Killing my mother had been easy. Easier than one would expect, in any case. I just did what I had to do and ran, and the memory did not plague me.
It was easy to dismiss the crisis beforehand. I mean, the cases happened in different parts of the country. The world, as it would turn out. If this were in fact something that could spread through infection, it seemed it should have started in one place and expanded from there.
Then there was the bath salt theory. Even before the specific explanation was released, I rolled my eyes when my coworker told me of the "zombie" attack in Florida. It's drugs, I told him. Obviously.
And I was right. But I didn't know, no one really knew, until it was too late, that this was something...more than we could have believed. I didn't believe it. Even when the last news report I watched came out before the apocalypse stumbled into my living room in the case of my infected mother, I could never have changed my logical mind set to believe. A drug that transformed, mutated into the disease that would create the zombie strain.
It was every George Romero and mind-altering infection movie come to life.
It was 28 Days Later in that they weren't dead. They were victims of the blood-borne pathogen. But it was Romero in every other way. They were thoughtless to anything human, the person they were - gone. It was obsession, compulsion, hunger. The infected were relentless, deranged. They had no self-preservation instinct except the hunt. The disease must have rearranged the wires in their hypothalamus. If the zombie slept, it was sparse and irregular. Their palette's seemed to reject the craving for any other substance except us.
It seemed. Nothing was sure anymore. Communication was dwindling ever more. If there was any research being done, I didn't know about it. As for me, I didn't know whether the cannibalism aspect of the drug's affect stemmed from hunger or aggression. I supposed it didn't matter. It was no longer relevant to my own survival.
I still found it hard to imagine that it only took three weeks from that fateful Miami news report release for the world to become unrecognizable.
But the most amazing thing to learn from the pandemic was that even with the world falling to chaos, there were still things in the world that were far more terrifying, far more terrible and great.
Killing my mother had been easy. Accepting that I would never know my father's fate was manageable.
I had done things in my quest to live that I would never have imagined I was capable of, only to learn that I was.
But as I looked into his eyes as I told him to leave, I did not feel capable. This was the hardest thing I had ever had to do.
His tears and screams as the others dragged him into the boat let me know that the reality of the inevitable was sinking in for him as well. It was too late for me. The wound in my shoulder told me that.
But he could live. He would live.
So I turned away from him, and I raised my gun to ensure it.
So, no, I don't believe that the recent news headlines are actually zombie attacks, in the most George Romero sense of the word. Nor do i think they are the beginnings of a real zombie apocalypse. But they did get me to thinking, Now, wouldn't that be cool...
- The Romanticidal Edwardian