Three  things  primarily  ran  through  the  mind  of  forty-­‐seven  year  old  William  ‘Bill’   Fasulo

 on  the  day  of  March  31st,  2007.       The  first  being  his  wife  Edna,  44,  and  the  imposing  breakfast  she  made  for   him  that  morning.  It  was  his  favorite.  Eggs—scrambled,  four  slices  of  bacon,  three   hash  browns,  and  two  slices  of  toast  that  were  slathered  in  butter.  It  was  delicious   and  filled  his  belly,  and  his  arteries,  well.       The  second  would  be  the  morning  drive.  There  was  more  traffic  on  his  route   than  usual.  What  Bill  hated  more  than  anything  else  was  being  trapped  in  his   Oldsmobile  in  the  middle  of  the  highway,  especially  while  wearing  clingy  clothing.  In   this  case:  a  long-­‐sleeved  button  up  and  a  pair  of  undersized  dress  pants.     The  air  conditioner  in  his  car  had  been  broken  for  the  better  half  of  a  year,   and  being  150—some  odd  pounds  overweight,  Bill  had  tendencies  to  sweat   profusely.  He  didn’t  want  to  go  to  work  smelling  like  an  onion  patch  but  the  Boston   weather  had  been  too  cold  to  justify  rolling  the  windows  down.    It  would  be  a   twenty-­‐two  minute  excursion  of  misery  that  morning.  But  Bill  would  overcome  it.       The  third  was  an  overwhelming  sense  of  dread  that  swarmed  his  mind,  and   chest,  from  the  moment  he  took  a  seat  at  his  desk  until  the  exact  second  his  brain   ceased  processing  rational  thought.     He’d  convinced  himself  it  wasn’t  serious,  though.  Ruled  it  out  as  anxiety.  He   was  just  a  little  nervous  about  being  late  to  work  and  hadn’t  calmed  since  entering   the  building,  that’s  all.  Nothing  more.  It  had  happened  before…  he  thought.     “I  need  to  hit  the  gym,”  Bill  mumbled  to  himself,  adjusting  his  stapler  to   distract  his  buzzing  mind.  His  heart  thumped  like  he’d  just  run  a  mile.     Positioned  behind  his  mahogany  desk,  Bill  went  about  doing  what  he  usually   did:  his  job.  Bill  was,  no  pun  intended,  a  medical  biller.  He  spent  his  weekdays   situated  in  a  small  room  centered  between  two  other  offices,  uploading  patient   information  to  an  outdated  computer  for  Boston’s  fourth  most  frequented   dermatology  clinic.     He  dragged  and  clicked  at  various  files  in  a  Documents  folder,  but  began  to   worry  when  his  heart  refused  to  slow.  Slamming  up  and  down  in  his  chest,  it   could’ve  given  way  at  any  second.  Taking  the  shape  of  a  rattled  beehive,  his  thoughts   became  frantic.  Emotions  bounced  between  fear,  frustration,  and  self-­‐loathing.   Relax,  you  fat  bastard,  relax,  he  thought  to  himself.   “You  alright,  Bill?”  Jen,  the  middle-­‐aged  office  whore,  asked.  When  crossing   through  his  office  to  the  next,  she  had  noticed  sweat  beading  around  his  horseshoe   shaped  dome.  He  didn’t  look  good.  “I  could  get  you  some  water  if  you’d  like?  You   look  awfully  hot.”  

“Everyone  Comes  Back”   by  Jayme  K.      

But  the  sweat  was  cold.  If  it  weren’t  for  that  cozy  shirt,  he’d  have  been   shivering.   “Um,”  he  started,  looking  at  her—confused.  “No,”  he  said.  “Wait,  yes.  Could   you  please?”  She  looked  down  at  his  chest,  heaving  up  and  down.  Sweat  stained  the   pits  of  his  white  button  up  shirt,  making  them  an  off-­‐tint  yellow.  His  face  and   forehead  were  damper  than  a  dish  sponge.    “Yeah,”  Jen  said,  “I’ll  go  grab  you  a  cup.”   She  left  the  room.  And  that’s  when  a  sudden  heaviness  invaded  Bill’s  chest.  It   eclipsed  the  numbness  that  presided  there  only  moments  earlier,  and  with  it  came  a   stinging  pain  to  his  left  arm.     Bill  gripped  it  quickly.  He  tried  to  massage  the  burning  annoyance  away.   You  pulled  a  muscle  opening  the  door  on  the  way  in,  he  thought.  You  opened   the  door  too  fast.  That’s  it.  Must  be  it.     That  wasn’t  it.     Jen  returned  with  a  plastic  cup  full  of  ice  water.  One  of  her  blonde  hairs  had   fallen  astray  and  landed  over  the  rim  of  the  oval.  She  handed  it  to  him.   “Are  you  sure  you’re  all  right?”  she  asked.     “I’m  fine,”  Bill  said,  breathing  deeply.  He  downed  the  entire  cup  within   seconds  and  then  set  it  down  on  his  desk,  right  next  to  his  mouse  pad.  “Really,  I  am.”   “Okay…”  Jen  said,  and  sounded  the  least  bit  convinced.  “Do  you  want  a  refill?”   “I’ll  get  it  myself,”  Bill  said.     As  he  thrust  his  upper  body  out  of  the  chair,  Bill  froze.  He  couldn’t  move  his   arms.  Nor  could  he  pivot  himself  into  a  standing  position.  Sharp,  unsettling  pain   arose  to  the  center  of  his  chest.  Rendered  physically  useless,  he  shot  back  down  into   his  chair.     Jen’s  face  became  a  muddled  mess  of  emotions.  “Bill?”  she  said.  It  was  almost   a  whisper.     Bill  clutched  his  chest  and  continued  to  wheeze.  His  heart  pattered  a  mile  a   minute,  steadily  edging  toward  a  path  of  finality.  With  his  wave  of  consciousness   fleeting,  Jen’s  face  became  a  blur.  The  cabinets  behind  her  disappeared.  Peripheral   vision  diminished.  It  was  like  trying  to  look  through  a  pair  of  binoculars  backward.   Everything  had  turned  into  a  glowing  gray  blotch.         “Bill,  what’s  wrong?”  Jen  said.  Her  eyes  darted  around  nervously,  unsure  of   what  to  do.  She’d  never  been  in  a  situation  like  this  before.  Both  of  her  parents  had   died  alone  in  their  beds  in  retirement  homes  and  she’d  never  had  the  misfortune  of   being  the  whistleblower  when  it  came  to  medical  emergencies.     He  gurgled,  too  overwhelmed  by  the  pain  in  his  chest  to  respond.  The  chair   toppled  over.  Bill  fell  to  his  side,  his  head  crashing  against  the  paper  shredder.  A   crack  divided  its  lid.     “I’ll  get  help,”  she  said,  and  dashed  out  of  the  room.   But  help  would  arrive  too  late.  Four  minutes  too  late.     Oxygen  ceased  flowing  to  his  brain.  And  it  felt  good.   Pain  steadily  decreased.  All  at  once,  his  chest  felt  lighter.  He  felt  lighter.  This   was  the  closest  thing  to  bliss.  And  yet,  to  the  sudden,  overwhelming  change,  Bill  was   nonplussed.  It  was  too  hard  to  focus.  Or  even  think  coherently.    

Lights  became  brighter.  He  could  feel  the  presence  of  others  around  him,  but   there  was  nothing  there.  Glowing  smudges  occupied  his  view  and  nothing  more.  It   was  over.  This  was  the  end.   He  blinked  and  then…   Nothing.     But  then…  there  was  light.  Light  everywhere.  Devastatingly  beautiful  light.  Streaming   up,  down,  left,  and  right  at  an  immeasurable  pace.  Constantly  moving  yet  hard  to   distinguish,  it  made  the  rest  of—wherever  Bill  was—invisible.     In  spite  of  its  brightness,  the  light  was  not  bothersome.  Quite  the  contrary,  it   was  warm.  It  made  Bill  feel  whole.     And  then  he  remembered…  the  heart  attack.  It  all  came  rushing  back.     How  it  had  taken  him  down  in  one  swift  blow.  A  ten-­‐ton  truck  parked  on  the  center   of  his  chest.       I’m  dead,  he  thought.  I  have  to  be.  No  hospital  lights  are  this  bright.  Could   this—is  this  Heaven?     He  looked  around.  There  was  no  one  else.  Not  that  he  could  see,  anyway.  He   couldn’t  even  see  himself.  Blinding  beams  masked  his  thickly  built  body,  though  he   felt  it  present.  As  well  as  something  else…     Bill  could  not  detect  exactly  what  it  was,  but  it  was  there.  Something  else  that   was  alive.  And  that  something  else  told  him  that  this  was  not  Heaven.  That  this  was   not  death.  This,  whatever  this  was,  was  something  that  would  take  some  time  to   configure  in  his  brain.       Where  am  I?  Bill  asked  it  in  amazement.  What  is  this?     Life,  the  something  else  answered—in  the  back  of  Bill’s  mind.     There  was  an  emptiness  that  came  from  inside  upon  hearing  the  response.   He  should’ve  been  surprised.  Perhaps  even  frightened.  But  he  felt  nothing.   Life?  Bill  repeated.     You’ve  been  dead  for  3,721  years,  William,  the  something  else  said.  Death  has   passed  you  by.     What  do  you  mean?     Your  consciousness  has  been  resurrected.  We  are  reinstalling  your  memories   and  preparing  them  for  simulation,  it  informed  him.     I’m  very  confused.   You’ll  understand  shortly,  it  said.  In  seconds.   Why  can’t  I  see  anything?  Bill  asked.  Then,  he  suddenly  realized  that  his   voice—the  voice  he  was  using  to  respond  with  mentally—had  inexplicably,  and   seemingly  uncontrollably,  changed.  It  was  not  the  voice  he’d  used  to  say,  “I  love   you”,  with  to  Edna  on  the  morning  of  March  31st  2007.  It  was  the  voice  he  had  used   to  tell  his  mother  he  loved  her  before  the  first  day  of  second  grade.     The  light  in  front  of  his  eyes  changed  color.  It  melded  from  a  piercing  white   into  a  vibrant,  unfamiliar  blue-­‐ish  hue.     What’s  happening?  Bill  asked.   This  voice  was  different,  again,  and  no  longer  childlike.  He  had  sounded  like   himself  during  his  heyday  in  college,  pioneering  WTBU  –  the  beat  of  Boston  

University.  He  manned  the  college  radio  station  and  was  an  on-­‐air  talent  before   shifting  his  major  to  political  science,  and  eventually  dropping  out.     This  world  is  yours,  it  told  him.  You  now  know  it  all.   And  he  did.  All  of  it.  Every  aspect  of  life  from  the  beginning  of  recorded   history  until  now  was  now  implemented  in  his  brain.  …Except  there  was  no  brain.     There  was  no  physical  William  “Bill”  Fasulo  any  longer.  Just  a  strand  of  DNA   uploaded  to  the  world’s  most  advanced  technological  program.  He  was  now  a  file,   along  with  every  other  living  and  deceased  human  damned  to  the  planet  Earth.       As  the  blue-­‐ish  hue  melted  away,  Bill  saw  something  new—something   familiar—as  it  took  form.  He  looked  down,  and  could  now  see  a  pair  of  lively  young   hands.  His  hands.   My  body  is  being  recreated,  Bill  thought.     The  program  confirmed  it.   A  rectangular  shape  emerged  into  his  left  palm,  seemingly  out  of  thin  air.  It   was  a  thick  piece  of  wood.  Weightless  in  his  grip.   Bill  looked  up.  The  light  was  gone.  In  its  place  was  the  diamond  field  where   he  had  played  baseball  as  a  child.  The  sky  was  a  purple  and  orange  canvas,  mixing   colors  only  the  way  an  artist  could.  Saddled  up  at  home  plate,  he  stood,  a  bat  in  one   hand.  He  reached  two  gloved  fingertips  to  his  head,  and  was  greeted  by  the  hard  feel   of  a  helmet  cupping  his  ears.     Is  this  real,  he  thought.     You  know  that  it  is,  the  program  affirmed.  It  echoed  in  his  mind.   Lining  the  bench  to  his  right  were  all  of  his  friends,  decked  out  in  matching   blue  and  grey  jerseys.  Even  the  ones  who  didn’t  play  baseball.     Everyone  comes  back,  the  program  said  beneath  his  helmet.  Everyone.    

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