On Wednesday we spotlight one child at the ZERO’s compound to promote understanding and acceptance of our mission to feed the zombie children. Today’s child is extra special as he is one of the reasons our organization was founded, my nephew Jackson.
Jackson was a vibrant, healthy six-year-old when the Great Infection occurred. He loved to dance, sing, and truly believed it when he said, “I’m Jackson. Everyone loves me.” Large brown eyes and a smile that melted hearts backed up his words. We all thought he was destined to appear on Broadway or as a Megachurch preacher. Jackson made the world a happier place.
His older brother, Nick, received growth hormone due to his short stature. Even though Jackson towered over his miniscule sibling, he treated his big brother like the biggest superhero in the world. Nick turned into a zombie during the first wave of infections.
In the early stages of the Great Infection, parents of infected children didn’t know where to turn. The country united in hatred of these poor children. Some called for the wholesale execution of all zombies and all who exhibited “zombie-like symptoms.” Others believed this to be a sign of the end of days. The ranks of doomsday preppers swelled and flooded warehouse stores. Huge swaths of the country dedicated themselves to prayer, feeling that would save them from God’s judgment. Parents of zombie children kept their children well-hidden.
As the Infection continued, mistrust and suspicion grew. An errant rumor or random purchase might end with a mob at the front door. The purchasing of restraints, cages, door and window reinforcements guaranteed surveillance. Parents cut corners on protection and put their entire family at risk.
Nick’s parents gambled and lost. One night Nick wriggled out of his restraints and circumvented the flimsy doors. The entire family was Infected.
When I arrived at the scene six hours later, I was told the entire family was dead for the second time: my brother, my sister in law, my niece, and nephew. I started to correct the police officer, my nephews, but then realized there was the possibility that either Jackson or Nick had survived. I was led to the bodies, and identified Nick. Jack was nowhere to be found.
I didn’t find Jackson for sixteen long days. While I trudged through the mountains surrounding his hometown, he hid from sight, terrified of the thing he had become. When I finally found him, he was emaciated and damaged, but he recognized me and stumbled forward excitedly. I knew then that some part of personality survived the zombification and if I could reach that part of the brain, I could successfully reintegrate zombie kids into the mainstream.
Jackson was the first patient here at ZERO. Taking the lessons learned by studying families who had kept a zombie child at home, ZERO was able to make changes to keep everyone safer. During Jackson’s time here, he has not bitten, scratched, or otherwise punctured the skin of anyone, staff or patient.
He is able to recognize inappropriate behavior and stop himself when it happens. His diet is 95% cow brains, 5% vegetables.
Once again, everyone loves Jackson.