The houses are all completely empty and Zombie media kind of got it wrong about that. Invariably a visit inside the confines of any building whatsoever would almost guarantee a meeting with a Zombie, usually in the last room of the house too, when your guard is down. It tends to forget that when an animal is unable to find food in its current location, it will attempt to escape and scavenge elsewhere, and Zombies aren’t any different. They won’t just stand there in an empty room waiting to be discovered. Their brains may have been compromised, but primal instinct to stay alive can’t be denied. If you put a hungry creature in a room a door, window, or a handle are obstacles that can be overcome.
Anyway, I tend to move among modern, generic three-beds; most of the electrical goods have been taken by other families in the area, though most of the other bigger items like couches and furniture remain. I choose a different one each time, we sit down and I explain, one more time, what I am proposing. Of course, I make it sound good. I need to sell the idea to them but I don’t need to be particularly persuasive. The person will be either appalled or interested by it. There’s no middle ground, really.
My first; I reconnected with a woman who I had been in most recent contact with. She was genuinely unhappy. Her family were all killed by NZ in one gruesome way or another. She was living in a horrid squat with nowhere else to go. She wanted me to take the pain away. After one, two, three consultations, I invited her to the facility.
I was nervous beforehand, I should be honest, but any niggling concerns eroded almost immediately after the needle embedded into her arm. #46692 and his cronies were exactly as you would expect; methodical and professional, carrying out various tests and making sure the patient was relaxed and totally committed to the procedure before they commenced, but also emotionally detached from the event before them. She asked to be put to sleep. They administered anaesthetic. When she came around, she was a Zombie.
She was a wretched human. She made a very content Zombie. She found peace here before moving on to meet those that had left her behind to suffer. After it was done and she was consigned to the pen with the other five Zombies, I stood at the viewing window with #46692 and we acknowledged our creation, like new-born parents. I even sensed a distant hint of pride in his circuitry.
Our procedures are very straightforward. It’s humane, and it’s painless. We inject the infected blood directly into the vein. This comes from our horde that started with five on that first day and has expanded and contracted depending on the circumstances of our clients ever since. We offer the freshest supply possible – you’ll be receiving the infected blood from the client that has come before you. We aren’t sure of any particular benefits that come from fresh infection as opposed to blood from a Zombie that has been turned for longer, but it’s something #46692 wants to monitor and it’s also about creating the perfect mental state in the patient before they join the undead. Dated blood gives off bad vibes; images of skin falling off, limbs dragging, brittle bones. That will all happen too even with the fresh blood, but it’s more perceptible to the patient. Everything in life has to be fresh, doesn’t it? Front of the shelf, top of the charts. We may as well feed that final horrible side-effect of humanity before the sweet fucking release.
The facility that was totally empty on my first visit is now compartmentalised; we have a front façade that sets us up as a local office for a bathroom fitting company should anyone randomly wander into our industrial estate. Carol’s our receptionist. She thinks we manufacture bathrooms in the back for real. Sometimes chronically stupid people can have their benefits. Behind her desk are a few bathroom designs with fake price tags and then an enormous piece of frosted glass that hides everything behind it. Beyond Carol’s denseness you’ll find scientific testing taking place on the most recent blood samples that involves various test tubes and vials and men looking at charts and such. In the far corner is #46692’s working area. On the right, I have my office where I bring the patients who I’m certain will go through with the procedure and specify the details of what is to come. The space at the back is called the Turning Room; it’s where the magic happens.
You visit the Turning Room on your fourth, and final, meeting. This, alas, only happens after your payment is received.
I left that gap deliberately to give you time to climb down off that fucking high horse you’re probably on and come back down to join me in the real world. I’ll continue now.
Listen, I was born to do this and I believe it was a sign and blah blah blah but while #46692 needs a place for his research, the resource for this place has to come from somewhere. The first one we did for free but I got to get paid, too; money still makes the world go around, Zombies or no Zombies.
Because this is your final journey, just like any long-haul trip you can enjoy economy class, business class or first class and each is priced accordingly. The packages have one common theme – you arrive as a human and you become a Zombie that remains in the facility for a defined period.
The economy class is entry level, of course, but the price difference is in the post-treatment care. Economy class grants you the same injection of NZ into the blood stream as the other classes, but after visiting the Turning Room you are given a maximum of three days as an unimpeded Zombie in the pen before your body becomes the property of the facility. From there on, we are free to utilise your corpse for our own needs. We don’t explain that last part to clients, it would only turn them off and if they are serious enough about this then it shouldn’t matter what happens to them when they are dead, like, really dead. Why the fuck should they care anyway?