The alternative is here, with me. Here, all your fears disappear. Morals, aspirations, responsibilities, expectancies, pretty much every negative emotion that can make you blue vanishes overnight. Here you can enjoy a period of enlightenment before packing your bags to take your chances with what comes next.
Hell, I’m doing a fantastic job of selling this to myself. The only reason I haven’t taken the plunge yet is because I’ve found my calling. This is what I was put here to do.
I offer Zombification, and my rates are particularly reasonable.
It took me a while to get going. The internet has become a fundamentally different place, mainly because the Purge Act and the Mandatory Census tend to get in the way and so I couldn’t exactly advertise on EBay or else I’d receive a swarm of Preservers through my door. I had to be very careful of who I was dealing with. I needed to promote my idea, first, to find out if anyone would be interested or whether I’d become a tad too hateful and crazy.
And you do think I’m crazy, don’t you, sitting there, imagining my manic voice. This is passion. I love what I do. I was so aimless, so lacking in aspiration I had tried to take the conventional way out just before this all started. I was deeply despondent with what life had in store for me. I endured a job in the financial sector messing around with tax avoidance that helped the rich beat the system and no, I wasn’t well compensated for doing so. My girlfriend had left me. I was losing my hair. There was nothing on the horizon to suggest that any of those elements would move in a positive direction, out of the shit-heap.
I crudely shoved a knife into my arm, attempting to pastiche every horror I’d ever seen, while making the usual rookie mistakes such as not having the water hot enough and slashing across instead of down. I couldn’t even do dying right. I was interrupted by my parents, who remain equally as dreary and irrelevant as the rest of the world, but will never realise it. They sent me into ‘rehab’ for a few weeks to ‘sort out my issues’. As easy as that, eh – parental responsibility for what a fuck-up I had become absolved without missing a beat. When you are rich, you can do that. It was typical of them to discard me like a used bin bag.
That was September 2012. Three weeks later, Hell had broken loose. You must believe me when I say that I treated it as a message from another dimension, a quirk to keep me here, doing this, providing the most noble public service there’s maybe ever been in the history of mankind. The Zombies are a deserved backwards step for making such a total mess of the evolutionary process. We should welcome them.
So yeah, promoting this service was problematic, as was executing my idea with no money, expertise or premises from which to work, but I was so caught up in the moment I didn’t let little things like logistics get in my way. I began to investigate ways I could burrow my way into the psyche of the disaffected. The Preservation thinks it is so smart, with their Personal Indicator and their social media censorship. It will work in the main, for the sheep and those sleeping their way through whatever remains of their existence, but for them to think they could suppress everyone, well, that’s one of the reasons why it will be fun to see the tables turned on them.
What I’ve found is that if something is possible, there will be someone out there interested in making it happen. Think of it, we’ve had cannibals hook up with their next meal online, certifiable types answering an advert that requires them to be eaten.
If you think what I’m doing is nuts, you’ve no idea. I’ve stumbled across communities of ‘bug chasers’ – people actively trying to catch NZ outside of a controlled environment. There’s a Russian roulette, devil-may-care attitude to it, but that kind of thing can easily get out of hand. I also found a forum where people were organising Zombies for private parties. Rather than have a stripper dance for you, why not experience the thrill of having one chained up nearby, close enough to reach out and pose a threat, but safe enough that you can enjoy a dinner party around them? Like I say, if it can exist, someone will think it should. Zombies are now a commodity to be bought and sold.
It was in one of these communities I got my ‘big break’. I’m no stranger to some pretty serious narcotics, not heroin, but just about everything else. That culture was rife at the firm where I worked, the long hours and soul-sucking tedium proving too much to handle in sobriety. I became close friends with a professional drug dealer, professional from the point of view that he worked in the city by day and made even more cash by night flitting around his various contacts and getting them off their heads.
There was nothing this guy couldn’t get or hadn’t seen somebody take. Call me opportunistic, but I knew that he would have come across some truly disconsolate addicts who might be interested in what I had to offer. By chance he mentioned the latest substance to hit the scene; Neurological Zombosis.
He gave me a brief science lesson, claiming that whenever a Zombie bites, NZ is passed from the host to the victim through the process of exposing the bloodstream to bacteria that thrives on the teeth of the Zombie. Apparently if you isolate a tiny amount of NZ, much less than the body is subjected to by a Zombie bite, then the immune system can defeat it. However, for a short period, the still-human host experiences Zombie-like qualities.
I thought this guy was fucking insane – who the hell figured this out, anyway – but he was being deadly serious. A miniscule quantity of NZ injected into the body with regular blood creates a sensation that the brain is shutting down. All thoughts and associated worries and fears disintegrate in this vegetative state. It’s a care-free high. The risks are pretty damn obvious of course, but there were a few wackos out there willing to walk the tightrope.
He took me to a place where a few of them were gathered, sitting on a tatty sofa in a flat I assumed was owned by one of them. Not that I could ask any of them. They were amidst a trance-like state, staring directly ahead. The only indication that they were alive was the quiet hiss of breathing when you stopped moving. Hissss. Hissss. It freaked me the fuck out, in all honesty. They would stay in that condition for hours at a time on the tiniest amount of NZ, totally motionless, time passing them by in sweet silence.
I asked my dealer where you could go, and who you could trust, to find this drug. That’s when I met #46692.
#46692 makes the case that having a number is no more tangible than having an assigned name, which is difficult to argue against. You were required to call him 4-6-6-9-2, like reading out a phone number, and he wouldn’t answer to anything else, even an abbreviation of the number. ‘Hey, 466,’ wouldn’t wash, even if it could only be him in the vicinity that you were referring to.
When I first encountered him he was wearing a white medical coat and I thought he had come straight from work, at the hospital, maybe. As it turns out it’s all he ever wears, every day. He is a man who speaks as if words are being rationed and he has run out of stamps. We were introduced in the back row of a dirty coffee shop in east London, conducting the type of conversation that so deliberately attempted to be inconspicuous that it proved to be anything but. I sat opposite with my hand out to greet him. He looked at me with sheer disdain.