“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”)
1. Movement and Obstacle Navigation.
If you watch a human move quickly through a room crowded with small tables you will notice him moving around the tables, moving over the tables, or moving the tables out of the way. Now, watch the same human after becoming a zombie run through the room. He may try to move around larger obstacles, but generally he will ignore them simply running through them taking the fastest route to the nearest human.
You will also notice that post zombification that the movements of the person in question will have become sudden and jerky. If you shout out Jimmy’s name, he will probably turn his head to look over at you. It will most likely be a fairly quick, and smooth movement. Now, standing in the same position relative to Jimmy after he has become a zombie, and call out Billy’s name. Jimmy will quickly look at you, same as he did before. This time his head movement will be sudden without the smooth start and stop a he had before being infected. Instead of standing there waiting to find out what you want, this time he will instead start running towards you as he notices you there. This sudden abnormal reaction is a good sign that he is probably not Jimmy anymore.
Normal uninfected people can appear like zombies, namely when they are drunk, high, beaten up, or have recently woke up. This is not always the best way to discern whether a zombie truly is a zombie. For example, a mans clothing may be raggedy, old, dirty, and worn, yet he may not be a zombie. However, if he has a large hole in his stomach and is still running towards you, or if he has recently had limbs violently amputated and is ignoring his wounds to attack you, this is a good sign he is a zombie. A normal human simply won’t have the ability to attack you if he is losing blood rapidly for some reason or another.
Humans are articulate creatures. We like to communicate, and we do it primarily through sound. That basic human instinct is not lost on those previously dead. Though they lack the communication skills of a normal human their moans serve as an alert. It has been theorized that they use this to alert others to prey in the area to increase the chances of a kill. Their mass numbers make this unstealthy tactic quite potent.
Be warned, however, like all ways of determining if someone has become a zombie this has its flaws. Until the zombie knows you are there it will not moan. Therefore, you need other methods to decide if that quiet person in the distance is a potential zombie.
Even if you haven’t had a shower in the last two months a zombie will have a stronger odor far worse in quality than your own stench. When the body dies it evacuates its bowls. Combine that with the blood, tissue, and other materials that make up a human body rotting on the zombie since its creation and you will have yourself an insanely foul smell strong enough to be noticed for hundreds of feet down wind.
It should be noted that due to their unique qualities zombies will not rot, and as such, zombies who have not had many meals may not smell particularly bad. Combined that with humans weak sensitivity to smell, and you can see why discerning a zombie by smell is not always the easiest way.
I’ll admit if you are touching someone you want to be completely sure it is not a zombie. Unfortunately, this is probably the most accurate way to tell. Equally unfortunate is at the range required the potential zombie will probably be attempting to eat you making this fifth method nearly useless. Still, if you touch someone it should be obvious if it is, or is not a human. Human skin is warm, undead skin is cold. Human flesh is firm, zombies flesh is ‘squishy.’ Your fingernails will have a hard time pushing through human skin, while they will be able to easily puncture all but the freshest zombie skin.
(Disclaimer: Even if someone fits the criteria above for being a zombie DO NOT attempt to kill or harm said person. Instead, contact a hospital if they seem to be badly hurt, or the police if you believe them to be a threat. Chances are in this modern world they are not a zombie, and you don’t want to accidentally kill a human.)
*This is my entry in the ProBlogger.net Group Writing Project. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/05/07/top-5-group-writing-project
It was only six am when I was dragged out of bed by my Mom. Infection warning sirens were blaring in the background while my Dad stood in the living room staring at the TV. He was holding his shotgun looking all too ready to use it. Under normal circumstances this is concerning, but when you add in an infection hitting your town its only natural to be thrown into a panic. After all, everything you once knew about to be eaten.
We thought we were well prepared. Even though Mom had bought into the propaganda believing the Zombie Threat was virtually contained, Dad drilled us on what to do. He went so far as to have us fake an evacuation from town in the middle of the night, only telling us it was a drill once we were gone. This was different. You could feel it just by looking at my Dad. It was here at last and everyone, except for my Father, was in an utter panic.
Getting dressed I could hear the man on the TV talking about the living dead. That you should only aim for the head for a kill shot as anywhere else is wasted ammunition. They don’t need sleep, they don’t get tired, they are attracted to the faintest whisper, or slightest of smell. As he talked in the background you could hear screaming people, no doubt the camera was shooting in full view of the zombies. I have seen them before on TV. At first they were censored like the attack on the World Trade Center. Now they just wanted to scare people into preparing for the worse.
I thought I was quick getting dressed, but by the time I got outside my Brother Dan was already waiting beside the car. He was always the gun type. So it was no surprise when our overzealous father told him to “Guard the car so one of the neighbours doesn’t try to steal it to get away”. Like any of them would want our car, everyone knows it breaks down just when you need it. Looking around it appeared all of our neighbours except Miss Jenkins, and Roy Patterson beat us leaving anyway. Miss Jenkins always said she would stay with her cats & her house, and Roy Patterson always joked around saying he’d come over to defend her. I guess he followed through.
It took us forty-five minutes to get onto the highway, normally it’s a five minute job. Every semi-major road was packed as seemingly everyone in town tried to leave simultaneously. I was starting to believe in Roy Patterson’s plan of letting it calm down before trying to leave, but it was to early in the morning for me to be coherent enough to attempt an argument with my Father. At least the traffic was beginning to speed up.
(Cont. May 11, 8pm EST “Last Words”)