Authors: Samie Sands
I start humming to myself as I walk down the road. It’s still cold, but nowhere near as frosty as it was last time I was outside for a long period of time, which can only be a good thing. I’m brimming with positivity as I step along the muddy path. It feels so good to have a purpose again. It beats sitting around waiting for time to pass me by. I’ve never been still for so long before, it was driving me insane. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what made me stay for so long.
I’m also a
more confident in my chance of survival with my new fighting tool. Any security I felt with that golf club in my hands was false. It was just my coping mechanism. Realistically I wouldn’t have lasted very long if I’d gotten too close to any zombies. I was so unbelievably happy to stumble across this nice shiny new axe in the B and B’s shed, completely by accident. What a find! It’s sharp, easy to grip, and it pierces through zombies skulls with ease. There was also a rusty old chainsaw lying next to the axe. My eyes lit up when I spotted it, but unfortunately it was out of gas. I’m sure it would’ve been too loud anyway.
Weirdly, I didn’t sleep too well last night. I just couldn’t seem to get comfortable, silly really, considering I might not spend a night in such a soft bed for a long time to come. There was simply too much anticipation running through my veins, too many possible future scenarios spinning through my mind. Thinking back on that now, I feel a tiny pit of tension appear in my stomach. I don’t
to think that I may have left behind the best place I could have wished for. I want to concentrate on what’s ahead. I don’t want to spoil my good mood with melancholy. I can always return to the B and B anyway, once I’ve collected some supplies, and hopefully gathered together some people. I won’t go back there by myself. I can’t deal with that loneliness again. You never know how much you’re going to miss people until they’re gone. I’ve always prided myself on self-reliance. I’ve always been fiercely independent, as we never settled for long. Sure, I had many friends, but I always kept the relationships superficial, I never let anyone in because I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would be forced to give them up. I assumed I would do well in this apocalypse alone.
I set off this morning, the second the light burst through the clouds, full of energy and enthusiasm. The weariness is starting to hit me slightly now though. I feel like I’ve been walking for hours. If it wasn’t for the light and dark, I wouldn’t even know how many days have passed. I haven’t bothered to continually keep up with dates and times since being alone; it’s seemed pointless with nothing to look forward to. Christmas could have come and gone for all I know. I try to remember the date that the Lockdown started, but so much has happened since then that I can’t recall. I may have even missed my birthday. Actually, that’s not possible, my birthday is in August. I’m just being dramatic.
I’ve been trying to plan a route as I walk, trying to remember where I haven’t yet been in my previous searches for the refugee camp. I didn’t look in the main town area; I figured there would be too many zombies for the government to set up there. Hopefully the undead bastards have all moved on now, because that’s where I’m heading first. I wish I knew the town better, then I might have some idea of a safe place a group could be holed up. I’m finding it impossible to remember the place because I only explored it once or twice. When you’ve seen as many towns and cities as I have, the memories can easily become jumbled and confused.
I imagine it’s unrecognisable to anyone by now. It’ll probably resemble the seventh circle of hell. If it looks anything like it smells, it’s going to be terrible. I guess with the lack of street cleaning and rubbish removal, it’ll have started to look shitty pretty quickly. It’s amazing, we’ve been told for such a long time that humans are having a negative impact on the planet, but this just proves what a good effect we’ve had.
I do stumble across a few stragglers as I go, but the odd zombie is nothing to me anymore. Not with my axe. I can just take them out without breaking a sweat. Okay, that might be a
exaggeration, it’s still difficult to kill them, but fighting them off is much easier. I don’t know if I’ve become stronger or they’re getting weaker. Maybe without a regular food source, they’re struggling to carry on. I sometimes wonder what Lexi would think of me now, whether she’d be more inclined to listen to me knowing how well I can defend myself. I feel guilty at the mess I made of killing her zombie, but I was so inexperienced then. I probably unnecessarily prolonged her misery. Despite the fact that her turning was her own doing, I could have ended things more pleasantly for her.
Eventually, after what feels like forever, I arrive at the peak of a hill which overlooks the town. I am stunned, frozen by the sight before me. Nerves tingle in my fingers as I drink everything in. It’s hard to imagine humans ever inhabited this place. It’s more of a deteriorating mess than I could have predicted. Has it really been that long since normal life prevailed? I try to think back over time, but every memory has become infected with the virus. I can no longer picture a time when zombies didn’t rule the world.
Smashed windows lie in the road, litter fills the streets, and the remains of dead bodies are on almost every street corner, swarming with flies. Rats scurry in and out of drains, picking meat off the odd carcass as they pass. A smoggy stench fills the air; I can almost see the cartoon green lines wafting from the buildings. It’s a ghost town.
There are still a few zombies loitering about, but the town definitely isn’t overrun as I expected to find it. Most of the infected that remain are very slow moving, or completely still. I look with astonishment at the ones that have slumped to the ground. They look like they’ve just given up. Maybe without the scent of flesh to motivate them, there’s no point in them moving. It’s such a weird and unnerving sight. I find myself wishing I’d thought to carry a camera with me at all times. The stories a photograph of this scene would tell would blow the minds of future generations. It’d show them what life in the zombie apocalypse was really like. If there is any future generation, of course. This could be life forever now, who knows.
Suddenly, a rabble of movement grabs my attention. My eyes were so transfixed on the initial view that I didn’t take stock immediately. Six or seven zombies are growling and hammering against a church door. They are desperate, lustful, which can only mean one thing—people. My heart lifts and starts trouncing away happily. It looks like I’ve found my first port of call already. It’s not going to be easy to get there, of course, but I’ve lived a boring life for too long. Now I’m going to have to use my brain and fighting skills, just as I trained myself to do. I’m going to have to be so careful though. As soon as the zombies catch wind of me, I assume they’ll all wake up. When they realise I’m in reach, they may never stop.
All of the seven specimens have now transgressed into the third stage of infection. They are now displaying all the symptoms I summarised in the first page of this report. Although the infection rates may have been varied and at different paces, the end result is always the same. Even the ones that begin the third stage of infection with an element of humanity end up as empty vessels. This is disappointing; I wish I could’ve learned more from them all
I’ve been testing the pain levels as the specimens transitioned from stage two to stage three, and they were off the charts. By my knowledge, humans shouldn’t be able to withstand that level of pain; it goes far beyond the expected threshold
even worse than that of childbirth. Maybe this goes some way to explaining why the parietal lobe is damaged?
Specimen five has not moved at all since entering the third stage of infection. Maybe this process has been too much on her body and the brain activity has not been able to keep up. I cannot determine for certain if this specimen is dead at this point. If she has died, it will take my research in a whole new direction. I will need to find out why only some people can make it to the final stage. It’ll finally be a variation in my results
a tangent to work on.
I intend to run detailed blood tests on all seven specimens today, see what I can find out from this. To do this safely I will need the assistance of two soldiers. I’m currently awaiting their arrival. Drawing blood is going to be a very difficult, dangerous task which I can’t do alone. Too many things could go wrong. At this moment, I’m uncertain if any sedatives will work on the infected as their systems don’t seem to react to things in the expected way
I may test this today if I’m given enough time.
I have a theory about one of the questions that I have been given to look at. It’s more than a theory, I’m certain it’s correct but without proof I have to word it in this way.
Why must the victims be shot in the head to die?
Well, when people are normally shot in the chest, their heart stops beating. When they’re shot in another place on their body
say the stomach
more often than not they bleed out. None of this applies to the infected. Their hearts aren’t beating to begin with, their blood isn’t flowing. The only active function they have is in their lower brain. When this is severed, they cannot carry on.
Notes from the blood tests:
I am not able to determine blood types from the samples I’ve taken, so I have to assume I have a range of A, B, AB and O. None of the tests show any variety in results, which could be affected by type, so luckily this information isn’t vital.
As previously determined, without the heart functioning, blood is not pumping around the body. The arteries, capillaries, and veins are useless. The blood is stationary, causing the plasma to coagulate and form clots. Need to find as much information about haematopoiesis as possible and run further tests into the serum.
An uninfected human typically has approximately five litres of blood. The infected have a much smaller amount than this
approx. 2.75litres. This is possible due to the loss through the damage to their bodies or because they no longer appear to need it to function. I may return to this at a later date, for now I think I can continue successfully without this data.
The virus has consumed all of the white blood cells
neutrophiles, eosinophiles, basophiles, and monocytes
explaining the lack of antibodies, and has latched itself onto the red blood cells at the reticulocyte stage. This allows it to travel around the body at a rapid pace
may go some way to help answer why people are affected at different rates. The ratio of RBCs to WBCs is much higher than normal
2,800 to 1.
Also notable: haemoglobin is absent.
Specimen five, who was previously showing no signs of life, has now made a full turn and is up behaving in the same way as the others. In fact, she’s probably the most rabid of them all. By removing her from her enclosure and having her breathe in the scent of the uninfected, I’ve ‘woken her up,’ so to speak. I almost wish I hadn’t, it’s far too noisy to concentrate now. She hasn’t shut up once.
The soldiers told me a few noteworthy tales while they were here, of some of the infected that they’ve had experiences with. They’ve witnessed, with their own eyes, some function in the same way as the specimens I have, with all their limbs removed, their insides trailing behind them. It seems that no amount of damage to the victims’ bodies is enough to even slow them down. I just wanted to write that down so it isn’t forgotten. I think there’s something very important there. I’m certain it’s something I’ll return to at some point.
They also told me that they’ve been instructed to retrieve me some new specimens in varying stages of infection to help me progress with my studies. I read between the lines and have concluded that someone in power is unhappy with my current level of progress. Despite this, I’ll be glad to have some new specimens to work with. I don’t think I can learn much more from the current seven now that they’re in the final stage.
I don’t think the board is fully aware of what a challenge they’ve set me. I’m running dangerous tests, with no prior knowledge in this specific area, all by myself. This isn’t even my personal area of expertise. They would be better off with a virologist.
And the worst part of it is none of it makes any damn sense!
I’m starting to get really fed up and annoyed with my situation. I keep thinking back to how things were at the B and B with regret. Why did I succumb to boredom there? There’s so much I could’ve been doing, if I’d really thought about it. I got so lazy. I wasted so much time bitterly wanting to be out, experiencing more of the zombie apocalypse. How naïve. At least I didn’t leave until I was forced to. I’d be banging my head against a brick wall by now if I’d made this mistake any earlier. It was such a better quality of life. Memories of the home comforts of warm sheets, comfy chairs, and plush carpets beneath my feet almost brought tears to my eyes.
To think I was actually glad to be forced out, to have run out of food. Now I’m bloody starving, I haven’t slept for days, and I’m no closer to the church. There are people inside that building though, I’m sure of it. I become more certain every passing moment. I can’t think of any other reason why the zombies would hang around outside without moving for days on end. Whoever is in there is quite smart, though. They must be being quiet to ensure the crowd doesn’t grow bigger. I wonder why they haven’t done anything to dispel it yet. It must be rough living with that racket going on outside. I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anyone yet; don’t they need to go on supply runs or something? I wouldn’t have thought that a church is prepared for this sort of situation.
I’ve spent the last three days desperately trying to get to the middle of the town where my destination lays, but with no luck. I think hunger and fatigue could be affecting my decisions and reflexes. I’ve tried getting there a number of different ways, but everything seems to be against me. I seem to run into a wall of zombies on every street corner. I return to the top of this hill each day as the light begins to fade because I don’t fancy my chances out there in the dark. I’m at a massive disadvantage then because I struggle with my vision, whereas the zombies just carry on as normal. Their eyes obviously no longer work in the same way as ours. I didn’t need to research that, it’s obvious from their behaviour.
I sit every night, shivering violently in the icy breeze. I’m far too frightened to go to sleep; I’m not ashamed to admit that. I hate being exposed and vulnerable. I can’t relax without four walls to protect me. I feel like I could start hallucinating soon I’m that tired now, but then again that could just be my dramatic flair speaking. I’m not going to last much longer if I carry on this way. I really don’t want to die in such a meaningless, pathetic way. If I
to go, I’d much prefer it to be in a blaze of glory—not just because I was a little knackered.
As I try to plan the route for tomorrow, I can’t help but notice again that from up here, the roaming zombies seem scarce. When I get in the midst of it though, it’s a whole different story. I don’t know if that’s my perception or if they get excited by my scent and appear from every nook and cranny. Either way, I’m going to have to find a way around it soon. I pass the dark hours away, trying to plan. Always planning, that’s what I said, right? Always planning is the key to survival.
All I really want to think about is the people inside the church. I want to meet them so badly. In my darker moments, I tell myself that I’m so desperate to see an alive face that I’m inventing a mission to complete, I’m imagining people to give me something to do. But of course, that’s just me being negative, so I always force these thoughts to one side. When I actually meet these people, I bet they’ll be so surprised about everything I’ve been through to get to them. I wonder if they’ll have stories anywhere near as interesting as mine.
The one good thing to come out of this constant battling with zombies is that my fighting skills have improved immensely. There’s no way the group could reject me, I think I’ll be a brilliant asset. I don’t think anyone would
be cruel enough to leave me out in the cold in this situation anyway. That’s just another concept that I’ve seen in films that I’m trying to apply to my real life.
I wait anxiously for the light to start streaming through the clouds and start moving the second it does. I’m stiff for my first few steps because of the ball I’ve spent the last few hours curled up in, trying to keep in body heat, but I’m building myself up to be full of determination. I need to be strong today; I need to get through it. I’ve got to get into that church; I don’t want another sleepless night. I can’t survive it, I won’t. It’ll damn near kill me.
As soon as my feet hit the streets, I take off running, praying that the sound of my shoes pumping against the concrete doesn’t bring the zombies out from their hiding place too quickly. This is one of the paths I attempted yesterday and I killed a lot along the way, so in theory it should be pretty empty. Of course, that doesn’t always work in practice. As I reach a street corner, I pant, pinning myself against a wall, waiting. Listening intently. I peek around the corner quick as possible and the sight before me stops me in my tracks.
Another message. Another note from E, written in what looks like paint, across a wall.
I’m still here. E.
E was here? Why would E be here and not meeting me at the airport like the note promised? I look around, trying to see if anyone is anywhere in sight. Nothing. Whoever it is could be dead by now. Realistically, E
be just another zombie. Even so, I can’t stop my legs from automatically walking towards the letters. I instinctively reach up to run my fingers over the paint, to allow thoughts of another lonely person surviving this nightmare run through my brain. I wonder what happened for E to get left behind. I wonder if the story behind these notes is similar to mine.
When I look down at my fingers I’m amazed to see them white. This note is new.