New zombies are created when the infection spreads from the zombie into a fresh host, a human. Though it is also carried by tissue, bodily fluids present the greatest risk due to ease at which they can get into your system. Simply getting blood on your skin won’t cause the infection as it needs to get past your skin, and the parasite (which spreads the virus) is simply to large to pass through freely. Your eyes, mouth, and open wounds are your high risk areas. Small cuts tend to clot fast enough to not be at a great risk.
Though referred to as a virus by most, it is actually a parasite that causes the primary symptoms of the infection. The parasites feeding on the brain and spinal tissue are believed to be the cause of the loss of cognitive abilities, and most of the victims motor control. The parasite, presumably to lengthen the ‘life span’ of the host, releases a virus into the system as it feeds. This virus alters the DNA to such an extent as to allow the zombie to survive grievous wounds unharmed. Exactly how the virus can make such vast changes is currently unknown as many of the worlds more advanced laboratories are currently closed. It is not unheard of due to the DNA modifications for a zombie head to survive for many days or even weeks before dieing.
This union between parasite and virus have caused many strange theories, as many experts dismiss the ability of both to work together to such a degree. One leading theory is that though they do not naturally work together, that in fact they were engineered to do so by one of the worlds superpowers or terrorist organisations. Other theories go as far out as to claim it is to advanced for human hands, and could only logically be the work of aliens preparing the world for takeover through ‘nonviolent’ means. Still other theories believe it is a creation of mother earth to reclaim its lands from the ‘virus’ that destroys so much of the world.
The city was under attack, not by the zombie hoards closing in from the east, but human terrorists already positioned inside the city. Their target was the Infection Field Research Facility. Though located in the middle of the city, just four kilometers southwest of my units position, it is not a high value terror target. There are no major buildings nor any other landmarks nearby. While it is comprised solely of temporary buildings and tents, it is well fortified with good fields of fire. Their target has to be the virus for if there were any other goal there were far better targets in the city.
All of the city sirens were going off alerting people to stay in their homes. This is potentially the worst part of my job. If I see someone on the street he is to be assumed to either be a zombie or terrorist, even if he is wearing a military uniform. If some guy was unlucky enough to have been off jerking around away from his squad his life could end with with that mistake.
Fortunately, looking down the streets with my rifle, everything was as it should be below. Except for one building tops, and the occasional military convoy, the only folks on the ground were the Marines at the capital building. Visually, except for a column of dark smoke to the southeast only slightly visible in the early morning light, everything is as it has been for the past couple of days.
Over the course of the next hour buildings key to the city’s infrastructure were hit. Small fires from some of the explosions quickly grew into massive infernos. Hundreds of people were forced to flee their home. The threat had quickly gone from small terrorists attacks on key facilities to swarms of scared civilians rioting, looting, and burning. Propagating the fires that forced them out of their homes, it didn’t take long before the chaos spread to thousands of people. It is amazing how little it takes to remove the facade of civilization, and revert a human to his basic instincts rendering him little better then a zombie.
Anybody on the streets was considered a threat. My own unit, normally only an observation force, had been turned into common snipers. To someone who has never been in a situation like this it may seem outrageous that our orders, in fact every ones orders, were to kill the people on the streets. That is especially true when many of those people are only on the street because fires forced them from their homes. The reasoning behind this is that this chaos makes a superb breeding ground for zombies, who in this chaos blend well with the crowd.
Trying to get out of the chaos many people seemed to think their salvation was linked with the capital building down below. Its newly erected chain-link fencing setup in such a way to funnel zombies into killing fields worked particularly well on humans who simply wanted to get to safety. Slowly but surely and costing great numbers, the mob slowly pushed through the first walls, and moved onto the second line of defense. The fortification was not meant to try to hold back such an onslaught, hopefully their evac will arrive soon.
( Cont. May 25th, 10 AM EST *Delayed to 28th*)
The helicopter ride into Columbus was very calming. The sun was out with only a few clouds in the sky. Down below birds were flying, people were playing in the park, and the city seemed generally oblivious to the coming doom. Most of the shops were closed for Sunday, and traffic was clear. Even the military personal, knowing all to well what was coming, were joking on the radio having a good time as if there were not a war going on out there.
Our unit was lucky enough to be setup around the state building. The only truly tall buildings in this relatively flat city. Shorter buildings are dangerous, you can’t see nearly as well what is going around you, and there isn’t as much room between you and the zombies. It’s amazing how quickly zombies can pile on top of one another to climb onto a third story roof.
Six-hundred feet down around the State Building a platoon of Marines were setting up fortifications. They favored chain-link fences reinforced with buses and other large vehicles as they were quick to erect, and allowed them to shoot through the blockade. They were careful with the setup, instead of simply making straight walls to hold the zombies off they funneled the zombies into tight formations so that they could be picked off more easily. Our own fortifications were not so complex. We simply rig explosives in the stairwells to destroy them if something attempts to come up, and barricade the door to the roof.
Sitting there for hours was extremely tiring, and we had six more days of this. Nobody could fathom why we were here so early. The only thing we could do to pass the time was talk on the radio. It is a dangerous situation combining bored men’s imaginations with an extremal long wait time. Hudson, over on the AEP building, decided it was a conspiracy. He figured the government was going to manually spread the virus in the city, and we were here to watch how the city deals with the virus to better understand how to evacuate people in the future. Thinking back on it, Hudson probably had the most plausible explanation. The only other theory was that the good general had been secretly replaced by an alien.
Something finally happened on the fourth day we were there. My watch had just started, I was following my general routine that morning, and had just got coffee started. I was walking over to the edge of the building with my rifle to check the streets for any activity. It was early, a civilian curfew was in effect, so the streets were clear. I was pretty tired, and decided to screw it and go back to sleep on the roof when a message erupted over the radio.
“Heavily armed men are attacking the science facility! All personnel to your stations! Contact with the science facility has been cut, and it is believed they are trying to steal the virus that is being tested there. Be alert, other key targets may be attacked, and/or the virus may be released!”
(Cont. May 23rd, 10 AM EST “Zombies? Their the Least of Our Troubles”)
Running is easy, it is leaving people behind that is hard. Making the decision to do that is never easy. So far, all choices like that have been made for me. My brother will survive to join the mercenaries ranks, however, if I want to help him escape I need to change. I’ll never be able to help him escape if everyone else makes my choices for me. I have decided to change, and I know the instrument threw which that change will happen. I’m going to join the Army, Americas primary zombie defensive force.
I’ve finally passed the ZD, Zombie Defense Program, an add on after standard military training to prepare soldiers for modern warfare. It ended up being the hardest part of my training. I can safely say the rumors are not true, the Army does not use infected civilians as a training tool in that program. Former soldiers are a much better training tool. They are stronger, faster, and generally more durable then civilians. Just because they caught a little infection doesn’t mean they can go off duty.
I got lucky, a lot of people only go through Basic and ZD days before going to the front lines. My previous experience in escaping a zombie infested city got me out of the cannon fodder, and into Forward Observation and Elimination (FOE). The infantry go to attempt to hold back the infection, FOE goes into the already infected zones to observe the zombies mobilization patterns. We both send back information on where they are coming from, but FOE also studies them in their ‘natural’ habitat outside of laboratories. The final part of our job, elimination, deals with so-called ‘mutant zombies’. We kill zombies who show rogue strains of the infection, those who occasionally show abnormal strength, speed, intelligence, or other ‘abilities’.
My first assignment is in Columbus, Ohio. This is an abnormal assignment for several reasons. First of all thirteen units are being ordered to respond, the normal number is only one or two. Second, the infection is not supposed to hit until a week after our arrival. Third, it is only made more strange by the fact we are told we will only have twelve hours to get our roof top camps setup after reaching the city. Finally, a large portion of the teams are made up entirely of recruits, most of whom have survived getting out zombie infested cities on foot. No matter what FOE has generally low death-rates, so I’m not concerned. We are one of the few groups who always gets air insertion and evacuation. It is the nature of the mission as land routes are almost always blocked.
(Cont. May 21st, 10 AM EST “Normality”)
With a loud bang the door burst inward, engulfed in the flame of a small explosive. Our help was here, and we were saved. A man walked through the smoky doorway wearing a full bio-war suit and holding a large gun. Two other men wearing the same uniform flanked closely behind him. The first man quickly aimed his gun firing off a three-shot burst that slammed into the wall just to the left of my head. He, and the other two men quickly took cover and began firing.
John had previously warned us about them. He turned from the gun room where he was hiding, and fired his assault rifle toward them, giving us time to take cover. By the time the mercenaries got their second volley off we were behind cover. John shouted at us to start running as he pulled a round black ball out of his pack. Dan and I started running. I’d seen in his pack the night before, and military personnel carry some pretty nasty stuff. When he said run it was obvious to both my brother and me that we needed to get out of Dodge.
Dan and I had made it to the backdoor when the grenade went off filling the air with a loud bang. It wasn’t what I expected. Fire didn’t fill the building, bringing it crashing to the ground. From what I could see there was only a little fire that briefly erupted at the end of the hall.
John, who was right behind us the whole way, pushed us through the door. Dan must have been off balance as he took a dive into the metal door frame falling sideways. John started pushing me toward the gate at the other end of the small fenced parking lot. It was hard to get out of his grip, and back to my brother. Except for my right arm I was free of his grasp. I turned lunging away from John to see my brother. His face was covered in blood from his forehead and nose, and his leg had a large gash out of it. Near the end of the hallway I could see more soldiers.
Pulling against John to try to save my brother I could hear his words. Cold and strong as when we first met him, not friendly as he was over the night, “They won’t kill him. They only kill those who can’t find.” he said in a callous, hurried voice.
(Cont. May 20th, 10 AM EST “New Dawn”)
I awoke tied to a chair in a barren wood floored room, the only window looking outside was covered in black paint. I could see the square I left unpainted to watch outside so at least I knew I was still in the pawn shop. A large man in urban camouflage sat across from me up against the wall beside his rifle and pack. He was reading a book with the aid of a small flashlight, the only other light in this dark room was coming from that square without paint.
When he noticed I was awake he shinned the light in my eyes as he stood up and walked over to me. “Do you know what your first mistake was?” he asked. His accent was a cross between French & New York. Chances are he was one of the Mercenaries hired by the United States government as John said they were. When I didn’t answer there was a brief pause before I felt a sharp pain in the side of my face as his fist collided with my skull. The room went dark and silent in an instant. At least my Brother got away. Hopefully he will be safe.
— *Earlier That Morning*
We had decided to take shifts watching for zombies. My brother, Dan, took the first shift. The military man, Johny, whom my brother had finally started to trust, took the second. I got the third and last shift by request figuring it would be the easiest. My logic was that I would be able to sleep for six hours, and only have to sit in the dark for one hour before the sun came up. I was wrong, though, as I didn’t get any sleep until my watch started.
Halfway threw Dans watch some heavy gunfire started up that never really ended. When my watch started I had just gotten used to the noise of the gunfire, and kept falling asleep. A problem Johny apparently didn’t have as he continuously threatened to shoot me in the foot if I didn’t wake up. As the sun came up enough to see, we found the gunfire had drawn extremely close. Watching through the hole in the paint I could see zombies running down the street toward it. Not quite as thick as on the highways, but at any one time around ten could be seen running past.
By nine, when we had planned to leave, I could see the commotion outside. Joy and adrenalin filled my body as I raced down stairs to inform the others of the amazing news. The military was entering every building on both sides of the street! Obviously searching for survivors. This nightmare was over. Dan and I could piece together what was left of our life, and Johny could go back to defending our country and freedom.
When I got down to tell them the good news only Dan shared in the excitement. Johny just sat there with a concerned look on his face before quickly getting to his feet. Sternly he told us we had to immediately leave through the backdoor, and get as far away as possible. Dan and I were puzzled, why not wait for the rescue?
Johny explained that they were mercenaries, formerly employed by the government. Once their objective is overrun their payment ceases as it is to difficult to retrieve them for redeployment when many of them are likely to be infected. Many of them die in the fighting, but there are rumors of a few who go rogue. Called ‘ghosts’ they adapt to the zombie infested lands. These ghost teams thrive off of looting. Once they find humans they either kill them outright for food, ‘recruit’ them forcing them to fight as cannon fodder, or worse torture them for both entertainment and information.
Originally, upon hearing this, Dan had laughed. “Only a fool could believe that. Those stories are only spread to give people all the more incentive to evacuate when ordered. That many could not go feral so quickly. We are waiting for their help, you can leave if you want, but we are staying.” Johny scowled, and moved out of sight of the front door into the gun room.
It only took a few minutes for them to get to our building. Dan and I stayed in sight of the door by the hall leading out the back way just in case Johny was right. Johny stayed in the gun room to fight if need be.
With a burst of flame the door flew inward off its hinges. Stepping through the smoke a tall man in a full bio-war suit stepped through the door holding a large gun. He was followed closely by two others. Without so much as a warning the first one, still in the door way, opened fire. The bullets from his three-shot bursts danced around just missing my head by a few inches. Johny was right, we should leave.
(Cont. May 18, 10 AM EST “City of the Dead”)
We have been in the pawn shop for God knows how long. I’d guess it was around nine or ten this morning when we first made it here, and now it’s dark outside. It’s hard to say exactly what time it is, the only clock is broken. Everything has been comparatively calm for awhile in any case, most of the zombies that have tried to get in have started chasing passersby. We painted all the windows. leaving only a small space for us to see outside, with a thick coat of black paint to keep anyone or anything from seeing inside. While the paint seems to be doing its job well enough, Dan still insists on keeping all the lights off. The dark is starting to get on my nerves though.
Barricades in place, we set about arming ourselves. The guns were kept in one of the back rooms, apparently the owners licence to sell firearms had been revoked pending criminal charges for the selling of stolen goods. Still, the selection was unnerving. The guy had a 30′x30′ room full of weapons. Everything from hunting rifles to pistols.
I had trouble selecting guns. They all looked about the same to me. I ended up having to ask to Dan for help. Being ex-military I figured he’d understand what type of guns work best for distance travel, reliability, and my poor accuracy. He ended up laying out four rifles and six hand guns telling me to choose what felt the most comfortable. I ended up going with the Savage 110 hunting rifle because it was relatively light. Since it’s bolt action Dan said it would be reliable. Along with that I choose a Glock 19 for a handgun, because, well, it looked pretty neat and it’s light weight. I liked the idea that the Glock 26 used the same ammunition and magazines, plus it was even lighter, enough so that I could carry it as well for emergencies. Together they seemed to make a good pair.
The night was going peacefully, Dan was still debating the pistol he would take when someone started kicking at the front door. We made it upfront just as the man burst threw the door. Dan immediately pointed his unloaded pistol at the man. The man swung around pointing his rifle at us as he braced the door with his back. He shouted across the room that he was United States Military, and warned us that we would be killed if we did not put our guns down. My Brother was fairly stubborn about this backing us into the gun room.
Through the door we talked with the man for quite some time, before Dan began to trust him. No one wanted to kill anybody. Dan just wanted to make sure we weren’t going to get shot. The military man, it turned out, was being chased by zombies partially comprised of his former unit, and only wanted a place to get away. He was able to give us a lot of information on the current situation.
The military plan for when, not if, the city became infected was to evacuate as many people as possible, setting up a new line of defense further West. All of cities in the Northeast were being evacuated as the entire area was being cut off. The Canadian Armed Forces were massing on the border to defend, which only added to US-Canadian tensions as some people believed they were going to go for a land grab. All this meant that the entire Eastern United States was about to belong to the undead hoard, zombies.
(Cont. May 17, 9pm EST “And Their Name Was Death”)
I’ve made peace with my end. It may not be the most glamorous way to go, especially considering I did leave my family to die, but at least I’ll be joining them soon. I can hear the zombies getting closer. They can’t be more than 50 feet away. The gunshots are slowing down, and most of the people, who were running for their life only moments ago, are gone. At least the ones who are going to survive for awhile have already passed. I could hear loud clumsy footsteps just around to the corner. One large zombie closer than the others. Before I even had time to look up to see my killer I was grabbed by the arm and forcibly lifted to my feet. Still unable to get a view of this zombies face I was pushed forward as it shouted, “RUN!”… wait, zombies can’t talk. What?
Two gunshots rang out right behind my head before the zombie, um guy, grabbed me by the arm again and began pulling me down the alley faster than I felt comfortable running. Finally I got a look at who it was. I was greatly surprised to see it was my brother, Dan, pulling me along. I knew my Mom had died, but I had hoped for an instant my Dad would have survived. Sadly, as I looked back all I could see was zombies streaming into the alleyway. At least my brother had survived. I felt like I had a reason to live again.
We finally got to the end of the alley out onto the street. Dan spun around firing two shots blindly towards the zombies before pushing me again. It looked like he was aiming us towards one of buildings across the street. Many more zombies were now coming into view chasing down people running along the street parallel to the alley. I really don’t think its worth counting odds once you get past twenty to one. It is enough to say there were a lot of them. Though I was concerned about the situation, Dan looked driven, like a man with a plan.
We got to the door an older three story brick building. It looked fairly secure the only ground-level windows were the two large barred windows on either side of the door with “Dave’s Pawn & Scrap” painted on both. After Dan fumbled through a handful of keys he found one that worked, and opened the door. “We should be safe here,” he reassured me. “I worked here for awhile, and still have a copy of all the keys. I was planning on cleaning the place out some day. It’s fairly secure. Besides the door we came in there is only one other enterance in the back leading to a fenced parking lot on the small back road. It’s hard to get here directly from the main street without climbing over a wall.” Grinning, he added, “Plus, the guy sells guns here.”
(Cont. May 15, 8PM EST “Of Zombies & Men”)
My brother yelled at my Mom and me to run while he fired his M&P at the oncoming hoard. Mom was frantically trying to pull Dad out of the car, people were running past scared for their very existence. I’m standing beside the backseat with a dumb look on my face. I can see them close now. Zombies, hundreds of them, are running down the hill, though a few seem to have lost their balance and have started rolling. People everywhere are leaving their cars and running. The same scene as on the highway just closer and in vivid detail. Flesh being ripped from bones, limbs torn asunder, people falling all around. It was death personified more than one hundred times over. It’s enough to turn your legs to putty, and freeze you where you stand.
I didn’t plan on running. There was nothing else I could do. Everyone had their own motives. Me, I couldn’t save anyone else and I wanted to live. I took one step back, then another, and another. Before I knew it I had turned and joined the running mob. Occasionally someone would slip and fall. Though people knew only death awaited them no one stopped to help. They were probably trampled to death before the zombies could get to them.
I made it behind a building, and was standing beside a back alleyway on the other side of the intersection. Looking back I could see the hoard. Unfortunately, the gap between the zombies and me hadn’t increased, they were so much closer now. The first line was at our car now. I couldn’t see my brother. I knew he might be on the ground right now with parts of him in the stomachs of the undead. My Mom, however, was in horribly clear sight. Two of them had ripped her away from the car. One holding her, the other…I couldn’t watch.
Gasping for breath I stepped backward into the alleyway out of sight of the car. My knees were useless as I slid down the ground with my back to the building. My loving parents, a life of memories with them, and probably most of people I ever knew, were all gone during one horrible morning. The gap was closing every second.
I could only think back to the news last night. They had said the zombies probably wouldn’t make it here. That they were so few in number the military should be able to stop them. At worst it was a three day walk here for them, and we should start thinking about evacuating on the off chance they did make it.
I guess my worrying wasn’t helpful, I mean, time was wasting. Fresh zombies, ‘runners’, are faster than an uninfected human, and they don’t need to stop to catch their breath. On the other hand, I couldn’t think of any reason why not worrying about it would help my situation any. No matter how you look at its not a good situation to be in.
(Cont. May 13, 8pm EST “You can’t run, but you can hide!”)
“What the fuck?! GET IN THE CAR NOW!,” the last words I ever heard my Dad speak.
We had been on the highway for about two hours. The sun had come up, and traffic was moving so slowly people were getting out of their cars. It was an accident waiting to happen. Hundreds of panicked people, most of whom were armed, sitting around waiting for traffic to move. Occasionally down the road you could hear gunshots ring out, presumably a traffic jam variation of road rage.
My brother Dan and I had been sitting on the trunk of the car for quite a while by that point, waiting for Dad to tell us traffic was getting ready to move. He kept telling us to stay in our seats, but when you haven’t moved in an hour it just doesn’t seem logical. The radio was up so loud we could hear it from here warning people not to take the highways as they were all at a stand still. One station even suggest the fastest safest route out of town was taking bicycles or motorcycles on back roads. It sounded like the nearby gunfire was getting closer and closer. It was starting to get concerning, but Dan kept joking about how many he was going to kill. His confidence made me feel a little bit better about our odds of survival.
Dan was discussing the killing power of his A&P when I heard it, the last words my father ever spoke. Looking over the front after the car as he spoke, far down the highway, I could see the most horrible vista imaginable. Hundreds if not thousands of people all running in our direction, the first line stopping at each car as the next line climbed over them. From the distance it almost looked like a red mist followed the hoard. Zombies! In awe it took a minute before the shock wore off enough I could get into the car.
Before my door was shut my father was moving. He slammed on the gas turning as sharp as he could. We managed to push the car in front of us a few feet into the next car forward before he took us off the side of the raised highway. Dad drove the car off the highway down a the steep grassy hill to the road below. This road, however, was also horribly congested. By the time we had gotten to the bottom he had managed to maneuver the car into facing the opposite direction. When we hit the bottom he took off driving so fast, all Mom could say was things like “Hold on!,” “Slow down!,” and “Buckle up!” With all the cars on the road the old man had to drive halfway on the sidewalk halfway on the grass we had just driven down. Already horribly upset Mom was virtually crying now.
We got to the intersection in just under 3 minutes. A feat that had taken us two hours going from the same intersections on-ramp, the other direction, in traffic. Unfortunately there was no room to get the car past, and with half of our wheels on the grass Dad wasn’t able to stop before he slammed into a car in the middle of the intersection. The airbags deployed as we hit, and retracted in what seemed like an instant. Dad grabbed his gun, but his arm bent out of shape as he tried to pick it up now yelling in pain. The bones of his forearm must have been shattered. Probably caught between the rim of the steering wheel and the airbag. Mom, slightly hazy from the crash, was bent over checking on him as the the background noise filled with moans.
(Cont. May 12, 8PM EST “My Life? Lunch”)