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The Rules of Zombies and Werewolves
If you already knew my story, you'd ask me if I regretted the choice I made. But I'm assuming that you don't already know my story, and I'll save that question for last. Because I think once you know a whole story, then not only can you talk about hidden themes and the motives of the writer, but also argue what you would've done if you had been in my position.
But the thing is, most people will never be in my position. After all, how many people out there can claim that they are the true chosen of God, and have the proof to back it up? I'm the first in a couple millennia, really. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the beginning:
Columbus, Ohio. If you ask me, there is no place that I feel at home. Even though the winters here can be brutal and one-in-ten people feel they are above traffic laws, it has an accepting community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, some really great shopping places, and its library has been voted the top library system in the country one or two times. I love it here. Since I was nine it has been my home.
Who the hell would've thought it was the home for some crazy revolutionaries? And by revolutionaries, I mean punks in their mid-twenties who are rebelling against all the injustices and conspiracies of the government and using bombs and that kind of stuff to prove that if these kids were in government they would do a better job running things. In short, these so-called 'revolutionaries' are really just American-born white terrorists who couldn't run a kindergarten, let alone a whole country. I prefer the old farts who usually occupy government offices. At least they're not as big as idiots as the revolutionaries.
And guess what they were doing in Columbus? They were staying in a house that had been previously for sale on Broad Street. There they were working on something involving germ-warfare. The idea was to create a super-soldier. Someone who could get shot through the chest fifty times and still be going strong. That was the idea. Reality often gets in the way of ideas, especially ones that defy Mother Nature. This one definitely did. However, no one knew about all this until after a malfunction occurred with the refrigerator/storage unit that the revolutionaries were using for the vials containing what I call Full Moon virus.
At first everything was predictable: huge explosion which spread the virus, then an investigation was conducted when remnants were found of what had been the equipment used by the revolutionaries. Then the police put the puzzle together and found out that all of Columbus was a hot zone, a ground zero unlike anything the world had ever seen. But by the time the police found this out and the press managed to get word out on the street, it was too late. The first infections were appearing.
Three guesses what Full Moon virus does to you, the first two don't count. That's right, it turns the infected host into a zombie. If you wonder why it does that, I don't know, I'm not a scientist. All I know is that zombies are never created anymore by voodoo priests but by viruses, and Columbus was the breeding ground for the Full Moon zombies.
Within two days all of central Ohio was quarantined by the Center for Disease Control. They were trying to contain the virus within the city and hopefully find a treatment before everybody turned into Full Moon zombies. But by the time the walls of concrete were set up, Columbus was already doomed. I should know. I saw my whole family killed by zombies.
Now, here are all the basic rules for Full Moon zombies. Some are obvious, some not so much:
Full Moon virus kills you, brings you back to life, and from then on you're a stupid, mindless creature who only follows basic, primal commands: Hunt, Eat, Flee. And of course, zombies eat flesh and blood of humans.
Alone, zombies are just dumb, slow beasts that make annoying groans and scary growls. Their power is in groups, where they can surround and corner prey easily. Often they will hunt in packs of about six to twenty people, and are hostile to other groups.
Zombies are nocturnal. They hide in dark buildings during the day and come out at night to feed. If they sleep, I have no idea. Just make sure you're not in a building with sewer access during a power outage. Then you're a sitting duck. Also, as the moon gets bigger, zombies get weaker. After all, light is one of the few enemies zombies have, even refracted sunlight. The easiest time to hunt a zombie is during the full moon at their weakest.
Even if zombies are live in packs, there is a sort of group telekinesis that exists between all zombies. When there is a threat to one zombie, if it can affect the other zombies those other zombies will know, even outside the pack. So if a zombie's natural predator is around, all the zombies will know about it.
And what is a zombie's natural predator? We'll get to that. I haven't even introduced myself. I am Alexander 'Mickey' Rubinoff. My father was the associate rabbi at Congregation Tifereth Israel, which was several blocks away from where the revolutionaries were hiding. I was his eldest son. I had my mother, two younger sisters and a younger brother currently being assembled within my mom, and one Labrador retriever. We were your average Conservative Jewish family, happy and living in a nice, two-story home on Cassingham, a comfortable walk from the synagogue. My sisters and I went to Columbus Torah Academy on Noe-Bixby Road, where I was a junior and my sisters were in the elementary school. I liked hanging out on weekends and going to events with my chapter of USY, the youth group at my synagogue. I dreamed of being a rap songwriter, and wrote lyrics constantly.
But my dreams are now like a photo album; you put them in a special place and take them out occasionally to look back at all the fond or embarrassing moments and wish you could do them again and know that the chances of going back to Hawaii or starring in a play like in high school are slim to none. And why is that? Partly the fault of the Full Moon virus, partly my own fault. And this is how it happened, really:
The dog growled. Jonesy never growled at anyone or anything. He was much too nice. This made us all wonder if he smelled zombies. For the past week we'd all been holed up in the basement like they'd instructed us on the radio, my father, my mother, my sisters and I, plus Jonesy the retriever. I went up occasionally to grab some food to last us for a couple of hours. By day we'd tell stories, watch the developments on TV, and pray to God that things would turn out alright. By night, we'd turn the lights off, and try to fall asleep, and listen to those already infected move throughout the city and kill the soldiers sent in to kill them.
Once you've been bitten by a zombie, it's only a matter of time before you're one of them. And shooting yourself in the head doesn't work either. The virus manipulates you like a real voodoo priest. You do what you're told by the virus, and the only thing the primitive virus cares about is primitive stuff: food, shelter, and staying within one's own pack. Whether or not they reproduced is yet to be determined. Something told me, and still does tell me that killing and spreading the virus isn't their only form of breeding.
On the seventh day it was Friday. Normally on this day we'd be getting out of school two hours early in preparation of the Sabbath. But for some reason, science fiction had leapt into reality and because of it we were stuck here, sitting on the ground with dull expressions on our faces. And we were all wondering why our dog Jonesy was growling.
'Abba, why's Jonesy growling?' asked my sister Esther; Esther was the type of girl who had grown into the typical American preteen, all boys, lipstick, high-heels and training bras. And that also meant she was prone to asking stupid questions. Did Esther really expect our dad to know why Jonesy was growling? He was a rabbi, not a dog trainer!
'I don't know.' said my dad. 'Maybe he smells a zombie.'
'I don't want any zombies to attack us.' said my other sister Miriam; Miriam was only a couple of years younger than Esther, but she acted much younger. For some reason she answered everything that didn't go her way with a huge tantrum. This is what she was doing now. 'I want to go see Jessica! I want to go back to school!' As she began to wail Jonesy turned to her and barked loudly. We stared at Jonesy awestruck. He had never liked Miriam's wailing very much, but he had never barked at her. Why was he barking now?
We all stood up as Jonesy starting growling again, staring at all of us. Nobody spoke. We were all confused and scared stiff. Then I realized what was happening. Slowly I started inching towards the stairs, trying not to attract attention to myself. I couldn't even let myself speak. I had seen something I'd missed earlier; Jonesy had a small bite mark on his hind leg. Perhaps the Full Moon virus had a delayed effect on dogs. He certainly hadn't seemed to be turning into a zombie. But now it was starting to take over. Pretty soon he'd turn on his beloved masters and kill them. The virus would spread and then a new pack would be formed.
My only chance was to slowly go up the stairs and then find some weapon with which to kill Jonesy. Nobody knew how to kill a zombie, but heck, maybe I could find the cure. Like the large knife in the silverware drawer we used for cutting up large pieces of meat into smaller slabs.
Two more feet and I'd break into a run up the stairs. Then I'd have only my own wits to survive. That's it, just a little more'a few more inches'almost there'keep moving'almost there''Mickey, what're you doing?' whispered my mother, fixing me with a severe, is-this-really-the-time look.
That little whisper and movement of the head was enough to provoke Jonesy. He jumped at my mother, and as my mother screamed began tearing at her chest. My mother collapsed with a gurgling noise. I ran, up the stairs, hearing my sisters yelling 'Ema!' and my dad yelling 'Ahava!' I burst through into the kitchen and closed the door behind me, leaning against the wood and wishing my breathing would block out the screams of my family, Jonesy growling and roaring as he attacked, and the rending of throats and other body parts. Finally, the noise subsided. I wondered if Jonesy was savoring his meal. Savoring my family.
I walked slowly to the drawers and pulled out the large knife. My hand squeezed the black plastic handle. I wasn't even aware that I was crying. I'd have to try to kill Jonesy, I had to at least try the nightmare. Before'
A loud bark and Jonesy burst out of the basement, running to me and chomping into my leg as I turned around to face him. I cried out, waves of pain racing up and down my right leg. Jonesy was holding on tight, growling as if he had a chew toy in his mouth. I tried to blink through the pain and raise the knife. Jonesy didn't even notice as I gave an incoherent war cry and brought the knife's blade down on his neck. The knife slipped into and out of Jonesy's neck, the body flopped on the floor, and the head unclamped itself, dropping to my feet with a useless thud.
I stared at what I had done. I had killed Jonesy. I had killed a zombie. And I had been bitten. In a matter of hours the infection would spread and I would become a zombie. Unless I did what I had done to Jonesy to myself. That was the only way to avoid becoming a zombie. Make my body unusable for the Full Moon virus.
At that exact moment I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Slowly I limped to the garage and the car, my hand still gripped on the knife. As I left the kitchen I grabbed the car keys from the counter. I walked into the garage, limped to the driver's seat, and sat down, my leg sighing with relief as I took the weight off it. I turned the keys in the ignition and rolled out of the garage and onto the street. There were no other cars around on Cassingham or on Broad, except for a few wrecks here and there. That suited me just fine. I couldn't afford to wait. The sun would be going down in an hour, and I needed to get to Tifereth Israel immediately. I needed to pray before I used the knife on myself. Pray for death, or for revenge, or salvation, I'm not sure what.
When I parked in front of the building by the Broad Street entrance, my leg was throbbing like it had its own heartbeat. I looked at the large, rectangular brick front. If somebody had asked me, I probably would've said that the front entrance belied the beautiful building within. But there was nobody to ask. I was alone. I limped up the stone steps and to the front entrance. I slipped through the broken glass door and into the building. For some reason the electricity was on in the building. But I didn't stop to ponder this.
I limped up the marble steps, pass the Yartzheit memorials with many lights illuminating the names of the many dead in the small niches. Now no more nameplates would be added, especially the names of those who had already died. The countless dead would go nameless forever probably. With a chill I realized that many of the dead of the Holocaust were just like that, nameless and only going by the name of 'six million'.
Finally I turned left into the foyer and left again into the brilliantly-lighted sanctuary. The chandelier was glowing like it always did for the Sabbath, as were all the other lights. Hanging above the bima, the eternal light glowed in its place, gas powering its little flame. I wondered how long that gas supply would go on before going out, and why all the lights were on. But I didn't wonder any further. I had to get to work.
I walked up the handicapped ramp and onto the bima. The sanctuary felt mercilessly empty without so many people to welcome the Sabbath Bride to her rightful throne. No more would the sounds of happy Jews echo through the halls of this magnificent building. No more would kids get up on Sunday mornings to learn in the Religious School and prepare for their bar or bat mitzvahs. No more would people ask me why my nickname was Mickey, and how I'd explain that I'd loved Mickey Mouse when I was a kid and my parents had given me the nickname because of it. And no more would anyone pray in this building. Not after me.
I walked to the doors of the ark, and opened the doors. A light flickered on from inside as I pulled away from the curtains and looked upon the six or so Torahs sitting contentedly in their places. I wanted to be in God's presence before I died. I didn't want to feel alone as I died. God was supposed to appear wherever an ark was opened. I wanted Him to watch over me as I died.
I believed in God wholeheartedly, and felt that He and I even I had some sort of friendly relationship with each other. It's not vanity, it's what I was'and still am'feeling. At night, when my parents left my bedroom and I was supposed to go to sleep, I would say the Shema and then make requests. Some requests would be very worldly (stop the crisis in Darfur, may the conflict in Gaza reach a peaceful end, may the President make wise decisions, etc). Others were more concerned with yours truly (make my sisters less annoying, give me inspiration to write my rhymes, good luck to the CTA Lions, because they really need it, etc). And sometimes God would grant these requests to me. A month before the Full Moon virus became rampant, for example, I saw a Lions game at school, and both the boys' and the girls' team did very well for a change. I thanked Him for this, because that same day my sisters had actually annoyed me a little less than usual. Divine Will? Probably. I don't believe in coincidence. And I also thought that prayer went a long way.
I had no idea how long, though.
Jewish law said that one must stand in the presence of God. However, my leg hurt so I just knelt. First I said the Mourner's Kaddish, not just for my family, but for all those who had died. And maybe for myself as well. Then I went through the Aleinu, and through the Amidah, and the Kedushah. All the time the light outside was getting darker.
I was forced from my prayers when I heard the sound of moans and stomping from below. The zombies were getting active. And ready to kill in order to sustain themselves. Slowly I reached for the knife. I would say the Shema and then slit my throat. All the zombies would find was dead prey.
I looked around the synagogue. Totally empty. But had I just heard somebody say my name? I shrugged and grasped the handle of the knife. Hot pain shot through me and I let go of the knife. Clutching my hand, I saw it was red where it had grasped the knife. And where was the knife? I couldn't see it anywhere. Where had it fallen?
Now I was sure I had heard something. And it was coming from the'the ark? Too freaky. I couldn't possibly be talking to God, could I? Something like that was either insane or'well, just plain incredible! No one had ever actually spoken to God in nearly two-thousand years. And just why was He speaking to me?
Because I have chosen you, My son. Look up. And I will reveal to you what you need to know.
I looked up towards the ceiling, but my eyes stopped at the eternal light. It was more than a flickering flame now. It was a great flame. And then the flame fell from its perch. I jumped back as the flame hit the floor. It did not consume the carpet.
There it was, a huge burning inferno. And what was that in its midst? It looked like a cactus. Why was that there? And then I remembered something one of the rabbis had taught at school. The burning bush had been a cactus, to represent the suffering of the Israelites. This was the burning cactus incarnate, right in front of me. I was really talking to God.
What I have seen with My own Eyes in Columbus is an abomination before me. said God in my ear; His Voice, speaking a language I did not know but understood anyway, was loud authoritative, and yet at the same time it was soft and had a soothing effect on me. Immediately after hearing it, I felt quieter, more relaxed, as if I was listening to Eastern music, which always had a claming effect on me. But no one has come to their prayer houses to pray, for fear of what lurks in the dark. But you came, My child. Mickey, do not kill yourself in My Presence. I want you to smite the horror away from this world.
'But how, My Lord?' I asked, my voice cracking. I could hardly believe that I was actually talking with God. I was so wrapped up with what I was seeing that I did not hear the thumps and shuffles of zombies below, trying to follow the scent of blood.
Reach out your hand towards the flame, God told me, and I will grant you My strength. You will understand. Slowly, obediently, I reached my hand out to the inferno. I was chosen by God. I could not believe it! I had been selected to do a mission for the Big Guy Upstairs. And it was to destroy the zombies in Columbus. I could not believe this, and yet it did not seem to me like some unbelievable dream.
Finally I stuck my hand into the flame. All of a sudden, I was falling into the flame, and I was tiny, insignificant thing within the vast fires that surrounded me. My body was being licked by cool ethereal hands, removing the pain in my leg and heart, and wiping away every thought and worry in my brain. I felt so blissful. I had never felt this sort of high before, and had never felt anything like it since. It was the sort of religious experience I had always longed for, an affirmation of God with ecstatic feelings coursing through me.
All around me, God's Voice spoke, showing me images in my head as he spoke. Before I chose Abraham, God explained, man feared its carnivorous foes. This included the wolf, a pack hunter who was ruthless and cunning, and even without its brethren could prove dangerous to the weary hunter. If they were any stronger the wolf would become man's natural predator.
However, it is time that I made the wolf stronger. Mickey, you will only attack the creatures that live in the corpses. Any human you shall leave alone. Only the ones infected with the Full Moon virus shall you kill; they are your natural prey, and you are their natural predator.
The 'Full Moon virus' title actually did not come from me or any human. The first time I heard it was when God had spoken it. Before that it was just known as 'the virus'. But considering what I have become, and how zombies have such an aversion towards the full moon, when my powers are greatest, it is a fitting name. But I didn't think about that in the flames. What do You mean? was what I wondering.
This is what I mean. said God, and all of a sudden I felt something powerful and pure enter my body from my nostrils. It flew into my brain, into my blood vessels, and into every cell of my body. God spoke once more, and I haven't heard from Him since, although I've spoken to him plenty of times. The wolf was a predator and something man feared. Become a predator that the abominations will fear, My son! And if they are willing, make others that are like you. Blessed child that I have chosen, destroy the abomination from before My Eyes.
I fell out of the flames, and when I looked it was gone. No evidence that the burning bush had even been there. I stared at the spot where it was supposed to have been for about five seconds when I noticed my leg wasn't hurting. Looking down, I saw that the wound that Jonesy had dealt me was gone. I had been healed by God.
Suddenly I heard a growling noise from behind me and turned around. A pack of sixteen or so zombies were loping down the aisles, thinking that I was the appetizer before the main course. As I looked at them, I felt a strange hunger in me. In fact, I was ravenous. And the zombies looked so appetizing for some reason.
And in an instant I understood what God wanted of me; and as I understood I felt my body begin to contort and hair sprout all over my body. The zombies stopped to stare at me. I grinned with my long teeth, and said to them, 'The next miracle is that the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series.' And I raised my head to the sky and howled.
The transformation finished. I stared at my prey. They stared back. They had never seen their own natural predator before. They did not know how dangerous a werewolf was. And I was dangerous.
I sprang at them, roaring with a monster-like ferocity. The closest zombie ran at me, not understanding that I had the advantage. All it thought about was its next meal. Well, too bad for that. I pounced on the zombie. It looked like a teenage boy with unkempt hair and several scratches on its cheek. I spoke to it, my voice warped with an animal-like anger. 'Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.' I said. 'Hear O Israel, the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One.' And took a bite out of the zombie's neck. Blood sprayed out from the jugular as it screamed and died.
The other zombies stared at this new development for a few seconds as I munched on my kill. Then a thought passed between all fifteen of them telepathically. Danger. Avoid. No fight. Flee. And this thought was sent to every zombie, all throughout Columbus. In every building, on every street, within every pack, a single line of thought and a single image of a hulking, hairy beast passed through each zombie's primitive brain. And each one shivered in turn.
The zombies in the synagogue turned around and began running. I looked up from my meal and saw the rest of my prey loping away. I growled and ran after them. 'Oh no, you don't!' I yelled. I jumped on the back of one and took a huge bite. Then another zombie. And another. And another. One after the other, each time killing the zombies.
This was apart of the rules of werewolves:
We transform when zombies are near, and instinctively attack to feed on them (talk about a way to purge an abomination!). After the zombies are clear, we transform back. This process usually only happens at night, when zombies are active. During the day, we rest or just enjoy life as much as we can in our current states and jobs. We can eat human food, play games, whatever. But at night, we work.
If a werewolf in any form bites a human, that human becomes a werewolf. We carry a special chemical in our saliva that transforms humans and kills zombies. It is something that comes in handy.
Despite the myths surrounding us, we keep our human intelligence to a certain degree when in our wolf forms. We can even talk too, as I've already shown. When searching for prey or communicating with other werewolves, we can be like wise men, walking slowly and spending our time together pondering many different things in our lives. In the middle of a chase however, we are like wolves with the brains of young children at play; brash, aggressive, and colliding with everything in the name of the game that is survival.
Finally, we are immune to zombie venom, and if anything can kill us, I don't know. I've had bullets shot at me, even silver bullets, and I'm still going strong. After all, God provides, and He provides what is needed. And we need to be near invulnerable to carry out our missions.
So that's how it goes. That's the job I was assigned by God. I take it on gladly. Moses may have been able to argue with God, but I'm not Moses, am I? Even if he was just a regular man. No, if God gave me a job, I knew I'd just ask for a few details like an FBI agent and then be on my merry way. And He gave me a job. So I began to carry it out with zeal.
Two zombies managed to get away from me out the back entrance as I was chewing on the heart of my latest kill. I noticed only after they were gone. I left the bodies lying where they were, and prowled out to the front entrance. I turned back into a human and sat down on the stone steps. The wind blew through the trees and my ears, carrying with it the noise of zombie packs on the prowl for food and fighting other packs. I looked to the sky, where nothing but a few stars and a half moon shown in the black abyss.
'Thank you.' I said, imagining my words leaving my mouth and going to Heaven's Throne Itself. 'I'm glad to be given this mission. I will carry it out fully for You.'
Standing up, I started walking down Broad Street and towards downtown Columbus. That seemed to be where a lot of packs were duking it out. I didn't rush; I had a whole Sabbath night ahead of me. All night long I prowled around the downtown, starting the first in a series of zombie massacres.
The next morning I looked for a place to sleep. I had been up all night doing what I had been assigned and needed time to recuperate before the next night's hunt. In my head, a song was playing in my head, and I danced on the streets while I walked. Finally I stepped into the old library on Main Street. My dad had taken us here once a week for movies and books. A little nap on one of the couches in the basement might do me good, and I had a ton of books to choose from if I wanted.
As I walked into the dark building children's section, I found a group of teens slunked out on the floor. Three girls, two boys. They were breathing, and not dead. I woke them up. When I assured them that I wasn't a zombie, they told me they had all been friends at Granville Christian Academy, and had decided to hide in the library when the zombies had attacked each of their families. They each had a machine gun with them, blissfully unaware that those things didn't work on zombies. It was like God had decided to give me a little help and provided me with my own pack.
When they asked my story, a small pack of zombies who had been hiding from my wolf form on the third floor of the building wandered down. Before anyone could reach for their guns however, I had transformed and had killed the zombies before they could get pretty far. After I had transformed back and explained to them what had happened to me, the group's response was immediate: 'Turn us into werewolves.' And at that point I was sure that these people were to become my own pack.
I bit each one, trying to be as soft as possible. And then I slept for a few hours, waiting for night to come. When it did, we went outside and began to hunt. During this time we found a breach in the walls around Columbus. Some of the zombies had gotten out.
Well, now you know the cause of the strange illness that is occurring across Ohio and into Indiana. You know the reason behind the strange reports of large wolves with the ability to talk being sighted in these same areas. The werewolves have gone from a small pack of five to a huge organization of four hundred or so wolves, each in a pack of ten. The original six are heads of the organization, and I'm chief. So maybe in a way, I am Moses, a leader of a strange group of people that are wandering, trying to do what God tells them.
My closest ally in my pack is Hannah, one of the girls from the library. She found out from her grandmother before her family was killed that Hannah was actually a Jewish descendent, and that her grandmother had pretended to be a Christian after the Holocaust. She keeps asking me everything I know about Judaism, and I try to answer as many questions as I can. She's really pretty. I like her.
So, if you wish to publish this story, please do so. Even license the movie rights to whomever you want to, I don't care. Just don't change a word I've written. Or I'll come for you. You know who I am.
Alexander 'Mickey' Rubinoff.