To Bring Back The Dead
No one knew his real name, but then again, no one had ever seen him in the flesh either. At least no one who could tell of what they had seen…
Still, they all felt his will, either through his agents, or through the very fabric of possibility which binds together all matter and existence, a fundamental field he was somehow capable of bending to his will. He was the god humanity had been waiting for. An emergent being of a thousand faces and a power no other could rival or subdue.
His physical absence lead many to wonder if the man they knew as the Administrator even existed. Even those who were there to see his one and only broadcast still speculated.
Only one person had come to know the entity dubbed as the Administrator as all too real. But similarly to the Admin himself, few knew his real name either...
It had not always been so, however. The man the Administrator had chosen as his proxy had been born Byron, and his father saw it fit to name him Max. Max Byron. He never liked it, and neither did his mother. But just like Max, she had accepted it, and whether that had been for the love of his father or for the love of her son, Max would never know, he never got the chance to ask. He guessed it had been a bit of both, and perhaps just like the world had accepted a man, or at least what they thought was a man, behind all the strands and webs of human progress, his mother too had accepted Max’s name. He was her son after all. And a name was just a name.
But unlike most, Max still remembered, with painful clarity in fact, the first and only time the Administrator addressed the planet. How could he forget?
It was the day his whole family had died. Murdered even as they still smiled at him, his wife saying, “This man is our future. Can’t you feel it?” As it turned out, what she felt was her brain imploding.
Max recalled most of that day with perfect clarity. He still dreamt about it. In his dreams, his mind was a thing living, a person to spit curses at for remembering it all so perfectly.
That day, just like everyone else, he had been eager to see the first planetary address of the man who had single-handedly propelled the human race to the stars. The Admin’s advancements in technology and propulsion were been built on paradigms some had considered, but only he had the vision to actualize, to mold them from a conceptual possibility into corporal reality.
In direct result of the man’s genius, humanity had sent countless probes all over the galaxy.
One of them found a world. An industrial world. A world with intelligent life.
“We shall travel to this planet,” the Admin had said, and Max still recalled the instant love he had felt towards the man. Everyone did, and no one knew why. It seemed none but Max even cared. But love was always a good thing to feel, so, at the time, Max had stopped wondering as well. He had accepted his place as a part of the herd and struggled to move with it. And as the consensus stood, it was either that, or get trampled beneath the hooves of mankind’s progress.
He was there, the day his entire family had gathered in front of the holo-display and watched in awe, comparing who could remember the man's face the longest as He stared down upon them in perfect three-dimensional clarity.
His two young daughters seemed most adept in the task of recollecting. He still had no idea why this had been the case.
The longest Max himself could remember the man’s features, however, had been a few seconds. One moment the man’s face looked old and full of lines, his hair straight and combed, while the next he looked extraordinarily young and fresh-faced, with hair growing in all directions. The Administrator’s low melodic voice would linger in his mind a few moments longer, before its memory vanished as well. Yet the words spoken and their meaning had remained, cemented into his mind. There was nothing like it, and Max fell short in trying to explain how such a thing was even possible. He had ideas, of course, and later heard from others who had not seen the broadcast on some monitor or another, saying, “We saw and heard him in our minds.”
The thought of such an invasion of privacy would have still made him shiver, if he had not since experienced the sensation for himself.
While his family watched the man explaining when and how they shall travel the stars, Max had torn his eyes away from the man’s gaunt features, only to once again almost instantly forget what he had just been looking at. The face changed each time he looked back. It was like a game to them back then, especially to his daughters, whose enthusiasm had been contagious enough for Max to find himself joining in and become a willing participant. It tickled his brain to do it, and at the time, he enjoyed the sensation. It was good.
His ten year old daughter, Leena, spoke first. To her expanding mind, the game had gotten old fast and she instead gazed at the man for a longer period of time. Her young mind became captivated by the promise of visiting other realms, and her tone reflected it. But what she said had related a whole different spectrum of feelings to Max. “Why does it hurt, daddy?” she asked.
Never before had she presented a question Max didn’t have an answer too. Or one he couldn’t at least pretend to have an answer to. He allowed himself a blink of an eye to think how best to reply.
“Psychic.” The word felt foreign to the tongue, as thought the mere idea of it was ridiculous. At the time, however, it was also the only answer which made sense. “The Administrator’s a psychic.”
Immediately, the six-year-old sitting next to Leena chirped a question of her own, “What’s a psychic?”
His wife looked at him, a faint smile betraying her eagerness to see how he’ll handle his own entanglement into a web of questions which were sure to follow.
Max’s tongue began to form an answer, he had the explanation all planned out, one which he was certain would make sense even to a six-year-old, when Leena’s eyes rolled backwards. Her nose began to bleed like a broken water-pipe. But instead of grabbing it, she grabbed her ears instead. It became obvious her sense of hearing ruptured something in her mind and violated it with a frequency only she could hear, her face twisted with the intensity of it. His wife screamed. Even now, remembering the pitch of her voice made him sweat in places he never sweated otherwise. Blood gushed out between Leena’s fingers and a shriek no child should utter escaped her gaping mouth. It sounded like what Max had always imagined a dying Banshee would wail like – a piercing cry of total horror as the entity realized it was about to vanish forever. Leena went limp, and Max’s mind with her. Her body sprawled over the couch just as the Admin finished his speech and his image faded from Max’s memory.
“Leena!” his wife yelled and picked up the child, her hands trembling. She had been yelling before, but Max simply didn’t register it over his own thumping heart. His younger daughter began to cry, but the sound of her voice came distant, drowned by disbelief. Blood began to coagulate on the couch, turning it from clean beige to a grimy, brownish color. It had all happened in a span of a few breaths. Tears born of terror rolled down his face. He didn’t feel them on his cheeks or realized they had come, until he witnessed the same tears in his wife’s eyes. And just when it seemed his heart could not beat any faster, his wife’s nose began to bleed as well.
His thoughts filled with fire, their flames the color of insanity. Then… blank. He considered it a blessing now – the fact that he couldn’t remember his wife and his first child dying one by one. He didn’t want to remember. Fortunately, those images had been pushed aside by rage. A rage over the man he had inexplicably loved only moments before. Anger became the only clarity which remained. He tried to direct it, the rage, tried to pour it on the face that had somehow killed his family, but the memory of it no longer existed – deleted from his mind. Fear and helplessness gripped him.
How could he explain why his entire family was dead? And how could he expect anyone to believe him?
Max knew, without a doubt; he had to find Him. Him who had murdered all that he had loved. He cried in wet sobs, clutching his youngest daughter to his chest. His tears felt like they might burn through his cheeks. His stomach churned, slowly shrinking into the size of a needle-tip with each breath. His tears intermixed with their blood as they fell, he could hear each drop as it hit the soft fabric of the couch.
Then, His voice found him.
Max’s head throbbed as the sound came clearer and deeper than any he had ever heard before, “I can bring them back,” it claimed.