I ♥ Zombies
Prologue ~ Lost in Translation
To borrow the vernacular of the strange times in which he found himself Nostradamus was getting too old for this shit.
Which is exactly what he would have said to the awkward teenage girl noisily slurping up a half frozen milkshake on the other side of the booth, had he spoken English.
After several failed attempts to communicate his message in French, Greek, Provencal, Italian and Latin, as well as an ill-advised foray into flustered pantomime, admittedly not his greatest moment in five hundred years, he was at his wit’s end. Now he sat curling his beard between his slender fingers staring with intensity at his inattentive audience of one, wondering how it was that a man of his stature; revered apothecary, astrologist and prophet, had come to be in this spectacularly unenlightened young woman’s dream.
Considering the girl didn’t speak a word of French, it seemed like poor planning on the part of the cosmos.
The sound of Vanessa obnoxiously sucking the last drops of milkshake from the bottom of the glass summoned the waitress to their table. Without a word, the tall woman in the splotchy spotted dress leaned forward and unbuttoned her blouse from which, to Nostradamus’ amused astonishment, bounded not two human breasts but the udder of a cow, its teats made of a shiny metallic material that made an unpleasant sound when it crinkled.
Vanessa paid no attention as the cow-woman gyrated to and fro milking herself into the empty glass and filling it to the brim with a creamy pink liquid Nostradamus knew by the scent contained strawberries. Vanessa continued to ignore the once counselor to Queen Catherine da’ Medici in favor of a fight which had broken out behind him between a large blue man with gold teeth and a dancing piece of sponge cake.
To her, the presence of the stern old man in drab period costume was a punishing subconscious reminder of a recent failed history exam, one she intended to completely ignore until such time as he metamorphosed into Johnny Depp.
The ancient dude wasn’t going down without a fight though, he’d already blabbed on and on for what felt like hours in every language but English. Aside from what vaguely sounded like “croissant” and “pizza,” it was all gibberish. For every whimsical distraction Vanessa could dream up, he countered with a penetrating glare, as hard to ignore as it was annoying.
Fed up with her uninvited guest’s insistent buzz-killing, Vanessa, turned to the horse headed couple in the booth behind hers and snatched up the male horsehead’s coffee, turning the blazing hot contents over into his lap as she did so. He leapt up with a high-pitched whinny that broke Nostradamus’ ogling gaze.
“OK, Copernicus or whoever you are. I tried to play nice…”
Nostradamus, upon hearing the name of a revered mentor and colleague, although without the context in which it was said, for the first time since arriving in this ridiculous dream felt a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the girl had simply been distracted before and was now attempting to reach out to him.
He stood from the booth, a wide smile on his face. At last he could impart his urgent prophecy and be at peace. The girl beamed back at him with a softness that reminded him of his own daughters.
She was a good child.
She would make an effort to remember his words and then in the morning she would go to a library and seek them in French dictionaries.
Maybe she wouldn’t understand it all at once, but over several nights she would slowly come to understand their meaning.
She would reach up to his face, grab a fistful of his straggly beard and tear several whiskers from their roots with a mighty jerk.
That’s what she would do.
Nostradamus cried out in agony, the blood, trickling down his chin, falling in drops onto the diner floor. When he looked up he saw the girl had now tied the loose strands of his beard together into a cord of string and in cooperation with the flimsy coffee cup had made a makeshift telephone, an invention of this new era that he was familiar with but had yet to understand the workings of. She whispered something into the device.
As she hung up the coffee cup on the counter with an audible click, Vanessa sighed, and waved a little one-handed goodbye to a confused Nostradamus as two large stuffed bears in the imposing robe of the Inquisitors.
escorted him away
into the darkness
and out of her dream.
Even though she couldn’t understand his screaming, Vanessa recognized the sound of cursing in every language.