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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A detective thinks he might be dead.

Submitted: December 17, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 17, 2017





They’re Us


He remembered drinks and the invitation to her hotel room. Drawing the Death card should have been a hint as to what was to come. Instead, he passed it off as absurd, like the tarot deck itself a ladies’ parlor game. He’d indulged her fantasies, so he could score his own and never thought for a moment it might be an old case coming back to haunt him.

Detective John Lucas couldn’t believe the gorgeous dark-eyed woman was seducing him. He should’ve known something was wrong since attractive women were simply not attracted to him. A feeling of Deja vu struck him when she’d turned by the pale light. There was something familiar about her face, from his past. The shape of her cheekbones, her green eyes, the color of her skin, they reminded him of someone. A case, maybe?  Which should have been a second warning, but he was too caught up in the moment, urged into a room with a small bed and just the two of them. She apparently liked men with badges, especially detectives.

Her slender hips and breasts begged for his touch. She pulled him to her. That’s the part he remembered the most, the smell of her breath. It was a pleasant mint, but he had only one thing on his mind. Her long, dark hair flowed over her exotic shoulder, the perfect cover girl in a magazine, and she was about to kiss him, when...

She must have slipped something in his drink.

John realized he couldn’t move. He struggled, yet nothing happened. He couldn’t blink.

She pushed him off, and he fell to the floor, numb. “Big mistake to mess with my family!” Her face flushed with rage, and she kicked him in the groin.

He couldn’t move a muscle; not even his tongue.

Had she poisoned him?

Details from a voodoo case returned to him.

He wasn’t breathing. How? He should be dead in minutes, passed out in less. At least that was how things usually worked. John knew that he should faint, become light-headed and pass out, but he wasn’t.

The young woman walked away and opens the door. Two dreadful looking men peered down at him on his back. One was tall, the other was fat; the fat one was also bald. Both smelled like rotten meat, which was when he noticed grey splotches on their skin and exposed tendons. Their clothing was in tatters. A maggot dropped from the tall man’s cheek as he bent over. His eyes looked dead.

The two ghouls threw John over the shoulder of the shorter one.

Shouldn’t he be dead? John screamed in his mind to move! Even a finger, damn it! Wake up, but he was awake.

The woman followed. She smiled like a fiend as her zombies carried him out of the hotel room.

John still hadn’t taken a breath, and yet he wasn’t dead either. He was frightened, scared out of his mind, but there was nothing he could do. God didn’t answer and never had before, so that was nothing new.

How could he have been so dumb? Oh yes, a beautiful woman pretended that she wanted to screw him. Big chin, crooked teeth, Dumbo-like ears and nose that had been broken at least three times in his long service. Screw him is what she did. It just depends on how a person looks at things.

They tossed him into a trunk of a red car. It was dark once the lid was closed and felt a little like a coffin.




John watched the old hag’s dark eyes rolling back, her face warped into a twisted expression. The old woman wore a necklace of bones that rattled as she jerked spasmodically. She was painted white and appeared to be bone-like, but he remembered her smile. She had the same smile as the younger woman. The mother, the thought. He put the two together at last and remembered, he’d thrown the old woman’s husband into prison for the murder of a wealthy businessman.

 Drums pounded, horns blared, and voices wailed over rhythmic chants. Women, children, and men danced in an orgy of fanatical devotion around a giant bonfire. They sang a word that sounded like it contained the vowels and consonants of P, A, Z, U, Z, U each in a trance-like state.

The witch’s sagging, brown breasts held long, dark, and wrinkled nipples that dangled in his face. Her whole body jiggled loosely as she writhed. Her mouth opened wide and exhaled a putrid breath.

John’s recollections of the case gained some clarity in his mind. The case had involved a drug known as curare. A poison used to bring down prey with paralysis. It shuts down the muscles and is also used in voodoo rituals as an ingredient in zombie reanimation.

With her eyes showing like hardboiled eggs, the floating night-hag reached out to him. John saw she was holding his hand. The witch spoke something unintelligible and let the hand fall. She did the same with his other hand. Chanting, the drums pounding, onlookers raving like wild lunatics.

John felt something warm deep in his chest, like something he wouldn’t be able to swallow, even if he could swallow.

The old hag cackled from her turkey-like throat, her eyes turned back to normal. She smiled, “Dead” was all she said. Then she was gone.

John stood alone. It was dark. There were stars. He noticed gravestones.

The sound of drums and horns stopped. The howls and chants of men and women were gone. The fire which had blazed beside him had died down.

He turned his head for the first time. His hand moved regularly, and he took a step. Relief swept through him.

John felt for his pulse.


Was he dead? He seemed to breathe if he forced the function. It felt mechanical and shallow, but he could smell. If he were dead, why did he feel so damn hungry? And what was the smell?

John realized the stench was his own. He’d been to the morgue plenty of times in his career and could attest to his familiarity with the odor of the dead.

He still possessed his gun, phone, and wallet along with his detective badge and shoes. The phone showed messages and displayed one battery bar. He dialed his partner, Patty, since most of the messages were from her.

The phone answered on the second ring. “John, John! Where have you been? What happened?” 

He looked to a small marble tomb illuminated by the full moon and wondered himself.

 “I think I’ve been murdered.”

“What? Stop joking. You okay? Where you at?”

He walked closer the building. “I’m at the Malt B Cemetery.”

He wasn’t breathing, per say, but he could force his chest to generate breath to speak.

“I may need to go to the hospital.”

“Be there in a flash,” Patty replied.





The first nurse took his vital signs. Her face looked like it wanted to crawl from its head. Just the way his partner, Patty, had looked at him when she’d done the same after picking him up at the graveyard.

“I’ll be back,” the nurse said.

John was cold, but it didn’t bother him.

 More nurses arrived. After trying to take his pulse, the eldest nurse refused to touch him further. Finally, a young doctor entered and tried to take his pulse.

He never saw that doctor again.

Several more skeptical doctors arrived and made their own examinations. Each pronounced his body dead. “You’re something else,” they said, poking him with sharp instruments, torturing him, and yet, he felt nothing. “How do you feel?”

“Better than ever!” He sat up. “I don’t feel a thing.”

“This is not possible,” they all agreed.

 John agreed with them. “But I’m talking to you!” He looked each doctor in the eye.

They looked away, fear growing in their countenance, signs of loathing openly creeping on the faces of a few.

“So, if I’m already dead, then I can’t die again, can I?”

The doctors agreed that his meat-head logic made sense.

“So, kill me again,” the detective challenged them. “Poison me, electrocute me, do something. I can’t feel a thing.”

The doctors refused. One of them announced: “I don’t think you can die again. You’ve been bled-out. You can’t get any deader than dead. So, for now, Detective, as crazy as it sounds, you can go home, work, or do whatever it is you would normally. “Anybody else?” he asked, looking at the other doctors.

“But Doc!” A nurse stood with a hand over her mouth. “He’s a zombie. He just can’t run around, can he?”

The doctor turned to her. “You know what they said in ‘Night of the Living Dead’ don’t you?” He gave John and the nurse a diabolical grin. “They’re us.” He shrugged and looked at his colleagues. “That’s all I got, folks. If you have someone to call, do it, otherwise, he’s free to go. Would anyone like to join me at the Starlight Diner, for dinner?”

John slid off the exam table. “Count me in. I’m famished.” 

© Copyright 2019 Tim Arnzen. All rights reserved.

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