[Excerpt from the journal of Wendy Runyon]
It was a day like any other. I woke up, prepared for work, got in my car and began my commute to the office. Traffic was heavier than usual. I figured everyone was starting his or her vacation now that school was out, so I didn't make much of it.
Until I came across the body on the side of the road. Other drivers continued driving, unseeing. Or if they did see the body, they decided to ignore it. Some even seemed to speed up as they drove by it. Typical, I thought. How many times have we heard about a woman being attacked and none of the witnesses stepping in to help her. Maybe they figured someone else would. Maybe they really were oblivious. Or maybe they had seen too many movies or television shows where the con-artist lies in wait, pretending to be helpless only to spring and attack once the prey got close enough. All of this crossed my mind as I pulled over to the side of the road and then dialed emergency services. The line was busy.
I debated for a minute whether to get out of my car. What if it was a trap? I told myself I could not think like that. This person could be in serious trouble. It appeared to be a woman. I could tell she was still alive the closer I got. She was struggling to get up. Her clothes were torn, she was covered in scrapes and what appeared to be open wounds. I saw no blood though. Her skin appeared kind of grayish.
I did not have time to register what I was seeing before a movement in the field next to the road caught my eye. A soldier, apparently lying in wait, rose from his hiding place in the dry yellow grass, rifle pointed at the woman. She was now standing upright . . . something was seriously wrong with her.
I heard a loud pop and then the woman fell over. The soldier had shot her! I stood frozen in my spot, wanting to turn and run but unable to move my feet. The next thing I knew, the soldier grabbed a machete he had been carrying and chopped off the woman's head. "Just in case," he said, mostly to himself. He turned to me and nodded before returning to the field and disappearing.
I took that as my cue and ran back to my car. I did not go to work that day. I went straight home, woke up my husband and daughter. We had much to do and not a lot of time to do it in. It was here. World War Z come to life.
Today is the midpoint day for the World War Z Read-Along hosted by Natalie of Coffee and a Book Chick. And what a ride it's been so far! The format of the novel gives it a documentary feel--the author is interviewing various people, collecting their first person accounts of what they witnessed and experienced.
Readers learn about the attempted government cover up and rapid fire spread of the walking dead. As people fled to safety, the zombies multiplied, entering unaffected territories, coming in as unsuspecting refugees. Governments and military did what they could. Dogs sniffed out infected people, whose fate was certain death. Families were torn apart. Panic ensued. Governments really had no idea what they were doing. There was too much attention given to suppressing the news rather than solving the problem, initially, and early attempts to eradicate the zombies proved more deadly to humans. When finally a possible solution came, it was met with resistance by many. Morally and ethically it was wrong, but desperation and survival of the species left little choice.
Mixed in with the politics and technical aspects of the war against the walking dead are the human interest stories, which are what really make this book what it is. Given it's supposed to be the more human side of the affair, that makes sense. Readers are given a very vivid and clear picture of not only what life would be like if zombies attacked, but also how the world would react. It's not a pretty picture.
What I love about this book is the attention to detail and how well researched it is. It's an intelligent novel. One that I think would lend itself well to discussion about our culture and society today.
Time to get back to the book!