She walked twenty yards ahead of him along the beach. Her progress was languid but he had to catch his breath to keep up with her. His eyes were fixated on her firm, round, naked buttocks. Every time she shifted her weight from one foot to the other the toned muscles under the skin of her backside tensed as if she were squeezing on purpose. The fact that his breathing was labored was not due to the chase he was giving.
Left, right, left, right, she walked along. A glean of sweat down her back caught nebulous rays of the early morning sunlight. He walked faster to catch up with her. All he wanted was to touch her – and have her want to touch him too. But as he fantasized about whether to bury his face in her hair or run the tips of his fingers down her back, he looked again at her back. The sweat began flowing copiously down her legs. He looked again. It wasn’t sweat. It was blood. She turned around. She had blood all over her hands and chest – the same blood that gushed down her legs. There was something in her hands – something slimy and viscous… Her jaundiced eyes caught his and she smiled as she started walking toward him…
He woke up in a puddle of sweat. He looked around wildly, grasping the thin sheets to cover up his body’s obvious reaction to the nature of his dream – an unnecessary move since the moment before waking had cut off the throbbing circulation of his blood. He wondered if he had cried out at all in his sleep. He glanced over at his girlfriend Maggie. She was still asleep in the bed three feet away.
He breathed deeply and turned away from her, flopping back on the damp bed. He tried to go back to sleep but his mind raced furiously. He had never noticed Zoya the painter before last night. He was a musician and Maggie was an actor – both outgoing and loud. Zoya had faded naturally into her canvasses. But now he couldn’t get her out of his head.
It was rare that the villagers came to the vacation houses. Bokor had been the contact person ever since tourists began visiting this part of the island. But this was an unusual circumstance.
Bokor could smell their fear as they crowded around the porch and looked up at her as a starving child might look at someone with food in their hand. She looked like them, but had been born different. This they knew. So they turned to her in times of trouble – like when the city folks had come to build the vacation homes. She had assured everyone that she would take care of the tourists.
“What if the killer comes back?”
“Yes, Bokor, what do we do tonight?”
“Tonight – Oh my God – Bokor, help us!”
The jumble of exclamations got louder. She turned and looked behind her into the house. She couldn’t hear anything above the panic of her people, but she knew that the students would be waking up soon. They would hurry down the stairs ravenous for their first meal of the day – which would be lunch by now.
“Go home.” she called sharply, “I’ll come to you in a couple of hours.”
It was with reluctant hearts that they turned back toward the village. They looked back at Bokor several times for reassurance. She waved them away. They also had a job to do. And they needed to do it before dark. They must go to the elders’ house and bury the dead.
Zoya was finishing her painting. She had put on a thin, white summer dress but wore nothing else. When Bokor came in the room she looked up and stopped her work. Bokor came around and looked. Zoya had painted the elders as they had been before death. They were looking into a mirror at their dead reflections.
Bokor smirked. “Get some rest tonight Zoya,”
Coming soon: The Cleanup
Be sure to catch: Zombie Birth and The Village