One of the burning questions the living always have is to wonder what the change is like. What it feels like to go from a living, walking human being to a nonliving but still walking, less than human being. What you see as your eyes close on your old life and open up to a whole new one. I can tell you that it’s not a very pleasant experience and feels nearly as disorientating as a bad acid trip. I’ll do my best to explain what it’s like to you, but I’m not sure exactly how good I’m going to do. I’m not going to go into too much about my life before the plague began ravaging the world’s population. I’ll just tell you that I was a normal member of society, so I was unhappy, bitter at my station in life, and unwilling to do anything about it as long as I had the means to buy the latest, greatest product out from whichever company was advertising at the super bowl. I lived in California and I worked at one of your bigger hardware stores. You know, the ones where you can’t get any help because it’s basically the “fix it yourself” version of Wal-Mart, and no one knows what their talking about. I was the guy that would help you with paint, just to the extent that I didn’t have to work too hard in order to do it. I had a nice house that I couldn’t afford, a nice car that I also couldn’t afford, and a huge amount of credit card debt that I really couldn’t afford. I was living the American dream.
To be honest I wasn’t much of a believer in zombies when the horde came to my neck of the woods. Sure I loved everything zombie, but that doesn’t mean I was much of a believer in actual zombies. That’s why I didn’t put too much stock into the reports that there were zombies on the prowl. Just kind of figured it was a prank newscast or something. That all changed when a group of zombies showed up and began eating my entire family (as mentioned in a previous article, we were kind of at the same block party so it was a Taylor massacre). Have you ever been bitten by a pissed off rabbit? It hurts more than one might expect, but it pales in comparison to what a human pair of incisors feels like. Human teeth aren’t really meant for tearing into flesh like that. Yeah sure, they can tear off little bits and pieces, but they’re not built to bite into a whole creature. When a set of human teeth bite into you, they rip whole chunks out by sheer force. Now, if one set of those blunted teeth hurt bad enough, imagine what it must feel like to have five sets of them tearing pieces of you off in large mouthfuls. It was the most excruciating experience in my life, and while it was happening I wished for death more than salvation. It’s a horrible thing to be eaten alive. The worst part of all this was in the midst of being torn apart, I noticed that one of the people attacking me was a friend from up the street. Well, not really a friend, but still someone I knew. He’d always been an asshole but I didn’t expect him to try and eat me. I might have told him to bite me more than a few times but this was a bit much. Anyways, after a few bites of juicy, tender Andy meat, they wandered off, zombies having horrible attention spans.
As I dropped to the floor, my vision began to blur, and I could actually feel my heart slowing down as the fluid responsible for bringing oxygen to it spilled out of my body. The last sight I beheld as a member of the living was the zombies knocking over the potato salad. I liked potato salad, and you have not lived until you’ve had mine. My sight left me completely then and my hearing followed soon after. I laid there for a bit longer, knowing I was going to die and unable to do a thing about it. I could honestly feel as the little blood left inside me started to stop circulating, either because my heart was no longer pumping it or I just didn’t have enough to go around. I’d like to say I saw a light at the end of a long tunnel or heard the voices of deceased loved ones calling out to me. Hell, I’d even take the experience of floating over my body, at least that would mean I had some kind of a soul, and said soul was going somewhere, but none of that happened. Instead, it was like sinking deeper and deeper into a very dark, very deep hole. First there was nothing but darkness all around, and every time I thought it couldn’t get any darker, I was proven wrong. It felt like I was in a room where the walls were steadily closing in on me. It got smaller and smaller, and I could actually feel myself passing away from this life. Then there was nothing.
I’m sure everyone wants to ask what it was like after that. Did I go somewhere? Did I see some higher power? Did I go to heaven or somewhere much worse where the music was much better? I can’t tell you. I would have just as many questions for someone that died and then came back to this world, but I can’t answer any of them myself. Sorry to all the philosophers hoping to get some great truth from reading this, but I don’t know where I was in between the time I died and the time I came back. All I can tell you, is that for a while I was gone, and then I wasn‘t. It was kind of like waking up from a dream after a night of drinking too much, way too much, I‘m talking Paris Hilton too much. I could remember dying and thinking that my time on this planet was done. I remember fading out of existence. Then I woke up. I became aware once more, only now my awareness was different. It was extremely disorientating at first, getting used to this new awareness after so many years dealing with the old one. I was on a divergent wavelength unlike anything I had ever experienced. My eyes slowly opened and I could see once more. I didn’t move for a moment as I absorbed everything around me.
It was then that I noticed my sense of smell that my body really began to wake up. My nose functioned better than the most well trained blood hounds. My nose smelled meat, specifically that of unturned humans. You see, for a member of the living to be able to turn, they need to have had the virus inside of them for around a minute, the time it takes for it to circulate throughout the body. It differs from person to person with no two people requiring the exact same amount of time but a minute is generally about right. Once an infected person dies there has to be enough of them left for the virus to turn the body into an eating machine. Otherwise it won’t be able to properly develop inside the brain, and there were plenty of people around that hadn’t been able to turn.
I felt a hunger that I had never before felt in my life. In my younger years I had played around with drugs just a little too much, and ended up hooked on one in particular. When I finally got around to cleaning myself up, I thought the urge to use again was going to eat me up inside. I felt the desire to plunge a needle in my arm every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day. It took everything I had to stop myself from falling back down into that dark pit. That experience didn’t even come close to the hunger. It was more powerful than anything I had ever felt before. You would think knowing what I’ve told you about the undead having feelings and thoughts, I might be overcome with grief at the death of family and friends around me. I wasn’t. The only thing on my mind was that I needed to get over to the bodies as quickly as I could, and join in on the feast.
I tried moving the rest of my limbs. It wasn’t easy at first as every muscle was stiff. The carcass that used to be a man was feeling the onset of rigor mortis. It took a few minutes to get used to the stiffness caused by the change, but once I got the hang of moving my limbs up and down, it was time to roll over and begin the difficult process of getting up. You can’t imagine how hard it was to get my corpse to do something as simple as just rolling over. There is a certain amount of adjustment that comes with surviving the change. I must have spent a good ten minutes just getting myself upright. I pushed on my dead weight and was able to stand up after much effort. I moved the inflexible thing that used to be a versatile neck, yet now seemed little more than a tube sticking my head onto the rest of me. All around me were corpses waiting to be eaten and the hunger was more powerful than anything on this planet, and right then I needed to give into my new master. I needed to quiet the screaming pain in my gut that demanded I fill it.
I don’t really want to go into the gory details of the first time I fed, some of them were loved ones after all. The one thing that I will say is it was the single greatest relief a creature could ever feel. It was better than a man dying of thirst in the dessert finding a water fountain. I ate and ate until at last there was nothing left to eat. I must admit to a certain amount of guilt that first time, after all, they were people I once cared about. It lasted for only a short while, and was quickly replaced as the hunger came on as strong as it had before. I looked around at the new undead friends I had made who were still munching, looked at the friends and family that had come with me into this new existence, and we all kind of nodded to each other. Then I looked at my mom who hadn’t been turned and she quickly smacked me in the face with a newspaper for being such a sloppy eater. Yeah, she’s not the woman you want to mess with, living or dead.
Anyhow, this dredging up old memories has made me feel a little off, and more than a little hungry. Until next time this is your unfriendly neighborhood zombie signing out.