William Doonan

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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

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty-Two

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Julia and Carson tied Condor Nyle in a series of bungie knots as Billy St. Clair stood motionless by the window.

“Rocky should be here soon,” Julia said.  “I don’t really want to be here alone for much longer.”

“We’re not alone.”  Carson looked around.  “She’s here.  She’s here right now, I can feel her.”


“Karen Sorrows.”

“You know this how?”  Alice demanded.

Carson tapped his head.  “She told me just now.”

“No way.”  Alice stared at the shotgun that rested by the wheelchair.  “If she’s here, I’ll bet dollars to donuts, she’s not alone.  This isn’t good, Julia.”

“Agreed.”  Julia picked up the shotgun. “If Ruth Black wants to talk with me, she can send me an e-mail.”

They heard a knock on the door, but Carson was already maneuvering his chair.  “It’s for me,” he said.

Karen Sorrows stood at the entrance.  She was wearing a blue blazer over gray sweatpants.  She looked like a healthy young woman.  She looked alluring.  “I’m going to need you,” she told Carson.  “I’m going to need you for a long time.”

Tim Murphy sped through the open door.  He scooped up Karen and carried her inside.  They heard the car a moment later as it roared up the low stairs and came to a stop in front of the open door.
“No,” Carson screamed as Rocky leapt out of the driver’s seat.  “Leave her alone.”

Tim Murphy bound the girl’s hands and left her at Julia’s feet.  Then he moved out onto the terrace where half a dozen men lumbered toward the door. “In or out, Rocky?  I think we have too many here right now to get us all out.”

“In then.”

“Wait,” Carson screamed.  “You too,” he screamed at the figures outside.  “We can resolve this.”

Tim Murphy counted at least a dozen of them now.  He held two pistols, each with sixteen rounds, and he had always considered himself devilishly fast at reloading.  He felt good about their chances.  It would be dirty, like that time in Mozambique when he had taken a job he shouldn’t have.  “I’m going to start shooting in three seconds,” he said.

“Wait,” Julia told him.  “You wait, Tim.  You wait till I tell you.”

In deploying personnel, it is important to consider both the temperament and potential of each individual.  This much Adam learned the hard way, toiling at SUBA.  When one exhaustive direct mail campaign had failed, Adam detailed its author to the Candlestick floor, where the man proved incapable of even the most rudimentary retail packet assembly duties.  Now, he himself felt ill-used.  A master of chemistry and love, he, Adam, had been detailed to climb a decaying stairway and break into the second floor, to approach from above.

Adam cursed as his foot punched through a step and he maneuvered himself onto the next step.  “I should be directing this from some console somewhere.”

“Don’t you come in here,” called out a voice from inside.

Adam pulled a giant splinter from his hand.  He was  breathing heavily.  So far none of them have been armed, he told himself.  He kicked the door open.

A thick slate fireplace dominated most of one wall, but his attention was fixed on the woman who sat on a decaying  armoire across the room.

“And who might you be?”

“You don’t know?” she asked.  She was an older black woman, dolled up, fashionable even.

“No, ma’am,” Adam said.  “I don’t.”  He held the policeman’s big automatic pistol before him.

“Do you all even talk with one another, share information?  You might by now have some awareness of who I am.”

Adam hiked up his pants.  “I’m going to guess that you’re the number one priestess or the number two priestess.  I’m told both are senior citizens.”

“You’re a funny man,” she said.  “But this has nothing to so whatsoever with priestesses.  I’m a simple woman, nothing more.  But if you were to sit with me for a spell, I could tell you some grand things.”

“What kind of grand things?”

“How you might live to see a man walk on the moon.”

Adam frowned.  “They did that in 1969.”

Millicent Sorrows frowned too.  “Memory serves only now and again.”  She pulled what looked like a cigarette from a thin silver case.  “Wait just one moment and I will open up your world.”

Adam inhaled half a breath and stopped.  Something new here, something very old, a dewy, earthy scent.

“Come closer.” Millicent Sorrows stood.  She had the cigarette-thing in her hand now and took a step toward him.

“I’ll shoot you,” he said, holding the gun unsteadily before him.

“I’m only here to protect my daughter.”

Adam inhaled again, not deeply.  He couldn’t smell any tobacco, though a trace amount of the tea-like substance he had brewed for Karen lingered in the room.  “I helped her,” he said.  “Do you know that?  I made the drink, the tea, that helped her.”

Millicent Sorrows stood still.

“I want her to be safe too,” Adam said.

She stared at him, locked her eyes onto his and sniffed.  “And yet you came to kill her.”

He shook his head and pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, placed it over his nose and mouth.  “I didn’t come to kill anyone.”

She held his gaze a moment longer.  “Troubled man,” she said.  “You have much to atone for.”

“I’m trying,” he said.  “I’m trying every day.  Please don’t make me kill you.”

She opened the case and gingerly set the cigarette inside.  “These days, so few men have any sense of decorum.  You may be the last man in the country who carries a handkerchief.  Is it silk?”

He nodded.

“You should know that it wouldn’t have helped; you would still have died.”

“I believe you,” Adam said.  “And with five bullets from my gun, you would have died too.”

“An impasse.”  Millicent Sorrows looked down at the floor.  “Sometimes it isn’t clear what one should do.  I felt that way in the voting booth some years back, but in the end, I cast my lot with William Howard Taft.  I thought he did well in the Philippines.”

“He was a heavy man,” Adam noted.  “Powerfully built.  Also wise.”

Millicent Sorrows picked up her bag.  “This has gone on too long,” she said.  Then she handed him the cigarette case.  “Help my daughter.”

Adam pointed the gun at the floor as she walked out the door.

Written by williamdoonan

August 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty-One

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Adam did his best to keep up with Rocky.  “If I had known we were going to jogging, I would have worn my leotard,” he said as Tim Murphy sprinted ahead to have a look at the Lundt Castle from the west.

“Please stop talking.” Rocky stared at the text message from Julia.  “Come quickly.  Come packing.  One unfriendly contained.  Billy not well.  Possible dozens more unfriendlies summoned.  Avoid telepathic channels, hence no voice.  I want to go home, baby.”

They had parked about a mile away from Lundt Castle, and moved on foot from there.  Rocky and Adam were headed down to the boathouse where they would meet up with Tim Murphy.

“Dying here,” Adam told himself, and ran straight into the back of Rocky’s hand.  He looked down the path and saw a cop watching their approach, one foot resting on the bumper of his cruiser.  “Oh shit.”

“Shut up,” Rocky told him.  “I need you in front of me.”

“For what?”

“Don’t ask.”  Rocky started walking slower.  Napa County police.  Now why the hell were they here?  He shut his eyes in angry wonder when Adam called out to the cop.

“Hey there, Officer.  What brings you out tonight?  Hey, is this Goundhog day?”

The cop said nothing.

Adam stopped when he came to within about fifteen feet.  “Hey, do you know what month Groundhog Day is in?”

The policeman took his leg off the car and removed the sunglasses that were unnecessary at this time of the evening.

“What about fourth of July?” Adam inhaled.

“What are you doing?” Rocky demanded.

“Shoot him.”

“Excuse me?”

“Shoot him,” Adam said loud enough for the man to hear.

The cop took a step forward and peeled the velcro from his safety holster.

“No, no.”  Rocky brought the Glock into full view.

“Shoot him,” Adam said.  “He’s a zombie.”

“He’s a policeman.”

“And a zombie.  They are categorically nonexclusive.”

Rocky shot the policeman in his chest as he pulled out his gun.  “How could you tell?”

“Pentane,” Adam said, prying the gun from the dead policeman’s hand.  “It’s a hydrocarbon.  It’s detectable in the breath of schizophrenics.  I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but I smelled it on the last three zombies too.”

“So you’re sure about this?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Fuck.  I just shot a cop.”

“I’ve done worse,” Adam said.  “One time in Alabama, I ran over a possum.”

“We have to get the car off the road,” Rocky told him.

“Do we now?” Adam asked.  “Because I’m tired as shit, and I’d just as soon drive this car to the boathouse.  We can put the cop in the trunk.”

Rocky nodded.  He drove, and they waited in the boathouse for an agonizing half an hour before Tim Murphy crawled up from under the dock.  “What took you?”

“I saw the cop car and I wasn’t certain,” Tim said.

Rocky told him about the cop.  “So what’s the story?”

Tim Murphy breathed heavily.  “I counted fourteen,” he said, “but there could be more.  Clustered in three groups.”

“What does that mean?” Adam asked.

“Half a dozen men, if you want to call them that, are hanging out on the front portico.  They’re like the zombies we had back at the house, clueless but determined.  Four others are just west of here by the river.  There’s a little fleet of decaying paddle boats, shaped like swans.  They’re actually sitting in the paddle boats.  You could see them now except for the trees over there.  The rest are hovering around the servants’ entrance.”

“So what do we do?”

“I think we should move now, take this cop car.  We can’t do it on foot because me have to move the crippled kid.  And you know what, I think something is about to go down, so I think we should move now.”

Rocky nodded.  “Except we don’t know Julia’s situation.”

Adam let loose a ghastly fart.  “It’s been building up,” he said.  “Julia is likely not saying anything because she’s unsure if they can read her thoughts.”

“Can they?” Rocky asked.

“I doubt it,” Adam said, “I don’t think they can read her mind, even if they can project their thoughts into hers.”

“Then we go,” Rocky said.  “Quietly.  Before somebody activates their zombies.”

“Agreed,” Adam said.

Tim Murphy checked his weapons, the three pistols he wore and the shotgun he held in his hands.  “Once we move, it is very possible we will experience a reaction.  So I suggest that we take this police car and drive it up the main driveway and into the main salon.  We’ll have to take three low steps but this is a Chevy Caprice and it can handle that.  Then we extract our people with extreme violence.”

Rocky nodded.

“Rock and roll,” Adam said.

Written by williamdoonan

August 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty

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“It smells like dead things in here,” Carson observed, then apologized in deference to Billy’s body, which they had laid out on the tile floor near the ballroom fireplace.

“It’s just musty.”  Julia tried to make sense of the situation.  They found Lundt Castle without a hitch, their directions being adequate and a castle being a castle.  No electricity.  But when she opened the blinds in the ballroom, she almost gasped.  The setting sun hung over Lake Berryessa like a party lantern.

Alice stood beside her and watched as more ducks than she thought possible took flight at once.  “I could totally live here.”  She turned to take in the massive room.  Powder blue wallpaper peeled everywhere, and the sagging pine floor was spotted with white paint chips that had exfoliated from the ceiling eleven feet above.

“It’s a fixer-upper.” Carson looked around.  “A little spackle, a couple of beanbag chairs, this could feel like home.”

Condor Nyle stood staring out the window.

“Are the ropes too tight?” Alice asked.

He said nothing, kept staring until she asked again.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “No.  Thank you, but no, and just so we’re on the same page here, I think technically it was a bungee cord you tied my hands with, and it was quite flexible.”  He tossed it to Alice and rubbed his wrists.  “I’m not going to run away while the young man still has his gun on me.  Can we just have scouts honor here or something?”

“What do you think, Julia?”

“What?” She turned from the window but said nothing.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Condor Nyle said.  “I was here the night Grace Lundt died.  Many of us were.  Errol, of course.  Ethel Barrymore was here.  Charles Chaplin, and a young bandleader from New Orleans named Louis Armstrong.  Maybe two hundred people.  Nobody knew Grace had taken the pills.  Poor Arthur never believed she had done it intentionally, but she had, you see.  She hadn’t made a film in more than two years, not since A Bride for Count Yorga.”

“I don’t think I saw that one,” Alice said.

“Almost nobody went to see it.”  He opened the French doors and stepped out onto the terrace.  “And it’s a shame really, because it was a wonderful film.”

“Could you please back away from the edge?” Carson said.  “I’m not sure I trust that railing, and there’s quite a drop to the lake.”

Condor Nyle ignored him and walked to the edge.  “In the final scene, Yorga stands on the balcony of his castle,” he stepped up onto the crumbling cement railing.  “Silvie, that’s Grace’s character in the film.  Silvie has just told him that she could never love a vampire, which seems judgmental if you ask me.  So Sylvie runs from the castle.  The camera pans from the castle to her feet and then holds on her face.  Now cut to Count Yorga, standing alone on his balcony, his cape fluttering behind him.  He holds up his hands and cries out to the only friends he has left.  ‘Creatures of the cold night,’ he cries out, ‘I command you.  Wake from your slumber and give chase.’”

Alice clapped.

Condor Nyle bowed and hopped down from the ledge.

“So what happened then?” she asked.

“Then the zombies came.”

“The vampires you mean.”

He nodded.  “Yes in the film they were indeed vampires.  But sometimes in life you have to work with what’s at hand.  Sometimes in death too.”

Carson screamed.

Julia and Alice swung around to see Billy St. Clair lifting him from the chair.  The shotgun fell to the floor.

“Get the gun,” Carson yelled.

Alice ran but Condor Nyle proved surprisingly quick.  He dove at her and caught her legs, bringing her to the ground.

Julia lunged and grabbed his hair with both hands, pulling off a wig and falling back in the process.

Alice punched him in the face.  Condor Nyle roared.  Crouched on his hands and knees, he tried to regain his balance.

“Do what he says,” Julia shouted as Alice prepared to kick him.

“He didn’t say anything.”

“Do it.  Leave him alone.”

“Do what?”  She followed Julia’s gaze and saw Billy St. Clair squeezing Carson’s neck.

“He said he’d tell Billy to kill him,” Julia said, the fear evident in her voice.  She heard his words crystal clearly though he hadn’t opened his mouth.

“When did he say that?” Alice demanded, more angry than afraid.  She kicked him hard in the face.  “Tell him to put him down or I’ll kick you to death right now.  And no more fucking telepathy.”

Condor Nyle stared angrily, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth, the last of the sunlight reflecting off his bald head.  He grinned and Billy St. Clair squeezed tighter.

Alice kicked him two more times as Julia dove for the shotgun.

Billy dropped Carson, who fell like a beanbag onto the floor, wheezing as he tried to catch his breath.

Julia pointed the gun at Billy who was coming straight for her.  “Tell him to stop or I’ll shoot him,” she told Condor Nyle.

“So shoot him,” he said, wiping blood onto his sleeve.  “He’s just an extra.”

“If I have to shoot him,” Julia yelled, “I’ll shoot you next.”

“When my friends come for me, they’ll bring an army,” Condor Nyle said, but he nodded, and Billy stood still.

Written by williamdoonan

August 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

MedicineLand: Chapter Fifty-Nine

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“I’m looking for Julia,” Adam said into the microphone at the gate.

“She’s not here.”

“Is this Rocky?”


“OK, I’m Adam,” he began.  “I was here for the… the monster mash.  Remember, I’m a burley sort of guy, muscular.  Listen, the sporty gay fellow lent me this car so I’m bringing it back, and I need to talk to Julia.”

Adam counted down from ten.  The gate began opening when he reached seven.  He spotted the police car as he drove toward the house.  California Highway Patrol.  Rocky Shannon walked toward him.

“You called the  police?  Adam frowned.

Rocky shook his head.  “Be cool.”

“Born that way, sport.”  Adam slapped him on the shoulder.

“There’s a cop in the house interviewing Tim.  You will say nothing.”

Adam shook his head.  “You called the  police?  “I hate cops, always have.”

Rocky cracked the beginning of a smile.  “I do too,” he said.  “ Julia’s mother called them.”

Adam followed him into the house, where Tim sat across from a cop who had to be close to retirement.

“Damnedest thing,” the officer said.  “I mean, escaped convicts?  The warden up at Folsom Prison said that they didn’t even turn up missing until after you caught them.”

Tim Murphy shook his head.  “I guess it just proves that crime doesn’t pay.”

The officer leaned back.  “I mean how is it that a prison doesn’t even know that there’s been an escape?  You said they didn’t have a vehicle, right?”

“Didn’t see one.”

“Anyway, I appreciate your time.  Do you suppose these three tunneled out?”

“I couldn’t say.”  Tim walked him to the door.

“And they never said a word, any of them?  Not even to tell you to sit down or freeze?”

“Quiet as church mice.  Maybe they agreed beforehand not to speak.  Maybe they had southern accents or something, or lisps.”

“Maybe, sure.  Well, likely as not they didn’t all three have lisps.”

“I guess we’ll never know. ” Tim shook his hand.

“Not at the rate they’re spinning this yarn up at Folsom,” he said, walking out to his car.  “Those corrections fellows can be awfully tightlipped.”

Tim locked the door and stood looking out the window until the police car had driven off.

“You were great,” Adam shouted.

Tim Murphy spun around, his hand reaching instinctively for the holster which, because of the recent visit, was not present.

“Sorry,” Adam said.  “I forgot you didn’t hear me come in.”

“I still might kill you.”  Tim moved into the study to find Rocky.

Adam lumbered in after him and sat gently on the edge of the desk.

Rocky stared at the computer screen.  “This is not good,” he said.

Tim Murphy slid behind the desk.  He stared at the screen and chuckled.  “Somebody needed a court order for that.  What line is the modem on?”

“I just switched to satellite.”

“They can’t get through the encryption.”

Rocky looked up at him.  “Says who?  Do you know anything about encryption?”

Tim shook his head.  “Billy set it up.  He bought it and installed it.”

“Can we include me in the discussion?” Adam asked.

“Phone tap,” Tim told him.

“How do you know?”

“We have a little program,” Rocky said.  “We have a guy who keeps an eye on our things, and that guy just noticed the tap.  And here, we also have all points advisories on my vehicles, all four of them.  Officers requested to call in and to pursue with extreme discretion.”

“Even the pickup truck?”

Rocky shook his head.  “Not the pickup truck.  Looks like they don’t know about the pickup truck.  State police only, no city or county.  Isn’t that curious?  Why would it be state only?”

Adam picked up the humidor and smelled the cigars.  “Because someone at the state level wants to monitor your movements.”

Rocky looked over at him.  “Yeah, I got that.  I’m just trying to figure out why.”

“Because you’re the zombie master,” Adam told him.  “If someone high up really wanted to figure this all out, it would be obvious that you and your wife are the ones to watch.”

Rocky stared at him.

“How about this,” Adam began, “we drive to the hospital in the Audi.  There shouldn’t be state cops on city streets.  Then we’ll switch cars.  They won’t know about my car.”

“I think that’s a plan,” Rocky said.  “We’ll lock the house down tight, right Tim?  Alarms, gate electricity, catapults ready and oil on a slow boil.”

“What about the gay fellow?” Adam asked, “the one who lent me the car.”

“Billy’s dead,” Rocky told him.  “And he wasn’t gay.”

“Says you.  Dead how?”

“Dead we don’t know how, and how dead we don’t know.”  Rocky filled him in on the details Julia had shared over the phone earlier, back when the secure phone still seemed secure.

“Are we going to have some guns or something?” Adam asked.

Tim hoisted a big duffel bag onto his shoulder.  “Oh you better believe we’re going to have some guns.  Do you know how to use one?”

“Not really, but I have one, a little one.  That’s what I used to say about my penis.”

Rocky and Tim stared for a moment.

“OK, hey, that’s why you’re the zombie master, not me.”

“Great.  Hey where are we going anyway?” Adam asked.

“Napa,” Rocky said.  “And please don’t call me the zombie master.  One of the few things we can be sure of is that if there is a zombie master, she is a female.”

“I don’t think so,” Adam said as Rocky keyed in the final alarm sequence.  “I think it’s a dude.  This is some old voodoo thing.  I’ve been thinking it through.  Ruth Black is a high priestess of some sort, but she needs a chemist, a Bizango chemist.”

“What the hell is a…?”

“Some kind of a West African pharmacologist.  Look, they’re mixing up some very old, very powerful recipies.  And my sense is that this is a guy thing.  Ruth Black is the boss of it all, the high priestess.  But she’s got other priestesses who are subordinate to her, like Millicent Sorrows, and young Karen, who’s probably still in training.”

“You’ve been thinking this through,” Rocky noted.

Adam nodded as they got into the car.  “But Ruth Black is in charge because she has a very special Bizango chemist, one who she very likely trained, one who works just for her.  And he’s probably more powerful than any man alive today.”

“What’s so special about him?” Rocky asked as they drove though the gates, then watched in the mirror as they closed behind the car.

“What’s special about him is he’s old.  They get more powerful with age.  Remember that telepathy thing, I think they get better at it over time.  And this chemist is probably older than any other that ever lived.  He’s one of them.  That’s Ruth Black’s secret; she has a Bizango chemist who’s an immortal himself.  A zombie maker who is himself a zombie.”

Rocky shook his head.  “It doesn’t work on men.  It kills men or it rots their brains.”

“See that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet,” Adam admitted.  “He’d have to be a very special man.”

Written by williamdoonan

August 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand