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Cliché of the Dead

Zombies have been quite the ‘in’ thing recently, haven’t they? Especially since that Walking Dead started on the TV. There’s always been loads of computer games and books as well, and as for films – well, there’s a million straight-to-video zombie gorefests as well as the big budget ones starring people like Simon Pegg, Brad Pitt and Woody from Cheers. I even saw a Zombie book for kids the other week. This stuff is popular enough that there can’t be many people who haven’t been exposed to it. So by now most people know the rules, don’t they? Always aim for the head, if you get bit you’re a goner, don’t trust anyone who’s face is rotting off, etcetera etcetera. There’s even one book that gives you detailed instructions about how to fight the living dead, with diagrams and everything. I know it’s not entirely serious but enough people read it, right?

So you’d think with all this zombie stuff in the media we’d have been a bit more savvy when the dead actually did rise to feast on the flesh of the living. Turns out it had the exact opposite effect. Some people were just confused. Some people thought there was some kind of ‘zombie walk’ or other charity event, or that someone was making a film. Before they caught on, they were getting eaten. I suppose they were just that desensitized to the idea of zombies that they weren’t scared at first. I’d like to say we’d become ambivalent to them so I can use the word ‘Zombivilent’ that I’ve just thought up but I’m not sure it really works in context. Shame, really. It’s a good word, I think. Clever.

Thankfully for me I saw enough people that were slow on the uptake get torn to bits by the hungry dead to make me wise up. I knew it wasn’t a publicity thing, especially when I saw three of them pull the guts out of Mr Wilson from the corner shop. There’s no way some publicity stunt would have special effects that good. So I ran, and I made sure not to stop to help anyone. Once they’d been bit they were one of them. Once I got home I set about fortifying my location and arming myself to fight the zombie horde. Well, that was meant to be the plan. Turns out I’ve got no idea how to go about fortifying somewhere. It’s not something they covered at school or college, is it? I don’t have a load of planks lying around to nail over windows. I’ve got patio doors, for Gods sake. What am I supposed to do about those? At least they’re toughened safety glass. The rules say they have to be, or that’s what the bloke who installed them told me. Hopefully that means they’ll keep the dead out.

In the end I decided to barricade myself in my bedroom. I don’t even have any locks on the internal doors, so I’ve just pushed my chest of drawers up against the door. At least I managed to grab some food before I barricaded myself in. I’m just lucky that the six tins of beans I managed to carry up the stairs are the kind with a ring pull thing as I clean forgot to pick up the can opener. My laptop was in the bedroom as well, which means I get to write this stuff. Thankfully it was fully charged as the power went off pretty soon after it all started. I’m not getting any wi-fi signal either, which is a shame as this would make a great blog post. Better than that crap I posted about the recent changes to inheritance tax last week that absolutely no-one read.

So fortification didn’t go so well. What about arming myself? That’s a bit of a sore point too actually. On all the American zombie things you see people running round with all their machine guns and great big Dirty Harry pistols merrily popping caps into zombies heads like there’s no tomorrow. That’s all well and good for the Americans, but here in suburban North-East England not many people happen to have enough guns hidden under their bed to arm a small country like our Transatlantic cousins do. In fact the vast majority of us don’t have any guns at all. The tabloid papers might tell you our streets are flooded with illegal firearms but I haven’t got any of the bloody things. Of course this does mean that we don’t get postmen killing hundreds of people with sniper rifles or any of that nonsense, but it also means that now the zombie apocalypse is here we’re a bit knackered.

All I’ve got is a claw hammer I’d left on the kitchen table after trying to fix that floorboard the other day. The hammer did work quite well when I had to take out Mrs Coulson from number 36 (Seems I forgot to lock the front door when I was getting the beans) but she was only short with little arms and so wasn’t very good at grabbing me to take a bite. Bashing her head in was pretty straightforward. I’m not sure it would’ve been so easy if there had been a couple of the buggers. And she must have been about seventy as well so I doubt she was the most dangerous zombie out there. If the same thing is happening in America then you can bet they aren’t doing in old women with a claw hammer, what with their second bloody amendment. Look, I know guns are bad and all that but I can’t help but wish I had one right now.

From the sounds of breaking glass coming from downstairs I think they’ve come through the patio doors already. Either the toughened glass wasn’t so tough or I was conned by that builder. I don’t suppose it matters either way now, but I can’t help but think how expensive that bloody safety glass was. It’s odd isn’t it, the things that we think about in crisis? Like how I always thought it was a bad thing that I didn’t have any friends or family. Now it seems being a sad lonely bastard is really paying off. It’s an advantage. I can focus on looking after number one. So it turns out spending all that time in the office was for the best after all. But then that’s just the full-on world of tax accountancy for you. You just don’t go far in that world unless you give it everything, and I gave it everything for fifteen years of my damn life. I think they’re on the stairs now. I wonder how many of them it’ll take to push that door open. I managed to move the chest of drawers by myself without too much trouble, so it’s not that heavy. I’ll probably find out soon enough, anyway.

So It doesn’t matter that Sarah left me because I was never home. Her going off with the that guy from her gym is a good thing. Just like the fact that my parents and brother died in that crash in 2004 is a good thing. There’s no-one that cares about me and that is a fucking blessing. One less thing to worry about, isn’t it? I won’t end up in a situation where I’ve got to kill a loved one because they’ve been infected and are starting to turn. I’m spared that kind of horrible choice. And I get to stay here in my little bunker because I don’t have to run off to try and rescue anyone. But of course it means that no-one’s coming to rescue me either. They’re just outside the door I think, judging my the moaning noises. It really didn’t take them long to work out I was in here. Maybe they can smell my living flesh. Maybe they can just hear me typing. I doubt it makes a difference in the long run. It was only ever a matter of time anyway.

There’s one other advantage that the Americans have over us British in this kind of situation, what with having all those guns. They can always save the last bullet to give themselves an easy way out. I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to knock my own brains out with my hammer. I wouldn’t even need an AK-47or an Uzi for that either. Any gun would do it. I think there’s maybe five or six of them judging by the different moans, but it’s hard to tell. One moan does sound quite similar to another. The chest of drawers is moving now. Not much, but it’s certainly moving. It doesn’t seem to have been that good for barricading the door really. I suppose I should stop typing and get ready with my little hammer. It’s only going to take a couple of them to push at that door a bit more and I think it’ll be open. I’ll write a bit more later on if I survive the next few minutes. When I actually think about it I’m really not sure why I’m even typing this anyway, but the reason just doesn’t seem important right now. Some things should just be written anyway, even if no-one reads it. Or is around to read it.

Oh ho. Here we go. Doors opening. And yes, I can see a hand. Best sign off for now and see how this plays out.

To be continued.

Maybe.

 

6 Comments
  1. Nicely written. Drew me into the story and liking the character. I love the way you start out by saying the whole zombie craze is cliche’ and we wind up embroiled in a zombie story anyway just because we are agreeing with your assesment. Well done.

    • Thanks very much for that. There are bits of it I like but I still think the ending is rather weak, so it’s nice to hear that someone enjoyed it.

      For what it’s worth I still love the zombie genre myself, even if it does seem to be becoming more and more mainstream and cliched these days.

      • I do too, but I see the trend moving toward a ‘Twilight-izing’ of the zombie genre’, making it softer for a wider audience with films like Warm Bodies. We don’t need to romance our zombies.

      • Well said. Let’s keep things nice and gruesome… and preferably made on a shoestring budget.

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