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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: Further Fun with Jane & Zombies
By Troy Manning


My dear Cassandra,

Your letter took me quite by surprise this morning; you are very welcome however, & I am very much obliged to you.—I beleive I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand today;--You will kindly make allowance therefore for any indistinctness of writing by attributing it to this venial Error—Dr. Davis found out that, often, there were four ingredients common to zombie powders: puffer fish, which often contain a deadly poison called “tetrodotoxin”; a marine toad, Bufo marinus, which also produces toxic substances; a tree frog, Osteopilus dominicensis, which produces a substance that can irritate the skin; and human remains.

Your desiring to hear from me on Sunday will perhaps bring in you a more particular account of the Ball than you may care for, because one is prone to think much more of such things the morning after they happen, than when time has entirely driven them out of one’s recollection.--After the proper ceremony, the Bo[k]or in his most powerful and dreaded aspect mounts a horse with his face toward the horse’s tail and rides after dark to the house of the victim. There he places his lips to the crack of the door and sucks out the soul of the victim and rides off in all speed.--Naughty Charles did not come on tuesday; but good Charles came yesterday morning.--His feeling equal to such a fatigue is a good sign—We walked down to Deane to dinner, he danced the whole Evening, & today is no more tired than a gentleman ought to be.—It was a pleasant Evening, Charles found it remarkably so, but I cannot tell why.—He was mute and did not respond to others.--Mrs Bramston talked a good deal of nonsense, which Mr Bramston & Mr Clerk seemed almost equally to enjoy.—She did not, however, act like a typical zombie—instead of seeming mindlessly dead, she was talkative and giggled frequently.--The second potential zombie was a thirty-one-year-old woman who had been missing—She appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, & fat neck.

Miss Summers has made my gown very well indeed, & I grow more and more pleased with it.—Charles does not like it, but my father and Mary do; my mother is very much rec[oncile]d to it, & as for James, he gives it the preference over everything of the kind he ever saw; in proof of which I am desired to say that if you like to sell yours, Mary will buy it.—Narcisse’s past revealed that he had been sold to a bokor by his brothers because he refused to sell his share of the family’s land. After the bokor had unburied him, he sent Narcisse to work as a zombie slave on a sugar plantation with many other zombies.—I think he must be in love with you, from his anxiety to have you go to the Faversham Balls, & likewise from his supposing, that the two elms fell from greif at your absence.--Was it not a gallant idea?--A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure on the right hand side of the Elm Walk— the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it, planting apples, pears & cherries, or whether it should be larch, Moutain-Ash &--jimson weed, known in Haiti as “zombie’s cucumber.” This plant causes fever, hallucinations, and amnesia, and these symptoms could make the victim believe that he really had changed into a zombie.—Hacker has been here today, putting in the fruit trees.-- Legend has it that the zombie would work tirelessly at any task given to him, even the grueling work on a Haitian plantation.—James Digweed left Hampshire today.

Do the Ashford people still come to Godmersham Chrurch every Sunday in a cart?-- Mrs Estwick is married again to a Mr Sloane, a young man underage—without the knowledge of either family.--Usually, the person who would become a zombie had done something to make his relatives or neighbors angry with him.--The man’s father accused the victim’s uncle of zombification and had him arrested, but a medical examination revealed that the man had suffered from epilepsy and other mental illnesses.--He bears a good character however.

Your affec: sister

People poisoned by tetrodotoxin often stay conscious while paralyzed, and some appear dead but eventually recover.—Charles likes my gown now.

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This article has been read 513 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Danielle King 02/12/11
I can't quite get the hang of this. There's a lot to follow. I once watched something on TV about a Zombie state when people were thought to be dead. Am I on the right track?
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/12/11
I wish you had more words to tell your thrilling story with. The characters were interesting and the science fiction vibes were giving me chills. This could easily bean excerpt from a great novel.
Theresa Santy 02/14/11
I love this. Love the tone, love the voice, but most of all I love the tribute (intended or not) to the era of the handwritten letter. A time when one had to wait a great deal of time to hear from loved ones, but when one did recieve communication, it was far more revealing than a two-line status.

Oh, hey, is this a zombie take on Jane Austen?
Theresa Santy 02/14/11
Ah, yes it is. I'm sure of it now. That's why I enjoyed it so much. Clever.
Danielle King 02/15/11
Ah yes. Brilliant! Now I do get it. This is very clever and well written in the light of the explanation. How dumb am I? Especially seeing I'm nearly JA's next door neighbour! Well done.
Noel Mitaxa 02/16/11
Don't wish to comment on how "Austen"tacious this is, but I got a bit lost in the long paragraphs. There are elements of fun, but they may be easier to enjoy with shorter stanzas.
Lollie Hofer02/17/11
Now this was unique. I had to read it a couple times but once I understood what was going on, it made much more sense. Very creative. I do agree about maybe breaking up the paragraphs some for easier reading.