Aha! I can tell that’s piqued the interest of many an urban warrior. I distinctly heard the scuffle of Doc Martins, the swishing of combat trousers, and the clicking of beads adorning whiteboy dreadlocks. Crocodiles, rhinos, polar bears, vampires, sharks, they’re all in short supply in Maidstone, aren’t they? But zombies? I mean there’s that really weird looking guy down near the train station isn’t there? This may be useful information.
Zombies are tricky buggers to handle, and somewhat irascible, so in dealing with them the better part of valour is to get the hell out of Dodge. With most enemies and predators, the only good one is a dead one. With zombies that’s the sort of sloppy thinking that will make you very late for the bus. I’m afraid avoidance is the only game in town here.
There are some simple precautions you can take. Do not go anywhere near where they’re filming a documentary about George Romero, for example. Stay well away from small coastal fishing villages when there’s a foggy night forecast. Get very worried indeed if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the proprietress of the only inn for miles is a dead ringer for Anna Massey. Be especially vigilant if you’re having a restorative drink in the bar and one of the locals screams, ‘Get thee hence from this accursed place, young master! Those who die will be the lucky ones!’ If this happens, head straight back to your ill-lit room and wedge a chair under the door handle. Remember the man’s face though, because he’s going to be first through your window toting a bloodstained axe.
Let’s assume that avoidance tactics haven’t worked and you’re now battling for your life with hordes of the undead. As with family, with zombies you can’t live with them, and you can’t kill them, mainly because they’re already dead, remember? Do try to keep up here. I’m trying to save your very existence and possibly soul.
They’re not vampires, so the garlic/silver bullet/wooden stake approach is going to cut no ice whatsoever. Don’t even think about it. A moment’s hesitation caused by going down those lines and you’ll be undead meat. No, your options seem to be restricted to hacking them into pieces or setting fire to them.
Hack them into pieces? You can use a sword, or an axe, or a chainsaw. Remember that if you decapitate a zombie the disembodied head will roll around trying to bite your ankles, so keep a weather eye on the ground. At a pinch you can run them over with your car, but you need to watch the heater vents and glove box for signs of stray digits crawling through intent on finishing the job. If your car stalls, take care when opening the engine compartment. There may well be an arm in there disconnecting the plug leads, and it may decide to disconnect your head instead.
Automatic and semi-automatic weapons will also successfully chop zombies into manageable size chunks. Single shot small arms will just make them cross, so use something with a bit of heft and a high rate of fire. Just keep shooting. A shotgun, preferably pump action if you live somewhere such things are legal, will slow the average zombie down too, but keep reloading and keep firing. Those suckers come back like molehills on a croquet lawn. Be brutal. It’s them or you.
On that theme, you really do not have time to argue or try to negotiate. It may well look quite like your best friend or spouse/lover, but the sightless trachomatous eyes, and the blood spilling from its mouth, should convince you otherwise. Do not waste time and energy saying, ‘Gary? Oh god Gary, not you too!’ Your words of disbelief may well be the last ones you utter. Rack another round into the chamber and let Gary have it in the midriff. You know it makes sense.
Despite your best efforts, at some point you are likely to be heavily outnumbered and running out of heavy gauge ammo. The only course of action is to get medieval and burn them alive, or not alive, as it were. You can do this in a number of ways. A handy oil lamp. A bottle of whisky and a match. An improvised flame thrower; I can tell you how to make one using objects commonly found in your house. Or the evergreen can of hairspray and a fag lighter. You can comfortably carry both these on your person, and I recommend you do so at all times, along with the stick you use for subduing crocodiles.
You need to be aware that zombies are creatures of habit and tend to overreact when their routines are upset. When a zombie is immolated it will feel that the natural order of things has been disturbed, and it’s not going to be too happy about it. It’s going to dash around hysterically, screaming and moaning and beating at the flames. In doing so it’s very likely to blunder into things and set fire to various fixtures and fittings, especially soft furniture and curtains. There will be an inferno, so you need a sound exit strategy before you start playing with matches. Make sure you know where the emergency doors are or you’ll end up burnt to death.
All of this violence may be a bit beyond you if you’re not used to it. Say you’re an accounts clerk somewhere in the lower reaches of the Inland Revenue, or a very small cog in the big wheel of the Paperclip Procurement Division for some multinational conglomerate. Automatic weapons and flamethrowers are unlikely to feature large in your day to day existence. I think you’d be wise to get some practice in, and fortunately there are any number of disused offices and even shopping malls that have been leased by companies that offer the opportunity to kill ‘real’ zombies in a real environment. Here’s just one example of the exciting experiences on offer.
One last thought, a motto for the newcomer to zombie hunting.
Better prepared than dead. Better dead than undead.