The Romero Strain
by T.S. Alan
Publication date: March 2nd 2014
by Books of the Dead Press
Genre: Horror, Zombies
For J.D. Nichols and his dog Max the day started out like any other, with a walk along the streets of the Lower East Side. The morning was eventful––a day J.D. needed his skills as a paramedic and his extensive knowledge of New York’s underground to survivor a zombie outbreak.
After coming to the aid of a young girl, the pair flee to a nearby power facility and find themselves chased into the city’s underground by a zombie horde. Along their subterranean journey, they gather survivors while traveling to Grand Central Terminal, where J.D. believes help will be found. Their hopes quickly end when they discover Grand Central overrun with the undead.
J.D., bitten, knows he has limited time as he struggles to find a safe haven for his companions. In their search they stumble upon an enigmatic scientist who divulges a most ominous secret that forces J.D. to confront an adversary born from a lab deep below.
“The Romero Strain. Best zombie book I’ve ever read. It should be a movie… or a mini series… or a game, or all of the above!”
~ Punchline Dvd OZ & NZ
Never Fear – CDC is Ready.
“If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine).”
The difference between quarantine and isolation can be summed up like this:
Isolation applies to persons who are known to be ill with a contagious disease.*
Quarantine applies to those who have been exposed to a contagious disease but who may or may not become ill.
*Contagious disease: a very communicable disease capable of spreading rapidly from one person to another by contact or close proximity.
The above is courtesy of the CDC website. Yes, they do believe in the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, but what they haven’t told you may just kill you. Your first instinct might be to run to a hospital at the first sign of what you have been told are the early indicators of initial infection. Just because you may have a mild fever, headache, upset stomach or feel achy doesn’t mean you’re infected. Those symptoms could be signs of other conditions: your hay fever, that bad Chinese food you ate at 2:00 am after a night of partying, a cold or even the common flu. Rule number one for an initial breakout: NEVER go to the hospital or to any medical facility! Rule number two for an initial breakout: NEVER go to the hospital or to any medical facility!
If you believe you have the symptoms of a zombie virus, a hospital is the worst place you could possibly go to. The start of the zombie apocalypse could take place in any part of the world, but the majority of its transmission will be hospitals and medical facilities. Infirmaries are going to become overrun with contagious people in emergency rooms and in waiting areas, and that is where the virus will spread. Initial infection will then spread to medical staff: doctors, nurses, administrative staff and EMTs. So you have a choice. If you are truly infected then you must shoot yourself in the head or have a loved one do it, or resign to the fact that once you succumb to the disease you will reanimate and become one of the mindless undead.
But for the sake of argument, and for this article, we’ll say you’re in hospital for medical care pre-pandemic outbreak. First, did you even pay attention to where those emergency exits are when you arrived or were you too incapacitated to take note? No matter what building you enter for any reason, make a mental note of where the emergency exits are located. That is a simple safety rule you should practice at all times, it could save your life even in a non-zombie disaster situation.
Let’s say you were wheeled in on a stretcher in a semi-conscious state suffering head trauma from an automobile accident. You awake to terrified, blood curdling screams outside your door. You realize it’s not a dream and it’s not your imagination, something heinous is happening. You get out of bed to investigate only to find that all those zombie films you have scoffed and laughed at have jumped from Hollywood fantasy to horrid reality. The undead have risen and they’re running rampant in the corridors devouring everything living they can seize—and you’ll be next if you don’t do something immediately. Here are five steps you’ll need to do in order to stay alive, at least temporally, while you figure out your situation.
Step 1: If the room you are in has a lock on the door, then lock it shut. You may think that is a no brainer, but if you are in a panicked state you may overlook the obvious.
Step 2: Remain calm. Understandably not easy for a non-believer who has been overwhelmed by the reality that the dead can rise—and eat you!
Step 3: Where are you, exactly? Look out that window. Are you at ground level or on a floor in which jumping to escape is impractical.
Step 4: Location, location, location. So you ascertained what level of the building you are in, but do you know its location? Is it the South wing, East wing? Where? Most hospital rooms have a floor directory or at least an extension directory tucked away in the nightstand next to your bed. It should give you basic information on what room you are in and what wing, and hopefully a floor plan of the level you are on. You should review it and determine the course of action you will want to take in order to survive.
Step 5: Arm yourself. You can’t face the flesh-eating hordes with your bare hands. As I have stated, there is no room for bravado or stupidity in a zombie apocalypse. Look around the room, find something, anything, that you can use as a weapon to help keep the living dead at bay. That medical IV stand is perfect. Knock off the wheeled base and you have a metal staff that can be swung or used to impale. Now you’re ready for your escape. Well almost, don’t forget to dress.
Hospitals aren’t the easiest places to secure or escape from because they contain many windows and entrances. Remember, zombies are tenacious as well as clever. They are quite adept at getting through barriers or waiting endlessly outside for you to make a break for it. You will have two basic choices: fight and flee or fight and stay. The choice you make depends on several factors. How far along is the progression of the outbreak? Is it in the initial stages or are the streets overrun with the living dead? Are you a family person, desperate to know your loved one’s welfare and to get back to them or are you on your own? Is the place in which you reside close or does extended travel to your domicile expose you to greater risk than staying where you are? Are you infirm or healthy enough to flee the building? Is there anyone else in the room that could be an asset to you in your escape, whether as an ally or zombie bait? Yes, sometimes the weak must be sacrificed in order for the strong, or more streets savvy, to survive. With all these factors considered, does it make more sense to fight and flee or fight and stay? If you cannot flee than the facility’s cafeteria would be the ideal place for you to seek refuge. There you will find food and water, where hopefully you can secure yourself in for an extended period, and wait for either rescue (not likely) or a time when escaping is a lower risk option.
Whatever decision you make, the odds of survival may be stacked against you but that is not to say the situation is hopeless. If you keep you calm, come up with an exit strategy, and are healthy and strong enough to fight your way through the zombie masses, then you may just survive.
~About the Author~
TS Alan was born outside Buffalo, NY. After attending high school he entered into a two-year community college to study Communications and Media Arts. There he became involved in the college’s radio station as a radio personality, under the pseudonym of J.D. Hollywood. After a year with WNCB radio he also became the station’s Promotions Director. J.D. Hollywood was also one of two names he used as a music reporter and Associate Editor for Buffalo Backstage, a local music magazine.
After graduating with an Associate Degree, he took a short hiatus to become a tour manager for a local punk-rock band prior to pursuing a Bachelor Degree at the State University College at Buffalo, where he studied English Literature and Writing. During this time he wrote poetry extensively, won several poetry awards and was included in two anthologies of poetry published by World of Poetry Press. This was also the time he had a great interest in short story writing.
Upon graduation he found work as a proofreader for the local phone directory and newspaper, the Buffalo News. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on his first novel.
After moving to Manhattan he began a career in the music business as tour manager, concert producer, and later co-founder of an independent music label. After a long hiatus, he returned to writing in late 2007.
TS Alan currently resides in the East Village of New York City. He is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Zombie Education Alliance, and is currently working on to novels.
T.S.’s Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Latest posts by Toni (see all)
- Release Week Sneek Peak! Prelude to Mayhem by Edward Aubry - November 30, 2016
- Cover Reveal! The Romeo Catchers by Alys Arden - November 22, 2016
- Excerpt & Giveaway! Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog - November 17, 2016