MY NEW WORLD
“Mijo! Que has hecho?”
My mother’s anguished voice ringing through the apartment jarred me out of my thoughts on the taste of human blood I had been savoring. I ran out of my room and found ‘ama standing by the front door, two bags of groceries in her arms, looking in horror at the ransacked living room.
“Que has hecho?” she repeated accusingly. She looked me in the eye.
“Mom, “ I replied, taking the bags from her arms and placing them on the couch. “It wasn’t me that did all of this. We’ve been attacked, we’ve been ransacked!”
She walked into hallway and saw that the damage extended to the kitchen and to her bedroom. She returned in a moment, in shock.
“Quien, mijo?” She asked. “Who did this to us?”
“Don’t know, mom.”
Then her eyes focused on the writing on the living room wall
“Que es “mutant?” She asked. Then she took in the destruction of the whole apartment. Suddenly her demeanor changed.
“Lazaro!” she said with determination. “You tell me what the hell is going on right now this minute!”
I realized that, La Familia or not, I’d better ‘fess up to ‘ama and let her know what was going on.
“‘Ama,” I said, “Sientate. I have some things to tell you about.”
I spent the next half hour filling her in on the whole story about the zombie underworld. About how La Señora Falcón had been sent to resurrect me from the dead at age five. This was big news to my mom. She thought it had been HER idea. And then all about the society of Latino zombies headed by Mr. Nez. She interrupted me then.
“Only Latino zombies?”
“Only people with Native American blood in them,” I explained, “can get the mutant zombie gene. That means, Mexicans, Latin Americans, and of course Native Americans. ”
I gradually worked my way to explaining that there was a war going on between La Familia and the Juan de Oñate zombies.
“And it was one of them that did this?” She said, pointing to the living room.
“I think so, ‘ama.”
“Why do they want to hurt you, mijo?”
“Mom, I guess I’m kind of special..in a weird sort of way. I’m supposed to be an original mutant of some kind. And this Juan de Oñate group don’t like it. I think they may want to do me harm.”
“Dios mio!” She exclaimed. Then I saw that look of determined resolve I had come to recognize in her throughout my childhood.
“Mijo,” she said. “When you passed away as a little mocoso, I went to great pains to resurrect you from the dead. And all these years I have raised and protected you. I’ve kept your identity secret. No damn Juan de Oñate, or any hijo de su Juan de Oñate is going to hurt you! Not as long as your mama is here!”
I had to embrace her then, and I gave her a big kiss. Mom’s can be so cool!
But I realized then that I needed a game plan. Obviously my cover was blown. As I looked once more at the words written in human blood on the living room wall, I realized that someone wanted me dead. Juan de Oñate zombie or anyone else, it didn’t matter. But I’m already dead! I’m a zombie. So what did they mean by “die mutant?” One thing was clear, we couldn’t stay in the apartment anymore. I needed help. My mom must have read my mind.
“Mijo, we need help. Do you think this Mr. Nez can help us?”
“We’re going to find out. ‘ama,” I said. ”I’m going to make a phone call. Give me a second.”
I went into the hallway that connected the living room with the two bedrooms and the kitchen and dialed the number that Mr. Neza had given me, “in case of an emergency.”
If this wasn’t an emergency I didn’t what was.
The phone rang several times before it was finally answered. Then it was a recording.
“You have reached Worldwide Movers. Whether it’s across town or across the nation, we deliver it in tip-top shape and on time! Please leave a message and your phone number and one of our agents will return your call.”
I looked again at the number on the piece of paper. Neatly written in Mr. Neza’s hand was the exact number I had dialed. What was this? The beep prompter sounded on the answer machine.
“Er, I’m looking for Mr. Nez. This is Lazaro De La Tierra. Could you please call me back at…”
Suddenly a voice came onto the line.
“Lazaro? This is Mr. Nez.”
“I thought I had the wrong number.”
“We have that recording for security purposes. What’s wrong?”
“Oh gee, Mr. Nez.” I said, “you should see the apartment!” I explained what had happened to Mr. Nez. There was a moment of silence at the other end of the phone after I finished.
“Lazaro, you and your mother are in serious danger,” he finally said. “Here’s what you must do. First, lock the doors. Then you and your mother pack enough clothes for a week. I’ll be by in about twenty minutes with La Señora Falcón. I’m going to take you into hiding but you’ll have to be separated form your mom for a few days. Your mom will be staying with La Señora Falcón where she’ll be safe.”
With that he hung up. I didn’t waste any time explaining what we had to do to my mom. I went into the bedroom threw some underwear, socks, my toothbrush, my walkman and some classical music cds and my diary into a duffel bag. Twenty minutes later, my ‘ama and I were waiting by the front door, she with a small suitcase of clothing. In spite of myself I was hungry and was snacking on the last of cold cat entrails in the refrigerator.
“How long must we be away from the apartment,” my mom asked.
“Don’t know, ‘ama. Till it’s safe I guess.”
“Whatever I takes, mijo, anything to keep you safe. Estos cabrones!”
Suddenly it hit me that me that we were on the brink of a radical change in our lives.
“‘Ama,” I said. As much to myself as to her. “We have to act differently now. We have to change our lives completely. We’re in a new world now. Our lives depend on it.”
She stared at me for a long moment. Then she kissed me on the cheek.
“I love you, mijo.” she said. “I’ll always be here for you.”
“I love you too mom. Not to worry. We’ll get through this, don’t worry.”
Just then I heard cars pull up outside the apartment. I looked out the living room window and saw Mr. Nez standing by the open driver’s door of his car. La Señora Falcón had gotten out of her car and was walking up the stairs to the apartment. I opened the door for her.
“Lazaro!” She said, looking me over. “Are you alright?”
Then she look over at my mom. They stared at each other for a long moment. Then La Señora Falcón went over and embraced my mother. They held each other tightly.
“Hortencia!” My mother said. This was news to me. My mom knew her first name, something she had denied when I had asked her before.
“Becky, please forgive me,” La Señora Falcón said.
“But you said this would never happen,” my mom said. And this really threw me. What, exactly, would never happen? What had my mom been keeping from me all these years?”
“It was all for the good of the child. We have a lot to catch up on. You’ll be safe with me.”
Then suddenly, La Señora Falcón was all business. She turned to me
“You go with Mr. Nez. I’ll take care of your mom.”
I turned and hugged my mother.
“Go now!” Mrs. Falcón said urgently.
I turned and ran down the steps, taking them two at a time. I jumped into the passenger side of the car and Mr. Nez immediately started it up and drove away.
“My mom will be okay, right?” I asked him.
“Don’t worry Lazaro,” he replied. “We’ve done this before. The important thing now is to get you to a safe place. Someplace where they can’t harm you.”
“That’s what I don’t understand,” I said. “What can they do to me? I’m already dead. It’s not as if I can be killed again.”
Mr. Nez suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road. He turned to me.
“Lazaro,” Mr Nez said somberly, “listen very carefully. Yes, you CAN be killed again. Any of us can be killed. And when we die, it’s permanent. No more resurrections.”
“But how?” I asked incredulously.
“A bullet to your brain, or an axe to your skull will kill you just as it would any human being.”
“The brain!” I said. In a flash I remembered all the zombie movies I had seen.
“But I thought that was only in the zombie movies.”
“I’m afraid it’s one thing the movies got right. The Oñate group is hunting you. And if they find you they will kill you for certain.”
With that he started up the car again. We drove off in silence–into my new life as a zombie on the run.
Copyright 2013 Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions Inc.