"I should leave you here to rot, you thoughtless bastard!" The first time since he met her a week ago that she wasn't wearing that plastic, cheerless grin, and it was because he was causing her grief. His head sunk down onto the knees of blood-soaked jeans, feeling lower than ever. He truly was a failure.

"I should've known. You were just another disappointment waiting to happen." She sucked in air through her teeth, then blew out a long, rueful sigh. Her head shook remorsefully once more, and then, "Fine!" He winced at the return of her sugary act.

Her face remolded into her usual, doll-like expression of fabricated joy. "I think it's absolutely inane to waste your wish on something so pointless. You'll be dead soon enough, whether they catch you or not. Mortal lives are such short, trivial things."

That described him in a nutshell. Trivial. Purposeless. Nothing of value to be lost. Such a shameful creature.

"This is so beneath me, kid. I'm a wish-granter, not a damned executioner! If you welcome death so openly, just do it yourself. If you are too cowardly to face the consequences of your horrendous actions, at the very least have the courage to meet your conclusion on your own terms."

His head snapped back up to examine her false cheer. She must have taken what he said out of context. He hadn't been suggesting...

"Here, take this." She extended a hand, and a gun suddenly appeared in her palm. "Put the barrel to your head and pull the trigger. Blow that useless hunk of meat you call a brain clean out of your skull. Simple as that to solve all your petty, pathetic problems."

"But..." he whimpered, looking down at the weapon, then back up to meet her heartless glare. The malice in her tone shook him a bit. He had known from the beginning the happiness she displayed to him was a facade, but she had never seemed so cruel a spirit. However, as he held her gaze, he caught glimpses of an amused, sadistic glint in her eye.

"I didn't mean... I'm not ready to die. I just...just want everything to stop. Please make it stop?" He was a short breath from breaking down and begging her. A week's worth of supernatural occurrences would boggle anyone's mind, and the past 24 hours had been especially harrowing.

"I know what you want. You expect to take the easy way out of this rat-infested world instead of changing it like you're supposed to. You were destined to clean this planet of its parasitic filth, but that task has proven too difficult for you to handle. So correct the mistake that is your worthless existence and end it! All the sobbing and snot bubbles and the pains that plague you will finally cease in one final action. Do it!"

Any sense of sympathy for the victim was absent in the command. Egging him on only fueled her sick enjoyment and his resentment towards life. Her words were at once a bee's stinger piercing his heart, and a powerful, persuasive force, aided by his current negative outlook.

She lacked the human decency to lie to him, to sugarcoat his pointless position in life, laying the truth out bare for him to deal with. She ensured him that the only thing able to cure him of the constant agony of having to fill and empty his lungs with air was the impact of a bullet entering and exiting his skull. The more he mulled it over, the more the option seemed to be a necessity.

"Do it now, or I'll do it for you!" That final shout of twisted encouragement was all he needed to tumble over the edge. He swallowed the lump in his throat, lifted the alien object, put the cool steel to his temple as she instructed, and let the world be deafened by the bang of a gunshot.

Comfortably perched upon a ledge, legs crossed, back straight, teeth shining through the gloom, she watched over him. Her irises deepened, darkening from an icy ocean to a midnight's sky. The body laid out on the table intrigued her. It had been the simplest effort to coerce him into ending his pitiful existence. So tedious that truthfully it bored her. What piqued her interest were the challenges and excitement that awaited the pair.

The endgame of her plan seemed the most engaging, though she could not pinpoint a concrete reason as to why. A nagging feeling, a whispering whim, or perhaps a premonition informed her that this boy was special. The favors he would call upon her to fulfill would be infinitely more impossible to accomplish than tonight's task: raising him from the dead.

Breath whooshing into his lungs was the first feeling he had. Unable to inhale of his own volition, the air blew into his chest from an outside source. It burned his insides like a sulfur cloud. The next sensation was the initial twitch of his heart against his rib cage; a lightning strike shocking his entire system awake as the thumping thundered in his ears.

What followed was nothing but pain as his palms pushed his belly off the intensely cold table surface. He scrambled to his feet after stumbling back down a few times, peeled open his heavy lids, and tried straining his eyes to pierce the engulfing darkness.

Nothing made any intelligible sense to him; nothing was more than a swirl of colors with patches of blurry blackness in between. There was nothing around to see, hear or smell. There was only the constant cold, lonely ache freezing him from the outside, combating the smoldering emptiness radiating from each beat within his chest. Both worked to broaden his swelling sorrow.

Suddenly there was a noise. Difficult to make out at first, but as he strained to listen more intently, he could decipher it as not just any sound, but a voice. He struggled to hear the spoken words clearly, until finally the message broke through.

"Easy, boy," it said. He stilled instantly, in fear that disobedience could frighten away the only sign of life. "That's it. Stay right where you are. I'd hate for what's left of your brain to overload and explode out your eye-sockets. There's always a nasty mess when that happens, and I'd be the one stuck cleaning it up."

And then the silence reclaimed him. The warming voice had gone, leaving him even colder than before. Yet still he waited, staying stiff as a corpse, ignoring the emptiness that fed off his new abandonment. Nothing reassured the voice would return, but he obliged regardless, hoping that the aching in himself would eventually subside.

His patience paid off as he was soon rewarded with the gift of coherent sight. Candlelight circled around him, flickering dimly at the edge of his vision. It did little to illuminate his environment, but he considered the dark atmosphere a vast improvement compared to the previous blur.

Soon his sight spanned even farther, and more objects appeared in the gloom. There were multiple colored rusted pipes, dust-stained wooden desks and a speckle of dripping water at the far reaches of his vision. There was also a peculiar shape just above him, a silhouette of another person right behind the line of light and darkness. No details were visible from where he stood, but as he reached out to it, he was struck by another wave of foreign sensations. The rest of his nerves caught fire as they reconnected with an electrical pulse. Worms crawled underneath his skin, wiggled inside his gut, and squirmed behind his eyeballs.

Just as suddenly, he was punished by the curse of smell. He gagged from the rancid odor invading his nose as more smoke scorched his throat. He tried screaming, but the suffocating stench forbade him. Panic set in. He lost control of his body and it stumbled around before collapsing to the ground.

"Ah!" the voice had returned, and the panic simply vanished. "Your senses are coming to life again, are they? In only a few minutes too! That's a new record. Usually it takes a few days after you dig yourself out of the grave. Then again, you weren't dead for that long. Only seven hours... of course maybe it's attributed to my massively effective voodoo skills. How ya feeling?"

He tried to answer, but his tongue felt swollen and his jaw refused to work correctly. The exhale burned his own throat worse, and he settled for a somber whine.

"Oh no, I guess I spoke too soon. You can't talk? Maybe I overdid some of the potion during the ritual preparation. No worries though, I'm sure talking would only be a nuisance during this transition. Besides, I'd hate to hear you blabber or complain." She gave an amused sigh and floated from the balcony to the floor, light as a feather, and finally exposed herself to him.

She wore silky blue garments, see-through in all but the places she wished to keep private where the material darkened. Soot colored hair with strands of purple and blue flowed down her back like water from a stream. Her twisted smile was accented by rosy red lipstick, and her eyes, lit by candlelight, were as deep as the ocean to look into; deep enough to swallow him whole.

She approached him coolly, with a joyful bounce to each step. She bent down to examine him closer, and grinned deviously. "This is going to be the most fun I've had in decades. Zombies make the cutest pets."