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Mar 13

Evil Tuesday II: Read by Dawn

Another day, another zombie related post. Today I want to talk about trust. Trust and loyalty.

Who can you trust in a zombie apocalypse? Your friends? Your work colleagues? ‘Killer’ the family dog? How quickly do you think you would turn on people if the circumstances called for it? How long could you stay loyal to somebody?

If you were held up in a building the food running out fast, and the only chance of survival was to horde your own supplies and let the others starve to death…would you do it? Would you leave another person behind if it meant you could escape the grasping, putrid hands of death? Who would you stomp on to ensure your own freedom?

Let’s put this into the form of a story again (because I had fun with it yesterday):

Ok, so you’re on the run, trusty plastic spatula gripped firmly in your hand. You’ve vanquished the zombie horde that was pounding at your front door only moments ago, and barely pausing long enough to wipe the brain goo from Mr. Spatula you flee into the night desperate to seek help – or at the very least a weapon with a bit more GRR to it.

There’s chaos all around you, people battling the undead and crashing into each other in futile attempts to drive the family car through a procession or rotting, yet wildly animated, corpses. A neighbour calls out for help. She’s in her car, surrounded by flesh eaters, but she’s not driving anywhere. Then you spot the reason why, a bunch of keys on the floor a few feet away from the vehicle.

So far the undead haven’t spotted you; they seem far to intent on reaching poor old Gladys, trapped in a steel coffin with wheels. You could probably sneak up behind the zombies and make a grab for the keys, but if they turn around there’s no chance you’ll get away in time. So do you risk your life for the woman that shouts at kids to get off her lawn? The old woman that hands out cough drops instead of good Halloween sweets? She’s old anyway, she won’t survive long in a world like this…but can you sit back and watch her die?

Something touches your leg and you scream in a less than dignified fashion, it’s Bowser your loyal canine friend! But wait…can you really take him with you? Won’t he be a drain on food resources? And he’s hardly going to be able to escape up ladders, and over walls in a tight spot when the zombies come a’ chasing. And what if he barks when you’re hiding somewhere? To Bowser this is all a big game. Keep away from the smelly people.

So you stand there, watching poor old Gladys bouncing about as her car is rocked back and forth by the unrelenting undead. Bowser is sniffing your hand – he wants a treat but he’ll settle for the brain spatter that’s smeared across Mr. Spatula.

What do you do?

8 comments

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  1. Richard Green

    Hmm good questions. The old lady – yeah she’s a gonner in many ways, but would I let her die in agony or potentially become another aggressor? No. In this case, I’d try and create a distraction and draw the zombies away from her, but only if I had my escape route planned. Then I’d at least give her a fighting chance at getting her keys and then on to safety. That does beg another question though, what is she driving? If it’s a Volvo, then that’s a pretty secure coffin with wheels, I might consider telling her to take the back seat once I’ve run the zombies around the block.

    Now dogs. You raise a good point about the barking. But then dogs are 100% faithful, they’d never turn on you for the last scrap of food. Plus they can fend for themselves much better than humans, I’m guessing. Nipping in and out of trouble easily. They could forage and keep themselves alive. Low burden in terms of food requirements. They would provide an EXCELLENT early warning system, more than worth the hassle of the odd can of pedigree chum.

    1. Steven Chapman

      Good point, Richard. I never really thought about a third option, although I’m not sure if I could manage to run around the block anymore. I seem to have developed a zombie-friendly belly 🙁

      I was always going to take the dog with me, just wondered what other people would do. I like to think most people would take them but all I can think of is that heartbreaking scene in the new ‘I Am Legend’ movie…poor Sam!

  2. Lily Childs

    I think you’re allowing for planning and forethought here. It’s easy to think ‘I’d do (or not do) this’ but in a moment of panic your reactions might be completely different.

    When I say ‘you’, of course I don’t mean YOU Steven – or do I? 😉

    1. Steven Chapman

      That’s what I’m hoping for this week, Lily – some suggestions of thoughts and actions that would never have occurred to me otherwise. I keep assuming I know what people would do but in reality I don’t even know what I’d do myself. I suppose it’s completely different when it’s actually happening! I mean IF it actually happens – because I definitely don’t want a Zombocalypse…honest.

  3. Jack Dowd

    I’ll help the old woman because she has a car. That will be helpful until the undead horde form a roadblock or until we run out of go go juice. I’ll take the dog with me because if the worse comes to worse he can be a decoy while I make a quick get away. I’m more of a cat person.

    How about I save the old lady, steal her car and force her to look after my dog while I go zombie hunting? 🙂

  4. Steven Chapman

    Actually that doesn’t sound like a bad idea, she gets a dog to keep her company and safe and you make a quick and solitary getaway 😀

  5. English Paul

    Hey Steven. First day on your site. Really enjoying so far. I do not usually join in on blogs or forums… I am usually a take notes from afar type of guy.. but got drawn in to this one.

    Think we are talking about a basic instinct here. Protection! In the scenario you described above you have 2 elements of survival going on. The safety in numbers aspect of protection (save the person & the dog for long term use), and the flee response (don’t go near anything that might bite you).Basic fight or flee. Do you save the old woman & the dog in order to help you fight another day…or now. Or do you flee the oncoming slaughter on your own. Life or possible death in a split second decision. In my opinion this is down to the primordial instinct of each individual…in short there can be no correct or incorrect answer. I would save the woman if it were truly a split second decision…not save the woman given a few seconds to reason it through. The higher part of my brain always wins! If it is advice you are looking for then mine would be – Hone in on the scene where you are standing watching the surrounded woman & work on the time aspect a little more. Your reason for saving or not saving the old woman would be decided by the time element… you will relate to every single reader if you put a timescale on this thing. If it is split second and you save the woman then every person will believe it…if not split second and you still save the woman you will get wingers & unbelievers…same on the other side of the coin. Hope this helps..I would like to have a look at the finished article though! cheers

    1. Steven Chapman

      Thanks for your comment, Paul. Glad you’re enjoying the site.

      Exactly, it all boils down to the fight or flight reflex – which I guess is made on such a subconscious level we don’t really get to ‘choose’. I guess the first few times you are confronted with a situation as above you’d probably just drop into default mode and your body would make a decision for you about whether to run and hide, or stay and fight.

      It’s definitely all about timing, and in a world where hanging around for a few extra seconds can get you killed I guess my characters better learn to adapt pretty damn quick!

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