Let’s say the outbreak has happened and there are hordes of undead roaming your neighbourhood. One of them has you cornered. There’s no way to escape. You are going to be infected. Through some weird twist you are given a choice.
Know you’re a zombie with the chance of redemption or spend your days eating humans with no memory of who or what you are?
Which one is the better of two evils?
Is there even a good choice?
The Good Zombie.
You prefer to remember who you once were and know you’re now a flesh-eating scumbag, the unliving embodiment of pure evil. Doesn’t sound too fabulous, right?
But wait. Consider the character R from the movie Warm Bodies.
If you haven’t seen it, then where have you been? It’s a decent twist on a zombie tale. Worth a watch.
R has a smattering of memories, enough to be the movie narrator at least. He knows he’s a zombie, as do some of the other walking dead he encounters. He eats people, that’s a given since he’s a zombie. But he doesn’t enjoy it much.
Something unexpected happens when R meets survivor Julie . His heart begins to beat. He learns. Talks. His physical abilities improve. There’s a hope that he may once again become human. Why? Love actually.
Warm Bodies is a romzomcom or zomromcom. Urgh. I don’t like any moniker that mixes those genres together. R shows us that it is possible to strive to be a good zombie, even if you do feed off the flesh of the living. You gotta do what you gotta do.
The Little Bit Evil But Has Good Intentions Zombie.
In the movie Land of the Dead, the Big Daddy character is not so pro-human as R, and shows no mercy when it comes to decapitating humans. Similar to R, Big Daddy has memories, though they’re not as well-defined.
He doesn’t have a specific awakening, more a basic understanding that he should fight humans and desires to lead his “people” away from the scavenging zones and certain death, er, again.
Big Daddy can’t talk and he’s not on a mission to make friends with humans. The difference between R and Big Daddy is that the latter uses what little intelligence he has to avoid humans and protect his tribe of rotting meat sacks.
Big Daddy wants peace.
R wants love.
They’re just big softies really.
Both zombies know who they are. Obviously these are fictional and have no similarity with those shuffling around your neighbourhood. The point is that given the choice would you want to remember who were and what you are now?
If you accept your current situation what would you do?
Take up arms against the evil humans? Remember that evil is a point of view. Humans are killing your kind. Fair enough you do munch on them, so it’s understandable that humans would get a bit narked about that. But you could go vegetarian.
Fictional zombies eat the living. It could be argued this is because a virus needs to replicate itself. Or the virus instills in its host the desire to eat flesh. In David Wellington’s novel Monster Island, there’s reference to the undead stripping bark from trees and eating pretty much everything in sight.
So you do have that option.
In fact, if memory serves me, David Wellington wrote a couple of characters who knew they were zombies. One was a nut-case, the other a sheep, figuratively speaking. Interesting story though.
You could also use your zombiehood to challenge society and demand a better standard of living for your rotting community.
Even zombies need a hobby.
You could liaise with the humans to create a charter where zombies and humans exist side by side. At least in the short-term because at some point you and the remaining scum squad will rot away and become lawn fertilizer.
Doesn’t mean you can’t have goals though.
Like remembering how to dance, to keep you level-headed during the dark lonely nights.
Don’t you just love Vincent Price’s voice over in the extended Thriller track? Perfect creepiness.
I was about 10 or so when my cousin showed me Thriller music video. Scared the pants off me, yet ever since then I’ve been kinda interested in zombies. Huh.
The flip side to this somewhat warm and fluffy ideal is that you could go completely insane. If you’ve killed humans/chickens/goats/hamsters/little dogs it’s possible you can’t live with the guilt. Your friends and family, if alive, will likely not return your calls.
“Zombie Dave is coming for Sunday lunch.”
“Aww man. But he stinks. And he’s got a rat living in his head.”
“Too bad. Deal with it. He used to be your pal.”
“He might try to eat me instead of the roast potatoes. Can’t we just pretend to be out?”
Slight pause. “Okay. Don’t reply. If he comes we’ll draw the curtains in sit in the dark until he shuffles away.”
Sucks to be Zombie Dave.
Everything you knew and loved is cut off from you.
One possible result of this trauma, given your ability to think and reason, is that you could take your own undead life. End it all with a sudden wet splat of death. Head chop. Jump off a bridge and get scoffed by sharks. Wander to close to humans and their guns in the hope that someone remembers to aim for the head.
Now that I think about it being the Good Zombie isn’t such hot shit.
The Bad Zombie.
No memories. No purpose. One will, to feed. If you’ve never seen a virus grow and replicate under a microscope then the Bad Zombie is your chance to see a full-sized virus doing it’s thing.
Plus, because they don’t have an understanding of self they tend to let themselves go a bit.
Here’s what this one looked like before things started falling off.
I seldom venture close to political issues since the general media do a good job of making politicians look stupid without my irreverent quips. However I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a poke at that camera hogging, sound bite spewing clown Donald
To be blunt the guy’s a complete tool.
Not only that but he’s an arrogant, bigoted, egotistical, ignorant, racist tool.
When he made that speech about banning Muslims from entering the US until those in power can figure out what the hell is going on, well, my jaw fell. I had to hit replay to make sure I’d heard it right. Yep. He went there and no mistake.
Then he said: “We have no choice.”
Jesus, is that the best he can up with? We have no choice? There’s every choice you dumb turd. Does he really think that those in power don’t know what’s going on?
And you’re going to educate them, right Trumpy?
You’ve got it all figured out?
You have some unique insight or secret knowledge the top minds in the world don’t?
I wondered if that little sound bite was just to rattle some feathers, get people riled up and talking about him, gain some traction in the polls for all the wrong reasons. The presidency isn’t usually
bought won by the best candidate, more the one who has the most screen time.
Maybe he didn’t actually mean it.
He looked sincere didn’t he? Not just reciting something his advisor’s had suggested. This seemed like his honest opinion. Of course it could be pure bullshit and he’s no intention of doing any of that stuff himself. It’s just for ratings.
It’s an unproductive, negative and volatile means to get people to vote for you.
The image I used to have of Trump was of a business guru with a degree of intelligence.
Maybe the aliens switched him for a lifelike puppet.
That could explain the faces. What’s up with that?
You know the scary thing about that speech?
The crowd cheered him!
They actually agreed a good solution to extreme terrorism, or indeed any terrorism at all, is to build a giant wall around Merica and ban all Muslims. I was stunned by those cheering, flag waving morons.
Sure, a few might have kept silent with their own sense of horror, but the overwhelming majority agreed with Trumpy.
Look America, you can vote for whomever you like, and agree/disagree with their policies, but when someone makes Nazi style speeches they should be instantly crossed of the list of people to cheer at.
I’m not saying all Yankee Doodle-Dandies are dumb. Look at Bill Maher. He’s a quick-witted chap with a lot to say about pretty much everything, but at least he’s sane enough to point out when people are plain stupid.
Back to the zombie thing.
I’m curious to know if you were given the choice would you want to know you’re a zombie?
There’s a chapter in my next novel, The Holt (still half way through by the way) where a character, Keith, is infected by the virus that has ruined civilisation. It’s written from the point of view of someone experiencing the rapid onset of synesthesia, which is a condition whereby a person sees smells, hears colours for example. Their senses are all mixed up.
It’s a surreal chapter and a lot of fun to write. Though Keith is tortured by the virus he does experience some fantastical sensory highs and lows of the change.
Here’s a teeny tiny glimpse at Chapter 20 – Slip n Slide.
With sight marred by green orbs, angry slithers of yellow and a fluffy blue haze, Keith stumbled onto the wooden deck outside Tropicana Joe’s without a clue as how he got there.
Slouched against a short fence that surrounded the deck he struggled to clear his clouded mind. There had been a party. He remembered garlic lights, glittering music and rubber faces that grinned at him. Memories slipped through numb fingers that grasped in futility at the ethereal threads.
Faces. There had been many faces. Smiling. Cheering. Then anger. He had tasted red and smelled confusion. He rubbed the tip of his tongue around the inside of his cheeks, savouring the deep brown bass.
That wasn’t right.
What was wrong with him?
And Chapter 21 was written from another characters point of view at the same time Keith goes bonkers.
Now I’m working on Chapter 32 – Rage. This one’s been somewhat tricksy as I’ve struggled to work through a range of emotional states my main antagonist is experiencing. Massive conflict of emotions, plans, desires and so on.
It’s taken a lot of reading out loud to work out the kinks and spot the silly stuff.
Right now I’m itching to get back to it. So I’ll leave you here, dear blog reader, if you’ll cry my pardon.
The next time you’re confronted by a zombie who gives you a choice, think hard, but not for too long, on the future state of your existence.
Good Zombie – Bad Zombie – Donald Trump (not much difference between the last two).