Authors: Samie Sands
I’ve been sitting here for hours, trying to work out where I went wrong. It can’t just be that no one else is here, that isn’t possible. The report on the radio—it told me to come here. It said to head to the local airport, that there would be ‘further instructions’ when I arrived. As far as I understand, this is the only airport for miles. It’s quite rural here, so I’m sure this is the main airport for a lot of places. I can’t
be the only survivor. I know I’ve been quite arrogant about my personal ability to survive; there must be others equal, if not better equipped for this. This isn’t logical, even if I
the only person left alive, someone from the government would have been here to meet me.
It doesn’t make any sense.
Unless, is it possible that I was sat inside my home longer than I first thought? Shocked and paralysed by what happened with Lexi? Maybe more time passed during that period than I realised, maybe the whole thing has had a deeper impact on me that I ever thought possible. If that’s the case, then I’m well and truly alone. Everyone else has gone off to some refugee camp somewhere. I wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for it.
I can’t even begin to contemplate the idea of coping alone. What will I do? It’ll just be me. And them.
How long can I fight? It’s become like a nightmare I can’t wake up from. The concept of a zombie apocalypse seems fun, exciting, a change from real life when you’re idly thinking about it. I admit I was always all for it. I thought a life where money, careers, and responsibility no longer mattered would suit me much better. Because I knew my life was destined to be full of failure, I wanted the drastic change to occur. But the reality of being alone, surrounding by flesh-eating monsters, it’s just awful. If there’s no chance of rescue, of finding the others, I think I’d rather be dead.
I think back to the wild-eyed guy from before. I wonder what he knew, if he
to stay behind with his infected girlfriend. I’d like to see him again to ask him what the fuck is happening, especially if he’s the only one around. But then, he’s probably already dead by now. There’s only so long you can last dangling a zombie off your arm.
I liked having a motive, a mission. I don’t know if I’ll be as good just wandering about aimlessly, trying to survive. I certainly can’t head back home now. That thought is much too depressing. My cocky, positive attitude is waning in the dystopian reality that faces me. It doesn’t look like the ‘clean up’ mission is going to be completed any time soon. By the government or me.
Suddenly a glimpse of white catches my eye. I immediately jump up, on the alert. I scan the room quickly, ragged breaths highlighting my position to any enemies. I walk over to what I saw; I’m shocked and reach down to pick it up.
Acetylcholine Malassimilation 1.3 Report
Presently, I have seven specimens to assist me with this report, all displaying the varying symptoms of Acetylcholine Malassimilation 1.3—commonly referred to as the AM13 virus.
The virus is evidently RNA, the capsid is impenetrable, protected by a further layer—or virion. It appears to be caused by Orthomyxoviruses, which is why the early symptoms reflect that of influenza.
All of the specimens have an infected upper respiratory tract, which links to their shivering, coughing, aching. However, I cannot see any evidence that interferon is being released and no antibodies are being created—why? Must look further into this. It’s the normal body’s reaction.
MDOS is the next step, causing an uncontrolled inflammatory response and in some cases septic shock. Similar to pathophysiology; respiratory failure, hepatic failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, renal failure. Mortality rate at this stage is 100% as the chance of survival diminishes as the number of organs involved increases—in the case of the AM13 virus, all organs are targeted too rapidly for medical intervention to assist. What would normally take at least a week is taking mere hours.
Brain scans of specimens in the third and final stage of the virus display some unusual activity—expected, as the level of brain activity after all organs have shut down should be zero—that I intend to investigate further during my time working on this report.
The neurons’ cell bodies have a lot of damage—endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, and mitochondria are all affected. Only the nucleus, which contains DNA, appears unharmed. The myelin has been stripped from the axon on the interneurons, leaving all the peripheral nerves unprotected—must find out what effect this will have on the senses in the long run, research ganglia?
The cerebellum appears to have lost the substantia nigra, which allows voluntary movement. Without this, it seems the infected are simply living by their instincts. Explains why their motions are often ‘jerky’ and uncoordinated.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are not working at all, the activity in these areas are completely null. Disregards previous evidence that the specimens are run by the desire to ‘eat’ human flesh. Have seen this occurring in video evidence however, something I need to look into a lot further—are there any other viruses with similar conflictions?
The cerebrum is no longer made up of the grey and white matter we are accustomed to seeing, it is almost an entirely black area. This explains items highlighted in previous reports into the virus:
The parietal lobe is no longer processing the somatosensory input—will not feel pain. Evidence of sensory aphasia, specimens cannot understand any languages, and do not speak any, but will make sounds.
The frontal lobe and limbic process which contains thought process, memory, and emotions is another completely black area. Specimens show absolutely no activity here, correlates with all previous understandings of victims of AM13.
The occipital lobe and the temporal lobe are allowing sights to be seen, and sounds to be heard, but they are no longer interpreted in a logical manner.
This report is going to be my main aid in determining the origins of the Acetylcholine Malassimilation 1.3 virus, how humans are surviving this infection when the victims are technically ‘dead,’ how the virus is spreading at the pace it is, and a cure.
I’ve been allocated all the possible resources available to help me complete this task. As we are currently in an undisclosed location, I do not have everything within my reach, but I will continue with what’s accessible to me.
I have determined from this initial enquiry that I need to delve a lot deeper into understanding AM13 before I can progress, as I’ve not been able to submit full findings at this stage.
“Will you just…give
!” I pant as I bring the axe down repeatedly, finally forcing it through the head of an old man. Scratch that—a zombie. I never let myself think of them as people. They are hungry, cannibalistic monsters, nothing more. As soon as you start remembering what they once were, you get distracted. Then you die. It really is that simple.
About a month has passed since I finally made it to the airport, late and alone. A month of surviving by myself, of killing more infected than I ever thought I would have to, of trying desperately to find the refugee camp where everyone else is. I travelled for miles trying to find any signs and clues; you’d think the government would have left directions somewhere, just in case. But nothing. I started to think that maybe everyone was flown somewhere; after all, the meeting place was the airport. I guess that makes sense.
So I was forced to give up, accepting that I was never going to find anyone. I found myself somewhere safe to hole up. I actually got very lucky and found somewhere amazing—almost as if it was designed for this exact situation. A little B and B, all alone down a country lane. It’s brilliant. As it isn’t near any shops, it was stocked high with food and water. It’s also too far out of the way of any towns for the zombies to have noticed it yet.
Of course, I had the unpleasant task of clearing it out initially. Probably the B and B owners and a couple of guests. It didn’t take me long. Luckily they didn’t really have much fight left in them and I was full of determination and confidence. The odd zombie, like the old man I just finished off, occasionally ambles down this way. But apart from that, I’ve been living quite a good life. Considering.
I mean, if I had one complaint, it’d be that it’s boring. The electricity cut out pretty quickly when everyone left, along with the water and gas. So with no television to watch, no one to even talk to, it’s hard. Each minute feels like an hour, each hour could be a week. The only reading material I have access to is a bunch of religious books, which are way too heavy for me to want to read right now. I don’t think this is the ideal situation to have some sort of spiritual enlightenment.
Horror films, sci-fi books, survival television shows. They never show you the incredibly dull side of just getting by. They show all the stress and excitement, which may not be ideal, but this is just…snooze.
I’ve been waiting for a helicopter to come and rescue me. That’s what always happens next, isn’t it? In all the things I’ve watched, the characters always end up being picked up by some sort of military vehicles, just as it seems all hope is lost. I know I’m not quite at that stage yet, but if something doesn’t happen soon I’m going to lose my mind.
I suppose realistically, I don’t
think I’m going to be rescued; it’s just a little daydream of mine to while away the long, boring hours. They probably thought that everyone was saved in the first place. I imagine they assumed no one would be stupid enough to get left behind. Well, they were wrong. I’m here, for one!
I don’t even imagine myself as an actress anymore, nothing interesting happens anymore to warrant that.
Another bit of bad news is I’m actually starting to run low on the supplies. I’ve somehow managed to get through almost everything in the weeks I’ve been here. I have rationed my food a lot more carefully in recent days, at first I was giving in to a lot of boredom eating; I guess I never assumed I was going to be here this long. So it looks like soon I’m going to have to live out the stereotypical zombie apocalypse fantasy. I’ll leave this solitude and try to find a group.
As always, I envision there’ll be the jock, the geek, the girly girl, the badass girl—I’d quite like to take that role—and maybe even an older married couple with kids. We’ll all put our obvious differences aside to use our combined unique skillset to survive. That’s how it always happens, right? Hollywood says so.
Although it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a single living person, I’m confident of my chances of finding others. I didn’t find them before because I was too busy looking for a large encampment. But I already know for a
that other people got left behind too, that I’m not the only one in the UK. Of course, I just have to hope that they’re still alive. The man I saw outside my house with his zombie pet girlfriend—not that I particularly want to be around him—and E.
I’m still here, and if you’re reading this, it means you are too. I’ll come back every day at 7 p.m., so meet me here. E.
The note from the airport. The one that brought me a smidgen of hope in a bleak situation. I went back to the airport for three days, eager to meet E, to have someone alongside me in this new, unusual situation. Just to find myself alone, every single time, so I gave up, dejected. E could’ve been dead, and I wasn’t about to let myself fall to the same fate waiting for this unknown person. But I’m certain there must be others. I cannot be the only one. I don’t want to accept that it’s just me and the zombies.
Well, anyway, I’m about to find out, aren’t I? I already have my bags packed, ready to go. I’ve collected together the minimal supplies that I have left and tomorrow morning, I head out. Nothing will stop me; I don’t have anything to lose anymore.
I actually can’t wait. I don’t feel scared at all. It’s time to inject some excitement back into my life.
In all of my reading of every single related medical document I have available to me within my given time frame, I’ve not been able to find any past research or diseases that display anything similar to Acetylcholine Malassimilation 1.3, which will help me within this report.
In this case, and with my previous knowledge, I cannot see vaccination being the solution. Even the smallest virus cell entering the body will cause full infection; there’s been sufficient evidence to support this. I’m also extremely wary of the possibility of a cure. With this much damage to the human body, will victims be able to recover and live full lives again? There is no evidence that it is possible to reanimate an organ that has gone through the entire MDOS process.
The specimens I have in front of me have terrible damage to their bodies. I’m going to list this, plus all of the knowledge I have on them below, so it’s all in one place. Locating odd bits of paper is wasting too much time:
1. Julie Parnell, 37, Primary School Chef.
5”9’, 61kg, dark blue eyes, cropped brunette hair.
Existing medical condition
Husband, two children, and her mother are in the camp.
She is in the latter stages of MDOS. Not dealing with the pain well. Currently a lot of screaming coming from her enclosure. She wasn’t coherent from the moment she was brought in. She has numerous knife wounds in her stomach and a broken bone in her arm. I understand there was a big struggle just before she was brought in.
2. Mark Andrews, age unknown
possibly late 50’s/early 60’s?
6”2’, 82kg, blue eyes and blond hair.
No information on existing medical conditions.
Doesn’t seem to have any family, can’t find many details about him at all. He was brought in off the plane immediately, showing flu symptoms. At first he was communicating on and off—that’s when I learnt his name. He progressed quickly through the stages and has been in the final stage for two days now. He has scratched and torn his skin throughout stage two, so has a lot of surface damage, but nothing too serious.
3. Oliver Normans, 20, College Student.
5”7’, 68kg, brown eyes, brown hair.
No existing medical conditions.
Parents, three brothers and a large selection of cousins in the camp.
His torso is full of bullet holes, one even piercing through his heart. He was brought in during the third stage of infection, and hasn’t changed since. He has been banging away on his glass enclosure every day and night with no let up. He can be riled up easily, but not calmed down. He is missing a leg. It’s my understanding that this happened after he got infected, it wasn’t a pre-existing condition.
4. Jake Riding, 31, Press Photographer.
5”4’, 62kg, green eyes, brown hair.
Existing medical condition
His mother is in the camp. He lost his father and sister just before the Lockdown.
He was brought in during his transition between the first and second stage, which allowed me to obtain a lot of useful data. He was very coherent at first, discussing his experiences with me, despite his condition. He hasn’t moved on to the third stage yet, despite being here for five days. It has been a very slow and painful process for him—need to figure out what makes the infection affect him slower? He experiences bursts of rage, during which he does a lot of damage to his body. He has also been clawing at his skin regularly, but this has resulted in a lot more damage than specimen two.
5. Ruby-Ann Eastley, 22, Waitress/Actress.
5”0’, 52kg pale blue eyes, long blonde hair.
No existing medical conditions.
Doesn’t seem to have any family left, came here with a group of friends.
She has been here for over a week and is still only showing flu-like symptoms. I haven’t been able to determine if this is AM13 or just influenza, but I have to keep her here, just to be safe. Despite the incessant questions from her that I cannot answer, she is tired and woozy, but this doesn’t determine either way. I want to keep an eye on this one because I think if she does transition, she will be very interesting to watch. No damage to her body as yet
will continue to report if things change.
6. Tyler Williams, 27, Semi-Professional Football Player.
6”1’, 70kg, green eyes, light brown hair.
Says in his notes that he’s suffered a sports-related knee injury in the recent months.
His younger sister is currently in the camp.
The worst case I currently have. The damage to his body is irreparable. He was brought in during the third stage of infection. His intestines have fallen from a hole in his stomach, three bones are sticking out from his leg. His left leg is at a very uncomfortable angle, but this doesn’t appear to cause him any problems. I have seen a noticeable difference within him. He was very aggressive at first, banging on the glass, even talking a little bit—similar to specimen three, but in the last twelve hours, he has quieted down and slumped to the floor. Given up? Condition worsening? Time will only tell.
7. Emma Kenshole, 16, GCSE Student.
5”3’, 51kg, dark brown eyes, dark blonde hair.
Her notes suggest she may have suffered from anxiety, but with a large question mark, so this information isn’t confirmed.
Her grandmother is in camp.
She is the quietest specimen I currently have. She was brought in during stage one. I don’t know if she was coherent or not because she stayed silent. Now in stage two, she looks as if she is suffering the same pain as the others, but she still isn’t making any noise. I haven’t been able to find out any more information about her. According to the board, her grandmother suffers from mild dementia, so isn’t responding well to questioning. I intend to run many more tests on this specimen.
Age seems to have no impact, nor gender or race. Although I’ve not been given any specific details about race, I can clearly see that skin pigmentation has no impact. Every single specimen has reacted differently to the virus, aside from the basic three stages. A lot of the damage to the victims of the disease will be a huge challenge to repair. If I find a cure, the hospitals will be full. The medical staff, knowledge, and funds are all scarce. I’m sure this will be an added strain, which may not have a high success rate.
I’ve come to the conclusion that an antidote is the most obvious solution. I know this may not be the ideal answer, nor is it the original purpose for my findings, but I’m positive that it’s the most humane response. If we can save all the current uninfected people from getting the virus, that’s a positive step in the right direction.
From my current findings, I can safely assume that the body cannot fight off this virus at any stage, as it has evolved past our bodies’ capabilities. Specimens should not be able to progress to the third stage, after all the organs
including the heart
stop functioning, it has always been impossible for a human being to continue moving and living after this has happened, but somehow AM13 has defied all our current understandings of biology.
However, it’s notable that there’s still minimal brain activity, even in stage three, which is obviously very significant. Some of the victims seem to retain the ability to speak and have memories—for a short time, at least. I need to concentrate on trying to understand the virus, and work out how to eliminate or prevent it, rather than bogging myself down in details and questions I may never be able to answer. There is simply no time for this. Illogical as AM13 may be, it’s right here in front of me and that’s what I need to grasp.
With that in mind, I have been running some tests with the seven specimens, to determine what motivates them, if it isn’t the hunger for human flesh, as previously assumed.
I have given all seven specimens access to different meats, even number five
although the look she gave me suggested that my efforts were pointless. This includes animal meat, flesh from a human that has been dead for a while, and a more recently deceased human. Only the specimens in stage three showed any real interest, but I’ve come to some conclusions regardless.
The results I’ve drawn from these tests, and from my prior knowledge, is that their main desire and purpose is to spread the AM13 virus. The bug wants to move and grow. The victims want to contaminate others. As one bite appears to infect victims
they immediately start the process of running through the three main stages
specimens will, at least half the time, stop then, moving on to another target. This information does correlate with the brain scans I ran before. If ‘hunger’ was their main objective, they would continue ‘eating’ until there was no flesh left on their chosen target.
It appears to me that they can smell the virus running through a person’s system, which is why they are only interested in the uninfected. They can also smell the difference between human and animal flesh, live and dead flesh. Although I did not notice any unusual perception in the olfactory or limbic system during the MRI, it is a common phenomenon that loss of one scent heightens others and in this case, it seems smell
and to some extent hearing
is all that has survived AM13.
Of course, this completely negates all of the images we’ve seen of people being ‘eaten’ by the infected. My personal opinion is that this is down to a competitive ‘pack mentality’ often witnessed in the animal world. The instinctive reaction is to assert dominance and strength over others. I cannot test this idea further without live bait, but I feel confident in my personal assessment
at this stage, anyway.
Although nothing I write down in this report can be 100% proven fact, I will stand by everything I note down. To the best of my ability and working with the knowledge I have, my findings are correct.