Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance (2 page)

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
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I wasn’t sure how to answer this. Sheri and I are Jewish and never subscribed to any other religions or beliefs. To even consider anything related to witchcraft or being satanic was laughable and absurd to me. “No, Wyclef. I don’t believe in that crap and I’m baffled as to why you’re asking this. Sheri’s dead and with God. I think it’s time to call the cops and find out who the killed her.”

“Wait, mon. Listen.” Wyclef maintained his deep and calm voice. “Before I came to da States, I was a teenage
bokor
. A witch doctor. That’s what got me interested in medicine and led me down my path as a doctor and surgeon.

“A witch doctor?” I found this funny. I always respected Wyclef. He received hundreds of awards in medicine, escalating his reputation and accolades as one of the nation’s most brilliant brain surgeons. Plus, the guy possessed great taste in food and music. I just couldn’t see him dancing naked around a fire in Haiti, making zombies and shrunken heads. “You gotta be kidding me.”

“I learned many old secrets growing up in Haiti. I learned secrets of the dead. I saw medical science coupled with the spirit world. I’ve made zombies and I’ve raised zombies from dead bodies whose souls have moved on to da other places.”

Again, I couldn’t imagine this. “You’ve got one of the most reputable practices in Chicago. What would happen if your clients or the press knew you practiced black magic?”

13

Wyclef smiled wide and revealed his large white teeth and the significant gap between his incisors. He didn’t answer my question but said, “Did you know Chicago was founded by a Haitian-born black slave in the early 1700s?”

I shook my head.

“Ya. It’s true, mon. Voodoo is nothing new to da North Shore. Though it’s funny you won’t find as many blacks living in the North Shore today as we once did in the 1700s. Ironic, no?”

I shrugged my shoulders, knowing wealth has a lot to do with the racial diversity being nil in the North Shore communities. I felt compelled to mention Lake Forest was chock full of ebony players in the Bulls and Bears, but I held my tongue.

“I go to my house and come back with what I need.” Wyclef looked serious now.

“You let me do my ’ting and you’ll see, Mr. Bruce.”

I thought about it. I had nothing to lose. Either his absurd claim to bring my wife back would happen or it wouldn’t. Then I’d call the cops and start making funeral arrangements. “All right. Get whatever you need. I’m a skeptical man, Wyclef. I’ll try it your way and then I’m calling nine-one-one.”

“I be right back.” Wyclef’s long legs carried him away.

I turned and looked down at Sheri. She looked at peace. With her relaxed features and her damp blond hair, she remained beautiful. I kissed her cold cheek. I told her how much I loved her. I told her how much she meant to me and how the world and my life would never be right without her. I began crying again and held her small body close to mine.

14

I was still holding Sheri when Wyclef returned. In one of his big arms, he carried a large cardboard box. In his opposite hand, he clutched a wooden cage with a clucking chicken in it. I thought of how the village of Winnetka didn’t allow people to keep farm animals. I wondered where Wyclef got the chicken and where he kept it.
Were there
others?
“Looks like you got your hands full.”

Wyclef set the box and the cage down on the living room floor. He stepped away from his belongings and moved furniture and rugs until part of the hardwood floor was uncovered and bare.

“What’re we doing?” I shivered, trying to imagine what we’d be doing on the floor. “You need anything?”

“Let’s get Sheri on to da floor here.” I laid Sheri down on the couch and stood up.

Wyclef said, “I’ll grab her feet and you take her by her top.”

I walked around, knelt and eased my arms under Sheri and grabbed her by her armpits. At the count of three, Wyclef and I lifted my wife from the couch. She was light and easy to move. To my dismay, the blanket fell off her in the move and we placed her naked body on the floor. I was going to grab the blanket for her when Wyclef said,

“Leave da blanket be, Mr. Bruce. She gotta be naked to da world right now.”

“Does your wife know where the fuck you are right now?” I blurted this without thinking, not meaning to inject such a hard tone in my delivery.

Wyclef smiled and placed his reassuring hands on my shoulders. “Mister Bruce, my wife knows where I be. She praying for Sheri. She sends good vibes here to help your wife come back.”

I dropped my head, feeling bad and sad about all of this. “Sorry.”

15

“No worries, mon.”

He walked over to his box of tricks and his pet chicken. I watched him dig through his box. He returned with several large black candles and a mason jar full of dead flower petals. He set these items down and moved Sheri around on the floor, spreading her arms and legs wide, splaying her out on her back. I no longer felt weird or overprotective about what he was doing.

Wyclef placed the candles in specific spots all around Sheri’s body. He lit the candles and soon the moonlit room filled with candlelight. I watched the doctor open the jar and sprinkle dead flower petals all over Sheri’s naked body. He placed the empty jar on the floor and turned to me. “Mister Bruce, I want you to sit and hold her head in your hands.”

Before I could ask why, he turned away to retrieve his caged chicken. I did as instructed and sat between two candles with my legs crossed and looked down at the top of Sheri’s head and her upside-down face. With a loving touch, I cupped the back and sides of Sheri’s head with my hands and stroked her beautiful face with my thumbs.

Wyclef returned and set the cage on the floor next to me. The chicken inside clucked away, cocking its head in every direction. I watched him remove his shirt. His ripped upper torso shined in the candlelight. He opened the cage and removed the chicken. Then he said something to the bird in a foreign language. I watched with disgust as he gripped the chicken’s neck with his large fist before snapping his arm and decapitating it.

“Jesus Christ, Doc. What the hell are you doing?”

Wyclef ignored me. He seemed to be in his own world.

16

I continued holding Sheri’s head while watching Wyclef with morbid curiosity.

He dropped the chicken head to the hard wood floor and held the chicken’s body as it jerked in his grip. I watched him chant and pour chicken blood on his face and down his chest and stomach. Then he squatted down, chanting away while moving Sheri’s body and the candles around like a crab. He set the now-motionless chicken carcass on the floor and picked up the head. Before I could object, he dabbed Sheri’s forehead, cheeks and lips with blood from the torn chicken neck. He raked her bare belly with chicken claws before dabbing his own face with chicken blood.

“Start saying Sheri’s name, Mister Bruce. I want you to say her name again and again like a mantra.” Wyclef pulled out two sticks of incense and lit them on a candle flame. He held a stick in each hand, waving them back and forth as he continued squatting over my wife. “Here we go, mon.”

My mind filled with a few questions.
What are we doing here?
Are we going to
jail after this?
I already knew what we were doing and why. I began speaking Sheri’s name out loud over and over again.

Wyclef continued to squat and crab-shuffle over Sheri’s dead body while waving incense smoke and chanting in some foreign tongue. I continued the mantra of my beloved’s name while watching everything. Wyclef’s eyes rolled back and his baritone voice grew louder while his movements became more wild and intense. He stomped with heavy feet and started yelling. He made it hard for me to concentrate on my repetitive speaking. The volume and dark tone of Wyclef’s voice mixed with strange words he shouted and enforced with violent and frenzied motions. It felt most unsettling.

Wyclef reached a vocal crescendo and uttered,
“Jumbie...nzambi...da Bantu!”

17

On his last word, I was looking down into Sheri’s face while caressing it and speaking her name. Her chest gave an unexpected heave and her eyelids flew open to reveal milky white eyeballs staring straight into my own. Then all the candles blew out from an unseen blast of netherworld wind and left us in the dark.

“Wyclef! She’s moving!” I knew I sounded hysterical. I was creeped out, sitting in the dark living room with my deceased better half squirming beneath me. “What’s going on, Doc?”

“Relax, mon.”

My eyes focused in the dark. I watched Wyclef sit on Sheri’s stomach. He fumbled for something, then lit up what looked like a hellacious-sized doobie. He locked his lips on Sheri’s mouth and blew a giant puff of smoke into her.

“Shit!” I jumped when Sheri began coughing and making odd gurgling sounds.

“What did you do?”

“She’s back, Mister Bruce. I blew spirit protection into her so’s no udder folk try hitching a ride with her from da udder side.”

I raised an eyebrow at this spooky little comment. “Uh, right. I’m not worried about ghosts. You heard her. She coughed. It’s a goddamn miracle.” I felt an immediate need to got to a local synagogue to pray and give thanks.

“She coughed, but dat was just da release of spirit smoke. It kick-started her animation. She’s not breathing, Mister Bruce. She never will again.”

This was something I didn’t want to hear. I felt an urgency to see. I didn’t like being in the dark. “Can we get some real light in here? We gotta see what’s going on.”

18

Wyclef got to his feet and pulled my wife with him. I remained seated, watching with unbelieving eyes as Sheri stood on her own, naked and in the dwindling moonlight of the living room. She looked beautiful.

“Get the lights, mon.”

I jumped to my feet and flicked on the living room lights. Wyclef helped Sheri to the couch, sat her down and wrapped the blanket around her once again. I took a seat on the other side of her and hugged her tight.

My new mantra was, “I love you, baby.” I said this nonstop, wanting Sheri to know I was here. I began weeping again. I rocked my wife and kept bawling her name, but she offered no verbal response. I looked at her with tears flowing down my face and was startled at what I saw.

“Hey, Doc.” I spoke and my voice hitched with cracking words. “What’s wrong with her eyes?”

I looked into Sheri’s blank and pale face. Her features were slack and wooden.

She didn’t look like she was breathing but I knew she was on this side of the grave because she sat up with her eyes open. Her eyes troubled me the most—they moved but were lifeless. They held no light and no twinkle. The once-beautiful green was replaced by the ghostlike, milky-gray color of a ripe corpse.

“Sheri’s zombified, Mister Bruce. When she departed from dis place she go to da udder place. When she comes back to you, she lose part of her spirit and some of da mortal traits she once had.”

19

“Well, what the fuck, Doc?” I felt anger and distress at this bit of news. “I wanted Sheri back. I wanted my wife back one hundred percent. That’s why I went through with this crazy Voodoo shit. I didn’t want a zombie.”

“Guess we shoulda talked about dis.”

“Shoulda? What in the name of Johnny Freaking Appleseed were you thinking?

You asked if I wanted my wife back. I said yes. Now Sheri’s a vegetable. I love my wife, but I woulda left her dead if I knew this would happen.”

“Let me tell ya about zombies, Mister Bruce. Sometimes dey come around with some qualities dey once had. Sometimes dey recognize you.” Wyclef offered a smile but lost it to a frown. “I won’t lie. Sheri’s not gonna be da same like before. She won’t be talking or. She’s a zombie, mon, and she got part of a soul but no real life in her. She just here to be with you and that’s it.”

These new facts brought many questions to my mind. “How does she stay animated?”

“She doesn’t need food. Some zombies, dey try and eat human flesh, but those are da ones who come from the bad side. Ones who go away too long and get corrupted, dey from a horror movie, mon. You don’t want one coming back.”

“So, she can’t breathe and doesn’t need food. Hopefully won’t eat me. What else should I know?”

“Her periods are over for good.”

“Guess she won’t need a gynecologist.” I stared at Sheri and felt my heart pang. I didn’t want my baby to be a lost soul. Mixed feelings filled me as I considered a future 20

with a zombie wife. “She’s got nothing to say about any of this, Wyclef. Maybe she doesn’t want to be like this. She’s not gonna live a normal life.”

“She’s not living a life, Mister Bruce. She’s dead.”

“Thanks, I needed that.”

“Mister Bruce, my neighbor, I consider you a friend. I can tell you’re finding this hard to accept. All of dis. But you trust me, no?”

I thought about it. I wondered if maybe I jumped the gun in my panic and traumatized sadness when I allowed Wyclef to do his black magic on Sheri. Though a real consultation would have been nice, I trusted the man. I guess you don’t get second opinions with witch doctors. “I trust you, Doc. I’m sure this ain’t your first rodeo.”

“That’s right, mon. I grew up in Haiti with Voodoo being a normal part of life.

Have faith in my words when I tell you dat even though Sheri’s reanimated and zombified, she can feel your love, and she can take comfort in your company. Your wife can keep you company for the rest of your life. It’s all about love and how much her companionship means to you.”

I felt doubt at this. Though I accepted the implausible fact of Sheri dying and returning from the dead, I couldn’t choke down how a walking corpse felt any emotions.

“You sure? How do you know?”

“I’ve seen zombies absorb true love into their stock-still hearts, mon. I’ve seen zombies reach out and grab a lover’s hand and even embrace another.” Wyclef turned grim. “Then again, I seen a zombie bite the cheek off of her husband in Haiti. But dat was one of da bad ones, Mister Bruce.”

21

“I’m not getting a warm fuzzy feeling. What bothers me is that Sheri’s personality is gone. We won’t be sharing ideas about movies or music. She won’t tell me she wants to go to a museum or a farmer’s market. Her spark is gone. I basically have a Real Doll on my hands. I should just get a dog to talk to and play with.”

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
3.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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