An Open Letter to ‘Tales of World War Z’, from Pete Bevan
October 18, 2010 Uncategorized Tags: Pete Bevan
To the writers and readers of TOWWZ,
By now you may be aware of the ‘Oxford Incident’. It has been reported on the BBC, Daily Mail, and Guardian websites as having been a group of disaffected students “going postal” in the Summertown area of Oxford after a night of mephedrone and cheap supermarket alcohol.
(edit: At the time of posting all references and links to this news report have been removed by the various websites)
According to the report they broke out of their student flat, moving through the street attacking people with axes and knives in some sort of bloodlust. The Daily Mail is already saying that they were all Muslim Terrorists. It was reported that they decided to take their frustrations out on society for their failing grades and spiralling addictions.
Let me ask you this though: If you are good enough to go to Oxford, would you be damaged enough to go on a rampage through one of the most affluent cities in the UK? It stinks of cover up and obfuscation.
My suspicions were confirmed when I received a call from an old friend yesterday evening. I have transcribed it verbatim below. It makes for spine chilling reading, but the text cannot convey the fear in his voice. I can hear him now talking over the Police sirens and chaos in Summertown. He would have wanted me to protect his identity, so for the sake of this article I will call him Tom.
Tom: “Pete, it’s Tom.”
Me: ”Hello mate. Long time no speak. How are you?”
Tom: “To be honest, I’m freaked out. Have you heard about this thing in Oxford?”
Me: “Yeah. Someone linked the BBC article on Facebook, but its pretty vague. Something about some students rioting?”
Tom: “ Well, that’s bollocks!”
Tom: “Its saying that they went, crazy but that’s bullshit.”
Me: “Why’s that then?”
Tom: “Look, I live across the road from them, and I know…knew one of the guys pretty well and they are….were massive Zombiphiles.”
Me: (Laughs) “Well, I’ve been accused of the same in my time.”
Tom: “Nothing like this, though, Pete, I mean I’ve been round their house and it’s like a fucking shrine to George Romero. Their house was a tip, like any student house, but they’ve got piles of DVD’s stacked up to the roof! It must be every Zombie film ever made, and books, posters, Xboxes with that Zombie game on permanently. Seriously, mate, they put on Zombie Walks and parties every other week. Anyway, I met this guy in the pub and we got chatting. So we got a bit pissed (For our American readers ‘a bit pissed’ in this context means ‘very drunk’) and started talking about that Tales of the Zombie thing you have some stuff on. He said he knew all about it and if I liked Zombies I should come round.”
Tom: “Well, I wouldn’t normally do this, but we lived on the same street, so we walked back here and went in when he said he had some beer in the house. I was a bit pissed to be honest, I’d had a few before we left.His house was filthy, and I mean disgusting, take-away food trays everywhere, beer cans, ashtrays full, and the whole house stank of weed and sweat. You know that really strong shit, what is it? Skunk? Anyway, they are watching some obscure Asian shit on a big TV, with gore and body parts everywhere. They just sat there watching and not saying a word, just passing these massive joints round.”
Me: “Sounds lovely.” (Sarcasm)
Tom: “Hehe, yeah right. So, I’m not so drunk that I get the wiggins and just get out of there as quick as I can. Anyway, so I kind of start keeping half an eye on the house and I see them coming and going looking like a bunch of tramps. I don’t think any of them went to Uni any more. So that was a few weeks ago, and I thought they had been kicked out or something as the grass on the front path got so high, I thought they would struggle to open the front door. Anyway I had the morning off today as I was having a new fridge delivered, so I’m sitting there watching Jeremy Kyle (again for our American readers Jeremy Kyle is like Jerry Springer but for a lower class of clientele) in my pants with a cup of tea….”
Me: ”Too much information fella!”
Tom: ”….and I hear this scream. Like a real loud, blood curdling scream. So I rush to the window and I see them. They’ve got this…..*ahem* …they’ve got this girl on the ground and there’s blood everywhere and she’s stopped screaming and they are pulling big bits of her out and eating it! I start to think its like a stunt or something, for their latest party, until I see this Special (NB: Again for our American reader a ‘Special Constable’ are Volunteer Police.) go over. They drag him down as well and he’s screaming into his radio and …and…they pulled his fucking arm off, Pete! I could smell it. You know like that smell you get when you walk into a butchers. That meat smell.”
Me: “Tom, look. Calm down. It’s a stunt. They aren’t real.”
Tom: “That’s what I kept telling myself, it was a stunt. A fucking good stunt, but a stunt anyway.”
Me: “That’s all it was mate, just some sick students having a laugh. The Special was probably in a costume from a Hire shop with a few blood bags. Trust me.”
Tom: “Thing is Pete, when I first heard the girl scream, she was moving. She was flailing her arms round and screaming and by the time the Special was on the ground, there wasn’t much of the girl left. So how did they fake that? Eh?”
Me: “Dunno. Maybe some projector thing like that Gorillaz concert, with a mesh across the street making the projection look 3D?”
Tom: ”Pete. Listen. There wasn’t any fucking mesh across the street. So, I keep watching and people are keeping a fair distance and these guys are just chewing away with that sound…you know when a dog has a bone… that crunching, tearing sound? Anyway, I hear sirens and the Police turn up and circle the scene while some officers dive in there with Pepper spray and batons. Well, these guys get injured as well, and then I see the Special get up. I mean, not even Stan Winston could do effects like that. He didn’t…he didn’t have any insides mate. It was all just gone and he’s up and walking. How the fuck did they fake that?”
Tom:” So anyway, it’s chaos and the injured Police are trying to get out the way. More Police turn up and they’re shouting instructions at the guys, so they start using tasers, which make them dance like a puppet on string but don’t stop them. They don’t even slow down mate, so I hear more sirens and it’s the Armed Response guys! They pile out while the….the……fuck it! The fucking Zombies, Pete, alright! The fucking Zombies are just chew…
(At this point the Tom becomes unintelligible as he is talking so fast and his voice is shaky)
Me: “Tom! Tom! Calm down, mate! I can’t understand what you’re saying. Just take a breath and calm down. Just take a second.”
(I can hear Tom breathing hard as he tries to calm himself. After 10 or twenty seconds he starts again.)
Tom: “ I’m okay. I’m okay………The Armed Response unit turn up and they start barking at the……Students to cease and desist. Thing is they aren’t listening, and they start to turn on the Armed Response. I hear the gunfire and they start to drop. I mean, I’ve never heard gunfire before, it’s not like anything in a film, it’s like a crack that echoes round the street. After a minute or so its over. They are all down, Students, Coppers, witnesses, everyone, and The Police are ‘mopping up’ the area as all these ambulances turn up. I hear a knock at the door but I don’t answer.”
Me:”So, are you still in your flat?”
Tom: “Yeah, but not for long. I’m getting out the back and going South. I have an Auntie who lives in Cornwall so I’m gonna go there. I suggest you guys do the same. Thing is Pete, and this is where it gets really weird, I put up a tweet about it and somehow it gets picked up by this Japanese guy. He contacts me and his English is shit, but he reckons the same thing happened in Japan about a month ago. I think he says it was at a cinema, and he and his missus were in a restaurant across the street and there was a Zombie film marathon going on and the police turned up and killed everyone. He filmed it on his phone, but as soon as he posted it on Youtube, it was removed and the police turn up at his house and took his phone and his PC. He did tell me something else but I didn’t get what he was saying…Shit.”
Tom: “Two Police vans have just turned up outside. Pete, I’m going. Now.”
Me: “Tom! Wait!”
I have been scared to ring back in case they trace my number, assuming they caught up with him.
I took a moment after the call to check myself and I’m not ashamed to say I was sweating. I took a long time to consider if this was a wind up, but that’s not Tom’s style. He’s a close friend, an old friend, and, I trust him. So maybe it was an elaborate hoax by the students, but you should have heard the sound of his voice. It was earnest, sincere. It wasn’t like he was sniggering in his hand or anything. So, the upshot is this:
I believe him.
I know its not much of a stretch of the imagination for me to believe him given all the “Z” stuff I have read and written. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to the genre, but I can’t escape the tone in his voice. The fear. The gravitas. If it’s a hoax, then he has got me hook line and sinker. If he comes back on the phone saying “Ahhhh, sucker I got you!” I’ll let you know, but I can’t escape this nagging fear.
I didn’t sleep much last night, let me tell you. I have been mulling this over, and it keeps running round my head back to one conclusion. I have a theory that’s its not a virus. There have been two independant “outbreaks” under similar circumstances. This seems unlikely, and I know of no virus that can re-animate the Dead. I haven’t heard of any meteorites making landfall, and if it were Gods’ final judgement, why just England and Japan? Why not everywhere? My theory is more esoteric.
We did this.
You, me, Ryan, Clitoris Rex, Jeff DeRego, Nick Lloyd, Clay Dugger, George Romero and Danny Boyle. Everyone who has lived breathed and dreamed of Zombies for the last forty years has caused this. If you don’t believe me, have a look on Lulu.com, the self-publishing website. I counted fourteen thousand Zombie books there, and that’s not counting traditionally published works. Type ‘Zombie’ into Google. Forty five million results. Look at the entries for Zombie on IMDB. Thousands and thousands of films from big budget blockbusters to little Taiwanese schlock horror flicks. Hundreds of games from high def big action titles to little flash zombie simulators. We love Zombies, and that may be our undoing.
The internet and 21st century media connects us to other social groups of similar interests in a much more global way than ever before. That’s why I can chew the fat with Clay and Jeff thousands of miles away over Skype, discussing ideas and stories.
You are probably the same. “Have you read this new Zombie book? Seen this new film? Played this new game?”. The psychic effort of a billion zombie fans, all pushing and pushing at the meme, until it takes on a life of its own. Like Oxford. Like an Internet pushed drug. Existential philosophers have stated that through belief, we created God. I’m no philosopher, but perhaps the psychic effort creates others realities as well.
Who can prove that reality itself is fixed, immutable, solid? Perhaps the net itself which, lets face it, is only about fifteen years old when it comes to mass public usage, allows a connection of minds unheard of in human history. An alignment of thought that can warp and buckle the reality of those so immersed, so changed by the meme that they become something more. Or, perhaps, something less, than they are supposed to be? We’ve let the Genie out of the bottle with the Internet, with no idea how it’ll turn out.
I’m not making any sense. I guess I’m panicking a bit.
Look at it a different way: Its been proven that bacteria can flourish in non-oxygenated, sunless environments, both here on Earth and in the Solar System. By extension we can assume this is the case in the wider Universe. Isn’t it odd that none of those bacteria have ever evolved to the point of sentience? Could it be that alien societies see a brief flowering of intellectual and technological brilliance, before the population creates a self destructive meme? Perhaps thousands or millions of societies have existed in the universe before ours, to be snuffed out at the moment of their greatest achievement by the psychic creation of their own downfall. Not Zombies per se, but their own fears manifest, like the creature in ‘Forbidden Planet’. Maybe there is a critical mass of population that causes this?
My own fear is this: What happens as more people get caught up in the unconscious wish for Zombies, say when the ‘World War Z’ film comes out? What if a significant event is going to happen that the authorities can’t control and it gathers momentum in the ways we have all written about on ‘Tales of World War Z’?
Rest assured no matter how many guns you Americans own, or how good at survival you are, or even how ruthless you think you will become. It won’t be how you imagine it. Imagination has its own built-in buffer to protect the fragile mind. No matter how horrible you think it will be, the reality will be far worse. You will watch those you love die before your very eyes. Then as the full unshielded horror unfolds, you will start to shake as the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder hits, to the point where you can’t function. You can’t survive. Think about the reality of it. Not some sanitised film version, or some heroic nonsense, that finds you battling your way through a thousand dead with a buzzing chainsaw. I want you to consider that this is not a story. This is reality.
Finally, even if you survive the lottery of the Zombie Apocalypse, then the unwritten reality of starvation, disease, cholera, dysentery, infections, and madness will rob you of you health and sanity until we are extinct. It won’t be the heroic or dark entertainment we write about for fun, it will be the end of man written, in the bacteria of decay. There will be no survivors, for that is the very meaning of the word ‘Apocalypse’.
We have one chance.
Delete the meme.
Ryan, I beg you, delete TOWWZ from the server and destroy the links. Jeff, leave Pleasant Hollow lie. Rex, keep the darkness within yourself. David, never speak of Riley and her struggle. Tom, finish with the diary in the basement and burn it forever. Readers, delete all links to this site and any site with Zombies. Burn your books, DVD’s and games. Delete all Wikipedia entries and spread the word. Don’t teach your kids the meaning of the word Zombie. Maybe we can prevent further outbreaks before its too late. We can delete the apocalypse. Share this, digg this, tweet this and spread it on Facebook.
Good God, this gives the next sentence a whole new meaning.
“Lead them to Victory”
God help us all, and good luck.
(Note from the Editors of TOWWZ: Since receiving this email we have not been able to contact Pete by email, or through social networking sites. If you know his wherabouts, please ask him to get in touch!)