I have gotten the time lately to catch up on a couple current TV shows while I’m working on other projects here. Last night, for instance, I had the British show “Survivors” playing in the background while I was staining a mantelpiece. Having also just watched the first couple episodes of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” a couple days ago it got me thinking about what I would do if the end of the world or ZA (Zombie Apocalypse) really did occur.
Since I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time inside my own abode lately it is much more likely that I would survive the bite driven ZA than the airborne virus in “Survivors”. Inactivity and ramen soup don’t do much for one’s immune system. That said, I’ll focus on the ZA as that has more variables and a more pressing universal danger factor after the initial sweep.
To begin with, there’s the panic that one must survive. Most ZA films show people running about the streets, getting bitten, turning on their friends and family, and eventually overrunning the earth. That’s the basic premise of every ZA film since Romero’s re-envisioning in 1968. Taking all that into account, the first step to surviving the zombie apocalypse is to sleep through the initial panic (or fortification if you’re awake). Most of us, fans, have that part covered.
After the panic sweeps the world, those in non-secure locations with lots of people or dead bodies (see “Night of the Living Dead” – the original) are the first to be compromised. The farmhouse with the fresh family plot or the grocery store filled with the panicking public,;not the places one would want to be initially. My apartment is on the third floor, has a metal fire-door entrance, and (disturbingly) no fire-escape off the balcony in the back. I’d probably be ok for the panic driven initial ZA sweep as long as I had enough food for a couple weeks.
After the radio and television channels stopped broadcasting (which I think would take longer that most writers of horror films take into account) it might be time to venture out and make some of my own observations. The whole difficulty for new watchers of zombie films is understanding how what’s going on makes sense. Many films write in such things as viruses and EBE’s to explain the reanimations but I don’t think it’s necessary. The average person isn’t going to care what caused the problem, they’re going to want the info necessary to survive and deal with the problem. The second step in surviving the ZA is to learn the rules. A great layout of the common Zombie rules can be found at the Zombiepedia, but I caution any ZA survivor from assuming these to be accurate. The best way to find out for yourself is to observe several zombies and their interactions with other living creatures. If I waited until after the initial panic when there were easy pickings for the Zombies, or Lifeless Individuals as they like to be called, it would afford a much more specific stage on which to see the Zombie’s actual capabilities. For my scenario I’m going to lay out a couple of my own ground rules derived from films and forethought so as to proceed with this highly informative post.
- What can zombies do?
- Bang on Stuff
- Eat Stuff
- Hear big noises
- See movement and color
- Hold on tight
- Comprehend at about the level of a Parakeet
- Determine that another zombie is not food
- What can’t zombies do?
- Develop fine motor skills
- Remember what they were doing five seconds before
- Recognize people
- Use guns
- Have babies
- Climb random vertical structures like trees, ropes, or scaffolding; though ladders seem to be fair game using all arm strength.
- Communicate with each other
- Learn from each other
- What causes zombification?
- More Death
- and Chickens… just kidding
- What kills a zombie?
- Major brain trauma – Make sure you get the Cerebellum or it will walk around for ages.
- Fire – if it incinerates them to the bone.
- They’re already dead.
- Who or what will become a Zombie?
- Anyone who dies within ten days prior or anytime after the ZA
- Any living thing that has died from infection caused by zombie bite
- The still born
- Animals (including sea-life) eaten by the Zombie Horde but still having their brain intact
- Is there a way to clean up the earth and stop the ZA?
- There is no cure for death
- This is supernatural, like werewolves and vampires
- Will I survive?
- Depends on what you want to do with your life
Ok, so those are my basic zombie ground rules. As you can see there is plenty of room for variation in the handling of this ZA but one thing to keep in mind when Zombies are involved is not the details but the overall picture. All of these things are semi-creepy but what gets you killed in the ZA is the sheer quantity of zombies. If you’ve ever been to a raucous concert or stepped into Time Square during a major event, you’ll relate to this better. Even if they don’t recognize you as food you may get trampled to death, smothered, or otherwise interred by the swarming masses.
The third step in surviving the ZA is choosing your weapons. Here in New York City it would be difficult for most of us to get a gun, nor would it be wise. A gun makes a lot of noise and is limited in use to the amount of ammo on hand. A better choice would be a selection of weapons ranging in purpose. Everything from a sword to a skateboard would work, in fact the skateboarders would probably be a large section of the survivors due to their initial reaction to swing that thing and conk ‘em in the head; so get weapons, but nothing that requires fuel or hard-to-make ammo.
The fourth step to surviving the ZA is to acquire new untainted food and water. City water is processed from waste water, so after a while the taps would be a majorly bad idea. I don’t want to die from a stomach bug. Bottled water would work until it ran out. The best option, really, is to hit up you local grocery on a raid to get food and while you’re there get all the water filters you can find (assuming you intend on staying in the city). That will give you the option of rainwater, snow, even the tap as sources, making sure to boil all first before running it through the Brita. Eventually, though, the city food and drink will run out.
The fifth step to surviving the ZA is reliable transportation. You’ll need something fast and dependable. Motorcycles are not a good idea. Campers are also not a good idea. A Ford “Escape”, that might work. A Scion TC, even better; gets good gas mileage and is fast, light, and maneuverable. Steal one if you must, but you’ll probably have better luck simply clubbing a zombie who’s walking about the parking garage and stealing his keys. You don’t want to break a window, have the alarm go off, or cause any other loud thing that would change the car’s structural integrity or draw attention.
The sixth step is a getting duct tape… and lots of it. As Zombies have a really strong grip you want to smooth out any hand holds on the outside of your car without adding a lot of weight to it… the more weight your car has, the worse gas mileage you’ll get, and I’m thinking I’d rather not have to stop for gas all that often.
The seventh step is driving out to Arizona or New Mexico. Why there? Well, if you’re not in the states, don’t worry. The point is to go and live in the houses of people who have already set up their homes to be self sufficient. In Arizona are the earthships. If you did find any zombies there it would be a simple task of eliminating any remaining walkers and shoring up the house a bit more. Earthships have all the modern amenities, food, etc. all-in-one. Sure that’s not the only option, and granted the best thing you could do with your life would not be to hide away in the desert, but this is survival, not world peace.
Do you want to save the world after the ZA? Then make it your personal mission to put down every last one of them until no Lifeless Entity is left. Of course, people die everyday, so therefore a new zombie would be born every day. Meh.