Z.O.A. by Brad Nicolas: Chapter 1: Just a dribble.
Number One Rule
Zombies are strong, as strong as anything on this planet. They get together and take control one house at a time, city by city until, nothing could have seen this coming, no protection against what you can’t see coming, no way to predict your own ignorance, right? We put up as much of a fight as we can to stay alive, ducking in the shadows, hiding in the trees above, lurking, waiting for a chance to eat. ‘Z-sheep’ haven’t been able to adjust to the low light yet, moving at night we can stay quiet and unnoticed. If we were to move in the day light we would be torn apart, nothing left to turn into zombie, ground beef, animals for slaughter, “That’s day one stuff, Son.” He says reassuringly.
“It’s sad, I think. That we have to live like this.” I say to Dad. He looks me square in my face and says there’s no other way. That was a long time ago, when I wore smaller clothes, and had a different view of the trees. I was a lot weaker then.
At night moving quietly, stepping softly, we can avoid groups of Z-sheep. We get our hands dirty only when we have to, setting traps around our camp site, keeping the smell down we can use the wind to help us. Dad says he can get us where we need to go because he has a compass and knows how to read the wind. I don’t know how the direction the wind blows can help us move better, or help us to go where ever we need to go but I guess I will by the end of this. During the day we do a lot of recon and try to think about how to stay safe.
“My job is to keep you safe, Son.” He tells me, “I can’t do that with you asking questions.”
He does everything for a reason. I trust that because we are still alive and in control, control is essential in our lives, without it we might as well join the Z-sheep. It’s hard to tell when someone becomes a zombie, but usually there is a linear chain of events, which is as follows the transfer of infection:
1. Twitch : inhumanly fast, always in response mode
2. Eyes : covered in gloss, the eyes shine letting you know one thing is on their mind
3. Stomach: like a cave bear, deep growling, warning others
4. Saliva : right after the stomach yells, you can see Z-people change and the hunger overcome any human instinct left inside them
5. Mind : Body turns puppet to the hunger, people lost to wonder behind glossy eyes and wet mouth
Dad doesn’t feel anything for Z-army people. They chose their fate by one way or another, but one rule is never talk to a Z-sheep, they will turn on you, it’s not their choice I am food like anything else, a good meal too. Dad has kept me fed for as long as I remember, I love him for that. I still think it isn’t their fault, they didn’t know everything or have the protection of Dad, and he’s just got thick skin from a hostile life.
“What do I know about Love?” you ask.
“Nothing”, showing my teeth.
I don’t claim to know what I don’t know like Dad. I’ve caught him a few times but when I bring it up he doesn’t like that, so I wait quietly, following directions and try to play my part because I know once you have the hunger you can’t shake it off. Dad says your digging yourself a ditch and you won’t like rock bottom, I think sometimes he would be happier without me here but I know he would miss me, besides he needs my quickness. He is getting old, very slow too. I don’t think he would see or hear half of the things coming after us if it weren’t for me. I wish I could get some recognition and appreciation for what I do, the small tasks that keep us going. It wouldn’t take much, really. A pat on the back or special treatment, you know, let me do some of the things we normally don’t deliberate about.
He is the one with the plan, not me. I can’t complain either or else one day I could wake up and “be on my own”, day by day I take it, looking for the signs and keeping hands clean. Moving just before dusk and sitting just before dawn, taking in the world as it is. Another rule that Dad made is ‘No outside help!’ We can make it alone and we can both stay alive, which is rule number one.