This is ridiculous. I mean seriously.
I work for years, since I was in high school for crap’s sake, to be prepared for any emergency, anytime. I study, I train, I keep up with the news. I look for new products, I scour the web for suggestions about things I should always have on hand.
I took training courses. First aid, advanced life saving, volunteered for my local fire department and trained to fight fire, extricate people from crushed cars, whatever the situation called for. I took private, and expensive, training programs for almost every kind of scenario or event I could imagine, read about, or hear a rumor of.
Plague? Got it. Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical attack, by terrorists or in war either one? Got that too. Massive earthquake like that one in Japan that tore up the nuclear plant? Ready for it. Horrendous hurricane that levels everything in its path? Even though I lived hundreds of miles inland, still prepared for it. Could work for tornado outbreaks too after all, right?
After all that time, sweat, money, and even a little blood, what do I get? What great, earth changing event happens?
Zombies. The friggin’ Zombie Apocalypse. George Romero style, I’m talkin’ about. Corpses walking the streets, fields, creeping through the woods, hungry for human flesh.
Are you kidding me?
It started overseas, apparently, though with the way that governments and corporations all over the world lie and hide information these days there’s no real way to know. I sure as hell don’t know. And to top it all off, things actually went down just about like it was a bad movie, or good novel. Or both.
First, there’s a story on the news about a rare strain of rabies. High mortality rate. Not airborne, no reason to panic. And there was my first mistake, I believed it. Remember I said I was ready for a plague? Should have went into plague mode right then, I guess, but hey, it’s overseas, right? Africa, or southern Europe, Asia, hell I don’t remember. But it wasn’t here, so no worries. Sure, it’s something to keep an eye on, watch out for, but it’s not a problem I should have to deal with.
Second warning, maybe three days later, is that this new ‘rabies’ has broken containment, and is spreading. No reports of sickness in North or Central American, so again, like a dumb ass, I ignore it. Not near me, nothing to do with me, something to watch for later on, if it gets worse, treatment options being developed, everything is under control, blah, blah, blah.
Third warning, which I finally paid attention to, was a viral video showing what looked like a riot in some European city. Well, town, wasn’t really a city, say about five, maybe six thousand people it looked like. Can’t even remember the name of it. I think it was in Spain. Yeah, pretty sure it was Spain.
Anyway, the video was shaky, since the guy or gal who was taking the video was understandably on the move while filming. You can see a stream of what, at least at first, looks like a bunch of really angry people, stumbling along causing havoc in the streets. Soccer team lost the cup or something? I almost clicked off, but for some reason, thank the Lord above, I kept watching. Call it morbid interest, boredom, I really don’t know why, but I did.
At some point the video maker had to stop running for some reason. Maybe there was something in the way, I don’t know. But for a few precious seconds, the images were steady, and clear. No problem seeing the action.
And there it was. The ‘rioters’ were stumbling all over the place, attacking anyone that got within their reach. I noticed that a few of them looked bloody, but that didn’t ring a bell with me yet, since, well, riots are violent, and people get hurt.
Then three of the ‘rioters’ catch a woman with a baby in her arms in the middle of the street, trying to run away. They literally fell onto her, and started. . .well, biting. Chewing, almost. The last thing you could see clearly, just before the view went shaky again, was that two of the ‘rioters’ were missing large chunks of flesh themselves, a woman from her arm, and a man from his shoulder. At first I didn’t catch it, but when I studied the video later, frame by frame, it was apparent that both of those injuries were just about the right size for a bite wound.
A human bite wound.
The next thing I noticed, again going frame by frame, was the fact that the eyes of rioters were. . .well, empty looking. I mean, they still had eyes, but there was no one home, if you know what I mean. I admit it wasn’t that great a shot, and every now and then I still wonder what happened to whoever made that video. But the look was clear enough to realize that I was looking at someone who wasn’t with us anymore.
I remember my world tilting on it’s axis for a few minutes, and realization came to me. At first it was just dull shock, you know? Looking for a rational reason for things to look like this, be like this. It had to just be a symptom of the disease, right?
Okay, genius, my subconscious seemed to say, if it’s a symptom of disease, is the ‘riot’ another symptom? I remember watching the whole thing again, in slow motion this time, rather than frame-by-frame. This time I watched the so called rioters as they rambled along. There was no organization, no attempt at any kind of communication or co-ordination between them. It was just a group of. . .well, zombies. Moving down the street in search of prey.
I admit it. As soon as the shock of what I had seen began to wear off, I panicked for a while. Firstly, I questioned everything that I had seen. Was I imagining it? Was there another explanation? Were all of the ‘rioters’ injured? Okay, bit? I watched the video again, not really wanting to, but needing to clarify.
Slow motion helped with the shaky video quality, and I enlarged it on my computer so I could get a better look. Every person in the crowd that I could get a decent look at was bloody. I couldn’t always tell from where, but I could see that several of them had blood running down their chins. As if they had bitten someone and brought the blood, as the saying goes.
Finally, I leaned back in my chair, almost exhausted from simple stress of watching while my mind ran crazy with the idea that real, live. . .er, dead, zombies were on the loose somewhere in Spain. I wasn’t crazy. There were only two possible explanations.
One, this was a massive hoax. Some kind of movie footage, edited to look like a phone camcorder video of a real ‘incident’. A giant prank, executed by a huge number of people in a small town where the entertainment value was pretty low. You know, boring weekend, few people get together to play a prank, it grows, and BAM, instant viral video, with a town full of people drinking beer and congratulating themselves on fooling, scaring, and terrifying millions of people.
Two, there were zombies on the loose somewhere in Spain. Try as I might, I couldn’t come up with another reason of any kind. Combining that with the news reports that I had pretty much ignored for however many days, I decided that Option Two was going to be the winner.
Panic set in again almost at once. I wasn’t prepared for a zombie apocalypse. I mean, sure, I was pretty well set for stores and supplies, but. . .I mean, if this worked anything like the movies, and the zombie thing spread, and came here, where I was. . . .
I’m sure anyone watching me would have seen the color drain from my face as I realized that the face of the entire world might be changing, right in front of me. My mind again went a little crazy, imagining being holed up somewhere, probably my house, surrounded by walking dead people who had only one desire; sinking their teeth into my flesh. I would be alone, surrounded, cut off, forever.
Until I died.
At that point I decided my next step was to get a good stiff shot of bourbon, and sit down in my seldom used recliner. It wasn’t that there was nothing to be done. The fact was that my mind was overwhelmed by the scope of what might be coming. And the fact that it only might be coming was the first thing hurdle to overcome.
I couldn’t afford to just quit my job and hole away from the world on the chance that a Zombie Apocalypse was coming. I mean, what if got contained? Not only would I look like an idiot, I’d be out of a job, which I liked and paid me well.
On the other hand, I couldn’t just ignore the problem, either. What if it wasn’t contained. What would I do then? How much did I have to do in order to be prepared to basically live out the rest of my life in my house? At that thought, I took a look around me.
My house was decent size for a single fella. Three bedrooms, though one was pretty small. I basically used it for a walk in closet. Attached garage, half of which I used as a small shop. My yard, about a quarter acre, was enclosed by a four foot chain link fence, more to keep out dogs and what not than for security, but it was strong and in good shape. One small outbuilding where I kept my mower, garden tools, stuff like that. Like I said, for just me, it was awesome.
But it would get awful small, awful fast if my whole world shrunk into just my little place of heaven. I started looking over my place in my mind’s eye. I had a small garden plot, which I ate from every year. I had a rain water collection system, but no well. I could store water, of course, but storage was roomy, expensive, and let’s face it. Stale water sucks. And it runs out. I already had two large barrels of water for temporary storage, just over one hundred gallons. But I changed that out every three months.
One thing I did have was a thousand gallon cistern. It was sometimes a pain to keep clean, and I had been meaning to clean it out and paint the walls with the stuff they use on swimming pools, but I had never gotten around to it.
That would have to change, I guess. I’d need to be able to use that cistern to store rain water if The End happened. I did already have a good filtration system in place, but I’d need to get some extras. I always kept one on hand but if The End happened, I wouldn’t be able to get more. I would need more. At least, Lord willing I would need more. You know, if I didn’t wind up on the Zombie buffet line.
I thought about my firearms. I had several, some just because I enjoyed shooting, but a few were simply survival arms. Things I had decided I might need in the event of a real disaster of some kind. I was also a re-loader, almost a necessity if you liked to shoot much, but I really didn’t keep a lot of supplied on hand. It was just a hobby, after all. I’d need to lay in more stuff of that nature.
I felt a headache coming on about then, as I realized that despite what I had thought, I was not nearly as ‘prepped’ as I had thought. Not for something like this. I got up and started looking for a notepad and pen. I was gonna need to make a list.
And I could pretty much kiss most of my savings good-bye, probably. I worried about that for about two minutes. If there was a real zombie apocalypse coming, then my money would be worthless, anyway. And if there wasn’t, then I’d just be really, really prepared for any future emergency.
As the magnitude of what might be happening begin to really set in, I thought, just for a moment, what was the point? Would I want to live here, alone, for what might be years, struggling to stay alive if I was surrounded by walking death? It took only a minute for me to shake that thought off. I was a survivor. I was going to make it.
I took my seat again, leaning back, trying to think long term. I had some solar power. Never be enough to run my freezer and refrigerator, or my a/c either, comes to that. But, it would power my computer a few hours a day, it could keep my battery power tools charged, and it would power my television and DVD player, as well as my cd player. I would have some entertainment to break up the monotony.
But I would need books. I had plenty of books already, but they were, for the most part, books on preparedness skills, home improvement, gardening, and other DIY books. I would need some good books. Books I could read over and over again without losing interest. I decided that should go on the list.
I suddenly imagined myself growing old, surrounded by zombies. Each year things getting harder and harder to manage, each year getting just a little slower, harder of hearing, eyesight fading. I added some dollar store type glasses to the list. No point in having books if I couldn’t read’em, right?
I was in pretty good health. A knee that tended to give me trouble once in a while from an old football injury, but otherwise I was in pretty good shape. I didn’t take any kind of maintenance medications, but what about OTC stuff. What about a tetanus shot? I couldn’t remember the last time I had gotten one. I put ‘get a physical’ on the list. I needed to see my doctor. Might talk him into some prescriptions for pain relievers and anti-biotics, too. They’d fade in potency with age, but be better than nothing.
Then I remembered a book on herbal medicine I had. I needed to look at that. Make sure I purchased the plants I’d need to make home remedies. First I’d have to make a list of what they were, and then hopefully find somewhere to get them. And then learn how to use them. Did they need to be dried? Mixed with something else? Did I have it?
My headache was getting worse as all this bombarded me. There was a lot to do, and probably not much time. I sketched out a list of things to do tomorrow, including calling in sick. Since I was going to the doctor anyway, might as well take the day off. And I could talk to the doc about what was happening in Europe. Maybe she was up to date on the latest since it was being broadcast as an illness.
But would she tell me? Maybe she wouldn’t know anything but what was on the television. Was there some kind of warning system for doctors that broadcast super-secret medical information to them in secret code? For all I knew, there might be. And if there was, would she be allowed to share that information with anyone? I mean, without Men In Black showing up on her doorstep? Did MIB’s do anything other than UFO’s? I snorted at myself in ironic humor. I really didn’t know crap, did I?
I decided another bourbon was in order. The list was getting longer, and my headache wasn’t subsiding. I was going to have some kind of stroke before I had a chance to survive the zombie outbreak. The thought made me freeze.
What the hell would I do if something like that happened? I’d be alone, unable to care for myself. If I survived the stroke, or whatever, I’d just lay there and starve, or dehydrate, or whatever. Jeez, if it wasn’t one thing it was another. What the hell was I going to do?
Finally, I decided that there was nothing I could do. Going it alone wasn’t going to work. And I knew no one that I trusted enough to take into my confidence on something like this. I wasn’t really anti-social, don’t get me wrong. I just wasn’t much of a socializer. And I never let on about my business much, personal or otherwise.
This needed sleep, and a fresh perspective. The bourbon was working on me pretty good now, and I decided it was time to sleep on the problem, and face it fresh in the morning.
Friggin’ Zombies. Go figure, man.