Moving and Changing

English: A part of Lake Keowee, in South Carolina.

English: A part of Lake Keowee, in South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve updated and we put the blame squarely on our move to South Carolina. Don’t get us wrong, South Carolina is beautiful, the people friendly, and the food delicious. We just had a difficult time adjusting to the Southern way of  life.

Our original plan to build our sanctuary at Lake Keowee called for erecting large, air-conditioned tents, and focusing our stick-built efforts on the kitchen area and intake center. The tents went up fine, a traveling circus crew and local catering company quickly erected five large tents that comfortably fit twenty-five zombie children each. The installation of air conditioning was another story.

It’s not that the zombie kids need air conditioning. They’re pretty resilient to extremes of temperature. Only prolonged subzero weather causes them to freeze up into a state we call “zombisicles.” Once defrosted, they function without any loss of movement, only needing a little stitching to tighten up the areas that expand when frozen. Extreme heat, we theorized, might cause their decomposition to accelerate. Air conditioning was a strategy to prevent that possibility.

Unfortunately, our air conditioning contractors decided that the current weather (hazy, hot, and humid with intermittent thunderstorms) was more amenable to fishing and story telling. They would come by each day, do a little work, and then head off to the lake to cool down. Said cooling down taking the majority of the day. As the temperature in the tents skyrocketed, so did our impatience to have air conditioning. We had a timeline, a to do list, and a guilty conscience. What we didn’t have was time to slow down.

Luckily, before things escalated to a point of no return, one of our staff members noticed our zombie kids were slowing down. They rose a little later each day, found a cool spot to nap each afternoon, and spent less time walking around aimlessly and more time sitting pensively in the hot, still air. The heat not only sapped their ambition to walk constantly, it also tempered their aggression. Some of the z kids who had been on restrictions due to their unpredictabile behavior, now became as placid and even-tempered as our most well-behaved kids. Even meal time, which sometimes caused a volcanic explosion of kids rushing the serving tables, took on a more languid pace. After we discussed the changes at a staff meeting, we all pledged to follow the example being set for us and take things a little slower.

Since we started, the petty annoyances and unfinished to-do lists seem less important. We start the day with a leisurely breakfast and chat over several cups of coffee before heading out to the day’s chores. We take frequent rests, keep hydrated, and savor the feel of the lake breezes. The change in the zombie kids has meant we don’t need to suit up in anti-bite attire as often and we’ve all become comfortable in flip-flops, light shorts, and thin cotton t-shirts. It’s not unusual to find a staff member enjoying a late afternoon nap in the hammocks we’ve strung along the shoreline or reclining on the sandy beach reading a book.

Our project continues to move forward, only it is not at the breakneck pace our New England Puritan forefathers kept. Instead we’re learning the ways of our new homeland and slowly adapting to the most welcome change of pace. Once again, our zombie children led the way and we followed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for some sweet tea.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

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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.

Zombie Children Coming To Your Town (Maybe)

lake keowee

lake keowee (Photo credit: zen) Still keeping our exact location a secret, but it’s in this general vicinity.

The Zombie Emergency Response Organization (ZERO) is  proud to announce we’re opening a second sanctuary for zombie children in beautiful upstate South Carolina. Though the majority of our residents are from New England and Canada, there are an increasing number of referrals from Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina.  Part of our mission includes keeping the families of these children, when we can identify them, involved in their child’s life.  Our New England location, convenient to several major interstates, is convenient for northern families and facilitates their ability to visit and spend time with their zombie kids.  Unfortunately the rising cost of airfare and gas has robbed many southern families of the means to visit their children more than once or twice a year.  We’ve tried to fill the need with chartered buses and allowing families to travel by our Underground Railroad system, but these methods proved to be too much of a security risk and we’ve had to discontinue them.

When we surveyed the country to see what resources were available to zombie children we found that the West Coast zombie children have been embraced by Scientology. The Southwest protects their zombies on Indian Reservations. The Midwest, Alaska, and Hawaii steadfastly maintain they have no zombie children within their border.  The only area without a zombie plan is the South. This information led to our decision to open  a new sanctuary on Lake Keowee in South Carolina to accommodate zombie children from Southern states.

Lake Keowee, a manmade lake constructed by Duke Energy, offers several large islands as well as secluded, non-developed coves that are capable of keeping our children physically segregated and secure. The temperate weather will save our organization the high cost of New England fuel. The low taxes will free up money for additional staff members and plant improvements. The famed hospitality of South Carolinian‘s will prevent the occasional stand-off that takes place in New Hampshire between local residents and lost family members.

Our initial plans include a fifty-bed housing unit as well as ten lakeside cabins for visiting family. We’ve already received our permits and are putting up fences and pouring concrete. Our projected opening date is September 2013 and we’ll be accepting applications and referrals starting June 13, 2013.

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

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization