William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty-Three

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Julia cut the restraints from Karen’s hands, then hugged her tightly.  “What are we doing here, sweetheart?”

“We’re making peace,” Karen said.  She slipped from Julia’s grasp and ran a finger over Condor Nyle’s lips.

He sat up instantly.  “Hello, child.”

“Karen,” Julia began, “we have a big problem here.  I want to help you, and I think you want to help me too.”

Karen jumped into Carson’s lap and made herself comfortable.

He hugged her, tears flowing down his face.  “Yes,” he said.  “Yes I will.  Always.”

Julia knelt on the floor next to her.  “Karen, right now I just want to go home.  Can you help me now?”

“Mrs. Black is here now,” she said.  “She will make it all beautiful for everyone.”

Rocky didn’t see her until Tim Murphy pointed.  She was sitting like a garden gnome on a porch post.  No legs, that was immediately apparent.  She was a little thing, not more than sixty pounds. She opened her toothless mouth.  “Do you believe that with a wave of my hand I can have you all killed?”

One of the nearest zombies moved in.

“Tell him to get back,” Rocky said.

Ruth Black looked straight into his eyes.  She said nothing but the man withdrew.

“I’m going to go in there and take my wife home,” Rocky said.

“No you’re not,” she said.  “You’ve stolen a secret from me, and I cannot let you leave with it.”

“I’m taking my wife home now,” Rocky spat.

She shook her head.  “I want my Bizango back.  You’ve stolen him.  And I want the boy who sits in the chair.  I need him for the girl.  He will come of his own volition.  And I’ll need your wife for a number of years.  After which, she may return to you if she chooses.”

“Absolutely not,” Rocky spat, raising his gun as one of the zombies began climbing the steps, moving toward him.  “This is how you want it?”

“No,” Ruth Black spat, but the zombie kept coming.  “Obey me.  Desist.”

When it didn’t, Rocky shot it in the head, dropping it.  Another came across the porch and he shot him too.  “This is how you want it?” Rocky repeated angrily.

“No,” she said.  “This is not my will.  I’m telling them to stop.”

“And yet they’re not stopping.”  Rocky shot two moving up the steps.  They went down fairly easily.

Tim Murphy moved around the corner, shooting seven of them before he had even reached the porch.  “Are these things afraid of fire, you think?” he called to Rocky as he reloaded.

“Don’t know.”  Rocky paused to reload.

Tim Murphy pulled out a flair.  Striking it quickly, he pointed the bright red flame at a young man wearing overalls who held a garden rake over his head.  “Fire,” he shouted, waving the flair, but the man kept coming.

“Three o’clock,” Rocky called out.

Tim Murphy tossed the flair at the man with the rake and picked up his guns, backing towards the door as he shot.  “Inside, Rocky,” he said.  “There are ten or so more coming around the corner.

Overalls with the rake was on fire now, though not paying much attention.  Rocky kicked him into the railing, knocking over a second zombie.  For a moment or so, everything seemed calm.  Then the flames licked up onto the railing and began spreading across the rotting wood of the porch.

Adam limped onto the porch just as the flames fanned out.  He pushed through a side door and came into the ballroom from one of the dining rooms.  When he spotted Ruth Black, poised motionless on the edge of the balcony, he recognized her instantly.  “You’re the boss,” he told her softly.  “You can stop this.”

She groaned.  “I can’t.  There’s too many now.  More than four, and I get, I get confused.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have made more than four.”

“Time to go,” Tim Murphy called.  “Everyone in the car, now.  Twenty seconds.”  He grabbed Julia’s shoulder and shoved her toward the door.

Condor Nyle swooped down on Ruth Black and gathered her up into his embrace.  “You’ll leave her alone,” he shouted.

Julia ran to her, noting the smoke billowing up near the high ceiling.  “There’s so much you and I can accomplish,” she said.

Rocky grabbed her arm but she shook free.  “We can still work everything out.”

She smiled, cold and hard.  She reached for Julia’s hand and her mind locked onto Julia’s.  “Even in Benin,” the thought began, “the chiefs tried to take the secrets from us and we never told them.  Even when they shipped us across the ocean, we never told the masters.  Now the new masters want the secrets and they can never have them.  Never.  Better we should die.”

“No, please,” Julia said.

Ruth Black leaned up and kissed Condor Nyle on the mouth.  “My sweet Bizango” she said.

Condor Nyle smiled and the zombies came in unison, like an army.

Tim Murphy stood at the door and fired almost continuously, pausing only to reload, the pistols getting hot.  He counted nine hits.  Rocky got seven of them.  But it was Adam, realizing that there were a lot more of them out, who fired a clean shot through Ruth Black’s head, a shot which dove deep into Condor Nyle’s chest.  Ruth Black fell over dead.

Condor Nyle dropped to the floor.  “Help me,” he begged.

Alice reached for his arm but it was already exfoliating skin.  “I’m not sure I can.”  She tried to find a pulse but found nothing, the arm itself already turning brittle.

“I’m too young to die,” he cried.  “I want to see Errol.  I want Errol here beside me.”

“Errol Flynn died like fifty years ago,” Alice told him.  “And he didn’t mention you in his autobiography.”

“We were a secret,” Condor Nyle said as the last of his facial muscles lost their tone.  “But I was great once, wasn’t I?”

“To be fair,” Alice said, “Vermin of Yemen was first rate, but you sucked in Werewolves of Baja.  Nowhere in the literature do werewolves surf.”

“It was a sequel,” Condor Nyle said as his heart stopped.


Written by williamdoonan

September 2, 2013 at 10:08 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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