From the journal of Harold Plumber.
I think I nearly died today. It was really close. Food was getting scarce, and although I’ve done well in these past few months to keep journeys to the supermarket and back to a minimum I felt desperate. There’s only so much I can take of a grumbling stomach and besides, I need to keep energy levels as high as possible. You never know when one of – them – might give chase.
I’ve given up taking these trips under the cover of darkness; I decided that the creatures have bad enough eyesight in the first place and it would do me much better to see my own surroundings with clarity when I’m off on one of my necessary travels.
I exited the bunker, quietly as always, and looking up and down the road I saw no signs of life. It’s been exactly three hundred and sixty-four days since I saw the last human. Jenny. She ran off into the darkness that horrible night and never came back. I have to assume she’s gone. Gone like everyone else, to Armageddon, or the Rapture, or Doomsday, whatever you want to call it.
I saw no signs of the zombies on the way to the supermarket, but when I arrived I swung the glass door inward carefully nonetheless, because for some crazy reason there always seems to be some of them hanging around in there. I don’t even look at them any more. Not out of fear, but rather out of a desperate and stubborn refusal to accept their existence. Looking at them is a form of letting them win.
I wasted no time in collecting the usual tinned goods – soup, meatballs, vegetables. I packed them quickly and carefully into my backpack being careful not to bash them together in a way that might attract attention. The shelves are still really full, even after all this time. This gives fuel to my belief that I really am the last of us all. The last of mankind.
As I was placing the last of the tins into my bag I foolishly let my hand slip slightly and the tin went tumbling to the floor with a hard smack before rolling noisily underneath the shelf. I froze in place for what seemed like an eternity, waiting to see if I had attracted the attention of those vile things. After a few moments I thought I was safe. I allowed myself to resume breathing. It was almost as though somebody was waiting for this, because as soon as I let myself relax I heard them. Those familiar, groaning voices. From the sound of it, there were at least three of them. I knew I had to act quickly.
Without looking, I turned and sprinted for the door. I heard hurried footsteps behind me; in recent weeks they’ve been getting faster. Is it possible that they are evolving somehow? The groans became louder as I ran and I could almost swear I could hear clear, comprehensible language coming from these creatures. It made me think, oddly enough of that old zombie film, the one where the zombies shout “Braaaaiiiinns”. I know it’s a comedy film but it gave me the creeps nonetheless.
When I was out of the store I ran full pelt without looking back. I heard one of the zombies crash through the door of the supermarket and I quickened my pace. It shouted at me as I ran. I know that seems strange, but that’s the only way I could satisfactorily describe it. My head has been playing tricks on me of late, and again I almost heard real words come out of the thing’s mouth.
Am I going crazy with all this time alone? How long does it take for a man to go mad?
I’m going to get some rest now. I’m safe here in the bunker. I should be eternally thankful for that.
SUBJECT: Store Security
It has been brought to my attention that once again your store has been robbed by that same man. I am disappointed that I didn’t hear this from you, and that instead I heard it “through the grapevine” from your colleague, appropriately named Marvin.
You will recall, last month the same man entered the store you are responsible for armed with what looked like a golf club. He crouched, hidden among the shelves but of course our cameras picked him up. When he spied a local resident (an elderly lady leaning on a walking frame), he suddenly had a mad look on his face and raised the club above his head. If it weren’t for Marvin interfering, I believe we could have had a very serious situation on our hands. We don’t need any more negative media coverage after the out of date spam scandal.
After Marvin chased the man away, I think we were lucky that a six-pack of toilet paper was the only item he was able to snatch. Next time, he might grab the leftover spam and claim we’re still selling it.
I would like you to reply to this email by close of business today with a full list of every item that this criminal got away with, and what your plans are for stopping this in future.
SUBJECT: RE: Store Security
Thank you for your email.
I’m sorry I didn’t inform you sooner and I’m ever so grateful that marvin managed to get in touch with you to inform you about the incident. I’m sure he appreciated how busy I’ve been and wanted to take initiative to get in touch. I’ll be sure to thank him. That’s funny, I was just about to email you as well. Thank goodness for marvin.
The police were informed immediately and I spent the day responding to their queries and assisting them. They were very grateful for the extra effort that I put in to help them find the man in question.
I have this morning held a staff meeting in which I informed the staff of the incident and I have asked them all to be more alert and vigilant. I’m not sure how many people were in when the last incident occurred, besides marvin, but I will find out and inform them all that they should have been much more watchful of the front door.
As for the list of items, from our stock check it looks like the man got away with the following:
8x tins of SuperSave baked beans
10x tins of SuperSave soup
5x tins carrots
9x tins of SuperSave meatball (out of date, but not by much!)
1x tin of alphabet spaghetti
3x multipacks of SuperSave cola
On a final, unrelated note, we had a customer come in asking about a missing man, Harry I think she said. Her name was Jenny but I forget her surname. I’m working closely with the police on this and I will keep you informed.
Police Report of the arrest of Harold Plumber
Police constable Richard Burns
I attended the scene at the local SuperSave supermarket last Saturday, 12th July. When I arrived I found the suspect, Harold Plumber, being held to the ground by a male member of staff. Mr Plumber was struggling against the staff member and could be heard shouting “Get off me! Get off me! Don’t bite me! I don’t want to turn into one of you!”
The staff member could be heard shouting to his manager, later confirmed to be Mr Stephen Boyd: “Why are you just standing there!? Help me!”
Mr Boyd stood with a shocked expression on his face and it appeared that his trousers were damp around the crotch area. He was very pale.
Mr Plumber then bit the staff member, who could be heard screaming in agony. It was at this point, I intervened.
I placed handcuffs on the suspect while he could be heard saying: “They’ve got too smart! They’ve got too smart!”
The male staff member who had been bitten sat on the floor and a substantial amount of blood could be seen coming out of his hand. While I restrained Mr Plumber I instructed Mr Boyd to assist his employee, at which point Mr Boyd fainted, knocking over a large display of half price spam. I called for medical assistant at this point.
At the station, Mr Plumber was placed in a cell while he continued to scream about an Apocalypse of some sort. Eventually a woman named Jenny McMillan arrived at the station and was able to calm Mr Plumber down.
Nothing else to report about the arrest at this time.
THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE THAT NEVER WAS: ONE YEAR ON
Today marks exactly one year since the dead rose from the grave. One year since there was “no more room left in hell, so the dead walked the earth”. One year since we found out… that we were incredibly prepared for this.
Maybe it was the countless zombie movies, or the perpetual preparedness for disaster that humanity always seems to display. But somehow, we were prepared. No sooner had zombies risen out of their graves had they been put back in them. Thanks in part to the army’s eventual interference, but also thanks to the many who combatted the creatures armed with everything from baseball bats to frying pans.
Businessman Ryan Scott comments on that almost-fateful night:
‘I was walking down the road when I saw a group of them. I just thought they were drunk at first, what with it being a Friday night. They staggered towards me and I saw instantly that they were zombies: their flesh was all rotten and their eyes didn’t look right. I don’t know how they never seem to know in all those rubbish films. Anyway, I had just so happened to have been to my mate’s house to have a look at his sink and I had a wrench on me, so I slammed it into their heads one by one and they went down really easily. I mean, they were dead bodies, they weren’t exactly strong or anything. Didn’t hear a peep from any of the rest of them all night.’
Scientists quickly discovered the chemicals used in the local cemetery's fertiliser was responsible. We interviewed gardener Danny Buchanan:
‘I was just spraying the fertiliser as normal when suddenly a hand grabbed my leg. My first reaction was to shake it off and swear at the thing that grabbed me. Before I knew it, the body was rising up out of the earth. I would have been pretty scared if I wasn’t caught up in the thought of “how did it manage to get out of its coffin first?”. Anyway, I just so happened to have my rake on me so I walloped the thing in the head. Went down easily enough.’
Also in today’s paper: interview with hero Marvin, who incapacitated a mad robber at a SuperSave store. His manager, Stephen Boyd was approached for comment, but he declined.