The second coming was nigh.
One night, in a period of prayer and humble supplication, God had appeared to Father Marcus Burtt to tell him that he would bring about the second coming. Father Burtt didn’t question the edict, and promptly left the order so that he might travel the world, seeking followers and the means to bring about the coming of the Lord. It was his purpose, he knew, and he attacked it with the same single-minded focus that he had valued throughout his life. However, Burtt was a man of God, not of science, so his means and capabilities were limited to the earthly wisdom of others.
In his travels, he acquired certain treasures and artifacts, as well as followers like wayward disciples. In Haiti, he spent a great deal of money to obtain an elixir that was rumored to bring the dead to life. While a physical body was required for the substance to work, Burtt reasoned that a sample of DNA, coupled with a physical host, could still work when paired with the grace of God. In Egypt, Burtt spent a great deal of his own time and his follower’s money, but was able to locate what was claimed to have been the garment that Jesus wore when he wept blood in the garden of Gethsemane. This would give him the latent DNA that he required.
Eventually, the church settled in a small rural area of the United States, with the blessing of the Vatican. It was, of course, required that he donate heavily to the mother church in order to be allowed to do so, but the financial blessings provided by the growing body of believers bought not only the legitimacy of the Pope’s blessing, but also a measure of protection from close inspection by the Holy See. Father Burtt’s now-large church was able to continue its research. Given the size, Burtt also held regular services and a Sunday school, more to keep the appearances than to actually reach the lost. While he understood the importance of his daily work with the Parish, it was his Godly mandate that drove him daily; he would rise early, if he slept at all, and experimented in the decaying basement of the aged building. He would kill a test animal- whatever stray he could catch that day- and see if the concoction would revive it.
At first, there would be no reaction. As he fine-tuned the mixture, he could revive the dead flesh for moments at a time, and then minutes; the ‘life’ that was forced into them wasn’t pleasant, but was a harrowing experience with howls of pain and instinctive efforts to escape the terror of impending death. It was a dog, late one night, which came back. At first, it was like the others. The sorry creature yelped in pain and fear, but it didn’t die. After a few panicked moments, it laid still and panted with fluttering eyelids. Then, tentatively, it lifted a heavy head and licked Father Burtt’s hand.