"Okay. You're crazy!" Marija flirted.

He grinned as he jostled, raising his camera into the air with one hand.

"Ha! Maybe I am!" Jeremy agreed.

The sights of Jeremy's photo lens soon returned to the zombie's confused face, staring up at the helicopter. The clicks and whirrs of his camera were inaudible over the deafening engines of the chopper.

The helicopter slowly lowered to the beach, weaving up and down gingerly, as if the machine itself had an intelligence of its own and was as hesitant to land in this place as the pilot. In the distance, about 40 yards away, beyond the sand and the dumbfounded zombie, stood a stark white bungalow-styled building.

The zombie stood and stared at Jeremy and Marija, still dumbfounded, while Marija looked back nervously. Jeremy kept snapping pictures. Zeb sat coolly at the controls as he shut down the engines. The prop continued spinning and blowing air around in a whirlwind, causing everyone's hair to jostle this way and that, as if caught in a cyclone.

A team of doctors in lab coats walked quickly in a single file from the glass doors of the white building and across the sand toward the new arrivals on the beach. These were Doctors Schmidt, Romero and Hugo. The doctors approached the helicopter, all walking in a row. Romero led the pack. Atlas Romero was a stout, jovial gentleman, medium length black hair with white streaks forming wings on the side of his head. Above Romero's swooshes of hair, a bald peak shined in the sun. Romero's trimmed goatee matched the two-toned color scheme of his hair. Deiter Schmidt was Romero's opposite in every way: tall, fit, broad-chested, square-jawed and handsome. A perfect example of his German heritage, save for his dark, black hair. The only thing that Schmidt and Romero had physically in common was a similarity in age, both in their mid-fifties. Hugo was actually Hugo Schmidt, Dr. Schmidt's son. Though half his father's age and slightly heavier built, the family resemblance was obvious. The doctor's all had their heads ducked and arms out to shield their faces from the blowing wind and sand caused by the whirling blades above the chopper. Other zombies had come to watch as they wandered around the beach aimlessly, all with robotic control collars.

Jeremy clicked off more photos with his camera.

Zeb turned from his seat in the front and addressed Marija and Jeremy very abruptly, startling them and bringing their attention back to the world inside of the helicopter.

"There ain't nothin' cool about these things! They're dangerous! Get back to this 'copter if you don't feel safe, understand?" Zeb barked.

Jeremy reached out and put a hand on his friend's shoulder, looking concerned.

"Of course. Man I'm so sorry, I wasn't thinkin' . . . ," Jeremy apologized.

The sound of a throat being cleared behind them startled the group and directed the attention of all three back over to the open side of the helicopter. Dr. Schmidt stood with his hand extended to Marija in introduction.

"Welcome to Ile de la Gonave . . . ," Schmidt said with a wide grin.

Schmidt continued standing in the doorway shaking hands with Marija and gestured to Dr. Romero and Hugo standing next to him.

"I'm Dr. Deiter Schmidt. This is my assistant Dr. Atlas Romero and that handsome youngster is my son, Hugo," Schmidt introduced.

The senior Schmidt helped Marija out of the helicopter as Jeremy began pulling all his camera equipment and bags to the side of the helicopter.

"Just follow us in and leave all of your bags. The servants will get them," Romero explained.

Hugo, Romero, Schmidt, Zeb, Marija and Jeremy all walked across the deep white sand in a single file line, toward the heavy steel and reinforced glass doors of Schmidt's research compound. A procession of zombies followed a short distance behind the row of the living, each carrying baggage from the helicopter. Jeremy looked back, then turned his gaze to Marija. She had also been looking back and the two shared a moment of wide-eyed understanding. Jeremy gestured back at the zombie servants, a little nervously.

The Island of Dr. MoroseRead this story for FREE!