Welcome to the zombie apocalypse. This is a Choose Your Own Adventure story that you control! When prompted, simply make your choice and follow it to the corresponding number. Can you survive the journey, or will one wrong move end your life? Proceed to 1 to find out.
The sun dawns, white and fierce over a still Melbourne city. An unknown virus has decimated the Australian population, turning perfectly healthy people into rabid zombies. You’ve made your way to a temporary government shelter set up at Albanvale Primary School, and here you sit on the edge of the grass playing field, surrounded by tents and soldiers and survivors. Infected mill about the wrought iron fence line, groaning and grasping aimlessly for the souls they can’t reach. In the future they’ll call you Trouble, but for now you just feel lost and nameless, alone in a brand new country, a million miles from your birthplace, China, and the new life you imagined when you settled in Australia. You have no friends, no family left. Your home was destroyed by fire and your pockets are all but empty. Tired eyes avoid your gaze. Blank faces emerge from tents after a sleepless night. Parents usher yawning children to the cafeteria. And you sit quietly, observing the bright morning and clear blue sky, thinking of your next move. Should you stay in the safety zone or would you be better off on your own? Remember, in the zombie apocalypse, every choice counts. Stay sharp. Anything could happen. Go to 2.
A noise grabs your attention. You straighten and glance at the cafeteria. The double doors slam open and people spill through, frantic, wide eyed and searching, hands clutching at loved ones. Screams fill the air and soldiers run toward the buildings with rifles raised. Gunfire erupts. People evacuate their tents and pause, trying to grasp the situation. The crowd thunders across the ground and flow around the tents, collecting stray people in its wake. In the panic, they head towards the fence line, towards the wall of waiting infected. You could follow the crowd. Perhaps safety in numbers would be the best thing. Or you could go against the crowd, towards the buildings and find an escape, though you also might find a horde of hungry infected. What will you choose?
GO TO WITH THE CROWD: Go to 3 — GO AGAINST THE CROWD: Go to 4
You join the crowd and run with them. In the chaos you cop an elbow to the face and stumble for a moment, getting pushed to the outer limits of the crowd. You pause and, holding your tender bruised face, spot a side gate a soldier is trying to open so he can flee the scene. Behind the fence, the infected seem to be attracted to the chaos of the big group and you might be able slip away with the soldier. Though you could follow the crowd, surely someone will find a safe exit along the south side of the school boundaries.
SNEAK THROUGH THE SNEAKY OPEN SIDE GATE: Go to 5 — FOLLOW CROWD: Go to 6
You choose to take the road less traveled. You skirt around the edge of the jostling crowd and sprint towards the buildings. The infected surge from the cafeteria, clawing at stragglers. Thankfully they are distracted by the mob and you slip around them unnoticed. You dash through the building, ignoring the blood spattered walls and the bowls of porridge still warm and half eaten on the empty tables. You burst through the side door and almost trip over a stack of abandoned boxes on a trolley that never quite made it to the kitchen. Could what’s in them be of use to you? You open the top two boxes and find baked beans and bottled water. You don’t really want to be weighed down with both so you decide to take just one item and move on. The day will be long and hot but maybe one of the items could double as a weapon?
TIN OF BAKED BEANS: Go to 7 — BOTTLED WATER: Go to 8
You do your best sneaky tip-toe walk but alas you are followed by a mass of screaming crying shouting people. The infected turn and spot you all! You try to run but there are people everywhere, blocking every potential escape. Within seconds you see a flash of blood stained teeth and throw up your arms to protect your face.
ALAS! LIKE A GOOD GROUP OF LEMMINGS YOU HAVE ALL BEEN ZOMBIFIED! AT LEAST YOU WEREN’T ALONE IN YOUR DEFEAT. To try again, Go to 2
You follow the current of the crowd and as they inevitably find themselves cornered the stream splits into two and you follow those heading right, back towards the school buildings. But is heading back the best idea? You could change your mind and follow the guard, after all he has a gun. Or you could climb the fence and hedge and escape into the backyards of neighbouring houses. What will it be?
SNEAK BACK TO THE SNEAKY GATE: Go to 5 – SUPER CLIMBING FEAT: Go to 13
Well… okay. Interesting choice. You take a tin of baked beans and run towards the front gates. I mean, at least this is no ordinary tin of beans… it’s barbecue flavoured. And I guess you could use it as a weapon in a pinch. And of course you’re going to get hungry at some point. But really? Water in this heat is kind of important, but you’re the one making the decisions here. As you run, a zombie steps into your path and snarls, ready for a fight. You look at your tin of beans. You could throw it and hopefully hit it on the head, or perhaps you could use it as a zombie trip hazard and get around the infected man that way?
THROW AT HEAD: Go to 9 – ZOMBIE TRIP HAZARD: Go to 10
Ah. Sweet fresh water. The elixir of life. The protector from dehydration. You grab a bottle and sprint toward the front gates, running a gauntlet of pale groaning zombies. They grab at you with gnarled bony hands, missing you by a fingernails width. The sun beats down on your back. Sweat pours down your forehead. And you keep running. You clear the fence with ease, and dart between the lingering bodies. They snatch at you but you’re fast and agile. The most important thing is to put as much space between you and the primary school, because the infected are attracted to chaos—to noise and movement and people. Ten minutes later you stop in the shade of a tree and slurp half the contents of your water bottle. Up ahead you catch a glimpse of two girls walking away—one a teenager and one that can’t be older than ten. They’re alone. Could they have come from the school? Should you approach and offer to help? But before you can decide a group of zombies lurches out from a side street. Should you distract the zombies and give the girls a chance to escape? Or should you take cover, knowing it’s too dangerous now?
HIDE: Go to 11 – DISTRACT ZOMBIES: Go to 12
You already know how good your arm is. You take aim, wind up and slingshot the tin of beans at the zombie’s head. Infected blood splatters the pavement and the infected falls almost in slow motion to the ground. Success! But all this exercise makes you thirsty, and after heading back for a bottle of fresh spring water, you sprint to the front gate and find the road is inundated with zombies. You know you need to find another weapon, a serious weapon, so you head to the bordering fence that leads to houses and you take the leap, leaving behind the sounds of horror and panic.
CONTINUE: Go to 13
You roll the tin of baked beans along the ground, aiming for the zombie’s feet. The tin clunks along the concrete and slows quickly. The zombie man steps around it, but at least he pauses to look at you with a confused expression. Drat! Your plan hasn’t worked. So you resort to punching the zombie in the head. The infected body topples backward and gives you a chance to escape. Maybe you should go back and get a bottle of water… Your lack of common sense might be an indicator that you are dehydrated.
CONTINUE: Go to 8
Okay, so you decide to save your own bacon rather than help the two girls. You creep back slowly, hiding behind the tree, and when you’re sure it’s safe, you leap over the nearest brick fence leading into a sheltered garden… only your foot catches on a loose brick, you lose your momentum and come crashing down. The wall collapses under your weight with an almighty crash and in a cloud of dust and debris you struggle to stand—that’s because, unfortunately for you, your leg is suffering from a compound fracture. The infected lurch closer, drawn by your panic. You can’t move! The distraction you have inadvertently provided gives the girls enough time to escape and they continue on their journey. But for you? It’s game over.
YOU ARE NO LONGER WITH US. AND ALSO YOU ARE KIND OF A TERRIBLE PERSON. BUT MOSTLY YOU ARE JUST DEAD. To try again: Go to 2
You choose to take the path of a good Samaritan by yelling ahhhhh! at the top of your lungs and clapping your hands wildly. The infected heads snap over and ten sets of milky grey eyes lock onto you. The girls run so you sprint in the opposite direction, drawing the rabid infected away. Suddenly another horde of infected appears in the road ahead and you find yourself trapped. The infected approach, groaning, lurching, arms swinging loosely, jaws biting at the air. You desperately search for an escape route. There is a tree up ahead, perhaps you could seek safety up high? Or you could jump the most secure looking fence into a backyard. I mean, you have no way of telling if the backyard is empty but it might work. Quick, think fast! What will you do?
CLIMB TREE: Go to 18 – CLIMB FENCE: Go to 13
You take a short sharp run up and catch your hand on the top of the fence. In an incredible display of grace and strength you pull yourself up one handed, flick your legs over the fence and land bodily right in the hedge. I mean, wow, nice work. Have you done gymnastics before? You find yourself in a small bare garden with just remnants of dying yellow grass and a few suspect blood stains in one corner. Now that you’re on your own you’ll need to get a weapon. The kitchen might have some nasty looking chefs knives… maybe even a mallet or a solid frying pan. You could also try the garage… you might find a nice spade, garden hoe or even a set of golf clubs. What will it be?
GARAGE: Go to 14 – KITCHEN: Go to 15
Oh… oh dear. Perhaps you should have looked closer at the lack of garden. There are no tools, no knives or swinging objects in the garage. There’s also no getaway car. You glance around and wonder… who are these people? Shelves line the brick walls, and on those shelves sit hundreds of different locks set in little frames of wood. Your shoulders slump. Looks like you’ve stumbled upon a lock picking hobbyist’s lair. You could hang around and study the art of lock picking… it might come in handy later, or you could take the lock picking gear and get out before the nearby zombies come knocking. Choices, choices.
STUDY THE ART OF LOCK PICKING: Go to 16 – STUDY THE ART OF RUNNING AWAY: Go to 17
What luck! There, sitting on the kitchen bench, is a brand new sledgehammer with the price tag still attached. When you pick up the weapon you notice an abandoned note. It reads: To whom it may concern, kill as many of those things as you can for me. I am a lost cause but you are the future. How would you like to proceed?
KILL ZOMBIES BECAUSE THE NOTE SAID SO: Go to 19 – IGNORE NOTE AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Go to 21
How studious of you! Lock picking is a skill that will definitely come in handy in a zombie apocalypse. Even though you want to get away from the overrun school you understand the value of education. You spend two days holed up eating, sleeping and breathing lock picking, and you master all but the toughest of locks. As an added bonus, laying low means that most of the infected have dispersed and the streets are much quieter. You see, surviving the zombie apocalypse is not always about how many weapons you can carry and how many zombies you can kill, and clearly you have mastered the art of subtlety. Now you have to decide how to continue your journey on foot. Will you walk awesomely and fearlessly down the centre of the road taking on any challengers with your pure might or will you do sneaky ninja jumps over the house fences and try not to be seen?
AWESOME FEARLESS SLOWMOTION WALK: Go to 20 – INHUMAN NINJA JUMPS: Go to 21
You take your newly acquired lock picking set and find the nearest car, hoping it’s as easy to break into things as the movies make it look. However, the moment you touch the door handle a piercing alarm goes off and in the blink of an eye you are surrounded by a mob of blood thirsty zombies.
YOU ARE DEAD AS A DOORKNOB. SORRY. To try again: Go to 2
You sprint and jump for a high branch, scrabbling into a safe position. The infected pool at the base of the tree but can’t reach you now. You breathe a sigh of relief as the sun glitters through the leaves. You are alive… but for how long? Minutes turn into hours, which morph into days and stretch into a week. Still you cling to your tree, surrounded by a sea of zombies. The branch groans under your weight. The trunk sways with the stress of dead arms pushing and pulling, and you swear you can hear roots snapping occasionally. As you look up into the clear blue sky you think… was this really the best choice I could have made?
OOOOH, MYSTERIOUS… YOU ARE NEVER SEEN AGAIN. To try again: Go to 2
If someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you? I suspect so. You do as the note says and track down the nearest zombie. After applying the sledgehammer to its vitals you begin to search for another. But you should know that zombies are not hard to find. You stroll around the corner and come face to face with silent horde waiting for a sucker like you. You swing your sledgehammer with all your might but one man cannot take on twenty infected alone.
UNFORTUNATELY YOU ARE DEAD. SO SORRY ABOUT THAT. To try again: Go to 2
You slick back your hair, roll up your grey t-shirt sleeves and stroll out into the blinding hot Australian sun. From here you stroll right down the centre of the road, not knowing what will come next on your journey, but knowing that there must be other people out there like you, lost and alone. Maybe soon you’ll meet up with fellow survivors. The thought keeps your chin held high and your legs moving. Who knows what trouble you’ll get up to next?
HIGH FIVES ALL ROUND! YOU SURVIVE IN THE MOST EPIC MANNER POSSIBLE!
You proceed with caution and stick to the front gardens of houses, choosing to stay off the main road and remain as invisible as possible. With each impressive jump you hurtle over the obstacles in your way. Maybe you’re alone, maybe you’ve lost everything and the world is falling down around you, but you will always be a survivalist with style. Who knows what trouble you’ll get into next?
IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO IT’S YOU! GO SUPER SURVIVOR!
Let everyone know how you went in the comments below! And if you want to see what Trouble does next please check out Arcadium and Skylight (don’t worry, they’re not Choose Your Own Adventure, so you can just sit back and enjoy the read). Thanks for playing!
by Sarah Gray
Series: Arcadium #1
Publication date: August 13th 2012
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Zombies
Grab your copy FREE
What is Arcadium? Florence knows but she’s not telling anyone, and it could just be the key to the survival of the human race.
Sixteen-year-old Florence West must journey across a disease ravaged Melbourne with her nine-year-old sister Liss, and she’ll do anything to survive. Mostly that means staying clear of all people, the healthy ones on the run and the infected ones hungry for human flesh. But when she meets a man that speaks no English and a defiant set of brothers, Florence will be forced to question her ways. Because there’s only so far you can go alone, right?
Arcadium is a heart-stopping journey of hope across a ravaged urban land where survival always comes at a heavy price.
by Sarah Gray
Series: Arcadium #2
Expected publication: 2013
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Zombies
Grab your copy for only 99 cents!
Think Florence got her happily ever after? Think again.
They’ve found safety in a beautiful mountain sanctuary.
But they’re not alone. Someone’s watching.
When the infection claims one her group, Florence West will find out just how far she’ll go to keep her family together, even if it means risking their lives with a lie.
But when the truth is uncovered, it will begin a chain of events capable of shattering their fragile existence. Forever.
The final book of the series is coming!
First there was Arcadium, a rudimental sanctuary with a dark heart. Then came Skylight, the inner sanctum of disease testing that offered a spark of hope. Now it’s time to discover Wildfire.
With the group’s relationships frayed, their mountain sanctuary becomes more of a prison. But that doesn’t mean they want to leave. When the army finally arrives with trucks and guns, gathering humans and infected alike, Florence West and her group are split up and forced to follow orders. Taken to Wildfire, a dusty army base in Ballarat, Florence and her friends will face the biggest challenge of their lives.
The infected are evolving, growing smarter and faster.
The army has an agenda, and it’s not about safety.
And what ever happened to Adrian?
Time is running out. Can Florence get her group back together in time to escape?
Wildfire is the final installment of the Arcadium series.
~About the Author~
Born and raised in New Zealand, Sarah Gray spent her teenage years in Australia, where she raced go-karts, studied graphic design and then sports management, before deciding that all along she’d just wanted to be a novelist. After studying professional writing and editing in Melbourne, Sarah ended up in England where she now resides in the ever rainy Lake District working as an outdoor activity instructor and writing in her spare moments.
Sarah’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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