Friday, December 24, 2010

Story-A-Day #43: Outbreak


In the movies, the scene is always set to wide scale pandemonium: buildings burn, cars are left abandoned, looters run wild, and corpses litter the streets. I guess that’s what makes movie zombies so scary. Over the past three months though, I’ve learned that real zombies are actually pretty pathetic. They just sort of amble around, kind of bored looking, and it’s pretty easy to take them down. You can’t miss a headshot from ten feet out.

Yes, we’re in the midst of an outbreak; admittedly that sucks. You know what else? It’s Christmas Eve and I’m at the mall right now with my wife and daughter. Aside from the fact that Santa is M.I.A. (my daughter thinks he’s back at the North Pole getting ready for tonight) and a few of the shops being shuttered up, it’s not all that different.

This mall was always a little depressing. It was never the one that people went to by choice because the other one has all the fun stores, but that’s why we’re here. It’s easy in, easy out, last minute shopping and Christmas cheer all around.

The streets were pretty empty on our way here today. We took the snowmobiles, partly because of a few abandoned cars congesting the streets on the way, but mostly because we’ve had a couple big dumps of snow that aren’t likely to be cleared away anytime soon. Getting around on snowmobiles was a bit weird at first, but it’s pretty fun whipping through the city without fear of reprimand.

I suppose you could say we lucked out with the early winter. We were only about a month into the outbreak, but it seems like zombies don’t deal so well with the cold. Who does though, right? Most of the dead seem to be freezing up pretty solid, which again is good for now, so aside from some infrastructure concerns (like the lack of snow removal) things are pretty much status quo for us. Not so much in the bigger cities mind you, but that’s one of the perks of small town living. Or at least, that’s what we’ve always claimed as the motivator for our choice of location.

Big cities have big problems, but here I am with my family, at the mall getting some last minute shopping done. We’re not looting or stealing, and people are mostly friendly and helpful – as much as they ever are at this time of year, so it’s all good. I will admit that it’s a little different doing your shopping with a gun across your back, but in times like this, we need to adapt.

We put up our Christmas tree the other day, a real one that we chopped down and towed home. My daughter is excited about all the toys under the tree, and my wife is happy as well. It’s her favourite time of year, “a great time of year for family”, as she always says. As long as the temperatures stay down, it should be a pretty quiet holiday.

I guess if I had to admit one concern, it would be my uncertainty about what will happen in the Spring. Our town officials have estimated a 20% population loss. With most of the dead buried in snow right now, a thaw could be bad. You see the odd limb sticking out of a snow bank every now and then, so you know they’re down there. In fact, those gnarled grasping hands can be a gruesome reminder sometimes, that all is in fact not well.

The losses will be more evident after the Spring thaw, and that’s where I get worried. Who will be the one to clean up all those bodies? Hell, will the snow be the only thing to thaw, or will the walking dead rise once more?

It’s definitely a concern, but for now, I’m just going to focus on the holiday and my family. When we get home, we’re going to put on a nice warm fire and curl up with a couple movies. I figure we’ll start with “It’s A Wonderful Life”, because it really is when you’ve got your family and your health.

We’ll figure out the Spring when the Springtime comes, but until then, the only thing I want to do is wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

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