How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Hannah F., Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The End of the World
Dubai, 2020

The world went mad and started dropping more nuclear bombs than Timbaland drops beats. It all began with a bit of agro between Saudi and some other Middle Eastern countries. Next thing we knew, North Korea, China, Russia, the UK and America had all got involved. To this day, we still don’t know exactly which country dropped The Gas.

We were on the runway when it hit, travelling at almost 200knots in a Boeing 777-300, taking off from DXB to DME with just 90 passengers. The bombers had come from nowhere – we wouldn’t be operating otherwise. We heard the whistle and thud as they hit the centre of town, but looking out the windows of the plane, the flames and dust that must have been present were blocked from our view by a thick green gas that seemed to spread, and rise and cling to everything it came into contact with. We could feel the captain accelerating the plane faster and higher into the air than usual, almost colliding with another plane in the process as airport control had gone down. The other plane plateaued 1000ft below us though, and we continued on to Moscow, leaving the now green desert city behind us.

Safe in the hotel in Moscow, BBC news reporters on the TV reeled off accounts of the gas transforming people, of cannibalism, of murder, of a city in complete disarray; some people were reportedly trapped in high-rise buildings where the gas hadn’t quite reached, too afraid to venture out into a city that was now full of what the news teams were officially terming “zombies”. The scariest accounts however, were of The Gas spreading, with stories of it affecting people as far away as Pakistan. Moscow was not far enough away for comfort.

After an emergency meeting held by the captain, me and the other air hostesses were under strict orders to head to the nearest petrol station to fill up as many containers of fuel as we could carry in our suitcases. Our cabin bags we were to fill with food and water.

And that’s how we survived. We managed to blag our way into Ireland to refuel and fill up on supplies, then we headed for Mexico where we managed to do the same. We’d take the catering onboard, but never the passengers – they always listened to the captain when he said we were only transporting cargo, which we were – fuel, food and water for our own consumption.

After hearing that The Gas didn’t work at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius, we set up camp in Svalbard, living on the aircraft itself. Three months later, the gas had ran its course and the zombies had eaten the human race almost to extinction, starving their own race to death in turn. We were all who remained of the world we once knew, and all I could hope was that this year’s harsh winter had kept the UK cold enough to save my loved ones.

Clare, London, England

Along with Lord of the Rings etc. zombies just fall into fantasy-that-is-too-far-out-of-this-world-for-it-to-be-a-teency-eency-weency-bit-credible. Don’t even get me started on the Hobbit. Those dragons are SOOOOO unrealistic. However, I have had two quite fun zombie encounters. The first was at a zombie walk in Paris which a friend and I encountered by accident. There were even rocking and heavy metal zombies, they get bonus points. The second was watching Epic Meal Time and seeing them create a non-cannibal ‘human’ body for the zombie runners to eat off.

Taking inspiration from the second, this is an imagined recipe for some starved zombies once they’ve got through reading all the entries of how to survive their apocalypse.

Let’s start from the bottom up.

Shoes: Chocolate shoes readily available in the shops.

Legs: Swiss roll. I like the fact if it were a plain sponge mix you could get a flesh colour, plus raspberry jam in the middle and even some whipped cream to recreate the blood and some cartilage/fat. I’m also pretty certain that you could do some good calf moulding if you rolled it up whilst it was still warm.

Pelvis: Crab. Come on, no one else thinks they look similar?

Torso: Ribs – cooked long and slow. The organs could be made out of accompanying vegetables (lacking from the Epic Meal Time version). Really juicy roasted tomato for the heart, roasted aubergines for the kidneys, red pepper for the liver, spaghetti squash for the stomach so when you opened it up it would look like the contents were still there, lungs made out of popped corn to get that alveoli effect, and finally intestines out of sausages – it’s only fitting. All covered with ketchup for blood and then a massive bread shell to semi resemble ‘human’.

Arms: Baked Alaska. You even get to pretend to have bones from the ice cream.

Neck – Giant marshmallow with strawberry laces running through pretending to be veins. Actually, let’s just put strawberry laces everywhere.

Head: Back to pudding. There are two options here, either make a mould of your face and use it for jelly or CAKE. You could use icing to mould everything from cheekbones and hair to torn flesh.

Hopefully this ‘human’ will be more appetizing than real humans to the hungry zombies, which I’ve just realised, are not spelt zoombies.

Bon appetit zo(o)mbies.

Kirsten, Hawzen, Tigray, Ethiopia

With a cool breeze and golden light spilling through the open windows, it’s a wonderfully lazy afternoon in Hawzen, a small rural town located in the desert highlands of northern Ethiopia.

While the cow in the courtyard is loudly mooing at regular intervals and the small children are playing games while eating juicy fruit from the market, I ponder trivial matters such as what I should make for dinner.

My reverie is interrupted when I hear multiple explosions followed by the cries of the town.

Zombies. They have come.

Locals and tourists alike have become infected by the WTMTV virus, also known among the medical community as the WatchtoomuchTV virus. Symptoms include grabbing any snack food within reach, languid blank stares, and an irrational need to keep up with low-quality reality TV shows.

It’s time to get out of here. QUICK. As I rush to grab what I’ll need to survive this epidemic I curse myself for not packing an emergency bag earlier.

So for future zombie apocalypses, I’ve compiled the following list.

Top 5 Things to Pack in Case of a Zombie Apocalypse:

  1. IPod

Music is essential. How should you pass the hours waiting in fear of possible death by bone-crunching zombies? Clearly with psychedelic tones of Pink Floyd, electronica dance music by Stromae and Clean Bandit, or ethereal man voices of Bon Iver, Josh Garrels, and Fleet Foxes.

  1. Kindle

Boredom while waiting for mini-buses to leave the bus station may kill you faster than the zombies. Haters of this modern literature invention will lose when it comes to the ability to carry libraries in your backpack. This device is like a Hermione Granger-esque super-vessel because it contains hours upon hours of good reads. It’s compact and easier than lugging a bunch of books while on the run from the walking dead.

  1. One change of clothes and one pair of shoes

You only need the clothes on your back and one alternative so you won’t be naked when you’re washing your clothes. Another benefit may be that your clothes smell so morbidly bad that the zombies won’t even want to be near you. Neat.

  1. Steri pen for purifying water

Small. Compact. Life-saving.

  1. A comfortable hoodie

To wear and use as a pillow. Got to be warm and comfy.

All these items are useful whether it be a backpacker’s holiday to the ancient walled city of Harar or survival pack in the face of ultimate zombie doom.

Here in Ethiopia I’m surprised to find that you can live with less when you have to. Showering with one liter of water or wearing the same clothes for one week? No problem.

The things I absolutely need here are often not beauty products or my laptop, but things for entertainment and amusement. Yes, I shall be fleeing for my life and raiding all the local shops just like everyone else. But can chips and white bread make you laugh and feel entertained for endless hours? Let’s hope not.


Lindsay, Bordeaux, France

Ooooooooh shit. It’s finally happened, the zombie apocalypse. Infection spreading at lightning speed. Zombies everywhere, all throughout Europe, more cities falling every minute.  Blood and guts spilling in the streets.  People fleeing to the mountains, to secluded islands, before it’s too late. Tommy and I are packing our bags, heading to Iceland as soon as–

Ooooooh shit, WHAT’S THAT OUTSIDE? Oh sit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit, IT’S INFECTED. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit IT’S COMING THIS WAY oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit WE’VE GOT TO HIDE oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit WHY IS THIS HAPPENING oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit I NEVER GOT TO VISIT ICELAND, PLEASE DON’T LET ME DIE THIS WAY oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit RUN FASTER TOMMY, DAMMIT oh shit oh shit oh shit IT’S AT THE DOOR, GO DOWN TO THE BASEMENT oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit I CAN HERE IT UPSTAIRS oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit BREATHE A LITTLE LOUDER, TOMMY, THAT’S GREAT oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit SHUT THE FUCK UP TOMMY oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit WE’RE SO GONNA DIE oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit IT KNOWS WE’RE HERE oh shit oh shit oh shit IT’S AT THE BASEMENT DOOR oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit I JUST HAVE TO RUN FASTER THAN TOMMY oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit OH SHIT IT’S EATING TOMMY oh shit oh shit MAYBE I CAN JUST SLIP BY oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit ON THE STAIRS, I CAN MAKE IT, I CAN GET OUT OF HERE ALI— urgh erreea aaargggg.

Screen shot 2015-06-04 at 10.39.31

Who I am kidding?  Come a zombie apocalypse, I would be among the first to die and start eating brains.  I count on one of you other lovely ladies to create a bad-ass Bad Blood-esque squad that finds a cure and saves the world.

 Hannah, Modesto, California

Once in my life, I accidentally bought a chicken that still had its head attached to its body. My attempts to remove the head were laborious and ineffectual – the chicken could have practically regained life in the time it took me to carry out the task.

So how the hell am I supposed to use a bread knife to take down a blood-thirsty, pissed off, hateful zombie?

I am not prepared. That is all I keep thinking, this singular, manic thought : I am not prepared. It’s not so much that I thought mastering hand-to-hand combat was an unworthy endeavor, just an unnecessary one. And look at me now, remembering how a dead bird almost beat me in fisticuffs. This does not bode well.

Wealthier and more powerful people than me have already been evacuated to other continents, including all the most ferocious members of the pro-gun lobby. The many have been left, an ironic and almost certainly doomed melange of American citizens who might have represented both sides of the “gun” and “environment” issues in another era. But the current reality has no room for these sides.

Not so long ago, we were debating how rising tides and increasing urban violence could be changed by goodwill or government intervention, but we have run out of discussion time. The planet has chimed in with a show of unimagined force. Temperatures across the United States of America rose to record-shattering heights last summer, and while we, the humans, managed to preserve our lives, a much greater change issued forth from our past. As of yet, no one has been able to scientifically explain what has happened. It seems that such dramatic climate change has created some sort of molecular and even…spiritual revisions to the status of our dead. That is to say, the status of our now, currently undead. But it’s not all of them. The men, women and children whose lives came to an end with a bullet are now back among us. And this time, no gun will have a say in their fate.

Which brings me back to this goddamn chicken flashback. I have never fancied myself a zombie apocalypse survivor, but now I want to live to see the look on Wayne LaPierre’s face after this is all over. But between now and then, I need to become deftly agile with a bread knife, nunchucks, a lasso or just my fists. I need to kill some mothafuckin’ zombies and no gun’s gonna do it for me.

Ella, Llangefni, Wales

Tired, hungry, scared. Since it happened, that seems to be all anyone can feel. What little conversation anyone has revolves purely around one thing: surviving. I can’t even remember how long ago it happened any more, in fact everything before it’s a blur too. All I know is when it did happen, it happened quickly. It seemed like almost overnight we went from being the rulers, top of the food chain, to being prey. And the way they’ve been hunting us we must be delicious. Then again, part of me thinks this isn’t just about food; nowadays the only way to stay safe is to travel in groups, strength in numbers and all that, it seems to be the only way to keep them from attacking, and even that’s not guaranteed to work. Just last week I had to watch as dozens of us were slaughtered within minutes, then as soon as they were satisfied they’d done enough they took off, leaving a trail of body parts behind them.

It’s hard to remember how it all started, like I said everything before the nightmare that is currently life on Earth is a blur to me, I think it was a virus of some sort that despite the best efforts of the world’s military, couldn’t be contained. So far, just like the movies and TV right? One thing they failed to predict was just how much contempt these things would have for us. Their humanity may be long gone, but their intelligence certainly isn’t. This isn’t just a fight for survival to them, they see us in the same way the majority of us used to see rats, vermin to be eradicated. They’re capable of turning anything into a weapon to use against us, and they enjoy it, anything that can be manoeuvred can and will be used against us.

Unfortunately they aren’t the only threat. by now food is so scarce that the hunger is almost enough to drive you insane. It gets so intense that as soon as I see food my instincts take over, I can’t help but tear into it straight away in a frenzy, I couldn’t even tell you what it is I eat, all I know is that as soon as my eyes see it, or my nose smells it, I need to grab it there and then. Any risks are completely forced out of my mind in that moment, all I can think about it how good it is to finally be eating, to take that first warm bite. I can sympathise with them, knowing this, or at least I could if I thought their actions were driven purely by hunger, but there’s more to it than that I just know it. It’s as if they’re trying to rid the world of us completely, as if we’re the bad guys. But we can’t be, I saw them change, I’ve seen how we get attacked,  I barely escaped them myself. There’s no way, I can’t be one of them, can I?


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