My girlfriend has just left me. Not in that devastating and utterly heartbreaking way – she’s gone to work. However, the same feeling of dread and desolation trembles at the base of my stomach. I have realised two things: I am alone and uncomfortably vulnerable. This will inevitably result in my certain fate: I am going to be attacked and eaten by a zombie.
It’s surprising just how sincere my fear of zombies is. Every moment I’m left alone I become hyper sensitive to the faintest rustle or disembodied grumble.
Through the prism of my mania these sounds become the dragging of heavy rotten limbs and the hungry groans of the deadly undead. I can’t help it. Zombies haunt me. Most shrug off these vacant flesh eaters with derisive scoff and an eye roll. Of course it could never really happen. NO! Don’t be so bloody ignorant. It could – or rather, it will.
If cinema and television has taught it us anything it’s that our worst nightmares be made real with the alignment of certain variables. For example:
nuclear mushroom cloud + innocuous lizard = gargantuan hermaphrodite pest problem and Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page collaboration. (Colin Firth – top shirt buttons) + swamp water - middle aged uncle’s sense of humility = vomit on friend’s Pride and Prejudice box set. And for the purpose of this columnist’s paranoia: Rage virus + population of London – all possibility of containment and refuge = reanimated running cadavers and deep irrevocable damage to psyche and underwear (I had to give up wearing it).
Zombie films taught us that biology could be polluted with horrifying consequences. 28 Days Later told us we’d have to kill our loved ones in a heartbeat; George Romero said it was our fears of annihilation and apocalypse made manifest and Shaun shot his mum in the face when she tried to eat him. I for one don’t want to have to shoot my mum in the face nor – should I fall victim to the virus - do I wish to devour my girlfriend in a cannibalistic frenzy (despite what her neck may suggest after a particularly drunken and embarrassingly teenage molestation). The notion of humanity being eradicated and replaced by a base hunger-driven void is not something I relish. In fact it genuinely upsets and terrifies me. I conceal this fear like an ugly raw nerve because once people discover it they can’t help but trouble it. Case in point: my girlfriend this afternoon. She managed to realign the variables into what has caused my current state of agitation. Let me demonstrate through more hackneyed mathematical method:
Flat - (Playful girlfriend + worryingly convincing zombie impression) + cold silent sense of dread = cowering alone in my dressing gown with television volume turned up as high as possible.
I type now with a heightened awareness of the zombie potential of the situation. Not only is it raining outside, I can hear the reverberations of a string quartet playing ominous music in my bathroom. This morning’s brazen and fraudulent display of progress in conquering my fear (wearing underwear for the first time in months) has become loaded with ironic potential. I can’t quell the sudden resurgence of my zombie paranoia. These may be the last words I type. This may be the end.
Can you hear that?
Are those footsteps?
She’s due back any moment. Perhaps it’s her.
Do zombies knock?
I better go answer that but something tells me I shouldn’t. Something doesn’t feel right.
Okay, fine, fine, I’ll go. I’m done. Even if you’re skeptical you can’t deny that it could happen. It may be actually be happening right now. If I don’t come back you’ll know why. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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