This Is Not a Test is The Breakfast Club meets George Romero--six teens hole up in their high school while zombies roam around outside. Here, author Courtney Summers shares her survival tips for an undead takeover, should it take place.
The zombie apocalypse is imminent.
Luckily, there's no shortage of zombie apocalypse survival guides out there today. A Google search of 'how to survive the zombie apocalypse' yields 7,400,000 results. Even the CDC has gotten in on the action. Most guides focus on things like long-term food storage, basic first aid, fortifying shelter and how to successfully wield a weapon. These are essential things you need to know if you want to increase your chances of survival.
But I am not going to tell you how to do any of them.
Like I said, there are over seven million guides already out there and you know how to Google. Besides, given the environments, skill sets and personalities of each individual on this planet, it would be impossible for me to tell you exactly what you need to do to live (though having a Tank, Healer and a DPS is a good place to start). So I've decided to share a few commonsense tips as well as a few less conventional ones that you might have forgotten to consider while boarding up your windows and stock-piling canned food. Hopefully, they'll help extend your life on this earth when the dead are roaming it.
Dress smart. Zombies are bitey things. Generally, the more protected you are, the better, but you don't want to wear anything too cumbersome. You'll be running for your life, after all. You also don't want a zombie to spot you out in the wild, so camouflage is advisable. So are long sleeves and comfortable shoes. Wear as many layers as you can reasonably get away with. Have a trusted friend try to bite or claw their way through your wardrobe to test fabric strengths ahead of time.
Cut your hair. It would be terrible to be a hair's breadth away from safety and then yanked back into danger by your luscious, long locks.
Watch Survivor. Closely study the behaviors of every contestant on that show and when the zombie apocalypse starts, don't emulate any of them. Not even the winner's.
Have The Talk now. If your survival plan involves friends and family, you should sit down immediately and discuss what happens in the event that any of your loved ones become infected with a zombie virus. Time and time again, movies have taught us that when a loved one is bitten, emotions will inevitably get in the way. It's probably impossible to shut them off completely--in fact, you'll likely be traumatized for life by what you will have to do--but being on the same page about what happens next is paramount and might save you some time.
Always carry a toothbrush. Your teeth are important. A painful toothache would probably be one of the worst things to happen to you in a zombie apocalypse. (That and the scenario detailed in the previous tip.) Also, if you do end up getting turned, you'll need your teeth to feast on the living. But even better, toothbrushes are multi-purpose! If you sharpen the tip you have a handy weapon to stab your way out of a bad situation. And if you find yourself with extra time on your hands, it's my understanding toothbrushes can be fashioned into pretty bracelets. You never know when you'll need to barter for safety and who wouldn't want a bracelet made out of a toothbrush?
Make "friends." Now is a good time to start making connections with people you don't care about. When fleeing hordes of hungry corpses, it's always good to have a person or two ahead of or behind you. Don't forget to keep a couple in your back pocket for possible baiting purposes later on. This might make you a terrible person but take a deep breath. Doesn't breathing still feel good even though all those other people had to die so you could? Exactly.
Learn the zombie dance from Thriller. Because what if the zombies dance? And what if the difference between surviving and not is dancing with them?
You never know.
In general, it's always good to expect the unexpected, be flexible and know how to improvise. Some of my tips may be useful to you, others, simply distasteful, but I hope if you take anything away from them, it's that any amount of zombie apocalypse preparedness is better than none. Honestly, it's my belief that the success or failure of anyone's survival plan will largely depend on whether or not the zombies shuffle slowly along or run like the wind, which is why I advise you to, at the very least, have ten different plans for both possibilities.
My sister and I have a great zombie apocalypse survival plan, in case you're wondering. It's so great, I reflect on its greatness regularly. It's so great, I have no doubt about my odds of survival (they're great). It's so great, I really want to tell you all about it. But my sister says if I share our plan with everyone, they'll steal it, thereby reducing our chances of survival. She also says if that happens, she'll probably have to kill me. That might seem harsh, but it's the kind of cold-blooded ruthlessness I want to align myself with during the end of days, since one of us will have to make tough decisions. Also, I'm sure she doesn't really mean it. (Right, Megan?)
But I think I'm going to err on the side of caution, just in case.
Good luck! You're on your own!