I Walked With a Zombie
by Shrub 6/5/05
OK, let’s set the stage. We have a nurse (Betsy) interviewing for a job as a private caregiver and after a strange question about witchcraft, she is offered the job and a very nice salary, but there’s a catch. The job is in the West Indies. She initially balks at the move, but is sold at the mention of palm trees and “sun baths.”
As Betsy arrives by boat, marveling at the beautiful scenery, she is approached by a man who turns out to be her new employer, Paul Holland. He attempts to suppress her wonder by speaking of pervasive death. He points out the flying fish are not leaping for joy but fleeing for their lives. He then continues with a morbid observation about the sheen on the water. Undaunted, Betsy rides to her new home by carriage and mentions the wondrous environment to her driver, who also does not share her enthusiasm.
It doesn’t take long for Betsy to realize that this isn’t such a happy place as the very first night she is greeted by eerie jungle drums and then follows the sound of a woman crying into a dark tower where she has her dreadful first encounter with her new patient, the “mindless” Mrs. Holland. As she becomes cornered, screaming, Mr. Holland and an assortment of servants run to her aid. The next day her resolve is strengthened as Mr. Holland questions her fitness for duty after being so shaken by her own patient. Mr. Holland describes his wife as only a “mental case” and urges her not to listen to local legend.
A local doctor also treats Mrs. Holland and he has diagnosed her with a tropical fever that has affected her spinal cord. As Betsy gets to know the hired help however, they tell her of a “better doctor,” one that practices voodoo and has previously cured those in Mrs. Holland’s state.
As her feelings for Mr. Holland grow, Betsy becomes more determined to cure his wife. In fact she becomes willing to try the voodoo route that is believed by a large portion of the island to have proven results. This leads to a midnight trek into the jungle with her patient in tow and some really captivating imagery as she weaves through a maze of sorts laid out by the voodoo cult complete with skulls, dead animals hanging from trees and ultimately, a face to face meeting with Carrefour the zombie! Determined, Betsy plows ahead until she reaches a ceremony in progress where the island’s secrets begin to be revealed.