John had begun working the instant she had died. The funeral was easy to fake–no one wanted to see a consumption riddled body, so when the pallbearers came the coffin had already been nailed shut with a dead pig inside. They took the sealed coffin to the service, and John kept Marta’s corpse safely in a sealed container in the basement, floating in Humphrey’s Preservative Elixir to prevent decomposition.
Now, after three years of hiding, he was so close! His basement was riddled with the corpses of dead rats that had staggered free from their bindings and sniff the air, only to die again in a few minutes. The process was not complete. It hurt his stomach to think about how close he was to seeing his lover’s face smile again.
Of course, it had been hard on Marta too. He couldn’t leave her mind in her corpse, after all, to slowly rot from disuse, so he had taken it out and put it somewhere safe.
John turned to his cat, lovingly petting her, and scratching her under the chin. The cat didn’t purr. She used to purr, John reflected as he returned to his desk and picked up his notebook. Not anymore. He wasn’t surprised, of course. Marta had loved the cat very dearly.
“Soon, my pet,” he crooned to the empty office. “Soon we’ll be ready…”
It was three weeks, in fact, before John successfully animated a mouse for longer than an hour. Under the watchful gaze of the cat, buoyed by his success, he worked all the harder until at last he found himself stirring the contents of a small glass beaker that would hold his wife’s soul to her body.
John’s fingers gripped the table like hawk talons, his dry eyes staring fixedly at the small clear beaker in front of him. Slowly, he counted down from sixty, his eyebrow twitching from the strain. His heart beat faster with every second, hope welling in him like a boiling stew. When he reached zero, and the beaker was still clear, he let out a shriek of joy that rebounded off the stone basement walls. His heart lifting with unimaginable glee, he flicked the beaker once. Slowly, the liquid begin to dim to a milky gray, and then clear once again.
“It worked!” John cried, clapping his hands over his head like a manic buffoon. He laughed long and hard, the weight of seven years flowing off of his shoulders like a silk cloak. He snatched up the cat who had come to see what the commotion was, and spun her about like a child. “It worked! It worked! We must get the body up and about immediately!”