You are what you eat
Living well in the zombie apocalypse
Chapter 1 The End of Everything
George is a 30 something confirmed bachelor. He has a decent job, a comfortable life and is set in his ways. Kathy, his girlfriend, is about 5 years younger, two years out of a bad marriage and hoping that George, a great guy, will make a commitment. George and Kathy commute to their jobs in Columbus, Ohio from their hometown of Midvale, an outer ring suburb.
It’s Friday evening and George is cooking dinner for Kathy at his place. They have a great dinner, listen to some jazz, talk a while, smoke some weed and then it’s off to bed. The next morning George sleeps in until 10, as is his custom on a weekend. He shuffles into the kitchen, sees Kathy watching TV in the living room.
“Hey babe, you want any breakfast?”
“George, come in here! You have to see this!”
“Bacon and eggs. One time offer.”
“George, you have to see this!”
George enters the living room and drops down on the couch next to Kathy. The local news station anchor is on wearing his tragic story face. It seems a riot overnight in an inner city neighborhood of Columbus has sent dozens of people to area hospitals with severe wounds. The disturbance is ongoing, the police are investigating and the mayor has requested assistance from the State Police. George and Kathy had planned on spending the day in Columbus attending the opening of an art exhibit, Kathy being something of a modern art enthusiast. George is relieved when Kathy suggests they stay home until things settle down in the city.
The story gets stranger with each passing hour:
11:00 AM: The victims of the riot are found to have severe bite wounds, and they are starting to die inexplicably.
Noon: Similar outbreaks are reported in several other cities in Ohio.
The attackers seem to be in the grip of some sort of madness.
1PM: State and local law enforcement is overwhelmed, and the Governor has activated the National Guard.
3PM: Reports of similar attacks are coming in from around the nation and overseas.
George goes through the house locking the doors and windows. When he returns to the living room he has his rifle, which he uses to go shooting with his friends at the gun club, and a 9mm pistol which he keeps for home defense. Kathy has never been comfortable with guns but George reassures her that it’s just a precaution. The problem, whatever it is, seems to be concentrated in the urban areas.
By 7PM the first incidents are reported in Midvale.
George and Kathy spend the evening switching between the local and national news as the crisis deepens. They can hear emergency vehicle sirens off in one direction or another on and off all evening. Unsubstantiated rumors coming through the news outlets are getting more bizarre by the hour. Government officials on the broadcasts urge everyone to stay where they are and await further instructions. By midnight the couple is exhausted by the tension. George makes another round of the windows and doors to make sure they are secure and then they go off to bed, taking the guns with them.
At about 6AM Kathy is awakened by a passing ambulance siren. She shakes George, a heavy sleeper, to wake him up and they return to the living room to see if things have gotten any better. The situation has, in fact, gotten worse. A state of national emergency and martial law has been declared. The Guard and Reserves have been ordered to report and the regular military is being deployed to support local authorities in restoring order. Reports of similar situations continue to come in from around the world.
The day is spent in an agony of indecision. Both are originally from out of state and attempts to reach family by phone all day are unsuccessful. About mid day television and radio broadcasts are taken over by the emergency broadcast system. The government is now instructing people to go to the nearest evacuation center designated on their maps. They watch as the neighbors pack up and go and they see the utter chaos in their immediate vicinity. Reports are now coming in that the assailants are….dead! Incredibly, the dead are rising up and attacking the living! The nearest evacuation center to George’s home and several others in their vicinity are removed from the Emergency Broadcast System list without explanation. George and Kathy agree that their best bet is to wait this thing out in place. They fill the bathtub and all available containers with water. Food will be a problem. There isn’t a lot on hand and popping out to the supermarket doesn’t seem to be an option.
At dusk a gang of looters in an old panel van starts hitting the houses at the other end of the street. George and Kathy push heavy furniture up against the doors and prepare to defend the house. Kathy gets a crash course in how to handle the pistol. As the looters are carrying a computer and some boxes out of a house a few doors down, a National Guard humvee turns the corner and bears down on them. The looters drop their burden and run for their van but they are cut down by a burst of machine gun fire from the humvee. The Guard vehicle slows down for a visual check of the looters. Satisfied that they are dead, the humvee speeds up and disappears around a corner. Thoroughly shaken, the couple wait out the rest of the night in front of the TV watching what appears to be the collapse of their world.
At some point George and Kathy fall asleep on the couch. They awake the next morning to total silence. In the distance columns of smoke mark the horizon. Soon they can hear the sound of sporadic far off gunfire. The electricity isn’t working and the feeling of isolation is overwhelming. They decide to make a break for one of the evacuation centers that was still in operation the previous day. Once the decision is made they move with a desperate energy and purpose. They load George’s car with what food they have, the guns and ammunition, clothing and as much water as they can pour into a few empty soft drink bottles from the recycling bin. By mid morning they are on the road and driving toward they know not what.
Pulling on to the Interstate was a mistake. The road ahead is completely blocked with abandoned vehicles. George gets out and scouts a little way ahead but sees no way through. He returns to the car and plans to turn around and head back the way they came. While standing outside the car discussing their next move George and Kathy hear gunfire beyond a bend in the road behind them. George quickly grabs the guns and the plastic bag with the ammo out of the car. He and Kathy climb over the guard rail, slide down a steep embankment and sprint into the nearby woods. They wait there in the shadows for a few minutes until three pickup trucks pull up behind their vehicle. Armed men get out and start rummaging through the car and transferring the contents into their truck. From their hiding place they hear one of the men say ‘Get the gas’. They watch with horror as a looter slides under the car, punctures the gas tank and transfers the contents into a container with practiced efficiency. The other looters have already moved on to other nearby cars to repeat the process. George and Kathy quietly slip deeper into the woods with nothing but their weapons and the clothes on their backs.