My discussion with Pearl about eating human flesh made me more thoughtful about Vida, the mutated zombie dog, and her vegetarian diet. Vida shadowed me everywhere I went and I had gotten to thinking of her as “my”dog. One night I watched her wolf down a bowl of lettuce, carrots, and celery. When she finished, she licked her chops as if she had just finished off a tasty T-bone steak, then went to the bed I had fashioned her her underneath my bed and promptly fell asleep.
I wondered what might happen if we did find the secret to the mutant zombie gene? Could Vida´s vegetarian proclivities be transferred over to human zombies? Was it possible for us to lose our zombie desires for human flesh?
The next day I decidEd to take this idea up with Dr. Martinez, director of research on the Mano Poderosa project. I found her in the centrifuge corner of the main laboratory. I asked if the research being conducted on the mutant zombie gene included any research into our zombie diet and the lust for human flesh.
“Of course,” she replied. “Mr. Nez started the research with this in mind. It goes back to the Book of Life and Death.” She pointed to a framed 8 X 10 inch quotation hanging on the wall nearby.The framed card read: “Shall I eat then of human flesh? Surely, the Giver of Life will offer me other sustenance.”
She looked down at Vida who settled on the floor at my feet. “Our hope is to find out what makes Vida a vegetarian. Perhaps then we can find out how we can change our desire for raw human flesh.”
“And how is it going? I asked.
“We’ve done a study of the human genome, as much of it as Science presently knows, and tried to find out the key differences between standard human DNA and our own resusitated zombie DNA.The differences are hard to quantify–they seem to vary from zombie to zombie. No set pattern, no commonalities. Frankly, for the past few years, since we discovered you and Pearl, we’ve shifted our focus to what the similarities are between the five…er, seven progenitor bloodlines.”
I was still uncomfortable with the idea that I was the orginator of a distinct zombie bloodline, like that of Mr. Nez and four other members of La Familia and, of course, Pearl.
“You coming to class?” I turned to see Pearl standing by the door.
I looked at the clock on the lab wall and saw it was time for our regular class with Mrs. Gonzalez.
“Yeah, I’m coming,” I replied.I thanked Dr. Martinez for her time and left with Pearl.
That afternoon we spent more time studying the cryptic the Book of Life and Death. Mrs. Gonzalez was intent on making sure we learned about the history of the zombie race that was contained in the book, though not in a particualrly organized way.
For example, we’d read a passage about the resusitated zombie Nezahualcoyotl leading a group of followers to the north of Tenochititlan–all of this after the Spanish conquest. His dream was to find an isolated location where he and his followers could live in peace, away from the Spanish rule. “We seek another Aztlán. A land of reeds and herons, do we seek. Reeds growing in a lake, herons abiding therein.”
Mrs. Gonzalez referenced this passage to the year 1610 after Nezahualcoyotal–Mr. Nez– had regained his sanity and had become a religious leader leading a group of his people to found a “Second Aztlán.” She explained that the orginal Aztlán. had been the original homeland from which the Mexica people had emigrated to later found Mexico-Tenochtitlan.”
“Does the Book of Life and Death contain all the history of the zombie race to the present?” Pearl asked.
Mrs. Gonzalez nodded. “Yes, but it’s a obscure. That’s why I’m here, to help guide you through the history revealed in the text.”
That night, as I lay in my bed with Vida sleeping in her bed underneath me, I couldn’t help thinking of the inscription that Dr. Martinez had on her wall. I realized that more than six hundred years ago Mr. Nez had articulated the basic question that had plagued me for years and that I was certain was on the mind of every zombie member of La Familia, “Shall I eat then of human flesh?”
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