Home > Undead and Unstable (Undead #11)

Undead and Unstable (Undead #11)
MaryJanice Davidson

Prologue

Dear Betsy,

I’m gone now, but not forever. Couldn’t leave without giving you the scoop, though, so listen up.

First, although you will, don’t blame yourself. Even as I’m writing this, I get that it’s a waste of time, but I’m jumping in and trying, anyway. Again: don’t blame yourself, dumbass.

I wanted to do this. Frankly, I have inclinations like this all the time. It even runs in my family (along with alcoholism and the ability to make hospital corners). Shit, remember the night we met? I was about to do a swan dive off the hospital roof and you wouldn’t let me. You saved me … for a while.

Now I’m saving you.

It’s only fair.

It’s also only fair to tell you that you shouldn’t blame the others, either. In hindsight, letting me spend time alone talking with the dead me seems careless and risky, right? Sure … in hindsight.

But it’s not their fault. I only told them the stuff they’d find most helpful, the bare minimum. The stuff that would make them feel okay about me going back into that room. And back. And back. They’re as invested in saving you as I am. And they don’t know a fifth of what I know.

Listening to yourself tell yourself about the awful things you’ll do someday is an experience, I won’t deny it. But before you break off a chair leg or something and march into the basement to kill the other me like John Wayne with fangs, please believe that the other Marc DID NOT MOJO ME INTO DOING THIS.

He just told me what would happen to me if I didn’t.

So I’ve saved myself. And I’ve saved you. And I was glad of the chance. Do you know why?

Because I love you, dumbass. From the moment we met. You’ve been like the little sister I never wanted. (That’s a joke. Not a very good one, I agree.) And right now you’re thinking dark thoughts about how you can’t protect your friends and being the vamp queen has ruined your life and no job in the world is worth this and how could you not see what I was going to do, blah-blah-blah.

But here’s the thing, and it’s the stone truth: knowing you has only ever made me feel one way. Not scared, not horny, not crazed, not pissed, not despairing, not thwarted. Lucky.

Knowing you has made me feel lucky. Even now, prepping this little cocktail, I feel lucky. I’m controlling how I leave this world, something that poor bastard down in the basement couldn’t do. And look at the price he paid!

By doing this to myself, I’m undoing some seriously bad shit.

But don’t take my word for it.

Go to the basement, and ask me. Ask me for yourself. You won’t like what I say, but you’ll see the truth behind his awful smile.

I love you.

I will see you again. Believe it.

Your friend,

Marc

ONE

I used to be one of those weirdos who liked funerals; you believe that? People always wear their best shoes to funerals. Not weddings. They’ll scope their closet, they’ll think about the bride or the groom, and they’ll go, “Yeah, I can wear these, I don’t need to go to the mall,” and they think nothing of wearing last season’s pumps.

But if it’s a funeral, they’ll think, “Aw, jeez, I was so mean to Aunt Ginny that time and now she’s dead,” and out come the new Guccis.

Me, I was so lucky. So lucky. I was so lucky I didn’t know how lucky I was; I’d think, “Jeez, Aunt Ginny was such a jerk to Cousin Brian, I wonder what he’s gonna wear to her funeral?” I never had to go to the funeral of anybody I really, really loved. Well, except for my dad’s. But I spent most of that funeral in a state of high pissed-off, so my focus was elsewhere. (It turned out an evil librarian was out to get me, and not—for a change—owed from all the overdue charges from late returns. And there was a cursed engagement ring involved. Nightmare. The whole thing. Just awful.)

My focus was often elsewhere, and too often, my focus was often in the exact place it should not be. Case in point: my dead friend Marc. (Also: the future, but I can’t think about that right now. One soul-shriveling crisis at a time, please.)

Once, a long time ago (in my head, I mean … in real life, it hasn’t even been five years), I talked a man out of committing suicide. Two weeks ago, he killed himself. I’m ashamed because I didn’t see it coming. How’s that for the Lex Luthor level of lame? Who doesn’t see someone they know to have suicidal tendencies committing suicide? He practically wrote it on his forehead in red Sharpie.

I wasn’t at his funeral, by the way. Nobody was. He’d strictly forbidden one in a number of letters he’d left for me; he also left his diary. Words, words, they were all over the place. He was nagging me more in death than he had in life, which was a pretty good trick given that, nag-wise, he trailed only behind my friend Jessica. Okay, and maybe my mom.

I couldn’t stand to read too much of his stuff at a time. I’d cry, and then look ugly, and cry harder, and make my husband sad, and then we’d sad-fuck. Which was great, but sad. (Thus the name.)

Still.

The stuff I’ve read. It’s like he knew he was going to die within a few years of meeting me. But he doesn’t say how he knew. It’s all over his diary, it’s all over his suicide letters. Who writes suicide letters? He wrote me a suicide manuscript, the heartless bastard … he knows if it’s not Gone with the Wind or Pat Conroy, I’ve got zero interest. He knew he was doomed, he had a plan, but what he never said was why.

I found that kind of curious.

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