Diary of a Zombie: The Chronicle of Zoe Zonders
by Zoe Zonders
Department of Health
13 November 2058
Summary Findings on “The Diary”
No one could have predicted how things would unfold. Even the few who prepared found that their labor had been unnecessary. Concrete shelters sat empty, survival manuals were abandoned, and guns lay unfired (though there were reports of minor violence in several states). There were no hordes to battle through, no looting on a grand scale, and no mass hysteria. Most importantly, there was no widespread breakdown of government authority, something that even the most skeptical assumed would occur.
Perhaps all of this is due to the small number of those who were infected and the even smaller number who survived exposure. The Department’s final analysis showed that of the 1% who contracted the virus, 98% were dead within seventy-two hours. Those left did not constitute a significant majority to incite fear (despite displaying atypical aggressive) and therefore civilian reaction was minimal. Even the most ardent groups who prophesied such an event did not show up in large numbers. In short, the outbreak was surprisingly anticlimactic.
Still, problems abounded. The infected that were not wiped out during the incubation stabilized, and if given the proper sustenance even survived. Naturally, they retained marked behaviors—anger, aggression, decaying tissue, and a need for human consumption— which lead to their common nomenclature. The Department does not recognize that term and contends that they are very much human, though it concedes they are not fit to live in society at large.
To protect against potential violence an executive order was issued that moved the infected to a central location. Medical trials began, but after three years the Department abandoned all research due to mounting pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union. The remaining infected, numbering between ten and twenty thousand, were relocated to a secure facility where they could live without interference. Over thirty years later speculation about this location and the fate of the infected remain, though many believe they were summarily terminated.
In April of last year I was sent to a rural town to investigate an infected citing. These are common and take up much of the Department’s resources, yet are a necessary precaution to quell popular belief that they are still at large. There I interviewed a woman claiming to have met someone with the description of an infected. To prove her account she produced a small item that was at one time used to store digital information, claiming the infected gave it to her. After scouring the country for a device to read it, I was able to pull off fragmentary pieces of what appeared to be a diary. Written in first person, it chronicled the life of a fourteen-year-old infected girl living in a place called “the Compound”. Though speculative, it offered compelling evidence that what we previously believed about the infected and the Department’s treatment of them was incomplete or perhaps false.
Of course, this diary could be the work of fiction (though I have had it verified by several reputable technicians in and outside the Department, all of whom assure me the material is genuine). I do not claim that it is true, only that it exists and should be further investigated. I am fully aware that releasing this report could cost me my job, reputation, and perhaps my life; but the refusal of my superiors to consider it has left me no choice. What kind of detective would I be if I refused to follow evidence simply because it was unsettling? None at all, I have decided.
What comes next may alarm you; it may disgust you; it may cause you to well up with hatred for the infected that once lived—and may still live—in this country. My hope is that you read it with an open mind and judge for yourself how you might act in the situation that befell Zoe Zonders. If you are able to set aside the discriminatory attitudes shaped by the media, perhaps you will see that we were never that different from the infected at all. Rather, we were and still are, terrified of them.