Home > The Zombie Survival Guide(9)

The Zombie Survival Guide(9)
Author: Max Brooks

A. Designate one corner of your backyard to serve as a latrine. Most survival manuals will explain the finer points of construction and disposal.

B. If soil and rain permits, dig a vegetable garden. This ready source of food should be consumed first, saving the canned food for an emergency. Keep it as far away from the latrines as possible, to avoid infection not by waste but by the residual effects that lime or bleach will have on the soil.

C. For electricity, always resort to the manual (bicycle-powered) generator. Not only is the gasoline model loud and potentially dangerous—its fuel is finite. Use it only in extreme circumstances, such as a night attack, when manual power is unfeasible or impossible to generate.

D. Patrol the wall constantly. If you’re in a group, run patrols on a twenty-four-hour basis. Always be vigilant for an unlikely but possible infiltration. If you are alone, limit your patrols to daylight hours. At night, make sure all doors are secure (windows should already be barred). Sleep with a flashlight and weapon nearby. Sleep lightly.

E. Maintain a low profile. If you have a basement, do your cooking there, along with power generation and any equipment maintenance. When you monitor the radio, something that should be done every day, use headphones. Keep blackout curtains on all windows, especially at night.

F. Dispose of all bodies. Be it zombie or human, a corpse is still a corpse. The bacteria in rotting flesh can be a serious health hazard. All bodies within your perimeter should be burned or buried. All bodies outside of your wall should be burned. To do this, simply stand on a ladder on your side of the wall, pour gasoline on the freshly slain ghoul, light a match and let it fall. Although this may attract more undead to your dwelling, it is a necessary risk to remove an already-present hazard.

G. Exercise daily. Use of the stationary bicycle, along with basic calisthenics and dynamic tension, will keep your body fit and strong enough for any combat situation. Again, make sure your regimen is quiet. If a basement is not available, use a room in the center of the house. Basic soundproofing such as mattresses and blankets against the walls will help to muffle any sounds.

H. Remain entertained. Despite the need for vigilance, recreation is a must. Make sure a large cache of books, games, and other forms of amusement are available (electronic games are too noisy and energy-inefficient to be considered). In a long and seemingly

interminable siege, boredom can lead to paranoia, delusion, and hopelessness. It is as important to keep your mind in good shape as it is your body.

I. Keep your earplugs handy, and use them often. The constant, collective moan of the undead, a sound that will persist at all hours for as long as the siege continues, can be a deadly form of psychological warfare. People with well-protected, well-supplied homes have been known to either kill one another or go insane simply from the incessant moan.

J. Make sure your escape route is planned and your gear ready to go. In the uncertainty of battle, it may be necessary to abandon your home. Perhaps the wall has been breached, perhaps a fire has started, perhaps rescue has arrived but is not close enough. For whatever reason, it’s time to go. Keep your survival pack and weapon in a readily accessible area, packed, loaded, and ready for action.

4. Immediate Defense

The dead have risen. You smell the smoke, hear the sirens. Screams and shots fill the air. You have been unable or unwilling to properly prepare your home—what now? Although the situation looks grim, it by no means signals your demise. If you take the right actions at the right time, you can save yourself and your family from joining the ranks of the undead.

A. Strategies for Two-Story Homes

1. Lock all your doors and windows. Although a pane of glass may not stop a zombie, the sound of its shattering will be the best warning you can get.

2. Run upstairs and turn on the bathtub. Although this sounds foolish, there is no way of knowing when the water will be cut. After a few days, thirst will become your greatest enemy.

3. Find the best weapons possible. (See previous chapter.) They should be light and, if possible, attachable to your body so you will have the full use of your hands. Those will be busy for the next hour.

4. Begin stockpiling the second story. Use the list on pages 71–72 as your guide. Most households have at least 50 percent of the items listed. Do a quick inventory to see what you have. Don’t take everything, just the bare essentials: one or two weapons, some food (you already have a bathtub full of water), a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. And since most families keep their medical chests upstairs, you won’t need anything more. Remember: Time could be short, so don’t spend it all gathering supplies when the most important job is still ahead.

5. Demolish the staircase! As zombies are unable to climb, this method guarantees your safety. Many have argued that an easier solution would be to board up all the windows and doors. This method is self-defeating because it would take only a few zombies to break through any homemade barricade. No doubt destroying your staircase will take time and energy, but it must be done. Your life depends on it. Donot, under any circumstances, try to burn your stairs away with the hope of controlling the fire. Several people have attempted to save time in this way; their efforts have ended in either death by fire or the total destruction of their home.

6. If you have a ladder, use it to continue to stock your upstairs refuge. If not, catalog what you do have, fill all sinks and other receptacles with water, and prepare for a long wait.

7. Stay out of sight. If you listen to the radio, do it at a minimum volume. When the skies darken, do not turn on the lights. Do not go near the windows. Try to make it seem as if the house has been abandoned. This may not stop a random zombie intrusion, but it will help to discourage a mass congregation from descending upon your home.

8. Do not use the phone. As in all disasters, the lines will probably be tied up. One more call only contributes to clogging the system. Keep the ringer on the lowest setting. If a call does come through, by all means answer it, but do so quietly.

9. Plan an alternate escape. You may be safe from zombies but not from fire. If a gas line bursts, or some fool down the street goes crazy with a Molotov, you may have to abandon your home. Find a bag or other means of carrying essentials (see “On the Run”), and keep it at the ready.

B. Strategies for Single-Story Homes

If you do not live in a two-story house, the attic will be a less comfortable but equally secure substitute. Most can be secured by simply raising the retractable staircase or

removing the temporary ladder. Zombies lack the cognitive ability to build a ladder of their own. If you stay quiet, they will not even know that an attic exists.

Neveruse a basement as a shelter. Popular horror flicks have shown that, in a crunch, this subterranean chamber can protect the living from the dead. This is a dangerous fallacy. Burning, suffocating, or simply starving to death in basements have claimed hundreds of lives over the years.

If you find yourself in a one-story home with no attic, grab whatever supplies you can, take hold of a weapon, and climb onto the roof. If the ladder is kicked away, and there is no direct access (a window or trapdoor), the undead will not be able to reach you. Keep still and keep silent to avoid attracting the undead. Zombies in the area will break into the house below you, search it for prey, then wander off. Remain on the roof for as long as you can, until supplies are exhausted or a rescue patrol arrives. It may not be comfortable, but it is your best chance for survival. Eventually, it will become inevitable to abandon this refuge. (See “On the Run,” for details.)

Public Spaces

As with private homes, safety can be found in public or nonresidential buildings. In some cases, their size and layout may afford more protection than the most secure domiciles. In other cases, the exact opposite is true. Because arming and equipping these structures should be done in the same manner as in private homes, albeit on a grander scale, this section focuses on the best and worst public sanctuaries.

1. Office Buildings

Many of the same rules regarding apartment houses can be applied to office buildings. Once the first floor has been abandoned, the staircases destroyed, and the elevators shut down, an office building can be a tower of safety.

2. Schools

As there is no generic layout, deciding whether a public school is a good place to hole up can be tricky. Keep in mind the general rules of defense (see “General Rules”).

Unfortunately for our society but fortunately for a zombie siege, inner-city schools have taken on a fortress-like atmosphere. Not only are the buildings themselves built to withstand a riot, but chain-link fences surrounding them make these halls of education look more like military compounds. Food and medical supplies should be readily available from the cafeteria, the nurse’s station, or the physical-education office. Often, a school is your best bet—perhaps not for education but certainly for protection from an undead attack.

3. Hospitals

What would seem to be the safest, most logical place to flee to during an outbreak is actually one of the worst. Yes, hospitals may be stocked with food, medical supplies, and an expert staff. Yes, the structures themselves could be secured, as with any office or apartment building. Yes, they may have security, even a regular police presence. In any other disaster, a hospital should be first on your list of havens. Not so when the dead rise. Even with growing awareness about zombies, Solanum infections are still misdiagnosed. Humans with bites or newly murdered corpses are always brought to hospitals. The majority of first-wave zombies (in some cases 90 percent) consist of medical staff or those involved with the treatment of cadavers. Chronological maps of zombie outbreaks show them literally radiating from these buildings.

4. Police Stations

Unlike with hospitals, the reason for avoiding police stations has less to do with zombies than with humans. In all probability, the people living in your city or town will flock to the local police station, creating a nexus of chaos, bodies, and eventual blood. Imagine a packed, writhing crowd of frightened people, too many to control, all trying to force their way into the building they think best represents safety. One does not need to be bitten by zombies when beatings, stabbings, accidental shootings, and even tramplings are just as likely. So when the dead rise, locate your local police station—and head the other way.

5. Retail Stores

For Class 1 uprisings, many types of retail stores will provide adequate shelter. Those with roll-down gates, solid or otherwise, can stop up to ten zombies for several days. If the siege lasts any longer or if more zombies arrive, the situation may change dramatically. Enough rotting fists, enough heaving forms smashing against the gate will eventually break it down. Always have an alternate escape route planned, so that if the barricade is breached, you can quickly move on. If you can’t formulate a solid Plan B, do

not consider this place a refuge. Stores without gates should not be considered. Their display windows will do nothing more than advertise you to the zombies.

6. Supermarkets

Although they have enough food to sustain your group for years, supermarkets are also dangerous. Their huge glass doors, even when locked and gated, provide little protection. Reinforcement of these entrances would be difficult. Basically, the exterior of a supermarket is a giant display window, meant to show the fresh, delicious food within. With humans on the inside and zombies on the outside, that is exactly what it will do.

Not all food stores are deathtraps, however. The smaller, family-owned markets and bodegas of the inner city can serve quite well as temporary havens. To protect against theft and, more recently, riot, all have strong steel gates, some even solid roll-down shutters. As with stores, these small markets can provide adequate protection for shortterm, low-intensity attacks. If you find yourself in one, remember to eat perishables first and be ready to dispose of the rest if (when) the electricity is cut.

7. Shopping Malls

A practically indefensible structure. Large shopping centers are always targets for both humans and zombies. It is always the case with social disturbance: At the first sign of trouble, these concentrations of wealth swarm with private security, police, even overzealous shop owners. If the crisis occurs suddenly, a large number of shoppers may become trapped within the mall, creating problems of overcrowding, trampling, and suffocation, as well as attracting the dead. In an outbreak of any class, heading for a shopping mall would mean heading for a center of chaos.

8. Churches

Forgive the expression, but places of worship are a mixed blessing. The main advantage of most churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship is that they are built to withstand forced entry. Most have heavy wood or metal doors. Windows tend to be high off the ground. A majority possess wrought-iron fences that, despite their aesthetic intent, can serve as added protection. When compared to many secular structures of equal size, your typical place of worship is surprisingly secure. However, the protection they offer during an outbreak will never be enough against the horde of zombies that are sure to come. The inevitable onslaught has, of course, nothing to do with the supernatural. Satan’s soldiers are not out to invade God’s house. Ultimate evil is not doing battle with ultimate good. The walking dead attack churches for one good reason: It’s where the food

is. Despite their education, technical savvy, and professed disinterest in the spiritual world, urban Americans run, screaming to their gods, at the first sight of zombies. These places of worship, crammed with people loudly praying for their souls, have always served as beacons for the undead. Aerial photographs have shown zombies migrating, slowly, steadily, and with increasing numbers, toward their future slaughterhouse: the nearest church.

9. Warehouses

Given their lack of windows, easily secured entrances, and generally spacious layouts, warehouses can be an ideal refuge for an extended period of time. Many warehouses have a security office, usually equipped with bathroom facilities and therefore an immediate source of water. If the merchandise that is stored there is both heavy and kept in large, durable crates, consider yourself lucky. These boxes can be used to reinforce doorways, create private rooms, or even, as many of us did when we were children, be used to build a secondary line of defense or “fort” within the main area. There is the possibility, however unlikely, that whatever goods are stored could be helpful to your survival. For all these reasons, rank warehouses among your most attractive hideouts. One caveat concerning location: 50 percent of the time, these buildings are close to shipyards, factories, or other industrial sites. If this is the case, be cautious, observant, and always ready to flee. Also, beware of refrigerated warehouses storing perishable goods. Once electricity is lost, their quick decomposition can become a severe health hazard.

Hot Series
» Vampire Academy Series read online
» Crossfire Series read online
» Fifty Shades trilogy read online
» Kate Daniels Series read online
» Black Dagger Brotherhood Series read online
» Cassandra Palmer Series read online
» Rosemary Beach Series read online
» Sea Breeze Series read online
» Too Far Series read online
» Shatter Me Series read online
» Thoughtless Series read online
» Marriage to a Billionaire Series read online
Most Popular
» Drawn into Love (Fluke My Life #4)
» Nightchaser (Endeavor #1)
» Right Where I Want You
» Tangled Like Us (Like Us #4)
» Be the Girl
» Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
» If I Only Knew
» Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)
» 99 Percent Mine
» Free (Chaos #6)
» Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition #3
» Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)