San Antonio was under quarantine, with a serious virus infecting the city. News reports indicate it was spreading rapidly.
News sources indicated that the virus caused those infected to first develop red spots on their necks; soon afterwards, they began to act irrationally, move slowly and awkwardly. Their skin would become pale and break out in boils and open sores, and as the disease progressed, its victims developed cannibalistic urges. From what scientists could determine, the virus spread through blood and saliva, but even skin to skin contact could cause someone to become infected with the virus.
A zombie pandemic was on our hands!
A pharmaceutical company had developed an anti-toxin, but due to the crash of a supply plane, it had not made it to medical professionals who could treat the outbreak. Making matters much worse, a doomsday cult leader named “El Salvador” had been experimenting with the virus, using it to intentionally infect humans. Rumors had it that he had served on the R&D team that developed the anti-viral compounds, and if he obtained the materials he could alter them to spread the disease much more rapidly and cause the zombies to follow his commands.
Last week I received a top secret communication indicating that I was to join a team whose task it was to break through the FEMA quarantine to retrieve the anti-virus components from the plane crash site.
My team arrived at our meeting point in an abandoned quarry at noon on Saturday, well-equipped and organized for the job at hand by our leader Russ . We had radios, MREs, code phrases, camouflage gear, warm clothing for the night (it was forecast to be in the lower 40s, likely colder where we were going), and a day’s worth of water each.
At our meeting point we convened with another team whose objectives were unclear to us, and who was not entirely willing to cooperate with us.
A woman supposedly from FEMA checked us in and confiscated our car keys, wallets and cell phones, assigned us numbers… and then sped off with all of our stuff. Only at that moment did several people put two and two together: she had blood on her hands and had ripped the tape with our numbers with her teeth…
Were we all already infected?
A woman came running from the quarry and left us instructions to rendezvous with a Dr. Honeycutt.
The other team approached Dr. Honeycutt’s camp first… and half of them were immediately captured and held at gunpoint! Initially we escaped capture but eventually turned ourselves into the ‘FEMA’ soldiers ourselves, as there was no other way to progress with our objectives. Humiliated, we knelt as armed soldiers made us empty our pockets and remove all of our extra gear, our radios, and our outerwear, and then kneel with our hands on our heads.
One member of the opposing team was taken out because her child was found to have the red spots of infection. Then Russ, our leader, was pulled out; he ran and was immediately shot by the guards.
As one of the representatives of ‘FEMA’ said,
The reckless viral infection rates among humans required aggressive quarantine and isolation. had they listened to previous public health bulletins from the CDC and emergency rescue personnel, we might have been able to isolate the virus early on.
As a result, we were disinfected and cleared of any chance of zombie infection.
As the disinfection process concluded, out of nowhere the hospital camp was overrun by zombies – we were forced to run for our lives!
As we ran, I looked for our belongings…. all of our preparations, clothing, food, even water. Everything was gone!
Once we escaped the zombies, my team, now led by Joe, tried to double back on the FEMA truck to retake our supplies, but they had mysteriously disappeared.
Disappointed, we searched the quarry for signs of the crash site and weapons we might be able to use against the zombies, all the while being forced to run from zombies that were everywhere!
As luck would have it, we were able to find some old materials that would allow us to purify water and serve as makeshift weapons, and along the way we learned of the location of the mysterious El Salvador’s camp.
At El Sal’s camp we faced soldiers armed with the zombie virus, and we watched in horror as he dragged out his girlfriend and had his guards shoot her with a liquid form of the virus. To our surprise, we also learned that it had been his own followers that had confiscated our gear. With that leverage, he was able to demand that we find equipment and crates for his use in exchange for water, food and supplies.
I was unlucky enough to stand up for our new leader Georgia, who he claimed had no backbone. As a result of speaking up, I was taken hostage while our team scavenged up an engine block and other equipment he demanded. Into the barbed wire enclosure I went, mere feet from hungry zombies and Felicia, the infected girlfriend.
When the teams had procured the engine block, I was set free and we were given back our packs… with nothing inside them but empty bottles. I was given a topographical map to our next destination: a crate of materials. Our hope was that if we could find the crate we would have something to trade for food and clothing. And our leader Georgia was taken hostage to ensure our return.
We spent ages trying to find the crate… everyone believed it was in the dry creek bed, but we were unable to locate it. Based on the map, I thought it might be in the woods to the north, but the zombies that roamed those woods made it impossible for me to check it out alone.
And as we discovered quickly, our former leader Russ was now one of the zombie horde…. reminding us that no one was safe! (And as it turned out, he was a very zealous zombie, following us for hours, and using our own technology to stay on our trail.)
Eventually we met up with members of the other team who had found both crates. Inside the crates were minimal supplies and vials of one half of the formula to create the anti-toxin. Returning to El Sal, our representatives were unable to negotiate for any of our gear, and new hostages were taken as we were sent back out on the hunt for more gear.
So the evening went… even as night fell, we kept running from zombies, searching in increasingly difficult circumstances for crates.
And ZOMBIES… goddamn those zombies.
Zombies were everywhere we looked, and never stopped coming after us, the whole stinkin’ time! Every time we took a rest break or tried to strategize, the zombies found us again. Even with the cover of night and just the tiny sliver of a moon, the zombies somehow knew where we were.
Shaun, the leader of the other team, had an anti-zombie weapon, but it just slowed them down. What made it even worse was that in the darkness, you couldn’t tell if someone approaching was human or zombie… calling out and getting a response was effective since zombies just grunted, but often you didn’t want to give out your position. We finally worked out a signal where if you approached with your arms up, we knew it was safe.
And with all of that… most of the time it was easier just to run.
Well, ‘easier’ is relative. As I found out, it’s hard work running from zombies for 12 hours without food, with minimal water, and with only lightweight clothing. It’s also dangerous, because in the dark, it was easy to get separated from the team. At one point after running away I discovered I was alone, and was forced to hide behind boulders until I heard humans pass by. And later, I fell pretty hard down a gravel wash but despite the injury I kept moving.
I survived a long time, but late into the evening a zombie with super speed was able to infect a number of us. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who did not develop zombie symptoms. Immune or not, I eventually hit my limit. Although El Sal had given some people warm clothing, I had not been so lucky, and after more exertion in a day than I’ve ever experienced before (even more than climbing the mountain!) coupled with the cold and lack of food, this zombie hunter had to abandon the team.
It was not my shining moment, but I’ll admit it – the zombies got the best of me.
I’m proud of the rest of my team, who hunkered down with the others in a makeshift shelter, protected by zombie repellent candles, and survived until dawn. We never met all of our objectives but the zombie outbreak was quelled all the same. As my teammate David said,
I think the biggest rush during the whole Zombie Apocalypse experience was the moment just before dawn on my security watch…after an adrenaline-rush-filled night with no sleep and bone-chilling cold…that I realized that the Zombies I was seeing coming at me we’re only in my head.
And thanks to a tough couple of dozen humans, San Antonio is once again safe from zombies (at least until next year)!
Thanks to The Human Path staff and volunteers for making this the most exhausting and exhilarating 24 hours, and a special shout out to my fantastic rock-star team who worked great together from the start and helped keep my head in the game (Georgia, Joe, David P, Jacob, Teddy, Shawn, Kimberly, Osakwe, Robert, Pedro… and our soon-to-be zombified Russ, who commented after the fact that “the most challenging part for me was not cluing my team into the fact that all the prep work and organization we did was going to be mostly useless”. We’ll remember that next year, Russ!).
If you want to be part of this next year, be sure to check out the website and sign up for classes so you too can survive the zombie hordes!