Zombietown, part 6

I knocked on her backstage door and waited. There was a faded golden star on it, with her name written underneath. I felt strangely numb. Repulse and anticipation canceling each other, perhaps. After a few seconds, she asked who was it. I didn’t know how to answer. If I was honest, she might not open the door. Then again, she might be curious about what had happened to me since we had broken up.

“It’s me, Jimmy,” I answered.

There was a long silence. Then footsteps, then the door opened. We stood face to face.

“What do you want here?” she asked coldly.

“I’m investigating a murder,” I answered, which was partly true. She didn’t need to know I wanted to talk to her again.

“A Zombietown murder? Being investigated? That is something!” she smirked, sarcasm oozing from her voice. She turned her back to me and walked to her dresser, leaving the door opened. I took that to be as welcoming an invitation as I was gonna get and so stepped into the room, closing the door.

She sat down in front of the vanity mirror and started slowly brushing her lovely red hair. That awakened memories I thought long dead and buried. No words were coming out of her mouth, so I opened mine.

“Her name was Medea Boid. She was a reporter for the Dusk Diary. A zombie killed her earlier tonight. The thing is, she had connections with the Gorgon family and now they’re pressuring us to find out what happened. Did you see her tonight?”

“You should ask Samedi about it,” she said, still brushing her hair.

“I already did,” I said.

“Then you have all the answers you need.”

“Not really. He blew me off with that small talk of his and…”

“Look, you thing you can just waltz in here after fifteen years and pretend nothing happened?!!” she snapped suddenly, rising and turning to face me. She had a half-angry, half-hurt look in her face. I was caught somewhat off-guard, but I recovered quickly.

“As I recall, you refused to come with me when I asked you,” I shot back at her.

“Leave Zombietown when people here needed all the help they could get?” she asked me, an incredulous look on her face. The same look she had fifteen years ago.

“Help people? Come on, this place was a cesspool. They deserved everything they got.”

“How can you say that? Romero was trying to change things,” she said. She believed it, I could tell.

“Oh please! Romero was a puppet. Samedi pulled all his strings. And what did they accomplish? More misery and pain. All those people died a second time for nothing!” I said with such intensity that I surprised myself. I was aware of all the resentment I carried. What I didn’t know was that it had festered all those years, growing into a dark disturbing thing. I felt relieved to finally let it out, to finally be able to express it to someone who would understand the full weight of it.

Zombietown, part 5

“But enough about me! I want to know what brings Jimmy Valadares back to Z-town,” he said, sipping his champagne.

“There was a murder earlier tonight — a reporter from the Dusk Diary. We found her body a stone’s throw from the Bone Gate. Forensics confirmed that a zombie did it,” I said, studying his face.

“Since when does the police care about murders in Zombietown?” he asked nonchalantly.

“She had connections to the Gorgon family.”

“I see,” he said, sipping again his champagne and letting nothing register on his face.

“My captain sent me here to investigate the case. I knew that a reporter in Zombietown would, sooner or later, come here to talk to you. So, did she?”

“Hmm, I don’t recall. It’s all a bit vague…”

“Her name was Medea Boid,” I offered.

“Oh! Snakes on her head?” he asked and I nodded. “Yes, yes. She came by earlier this evening. Asked some crazy questions about a conspiracy. She had a very active imagination.”

“Conspiracy? What kind of conspiracy?” I asked, intrigued.

“I don’t know. As soon as I realized she was wasting my time, I finished our interview. You know the Dusk Diary is not exactly respectable.”

I tried extracting more information out of him, but failed. He had already given me everything he intended to. To stay any longer would only waste my time. I stood up.

“What? Leaving already, Jimmy? Are you sure you don’t want to stay for the show?” he said. As if on cue, the lights dimmed and a spotlight turned on above the stage. The curtains drew apart. I stood paralyzed. Lenore. Bathed in bright white light, like an angel. The same cascading fiery hair and fair green-tinged skin. In a tight, long black dress that revealed she had lost none of her charms. She started singing “Someone to Wither for Me.”

I felt confident that I was over her. After all, she had chosen to stay instead of leaving with me, fifteen years ago. She had chosen to remain among that which I most despised. I accused her of having a misplaced sense of loyalty and she retorted that I had a very “well placed sense of shame.” I had left then and had never looked back. Until that moment, that is. Or was it? There was only one way to find out. Besides, I could also pump her for information.

Zombietown, part 2

I looked forward to immersing myself in work. That brush with the past had brought back memories I’d rather leave buried. Unfortunately, that wasn’t gonna happen. As soon as I sat down at my desk back at the precinct, the captain burst into the office.

“Don’t get too comfy, Valadares. You’re hitting the street again. I was just on the phone with Commissioner Dracula. Yeah, that’s right, the Count himself. It seems that Boid chick you guys found outside Zombietown was related to a second cousin, or sister-in-law, of the Gorgons. And they want to know what’s happened,” he barked at Gills and me.

Great, I thought. “Captain, we’re still waiting for the tests results from…” I didn’t get a chance to finish.

“Valadares, I don’t think you understood. I said I was on the phone with Dracula. He told me he expected information in the next few hours, or he would come down here in person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that fanged son of a bitch breathing down my neck. Especially, my neck.

“So I’m sending you out again. Go snoop around Zombietown and see what you can dig up. Gills stays here. If he went with you, he would stick out like a… Well, like a fish-man in a zombie hood.”

“Sir, I don’t think I’m the best…”

“Save it, son! I don’t care what you think. You’re a detective and this is your job. Deal with it!” The captain could be a fanged son of a bitch too, especially on full moons.