William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Fifty-Two

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Adam polished off his beer and ordered another.  Then he told Fremont Wicket about Karen Sorrows, about Millicent Sorrows and the three zombies back at Davis.

“They can’t be a result of our product,” Wicket said.  “That’s something different, though the root chemistry is very likely similar.”

“Could you make a toxin that could be blown out of something like a cigarette that would make someone brain-dead?”

Wicket nodded.  “It’s not a branch of pharmacology that anyone pays much attention to these days, though the CIA had a try at it during the Korean War.  But it is part of the same school of toxicology that a Bizango chemist would use in making zombies.”

“A Bizango chemist?” Adam repeated.

“The Bizango were the keepers of this knowledge, though there can’t be more than a few of them left now.”

“So it can be done.  One of these chemists could make a zombie”

Wicket smiled.  “He could.  You’re talking about some of the most toxic substances ever discovered on this planet.  And those who knew how to make them were the most dangerous humans the world has ever known.

“About three hundred years ago, West African secret societies, especially the Bizango, infiltrated some of the more powerful Yoruba castes, the wealthier of the Benin guilds, and of the opposition parties in what is now Senegal, Togo, and southern Nigeria.  The Bizango society was the most ruthless, the most feared.  As such they were the first people that the rulers sold to the slavers.”

“Why would they sell the most influential and competent chemists to the slavers?” Adam asked.

“Are you not listening?  Because they wouldn’t share their secrets.  Because here for the first time, scientists figured out how to take life and then give it again.  These were dangerous men.  If you were a king and you killed them, you’d have a blood feud on your hands.  But if you could disappear them, send them across the sea to some plantation, you could retain some honor.”

Adam drank the next beer shortly after its arrival.  “So you’re saying that African slavers sold these Bizango chemists as slaves.”

“Yes,” Wicket said.  “To Brazil and to Jamaica, and to Haiti.  But the most dangerous were sent to Haiti because it was the worst hell, and because the French were rich and paid highest prices for men with all their teeth.”

“And chemists, being educated, presumably wealthy, had all their teeth,” Adam surmised.

“That’s right.”

“And these men became slaves in Haiti, and worked on the sugar plantations.”

Wicket nodded.

“And they taught their skills to their children, so that the science would be transmitted through generations.”

“No.”  Wicket slammed his glass on the table.  “No.  They didn’t have children.”

Adam frowned.  “There were no female slaves?”

“There were some, but that wasn’t the point.  The men couldn’t have children.”

“Why?”

“Because they were sterilized before they left Africa.  In the forts on the gold coast; they were given a drink before they boarded the boats.”

“Why?”

“So that the French would keep coming back.”

Adam thought about little Erzulie floating in the pool.  “Girls with no fathers,” he said.  “So where did Haitian babies come from?”

“From slave women and French fathers.  Or from escaped slaves from Cuba or Puerto Rico who made their way to Haiti.  I don’t know.  Why?”

Adam stared at his empty glass.  “Did you ever come across any references to women who could bear children without any men at all?”

“No.”  Wicket folded his napkin.  “What led you to that question?”

“I don’t know,” he said.  “But could it be possible?”

“Virgin births have been reported throughout history.”  Wicket shook his head.  “I don’t know.  A trained chemist, some training in backwoods endocrinology.  There isn’t any profit here, no not a lot of people are looking at it.”

Adam nodded.  “Will you come to Sacramento with me and have a look at the zombies?”

“No.  I have a flight back to Seattle tonight, though I would like to see them.  Can you ship one to me?”

“I doubt it,” Adam said.  “I don’t know the Federal Express policy on something like that, but the packaging costs alone would be prohibitive.”

“Send me some blood samples.”

Adam nodded.  “Let’s assume that there are two zombie strains currently out there.  One is your garden variety Candlestick zombie who is that rare male who actually survives that poison albeit with somewhat less brainpower, OK?”

“OK.”

“The other is a more classic variety; the lumbering, the vacant eyes.  They don’t eat brains do they?”

“That would be highly unlikely,” Wicket said.  “But I would have no idea what they eat if they eat anything at all.”

“So who’s making these zombies and why?”

“I can’t help you there,” Wicket said.  “Look for a very powerful Haitian chemist, someone presenting as a priest, a witchdoctor, a healer, something like that.  But if you look for this person, don’t get too close.”

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Written by williamdoonan

July 25, 2013 at 7:13 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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