Scratch, scratch, scratch on my front door.
“Garrett, let the cat in before she destroys the front door,” I yelled at my son.
About a minute later I heard, “Mom, come to the door.”
My darling 19-year-old stood on the front porch looking at a glossy black crow holding a letter. “I tried to take it from him but he won’t let me have it.”
I approached the bird. “Is this for me?” I took the letter and the crow let go. “Thank you. Who is this from dear bird?”
The crow let out a loud rough rasping crow noise that sounded like “open it”, and then he flew away.
The envelope was heavy, like an old calf skin vellum that had been through a long journey. The paper was discolored with stains from weather. No surprise coming from a crow. A heavy wax seal covered the back flap. There was no initial or mark on the smooth read seal. How odd.
“It smells like a cat box mixed with patchouli,” said Garrett.
“Who knows how long that crow had it.”
“Open it Mom.”
And so I popped the seal and opened the envelope and pulled out a letter on fine writing paper. A thin spidery hand, written with a fountain pen, formed the words of an old friend.
August 14, 2015
My Dearest Juliette,
As you know, your friends Michael and Melissa have come to stay with me for a while. I was glad to take them in after you’d told me about them. Life on the run was literally making them fall apart. Oh how my heart breaks for these two young people and their unfortunate bout with Zombieism.
The cool coastal air has a positive effect on the Zombies. They spend each morning on the beach walking, and even swimming in the cold water. I think the saltwater soothes their bodies and spirits. I sometimes wonder if the fish help pick off dead bits. But that is a somewhat personal question to ask.
Melissa lost an eye. The poor girl had been covering her face with a patch. Actually it was quite lovely. She’d glued on Czech crystals in what is called an aurora borealis. But you know that my dear since your child is involved in roller skating. She’d also added some aquamarine colored stones that complimented her remaining eye.
After searching my collection of glass eyes I found two possible fits. One was blue like hers, the other was a lovely golden brown. She decided to used the brown eye, as the other, the blue one had a vertical slit pupil. I can understand her wanting to keep her humanity in tact. As the saying goes: the eyes are the mirror to the soul.
A friend of mine, a talented ceramic artist, created a glove out of buttery soft leather with three new fingers. Because of the glaze used Melissa can paint the nails of her new fingers the same color as her old fingers. You know, her real flesh fingers.
I was initially surprised, and somewhat delighted, to find that these two Zombies not only have their souls intact, but they have their wits.
Michael wasn’t hit by the virus as badly as Melissa. Unfortunately his yearning for brains and internal organs is a problem. He craves human liver and spleens. He dreams of sausages made of human intestines. It isn’t just the consumption but the act of rippling flesh that is almost sexual in nature to him. He asks us to lock him up when he feels the desire to cause damage to another creature.
Fortunately the tonic I’ve been making for the two Zombies has been keeping both their bodies and spirits intact. Upon threat of death (ironic isn’t it) I have told them to keep it a secret. I would hate to think the government and the officials and scientists at Area Z would start to come after us as well. The fewer people who know Vampires really exist the better.
But back to tonic, your recipe was most excellent, but I do believe I’ve improved on it. Along with the few drops of Vampire blood, and the herbs, I added some kale and nectarines. I just blend it up like a smoothie with a lot of ice. In fact, it works so well that Melissa’s hair is growing in thick, and Michael no longer has those holes in his shoulder and neck. The skin over his ribs has also grown back and is a normal color (no longer green.)
Since the rotting has stopped and the regeneration of flesh seems to be a success, the pair has been getting out more. Last night they went to see a movie at our local theater. There are only two screens in our small town but they were happy with any choice, rather than the lack of choice. In fact they appreciate the little things so much. What makes them most sad is the loss of their work, of their identity as professionals at the top of their fields. He has started blogging and she has written a few articles for journals. Unfortunately they live in fear of being found by the authorities.
The Zombies often speak fondly of you and Cody. How is young Cody by the way. By golly, he was one of the most successful young Vampires I’ve ever known. The transition was without a hitch. Have him call me sometime.
On a good note, my Zombies are amused at the locals around here calling me Dorian, you know, after Dorian Gray from the Oscar Wilde story. I never age, so they joke that I must have a dreadful painting hidden away in my house. I just tell them that I’m lucky. I think they know that something is up – that I am different. But different is the norm up here along the coast. Even the Selkies just shrug it off and interact with the locals much more than their European cousins.
By the way, your brother Max stayed for a couple of nights last week. He was visiting his Selki friend. I find it odd but refreshing to find such deep and lasting friendships exist. I remember when they were both young. Ahhh it is sweet and thank goodness they never had the urge to become romantically involved. I don’t believe their hearts would have lasted entwined together.
Wishing the best to you and your family.
Garrett looked at me with one of those weird expressions young men get then they feel left out of the loop. “Mom, Zombies are real? Why didn’t you ever tell me.”
“It is a delicate subject. Zombies are so horrible and disgusting and oh so rare. Mike and Melissa were friends. I couldn’t not help them. We, as a community, as Vampires, sometimes must help those who live in secret, and in turn they help us. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“Yes, kind of sort of. Don’t judge. Exactly. I knew I raised you right.”
“Love you Mom.”
“Love you too Garrett, more than anything.”
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman