I've returned to life, but I'm not really living. My heart beats again, but it does not love. My wife seems satisfied with the man she stole back from death, but I'm not.
We were soulmates, Julia and I, but I don't think I have a soul now, if there is such a thing.
Tonight is our anniversary. Julia's smiling at me in the candlelight, her adoring eyes locked on mine. The love of my life is like a stranger sitting across from the dead thing I've become.
Can't she see that the man she married is gone, that I feel nothing for her?
Julia rises, slips off her scarlet gown, leaving her in nothing but a black satin garter belt and stockings. She's the most beautiful sight my eyes ever beheld in life.
I should be overcome with desire for her, but there's only an unbearable emptiness within me.
"Let me go, Julia. Please..."
"I need you, Bryan," she says and smiles sympathetically. "I couldn't go on without you... I'm sorry." Julia caresses the silver pendant she wears now and whispers another incantation.
I'm powerless to resist her. Julia undresses me and I take her in my arms. The touch of her skin makes mine crawl, and her sweet scent leaves me sour.
My kisses trail down her belly and lower still, and my stomach turns when Julia moans with pleasure.
She coaxes me into bed, compels me to play along with this hollow mockery of the romance we once shared. Our lovemaking is nothing of the kind.
Julia said she couldn't live without me.
How can she force me to live without myself?