Article published without editor consent and removed from online publication, October 1, 2014.
What were you doing on October 1, 2012, at 7.05pm? I bet you think about it every day. If you are anything like me, everything that occurred in your life leading up to that moment doesn’t seem to matter much at all.
Me? I was preparing an evening meal to enjoy with my wife, Lucy. I was loading homemade lasagne into the oven while she sagged into a chair and complained about her long shift at the hospital. I handed her a glass of wine while she kicked off her work plimsolls and let out a contented sigh. I was briefly distracted by that warm, comforting feeling usually reserved for when both of us were together; this was generally the favourite part of my day.
Then, her complaining stopped. I was looking right at her at the time, her voice disintegrating mid-sentence as her body went completely limp. She slid forward out of the chair and her head clattered the kitchen tiles before I could reach out to grab her.
I clutched her in my arms. There was no pulse, no sign of life. I panicked. I fumbled for the phone in my pocket, dialling 999 as the handset rattled around in my palm. The line was busy so I moved to the living room, still cradling her close to me, and tried again, only to hear the engaged tone once more.
I laid Lucy on the ground and tried to perform the most basic CPR I could recall, pressing down hard on her chest and breathing into her mouth. I didn’t know what I was doing. I lifted my phone and begun redialling and redialling and redialling until the beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, wedged in my brain and tears began to form. A few minutes had passed without a breath from her body. I knew I was losing her. I paced the room with the phone to my ear, helplessness engulfing me. What had happened? She was a fit person; she had no illnesses, no ailments, nothing I had known that could have been responsible for this. Had she hid something from me? Was there something killing her and she didn’t want to tell me about it? How could she do this to me?
As I paced, Lucy roused behind me. She scraped herself onto her knees and let out a deep, hearty moan before clambering vertically in the most unconventional, maladroit manner until she was standing bolt upright, her head bowed. I called out her name and burst forward to embrace her.
She lifted her head to focus immediately on me.
The eyes, the face, the mouth, the skin.
The now-recognisable white cataracts had descended and dark, viscous blood was visibly pumping into her brain, throbbing rhythmically in tracks upwards from her neck. She addressed me not as her husband, but as her prey. I skidded to a stop with such abruptness my phone flew from my grasp and bounded onto the floor directly between us. We endured a brief standoff, the phone’s speaker still reverberating with a low beep, beep, beep, beep, as her gaze remained fixed on me and mine on her.
I called out to her once again. Lucy, are you there? It’s me, can you see me? Can you hear me? Her response was a venomous lunge. I clutched her wrists and wrestled with her feverishly as her teeth snapped inches from my exposed forearm. Her body was like a dead weight trying to push me down as I pleaded with her to recognise me, but she came at me again and I repelled her as best I could.
The third time, she leapt with such disregard for her own body that I was flattened to the floor with her writhing on top of me. I can only explain my next manoeuvre as sheer instinct. I reached out and grabbed the poker lying within reach in front of our sooty fireplace and rammed it firmly through her eye socket as she made one last attempt to bite into my head. She did not come a fourth time.
That’s my story of how I survived at 7 oh 5. Your story from that day, and the days that followed, almost certainly mirrors mine. By the very nature of the fact that you are alive, you probably had to do something previously unthinkable to you. You feel an immense sense of guilt over it. You are more solemn, more vigilant and you will do whatever it takes to protect what is yours. It is understandable. When an entire blood type suffers a genetic transformation and our scientific community struggles to find any suitable explanation, it is impossible to return to a laissez faire attitude.
We hardly need reminding of the details but sometimes it is therapeutic to go over them once more. On that day, every person on Earth that had AB- blood in their bodies simultaneously dropped ‘dead’ and reanimated with characteristics very much aligned with those of Zombies. We decided to call the condition Neurological Zombosis, or NZ for short, because we’ve always felt it necessary to attach a tag of rationality to any circumstances. But it was impossible to try and convince us that this was anything else; the Zombies had risen and were trying to wipe us out.
We still don’t know, indeed we may never know, why the AB- blood ‘turned’ in the veins of those people without a hint of warning. Research continues, but one thing we do know is that AB- was mercifully rare. Of the eight main blood groups (A, B, AB, & O, both positive and negative) it was the best option for giving the rest of us a chance of survival.
AB- existed in varying percentages as shown by these rather crude all-encompassing terms for ethnicity. These figures are derived from a base population on Earth of seven billion in 2012: