Famous Cases | Historical Tales | Vampires | Zombies
Alone. You came into the world that way, and it looks like you're going out that way too. Unless you can figure your way out of this mess. Unfortunately, surviving a zombie outbreak is more than just battling zombies; you have to watch out for the humans as well.
Date: October 28, 2004
Place: Austin, Texas
|The Hotel Driskill|
Outside, dusk falls to a cacaphony of gunfire sounds from Congress Avenue, scene of your near-murder at the hands of some misguided Army Reservists. You cross over to Brazos Street, where you spot the ornate facade of the Hotel Driskill several blocks ahead. There are lights on in some of the windows. Perhaps some survivors are holed up there? You start toward it.
What's that? An engine? Growing closer. Mindful of your earlier run-in with a zombie driving an SUV, you hide in the shadows of a darkened storefront and wait. Moments later, a big burgundy Ford F-250 cruises around the corner, its engine grumbling ominously. You poke your head out and spot a man and women in front and two more men riding in the bed. Surprisingly, there is air of celebration among them. They laugh, joke and generally whoop it up. No groaning whatsoever.
Finally. You stagger out onto the road and wave your arms. A guy in the back immediately points a shotgun at you, and the only thing you can think to shout is, "don't shoot, I'm a human!"
Moments later, you're reclining in the back of the pickup, drinking a beer and and giving the group a brief recap of your adventures and then telling them how you're trying to get to your girlfriend's place to check on her. The couple in the front are Rhonda and Ellroy, husband and wife. The lanky guy with the hat seated opposite you is Zed. And T.J. is the 300-pound guy with the aviator glasses. Or is the lanky guy T.J? Doesn't matter. They seem alright. Maybe a little bit country, but alright.
Perhaps lost in your relief, you don't immediately notice that this crew seems to be in a little too good of a mood, considering this is the zombie apocalypse and all. And then, T.J. suddenly stands and points down a side street. "There," he says. The truck wheels around and heads straight toward a lone zombie moving along the sidewalk like a drunk. When the truck pulls up alongside the zombie, a bearded guy with shabby clothes, it turns, groans and staggers toward you. Just as it's about to grab you, Ellroy pulls the truck away. This happens several times, and always leaves the rednecks in stitches.
Finally, T.J. stands, raises his Mossberg and fires. BOOM! He hits the zombie right in the chest, knocking it back ten feet. The zombie gets up, its chest peppered with shot, and starts toward the truck again. BOOM! This blast takes off its left leg below the kneecap. The zombie tips over and tries to drag itself toward the truck. The next shotgun blast takes off one of its hands. They're toying with it, you think. This is sport to them.
When the gruesome spectacle is finally over, the boys flop down and smack cans of beer together in celebration. You wait for an opportune moment and ask, "mind if we go check my girlfriend's place now?" They look at you like you're speaking Swahili. "My girlfriend's place? Sunset Valley?"
"Sure, buddy," slurs T.J. "We'll git there soon as we finish moppin' up 'round here."
Moppin' up. Apparently, this crew of rednecks has taken it upon themselves to clean up Austin's zombie problem, one street at a time.
And so it goes for the next hour or so. The rednecks drive around blasting zombies, draining beers and cackling like fools. Consequently, your mood darkens. It's not that you feel an emotional attachment to the undead. But these zombies used to be someone's brother, mother, son, daughter. When one particular zombie, a grey-haired Latina, falls, you notice that she has a photograph of a couple of smiling kids curled up in her hand; apparently, her rotting brain has tenaciously protected at least some memories.
Not surprisingly, you never make it to your girlfriend's place. With night falling, the rednecks decide it'd be better to find a hotel to hole up in for the night. And they choose the best: the Four Seasons, which apparently has been evacuated due to the outbreak.
|Anderson Cooper reporting|
Finally, with sirens wailing outside and helicopter blades chopping the air, your compatriots fall asleep atop the suite's two beds (they've graciously given you the small loveseat.) But despite your pain and angst, you start to nod off as well. You're somewhere between consciousness and oblivion when you feel a nuzzling in your ear.
"You like me, honey?" It's Rhonda: Ellroy's wife. She's so close you can count the individual stars in the Confederate flag tattoo on her neck. "Gimme a kiss," she says, her breath heavy with cigarettes and whiskey. And then, she throws up all over you.
You go to the bathroom to clean up and when you come out, you find that Rhonda has passed out in her own vomit and the others are snoring loud enough to make the windows rattle. You take a moment to consider your situation. There are your newfound friends in front of you. And there's the city visible outside your window, with its helicopters, army units, fires...and zombies.
Lose them. Just walk away. You're better off on your own.
Stay with them. There is strength in numbers.
Lose them, but don't do it on foot. Take their truck with you.