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WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

ZEDS by leninsbread
February 5, 2009  Short stories   Tags: ,   

[An easy, confident man waits on the other side of this stark glass barrier, waiting for me to start the interview. From what I have learnt from the tales of his exploits during the War, and from the security checks I had to go through to get access to him, I am thankful we are not any closer]

What you Yanks don’t understand is that Britain was one of the most densely populated places on earth. No wide open spaces. Nowhere to run to. We weren’t cowards, you see. We did what we had to do, had the damn bravery to do what had to be done!

It was the first winter that hit us hard. Ten of us, all tucked away into one block of flats in one college. The last refuge of the living until you got to the London strongholds down south. Cambridge got hit hard, you see, almost immediately. We were a big, international university and the Plague hit at the start of spring term. Thousands of international students all flocking to Cambridge, all infected.

[You surely can’t think that the virus would have escaped airport controls?]

Damn foreigners! We let them in, helped them get to Cambridge, moved them into the hospital when they turned! Couldn’t lose the money, you see? An eight-hundred year old institution felled because students weren’t paying their bills? Better to wait and see if there was a cure – then they could get the cash! Even when the scientists were screaming the rest of us just thought we wouldn’t be affected.

So we weren’t prepared, not prepared at all. It all happened so quickly, one day everything was fine, then the next just about everyone was… infected. Must have happened at a nightclub or something, only way to get so many of us over one night. I didn’t go out, had an essay to write….. I don’t remember. But I do remember being woken up, middle of the night, by a hell of a scream. I shouted something out the window, thought it was freshmen pissing about.

[Was it?]

No. Not at all. It was a zed, chasing someone – I remember seeing her later, her name was Sam. She was a first year, out enjoying herself on a Wednesday night. No right arm, no bottom jaw. Three of my friends weren’t bitten, six others managed to stay safe that night, out of 22 flats. Everyone else was… fucked, all trapped in their rooms, banging at the doors. Tom got stuck inside with his girlfriend, and we heard her attack him – wet sounds, then later a second zed banging on the doors.

We had no food, no weapons and nowhere to go. We got the food, and barricaded ourselves into my room. It had a balcony – a way out that the zeds couldn’t touch. But there were ten of us at that point, in a room small enough we couldn’t all lie down. We filled the bath up  and kept cans outside for drinking water. When the food ran short, we knew we were sodded. 3 men and 7 women.

You know what I did, what we had to do.

[But what you did was unethical, horrifying even by the standards of a world working under the stress of the crisis]

I killed them. I killed the other men one night, friends of mine. I hit them with our only weapon, a hockey stick. How very Cambridge. Then I pushed them over the balcony, into zed town below. They took care of the rest.

There wasn’t enough food for ten of us. There was enough food to get us comfortably ’till December when the other guys had gone. When the zeds froze outside, I sent the girls out to get food. Sarah and Tess didn’t come back… well, not immediately anyway – know what I mean? It wasn’t a big loss and we managed to get a few cans of food out of other flats. The supermarket was too far, we weren’t living in a mall, like you yanks did.

That took us till January, I remember the date well, actually. January the 17th, the day I made the choice that kept us alive. I woke up early, tied, chained and handcuffed the girls to the walls, the balcony and the radiators, then made the decision. Used the resources available, and kept myself alive for another year and a half. Bit by bit, I lived, keeping the girls alive for as long as possible. Fresh meat, you see? And other …. uses. Hair and skin for warmth, bones for weapons when I had to go out, towards the end. Company was the worst thing, when they stopped talking. Estelle was chained long enough to become noticeably pregnant, in that second year. She’d lost her arms and legs though. It was a waste of resources to feed two of them, so I ended it.

[and when you were found?]

They found me two months after, living surrounded by three hundred zeds in my second floor room. I was alive, I’d made it. That’s a hell of a lot more than can be said for the “heroes” of the reclamation, or those idiots that formed the London communes. I lived, they didn’t. I won, don’t you see? This wasn’t a fair war, this wasn’t a human war. It was kill or be killed. I killed.

[Maybe you should have died, if that was the cost]

Fuck the cost. They aren’t here now. I am. You are. No one else matters! Do you hear! You hear? There were billions of dead, we had to survive you fucking smug bastard! We had to fucking survive!


  1. Oh to live, but at what cost. Nice work. I like how you addressed the concern a lot of Brit’s I know have over the huge influx of foreigners. It gave it a nice grounding touch. Would have loved to have heard more details about the subject’s decent into maddening survival. Nice reminder of how humans are still scarrier than any monster we can ever dream up. Nice work! It makes me really wonder exactly what the definition of “survival” is, and how it is truly subjective. A true exercise in rhetoric.

    Comment by RandyB on February 5, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  2. Wow, what a stark story. But a very good reading experience.

    Comment by itor66 on February 6, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  3. Good piece, but I agree it was very stark. It’s interesting to see the differant takes on zombie stories. I live in a town of 800 in the middle of Illinois. Closest town ten miles away has a population of 7400. Nearest big town is fifty miles away. Distance and space is a concern in differant places. For a fun debate about zombies and such, go over to IMDb and look up the zombie movies such as 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead and others.

    Comment by David Youngquist on February 6, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  4. Interesting story! It reminds you that not every survivor is one of the good guys.

    Comment by Rick on February 7, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  5. Wow, this is great. I love the return to the Max Brooks-esque interview style format. I also feel that as such an important country in the world, Britain wasn’t mentioned enough in the book. Well done.

    Comment by J.H. Kamper on February 10, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  6. thanks all for the comments! I was trying to get at the max-esque style of hinting at things, and the way WWZ presumes that you would already know (in universe) many of the characters…. Working on more!

    Comment by leninsbread on February 24, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  7. The survivor is fucking worse than a zombie. Good narrative.
    Keep it up.

    Comment by accukrak on March 11, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  8. Today I found out there is such a thing as WWZ “fan fiction.”
    Yours is the first example of which I have read. I am glad I chose it. Heavy duty. I say fatten it up.

    Comment by DaveHimself on March 22, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  9. Definitely couldve used a little fattening. Dude killed like 10 people in what felt like 5 minutes LOL. And the part where he killed the pregnant chick… Wat a sick fuck. Nice work.

    Comment by Louie Vicious on March 29, 2009 @ 11:33 am

  10. awesome mate. i agree with the above comment on britain not being mentioned much in the book, at least youve given us abit more depth to the UK’s side in the war!!! still like to know what fortified motorways entail mind..
    good work!!

    Comment by Tom Brindley on April 13, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  11. wow. and again: wow! thank you for a great story.

    Comment by efrat on April 15, 2009 @ 4:56 am

  12. wow what a **** head

    Comment by Steel on April 17, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

  13. they should have feed him to the zeds good job keep writing the man

    Comment by nathan pope on May 18, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  14. Now THAT’S a fucked-up story! However, at the same time, it’s a very good one, I think.

    Comment by Liam on July 6, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

  15. Very good! Sounds like a guro fan’s wet dream 🙂

    Still, I’m at the point in WWZ where Max just finished interviewing ‘the Director’ (I assume it was Spielberg). He mentioned ‘Martys’ alternate cut of ‘The Hero City’. It describes the evil, depravity and cruelty of some of the ‘heroes’ of WWZ. Very much like this story…..

    Comment by Mik on July 17, 2009 @ 12:55 am

  16. Wow, good read, i am currently working on some of the story on the Isle of Mann, just of the coast of England.

    Comment by Laurance Robinson on November 2, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  17. That my friend was truly dark.

    Comment by Gear Jammer on April 5, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

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