattled as he fell against it.
Dr. Browning sighed as she watched the man collapse to the floor.
Fourteen hours later, Dr. Browning watched Percival disappear into the metal tube.