Juan of the Dead
**LJ Idol Season 4 Week 15 Entry: My Biggest Challenge/Write a Harlequin Romance… Starring Zombies**
I never worried about time much, until time caught up with me. How was I to know it would show up looking like a giant Aztec calendar? Or maybe that was Death taking on the appearance of the calendar? Who knows. I definitely did not set THAT date and believe you me, I am not real keen on that particular crimp in my social schedule.
It all started with an innocent cruise to Mexico. How can a girl pass that up? Lounging on the deck of a ship working on your tan while pool boys service your every whim. Well, maybe not my every whim, but you know what I mean. Yeah, I’m no dummy. I snatched those tickets out of my parent’s Christmas card and ran.
Among the days lounging by the aforementioned pool, the cruise line prepared several day trips into Mexican towns and ancient Aztec Cities. My least favourite is now Chichen Itza, home to the infernal death-dealing calendar. Checking out Chichen Itza, I notice crumbly ruins and a huge pyramid alongside all the fun tourist trap spots you could ever want. Take a tour or shop first? Oh the choices, the choices.
The main gift shop became the last store I ever entered… alive that is.
Too busy debating between spoons and shot glasses decorated with artwork representations of the Temple outside , I did not notice the larger than life replica of an Aztec calendar suspended above my head. I picked up a shot glass just as the earthquake hit. Maybe if I lived in California I would know what to do in such an event, but guess what? In Virginia we don’t get earthquakes. So, like any red blooded, American, fashion conscious girl, I ducked in hopes of protecting my hair, my Coach purse, and my Jimmy Choos.
And that’s how my life ended, protecting my fashion investments. I could not see the falling calendar, but was told the weight broke my neck. In just the snap of a finger, I was dead. That will teach me that protecting my hair with my hands is NOT the best plan in an earthquake. If you knew how long it took me to get my kinky hair to do a THING in this humidity, you would not blame me!
Now I was dead. Killed by the Aztec calendar. That is your Age of Aquarius right there. I always hated that sign on the zodiac.
I would like to tell you that I saw a great white light, or some sense of great peace, or whatever other mumbo-jumbo you want to give to the blissful darkness of death. Sorry. Mostly there was a whole lot of nothing. Nothing until I woke up, that is.
Pearly gates? Saint Peter waiting to assign me to Heaven or to Hell? Angels strumming on harps? Nope, not a one. Not even a glimpse of the other place, either.
So what did I see? Tall form, white coat covering a perfectly built body, and wire rimmed glasses over chocolate eyes. Shaggy black hair just the right length to run your fingers through and lips plump enough to kiss. Mmm, tasty.
Who was this man leaning over me and why was his hand on my chest? Wait, my chest? Now, I’m a modern girl and no prude, but last I checked there was a serious lack of consent here. What I did have was a case of some guy copping a feel of my C cup. What is this deal with jumping strait to second base? I don’t think so!
I try to lift my arm to bat his hand away as it moves to cup my breast a little more. Unfortunately, his hand works just fine but mine does not. In fact, now that I think of it, nothing wants to move. Except my eager little nipple which snaps to attention at the stranger’s touch. Gotta love it when the body decides to call mutiny
Then I catch a glimpse of those lips and all I think about is kissing them, forgetting that this guy could very well be some kind of pervert homicidal maniac. I try to tell him to stop, ask him who is, say anything, but all that escapes my mouth is a gurgle.
Gurgle? Oh that is absolute hotness right there. Cue hand removal now. Except, he doesn’t remove his hand. In fact, his thumb grazes over my erect nipple and I start to feel a warmth in my body. It is that warmth makes me realize instantly just how devoid of feeling my body was. Until Mr. Grabby Hands came along.
The stranger leans down close until I can feel his hot breath on my ear as he whispers to me. “Just give it time.” And then there’s his thumb, brushing over my nipple once more and the warmth builds inside of me.
Time? Time for what? I think hard, trying to remember how I got here. Trying not to get distracted by that thumb. Last thing I remember was…
And then it floods back to me. Shopping. Shot glass. Earthquake. Protecting my… Oh. My. GOD! My shoes! I sit bolt upright, narrowly missing him as he jumps backwards, and look down at my feet. My bare feet. My toes wiggling as if to say, “Nope, no shoes here.”
Good thing he moved away from me. He stole my shoes. He better replace them or pony up some cash. I am on a tight budget since I maxed out my American Express card last month with clothing for this cruise. I am pretty sure if I kill him for stealing my shoes that I can get off. Some crimes are completely justifiable.
Taking in my surroundings for the first time, I notice the only light comes from candles spread throughout the room. The walls are made of stone. Come to think of it, so is the table I am sitting on. Who has a stone table? What the hell? How did I get here?
My next effort to talk does not end in a gurgle, but instead a raspy one word question. “How?” I try to stand up, but feel so stiff. Like I had been asleep for days.
“Well it’s all very complicated. You see, when I unearthed this book…” The guy starts babbling and I have to admit, I tune him out. He rambles for some time about some kind of digging and Aztec and Mayan ruins and I just cannot find it in me to care. My thoughts are more on the line of where the hell are my Jimmy Choos and my Coach purse. I know my priorities and Geek Speak is at the bottom of the list. Like six feet under bottom of the list.
I try stretching and hear the sound of my bones crunching and cracking. Gross. This stiffness thing has got to go. I can’t be pulling a snap, crackle, and pop every time I move. That’s just not sexy. I had a bad case of the stiffs that I could not shake. Maybe I just needed a good walk. Walk through a department store. Nothing like a good dose of retail therapy to wake up and invigorate a girl.
My thoughts wander to the sales at Macy’s back home but around the time my brain enters the shoe department I notice the man’s ramblings stopped. And he’s looking at me. Expecting something. Maybe I should have listened a bit more carefully. I try to think, but my brain does not register much he said after something about a book.
“So you see why this is so awesome?” I can tell he just repeated the question. Great, what’s awesome and why does he look like a kid on Christmas morning?
I lick my dry lips, noticing they are cracked. I hate this godforsaken country. I need to get back to the cruise ship stat for some dire medical attention to my lips. The ship store better have something good for chapped lips. Continuing my stream of one word sentences, “What?”
“Too much? Maybe I went too fast? I never did this before.” He pushes the glasses further up his nose and starts leafing through a fat notebook filled with handwritten pages.
“Where?” We need to move this forward and get right down to the bottom of things. I know where I WAS. I was in a tourist shop looking at shot glasses. Now I am here. My eyes look up again at the room around me. A very dark, stony here. I want to know where here is and how I managed to end up on some creepy stone table.
“Where? Oh where are we? Well, after the earthquake, I saw the calendar replica fall on you. I cleared the debris away, but it was too late. In the chaos, no one would help, so I brought you here. We’re inside the Temple.”
What the hell? No one noticed this guy carrying off a hot babe so far out of his league to some creepy… Oh. My. GAWD. I am inside that nasty Temple that’s like a million years old? Where these ancient primitive barbarians probably conducted sacrifices?
Did I wake up just moments before this guy could sacrifice me? And gross, was that table used for sacrifices? The thought of centuries old blood cooties did away whatever stiffness still held me back. I leapt from the table in disgust. It rocked, and shifted about three inches, but I did not think anything of it.
The whole thing seemed to fix my speech impediment, too. “You not gonna slice and dice me!” Ok, so the english was bad. Apparently my speech still needed some work.
“What? No! I wanted to save you. It is why I brought you here.” He waves his hands in front of him and shook his head. “You are safe! I swear.”
I have to admit, the guy looks like a puppy dog in trouble for knocking over the trash can. He is just so pitiful. I guess that’s what happens when you are a beta male faced with an obvious nine such as myself. My heart softens at his pathetic cuteness. Maybe he didn’t mean me any ill will bringing me to Castle Creepy.
“Where’s my purse? And my shoes? What the hell happened?” I understand this guy seems to think he was pulling a knight in shining armor. Save the girl from the fallen Aztec calendar. Fantabulous. But, how about saving the girl’s Coach purse? Those things don’t fall off trees.
He took a few steps back, and I wonder at his obvious nervousness. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think to grab… I mean… I just wanted to save you. It might still be there. Under all that rubble. There was a second quake, after I got you out. And…”
Great. So I go on some supposedly fantastic trip out of the country and land in the middle of earthquake central. Just my luck. But, must I really sacrifice my Coach purse and everything inside. Oh cripes, my AmEx and Visa are in that thing. How is a girl gonna survive with no plastic? Impossible!
I step towards him and he steps backwards, making it so the gap between us remains constant. “What are you saying?”
“Um, uh, that is…” His back up against a wall now, he realizes he can’t escape and I draw closer. “It… You see… the roof… it collapsed… and…”
“My purse is gone? Forever?” My purse, my credit cards, my makeup, that really gorgeous necklace I bought from some cute five year old girl near the docks… it is almost too much to bear. “And my shoes?”
“I removed those. I had to. For the ceremony. I told you that.”
Hope! I may be out my necklace but the contents of the purse can be replaced. One quick call to the bank and I am sure they will send me out new cards to wait in my mailbox for my return to civilization. And the cruise company better believe that they’ll be doling out some moolah for the loss of my purse.
“What is this ceremony?” Maybe I should have paid better attention when he rambled before. If I find out he did some kind of wacky take-off-the-girl’s-shoes-and-now-we-are-married garbage I am so not going to be happy. The least a guy could do is buy a girl a drink and dinner before engaging in some kind of ancient ritualistic and insane marriage ceremony without any consent on her part.
“Well, I told you.” I notice him licking his lips and fidgeting with his hands. A few more steps and I’m right in front of him. I am tall for a woman and he is a bit short for a man so we are almost eye to eye. “I brought you back.”
“Back from what?” Is it wrong that I want to kiss this guy? Something in me stirs, but I push it down. I can’t give in to some sort of wacky attraction when there are too many questions in my muddled head.
“From the dead. I reanimated you using this book I found while out on a dig about twenty clicks from here.”
And that is when it sinks in. How my life began after my death. I am one of the Reanimated Ones. I suppose you would consider us zombies. Just forget all that garbage from Hollywood about shuffling, drooling, brain-obsessed, homicidal corpses. Maybe that’s how zombies rolled in the 1970’s but need I remind you that people also thought polyester was a good fashion statement? You cannot trust anything from those misguided times. Besides, have you ever tried to get dried brains out from underneath your fingernails? It’s no fun and your manicurist really does not like it.
This is my entry for LJ- Idol. The theme was “Harlequin Romance Starring Zombies”. And as it happens, I ended up with this great premise for what might be yet another book. Please comment and let me know what you think!