Like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking about zombies. Maybe it’s because I recently finished Justin Cronin’s excellent The Twelve, which is full of zombified vampires (or maybe vampiric zombies?) that reminded me of those nightstalkers in The Descent. I also recently watched the terrific Dead Set, a British series about zombies attacking the set of Big Brother.
I’ve even rejected some zombie-themed culture. I gave up on Colson Whitehead’s Zone One after about two hours. It read more like a Champions League of preening belletrism than a novel. I was likewise underwhelmed by the first season of The Walking Dead, which was too rote and uninventive to keep me watching.
Maybe my mind’s been on a zombie apocalypse because I live quite close to the only safe place on the planet during the purported Mayan end of days. The little village of Bugarach is just two hours away by car, and for reasons nobody seems to know, is renowned as the only safe haven on December 21. After all, even heads of state are warning us that we may face a zombie invasion that night.
Even if I don’t make it Bugarach on the 21st, there’s still cause for optimism. I’m extremely well-situated to survive an influx of zombies qui manger les cerveaux.
We have a typical French village house. It’s made of stone and concrete, and shares walls with the houses on either side. It’s flush to the street, and has a walled back garden. Thanks to the slope of the land, all of the walls in the back garden are at least 15 feet high. As long as we board up the front door, unless the zombies are unusually limber, we’re in good shape.
Assuming we can bunker down and survive the initial brain-eating rush, then we’re well-positioned to become survivalists. Even for neophyte gardeners like us, it’s incredibly easy to grow fruit and vegetables here, and you can grow food all year long. There are chickens around town that we could liberate, and the vineyards nearby are teeming with rabbits, pheasants and quail (and, you know, grapes).
But all that thinking may prove unnecessary. In the event that the apocalypse happens to be very orthodox, and the zombies rise out of graves in an old-school fashion, we’re in very good shape. Nearly all the graves have a heavy stone tablet on top of the grave site, preventing easy egress for the freshly undead. Are zombies smart enough to dig laterally to avoid the tablet? I’m not sure.
In any case, like many European countries, the French are wise enough to enclose their cemeteries in a high concrete wall with heavy metal gates. Any zombies that clear their graves will be penned in like sheep awaiting shearing. It will be a simple matter for the local hunters to lean over the walls and pick them off.
I, for one, will rest easy on December 21.