Lucie knew who housed souls incapable of committing any wrong. Unlike the humans of the world who created war, harboured hate, stole from their neighbours, and murdered one another in cold blood, the animals that these people kept in their homes found a way to love them nonetheless. Despite their wickedness, people’s pets loved them unconditionally, and found a way to maintain their pure hearts even when exposed to the chaotic human heart. Much like babies who unfortunately grew up to be influenced by those rearing them, animals innocently brought out the kindness and humanity in people while asking for nothing more in return than food and shelter. The difference from babies is that animals spent their entire lives like that.
When Lucie discovered her ability to bring back souls to life after they had deceased, even at just seven years old, she knew that humankind was not worthy of her gift. She began by kneeling next to roadside birds, killed on impact from passing too close to human’s cars. While they lied belly up on the sidewalk with her soft hand pressed to their feathers, she could suddenly feel the tiny heartbeat thrum against her skin, the chest rise and fall with the fresh exchange of air through its lungs. Then she would take them home, bandage any broken wings, and rerelease them into the wild once they were ready to be freed.
As she got older, the animals became bigger. With a hand laid upon a cat or dog, the rhythmic beating of their heart began once again, the blood coursing through the veins under their fur-covered skin. Eventually, horses and cows felt her resurrecting hand, too. The little girl became a woman, one who never doubted her life’s sole healing purpose.
One evening during her twenty-ninth year of life, as she walked home in the orangey glow of a well-lit street in her neighbourhood, Lucie saw him lying lifeless against the white picket fence of a house. Haggard, middle-aged, and unbathed for God knows how long. Track marks haphazardly decorating the inside of his arm. “He brought this on himself,” she murmured under her breath, seemingly trying to convince herself more than declaring a simple statement to the quiet night. Walking past him, she felt her footsteps slow, her feet dragging like lead blocks while attempting to move further away from the fresh corpse. Humans are so sad, she thought to herself as she spun around and walked back to the man. They’re disrespectful to themselves — she laid her hand on his still chest — and to others.
With a sigh, she let her mind go silent until she felt the familiar thrumming against the palm of her flattened hand. The man’s eyelids sprung open like a feral creature, scared and uncertain. His eyes roved across the contours of her face, terrified and relieved at the same time to see her peering down at him.
“Stay still,” she said to him evenly. Procuring her phone from her pocket, she called emergency services and told them of a half-dead man lying on the side of the road. Then hung up. Then walked away. With the faint sound of sirens filling the silence of the evening minutes later, she rounded the corner toward her house and felt a sudden spark of something stir within her. Perhaps withholding her abilities from humans because of their perceived wretchedness was sort of wretched of her in and of itself.
He was the first human she had brought back to life, but maybe he didn’t have to be the last. Maybe people deserved a second chance at life, too. Maybe this rebirth could change them for the better.