Zombies suck, but they’re not after brains! Forget mindless rotting corpses shuffling along. These zombies are young, hot, and looking for action. One day Kai Bauer is tending vineyards in Germany, the next he’s on a plane heading for… well, he doesn’t really know. Wait a minute! He’s a what? And they have to drink what to live forever? The transition begins on his nineteenth birthday. He must find a mate in four years or he’ll have a long, un-fun life.
That’s Jasper’s problem too. After decades, the ex-priest has given up on finding a mate. He’s willing to be Kai’s mentor and friend. Gorgeous, distant, and off-limits, meet young, virile, and gay.
Kai slouched on an examining table while he stared at the books lining the doctor’s office. He wouldn’t have expected to see The History Of Zombies and Zombies In Cinema mixed in with the medical books.
A young male nurse said, “Just a pinch,” as he drew Kai’s blood.
Beau kept him company while he waited for the doctor.
A tall man entered, nodded to Beau, and reached out to shake Kai’s hand. “Hi, I’m Dr. Mayer.”
Kai was glad when the handshake ended and he could drop his hand. The doctor appeared young to Kai, but what did he know? “I’ve confirmed it. You have the tags in your blood.”
What tags in his blood?
The doctor studied Kai. “How do you feel right now?” He moved his hands over Kai’s neck and down his arms.
“Fine?” Exhaustion kept the panic out of his voice but not the confusion. Close to collapse described his physical state, but he didn’t want them to know that, hoping to play it off.
The doctor bobbed his head again and flashed a light in Kai’s eyes. “Open your mouth,” he instructed before he peered inside. “It’s almost your birthday isn’t it?”
Kai had nearly forgotten with all the excitement. He glanced up at the big clock on the wall to do the time difference in his head. “Yeah, if I was in Germany I would be nineteen in about two hours.”
“Good timing.” The doctor went to a mini refrigerator in the corner and pulled out a vial. “Here.”
“What’s this?” Kai stared at the glass tube.
“Um, it’s a bit of fructose sugar, water, vitamin C, citric acid, some enzymes, protein, phosphate, bicarbonate buffers, and a touch of zinc. You’ll want to drink this.” The doctor patted him on the back. “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks.” Kai took the tiny glass bottle from the doctor and studied the liquid. It didn’t sound like poison.
He pulled out the red stopper and sniffed. Mother of God, the liquid smelled intoxicating. He tipped the contents into his mouth. The creamy substance exploded across his taste buds. It was by far the best thing he’d ever had in his mouth, and he moaned as he swallowed.
Dr. Mayer turned away to shuffle papers in his file, but Kai saw the man’s grin.
“That’s the best medicine I’ve ever tasted.” Kai wished his tongue fit inside the vial, because he would have licked the inside clean.
Laughing harder, Beau wiped tears from his eyes. “Oh, honey. You’re priceless.”
“What?” Getting no help from Beau, Kai stared at the doctor with an open mouth. “I don’t understand.”
“How do you feel?” the doctor asked.
“Great.” Pure energy shot through him. “Like my jetlag is gone.”
“Jetlag?” The doctor stared at Kai and then glared at Beau. “Did you tell him anything?”
Beau flushed and shrugged. “You do a much better job than we ever do.”
Dr. Mayer shook his head and said to Kai, “You’ll keep getting better for the next twelve hours, and then the effects will start to wear off. Twenty-four hours from now you’ll experience a dramatic drop in your mental capacity. You’ll be dazed and confused until you have more.”
“More? Why do I need that medication? Am I dying?” That would just be his freaking luck! To be free from his constricting life and now he was going to die! Great! Just great!
The doctor pushed his glasses up. “You’re not dying. Quite the opposite.”
What did that mean? Kai waited for the doctor to continue.
“You’re transitioning. You’re becoming more than what you are.”
That didn’t explain a whole hell of a lot. “Please, Doc, spell it out.”
The doctor took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. He inhaled deeply and then gazed at Kai. “You’re transitioning… you’re becoming a zombie.” He didn’t even pause to take a breath. “Not like in the movies though.”
Kai didn’t believe what he was hearing. His English translation must be wrong. He glanced over at Beau and asked, “Ein Monster?”
Beau said, “Ein Monster. Yes. A zombie.”
“What? Is this a joke?” Impossible. Maybe it was one of those silly American television shows Ulrich made him watch where they played tricks on people.
“No,” the doctor answered, regaining his attention. “The upside is your body can live forever.”
“And what… the downside is I eat brains?” His voice rose and he laughed hysterically. All the zombie movies and TV shows he’d ever seen depicted were rotting corpses searching for brains to eat until the townspeople put them out of their misery —not a pleasant future.
“Zombies do not eat brains.” The doctor sighed as if he said that a thousand times a day.
The doctor pointed his glasses at Beau. “I told you in 1936 that the White Zombie movie would affect us for generations.” He growled, “And each generation seems to come out with more distortions to the zombie lore. Why can’t they stick to vampires and werewolves?”
Trapped in a Salvador Dali painting, Kai didn’t see a path out of this surreal insanity.
The doctor stared at Kai with a soft frown. “It might help if you think of it as a protein deficiency.”
Being a zombie was a protein deficiency? Kai’s world shifted and now he’d stepped into a half-formed nightmare. Calm, he needed to stay even. “Just tell me the truth.”
Dr. Mayer put his glasses back on and clasped his hands in front of him as he cleared his throat. “Basically, Beau, Lafayette and some of the others gather zombies right before they go through their transition. Our goal is to ease the way for as many as possible.”
Kai leaned away from the doctor. “Are you a zombie too?”
“Yes. See, I didn’t eat your brains. I wasn’t even tempted.” The doctor smiled at his joke that wasn’t funny to Kai. “Lafayette and Beau didn’t either.”
“So you’re a zombie too.” Kai took a deep breath, trying to calm his spinning thoughts. “You know this sounds crazy.”
Both Beau and the doctor nodded.
Kai asked Beau, “Why did you really bring me here?” Perhaps this is how they started, so whatever they actually did wouldn’t seem totally off the wall.
Beau gawked at the doctor with wide eyes for a moment. “By bringing you here, we can make sure you get what you need.”
“That medicine?” Kai surmised. Now that his head was clear he wanted to know what in the hell was going on. Beau didn’t answer, so Kai directed his attention back to the doctor.
The doctor glared at Beau and then answered Kai, “Zombies need a protein essence that is found in what I gave you.”
“O …kay. So what was it?” Cue the creepy horror-movie theme song. Whatever the doctor said next, Kai wasn’t gonna like.
“What?” Kai must not have heard right.
“Semen,” the doctor repeated giving the word three syllables.
No! What? Kai stared at Beau, and clarified, “Sperma? Samen?” Kai focused to find the English word. “As in sperm? As in spunk? As in jism…as in…” He ran out of English vernacular to continue his list. Oh God! He hadn’t just… Kai ran to the sink, turned on the taps, and rinsed his mouth. Semen?
And he’d liked it?
Dr. Mayer nodded. “Yes, ejaculate. You’ll need more every twenty-four hours or you’ll become disoriented like you were, but worse. If you don’t get what you need, eventually your body will cease to function.”