Wednesday’s Child: Love Among The Body Parts

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.

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love (Photo credit: epSos.de) Remi and Julia will never realize their dreams of a white wedding, but they have each other, and that’s enough.

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.

couple

couple (Photo credit: zoetnet) From 8th grade through senior year, their love remained strong.

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.

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Wednesday’s Child: Cara The Caregiver

On Wednesday, the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization likes to spotlight one child to demonstrate that our residents are children first, and zombies second.

Cara, a sixteen year old girl from New Hampshire, had dreams of becoming a nurse prior to her zombification. She volunteered twice weekly at a local nursing home, spent her Saturdays doing clerical work at Big Brothers – Big Sisters, and participated in a reading program at the local elementary school.  While some teenagers fill their schedule with activities destined to look good on college and scholarship applications, Cara’s interest lay not in what the volunteer work could do for her, but in what she could accomplish with her volunteer work.  Her plans included applying to a local community college to obtain a nursing degree.  Whether she focused on geriatrics or pediatrics was still up in the air.  A true asset to her community, her human life was cut short during a Big Brother – Big Sister outing when one of the boys turned. In order to protect another human life, Cara sacrificed hers.

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little s...

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little silver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course there is no medal of bravery for those who turn into zombies. Cara’s parents found that in spite of all of the help Cara provided, no one was willing to return the favor. Her parents confined her to a cellar room and hoped that vigilantes would not arrive to finish her off. It was a grim existence for a family that had lived such a purpose-filled life.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization has a cadre of dedicated volunteers who scour the internet and local newspapers for reports of recently turned zombie children. The weekly newspaper of Cara’s small hometown lay at the bottom of a reading pile for several months, but when we heard of Cara’s plight, we immediately offered her housing. Her grateful parents accepted our offer and three months after her zombification, Cara became a full-time resident here.

Since then she has blossomed in our facility and her natural desire to help has become a blessing for which we are grateful. She assists with new arrivals, walking beside them for hours in quiet companionship and solidarity. She volunteers in our daycare  area. She even works in our medical unit, assisting the surgeons and seamstresses by helping to position and calm other residents as repairs are made.

Contracting a dread disease did not change Cara’s desire to help make this world a better place. In some ways, it has made it stronger.  The next time you see a zombie child, look past the decomposing skin and gnashing teeth and picture the child within.  Perhaps she’s the girl who once sold you Girl Scout cookies or made the winning goal on your daughter’s soccer team. Maybe it’s the boy who mowed your lawn or was in your Boy Scout troop.  Their past is gone, but you can help make their future a better place by showing compassion.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

We feed the zombie children so you don’t have to.

Death of a Zombie

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization is saddened to report that one of the children featured in our Wednesday’s Child post, Luigi, has succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident.

English: Grave stone at St Mary's

English: Grave stone at St Mary’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luigi was not the poster child for zombie child rehabilitation.  He was our youngest resident and only toddler. Initially hopes were high he could be mainstreamed with the rest of  our children. Unfortunately his emotional development remained stuck at 18 months old. His tantrums, mood swings, and stubbornness tried the patience of staff members, but they never stopped trying.

They didn’t stop trying after the first staff member infection nor the second and third. Before he could infect a fourth, we instituted strict protocols for dealing with Luigi. These included wearing protective equipment adapted from bomb detonation units and lockdown procedures taken from a Super Max prison. There was a deep divide within the staff members between the belief that every zombie child deserves to be saved, and the knowledge that if you had to kill one zombie child, Luigi would be the one marked for death.

Regrettably, his impulsive toddler nature triggered the tragic event that took his life. When a small circus performed at our sanctuary, we couldn’t risk letting Luigi interact directly with the performers or the other children. Instead he watched the show via webcam. The act that most interested him was the sword-swallower.  We suspect the shiny knives caught his attention.  Afterwards, Luigi gravitated to any bright metal object in a knife-like shape.

Last night during Luigi’s evening walk around the play yard, he happened upon an area of the fence that was under construction. As part of a larger project, the  fences were being reinforced with metal spikes along the top rail.

Old metal fence post, Uptown New Orleans

Old metal fence post, Uptown New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fence panel had fallen and lay sideways, propped up by a rock. When Luigi saw it, his eyes lit up. He sped away from his caretakers and to the shiny metal. Once at the fence he put his mouth up to the spikes and attempted to “swallow” them. Unfortunately they were angled toward his brain and his forward momentum pushed the spikes into his brain. He died shortly afterward.

At the request of his grandparents, there will no service or calling hours. Donations may be made in Luigi’s memory to the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.

Wednesday’s Child: Luigi, Toddler Terror

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization dedicates this space to one special child each Wednesday to help people look past the zombie form and see the child within. None of our zombie kids asked to be zombified. In most cases they were bit by those they loved the most, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, who succumbed to the disease and then spread it. Others were the victims of contamination at Cratchit Nutraceuticals, a company that made pituitary-derived human growth hormone. Seeking only to be as tall as their classmates, their hopes were dashed when they became flesh-eating monsters.

Zombie Walk in Edmonton

Zombie Walk in Edmonton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second wave of zombies, those bitten by siblings, include remarkably few infants and toddlers. Strange, in that infants and toddlers are less able to escape when attacked and they have over-sized heads, presumably making them a more attractive zombie target. For some reason, though, the number of surviving zombie toddlers is miniscule. In fact, Luigi is the only toddler at our facility.

Pittsburgh Zombie Walk 2011 - 95

Pittsburgh Zombie Walk 2011 – 95 (Photo credit: cory.cousins)

Luigi, our best guess puts him at eighteen months, was left at a Safe Haven drop off site at a local firehouse. Imagine the surprise of the firefighters, when they returned from fighting a 5 alarm fire and found a 3 foot tall, 30 pound infant flailing about in a large, duct-taped box. Actually, the firefighters were first surprised to find a large, reinforced box blocking their doorway. They were startled when it began to rock back and forth and they realized something was inside. They were shocked when they opened it and saw the child, a small bucket of frogs next to him. The squirming legs of a frog dangled from his cupid bow lips.

Luckily, one of the firemen had seen a news report on our organization and he convinced his coworkers to turn the child over to us, instead of using a fire ax on him. We’ve had several confirmed reports of Safe Haven sites executing zombie children dropped on their doorstep.

We wish we could say we’ve successfully acclimated Luigi to our facility, but we feel compelled to share the truth about our charges. Raising a zombie toddler is hard work. Luigi has not developed past the mental capacity of an 18 month old and that means he’s permanently stuck in the terrible twos. He can be stubborn.  Sometimes it takes three of our staff members to safely remove him from the common area when it is time for bed and he wants to stay up late. There is no sharing in his world and he covets every shiny thing he sees. When denied, he melts down into temper tantrums. Though hitting and biting is expected at his age, the transmission potential of zombie virus is high. Our staff members must wear full padding and face masks whenever they are within hand or mouth reach of Luigi.

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Normal toddler coping behaviors, such as thumb-sucking or hair twirling, aren’t possible due to Luigi’s chronic decomposition. This leads to increased tantrums and physical acting out. Working with Luigi is a high stress job, as nerve-racking as working for a bomb disposal unit. It’s also as dangerous.

Imagine the destructive nature of a toddler with a deadly bite and you can understand the reasons we treat Luigi as we do. Luigi is denied hugs and other physical signs of affection. He isn’t allowed to participate in group activities. Our physicians don’t believe he will ever grow past this stage, physically or emotionally. Though we try to give him as normal life as we can, we realize many would find his isolation and treatment barbaric. All we can do is try to keep everyone safe.

On that somber note, we remind you that we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Wednesday’s Child: Brother Jacques

Every week the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization spotlights one of our zombie children. We hope these columns  help people look past the stigma of zombification and learn about the very real children whose lives are changed when they are struck down by this disease.

Today we join our newest resident in saying bonjour.  Jacques, a fourteen year old boy found last week wandering near Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal,  is a sturdy lad. The plastic surgeon who did the initial intake theorized Jacques had worked on a farm or some other type of manual labor based on his calloused hands and well-developed upper body.  We estimate he entered a state of chronic decomposition less than a week before he was found.

Like all new children at our facility, Jacques was initially physically isolated from the other children and required monitoring  by two staff members.  His recent zombification meant increased muscle flexibility and skin integrity and we were concerned he might become aggressive. Instead his desire for brains was weak. When he was discovered, he was ineffectually swatting at pilgrims, but there were no attacks on humans attributed to him. After a mandatory forty-eight hour isolation period, we moved him to a two bedroom room and provided outside time two hours daily. He interacted appropriately and after forty-eight hours we moved him to our regular dormitory housing.

Since then he spends his free time playing a version of duck-duck-goose where he limps around a circle of chairs and slaps the backs of the empty chairs while vocalizing.  He likes to explore and after spying a bottle of maple syrup in the kitchen, he carried it around until dinner and then covered his cows brains in the sweet nectar. His enthusiastic appreciation involving clapping with delight and offering his fellow zombies maple syrup for their cow brains.  He follows the other children around, offering to help with their chores, opening doors and helping them clean up after meals and snacks. He is unfailingly polite and courteous to all who enter our facility.

The lovely Canadian gifts that we received, including this cute knit cap, are a source of joy to Jacques. We’ve been unable to get the cap off him since he first put it on.

hat

Overall we’ve been impressed and pleased with our Canadian import. We think he feels the same about us.

Remember, we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to,

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Wednesday’s Child: A Canadian Zombie Child in New England

Since our humanitarian gesture to Canada last week, the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization’s phone and fax lines have been ringing off the hook. Thousands of Americans have called to voice their agreement with our decision to offer a home for Canada’s unwanted zombie children.  A smaller, yet very vocal group of Canadian’s have expressed their appreciation for this opportunity. Along with this deluge of good wishes, we’ve also received some lovely gifts and ideas from Canadian citizens to help transition the first Canadian zombie child into our facility.

WENDY'S RESTAURANTS OF CANADA - Oh Poutine! Grab your forks

In the spirit of learning more about Canada, our staff members have prepared classic Canadian dishes, such as poutine, a combination of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, and tourtiere, a delectable meat pie composed of pork, veal, chuck, potatoes and seasonings. Yummy.

They’ve dusted off textbooks and are practicing their French. They are listening to Canadian radio stations and watching streaming video of Canadian TV shows.

kids in the hall

Most of all, they’re excitedly awaiting the arrival of our first Canadian zombie child! We received word yesterday that a child had been found wandering at the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal.  At first, the child was believed to be hypothermic from spending the chilly overnight hours without warm clothing. It wasn’t until he was transported to a local hospital that the doctors realized he was pulseless and in a state of decomposition. Mindful of the recent furor, the hospital contacted the Public Health Agency to report their findings. The Minister of Public Health then contacted our agency to check that our offer of sanctuary was sincere and work out the logistics.

As of this evening, we have made transportation arrangements and anticipate a border crossing in the wee hours of the morning. Barring bad weather or diplomatic conflict, the first Canadian zombie child should be here by 9 a.m. tomorrow.  We will be spotlighting our Canadian import next week in our Wednesday’s Child post.

In the meantime, remember we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to, and now we do it in two languages.

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Zombie Emergency  Relief Organization