Private diary written by the late journalist, Alex Wright, following his dismissal as Zombie Correspondent for one of the UK’s most prominent daily newspapers, and obtained by Zombieleaks for illustrative purposes.
March 31, 2015
Ok, here goes with this thing.
For the last few months I’ve been receiving visits from my wife during the night.
Yesterday she stumbled into my subconscious for the tenth consecutive evening. I can’t recall the location or the scenario but I know it felt like a happy place until she revealed herself in the background. On the first occasion, I wasn’t sure whether I had actually seen her or not; she was more a figure drifting in the shadows, inconsequential to the bizarre workings of that dream.
But she has moved with intent in each passing night until not only am I certain it’s her but that she is moving purposefully in my direction. It’s as if she is using the time when I’m awake to make up ground and get within touching distance of me. It’s as if she is using the time when I’m awake to make up ground and get within touching distance of me She is clearly my wife, exhibiting the same contorted face she had in the moments before I put her down for good. Her complexion decimated, her smooth skin hanging limply onto her skull, but eyes completely and utterly focused. I’m dreaming, I see her, and… it’s strange, but everything seems to stop and focus on her, including the other protagonists of the situation my brain has created. Her arm stretches out and points to me. I then wake up, and every time I do I know that she’s nearer to me that she was the evening prior.
Last night she was probably fifteen feet away, and that intense stare… I can’t really remember my human wife now, rather she’s been displaced by this corpse. I don’t know what will happen when she finally gets to me. I grieve her, but at the moment, I fear her. The nearer she gets, the more jarring my reaction when I come around.
Jeez, when it’s written down I sound crazy, but Dr Chowdry assures me it will help process things a little better.
A classic case of Post Zombosis Stress Disorder, he said. He contacted the community support program at King’s College, about a mile from where I live, but my first session isn’t for another week because the London initiatives remain as packed as ever. The haphazard nature of how the sessions are planned hardly The Preservation, bafflingly, continues to ignore the problem and now that I’m experiencing it I’m filled with more resentment towards them than ever before.
I asked Dr Chowdry why now, why not when I rammed that poker through Lucy’s skull? That was stressful. When I propped her corpse up in the cupboard as chaos reigned outside, that should have been enough to send me mad. When I followed The Preservation Commandments and burned her body in the garden… that’s….
Dr Chowdry doesn’t know. There’s an impressively long list of questions he doesn’t know the answer to. He doesn’t know why this is happening to me at this moment in time and he doesn’t know how many others are going through the same thing. He doesn’t know if it will get worse. He just agrees that my symptoms seem to mirror other cases he has seen. There are no official criteria, of course, because as far as The Preservation is concerned, we are all being very silly and PZSD isn’t a real thing at all.
Dr Chowdry technically can’t prescribe this treatment, but he’s seen enough people like me to be on first name terms with the volunteers hosting the sessions and attempting, in their spare time, to run a psychological department. After a brief phone call to someone, he handed me the time and date of my appointment, plus a prescription for the type of sleeping tablets that could take down Dumbo, telling me to only take them if I felt I really needed them.
He then removed his glasses and asked me a peculiar question.
“Do you speak to people, Mr Wright?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean it literally. Other than this conversation, who was the last person you spoke to?”
I had to think about it.
“I used to, regularly, when I was getting work, now… now, not so much. Not so much at all, in fact. I don’t know, is the answer.”
He stood up from his desk and put his arm on my shoulder.
“You need release. You’re a writer. Write. Keep a diary. Just don’t keep this to yourself because you will crack. You need to monitor what is happening in your life and what is happening when you sleep. It will be of benefit, I’m sure.”
So here it is.
I can’t be too harsh on Dr Chowdry and his inability to explain this condition because I can’t really properly articulate it myself. One evening Lucy was just there and now, she’s never not there.
My foreboding dreams are not my only symptom of PZSD. I shake uncontrollably at random moments, I get blinding headaches, and sometimes I’m overcome by a depression so destructive it leads me questioning what the point of this is any more.
On the very worst days, I wonder what anyone has to gain from me faltering through the rest of this charade. Aspirations of having my own family have been replaced by silence and prolonged periods of yearning. My last piece of commissioned work was my interview with Ms Locke, published nearly seven months ago, so as well as my crippling loneliness I have no discernible professional prospects. When you are a writer and the writing vanishes, no-one wonders where you’ve gone – you simply cease to exist. I’m an author who has been consigned to the shelf and there’s no-one to share my sorrow with.
The further out from that interview I extend the more I’m left to idly sit here and process its contents all over again. Afterwards, one of Locke’s associates got in touch and told me to edit out the last question, the one about PZSD. I told the voice on the phone that I would comply. I published it in its entirety. I felt it was important information.
I think it might have been live for about six minutes before my desk was being cleared out, my Zombie Literature licence revoked and my days as the UK’s premier Zombie Correspondent brought dramatically to a close. I have a cached version of the story on a file on my personal laptop. It’s likely the only version of the article in existence that retains the PZSD exchange. I keep it for sanity’s sake.
Writing is all I have ever done and it has been taken away from me.
Sarah Locke. The fact that I was discarded so cheaply tells me something about The Preservation. It tells me that they fear this PZSD that I have and they’d rather pretend it doesn’t exist in their perfect Society 2.0. I can’t possibly be fine with that but I’m also not sure what I can do about it from this position of torture.
Even still, would I publish it again?
Yes, I’d publish it again.