2.8 days later – Chapter 2

What’s the first thing you do if you think there is a burglar in the house? Unless you are the Rambo type, you usually grab onto a kitchen knife or a golf club. What do you do when you are swamped by flies that are after your sandwich? You grab that newspaper or magazine, roll it nice and tight and slay those pesky things with your improvised club. What do you do when you see a dog foaming at the mouth, running towards you? You bend down and grab a big stone (At least in India you do. Here in the USA you don’t find stones around, so you usually stand and pray the dog’s owner can reach you before the dog does) Thus the first tip for survival seemed pretty intuitive.

Survival tip #1: Get hold of anything you could use as a weapon.


Humans haven’t evolved for hand-to-hand fights. If you have ever seen a street brawl, you know what I mean. Ever since the first neanderthals used a stone to smash skulls of hunted animals, we have grown increasingly dependent on weapons to fight. We have combated with spears and axes, fought battles with rifles and cannons, waged wars with stealth bombers and drones and even deflected ray-gun blasts with light-sabers (I take that back. That was only in Star Wars) . If we decide to do away with weapons and only fight hand-to-hand, chances are those wars would last decades before each soldier was beaten up enough to not be able to fight. So weak is our ability to inflict damage by our selves alone. (On the other hand, watch a MMA fight and you would think I was just talking silly!)

I haven’t been trained in martial-arts. I haven’t ever beaten up anybody. I should mention though that I have wrestled my dog to the carpet, but he is 17 pounds to my 170 pounds, and he isn’t allowed to bite.  I did punch a few jaws when I was in school, but punching saliva-dripping infected cannibals in the teeth isn’t a good idea. Nor is wrestling them to the floor and hoping they tap out. Point is, I had to have a weapon. Anything that could help me keep them away from me. Anything I could hit them hard with. Anything that could maybe break a jaw from a distance.

I started scavenging the house. I came across a small knife that was razor sharp, but I would have to get uncomfortably close to them to attack. I did notice my camera tripod which had a  nice long reach, but it was so delicate it barely bore the weight of my camera. I found a nice heavy hammer and it sure could break jaws and skulls, but the plastic handle had often slipped under my sweat laden palms. If only it had a nice rubber grip… wait a minute! Then it struck me. I did have a nice long heavy weapon in the house, and it was something I was used to bashing with. I have had years of practice wielding it and it even had a rubber grip where you hold it.

So I headed out the door, my cricket bat in hand. I quietly tiptoed down the stairs, watching out for any sign of damaged or broken-through doors. All of them seemed intact, other than the one on the 2nd floor which looked like it had been clawed at for hours. But that had happened years ago, when the old man had forgotten to let his black Labrador in, and the poor thing had scratched away hoping to carve a hole through it.

I continued heading down the stairs. As I neared the building entrance, I raised my bat over my shoulder in anticipation (or probably more out of habit, if you’ve seen me bat). I stayed in the shadows and surveyed the street once, twice, over ten times. I was chicken, but made myself believe I was just being cautious. When I was satisfied there were no infected sneaking behind a parked car or blending in the shadows or peeking through a window, I stepped out into the sunlight. Standing alone in the street I suddenly felt so vulnerable. These things moved fast (think of Resident Evil: Afterlife, I am Legend), had no inhibitions using their teeth or nails in a fight, had just one aim in life (anti-pun?) – to feast on my insides without even caring for whether I was still alive when they started their happy meal.

I shook my head vigorously in an attempt to shake my fears off and started walking towards the grocery store a few blocks away. Regularly looking over my shoulder, seldom slowing down, I thought to myself – Would I really be able to defend myself when attacked? As if in reply, I heard a dull growl. The hair standing on my neck must have looked like my dog’s fur-brush. I froze and my body refused to listen to my brain telling it to turn my head. Only my eyes darted all around trying to narrow down the source of the sound. I saw movement from the corner of my eye, a blur that was getting closer. I turned around to face the inhuman thing running towards me, hands outstretched like it was trying to strangle me remotely.

Time seemed to slow down. The infected was just half a dozen feet away from me, but in that time-stretched instance, it seemed like it would be an eternity before it would reach me. I couldn’t help but notice how much it bore a resemblance to my late uncle. He too had eyes that looked like he was shocked by everything he saw all the time. He too often had drool running down the sides of his mouth. He too wore unwashed, stained clothes that frayed at the edges. He too used to come after me with that same aggressive determination when he saw me use crayons on his walls (I was just 6 then!) But my uncle was at least five times as heavy as this infected, who looked so hungry that its stomach might have started digesting itself. No wonder these things’ lives revolved around eating.

The eternity passed a lot faster than I had thought it would, and the thing was almost onto me. Now I have never had a first-hand experience of how these things work, but learning from the movies, a well-aimed hit at the neck or head seemed to stop them right in their tracks. I steadied myself, raised my cricket bat and took a baseball batter stance (blasphemy, I know). As soon as the thing was within striking range I swung hard, the bat connected at its lower jaw. The impact felt dull and heavy like those times when we had practiced with an old and wet leather ball. The thing was knocked back a good couple of feet and for a second it looked like it would drop dead. With its jaw twisted in a horrible way, mucousy blood streaming down its chin, its eyes were still locked on me. Darn it! I had failed to break its neck, I had to hit harder. It pounced again. This time, I was unprepared and didn’t have time to swing or even aim right and managed to only clip its shoulder. It must have connected well though, because I didn’t see it raise that hand, ever again. But it was still standing, and to my horror attacked again with just one hand.

Six solid whacks later, it was lying at my feet, seemingly dead (again?). I bent over cautiously to have a closer look. Its skull looked shattered, its face was bashed in, its neck was bent at a very unnatural angle, but I still feared it would attack me as soon I turned my back to it. Just to make sure it had no surprises for me, I broke both its knees with well placed front-foot attacking drives. I turned away and continued walking.

I was pleased with my effort and might have even managed a smile if not for the thought about my bad choice of  weapon. Already the handle seemed a bit loose like it could give way at the splice. The wood showed damage at the places where it had impacted. A splinter was jutting out and if that blood covered wood penetrated my skin, I was done for! The movies always showed the survivors downing these things with 1-hits, but it had taken me 6 hits to get one of them down, and another 2 to make sure it stayed down. If I ever had a couple of these infected attacking me, would I have the time to get in 16 hits? I seriously doubted that. On retrospection, I should have probably duck-taped a meat-cleaver to the bat or at least hammered a few nails into the bat. That would have done more damage, would have had a higher chance of amputating their heads  and would have definitely taken lesser hits to get them down.

I mentally modified the first tip.

Survival tip 1# Get hold of anything you could use as a weapon. Preferably not completely wooden and definitely not with smooth rounded edges.

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In this series:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

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About Filya

'As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Jokhi. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Firoz Jokhi, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a Social Security number, you pay your taxes, and... you help your wife carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias Filya, and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.' - The Matrix

Posted on March 6th, 2011, in Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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