Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where would I be when a zombie apocalypse begins?

That was the prompt we received from Guild Works Publishing. The answers collected in the book Worst Case Scenario: Outbreak were as varied as the writers and the characters they created. A baseball game. On vacation. Fishing. At work. At a strip club. Hospitals. Trying to leave home. Trying to get home. Trying to hide some more literal skeletons in the closet. Seeking vengeance. Struggling to simply survive.

I thought I'd prefer to be on the road with the family, getting as far away from the danger as possible. But then what? Would we passively hole up in some cabin and hope the zombies don't get in a la Night of the Living Dead? Or would we come prepared to take a more active role in our survival? And would it even be feasible for us to prepare?

Yes, absolutely, and I needed to look no further for proof than my own local culture. Stockpiling nonperishable food and other essentials isn't considered the purview of religious or political fanatics, but a practice that is encouraged across religious and political lines as a proven life saver. Basic outdoor survival skills are also considered de rigeur for anyone who wants to have any real fun out here, too.

But since I knew from the outset that the title was "Worst Case Scenario," I had to think of just how things could go wrong even for those best prepared. Specifically what would this kind of worst case scenario entail? What painful choices would it necessitate? To answer those questions, I investigated the worst, most primal fears of every member of my family. My husband and I both mentioned any failure of ours causing the children harm. The kids talked about Leatherface and acromantulas, but decided the idea of being left entirely alone in an extremely dangerous world without even the family pets for company was worse.

The short story that resulted, "A Girl and Her Dog," can be described as a coming-of-age tale, but more than that it is a story of the sacrifices a family has to make when confronting those fears.

And you have to read the book to see if the dog makes it.

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