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

Keeping them Safe in our Zombie Haven

Recently we sent our director of zombie children programming, Alana Carpenter,  to an adult zombie preserve to see if we could improve our system for keeping our charges safe. Unfortunately this did not turn out to be a no-kill zombie shelter providing forever homes as we were led to believe. Instead it was a hunting preserve, selling the opportunity to kill adult zombies for a price. The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization does not condone these types of activities and have filed a formal complaint with the People for Ethical Treatment of Zombies chapter.  WARNING: Graphic photo below

Unbeknownst to us, this type of torture was going on during our recent visit to an adult zombie preserve.

The heartbreaking situation we discovered at the adult camp refocused us on our efforts to provide a safe, humane, forever home for unwanted zombie children. Since the inception of our project, Alana’s mantra has been “Treat them as children before treating them as zombies.” And, as any parent knows, all children are different. Some enjoy play groups and sharing, while others prefer one-on-one interaction. Classifying our new intakes is the first step to ensure their overall happiness at our safe haven.  At intake we evaluate each individual zombie child, classify them appropriately based on potential risk of injury to themselves or others, and assign human companions.
We use a color system, explained below.
Red indicates potential flight risk and high risk of recidivism (returning to inappropriate biting behavior after they have been trained to avoid biting).  These children require the maximum attention from human companions and are assigned their own personal companion. Outside time is limited to a reinforced “Red” section which keeps the children separated from one another.  We also require muzzles on all children labeled as a red risk.

We check chain link security daily, but our most determined “Red” children sometimes find a weak spot.

Orange indicates a zombie child who is able to interact with their peers in a carefully monitored environment. Because of their advanced socialization, we are able to provide 1 human companion for every 3 zombie children and be confident in the security of our staff and our charges.  Children in the “Orange” group have community meals and outdoor time with one another. We do require muzzles during outdoor time as the children can become quite exuberant when allowed to play outside.

Two “Orange” rated children cooperatively playing one of our most popular games, Get In The Dumpster. Muzzles removed for picture.

Yellow indicates our highest functioning children. They are able to have “free roam” time when they can independently explore the grounds without restraints. They participate in arts and crafts and are served family style group meals. “Yellows” are able to perform many of the activities of daily living with associate with non zombies. They use plastic sporks to eat, dress themselves, and even help with food preparation.

Jack is one of our “Yellows.” Here he’s waiting for the evening meal to be served as he signifies, through his hand gesture, that he’s hungry.

The use of our color tier system honors the uniqueness of our zombie children and  gives them the individualized attention they received prior to their Infection.  Regular assessments allow for changes in the zombie child’s growth and development as, once in a safe environment with proper sustenance, they are able to learn new skills and behaviors.  Every Friday our zombie specialists meet with team leaders and human companions and determine if any of the children should be re-assigned based on their progress.
Our director Alana is willing to answer any questions left in the comments section.  Once again, thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Zombie Emergency Rescue Organization and we hope you’ll consider becoming a hero for Z.E.R.O.