Zombie Children: Not for Sale or Rent

A kind of caution sign.

A kind of caution sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Since the Great Infection, aka mini zombie apocalypse, the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization has served as a clearinghouse for information on zombie children and a research lab of sorts. Our mission, providing caring, humane housing for orphaned zombie kids, has always focused on the needs of the children, rather than the needs of society. Some of our decisions, such as to feed the children cow’s brains, indirectly benefit humankind, in this case by diverting potentially Mad Cow infected matter from the human food stream. Other decisions, including our efforts to someday become a restraint-free facility, are of benefit only to our charges.

 

Our research activities have focused primarily on observing and recording zombie behavior. The dream that one day zombies and humans can co-exist will only occur if we find a way to stop zombies from eating human brains and a way to stop humans from killing zombies. Understanding the basics of how zombies exist and think brings us closer to this dream. Though there are organizations that have offered us money to, for example, test pharmaceuticals on our children or experiment to find the most efficient ways to kill them, it is easy to resist the lure of easy money when one is trying to change the world.

 

Recently, internet forums have buzzed with rumors that the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization is now in the business of renting and selling zombie children. E-bay auctions, featuring some of our better known children such as Smiling Jack and Valentina, have sprung up overnight with bidding going into the thousands of dollars. Other sites purport to sell our zombies by the pound, with the going price of zombies only slightly more expensive than Maine lobster. Conspiracy theorists accuse us of using the children for pharmaceutical research and show doctored photos of zombie kids that have died from experiments gone bad.

 

None of this is true.

 

Due to security, we can’t throw open the doors to our sanctuary and show people these are lies. We can install webcams to prove our children are well fed, treated with love, and not used as lab animals or sold as livestock. Hopefully these will be up and running by next week and the rumor mongers and zombie haters will, once again, have to turn their vicious lies elsewhere.

 

With great sadness tonight, we ask you to remember that we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to.

 

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

 

Wednesday’s Child: Resilient Roni

sneeze
As our staff is stricken with “could be,” “maybe,” I’m not sure,” I don’t wanna say” it’s a cold or the flu, we take time to reflect on the experience of running a facility where none of the children can catch or spread respiratory infections. According to the CDC, “nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold.” These school days aren’t just felt by the children, often times it’s the parents and teachers that feel the impact of these walking-talking-contagious kids. Days like today help us recognize that we’re fortunate to work with children who can only spread one type of virus.
Even so, zombies are vulnerable to certain ailments, most noticeably those that arise from their state of chronic decomposition. Roni, a bubbly fifteen year old with hair like Raggedy Annie, is the zombie child most afflicted with this.
Redhaired annies aka Raggedy Ann

Redhaired annies aka Raggedy Ann (Photo credit: almost witty)

Prior to her arrival at our facility, she spent at least a month wandering the back roads and woods of Maine. We can’t be certain, but we believe she was dropped off in the woods when her parents could no longer take care of her. We base this on the fact that no other zombies were found with her and normally as new zombies are infected they link up with the nearest group. Additionally, there were no zombie outbreaks reported in the county she was found in, making it likely she was transported from another area.
By the time she was found and transferred here, she had been wandering the woods for several months. Her hair was matted and thick with leaves and dirt. Her skin was covered with tears and cuts from the underbrush. Porcupine quills dotted her legs and several of her toes were missing. After a thorough washing and disinfection, our team of plastic surgeons went to work, suturing her lacerations, attaching toes, and tightening loosened and sagging skin. When they were done, she wasn’t the prettiest zombie in the room, but she had the biggest smile.
Our greatest concern, once the surgeons were done with her, was that she wouldn’t integrate with the other children as she had spent her entire zombie life alone. Zombies that are used to a pack, for lack of a better word, adjust easily to our facility and tend to follow along in activities and mimic the behavior of the others. Without any socialization, we feared Roni would fear the other children. Surprisingly, the first day we held her in isolation, she spent the day trying to walk through the fencing and join the other children. After a number of attempts, she gave up and stood at the fence, one hand clutching the cold metal, and moaned in harmony with the other kids. The second day, we allowed her to interact with two children while five of our staff members stood by, ready to intervene if necessary. Our worries were groundless. She had no hesitation in joining the group and spent the rest of the day happily following along. By the third day, we’d moved her into our least restrictive environment where she has remained to this day.
In spite of her massive reconstructive surgery and the almost weekly repairs that must be made to her skin, Roni remains pleasant and unafraid of our surgeons, seamstresses, and other staff members. Like the Energizer bunny, she continues to bounce back.
Zombies Invade San Francisco!

Zombies Invade San Francisco! (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

And, to give you an idea of what our work is like, in a normal residential children’s facility, one would spend this time of year looking for lost mittens and misplaced boots. We spend our time looking for missing fingers and misplaced toes. Keeping Roni intact is a big job, but we are up to the challenge.

Remember, we feed the zombies so you don’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Book Review Friday: The Reawakening (The Living Dead Trilogy, Book 1) by Joseph Souza

ImageThe Reawakening, Book 1 in Joseph Souza’s Living Dead Trilogy, is not your typical zombie fare. Even though there is a character named Rick who imposes a Ricktatorship on the others and much of the action takes place in a farmhouse, it is nothing like the TV series” The Walking Dead”. Instead, Souza uses a zombie apocalypse to tell a cautionary tale about genetically modified food and the unforeseen consequences of man’s tampering with nature.

When Thom and his daughter, Dar, head to Maine to visit his brother and sister-in-law, they become trapped there after a sickness that first targets animals turns its sights on humans. The virus causes its victims to have a religious vision before they turn into flesh-eating monsters. Thom, his scientist brother Rick, and a ragtag group of survivors hole up in Rick’s fortified farmhouse and wait for help to arrive. Help never comes.

Souza does a fine job of educating the reader on genetically modified food without becoming preachy or tiresome. He nicely captures the sense of paranoia and isolation that the survivors endure by virtue of their geographic isolation in Maine and the loss of television, phone, and electronic communication with the outside world.  The plot moves along quickly and, other than a scene at the local general store, the farmhouse survivors mostly suffer the psychic scars of not knowing what is going on elsewhere in the Northeast or the world.

In a departure from the stereotypical zombie, Souza’s flesh-eaters mutate and develop characteristics in common with the creature that caused their death. Bit by a cow? Come back with hoofs and hair. Bit by a bird? Develop a beak and wings.  As the survivors piece together the rules of this new world they live in, they make alliances, discover strengths, and cover for one another’s weaknesses. As bookish Thom  struggles with not being able to return to Boston and save  his wife and son, his daughter Dar becomes a skilled sniper and warrior decorated with tattoos and piercings. Dar finds the meaning of her life in this stressful situation while Thom immerses himself in writing a chronology of the events. When  Thom discovers that the genetic mutation responsible for the flesh-eaters is in the pollen-filled air, contaminating people silently and not dependent on an infected bite, Thom finds the inner strength to continue on and go off in search of his wife and son.

If you’re looking for a quick read that combines zombies with conspiracy theories, vegans, and genetically modified organisms, The Reawakening is a good choice. The science is explained on an understandable level and never leaves the reader feeling that they are being talked down to or that the conversation is over their head. The characters are unlikable and, at times, not well developed, but Thom’s evolving relationships with his fellow survivors leads to several surprising twists. Those who are looking for more of a religious message may be disappointed as the two competing explanations for the religious visions are never fully addressed. It’s a story line I hope to see explored more thoroughly in Book 2.

Overall, an enjoyable read with a few new twists on zombies. Click The Reawakening (The Living Dead Series) to buy at Amazon.