By Yrani Gami
The thing about wrangling zombies is that you need to know exactly how to talk to them.
Zombies are really good listeners.
I bet you didn’t know that, did you?
They can also sense if someone is going to stand and confront them or flee. Zombies can detect a yellow streak running down somebody’s back, like dogs smell bacon. They also seem to be able to coordinate an attack pretty good for a bunch of stumbling, moaning idiots.
I’ve seen people try to trick them into walking into traps or go after decoys, but the creeps, as stupid as they look, figure it out pretty quick every time.
Zombies are walking bullshit detectors.
So, not just any geek with a loud voice can be a Wrangler.
It’s necessary to be direct and firm.
Above all, you need to be very quick.
For example, say there’s a group of creeps coming at you and the only thing between you and them is a baseball bat.
What would you do?
The average person would probably crap their pants, drop the bat and run like mad, screaming their fool heads off all the while. That person would probably live a little while longer but eventually get eaten too, maybe by running around a corner and slamming face first into another stumbling, rotting creep.
People who lose their wits get chomped almost every time.
Still, an above average person may stand and fight and probably get chomped for their efforts. Zombies may be slow, but they’re friggin’ strong. I’ve seen pretty sturdy guys older and bigger than me go one on one against these stiffs. They’d take a bat and swing grand slams on these creep’s noggins, tire out and still get chewed to bits. Unless you can actually take off their heads with a single swing, then you better kiss your ass goodnight. People who underestimate the creeps get chomped.
Now, Zombie Wranglers like me take a different approach.
My Dad used to say I had kinda developed a sixth sense about them, though I don’t believe in any of that psychic bullshit, if you really wanna know.
My Mom, ever the skeptical scientist, would probably say I was born with a super-sensitive olfactory gland and the gimps just reek so bad that I can subconsciously sense their location, like blips on a radar screen.
Anyway, since neither of them are with me anymore and I don’t know how else to describe it; let’s just call what I have a gut feeling.
Have you ever felt a tingle deep in your belly, kinda like when you wanna take a crap and you feel sort a chill inside? Well, that’s how it starts. I could be dozing off near the warm campfire or reading some comics or whatever, when this gut feeling just comes on like being doused with cold water
It means they’re nearby.
That means I’ve got less than a minute before they’re all over me like flies on shit. So I grab my ranch rifle and head out.
There’s a split second between the moment when the gimps realize I’m standing directly ahead of them and they begin to march towards me.
That split second is crucial.
The second they see me I concentrate my eyes on theirs (if they have any, sometimes I have to imagine they have some as I look deep into their dark sockets) and raise my voice and firmly say; STOP.
Not often, but sometimes, for whatever reason, they don’t stop.
They almost always do stop, dead in their tracks, so to speak.
But once in a while, four out of a group of five will stop, leaving one to continue forward, lumbering towards me. That bastard gets blown away immediately. Meanwhile the others just stand there, frozen in place. They sure as hells aren’t gonna stop and listen to some stuttering, paralyzed moron trembling in his boots. If anything, fear might attract even more zombies, kinda like blood in the water does sharks. I can’t say for sure how they can do this… I have a few theories... but believe me, they can.
Anyhow, it’s always a task to remain in their presence for more than a few minutes; the bastards stink to high hell. Their stench could fry your nose hairs and make your belly hurt, it’s that bad.
I always have to hold my nose for the next part.
I tell them to line up in a single file and they do. Then in a clear voice and in no uncertain terms, I tell them to kneel and to get as close as possible to each other.
Then I carefully take aim and blast a quarter-sized hole that punches through the first creep’s forehead and rips out the last creep’s cerebellum. They all drop against each other quite neatly, like a good little pile of kindling, waiting for me to get a fire started.
Sometimes, if there’s more than say, fifteen or twenty of them, I break them down into a few rows and have them wait in turns while I dole out eternal rest to their putrefying comrades.
My name is Zosi. I'm fifteen years old.