Peut-être, comme moi, faites-vous partie de ceux qui, dès l’annonce de l’ouverture des précommandes de Nights of the Living Dead, se sont jetés sur cette anthologie éditée par Romero et Maberry ? Ou peut-être, attendez-vous d’en savoir plus pour vous décider ? Quoi qu’il en soit, c’est George Romero qui essaie aujourd’hui de vous mettre à son tour l’eau à la bouche puisqu’il a récemment partagé le début de sa nouvelle John Doe. Un extrait, évidemment en anglais, que nous vous proposons de lire ci-dessous.
« Within the early months of the twenty-first century, even before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, most hospitals, nursing homes, and police departments in the United States— those sophisticated enough to be computer-equipped—were mandated to join the VSDC (Vital Statistics Data Collection) network, a cyber-system that received and instantly down-loaded information to a division of the Census Bureau known as AMLD (American Model of Lineage and Demographics). Jokingly referred to as “A Matter of Life and Death.” Whenever a birth or a death was recorded anywhere in the country, the doctor, nurse, registrar—whoever was doing the local filing— simply had to click on a link that copied the statistic directly to the VSDC.
John Doe’s VSDC case number, 129-46-9875, was recognized by the system twice on the night he died. It was initially forwarded by St. Michael the Archangel, a Catholic hospital in San Diego, California. The second entry, the one that made the case notable, came in almost three and a half hours later from the Medical Examiner’s Office in San Diego County. It reached the VSDC at 10:36 p.m. but went unnoticed for another forty-eight hours, until statisticians at the department started to search for abnormalities in recently entered files.
Thousands of similar files were received over those forty-eight hours. Statisticians only began to focus on John Doe’s case when they finally tried to determine when the phenomenon actually began. As sophisticated as the VSDC system was, it was unable to automatically organize entries by date and time. Statisticians had to search manually. John Doe’s dossier—temporarily catalogued in a file labeled ‘Beginners’— predated any of the others that were found. There may have been earlier cases, but they went undiscovered because the statisticians simply stopped looking.
After only four nights—four nights after John Doe’s death, when the whole thing seemed to have started—there were only two men and one woman left at the VSDC. They remained there, alone, working around the clock, clinging heroically—or perhaps stubbornly—to the idea that their work was in some way essential.
After another forty-eight hours nothing seemed essential. One of the men, John Campbell, shut down his computer, went home, and shot himself in the head. At the end of the seventh night, the remaining man, Terry McAllister, made one final entry in his log. It read, ‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’ Appropriate, as Christmas was in two weeks. He and the woman, Elizabeth O’Toole, left their computers running when they walked out of the bureau for the last time. They went to the man’s apartment in Georgetown, shared two bottles of Don Julio, and fucked with abandon until the sun rose on the eighth day.
On that day, at 6:20 a.m., Elizabeth O’Toole e-mailed her cousin, a priest, to confess her sins and to say that she and her male companion were going to try to get out of Washington. The message ended with ‘We might not make it very far. I probably won’t ever see you again. I don’t even know if you are still there to read this. I hope that you are, and I hope that God will accept a confession that comes via cyberspace. I have tried to make an Act of Contrition, but I can’t remember all the words. Absolve me if you are able.’
‘I think this is the end of the world. Goodbye. Your loving cousin, Beth.’
John Doe’s case file was forwarded to the VSDC by Luis Acocella, an assistant medical examiner in San Diego. The subject carried no ID. No one knew his real name. Sixty-something and homeless, he was panhandling on Mission Bay Drive when he was startled by what sounded like firecracker pops. An old panel truck with S.O.B (“South of the Border”) plates came careening around a corner with an SDPD cruiser in hot pursuit. A coyote sitting in the truck’s passenger side had his door open and was leaning out firing an Uzi at the black-and-white. The truck swerved out of control. Rounds from the automatic whizzed wildly. Seven of those rounds took out the window at a taco joint. Four of them hit John Doe: one high on a thigh, one high on the belly, one low on the left shoulder, and the fourth low on the neck. The homeless man dropped to the pavement and tried to scream. The wound in his neck turned those screams into sounds that resembled the wheeze of escaping steam.
The truck crashed into a telephone pole. Two more black-and-whites arrived and a gun battle ensued. Two police officers were wounded, one critically. As it turned out, there were six Mexicans in the truck, two coyotes and four illegals, all of them male. Four of them were killed, each taking more than two dozen angry rounds from police sidearms. In the end, two were captured alive.
Purely by coincidence, Luis Acocella had been enjoying a caldo gallego at the taco joint when the window was shot out. Once the gunfire had stopped, he rushed out onto the street. When he reached John Doe’s side, the man was still wheezing. Acocella ran to his car to get his medical bag. By the time he returned, the first of three ambulances had arrived and the wounded man’s wheezing had stopped. »
Bref, même si de prime abord le style semble très banal et assez froid, voilà une histoire dont il me presse de connaître la suite puisqu’elle éclairera, sans doute, certains aspects de l’invasion zombie initiée par Romero en 1968.
Parmi les autres auteurs chargés de nous décrire les événements de cette nuit de 1968, nous retrouverons notamment Brian Keene (The Rising, Dead Sea…), Craig Engler (co-créateur de Z Nation), David Wellington (Zombie Story, Positif), Isaac Marion (Vivants), Jay Bonansinga (la saga de romans The Walking Dead), John Russo (La nuit des morts-vivants), Keith R.A. DeCandido (les romans Resident Evil), Mike Carey (Celle qui a tous les dons), Mira Grant (Feed) ou encore Carrie Ryan (La Forêt des Damnés).
Rendez-vous le 11 juillet pour découvrir Nights of the Living Dead.
Source : Bloody Disgusting