by Christopher Peruzzi
Here's the situation: The dead are not resting in peace.
A unknown virus has evolved and is turning recently deceased people into flesh eating mindless berserkers that will stop at nothing before getting their next meal - which, incidentally, is you.
Their assets? They don't eat, sleep, breathe, go to the bathroom, or think of anything other than getting to you. On top of everything else, they are completely fearless and they can tell the difference between living flesh and dead flesh. Should one of them bite or scratch one of the living, that person is doomed to die and join their ranks. Their liabilities? They are dumb as bricks. They are easily distracted. And they are about as quick as a geriatric patient with a twisted ankle.
Your assets? A working thinker with a focused goal - survival. You can run, plan, use weapons, and outsmart your opponents. Your liabilities? You can die and join your enemies OR be eaten raw without toast.
Ideally, you'll be with friends in some kind of long term walled fortification with supplies and hot and cold running water. You should also have lots of guns and ammo.
Unfortunately, most of the time, that won't be the case. You'll probably be with people who are just lucky to have survived a zombie attack unscathed. They may have some wonderful personality quirk like "sleep yodeling" or some other kind of antisocial tendency. Or, better yet, someone who likes to get lost (forcing the rest of the party to search for them) or have some kind of hidden zombie wound.
When you meet your "companions", you'll most likely be in an open area outside. Your very first priority is to seek shelter and work out a plan on getting there.
Here's some stuff to watch out for
Stay away from highways
You are not traveling alone. And even if you are, running around like a lunatic is never a good idea unless you have to. Save your strength and your energy; you're going to need it.
Your goal is simply this - Get to a secure base without attracting the unwanted attention of zombies. Bearing that in mind, your best friend is stealth - not speed. This can be applied in everything you do. Never fire a gun at a zombie head if a sharp spike through its eye will do. Assuming that cell phones are working have it set on silent or vibrate - never on audible (until you're in a safe zone). If you have a silencer for your gun, use it.
Noise - any noise - is your enemy. Do you know the one thing that most zombies do really well? Moan. While it's disconcerting in itself, one moan can alert a zombie half a mile a way, and then that zombie will moan to alert other zombies. You don't want that. That's how you can make a horde.
You and your companions must run silent and without notice. Should you go through a highway or an interstate, you'll find plenty of parked cars. These will either be empty and abandoned (possible, as gas is a limited commodity) or be occupied with some poor soul who turned behind the wheel.
This is good news and bad news.
The good news is that because most people have slipped into the habit of using their seat belts. The poor unfortunate will be spending the rest of his or her existence "buckled up". If you're lucky that zombie will have its windows rolled up. The bad news is if their windows are down. Even a buckled zombie can moan from its car. These undead sentinels will moan until they can't.
They can also be "grabbers".
Bearing in mind that this trapped zombie has one open point, they not only can moan, they can grab and scratch at you. Should you be scratched by the undead, you are at risk for contagion and may need to be put down by one of your new companions.
It is rare that you will find anything of value on any of these roads. An abandoned vehicle is usually without gas. Assuming you have a gas can on hand (unlikely), the only cars that will probably have gas are ones occupied by zombies. And even that's unlikely because if someone turned while his car was running, he ran his car empty.
The only thing you may find are supplies. Once again, I would not want to be the one to search through a car with an active zombie thrashing about. Most people who abandoned their cars took their food with them.
So, stay away from the highways and interstates. If you know the area, use back roads.
Should you be between bases, you don't have the luxury of fire. A fire or a light at night is a sure way to alert one of the undead.
I know it may be cold. This is why it's vitally important to find shelter and to know where you're going.
While it's a bad idea to use an abandoned vehicle as a temporary safe house. You may use one if it is far enough away from any large horde of zombies. You would also do well to have someone be a look out. Should they spot (or hear) a large group of zombies, you will have enough time to prepare yourself and your group for an escape.
Once again, it's always a good idea to have a goal or a destination in mind when you are between bases.
Final Words: Always be ready to move - be prepared to run
Regardless of whether you are tired or starving, you must be ready to move at a moment's notice. The alternative is too abhorrent to consider. The good news is that you'll probably be able to outrun them. The bad news is that it won't do you any good if you're surrounded.
Remember, the undead are easily tricked. So long as you have not be detected, any real distraction will do to keep them away from you. If you are able to buy yourself any time to make your escape, you need to do that.
In any event, safety is a luxury.
One of the best benefits of traveling in a group is that it will allow the majority of members at any one time to get their share of rest. In the event you have to move, you'll need to be sure you have enough energy to move so, immediately.