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Dead Zone Gazette
Your apocalyptic newspaper


Dead Zone Gazette special edition

Children in the Dead Zone

"My two sons have turned from civil, cheerful, and friendly basketball players to those sunken, dark, and quiet," a mother says. "They've toughened up, so much that they almost seem hostile... to me..."

A frightened mother fears for the safety, future, and lifestyle of her two sons, who are 19 and 15, respectively.

"They never really talk to me any more," she says. "They're stiff, cold, and unchanging. It's almost as if they were made of metal."

The mother, who is now in her fifties, says she has never seen anything like this before.

"And it's not our youth's fault, I would say. It's not them choosing to listen to the wrong music or play the wrong games or have the wrong friends. This was forced upon them. Nobody chose to live in the zombie apocalypse. Even if you evacuated, the infection was waiting for you on the opposite side of the world."

My name is Julian Flambert. Today on this Dead Zone Gazette special, we cover just what exactly happened to the lives of our youth — our successors, and our future generation — during the zombie apocalypse. Using data collected from HERC, Reinhold, and thousands of survivor compounds from all over the world, we explore in-depth what the zombie apocalypse has done to our own children.


May 17, 2011. About 11AM. Most kids were in school, in class. Some high school students were out for lunch. Others that were out of school for legitimate purposes were either at the dentist, the orthodontist, or with their parents, doing the mid-weekday shopping. Those not skipping classes for legitimate reasons were either at the amusement park, loitering in subway stations, or at home in front of their gaming consoles. Whatever they were doing, it was pretty typical.

Then, it all changed.

Earlier that morning at around 8AM, Homeland Environmental Risk Control (HERC) officials noted a large wave of zombies headed towards Union City from the west, but it was unclear as to where exactly the horde was located due to a communication error. Troopers were mistakenly deployed to the west-northwest side of Union City, leaving the southwest side open to zombie attack.

At 1037 hours, the first wave of zombies entered the city, first through Pinedale, and then moving north to Brookvale. Chaos and pandemonium reigned as civilians were caught unaware; television and radio broadcasts earlier that day reported that the zombie wave was coming in from north of the river, and "HERC has that area guarded [...] Civilians in other parts of the city are advised to remain calm and continue with their normal daily routines." An unknown number of people were infected; some estimates put the percentage at over 80% of Brookvale. Pinedale was worse off, with over 95% of its original inhabitants infected.[1]

The infection moved quickly. By 1100 hours, the zombies had already crossed the river into the more densely populated neighborhoods of Canal Park and Newtown. Traffic clogged the streets as civilians attempted to flee by car. Transit buses and trucks flipped over as they collided with each other in the panic. One UCPD officer later wrote: "It was as if the world was ending."

Pinedale and Brookvale, however, bought time for the inner city. The several-hundred 911 calls made during the early stages of invasion alerted the police, and in response gave them time to prepare; this enabled law enforcement, HERC, and the military to maintain order within the inner city for over a month and a half.

At MacRachael Elementary, Canal Park, students were just completing a scheduled fire drill under the supervision of firefighters when the zombies swept through. All students and most staff members were outside of the building, save for the few touring the halls looking for stragglers. The firefighters acted quickly and were able to barricade a portion of the school yard to separate the zombies from the children. Police helicopters arrived half-an-hour later to move the students and later, the teachers, to a secure location.

William Stevenson Middle School, Newtown, was also largely saved, thanks to the efforts staff and administrators put into emergency evacuation training. Despite there being zombies in the school, most people were calm and exited the building in single file. Not everyone made it, however. In a science classroom, the body of a heavily mutilated teacher was found as she blocked the doorway, giving her students time to escape through the ground-floor window. In the weight room, three students and eight infected were found dead, with one survivor witness saying that the three students attempted to fight back, distracting the zombies away from those who were fleeing. And in the janitor's closet, six students were found huddled behind a barrel of turpentine whom a janitor supposedly hid as he attempted to fend off three bruisers with a broom.

Things were very different, however, in the schools of Pinedale and Brookvale, who were hit the hardest. Yet it is here that remarkable acts of survival and bravery occurred.

Taylor Young, a 14 year old 8th grader attending Bestview Street Middle School in Brookvale, was mindlessly flipping through a science textbook during science class when he heard screams and gunshots. He looked out the window and saw the infected headed towards the school, a wave of panicked civilians fleeing from the horde. A few police officers arrived on scene but were swiftly overcome by the horde.

Without thinking of his own safety, Taylor jumped out the window, a second-storey window. He managed to make it safely to the ground by rolling on the grass, and then headed immediately towards a sixth grade classroom where his younger brother attended. He entered the deserted classroom, with the only occupants being a few infected. He knew his brother was autistic and was fairly new to the school, and he feared that he may not have understood the confusion, and that nobody remembered him when they fled. With a desk, he fought off his enemies while looking under chairs and debris, trying to find his brother. After a few minutes, he managed to find his brother huddled inside the teacher's closet, hands over head. He managed to persuade him to climb onto his back, and the two managed to escape the building safely.

In the same building, Mr. Joseph Softwood, a seventh grade science teacher, was in the teacher's lounge drinking his belated morning cup of coffee when he heard cries for help. Dropping his mug, he got up and looked outside. As soon as he saw hordes of blood-covered people headed for the school, he rushed out into the hallway and began knocking on classroom doors, urging everybody to get out.

As the classrooms emptied, he saw a young boy collapse from shock. Wasting no time, he picked up and carried the boy in his arms and ran out of the building. He did not stop until he was able to hand the boy over to paramedics. He later attempted to go back to the school to look for survivors, but was turned back by police.

Principal Mrs. Lainey Bartholomew took a different approach to the disaster. At the first sight of chaos, Bartholomew ordered her staff to begin barricading the office. She then ran out into the halls and dragged 30 children and teachers into the office before the infected stopped her. Locking everyone into the office, she managed to keep the infected out of it before fire crews were able to extract the children from the windows. Bartholomew voluntarily chose to be the last one to leave. As soon as she took her body from the door, the frame failed and zombies chased her all the way to the window. She later reckoned the experience to Ben Stiller's "running from Rexy" scene in the movie Night at the Museum. "The zombies were just inches away from me. My heart was racing as fast as my legs were. When I got to the window, I practically jumped out and almost fell down the ladder. Fortunately, I made it out in one piece."

Daniel & Amy's Montessori Campus in Pinedale was the most south-westerly school in Union City, consisting of both an Elementary and Middle School, along with an acre of playground. As such it was the first school hit by the onslaught of the zombie horde, and had little warning before being swarmed by the full force of the infected. The school was also located at the top of a gradual ascent, and was surrounded by forest in all directions except for the north side, where a few suburban homes fringed the premises. Unlike most other schools in the city, where the average infection rate was around 30 to 40%, the Montessori had an infection rate of 82%. So many were infected that police and fire thought there were no survivors after the infected wave passed, leaving much of the survival to those in the school, and those of complete strangers that ran inside to help.

Dr. Natalie Lee was in the middle school giving a live demonstration of concentrated hydrochloric acid. A group of seventh and eighth graders surrounded the fume hood, taking notes or simply "ooh"-ing at whatever was being dissolved by the acid. Lee had said, after going through the usual safety procedures, that hydrochloric acid in its concentrated form "causes severe burns and irreversible organ damage." Lee had demonstrated the acid's strength by dropping in the leaf of a freshly cut plant and some aluminum foil. The students were thrilled and chatter spewed forth from their mouths, which was quickly shut by their teachers, who told them to remain quiet "so that Dr. Lee here can continue teaching."

Lee was just about to drop a gold ring into the acid when the experiment was violently interrupted. Without warning, zombies burst in through a door, scattering the crowd. As everyone else made their way out of the emergency exit, Lee, without thinking, removed the container of hydrochloric acid from the fume hood and threw it at the horde. She suffered some minor burns and respiratory damage from inhaling the acidic mists, but otherwise "It worked fairly well." She later wrote that the acid had, due to its strength and concentration, mutilated the faces of everyone it hit. "The infected were screaming, running around in their own blood, as their eyes dissolved in their sockets."

Mrs. Camryn Georges was supervising her kindergarten class as they played in the playpen, surrounded by a short chain-link fence. A ball flew out of a soccer game towards her. She quickly caught the ball smoothly, and with an amused look on her face, tossed the ball back. A few minutes later, the ball flew back at her. And again. And again. Laughing now, she attempted to score a goal herself, deliberately missing and making a clown out of herself. The young players giggled at her seeming misfortune.

Later, another teacher who has not yet been identified, stepped out and asked to speak with her. Halfway through the conversation, the ball flew back yet again, this time accompanied with a shriek of terror. Georges caught the ball, but her smile quickly faded when she turned around. Zombies had the playpen surrounded, and the more agile ones were scaling the fence while the stronger ones attempted to break it down. Georges quickly got everyone into line and had them march back inside the classroom, where she and the other teacher barricaded all entrances to the room. There they waited with surprising calmness until police were later able to rescue them.

Andrew Jitmakusol, often referred to as "Mr. Jitters" by students and staff alike, was flipping through a mountain of paperwork in his office while taking occasional sips from his ever-present cup of hot tea. He had three people on the phone line and was continuously flipping through all three while trying to keep his stack organized. A sheet of paper fell off his desk and floated gracefully to the floor. Mr. Jitters bent over to pick it up.

Suddenly, the world exploded. As he picked up the fallen sheet of paper, the windows behind him exploded as zombies burst through. He scrambled over his desk, hoping to put some distance between him and the intruders. Throwing his desk and a few chairs at them, Jitters ran out of his office and slammed the door shut behind him. As he struggled to keep the door closed, other windows in the main office failed as the zombies pressed hard against them. Shouting at his staff to hide in the kitchenette, he grabbed everything he could get his hands on — books, binders, pencils, rulers, computer monitors, letter openers — and hurled them at the infected horde. Failing that, he grabbed a dish cart and threw it into the crowd, sending shards of smashed ceramics into the bodies of those unlucky enough to receive it. When his supply of weapons ran low, he ran into the kitchenette and, with the help of his surviving staff, held the door closed. Reports suggest that the staff were stuck in the kitchenette for 48 hours before police and fire crews were able to clear the horde in the office.

Jonah Sparks, 8, was in the school library with his classmates, studying plants and soil. He was reclining in the corner where the bean bag chairs were, despite his teacher's orders not to go anywhere near that corner. He scrambled out of his chair and hid behind it as his teacher passed, hoping he would not get seen.

The bean bag chairs would later prove to be a life saver.

The library was alerted to the zombies by screams of terror from the nearby hallways. Seconds later, the main doors were flung open as frightened people ran inside, followed closely by infected runners. Everyone ran for the emergency exit, located in the forbidden bean bag chair corner. Jonah did not flee for his own safety like his classmates did, but instead attempted to barricade the corner with whatever materials he could get his hands on. He threw some couches together for a wall, which the infected quickly scaled. He then tried knocking a bookshelf over, which was also unsuccessful in stopping the horde. Lacking anything else, he got together the five bean bag chairs and ducked. The bean bag chairs proved to be "too squishy" for the infected to climb over, giving the survivors in the room time to shove them back. Jonah was reportedly the last person to leave the room, just before his barricade was finally breached by a biker.

April DeSousa, 14, was in the science room of the middle school, partaking in a lab experiment involving the use of a candle. She reportedly got something in her eye and was instructed by the teacher to rinse her eyes out at the eyewash station.

Cold water splashed into DeSousa's eyes. She blinked repeatedly, the sharp, cold sting of the water digging into her eye sockets. She surfaced, but the feeling was still there. She dove back inside the station a second time, hoping to flush whatever was in her eyes out.

Screams rang out in the hallways as zombies broke inside the school and charged towards the nearest uninfected individual they could find. At the first sight of the infected, DeSousa's teacher immediately threw together the movable furniture in the room and set up a barricade. DeSousa continued to rinse her eyes out to little avail. Soon, the makeshift barricade failed and zombies swarmed the room. For a moment, DeSousa was completely surrounded by infected, with the only weapon being the lighter her teacher gave her.

Lacking anything else to fight the infected, she ignited the lighter and waved it around, hoping to scare the zombies off. Seeing nothing but the reflection of the flame from the eyes of the infected horde, she took the risk and jabbed the lighter into the eyes of the infected. She later wrote, "They reacted in much the same way as a regular human would if they had a lit lighter jabbed into their eye." A few of the infected made a grab for her, but despite the fact that her eyes were still itchy and red, she managed to wriggle out and was able to get out of the classroom. "It was like trying to run after being pepper-sprayed," she later said. "I stumbled on the stairs and scraped my knees and chin, but I managed to pick myself up and run out of there just before a big bruiser broke through the ceiling above me."

  1. According to leaked HERC documents.