My mind…I’m sure my mind used to work a little better than this. Very occasionally I’ll get flashes of what’s going on around me. These moments are always very brief and painful – not enough for me to make sense of the world.
My arms. They hurt. My legs ache. My entire body feels like it’s been under a massively heavy weight for a very long time. Every time I’m aware, I’m doing something physically challenging – pushing, pulling, lifting. Too much for my small, frail body, but I can’t stop. It’s as if something is compelling me.
A face. A large face looms in front of me, sending an irrational jolt of fear through me – the first emotion I’ve felt in a very long time. Something inside of me is screaming ‘it’s him!’ He looks sick – I don’t know how I know that, I just do. He yells something at me, but my ears are buzzing, so I can’t hear him. I just carry on lugging, pulling, tugging…
My eyes flicker open. I quickly realise that I’m lying on the ground. What happened? Why am I asleep? I push my body into a sitting position, even though it hurts like mad. The light is so bright; it takes my eyes a long time to adjust. I’m in a field that’s full of plants – a place I don’t recognise at all – but that’s not the strangest thing about the scene I’m surveying. No, that’s the fact that there are loads of other bodies, beginning to stir around me.
“Wha…?” I try to ask, but my throat is dry, my voice is hoarse as if I haven’t used it for a very long time.
The others finally reach the same state of awareness as me, and they are all wearing the same utterly confused expression. What happened to us? None of this makes any sense.
I don’t know how much time passes, but one by one, we all begin to move away from here. It holds really horrible memories – I know that much, even if I don’t know what they are. I follow the crowd, noticing how we are all shuffling, shambling, as if we aren’t human. As if we’re monsters.
Eventually, after some time, we reach a tiny village. The first woman that sees the crowd descending on her screams and runs in the opposite direction. I finally hear the word “zombie” being yelled, and something about it sends recognition flooding through me.Zombie…why does that word strike a chord? Why do I feel like that’s something to do with me?
Others rush from random directions to come and see us. I guess we must look a sight – dirty, lumbering, unaware. Some of them laugh, some of them look afraid. I wish I could communicate. I want to be able to speak to someone, to find out what’s happened, what they know. They might be scared, but I am too!
“Deana!” A voice bursts through the rest, as a warm hand rests on my shoulder. My body wants to jump in shock, but I don’t have enough movements inside of me to be able to do so. Instead I turn to face the kindly looking woman who’s staring at me with tears in my eyes. “It’s you. It’s really you.”
I wake up in a soft, warm bed. My skin feels clean, my mind feels fresher, but there’s still something nagging at me. Something isn’t quite right. Not yet. I can now feel a few sporadic memories from my past, from before whatever happened to me here – I recall getting picked on in the rain, somewhere in England, when I was about eight years old. I can picture the time I had my first kiss, when I was 17. I can remember getting on a plane…but nothing that explains what’s going on now.
“How are you feeling?” The woman from the village enters the room I’m in, offering me a drink. I sup it down as if I haven’t drunk anything for years.
I nod as a reply, before trying my voice once more. “Wha…?” It hurts a little less to use, but it’s still very croaky.
“You must have lots of questions.” She sighs, looking at her hands in her lap. “I don’t know where to start.”
I stare at her, begging her to begin anywhere. I just need something.
“You arrived here in Haiti three years ago.” I hold my breath as she speaks. “You wanted to follow the work of Wade Davis – the man who exposed the witch doctors and their awful zombification tricks.” I have to remind myself that she’s talking about me – this all sounds like something that happened to someone else. “You came to stay with me for a while. You thought you’d found a sugar plantation where this awful practice was still taking place and you wanted to put a stop to it. I warned you to be careful, but you were so…ambitious. You wanted to succeed as a journalist so badly.”
A journalist? Me? A vague memory pops up of a desk in a fancy office, but it’s gone before I can get a solid grasp on it.
“You went missing not long after. They said you were dead – they even held a funeral for you, but I knew different. I knew he had you. You had mentioned Dr. Koane and your suspicions of him…”
I gasp at the mention of that name. That was him. That was the man I saw – the one that did this. Suddenly I recall going to see him on the pretence of needing some painkillers. I knew what he was up to and I wanted to prove it, I just needed evidence. I wanted a vial of the stuff he was giving to people. That appointment is when he must have started me on the tetrodotoxin drugs that rendered me a zombie. I can’t believe it, he fooled me, outsmarted me. I spent three years working for the man I was trying to overthrow.
What made him stop?
His face – he was ill. He was dying, I realise. He couldn’t give us the drugs anymore, that’s why we returned to our normal state. I’m sure we will keep on becoming ourselves again for a very long time.
As I glance around the room, I accidentally catch a glimpse of my reflection in a small mirror and vomit instantly rushes through me and splatters on the ground below me. What the hell? I’ve gone from a petite, fairly attractive 23 year old, to someone who looks closer to 70. I’ve never been particularly vain, but this is something else! This is unbearable. I’m hideous!
I stare for a while, just thinking. My life is over. I thought I’d just gotten it back, but I was wrong. This man, this zombie drug, this trip to Haiti…it’s ruined my life. I may be back in mind, but I’ll never be able to be me again….
Samie Sands is a 29 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing. Lockdown is her debut novel, published by Triplicity Publishing, with Forgotten following soon after. She has also had a number of short stories included in successful anthologies.
She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures. To follow Samie’s work, please check out her websitehttp://samiesands.com.