Fridays are usually my lunch hunt date. I switched things up this week and took Cody, my young “Vampire in Training” out with me on Thursday.
Lunch dates are fun ways for Vampires to hunt right out in the open. They involve fun, flirting, a bit of seduction and just enough blood to get you going for the weekend ahead. And regular humans never even suspect. They just leave the situation feeling warm and fuzzy, a little tired, and they think they’ve, well, you know.
Cody and I had arranged to meet an old friend of mine at my office with an associate of his. They were Lobbyist for the farming industry (after all we’re in the State Capitol and in the largest agricultural state). Mike and Melissa. I’m in public relations and do work for them from time to time.
Cody is shy by nature, a sweet likeable young man, but when it comes to hunting he is extremely shy. Most new Vampires can’t wait to get hunting, but with Cody it is more of a sweet romance, rather than just taking what one wants.
So to make a short story long, a guy in a suit shows up at the door. He looks like he’s been to hell and back then I recognize him as Mike. Behind him is Melissa, who is usually the perkiest blonde I’ve ever met, looking ashen and un-perkey.
I wonder if someone died, then realize, somebody has. They don’t smell right. They don’t look right. My stomach turns. Even Cody is picking up on something.
I step back.
“Juliette” says Mike “You have to help us.”
He puts his hand on my arm and I immediately feel it – ZOMBIES.
Funny, likable and extremely smart Mike, a sixth generation California farmer, graduate of UCD (THE Farm School) and successful advocate for the farmer is now…for all practical purposes DEAD.
And don’t give me any crap about being a Vampire. My flesh isn’t rotting and I’m not craving human brains for lunch. Plus I know where my soul is.
I’m confused. Both Mike and Melissa look good, all things considering.
Plus I thought all the Zombies had been confined to a compound in the Mojave Desert outside of Barstow.
“We’ve taken massive amounts of antibiotics to help prevent the rot and we’ve been drinking a lot of embalming fluid. That keeps the smell off and slows down the rot.” Mike told us.
The pair was driving across the Imperial Valley when they were stopped at a roadblock. Little did they know what seemed to be police were actually rogue Zombies. Later that night they were picked up by the authorities and brought to the super secret Area Z, where Zombies are kept to be monitored and studied.
I thought of long afternoons with Mike and how sweet his blood tasted. I thought of the slow seductions and languid after glows. Now here he was, doing everything he could to keep his skin from falling off in sheets. Holy crap, this was bad.
“What do you need?” I asked.
Mike put a hand to his face, adjusting his left eye back into the socket. “I want you to turn us into Vampires.”
OK, this is where the sound effects do a screeching halt. The very idea of a Zombie is revolting but putting my lips on the flesh of a Zombie and sharing blood. Putrid rotting blood.
“Has this ever been done?” Asked Cody.
“No, or at least never that I’ve heard of.” I said. “So much could go wrong.”
“Nothing could be worse than it is already.” Melissa wailed and watched as her thumbnail fell to the floor along with the tip of her thumb.
I thought about it for a moment then spoke in secret to Cody. I had an idea. If it worked we’d be heroes. If it didn’t we’d have to kill the Zombies, no matter that they were our friends.
I took Cody into the small kitchen area of the office where we bit into our wrists and let our own Vampire blood drain into two coffee cups.
The Zombies drank and before our eyes their skin went from gray to the color of their former living flesh (peaches & cream and coffee & cream – Vampires always think of everyone in terms of food, we can’t help it).
“I won’t turn you, not yet, but see if this helps. Don’t tell a soul, or anyone without a soul. Don’t tell anyone or I will hunt you down and kill you myself. Do you understand?”
They said they understood. I thought my stomach was going to drop out and my head would explode as they left the building.
Cody was about to speak when I told him. “The same goes to you Cody. If you tell a soul I will kill you and it won’t be fast or painless.”
“Got it.” Said Cody. I thought of my favorite movie line and said to Cody. “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Cody smiled. Then and there I knew he’d make a great Vampire.
I’ll keep you posted on Mike and Melissa – when and if I hear anything.
I’m not going to win any writing awards on this – none of my posts take more than 15 minutes to write, but Zombies are always on the back of our minds. For more information about Zombies go the OFFICIAL US Government Web Site (Center for Disease Control). Really, yes, this is a REAL government site. Good stuff.
CDC has a fun way of teaching about emergency preparedness. Our graphic novel, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic” demonstrates the importance of being prepared in an entertaining way that people of all ages will enjoy. Readers follow Todd, Julie, and their dog Max as a strange new disease begins spreading, turning ordinary people into zombies. Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency. Included in the novel is a Preparedness Checklist so that readers can get their family, workplace, or school ready before disaster strikes. Click on the image below to view the novella. A transcript can be found by clicking on the “accessible text” PDF. You can also download the novella on Google books here or download a printable pdf versions here.
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Wonder why Zombies, Zombie Apocalypse, and Zombie Preparedness continue to live or walk dead on a CDC web site? As it turns out what first began as a tongue in cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform. We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via Zombie Preparedness; and as our own director, Dr. Ali Khan, notes, “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.” So please log on, get a kit, make a plan, and be prepared!
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