Second Chance Syndrome
Second Chance Syndrome (SCS) is a condition in which the essence of a sapient being has been pulled out of their dying body, lured across space and time, and given a new corporeal form in the here and now.
Sometimes called an Extra Life Infection, this disease has previously been referred to as the Respawned Again Disorder (RAD) and/or the Infinite 1-Up Affliction.
Individuals diagnosed with this complaint call themselves Undone. Though some see the free refill on their life meter as a blessing, at least at first, many grow weary of being continually called back from death and whatever’s next without their consent.
They were born like six or seven times, these people.
There are three known causes of SCS within the Clarkwoods Literary Universe.
- The first is the use of variant #2 of Ada Coffin’s potion for doing the unstuck, which allows a living individual to “bring back to life” any deceased person whose genetic material is readily available.
- The second cause is known by some as the Coattails Clause. During the resurrection process described above, a brief portal through space-time is available to any dead relation of the person being brought back to life. Therefore, the careful observer who is willing to bide their time in purgatory can sneak back to the land of the living without anyone ever intending to resurrect them.
- Finally, if a patient, determined individual can find no blood relation to ride the coattails of, they can also slip through the cracks in the Veil of the World whenever a new descendant of theirs is conceived or born.
Symptoms of SCS include (but are not limited to):
- An inability to see your new corporeal form in mirrors or other reflective surfaces;
- Immunity to telepathy and any other form of mind reading; and,
- The ability to exist without the regular consumption of food and drink.
These “Undone” individuals are brought back to life in the same physical condition they were in at death. Scars remain the same, missing limbs remain missing, and the aging process picks up from where it left off. However, the Undone cannot die the same exact way twice. The wounds which killed them before, if any, will never harm them again. So, a previously fatal bullet wound will remain, but it will not be painful. A head separated from its body may be sewn back on without complication. Et cetera.
The individual afflicted with Second Chance Syndrome will live on until stricken down in some new way.
Very few individuals within the Clarkwoods Literary Universe are even aware the Second Chance Syndrome is a possibility, and therefore give prevention of the condition precious little thought. Those who are aware of the possibility of resurrection can only prevent it in one way: total destruction of their bodies and their genetic material. If they can reduce themselves to atoms, they stand a pretty good chance of never having to be reborn.
Throughout the 669 iterations of reality in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe, many individuals have at one point been brought back to life—everyone from average, ordinary nanas who the grandkids couldn’t live without to celebrities whose resurrections spawned countless conspiracy theories in supermarket tabloids and online.
The most famous of these was perhaps the first-century religious leader Jesus of Nazareth, who was brought back to life by his grief-stricken disciple Judas Iscariot (see “The Tragedy of Yesh and Jude” for more). But of course we can’t forget about Elvis and Jack, Andy and Tupac, and so many more.
I mean: we could forget about them if we wanted to, and I’m sure they’d like that, but we don’t want to, do we? Nah, I didn’t think so.