So, I mentioned to someone the other day that I have an actual plan for the zombie apocalypse. This isn’t such an odd thing these days, what with the recent popularity of zombie movies and TV shows. It’s important to note, however, that this plan has firmly been in place for at least 10 years, before the resurgence of zombie popularity. Romero got me, and he got me good. So here’s what you need to know about surviving the zombie apocalypse, my style.
1. Exodus: First things first, you need to get the fuck out of wherever you are. But you need to be smart about it. Panic is not the friend of someone who’s going to survive this. You need to plan a bit. Expect to be on foot, without easy access to food or water or communication. If you’re at home, more’s the better. Load up on non-perishables, a canteen, comfortable shoes, and whatever survival gear you can get your hands on. You’ll need at least a knife at bare minimum in the beginning. If you have a car, that’s great, but understand that you’re going to either get stuck in gridlocked traffic with everyone else fleeing, or you’re going to have to abandon the vehicle once you run out of gas or get a flat tire. The other important part of fleeing is to have an idea of where you’re going. We’ll talk about that in a bit.
2. Weaponry: Sorry, dudes, you’re going to need to kill some zombies if you want to live. And while guns are all well and good, lots of people don’t have access to them, and they require ammunition, which will eventually run out. This is a good time to get medieval. Axes and swords are excellent for your purposes here. Granted, you’re going to need to get a lot closer than with a gun, but movies don’t really show you how hard a clean head shot is, even with a decent gun and someone who knows how to handle it. Blunt force is preferable. It’s messier, sure, but it’s more of a sure thing. In the absence of an axe or sword, consider things like golf clubs or baseball bats. You’re going to need to move up to something sharp, though, so keep that in mind, and keep your eyes open. If you can plan your exodus to include swinging by a home improvement store or your local museum or collectibles store, those are good places to stock up on weaponry.
3. Company: There’s strength in numbers, sure, but you need to be very cautious with who you choose to spend the zombie apocalypse with. They should have some sort of skill or resource that you do not, and you need to be able to trust them enough with your safety and your stuff so that you can get some rest every once in a while. Also, keep in mind everyone you ever knew is probably dead or undead. You’re going to be upset about this, but don’t go getting attached to people, because they’re just as likely to end up lurching around, trying to eat your brains, as everyone else. Be smart.
4. Stronghold: You need to figure out where you’re going. Keep in mind, anywhere that makes clear sense, like a military base, or that random castle outside of town, is likely already spoken for. What you’re looking for, ideally, is somewhere that’s on high ground (zombies don’t seem to be much for climbing), somewhere that’s fairly clear around the perimeter, so nothing can sneak up on you, and that’s easily defended by a fairly small number of people. Limited access points are helpful as well, but you can’t have everything right away. That may need to come later on.
5. Organization: You and your intrepid band of survivors need to get your shit together. You need schedules for sleeping and eating and guard duty. Someone needs to be in charge of food and supplies. And everyone needs to carry their own weight. If you aren’t contributing, you might as well just be zombie bait.
6. Ingenuity: The zombies will probably find you. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You need to come up with some clever ways of keeping them back. You have time now, and hopefully more resources, so start thinking more broadly. See what fire does. If it kills them, use it. Can you devise a trap and take out a dozen or more at a time? Get to it. Hell, have a little fun with it while you’re at it.
7. Waiting: OK, you’ve fled, you’re stashed away, you’ve got defensive capabilities and a pretty good system for keeping not dead or undead. At some point, the zombie herd is going to be thinned out. Don’t confuse this with being safe; just understand that eventually, there will be fewer and fewer of them. Waiting sucks, so go back to your ingenuity step and start coming up with ideas: ways to fortify your defenses, methods for improving everyday life, little things like that.
8. Rebuilding: I’m not talking about procreating here, people. Not yet, anyway. Babies are little resource suckers, and they’re useless in hand-to-hand combat. I’m talking about the fact that now that you aren’t killing the undead every few minutes, you need to start looking to the future. What’s important to remember here is that we’ve likely lost most of what makes modern life modern. We’re going to be pitched back into a mostly agrarian society, and you need to have some idea what to do. Useful skills here include: irrigation, animal husbandry, alternative energy, crop sustainability, textile manufacturing, and structural maintenance, among many others. Basically, all the skills you have now will be completely useless.
So, to recap: You need to run, you need to eat, you need a sharp weapon or six. You have to get used to being without technology, and you have to do it quickly. Be wary of other people, but accept that you’ll never survive on your own. Remember that everything is harder than it looks in the movies, and you won’t have a screenwriter to pencil in the guns a-blazin’ white knight to save you just in the nick of time. You need to save yourself. You can do it. I have faith. And if we both get out of this alive, you’re welcome to make a home for yourself in New Nonzombonia.
Editor’s note – PoM allowed me to send a crack team of zombie assistants to her personal blog. They came back with this story, but they looked worried. You can find it in its original context here.