I'm one of the few people left in the industrialized world who still doesn't own a cellphone. So, when I'm out and about, and I see people everywhere talking on their cellphones, seemingly only vaguely aware of their surroundings, and moving slowly and uncertainly (or just standing there) they remind me of, well, zombies.
Maybe they are zombies.
Or soon will be.
I peered into the big knapsack I had hauled up here on the tower, wondering how long I could hold out. Two gallon jugs of water from the spring. A big bag of trail mix. My Dad's old rifle, and about 200 rounds of ammo. My camera, and camera gear bag. A small first aid kit (that would be a big help). Half a dozen protein bars. A Swiss army knife. And, ironically, a cellphone. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters wouldn't touch this one. Any boy scout with half a dozen merit badges would have been better prepared.
I looked down at the base of the tower, 100 feet below. How many? One good thing, they didn't move too fast; it made them easy to count. At least twenty, I wasn't sure how many were in the woods beyond the small clearing around the tower. Some of them I recognized from school (back when they were still human). They kept shuffling around, and wandering back and forth between the clearing and the woods. What were they doing, taking pee breaks? Or was this the zombie version of aerobics? It was kind of late in the game for me to take up the study of zombie behaviour.
After watching them for a while, I decided that they were simply trying to figure out what to do.
Oh, they were clear on what the objective was. Me. Stalk me, corner me, swarm me and tear off my limbs and messily devour them. That was the game plan. The problem was, dinner was fighting back.
I shot the first three zombies who tried to climb up the long ladder to the tower platform. It took maybe twenty rounds of my precious ammunition to take them down (I'm a pathetically poor shot). They fell without uttering a sound, crushing another zombie who was starting up the ladder below them. The other zombies didn't run for cover, but at least they stopped trying to climb the ladder. For now. After that, I tried picking off the zombies who were shuffling around the clearing, but it was a much harder shot than just shooting straight down the ladder. After using up another 50 rounds of ammo and only managing to wound a couple of the slower zombies (these guys would loose in a race against a turtle) I decided to save my ammo for when I really needed it. That time would come soon enough.
I shaded my eyes with my hand and looked to the west. The sun would set in an hour or so. Although I had only taken up the study of zombie behaviour fairly recently, I felt sure when darkness came they would swarm me, rifle or no rifle. Could I shoot them all before I ran out of ammo? I was such a lousy shot. Why hadn't I spent more of my high school years playing violent shoot-em-up games online, instead of struggling to maintain an A average? If I was more irresponsible I wouldn't be in this predicament.
After spending some time pondering what to think about for the longest, and quite possibly the last, hour of my life, I decided to review what I knew about cellphone zombies. Know your enemy, and all that. Reviewing my high school academic career (I had graduated near the top of my class only a month ago) didn't seem too appealing at this point, and reviewing my high school love life (three girlfriends, if you counted the girlfriend who only lasted for two dates) couldn't possibly take an hour.
If I wanted to avoid being a late night snack for for the shuffling psychopaths who had surrounded the tower I was stuck in, I needed to analyze my enemies, discover their weaknesses, and formulate a plan to defeat them.
Yeah right. The same plan Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had, at the end of the movie (you remember). Go down shooting. Although, I would like to point out, you never actually see them killed. Personally, I like to think they got away, somehow.
So, about those cellphone zombies:
First, they're slow, and poorly coordinated. Major weaknesses, that could possibly be exploited.
Next, they have no fear, are absolutely relentless, and show no mercy. Characteristics that might keep them from being invited to parties, but kind of hard to exploit.
And of course, they all have cellphones (Duh). "Next Generation" cellphones, incredibly small, and implanted in the neck just below the ear. Could those cellphones be disabled somehow? If you disabled a zombies' cellphone, did it shut the zombie down, or did the zombie keep on coming until it killed you? I sure didn't want to be the first one to try that experiment, but I might not have a choice.
A noise at the base of the tower roused me from my musings. The zombies had stopped shuffling around and were gathering at the base of the tower. And more zombies were coming out of the woods. Lots more.
I needed to formulate my plan faster.