Arrived Alive – Post 14 – The Zombie Series
Well you are reading this so guess you know what that means. I survived! It was a rough run but managed to make it through with a few other people. Did see a few bodies laying on the ground along the way but it was expected. Just glad I wasn’t one of them.
This run was a little different than the previous runs I had seen and heard about. Everyone chosen to run arrived at the gate around 8:45 yesterday morning. Most people came on their own accord but there were a few that clearly came against their will. Most of those people I would see laying on the ground later so I’m not going to dwell on them much. Anyhow we got registered with the Authority and waited our turns to take on the run. Unlike the ones I had seen before this run was split up into groups leaving in 15 minute intervals. My group wasn’t scheduled to leave until 9:45 and wouldn’t you know it, the butcher was in my group as well. Someone must have read that post about zombies not being able to see florescent yellow because he was decked out in it along with this other guy named Adam. There was this other guy decked out in black named Darin who was hanging around so right away I figured out who I would group up with. Also in this set was another group of 6 people who took off in front of use and a group of 4 that I lost track of not long after we left the starting line.
About 100 yards off the starting line we saw the first zombie wandering around in the brush. At first glance it didn’t look like he even noticed us but then I saw a pair of feet laying in the brush so just kept pushing past him. One does not disturb the feeding zombies, that’s like rule number 42 of zombie run or something like that. Anyway we kept pushing up the trail and hit the first round of hills. Yea hills, wasn’t ready for that one and man my legs were burning by the time we reached the top. Luckily it was mostly quite other than some snapping of branches and the random screams that shot out through the forest. At the top of the hill we came across the first large group of deaders and, wanting to live, let the other group go first so we could figure out what not to do. Needless to say the four of us made it through unharmed. Also helped that one of the zombies was busy gnawing on a hunk of flesh that it tore off one of the people from the first group. The mad sprint past them was over so a little more walking and a steep descent down the other side of the hill. It was a clear shot going down the hill but we saw some deaders moving in through the tree line and stepped up the pace to stay ahead of them while keeping the group ahead of us in visual range. No clue what happened to that group behind us, thinking that might have been them screaming at one point. After a long trek another 400 foot assent up another hill and guess what is waiting for us at the top. Oh you know what it was.
There was about 10 of them shambling our way but that group in front of us was closer than we were. They tool off running though them and one of them was grabbed and went down. That was our que and the Butcher took the lead running past them. Now this run was somewhat downhill so it was tricky and you had to watch your step or else you could very well trip which would be bad. There was a fast one in the middle of all this group, looked like the deader used to be a girl in her mid 20’s at some point. I watched her reach out and gouge the Butcher in the side with her bony hands as he ran buy. I took of after that and Adam shot to the left while I shot to the right, I choose the wrong way to go clearly. Remember those boney hands, well up close you could see the fingers had broken at some point and as she reached out for me those jagged pieces of bone they ripped into my side. Didn’t get a chance to check the wound until after we made it through that area and it wasn’t a pretty cut. In fact it was pretty much a life ender but there was medical assistance available at the end that could nullify all that nastiness in the wound so I just pressed forward.
After that things calmed down a bit and we were able to dodge a few slow moving groups of deaders without even breaking into a run. Although it is called a Zombie Run you don’t want to blow all your energy running the entire way. Those trails are uneven and steep so why waste a chance of spraining an ankle. As we reach the top of the next hill the group that was in front of us is assessing the next herd of undead who are wandering about a ways in front of us. There isn’t another option than to go right through them since the sides of the trail we are on is to steep to go around them plus that other heard was working its way up the side of the hill behind us. We all agree that there is safety in numbers, well safety for everyone but the one who gets catches a bit that is. With the unanimous decision we take of at a group and storm through the 20 or so deaders in front of us. I saw this big guy in the other group get a bite as a deader grabbed his arm. Against my better judgement I grabbed a branch as I was running and clubbed that deader in the head so the other guy could take off. Now I didn’t say I slowed down, it was a hit and run, self preservation and all. Don’t judge, this guy already got bit twice before, he wasn’t going to make it through the entire thing but he could still come in handy as a distraction somewhere else down the line. I mostly lost track of the other three that I had been traveling with through this section. Saw a flash of yellow off to the left but wasn’t sure if that was Adam or the Butcher. It was a hard herd to get through but we managed. On the other side it became evident that the other group had lost someone but I wasn’t sure who, didn’t know them so didn’t really care that much. Adam didn’t fair so well on this run and had a rather nasty bite or scrap on his shoulder that was bleeding pretty well. The other two made it through alright but a few in the other group has some wounds as well. Safety in numbers. There wasn’t any way that four of us could have made it through that herd. The more people you have the more you limit the deaders ability to figure out who looks the tastiest. Besides, we are fast and they are slow so there’s that.
During the fast walk down the trail the wounded did well to bandage themselves as best they could. That cut on my side had finally stopped bleeding again but that was only when I held pressure on it while walking. As soon as I started running it acted up again. Looked like the Butcher was having the same problem with his wound. At this point about everyone in both groups had something wrong with them except a guy on their side and Darin, not sure how they managed that. We all kept up a fast walk though while the deaders continued to feast on their fallen member. It wasn’t long after this that two idiots came running past us. Apparently they must have had the idea that whoever finishes first wins. Remember that safety in numbers thing? I am guessing they made it through the previous herd because they were still eating. I’ll get back to those two runners a little later.
At the top of the next hill….always at the top of the next hill, was another group of deaders only this time it was worse. Our trail was was fenced off at this point and there was only one way to go which was straight ahead. The bad part about this is what was in front of us. Wandering about where the fence started to close together were 6 or 7 deaders but that wasn’t the bad part. No the bad part was that the fence forced us to go through this small cabin that was sitting there. You could see out the other end of it from where we stood but you could also see movement inside. Great, closed spaces with deaders are always fun as I am sure you will agree. Since there wasn’t any other option open we ran. Getting past the ones on the outside wasn’t hard, someone yelled but it wasn’t me so I kept going. The Butcher was in front of me as we entered the cabin at a full run following everyone else in single file since there wasn’t another option and I think Adam was behind me at that point while I saw Darin dodge a deader at the exit just as we entered. It wasn’t fun. The cabin was full of them and the ground was wet with blood from the fallen that you had to jump over in order to get out. I felt them grab at me, felt something scrapping flesh from my legs but kept on. To stop would be to die at this point. The deader at the exit that taken down someone and stood directly in our way. The Butcher didn’t slow though and knocked him to the ground. I stepped on his head on the way past. The entire group kept running for another quarter mile until we cleared that place since there was a couple fast movers chasing us. In the end the everyone but Darin, still not sure how he did that, came out of that cabin hurt. This was the second time that I had taken a hit, that scrapping on my leg turned out to be teeth trying to take a bite out of me. Again if there wasn’t medical treatment waiting this could have been a life ending wound. The Butcher had a bite on his right elbow that I would have guessed came from the deader at the end of the cabin when he elbowed him in the head. Adam wasn’t doing that well, he took two hits on the run and was loosing a bit of blood. We all knew the drill though. Bandage up and keep on. From my estimate we only had another mile left.
As we came over the next hill there was another building in view. Not something any of us looked forward to taking on but there wasn’t much of a choice. Fencing and a steep drop off on gave us one option and that was around the building. There was no indication of anything behind it but you never know until it’s to late anyhow so we inched forward. In front of the building there were a few rather quick deaders that I sidestepped and followed the Butcher around the building. Not sure why we decided to take point on this one since that goes against my self preservation instincts but we did. Guess what was waiting for us on the other side. If you said a deader then you are correct. Plus a fence that made us head back around the side of the building but before that there was this deader in the between the building and the fence. The Butcher and I split, the deader got this confused look on its face and we both shoulder slammed him out of the way. That guy was down and everyone came running behind us. Then we had to deal with the the quick deaders we had previously pasted. For whatever reason they didn’t pay as much attention to us as they did everyone behind us. Adam and Darin made it out but the other group lost another two people. That brought us down to 8 people total.
We headed back down yet another hill and took a breather once it looked clear. Meanwhile the wounded bandaged up their wounds while Darin and the other guy stood watch unharmed. When the moaning behind us started to grow louder we decided to move out. Just as we started walking someone let out a death scream somewhere far behind us. Guessing someone else had a issue with that building as well. It wasn’t long before we found a line deader munching on one of those two runners that had passed us by. The deader didn’t even look up at us while he was gorging on the runner. If you are wondering about the other runner I will get to him later.
At the bottom of the next hill we could see the smoke from the fire at the finish line. Was nice to know we were getting close but you still have to cross the finish line. Getting close doesn’t count. There were some downed trees that we had to crawl under and I have to say I was worried about something waiting on he other end but nothing was there. We all ran past a few more herds but nothing much happened since they weren’t even close to us. Close enough but not that close enough to grab us but close enough that we could smell them. Rounding a bend an opening started to come into view and it was full of more deaders than I could even care to count. They outnumbered us by at least 3 to one and why wouldn’t they be gathering here, this was the best spot for them to hunt use. By this point in the run everyone had been run ragged but there is always something left in the tank when you need to run for your life. However, communication is effective in situations like these. Sure would have been nice if those other 4 people had actually said something before they all started running.
There wasn’t time to come up with any plan so we took off behind them. Darin shot out in front, the Butcher was behind him, then me and then Adam who was still hanging in there even with all of his wounds. There were screams in front of us but this wasn’t the place to stop and smell the roses. Standing in the middle of the trail was this huge deader in a orange jumpsuit. He was big, and fast. Did I mention he was big? Well he had grabbed one of the people from the first group and was just reaching out for us as we passed but missed every one of us. Another deader had snagged another member of that first group and I was busy printing through knee high weeds hoping that I didn’t trip on a stump. At this point we all pretty much were running in a straight line and for some reason Adam shot out past the Butcher and myself. Guess the sudden burst of adrenaline took over or something. The last member of the other group went down screaming as the four of us ran for our lives. The deaders were fast here, really fast which meant they hand’t been dead very long. It didn’t take much to realize that some of them used to be runners themselves. Remember that other lone runner I mentioned? Well he was there as well, dead of course but he was there and as we cleared the herd he was running after us. If you have never seen a running deader before count yourself lucky. They can’t run for long though. Since they can’t feel anymore they don’t know when to stop and end up blowing out a knee or ligament or whatever which is why you always seem them shambling along. Well during this sprint away from the hoard we had all caught up with Adam and had been running as a group. When I saw the banners for the finish line about 100 yards ahead of us I glanced back just as that runner deader tackled Adam.
He went down fast as the runner sank his teeth into the side of his neck and tore out a huge chunk spraying blood everywhere. There was no denying that he was a gone but after Darin gave the deader a quick kick to the head it fell back into the brush. Grabbing a log I slammed it down on the deaders head a few times until the skull cracked and he went still. The hoard behind us wasn’t paying that much attention to us at that point. They were occupied eating the other group and there were three other people preparing to try to make it through them. There wasn’t any time to waste so we grabbed Adam and dragged him towards the finish line. Right before we got there we let him go and he stumbled across. We had arrived alive but the rules of the run make it clear that you have to cross the line on your own two feet. Medics were waiting right behind the gate though so when it opened we quickly made it through and back into the safety of the walls. They managed to stop everyones bleeding and after a night of care we all got released.
So that’s that. The four people I started off with made it through the run. Really amazing actually. 500 people went running yesterday, 57 people crossed over the finish line. Figure out those odds. Have a meeting tomorrow for the new job so I should find out something more about that later. Until then though I am just going to hang out and relax. Think I deserve that.
The Zombie Run Blog Series by Brad Zipprich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.