‘The Bokor Diary’ Part 1 – A Miami Zombie Story
Drawn from the recent 'zombie' headlines from Miami, here is part one of a short story I wrote called 'The Bokor Diary.' I had a strange inspiration to write fiction related to this chilling event. Let me know what you think. Part 2 is linked below
Detective Eugene Laurence rolled over and flipped on the TV just in time to see the first pitch of the Miami Marlins game. Sure, that’s late to be getting up on a Sunday, but doing homicide you learn early on to catch sleep when you can.
Last night's calls were two drug related shootings then a run up north for a domestic in Miami Gardens. The murder rate has been going down in Miami, but it’s not Mayberry-on-the-Intracoastal just yet.
The Marlins were coming up to bat in the third when Eugene wondered if he was the only person in his condo complex watching the game. If the sparse crowd at the new Marlins stadium bore any relation to the TV audience, he was. Over the crack of the bat on a sharp single came a odd dispatch call from his police radio:
“Report of a man attacking…er…mauling…another subject at McArthur Causeway and Biscayne Boulevard. Available units please respond to the area near the Miami Herald.”
The Herald building is just three blocks from Eugene’s condo. Mauling? If it wasn't a homicide yet, it probably would be soon. Already off the couch and holster straightened, Eugene headed out the door and to the elevator before the Marlins runner was tagged out stretching for a double.
Detective Laurence gave a short exhale as he walked from his building onto the sidewalk. His body had almost adjusted from winter and spring’s relative coolness to the late May humidity. Almost. The moist near-summer air was a boon for Memorial Day weekend boaters on Biscayne Bay but not necessarily appreciated by an aging homicide detective.
Around the corner and onto Biscayne Boulevard's pedestrian walkway, Detective Laurence nodded to six uniformed officers he either knew by name or by sight. All of them had their guns trained on two men. One man was unconscious lying flat on his back and the other man was naked astride his victim. The attacker had his face over the other man’s and appeared to be chewing on his nose, which seemed to be nothing more than a mess of red. The skin and facial hair on the supine man was torn and matted with wet, sticky blood and saliva that was equally frothing and glistening.
After being in homicide for ten years, he thought he'd seen it all - a lifetime’s worth of dead and dying bodies, but nothing quite compared to this. Gauging by the looks on his fellow officers, they were all having that same thought. All eyes were transfixed on the tableau. The chewer was a young male, early twenties and African-American. Or, more likely, thought Detective Laurence, here in Miami, he'd be Caribbean-American like himself.
Eugene called to the highest ranking officer he saw, Lieutenant Oliver Price, “Oliver, whatta we got here?”
“Not sure. We’ve been on scene about two minutes. Subject won’t respond to us,” replied Price. The officers exchanged looks all around. No one seemed quite sure what action to take.
“Stop! Miami Police! Clasp your hands behind your back and roll off the other man," the lieutenant firmly ordered the chewer. From the tone in his voice, it was clear this wasn't the first time the request had been made.
There was no response. Not a single indication he even heard the words. The chewer continued his meal like his victim’s face was a Big Mac.
“Give him a warning shot,” Lieutenant Price commanded.
The officer to the right of Eugene took aim and fired. A bullet zinged past the man and skidded onto the hot Florida concrete. The attacker still showed no response to the police action.
“Get him in the leg,” Price next commanded. Detective Laurence knew the proper protocol here should be a taser shot, but the lieutenant's ire was up.
A shot to the chewer’s leg. Bullet met flesh but elicited no flinch or yelp from the chewer.
Another shot to the leg and again no indication the chewer even felt it. He chomped away.
“Cripes! Hit him in the shoulder,” unease was quickly creeping into Lieutenant Price’s voice replacing the anger.
A third shot now. This one smacked the chewer’s shoulder. The shoulder flew forward with the impact of the gunshot. No indication of pain, but the chewer did stop feasting. He turned around and slowly looked towards the phalanx of officers.
Detective Laurence looked into eyes that didn’t see him back. They were blank eyes. The chewer’s face was blood-covered, jaws still worrying at a piece of skin.
But it was the eyes that Eugene saw most. It was the eyes that took him back to his grandmother’s knee and the stories of their native Haiti about the old religion and the ancient, tribal ways. Voodooed eyes - spellbound and entranced. Eyes that made him look back onto a world he’d long forgotten.
The chewer started to rise, slowly, jaws still working, with the hint of a first step towards the policemen. And that was enough for the Miami officers. They opened fire with a barrage of bullets. Six to the chest brought the man down.
The chewer fell, landing to the right of his victim. He lay dead on his back. The jaws had stopped but the blank eyes still stared. But now they were pointed up at the South Florida sun.
The officers rushed to both men. The victim appeared to still be breathing. The face was not recognizable. Ambulances had arrived at some point and paramedics attended to the wounded.
Detective Laurence mentally opened up a new case file. This won’t be a murder investigation, but something much different. He knew what he’d just seen. The attacker was under the spell of one who practiced the dark arts. A bokor, grandmother called them. They had the power over both the good and evil sides to the magic. Part of that black magic involved the creation of zombies: living, breathing people who had no power over themselves but rather served the bokor.
Who was this spellbound man? Who cast that spell and why?
Eugene Laurence caught a ride with some of the other officers back to the precinct and sat in on the debriefing of the Miami Police brass, Dade County Sheriff and the state officials who’d assembled. The man whose face was eaten was alive and would survive his injuries. He’d have permanent scars though, physical and mental. There were no leads on who the attacker was.
No one was mentioning zombies and voodoo. Not yet.