In real life, the zombies come from the Caribbean island of Haiti. They are a person who has been almost-killed, and then later raised from the almost-dead by a voodoo priest, to be used as slave labour for the rest of their miserable life. Zombies can move, eat, hear and speak, but they have no memory and no insight into their condition. There have been legends about zombies for centuries, but it was only in 1980 that a real-life case was documented.
The story begins in 1962, in Haiti. A man called Clairvius Narcisse was sold to a zombie master by his brothers, because Clairvius refused to sell his share of the family land. Soon after Clairvius "officially" died, and was buried. However, he had been later secretly unburied, and was actually working as a zombie slave on a sugar plantation with many other zombies. In 1964, his zombie master died, and he wandered across the island in a psychotic daze for the next 16 years. The drugs that made him psychotic were gradually wearing off. In 1980, he accidentally stumbled across his long-lost sister in a market place, and recognized her. She didn't recognise him, but he identified himself to her by telling her early childhood experiences that only he could possibly know.