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 1

Her body lay lifeless on the street. Even in its current mangled state, I could see she had been a beautiful woman. Her gray scaly skin contrasted strikingly with her black skirt and green blouse, even though they were soaked with blood. Some of her hair had been pulled out, but there were enough snakes left to show she cared about her appearance. Her left arm was missing, apparently bitten off. Not surprising, since we were half a block from Zombietown.

Zombietown. I had sworn I’d never go back to Zombietown again. I had left all that misery behind me. I wasn’t one of them anymore.

“Gurgle.” Gills, my partner, broke my reverie. A good thing too. I didn’t want to waste time thinking about Zombietown.

We walked towards the head forensics guy, Digger.

“So, Digger, what’s the score?” I asked.

“Valadares, Gills. Well, I only have preliminary data, but I’m pretty sure it was a shambler.” He meant a zombie. Like me. No, not like me. I wasn’t one of them anymore. Nobody outside Zombietown calls them zombies. It’s always “shambler”, or “deadmeat”, or “brainjunkie,” or a dozen other nicknames.

“Can you give us a tribe?” I asked. Even though most people think of zombies as just one big, stupid, lurching, flesh-eating group, in truth there are several tribes.

“I’m a ghoul, Valadares, not a psychic. I’ll need to run a few tests back at the lab,” he said, rising to face us. He took out a handkerchief and wiped his glasses. “Anyway, what’s the rush? She wasn’t anybody special. The officers found her purse. Her name was Medea Boid, a reporter with the Dusk Diary. Have you heard of her? Me neither. So it’s not like we’re going to be pressured to solve this case. She probably went in there looking for some shambling action and things got a little out of control.

“Relax, Valadares. It’s Zombietown.”

He was right, of course. Nobody gave a damn about what happened in Zombietown, least of all me. I had sworn I’d never go back to Zombietown again.

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