The Trouble With Zombies

Early this morning, I got sick on the way into work. I looked out of the bus window and there was a zombie in the middle of Argyle Street, kneeling in a pool of blood, eating a human being.

I have no way of knowing whether the victim was male or female; all I saw was an arm being held up and chewed on, teeth pulling flesh from it like you or I would eat something from a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was awful. I vomited. A girl in front of me screamed. The creature barely noticed. It got on with eating, and people in the street ran past.

This is what it’s like around here. They’re coming out more and more during the day now, and not a soul can do anything to stop it. The infestation is spreading. Parts of this city are no-go areas at night, especially those near graveyards. I would leave, but without the cash to set up elsewhere where am I going to go? The money, I’ll have that soon. One big job and it’s done. I am sure of it. Until then, I’m staying in Glasgow.

There are places to go, if I wanted to, but they are so bad they make staying here sound positively charming. Edinburgh is over-run, so they say. The people out there are much more inclined to follow the rules than we are. Here, the vigilantes sometimes do go out and do the business; there are stories about roving bands of them out in Govan, which they now call The Wild, Wild West. There is supposed to be a band of crazy survivalist types in the Garngad, and some scattered resistance in the South Side. Some parts of the East End are relatively trouble free. Others …

Over the border, where there are no rules, and they shoot these two legged freaks on sight, there is some order being restored, so that’s a good place to flee when you have the cash. Without money – and they are strict on this score, you better believe it – you’re looking at being a refugee, and to Hell with that. Not in this lifetime.

There are sixty thousand people in the nearest refugee camp over the border. Sixty thousand. Sod living like that, in tent city, with no money, no food, nothing, except what their right wing crazy government down there can be bothered sending in humanitarian aid. Some say if this country hadn’t gone independent they’d have treated us as neighbours, reinforced the border and opened their doors wide. Maybe. I’m not so sure, and it’s not an issue now.

There’s a more compelling reason for me staying for now and it’s this; this is home, and a bunch of blood sucking, flesh eating monsters won’t change that. If only I believed someone was in charge. All it’s going to take is a change in the law, and we can start to send these creatures back to the Hell in which they belong. Of course, had the law not been changed in the first place – offering these evil creatures a protection they don’t enjoy anywhere else in the world – we might already have sent them homeward to think again, as the saying goes.

For the moment, Scotland remains the only country in the world where the zombie infestation can’t be tackled by direct action. Shooting them is legal only if your life is at stake, and I mean in a kill-or-be-killed situation, and one that will stand up in court. People have been convicted for doing otherwise, and those the Norwich Laws haven’t sent to prison they’ve probably killed instead. I cannot imagine how many poor sods have been eaten because they weren’t sure what constituted a life or death situation. It wouldn’t be me. I have a .45, which I take everywhere with me, and if I am walking the streets and I encounter one of these things I am going to blow its head clean off, and authorities (what authorities?) be damned.

That’s the problem, see. Although the courts are still running, the police is still (barely) functioning, and the big companies are still insisting on keeping the machines going and the goods flowing, there isn’t a government here to change the law now. Every now and again we hear some news from London (there was talk, last week, that the English army might be readying itself to invade, but were stopped because they lack a clear UN mandate) or from overseas, but that’s about it. There’s been nothing from Holyrood since a marauding pack of flesh eaters crashed a full session of our esteemed Parliament during the emergency powers debate and lunched on the entire upper echelon of our political class. The First Minister was last seen running down Princes Street, bare assed, in his socks and the top half of a good suit.

They say he was hiding in the bathroom when the security cordon broke, and was one of the few who didn’t get eaten in the Main Chamber.

Good riddance to the lot of them, said some at the time. No-one usually cries over dead politicians … but there was a sting in this tale. The old laws were still left in place, and without a legitimate government no-one can change them.

It was, as they say, FUBAR. It still is.

I’m sitting here right now with all the lights down, and the curtains drawn, writing this by candlelight, in an old John Menzies notebook I found in a plastic box in the garage. There are a bunch of creatures outside in the street, walking up and down. The police have been past a few times; I’m not sure if it’s to make sure they aren’t messing with anyone, or to make sure no-one is messing with them. It’s a crazy time and a crazy place.

When did all this start? If you mean the zombie infestation, you have to go back about six months for that, when the first stories starting coming out of Asia about a brand new virus which turned people’s brains to mush. Or, at least, that’s what people thought it did, because the early “victims” were found wandering around in a daze, all intelligence gone at a stroke, slobbering, hungry, permanently raging. Heck, I recognised the symptoms straight away; we’ve had people like that wandering Scotland for years. It’s the Buckfast that does it I think.

But these weren’t people. Or at least they weren’t live people. Something happened over there – and to this day no-one knows what it was – and it spread around the globe faster than anyone could stop it. Yet in every civilised country, the army and the police had things under control pretty damned quickly. The zombies were too few in number, rising only a few at a time, in an order no-one has yet figured out, and in the end there were teams of soldiers at the graveyards popping rounds into them as they came out of the ground. Yes, there were occasional outbreaks – and there still are, all around the globe – but they were isolated, dealt with rapidly.

Except here. To suss that one you have to go back to 2012, when a banner at a Celtic – Norwich City football match, depicting a zombie being shot caused something of a flap. “Depictions of violence” were suddenly being treated like acts of violence, and no-one seemed to care that the violence in question was only a joke, and being done to a non-human “life” form. Cue independence in 2014, and the term “zombies”, which was still being flung at Rangers FC supporters and the club, being labelled a “term of abuse” and banned from usage. Before anyone knew it The Walking Dead wasn’t being advertised or shown in Scotland anymore … and then what became known as The Norwich Laws were suddenly being proposed; “zombie” was a racist term, and acts against people in which the notion of “zombies” was a factor were labelled a “hate crime.”

What followed was the most bizarre Parliamentary moment in our nation’s history, as one member jokingly asked our dear leader if that meant real zombies were now protected by the law, and as a sideswipe at him the leader of this so-fine country of ours said “If the dead ever rise and claim equal rights here in Scotland then yes, it does.”

The chamber, where around half these fine elected officials were later to become dinner, erupted in laughter and the leader grinned that Cheshire cat grin, and the law was amended accordingly. As no-one ever set down in stone what “claiming equal rights” meant, those rights were “assumed” as naturally flowing from their being alive, and what was written into the law of the land as a joke is no longer funny.

It never really was funny.This has been a strange country since the Scottish government, in its wisdom, decided to criminalise football fans back in 2011, even before the zombie thing made a crazy situation even more surreal.There aren’t many places in the world which throw the book at sports fans with such force, or demand such abnormal behaviour of them. I mean, passing a law against giving it tight to your fellow fans is just demented. No other sport would have to put up with that kind of crap.

The zombie thing though … well, that was a step too far. Protection of the undead was a mad one, even by our standards ….

Here in Scotland, I can get arrested for shooting a zombie, right up until that moment when the monster takes a bite out of my arm – an act which would turn me into one of them within 12 hours. I’ve heard of cases where it has happened, where some magistrate, against his better judgement, had to hand down a sentence against some guy or gal who had shot too early – early enough, anyway, to be able to stand tall before the man.

If I were to hesitate, and the zombie got me, I would actually be more protected in law, safer, than I am right now, and until some other country decides Scotland has to be saved from itself, this is how it’s going to be. I haven’t lost hope that my country will come out of this alright, but the second I get the cash to get to England and live safely for the next six month, until I can rebuild my life, I am out of here.

Am I abandoning my country to these mindless flesh eaters? Yes, I am, but in a way they’ve always been here, and they’ve always been treated better than the rest of us. It was a bunch of gibbering loons who got the law changed in the first place, a bunch of blood thirsty creatures who hounded the government into taking revenge against their enemies and made such a ludicrous law possible in the first place. All because of a football team that died but wouldn’t stay dead. It seems somehow ironic – and fitting – that what ended our hopes of an independent country wasn’t an economic crisis, or a natural disaster, but the bloody zombies.

It was ever thus. Some say they killed football here too, long before that. Hey, either they were going to do it or the crazy laws were ….

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “The Trouble With Zombies

  • 11 October, 2012 at 1:02 am

    very nice post, i definitely love this website, carry on it

  • 13 October, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    What a load of crap. It was never called zombie…that banner had a sniper on it and you damn well know it

  • 7 December, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Thanks for every other fantastic article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such information.

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