Revenant This story was inspired by an offhand comment Chris Delaney made in email to me. However, the story itself is all mine.


by Alara Rogers

Oh, hello, young lady! I didn't hear you come in. They didn't tell me I would have a visitor today; they never tell me anything, you know that? But I certainly don't mind. I don't get many visitors anymore. Just my friend comes to see me sometimes. And a blonde woman... can't remember her name... Linda? Liza? Alice? No, no, my memory isn't what it used to be. But no one else comes to see me. Not even my children... I think I have children. Don't I? Can't remember them, though. You'd think even an old man like me would be able to remember raising his own children, but I don't... when I try to remember them, all I can picture are these two teenagers that used to work for me. I guess they were like children to me, or something. But they don't come to visit me either.

Oh, it's not that bad. Could be a lot worse. They take care of me here. I didn't always need someone to take care of me, but I guess that's what happens if you live long enough... No, they let me eat anything I want, and they gave me that TV, and they make sure no one kills me. No, I'm quite serious. The other day some young man got in here and he was going to kill me. He said why but I didn't really understand what he was talking about. It gets you like that when you're my age. He was from Russia; something about a submarine? I don't remember. Anyway, they came right in and stopped him. The guards here. They're really very good at what they do. I know that much; I remember I used to do that kind of thing, once, a long time ago... Hard to remember, though. And that boy, he said a funny thing when they dragged him off. The one that was trying to kill me, yes. The Russian boy. What was it he said? No, I'll get it, I'll get it... oh yes. He said there wasn't any point to him killing me because this was worse. I can't figure out what he meant by that. Funny, isn't it?

Well, I don't do much, to tell you the truth. Mostly I watch the television. Never used to have much time for television in my younger days but now I watch it all the time. It gives me something to do. Sometimes my friend comes to visit; did I mention that? He's a mindreader. I don't know if they know he's a mindreader. Hard for me to remember what people know about other people's powers. I used to have powers too, did you know that? Something happened... I forget what. Maybe I just got old. I don't even think about them much.

That's a good question... how much do I remember about the past. I'm not sure. It comes and goes. I don't like to think about the past; I can't really remember much that was good about it. I know old folks like me are supposed to spend all their time saying "in my day, we did this", but in my day I was a prisoner of the Nazis and no one wants to hear that. I don't want to think about it. I think I didn't used to be able not to think about it. Maybe whatever happened was a blessing, in a way. I don't have to think about anything that hurts if I don't want to. It's easy just to forget; a lot harder to remember. I told you I can't remember my children? And some of the people at the home here, some of the people that take care of me, like the ones who saved me from that Russian boy. I used to know them. Think I didn't like them much, or maybe they didn't like me. But they're perfectly sweet to me now. Like that boy who has to wear the glasses all the time. I'm pretty sure he and I didn't get along. He's here sometimes. I think maybe they take shifts, or something.

Why? Well, I used to be some kind of important man. I told you I used to have powers? And I had a goal, I was trying to protect people. I think. It's all a little hazy. But anyway, I made a lot of enemies. The Russian boy wasn't the only one who tried to kill me. So a bunch of mutants, they take turns taking care of me. Did you know I was a mutant? Oh, you're one too? That's good, that's good.

Yes... yes, it bothers me, a little. I wish I remembered more. I asked my friend once-- I told you he was a mindreader? I did? Well, yes. He heals people, too. In their minds, you know. I asked him if he could help me-- I was just so tired of being old and helpless like this, and not remembering anything. Wish I still had my powers. Or at least I could remember what they were. What I used them for. I think perhaps I did something bad, because why would there be people trying to kill me? Or maybe I did something good, and they're opposed to it? Who knows. I try not to think about it. Maybe it's a better thing, you know? Because I think I used to have nightmares all the time, and now I get a good night's rest every night. I never have dreams anymore.

Oh, you want to know what my friend said when I asked him? Well, it's a funny thing. He started to cry, and he kept begging me to forgive him, over and over. Now that sticks in my head. Funny thing to stick, I guess. What did he want me to forgive him for? If he couldn't fix me then he could have just said so, he didn't need to get so upset.

Now you're crying. Don't cry, miss... no, no. Don't cry. It's all right. What are you crying for?

You say I remind you of someone you used to know? What happened to him?

Oh, he's dead? Well, I guess that's good. Not that he's dead, I mean, but that I remind you of someone you'd cry for now that he's dead. I don't think anyone would cry for me when I'm dead. Maybe my friend.

Don't be silly, miss. My friend didn't already cry for me being dead. I'm not dead.

What'd you say your name was?

Amelia? What a pretty name. I think I knew someone named Amelia once. Maybe she was my friend. It's hard to be sure.

Oh, that sounds like my dinner. Will you stay and share it with me?

You have to go? Already? Can't you stay a little while? I just get so lonely...

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you can come visit me some other time. I'd be glad to see you anytime. Like I said, I don't get many visitors...

Goodbye, Amelia.