I still don’t know how she found me.
If there’s one thing I learned — and learned fast and hard — it was you never bring your old lives with you. Each death was a hard stop, a swinging blade carving fifteen year cycles out of eternity. Even on the good days, when the change was no more drastic then going to bed twenty-seven and waking up twelve, there’s just no rationalizing it. To anyone. Not to your wife. Not to the cops. Certainly not to the morgue attendant who just watched a twenty-one year old fatality shed nine years and death in a handful of heartbeats.
So I don’t go looking for the lives I’ve left behind… and I certainly never expected them to come looking for me.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“It really is you.” She’d turned her rugrat loose to harass the dog, who was more than willing to return the favor, and was staring across the table with none of her previous fury. Which was good, because she’d apparently inherited the Donnelly temper if nothing else.
“No it isn’t.” Because who knew, maybe if I said it often enough she’d believe me. I picked at the hem of jeans a decade old, fresh out of storage and smelling like mothballs.
“Well at least now I know why you never called.”
“You were four.” And I was not having this conversation. “You were four, and I was dead, and what the fuck do you expect me to do about it now?” Damned if I was going to sit here and let my forty-something daughter try and lecture me about family responsibilities. Even if I was twelve. For the moment.
There was a pause.
“Well, for starters you can watch your language.”