Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Roadside Attraction: Z-World

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by Mary deBorde
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Z-World (an excerpt)

The problem with having super rich parents is how it can lead you to acting super stupid.

My brother is not only my ultra wealthy parents spoiled first born and only son, he's also kind of a jerk.

He's been handed everything on a silver platter, so of course he's bored all of the time looking for cheap or dangerous thrills to spice up his otherwise pampered life.

So being a first class jack ass comes naturally to Beemer (can you believe someone was pretentious enough to name their kid after a car?). Btw, I can talk shit about him because I'm his sister.

My name is Brita, his 16 year old twin. I'm the smart one, usually. Almost always. Except for today.

Today I did something crazy stupid.

Because I'd just broke up with my boyfriend, I was in a morbid funk and didn't give a damn about anything. It seemed like my entire life was over so what did I have to lose?

Which is why I let Beemer talk me into taking a road trip to Z-World.


Okay, so here's the thing.

We all learned in school how the zombiepopcalypse was a near thing, at least until NG11 was finally perfected for use against the Zs without killing the living along with the dead. NG11, if you didn't already know or just crawled out from under a rock, stands for Nerve Gas formula #11. Anyway, like I said ... we learned how just when it seemed the living had no chance of surviving the Z Years - along comes the magic bullet, NG11, in the nick of time to turn the tide against the zombies.

And even though most of our parents were kids themselves when it happened, we've all seen the documentaries filmed during those brutal years. Especially the famous one where Elvis was torn apart live onstage in some place out west called Vegas. Beemer loves watching those old clips over and over again. He thinks they're rad.

I think they're disgusting, which just goes to show how messed up my head was when I let him talk me into driving out to Z-World today.

But anyway, back to the thing I was talking about:

See, while most people think all the zombies were destroyed decades ago ... they weren't. Not all of them.

A few enterprising, or unscrupulous entrepreneurs decided to hide some of the Zs away. God knows why anyone with any sense would want to do something so insane, but they did.

That's how Z-World came about. Even though it's illegal as hell, word gets around. Beemer says he knows a guy who knows another guy that said Z-World gives the local law a cut so they don't get busted. And while I don't usually believe half the crap my brother tells me, this has to be the truth because Z-World is right there in plain sight, on old Route 66 a few miles east outside Springfield.

They've set it up like a miniature cross between Jurassic Park and IHOP, no lie.

Every night during the summer months, right after sundown, Z-World opens for business. They do it like this because the Zs tend to hibernate during the winter, or anytime it's especially cold out. Also during the daylight hours they're too sluggish to seem like much of a threat - they'll only amble around in circles or lay slumped against the barbed wire fences.

And since people prefer the thrill of danger, no one's willing to pay a steep entry fee if the zombies aren't going to do their part. You know, with the moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth & jaw kinda thing. Though I'm not sure if it's for real or only effect, but every 'tourist' has to sign a liability waiver to get into Z-World.

I signed mine Pauline Pureheart, though the skank taking our money was either too stupid or stoned to care.

Anyway, that's pretty much how I came to find myself strapped in an antique rust bucket of a rail car, reluctantly chugging my way down a winding track through the sleaziest amusement park in the history of mankind.

Get this. Every 1/2 mile or so there'd be a meat shack where you could press a button to stop your car if you wanted to get out to buy a raw beef pattie to throw to the Zs. It was like some eff'd up zoo with signs everywhere urging patrons to Feed the Z'animals and other snarky messages.

The whole thing was in really poor taste, so of course Beemer was having the time of his life. He kept hitting the stop button to jump out at all the meat shacks, laughing like a hyena everytime he managed to hit one of the Zs through the fences with a bloody pattie.

So this kind of clean, wholesome fun had been going on for maybe a couple of hours and I'd had enough. By now the entire park was getting creepy, - it was well past dark and there were only a handful of dim security lights set way up high on poles every couple hundred of yards. The mosquitos were bad, whining and buzzing around my face, biting my back through my thin blouse and constantly attacking my legs and ankles. Tomorrow I was going to be a swollen, lumpy mess which didn't exactly help with my 'looking good is the best revenge' plan I had in mind for dealing with the ex.

I started bugging Beemer to get us out of there, I wanted to go home. I wanted to get back to my safe MacMansion on the east side of Springfield, grab a long hot shower and then spend the rest of the night texting my friends as to what a loser my ex-boyfriend was. I wanted to sprawl out on 800 thread count hand combed Egyptian cotton sheets and try to put as much distance between my priviledged existence and the rest of the nasty, bloody world as possible.

Because if Beemer didn't get us out of Z-World PDQ, I was going to lose it. I really was. It didn't seem like there were many other rail cars out on the tracks, the park felt almost empty of life - well, living life like us, at least. Like I said, I was starting to get creeped out. Even though I'd seen genuine clips of real life zombies at school and on PcTv all my life, I'd never seen anything like this, not in the flesh, so to speak, and I didn't like the way they kept staring at us.

Even with a scabby mouth crammed full of raw bloody meat, the jaw rising and falling and gnashing until there was nothing left but pink pulp sliding past the lips, the eyes would follow me and Beemer until our car rounded the corner of every field and another hot spot of Zs jerked to attention.

Another thing. I'd always found the abandoned corn fields around Illinois a romantic reminder of how things used to be before I was born. The way the endless fields were given over to whatever volunteer strains managed to find a foothold and thrive for another season or two, without any interference from man. They just kept on producing, somehow, even if the stalks were sickly and the ears mostly deformed. The fields were a testimony, or so I thought, to the enduring strength of mother earth, of nature itself.

But by ten o'clock tonight, I'd seen all the nature I'd ever hoped to see, and then some. My romantic testimony had turned into a nightmare travesty. Hearing the dead shuffling between the shadowy stalks, the dead husks rustling under their feet, the straining grasping hands thrust greedily between the corn rows with their pale, ravenous faces lit by moonlight, or the meagre light afforded by the occasional security bulb half obscured by hundreds of moths beating drunkenly against the glass.

I looked over at Beemer to see if he felt the dread, too. Except he was pissed because the last two shacks we'd passed were empty. I started to point out we might as well cross over to the adjacent return track and get our ass home. If we were too late getting home there was always the chance we'd get grilled by one of the parents, and they'd flip the eff out if they knew where we'd been. Even 'I-can-do-no-wrong' Beemer would get majorly grounded for sneaking out to a sleazy place like Z-World.

However, before I could so much as get the first syllable out, the world suddenly exploded around us.

... to be continued

Guest post created for rrRoad Trip event by Mary deBorde aka MAD of Mary Ann DeBorde Writes (and Reads!)
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by Mary deBorde
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--~ Blogosphere Book Giveaway ~--

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies
by Matt Mogk
signup to win this book
at Zombie Research Society
-ends July 29


* perhaps fellow blogger Sullivan McPig of Pearls Cast Before a McPig should stay clear of this rest stop or rather restaurant despite his love of zombiessss ;-D

~===~ rrRoad trip schedule ~===~


  1. I am curious about this Z-World now. I love anything to do with zombies!

  2. Me, too!

    I think I'm going to work with this, flesh [no pun intended hehe]it out into a novelette sometime.

    As for McPig, - just remember NOTHING good ever comes from zombies left unattended :O

  3. If I ever do visit Z-World I'll bring lots of molotovs and a chainsaw and I won't be afraid to use them on people who think they can deed me to the zombies!!

  4. I want to go to Z-World, I wonder if they have themed stops, like Pirates or comic-con (I love Night of the Living Trekkies)?

  5. I want to go to Z-world too.
    @krysykat-themed stops sounds awesome!


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