Week three update – Lucy is in the distance, watching me, but not intimidating me. My headaches remain and the impulse to jump off a building lingers from time to time but I can be clear in my evaluation that this treatment is helping me and looks as if it is helping the others, too.
I am continuing to enjoy noting down my views. This is, in many ways, an investigation of me, and investigating was something I was particularly adept at in a past life. I love writing like this and it’s been a long time since I have, in truth. Reporting on The Preservation required me to do many things, but offering in-depth analysis of their inner workings wasn’t one of them. I spent most of my time transcribing correspondence directly from The Preservation, as a ‘verified reporter’, I haven’t performed any proper journalistic duties for…. a long time.
Apart from, that is, my audience with Ms Locke. I approached that interview with such naivety. But I don’t feel like upsetting myself with that story this week. I’ve had another good session and met some genuine folks. Life isn’t as purposeless and on that note I’m going to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. Hopefully.
Ms Locke was convinced that these sessions would exclusively be the territory of timewasters and fantasists. If I could ask her one more question, I’d implore her to join me, just for ten minutes, to see what’s happening out here. People are clinging onto the fabric of reality and I’m more convinced than ever that without these meetings, or some other means of proclamation, we’d been facing a much wider problem. Of course we won’t hear anything on the news about how PZSD is becoming an epidemic, but I feel it. More and more arrive every week and the timetable is getting extended later into the evening.
Lucy was so far away from my dreams that, for a brief second when I awoke, I forgot she was ever there to begin with. But we had another session full to the brim of people needing help, with another three lined up after. There was a small group outside too, waiting next to the hall entrance, but I’m not sure what their intentions were.
I spent most of the two hours thinking about how I feel a part of something here, enduring shared experiences, while out in the real world none of my former work colleagues have even bothered to contact me to see how I’m doing or if they could do anything to help.
When covering The Preservation, compliance is the aim of the game. My dismissal and subsequent position of persona non grata with the media industry sent a pretty effective message.
Despite everything, the loneliness I’ve endured and the depths I’ve sunk to, I’m more convinced with each session that passes that emphasising PZSD to one of the few people with the power to do something about it was the right thing to do. It was a selfless good deed. The fact that I can make this statement and then not be swept up in a wave of depression as a result is, to me, is an indication of my improvement.
No Lucy. Not even in the distance. Am I cured? I don’t know. But I’m thinking, and writing, with a clarity that I haven’t experienced in many years.
I think for some patients in these sessions it is bizarre for them to be sitting discussing Zombies so openly and truthfully, as if they somehow think they should still be fictional and this is all one big misunderstanding, where a scientist will turn around one day and say ‘You know guys, we got it wrong, it’s actually this disease that everyone had..’
I reckon much of it stems from the modern fascination that we had with Zombies prior to when the Blood Turned. Over a passage of time they became as familiar to the average person as the idea of Vampires or Werewolves. We became desensitised to them and welcomed them into the mainstream, to the extent that some loons would load up air raid shelters with supplies in case a Zombie outbreak ever happened. It was almost as if some of us wanted it to happen.
That fascination informed how much I, personally, knew about them. I had seen my share of Zombie films but I was no way a connoisseur of the genre and yet my familiarity with their makeup was extensive. I was aware of their strengths but could capitalise on their weaknesses.
Just because Lucy had minutes earlier been my wife didn’t really form part of my thought process. I just lifted the poker and used it and while those emergency lines returned a busy dial tone, Steve, Margaret, Jason and countless others took matters into their own hands, too. Instead of being confused and unable to comprehend what a Zombie was, I don’t know, it felt… natural to me in that instant, in that I merely did what I thought would be expected of me in that given situation.
I can clearly see others in my program grappling with the idea of them…. being aware of what to do in all of those scenarios they speak about every week. Why has no-one ever considered this phenomenon – are these sessions providing us with some kind of awakening, revealing something that we didn’t know we knew already?
The Preservation News transmission overtook my TV tonight and I witnessed a real treat; a live broadcast of the Preservers completing a mission in an undetermined location. The team leader entering the property with camera lens attached to his helmet discovered a family mutilated by a Zombie. The victims were either in the process of being torn apart or were reanimating. Either way, the Preservers unit was not discriminating, a truly digital army in action. The bullets rained down on the three bodies lying on the living room carpet. Progression into the kitchen found a middle-aged man, presumably the father, who promptly took a shotgun shell to the head, leaving his torso to fold like an accordion onto the linoleum. A quick traverse outside and another three Zombies, ready to wander out into suburbia, were drowned in metal before they could reach the gate. Mission accomplished.
Previously I would have been relieved that the Preservers were there to protect us in this way. However tonight I’m wondering why I’m not told who this family is, where this is taking place or indeed how NZ was able to infiltrate their home.
I also wonder why it has never been made clear how an army with such infinite reach and resource as the Preservers has been incapable of wiping out Zombies completely. Central London was dropped to amber alert just nine months after the Blood Turned and were it not for news broadcasts like this some of the population would never have even seen a Zombie in real life yet here we are, more than two-and-a-half years after that, and the news decides I need to see shaky-cam of an assortment of Zombies being destroyed by our Preservers.
Ms Locke claimed that the jackboots on the ground are ‘for our continued protection’ and referred to ‘humans not on the side of humanity’. I know what she was meant, but in practice what does it mean?
And as far as The Preservation is concerned, PZSD, a very real problem I am experiencing first-hand, continues to be dismissed as a passing fad. They also seem far more interested in continuing to push the importance of the Purge Act, judging by the latest batch of posters that have been plastered around town, which makes absolutely no sense and I’m not sure it ever did. Time spent burning books and DVDs in their incinerators could clearly be better utilised elsewhere.
Dr Chowdry was right, it’s better out here on the page than stuck in there. And without the community in those sessions, I don’t…
I’m thankful. Lucy hasn’t bothered me in days. I hope this is goodbye, darling. I’ll see you again, the real you, when the time is right.