Friday, July 31, 2009

Blook - Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Part 1

I always thought that in a moment like this, you would experience an unbelievable rush of adrenaline coupled with an indecently accurate description of everything. I guess I watched too many victims and survivor reports on TV.

The first thing I remember is the touch of a cold hand on my face, which is how I began to awaken. Then I heard my mother's voice, hushed, but with an obvious hint of desperation.

“Get up honey, we have to go”.

I felt too groggy to even contemplate an answer, it was late, but I sat up; aware of the fear in her voice. My mother was at my bedroom door by now. I could hear my father shouting something from the bottom of the stairwell. I jumped to my feet.

“Mom, what the hell is going on” I asked as I grabbed her by the sleeve of her robe, noticing she still had her pyjamas on underneath. Her eyes were wide when she turned to face me. “Get back! Hide!” she whispered hoarsely, and with a ferocious push I didn't think such a small-framed woman could manage, she toppled me over into the room. I felt my head crash into something hard as I fell. I curled up into a ball on the ground, clutching my head, only to see the door closing behind the edge of my mother's robes. I listened helplessly as I heard the key click loudly in the lock.

For the first time I noticed that other people were screaming outside, there were car sirens in the distance, along with alarms from various emergency service vehicles. My attention turned back to the door as I heard my mother let out a wordless scream of terror. I tried to drag myself towards the door, but the pulsing pain in my head was unbearable. It felt like my brain was going to explode. My vision was becoming blurring and my thinking foggy. I felt like I was being sucked underneath a think pool of water. I willed myself to stay conscious. I clutched at my head desperately and began to panic when I felt the warm, sticky mess that my hair had become. The last thing I heard was my father screaming to my mother to run.

I don't know how long I was unconscious. I woke up in daylight on my side covered in dried blood, that had stuck my lips together as it has leaked down my face. My hair just felt like a giant knot. I had the worst headache ever. I didn't even try to get up for the first few minutes. I tentatively rolled on my back and attempted to breath evenly, praying the nausea would pass soon.

I tried to push myself to my knees the second I remembered my mother's screams. Another wave of nausea rushed through me and I almost threw up. I could feel the pulse that my headache was generating.

After a few more minutes of breathing I pushed myself to my knees and used the bed post beside me to pull myself up.

The room was a mess. There was a pool of blood on the patch floor I had just vacated that was only semi-dry. There was also blood on the edge of my dresser, which I presumed had been the offender that ended my fall so tragically.

I walked to the door as quick as I could and tried to open it. I could only vaguely remember my mother previously locking it. I pushed with all my strength and threw all of the little weight I had into the door in an attempt to move it. Nothing. I leaned my nearly pulsating head against the cool wood of the door as I thought about what to do next. I reached for the jewellery box on my dresser and pulled out the spare key to my room. I pushed it into the lock and turned it, but the door still resisted slightly. I pushed harder and it moved, I realised there was something blocking it from the other side. I made enough of a gap so I could squeeze through and immediately I wished I hadn't.

It was a body that had been blocking the door. But not just any body; it was my mother. I fell to my knees and put my hand on her cheek. It was ice cold, she was dead. I think the only reason I didn't cry is because I was in shock.

Eventually I noticed the flecks of blood on the walls and floor, admittedly my mother did look as though she had been injured. I erased the thought from my mind, I couldn't bare to think of someone hurting her. What if whoever had done this is still here I thought? I forced my way back into my room to find a means of self-defence, grabbing a stiletto in desperation. It would have to do for now. I pulled the sheets off of my bed and dragged them into the hall with me to drape them over my mother. I took one last furtive glance at the lumpy sheet and made my way towards the stairs.

There was even more blood on the walls here, and all over the steps, some of the pools weren't even dry. I tread carefully, avoiding any slippery-looking patches.

I held the stiletto up as I reached the bottom of the steps, wary that my mother's killer could easily spring out from the doorway on my right.

My heart was racing as I slowly pushed the living-room door open. The room was empty, no murderer. I quietly made my way to the kitchen, and held my breath as the door drew open ahead of me. Again, no murderer. I checked the back door, it was locked. I sighed with relief.

I felt so ridiculous when I realised that I had walked straight past my parents room an didn't check it. I swapped the stiletto for a carving knife, and checked the front door, which was also locked, as I made my way back upstairs.

I stopped for a second at the head of the stairs, reluctant to turn and see the lumpy sheet lying in the hallway again. I turned in one quick step and faced my parents bedroom door at the end of the hall. I stepped over the sheet and reached out to open the door, I paused again, This was the only room left, the killer had to be in here right? The front and back doors were closed, unless they jumped out a window they had to be in here. I swung the door open swiftly, attempting ta catch anyone who might be inside off guard. I let out the breath I didn't even know I was holding as I realised the room was also empty.

After calling my dad's cellphone, for what felt like the hundredth time, I gave up. He just wouldn't answer. I was really worried about him, he was always here, he was unemployed for god's sake, he had very few other places to go. Unless he was the one who... No way, I felt guilty for even thinking about it, Dad would never hurt anyone, let alone Mom.

I figured the best thing to do was keep my energy up and then take a shower, so I switched on the TV as I reached for a box of cereal. I stopped mid-pour to listen to the emergency broadcast issuing from the television.

The screen was filled with 'Emergency Alert System' and a scrolling message overhead. The message read “A public state of emergency has been declared, please stay inside and lock all doors and windows”. I turned the set up to hear the broadcast more clearly.

“The government no longer has the means to contain this viral epidemic and has declared a state of emergency. Please do not leave your home and lock all doors and windows. Those who have been infected by the virus are considered extremely hostile, and all member of the public are being urged to avoid all contact with the infected”.

I suddenly found I was no longer hungry. I grabbed the carving knife and bolted upstairs to change out of my pyjamas. I was pulling on a pair of thick boots when I heard a small creak on the stairwell. My breath caught in my throat. There couldn't be anyone here I checked. I felt the urge to call out, classic-horror-movie-style, and ask who was there. But I wasn't stupid.

I tightened my grip on the knife and waited, not even daring to breathe. I was just about to exhale when I hear it; another creak, this time at the entrance to the hall, near my mother's body.

My heart started beating so loud it seemed to fill my entire being. I think my heart almost stopped when the door began to swing open slowly.

The first thing I saw were feet, with think black boots on, like mine. I pulled my gaze up quickly and found myself staring into the almost sickly-looking pale face of a boy my age with dark brown hair and eyes that seemed to be tinted red. The Emergency Alert System broadcast rushed through my mind and I knew that this had to be one of the infected.

I jumped to my feet and brandished the knife at him.

“Get back!” I warned him.

For a second he didn't make any response to indicate he had heard me, then, really slowly he smiled.

“You can put down the knife”. His voice was soft and polite. “I don't want to hurt you”.

I stepped back, very aware that this was exactly what he would say regardless of whether he wanted to hurt me or not.

“Please but it down”, he sounded tired. “You look confused, I can give you answers”.

This made me lower the knife a fraction. “What do you mean answers?” I asked hoarsely as my mouth seemed very dry all of a sudden.

“Well, I can tell you where your father is, not to mention where everyone else is. Oh and I can also ' explain this whole 'infected' thing.” He had started to smile a little again as though he found this all rather amusing.

My voice shook as I worded a reply “the 'infected', that means they're zombies, right?”. I felt as though I definitely seen too many movies. He nodded slightly. I felt my chest tighten with fear. I gripped the knife so hard it hurt as I asked, “Are you infected?”. At least I'd seen enough movies to know what to do if he was infected.

“Oh, no, no, no” he waved a hand in the air as though waving away an insect, while at the same time walking toward the bed beside me to take a seat, “I'm a vampire”.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Possible Blook

Time to share some of my zombie art with you all. I am a visual artist after all!

I did this one about 2 years ago, I think, I just came accross it in my room and thought it would make a good addittion to this place.
In case you're wondering it's done with letraset markers and a black liner pen on bristol board.

I might start some more zombie pieces to put up here.

It will be good practice of I do get around to making that graphic novel/ blook thing. Or I could just have an illustrated book.

I've actually been thinking about the storyline a lot; my first thought is some kind of bio-nuclear accident that turns people into zombies. But to give the story a twist I could introduce vampires, because you know, they're dead and all, so they can't die from a bio-nuclear accident. Of course I'd have to have the Last-Man-On-Earth/survival storyline going on. But I was thinking that this could be from a vampire's point of view. Also if they zombies are 'runners' a vampire will be well capable of defending itself (unlike a human). I feel a weekly blook entry coming on. I need to think about this some more. Keep watching this space.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Siren: Blood Curse Game Review

Siren: Blood Curse is Survival-Horror games which currently only available for the Sony Ps3 console. The game puts a twist of the popular zombie genre by placing the story in Japan, and having the zombies (these are actually referred to as shibito) inhabiting a local village that apparently 'vanished' after a number of human sacrifices were made there.
The game's shibito are a lot smarter than your average zombies, and much like in Resident Evil 5, they are able to use weapons quiet effectively as well as run and perform a range of different, but easy tasks e.g. they can pull levers and turn wheels. This itself is quiet frightening, as it means it is much more difficult to outsmart them or even outrun them. What's even more scary is that nearly all the characters start out with no weapons, so they only way you can survive being in the presence of a shibito is hiding until you can run and get a weapon. Waiting for a shibito to leave until you can make a break for it can be quiet daunting, so they games has a helpful little feature: a split screen where you can play as normal while locating, and looking through the eyes of, any nearby shibito. This is a really handy feature because the majority of the game is stealth based, which unusual in a survival-horror as you usually just have to kill or outrun your attackers.

Unfortunately for any gamers in the United States the game is heavily censored, which will have a huge effect on the game quality, as apparently the amount of blood splatter and all the scenes with the Bella, the little girl, have been taken out completely.
The games level set up is quiet unusual, but not unpleasant; the game play is split into twelve episodes, with a lot of cut-scenes in between. The graphics are great, the shibito are terrifying and finding yourself weaponless is common enough. It is a good game, with a really fresh interpretation of zombies that will scare you to death, I'm giving it 9 out of 10.

Unless you live in Japan Siren: Blood Curse can only be bought online from the Play Station Store.

Here's the official trailer for the game, including some great in-game footage.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Zombie Denied Social Security

I read this on Digg, I know it's an old article, but I've never read anything like it before. Aside from being Zombie News, It's an interesting look into Voodoo culture.

A quick overview of the article:
Jacques Orneuve claims that the American government has unfairly denied him social security benefits on the grounds that he is legally dead. Orneuve admits that he did indeed die in his home country of Haiti, and was reanimated several days later in a Voodoo ceremony.

I will gladly report the outcome of his court case when I become aware of it.

Read the full article here.

28 Days Later

Beware: Spoilers

This is one of my favourite zombie movies ever, and has only two flaws in it, but I will point out the two that it has.

1. The story failed to explain how the Rage Virus happened to actually manifest itself as a virus. For those of you who don't know, the opening scenes of the movie depict an animal rights activist group setting some chimps free after they have been subject to endless video streams of violence. Obviously this kind of experiment would have an effect on anyone's mental health, and presumably the story is hoping it's audience will just follow along and presume it's a virus without question. I don't know about you, but even in the realm of science fiction I like everything to make sense or at least have an explanation.

2. The zombies' behaviour is not consistent throughout the film. During the scene where the main characters rush to change the car's tire while the zombies race towards them, when the car drives away the zombies feebly attempt to follow it, and give up after a few steps. Yes, the car was faster than them, but these are creatures with barely animalistic minds; they would not stop the chase until an easier target could be obtained.
Also when the Commandant brings Jim into the yard to introduce him to the infected soldier chained to the wall, the zombie spends most of their conversation trying to grab at them, then eventually gives up and almost lays down. Again, a zombie wouldn't just stop like this.
Towards the end of the movie, Jim decides to go on a killing spree, and let's the chained zombie free to aid him. Jim stands on a wall and shoots down at the zombie's chains directly below him, breaking the chains. The most natural thing to happen at that moment would be for the zombie to attempt to grab Jim, but instead it stays still while its chains are broken and then gives Jim one last glace before heading into the house to spread the infection.
The only reason these scenes really stuck out to me is because, during the rest of the movie, the zombies are portrayed as mindless animals, but during these scenes they seems to almost have a awareness of their physical limitations, which basically defeats the purpose of a zombie.

It's still an amazing movie though, I give it 8/10.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Think I'm Sitting On A Book

I watched 28 Weeks later again today (I think this is about my fourth time seeing it now). I really wanted to watch 28 Days Later, because it is, in all honesty, a better zombie movie, but for some unknown reason I actually don't own it, either that or it's vanished. Anyway, I watched the movie and I was thinking about all the things that I liked, and the parts I would change.

I liked:
-Zombies that can run because they scare the hell out of me.

-The Rage Virus because its a really unique idea for a virus.

-That the virus was contained to Britain, which was eventually isolated, because most books are written with the idea of a world wide pandemic and from a 'last man on earth' survivor's point of view.

-That the story was based on the fact that certain people had unique genetic codes that allows them to carry the disease without symptoms; most stories have a human who is completely immune.

I would Change:
-When the zombies invade the house at the beginning of the movie, John escapes by jumping through a window, and some zombies actually run past him in the background towards the house, before others start chasing him. This doesn't make any sense because the zombies would have smelled him, and they would have been instantly attracted to the movement.

-The length of time it took the zombies to die of starvation, because they are so animalistic that they would just begin to eat each other after a while.

-That the virus was limited to humans, although I wouldn't have every species contract it, just some of them e.g. dogs, bears etc.

-The fact that when everyone was running out of the main building, zombies just collapsed and died when a sniper shot them, even of it was in the leg. The whole point of zombies is that they will go on no matter what. It's actually weird that they did this considering that later on in the movie when the helicopter grated through the crowd of zombies it showed some of the body parts moving afterwards.

If I could just get all of my facts and opinions together I think I could be sitting on a book, although I would much prefer if it was a graphic novel. Watch This space. It Might Happen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gaming Like A Zombie

For those of you who think that the word zombie entails a spotty teenager staring into a PC monitor for an endless amount of time, you may be surprised to find you're right. Yes, I define MMORPG addicts as a type of new-age zombie, and if you, like I, are living in poverty and can not afford to pay for a World Of WarCraft subscription, I have the perfect solution; Last Chaos and Shaiya. These games are the closest you'll get to playing WoW for free. Both of the games are fairly similar, I wrote an article about the pros and cons of both here if you need to weigh it out more. Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Surviving A Zombie Apocalypse; The Basics

The following Guide Is In Regards To Walking Zombies. Running Zombies Will Be Covered In A Separate Article

Step1: Find Somewhere!!

OK first thing most people think is 'I'll make my house zombie proof!'. Pretty stupid idea really. The more people there are around you the more zombies there will eventually be so unless you live on the top of a mountain, find somewhere else to use as a refuge. Also remember the farther north you go the colder it will be, and zombies will presumably freeze, but don't take that for granted because if you run out of food you will more than likely have to trek past the 'line' where zombies freeze, to renew supplies.
Seeing as your refuge is, hopefully, in a secluded area, electricity will be scarce anyway, if you can, buy a generator, because electricity will most likely be cut off at some point.
If you can, I would strongly advise creating a perimeter around the refuge, even if you can only manage a simple wall, as this will keep zombies from being directly at your refuge and posing more of a threat.
Having a simple wall around the perimeter means that you can easily pick off any zombies outside the area, just remember to do it as quietly as possible.
The other, more sophisticated option is placing a radar system around the perimeter, but unless you can provide your own electricity through a generator this would be difficult.

Step2: Start Getting Supplies Together.

Unless you're rich, use any spare money to buy cheap food and water purification supplies if you need them. I know that getting your hands on as much bottled water as possible seems genius at this moment, but later you will be really sorry of the extra weight. Having water purification supplies means that you can drink in a safe environment, without lighting a fire to sterilise the water, and also make everything in the nearby area aware of your presence.
No matter how much supplies you have already stored in your refuge, you should still bring more food because there is really no indication of how long you could be there, and food is vital. Get a large backpack to carry supplies and start practising with it, otherwise you'll tire out too quickly when you actually need to evade the zombies.
regardless of how close your refuge is get army-standard shoes and socks, and clothing too if possible, every journey is made longer when zombies are involved, considering you will most likely have to evade even any moderately populated areas if possible.
You will also need a multi-purpose Swiss army knife, a rope, a sleeping bag ( I would recommend getting an army standard one if possible because they are much smaller and lighter, yet still provide warmth), maps of the local area, region and country are advisable, a compass, a flash light (since batteries and other forms of energy will more than likely become scarce over time I would advise obtaining a 'wind-up' or manually charged light source) and materials for starting a fire. (note: lighting a fire is not advisable unless you want to be overrun by nearby zombies). Also start picking up as much general medication as you can to store it; when you're up in that mountain there's little chance someone you're with will have medical training, and dying from something as curable as a cold because of lack of medication is just embarrassing during the reign of the undead.

Step3: Get Your Guns!

Arming yourself is crucial. Forget close-range weapons, if you're close enough to stab it then you're likely already dead. The only knife you will probably need is for opening tins.
Buy a gun of your choice (and lots of ammo) and practice using it. (Note: You will need your weapon on you and not in your bag when travelling). Try to pick a gun that you can easily carry its weight and aim it, and remember ALWAYS AIM FOR THE HEAD otherwise you're at nothing.
Try to avoid choosing fancy weapons or ammo as they will most likely become unavailable after a certain amount of time; pick a fairly regular weapon so ammo is easier to obtain. Also, unless you are trained to handle a gun, and if you can take the extra weight, buy a second weapon in case your primary weapon jams, handguns would be a good option.
If you do end up up close and personal with a member, or possibly numerous members, of the undead having a both a blade and a blunt weapon for bludgeoning is a good idea, as the situation could dictate the use of either.

Step4: Travelling.

The mode of travel you choose depends on where you are coming from and going to. If you are driving remember that you will be mobbed by zombies from all sides, so you will need the closest thing you can get to an armoured vehicle. Also get a map and decide where you will stop for fuel n your way, that is, if you can not find some fuel to bring with you. Planning for fuel stops is crucial, otherwise you could find yourself walking, or stuck in a vehicle surrounded by zombies looking at starvation as the alternative to being eaten. To avoid this scenario take all precautions possible to decide an alternative fuel point for each primary fuel point so if you arrive there to find it overrun with undead you still have an option.

If you are travelling by foot:
- Never travel alone!!!
- Stay away from heavily populated areas as there will be more zombies.
- Try to make as little noise as possible so as not to draw zombies', or animals attention.
- No matter how cold it is don't light a fire!
- Keep someone on watch while you sleep.
-If you happen to be completely alone, and find yourself facing disgracefully dim-witted opponents with questionable motor skills, climbing a tree to sleep, or rest is perfect.

A motor bike or bicycle are the best means of transport as they are small and fast. Trouble is motor-bikes need fuel and are loud, and you can only cycle for so long so choose wisely.
If you are travelling by motorbike you will need to carefully map out your fuel route as mentioned before.
If you are cycling, you will need to plan your rest stops carefully, try to choose points away from heavily populated areas and with some kind of shelter available, if possible.

Step5: When You Are In Your Refuge.

- Don't leave unless completely necessary.
- Unless media access is available don't decide to return until you know it's safe! If in doubt wait it out!
- Use the smallest amount of your supplies as you possible can.
- Kill off (as quietly as possible) any zombies that wander into your very unpopulated refuge area.
- Don't just walk into your refuge knowing you'll be there for possibly years and not bring something to occupy yourself. Books are the best option, as they can be reused, other activities like arts and crafts can possibly run out of supplies. If you have a generator, a laptop, music, DVDs, tv, and games console would be amazing! Just don't depend on the internet to be working or channels to be broadcasting, as the rest of the world is most likely facing utter chaos.
When you're picking who you would like to stay in the refuge with you; choose wisely, and don't let anyone else tag along if an outbreak happens. Stick to what you've planned. Try to have as many differently trained individuals in your group as possible, plan ahead how much food you will need per person per day. And remember Stay Aware.

Zombies That Can Be Found In Nature

I just found this awesome article about different species of animals than can invade the bodies other species and, in some cases, control their behaviour. The article deals with mostly insects and small animals, but the only thing I can think about is the possibility of them evolving into parasites that could effect humans. Read the full article here.

A History Of Zombies

One of the questions I get asked about zombies the most is 'where do they come from?'. The answer really depends on which type of zombie you're referring to. If it's the classic horror zombie it's probably either the result of magic gone amok or a mad science experiment. If, on the other hand, you're talking about the modern day horror zombie, it's more than likely some kind of virus or disease. The usual answer I give is that the entire zombie genre was originally based on Afro-Caribbean folklore and the rumors circulating the voodo religion.

For a more detailed article about the origins of zombies click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Talk About Living Dead

I was reading this and just thought it was somewhat relevant to zombies as this guy just did not give up. It makes for interesting reading.

The Death Of Grigory Rasputin

I Think I'm Getting Paranoid

Last night I was at a party and decided, like the genius that I am, that it was a great decision to walk home at 3am. Luckily for me, some of my friends also thought this was an amazing decision. Most of us were quiet intoxicated at the time so it did not occur to anyone that we were leaving a house that was classified as being 'in the countryside' which means there were no street lamps to guide us for the first twenty minuets of our walk.

Everyone was talking about random things that drunks talk about when suddenly I realised; this is the perfect opportunity for a zombie ambush. It was so dark we could barely see anything beyond a few meters and the majority of us were too drunk to run very accurately.

I spent a few minutes thinking about this and decided to ease my paranoia by asking my friends what they thought. To my horror, and amazement, the majority of them agreed that we probably would not survive an attack at that particular moment. In fact one of my friends, like me, had previously begun preparing a mental list of survival tactics for use against zombies. For a while we all talked them through, then eventually I asked the burning question; 'What if we are faced with zombies that can run?'. No one answered me. It seems it's very easy to prepare for an attack of slow-walking dim-witted corpses, as it's usually just a matter of out walking them to safety, but if they can run, what options are left to us?

Maybe I'm just really paranoid, but I think it's time to start preparing for this scenario.