Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty in the work of the Zombie Emergency Research Organization. No matter how hard we try to preserve the integrity of the zombie kids, decomposition is a constant threat. Whenever I overwhelmed and discouraged, I know where to look to have my faith in our mission restored. I’d like to draw your attention to today’s Wednesday’s Children, Remi and Julia.
Remi and Julia were gangly 13 year olds when they met at a summer camp in the White Mountains. Remi, a Louisiana native, had recently moved to New Hampshire with his family. His parents hoped camp would help him make friends before the school year began. Julia, a native of the White Mountains, had never met anyone outside of New England and was fascinated by Remi’s southern accent and his tales of bayous and gators. Remi fell in love with Julia’s quick wit and fly fishing skills. By the end of their first day together, they were inseparable. By the time 8th grade started, they were going steady.
There are those who scoff at young love. Those who point to statistics and anecdotes and suggest that it’s impossible to find your soul mate at such an early age. Remi and Julia’s families and friends would beg to differ. As the years passed, the couple continued to be devoted to each other. Not as teenagers who clung to each other out of weakness, but as mature young adults who cherished their relationship without feeling the need to exclude the rest of the world. They talked of marriage and children, but planned to wait until after college. He wanted to be a chef. She dreamed of being a lawyer. They spent the summer of their senior year as camp counselors at the camp they’d met at.
Late one night, long after everyone else had retired to their tents, Remi and Julia sat by the fire. Perhaps they sat quietly holding hands, or maybe they talked of college applications and SAT‘s. In any case, the quiet night was interrupted by screams from a nearby tent of eight year olds. Remi and Julia ran to the tent and discovered one of the campers had underwent zombification. While Julia led the other campers to safety, Remi distracted the zombie child with loud movements. In the cramped confines of a tent illuminated only by flashlight, Remi probably never saw the canteen he tripped on. Sensing an opportunity, the zombie child flung himself on the ground atop Remi and bit his ear. Julia reentered the tent and pulled the ravenous zombie off Remi, suffering a bite to her arm in the process. Fearing a black bear attack, the camp director arrived with a loaded gun and fatally shot the zombie child before any more damage could be done.
Unfortunately it was too late for Remi and Julia.
Knowing their fate, the couple went off into the woods together one last time. One can only imagine how difficult it is to fit a lifetime of love into a few short hours, but if anyone could do it, this couple could.
By the time the New Hampshire State Zombie Troopers arrived, four hours had passed. The couple’s parents pleaded for them to be rehabilitated rather than shot on sight. The Troopers made no promises. There was no way of knowing where the couple was or what they might have done. The mood was grim.
Trooper Adam Labounty, a twenty year veteran of the New Hampshire State Police, told us about the encounter:
“My partner and I headed to a waterfall we’d heard the kids liked to hang out at. When we got there, the dark clouds that had been around all night blew off and the full moon glinted off the water. We saw the couple under a tall tree near the water’s edge. Their moans weren’t the usual zombie sounds. They moaned in harmony, as if they were singing a sad hymn. The other sounds of the forest faded away and their voices grew louder. My partner turned to me with a funny look on his face and said, can you hear that. It took me a minute until I realized they were moaning words.”
Labounty shook his head as if he still couldn’t make sense of it. “They were moaning I love you to one another. I mean, they were zombies. There was no doubt they’d turned. But they were talking. We crept up to them, our equipment at the ready, but they didn’t try to escape. In fact, they moved closer together. And that’s when we saw they were holding hands.”
“Damnedest thing I ever saw. Two zombies holding hands, staring into each others eyes, moaning I love you.” He swiped at his eyes. “That wasn’t the strangest thing, though. They’d tied themselves to the tree, must have been before they turned. Never made a move at us. We stood there with our guns pointed, feeling like jack asses to be honest, and I looked at my partner and said, I’m not shooting them. He wouldn’t either. We secured them and turned them over to their parents.”
The parents dropped the couple off with us and if you ever get the opportunity to visit our sanctuary, you’ll see and hear Remi and Julia. Still holding hands, still moaning I love you, still trying to cram a lifetime of love into the time they have left.
True love can’t be stopped, even by the zombie virus.
Happy Wednesday from your friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.