There are a lot of zombie stories out there, and truthfully, I love every single one. C. W. Thornton wrote a short story detailing what things actually might be like if zombies were real. Maybe it wouldn’t be as scary as we all think? Maybe things wouldn’t be much different at all…
Zombs: A Day in the Life of an Infected Management Agent.
It had finally happened – The Zombie Apocalypse. Well, not an apocalypse, really. Details of day-to-day life actually were pretty much the same. And not really zombies, either. The handbook said something about a prion disease, spongiform encephalopathy – there were medical details about this strange disease, how it attacked specific parts of the brain, turning them to Swiss cheese, causing zombie like behaviors. The handbook also said not to call them zombies. On the rig we called them zombs anyways, and now one was stuck in a crawl space beneath a home in a pleasant California neighborhood.
The homeowner was exasperated. ‘Well, it started with one late last night. I don’t know how got in the back yard. God, I should have called last night, but they’re so slow! I didn’t imagine so many would show up so fast!’
‘Well,’ Doug, my partner, had just put the last of the zombs in the truck, except for my friend in the crawl space, and was going over the paperwork with the homeowner. ‘You’re lucky, your windows and doors are rated for a horde of 12. We put 8 in the truck…’
‘Doug, we got one in the crawl space,’ I said.
‘In the? What?’ Doug put down his paperwork and stormed over to where I was on the ground. ‘How’d that little asshole get in there?’ Doug’s thin veneer of professionalism was the first thing to go when something unexpected happened. ‘Well, use your catchpole and drag him out of there.’
‘Pole won’t reach, already tried.’
Doug was an overweight, middle aged, Navy veteran. He had a big grey horseshoe moustache and tattoos up his arms. He didn’t seem to care much about catching zombs, he just didn’t want to sit in a cubicle. Plus he liked to smoke on the job.
Me, on the other hand… I grew up dreaming of the day the zombies would attack. My friends and I would make elaborate survival plans – we had visions of humvee convoys heading into the hills, loaded with guns and provisions, epic zombie battles and heroic deeds. We ‘trained,’ which meant we did some pushups or went to the shooting range every once in a while. When the zombie disease first spread we thought it was a hoax. When we realized it wasn’t we were giddy with excitement, solidifying our plans for when it all went to shit. But it never did. The government set up the IMA, the Infected Management Agency, and everything went on like it used to, except for the new businesses, agencies, and those dumb posters all over teaching the ABCs of zomb safety, ‘Avoid, Barricade, Call.’
We are who you’re supposed to call – a field team with the IMA. We call them Zomb Squads. We’re the front line in the underwhelming fight against the infected. I joined when I realized that there would be no vigilante zombie hunting. Vigilante zomb hunting is actually punishable in the state of California by up to 5 years in prison and a 10,000 dollar fine, so I figured I’d get some action if I signed up for the IMA. And here I was, ‘getting action’ as Doug pulled on my legs to drag me out of the crawl space, the zomb snared at the end of my catch pole. The homeowners had retreated back inside and watched from the windows.
‘Heavy, ain’t he?’ Doug huffed and puffed , his smoker’s lungs struggling as he strained to extricate me and the zomb in tow. ‘You know in Oklahoma they just kill the things? They don’t mess around down there. They have these big ass rigs with an incinerator right there in the back. Throw in the zombs and WHOOOSH! Burnt to a crisp! These damn bleeding hearts in California… Hardly even want us to be armed! And you know the paperwork if we have to shoot one of these assholes? It’s like they think they’ll find a cure, or they want to open a zoo with these things or something. Don’t they know they’re brain is all turned to mush? There we go!’
I had popped out of the crawl space and was pulling the zomb out by where I’d hooked it at the ankle.
‘Watch it watch it watch it!’ Doug hooked his pole around its neck and pulled it back as it snatched toward me. ‘This one’s hungry! You see how fast he moved? I saved your life, boy.’
Our uniforms are Kevlar, and it’s pretty hard to get bit if you’re not an idiot, but the little flirtations with danger kept me coming back, hoping one day to get in an all out zomb gun battle, like the one that went down in Chicago last week. Headshot, headshot, headshot… that crew was bad ass – true operators. It was a hive on the South Side, I heard. A building in the projects got infected and the neighbors just boarded up the front door – they did the A and the B, but never got around to C. It wasn’t until a passing cop saw a zomb fall off the roof that he realized what happened and called the IMA. Man, they called in the IMA Tactical Squad, all ex special ops guys, I’m sure, and they cleared the hive. That stuff never happened here, though, and even in Chicago and New York it didn’t happen too often. Even if we encountered a hive the handbook said to retreat and call in the Tac Squad.
We loaded up the stray zomb – a horde of 9, pretty good in these parts. The homeowner popped his head out of the back door, ‘Is it safe, guys?’
‘Oh yeah,’ Doug said, ‘We’ve got ’em all locked up. Soon they’ll be on they’re way to the detention facility. Now, here are some cards for IMA approved security companies. You’ve got good horde protection on the doors and windows, in this area you won’t get more than a dozen for a long time, but that crawl space worries me a bit, and I don’t know who put in that back fence but it’s not zomb, I mean, it’s not infected proof. You’ve got motion sensors? Lockdown protocols? Good, good. Just sign here and here. This is saying we cleared the property and offered advice to prevent another horde, and this page is saying you acknowledge that you received information on licensed security vendors as well as the dangers and consequences of vigilante infected control. Thank you sir, and remember, if you see an infected, follow the ABCs – Avoid, Barricade, and Call it in. Have a good day.’
I just feel like if we were to actually have a zombie apocalypse this is 100% how it would go. There’d be nothing exciting about it. What’s your favorite zombie story (movie or book)? I loved World War Z and need to read that book ASAP. 28 Days Later was also awesome.