“Ever have to wash brains off of your shoes? No? Then shut the fuck up!”
Whenever someone said that they had a bad day at work, my response was not sympathetic.
“Ever taste the smell of a decaying human in your throat? “
That was another one of my little barbs I’d throw at people.
I spent 18 years of my life working for local TV news. I was the cameraman (known in the business as a photog) When someone was murdered, or killed in a way my bosses found interesting I went to work. I have watched people die in front of me. I’ve physically been attacked by angry family members, witnessed the aftermath of 9-11 firsthand( and let me tell you the pictures you saw of ground zero did no justice to the horror of that place.) Frankly if it involved human depravity or heartbreaking tragedy I was assigned to cover it.
Once I was heading toward a dead body some kid found in a pond. The scanner crackled with the first responders talking to each other “We found her, looks like we have a white female, been in water for quite sometime.” A few minutes later as I was still heading toward the scene I heard this on the scanner. “Umm this might be a black male… hard to tell.”
You see when white people bloat and decay in water they turn a sickly black, when black people bloat and decay they turn a white shade similar to something being bleached.
This was my world and it drove me crazy.
Eventually I could no longer take it and I broke down. Medical treatment helped a bit, but being drugged into happiness is no solution. Imagine you went to a dentist for a toothache and he gave you a prescription for Novocaine, and told you if the symptoms got worse he’d give you more pain killers. You would be in no pain but your tooth would rot out of your head.
I found help not in medicine, but in writing. Specifically writing about zombies.
Putting my pain onto paper helped me. Giving my pain a physical form (the zombie) was a breakthrough. You see writing about the horror I saw felt like I was just exploiting those poor people I had encountered throughout my professional life.
But the zombie apocalypse gave me the greatest outlet for my pain. Here I could work out the nightmares bouncing around in my head. Zombies could exact revenge on my enemies, express the horror of the world I lived in, I could even delve into the thick smell of a decaying human in a way that made me look WAY less crazy. When you smell a dead human you know instinctively what that is. A very primitive part of your brain starts screaming immediately inside your head “That’s a dead human, you need to run! Whatever killed him might be here GO!!” You eventually get over that horror, in so far as you don’t want to run, but you never get used to that stench.
Writing about the smell of dead people is not great reading material, until you insert it into the zombie apocalypse, then it becomes the reason zombies can not sneak up on their victims. It becomes a wall that physically hurts you as the hordes of dead approach. A smell so thick it chokes you as you try to escape. A smell that cripples the young and the weak preventing a quick escape. The stench sucks the oxygen from your lungs, slowing you with every step, allowing the dead to slowly overtake you, just as death overtakes us all , eventually.
So when you read any of my stuff whether its my book or my short stories here on Zombie-Guide realize I am writing for one reason.
To save me from my own nightmares.