This is the story of how I died. Now right off the bat, let me make something incredibly, obnoxiously clear. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING here is completely 100% true, or at least 100% true to my memory of it all. This story may entice you, it may confuse you, it may even bore you, but none of that matters. All that matters is, this totally happened and I still get nightmares of it.
This story occurred while I was in my Junior year at Penn State. After two days of fighting zombies, yes zombies, I was one of the last in a small group of survivors. We were all low on energy, low on morale, out of ammo, and desperately trying to hide on the west edge of campus.
None of this was new to us though. We’d been in tough situations before, but this time we had two new factors to consider. One of our group, Kristen, had just twisted her ankle and was not in running condition. The other factor was something we called “Zomb-Com”. The zombies had developed a technology where they were instantly able to broadcast a message to ALL the other zombies instantaneously. This created a situation where the minute a single zombie knew where you were, they all would.
Staying out of sight became synonymous with survival. A task that we no longer could do easily because of our handicapped teammate. Worse, without any weaponry, if we were confronted by zombies we had no way to fight back. This meant our next hour or so was going to have to be expertly planned out and maneuvered.
This too seemed to be a challenge though. See, ever since Brett, the human resistance leader, was killed earlier in the day, myself and a man called Misner had been trying to rise to the occasion, taking charge of our ragtag group. It wasn’t an easy task for either of us. We both lacked experience, were undoubtedly using the opportunity as an ego build, and we both were incredibly stubborn in our own ideas. When we worked together, things went amazingly. All too often though, we seemed to butt heads. This would be one of those cases.
We had discovered that at the north edge of campus was a weapons cache, right beyond the Arboretum. Finally being able to arm ourselves again was immensely important to our survival, but as usual Misner and I differed in our proposed strategy.
Misner wanted to slowly maneuver to the weapons as a group, supporting Kristen and her broken ankle. This would be a very slow trek for the group. We would be unarmed, helpless, and draw attention to ourselves due to our numbers. Yes, we were a small group, but we were still about ten people or so. That won’t go too unnoticed.
My plan was slightly different. I proposed sending myself and four of our fastest runners to the weapons, while Misner and his group take a slower, safer route. The slow group would hide in the woods, outside where the weapons were, as the fast group grabbed the weapons. We would then bring the weapons to the slow group, arm everyone, and be able to fight as a team.
I was louder, and I was stern. Misner backed down and my plan was in effect.
If I remember correctly, fast group consisted of Adrian, Brian, Switch, Jesse, and Myself. Admittedly, I was the slowest on the team, and easily the most out of shape. We ran through the nearby neighborhood on the outskirts of campus, weaving through yards and streets, as we tried to avoid the zombies on campus from spotting us. Soon enough, we were within the woods that we would later be meeting with Misner’s team, overlooking the campus’s Arboretum. On the other side of the Arboretum was a large, rectangular building, the Business Build. Or maybe it was the Law Building? It was really big! That’s the important thing. Our weapons should be right in front of it.
We crept swiftly across the large field, trying to make our way to the Arboretum’s gardens without being spotted. Once within the gardens, we regrouped, caught our breath, and scoped out the scene.
We could see the weapons. There were several boxes, all abandoned at the foot of the building. Awesome.
Next to them were two zombies. They had beaten us to the weapons. Not awesome.
My team looked to me. What do we do? Do we wait for the rest of the survivors to get here, so we have numbers on our side, or do we run, take on the two zombies, and grab the weapons before we become outnumbered? I did not know what to do, until Adrian pointed towards campus.
It was dark out, but campus was lit brightly. A blinding beacon for us, hundreds of feet away. But the brightness of campus did make something extremely noticeable. Dozens of silhouetted bodies were approaching from campus. We couldn’t see any details, other than that they were coming in droves. The Zomb-Com had gone out and we had to act fast.
Almost at once, we got up and stormed the zombies guarding the weapons. I grabbed two larger blasters, the group followed suit. We took down the two zombies. Brian was the only one to consider the slow group and grabbed a box of the weapons.
I yelled for us to run back to the arboretum, maybe attempt to bring the weapons to the slow group. We turned west, towards the garden and our remaining friends, only to see our paths were blocked. Zombies had started to come through the Arboretum. Dead end. (Get it? Dead? Like a pun!)
We looked north, there was a large fence blocking us from moving that direction. South was campus and the hordes of zombies that were late to the party. Our only option was East, the opposite direction of the slow group and our reinforcements. We would have to run East, around the large Law/Business Building, and maybe if we survive that, we could circle back and regroup.
A decision needed to be made. The zombies started to cutoff our East exit, circling us. My men were waiting for an idea, and all I could say was a single word, “Charge!”
I started running, followed by my team, as we shot our weapons and pushed through the Eastern zombie blockade. We ran, purely on adrenaline, no longer in control of our actions. I remember reloading one of the two large weapons in my arms, firing it to a zombie approaching my left side, then grabbing the other weapon and firing a zombie about to attack Adrian. These were weapons that needed two hands to reload, but somehow I found a way. I was probably wheezing. My knees and feet were probably in pain. God knows I was probably screaming my ass off, but I couldn’t tell you any exact details. All I knew was that in those last moments, I was fighting for and valuing my life in a way I’ve never done before.
One of the only things I do remember is yelling for my team to find the commons buildings on campus. Those doors are always unlocked and could potentially be a safe place to hide out, inside and out of sight.
Brian was the first one down. Carrying his box, he had no way to defend himself. I didn’t see him go down.
Adrian, Switch, and Jesse each found a different commons building. Switch ran the furthest, being chased for over 15 minutes before finding safety. I heard he was crying by the time he reached safety. I honestly can’t blame him.
Me? I ran out of ammo in one of my guns. Finding it useless to me, I threw it at one of the zombies. “Take this! I don’t love it anymore” I yelled. It probably wouldn’t have been as amusing of a line if it wasn’t one of my last.
I turned to my right, my last weapon in my hand, firing at a zombie that was getting much too close. My weapon jammed.
Hundreds of yards away, in the woods, the slow group sat. “Oh shit!” was all they could hear from the chaos before them. They were my last words, and they knew it.
And that’s how I became a zombie. In game, and in life.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? My school used to play this nerf gun game called Humans vs Zombies. You basically shoot nerf guns at people who are labeled zombies and the zombies just have to tag you for you to become a zombie. It’s a really crazy game that you should totally check out sometime! Gosh, I feel like that was probably really important to mention right off the bat. Sorry!
Regardless, this is still a 100% true retelling of probably the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had, yet also the most alive I’ve ever been. Happy Halloween Everyone!!