The Beginning

Edmund has been dead for a little over a year and Emily has been very hard. She continued to wear the engagement ring, which he had given her when he asked her to marry him, for a long time and, when she recently slipped it off her finger, she hung it on a gold chain that her grandmother he gave her and to which the young woman is really fond. And now that the sign on the ring finger begins to fade, suddenly Edmund reappears. He is there, on a television screen, surrounded by journalists, in front of the building which for years has been the seat of his office. It’s him, there’s no doubt about it: the straight hair that falls on his forehead, the lanky figure, the lips drawn into that expression she knows well and that he assumes whenever he’s embarrassed. It’s the same expression she had the day she asked her to marry him. They were in a building supplies warehouse. They had chosen the faucets and were analyzing color samples. He was strange, he seemed distracted and didn’t seem interested in Emily, who continued to show indecision between two different shades of green to choose from for the living room walls. When Edmund finally took a little box out of his pocket, knelt down and proposed to her, a small group of people gathered around the two and Emily said yes to cheers and cheers of encouragement. Then, the day after, the accident: Edmund was hit by a bus on his way to work. And now there he is, on TV, thinking of going back to the office, as if nothing had happened, as if an entire year hadn’t passed and his body hadn’t been reduced to a shapeless mass of bones and blood by the violent impact with the bus. Edmund, meanwhile, does not understand why in his workstation nothing is more in place of him and his colleagues stare terrified, as if he were a living dead …

First prequel to the novel The returned, the short story of Jason Mott – American writer and poet – tells how the surprising story of the return of loved ones from the afterlife began. The whole world is shocked by an event, following which nothing will be as before: Edmund Blithe, who died a year following an accident, suddenly shows up at the place where his office is located, ready to resume work as if nothing had happened. His return to the realm of the living, of course, generates a total upheaval of the balance, especially in Emily, his young fiancée, left alone just the day after receiving from Edmund the longed-for marriage proposal and that engagement ring that only recently found the courage to slip off the finger. Is it a miraculous event or a sort of anticipation of the end, the one to which every living being is destined? Hard to tell. To answer Emily’s and the entire community’s questions, it will be necessary to wait for the actual development of the story, contained in the novel The returned. The prequel just wants to be a preview, an attempt to prepare the ground for something destined to change the way of thinking, feeling and living of the entire universe. In fact, we already feel that the episode that sees Edmund and Emily as protagonists will not be isolated, but the first in a series of events in the face of which the joy of reunion and the immense fear of the implications of a supernatural event, unmanageable and of deep emotional impact. Mott knows how to sow clues and how to ignite the reader’s attention, who flips through the pages urgently and reaches the end of the amazed and intrigued short story, ready to look for the answers to your questions. In the original language version of the story, the writer intrigues the reader by also offering explanations about the three prequels that he has created, as well as a short excerpt from the central novel. Both contents, however, have not been reported in the Italian version.

The Beginning – A prequel to The Returned