I didn’t know if I should watch or run like hell. One this was certain, I wasn’t about to help. As these mannequins stumbled forward with arms outstretched, those in the immediate area turned to run. They didn’t get far. While they, and a few others blessed with superior risk aversion responses tried to flee, everyone else wanted to see what was going on, still not convinced that anything was wrong. You never believe it until you see for yourself. It didn’t really happen unless you can get a cell phone picture to show to your friends.

As the crowd built up, thicker and thicker at the center of the circle facing south, the zombies footed their way closer to those on the edge.

I blinked, and they had their victims pinned from behind, pressed up against the gawkers still taking pictures. One of the unluckies was trying to squeeze through the crowd to get to safety as she was grabbed from behind by the largest of the crippled beasts. It grabbed her left arm at the shoulder, than her right arm. It tipped its head towards the trees and let out a deafening roar, “HHHHGGGGUUUAAAACCHHHHH,” as it ripped her arms from their sockets.

Her body collapsed at her knees and fell forward towards the dumbfounded crowd, blood painting their clothes. Her body lay motionless and numb, her arms were like clubs held dripping at the creature’s side.

“RUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!!!” they screamed, as the dead arms pawed at their backs. But the crowd didn’t move. They couldn’t.

Those at the other end of the crowd had packed in so tightly, trying to get a better view, that this mass of people remained static, caught in an unwitting duel for position. Each side of the mass was pushing towards the other, but neither side would give. People in the middle were slowly being crushed and suffocated, helpless and unable to cry out for help.

No one noticed. Running into a brick wall doesn’t tell the brick wall anything it didn’t already know.

Slowly the collective wisdom of the heard changed. The fear of death and the fog of sweat and adrenaline was so thick you could see it. The heard of people began to push forward, away from the hoard of zombies. But, as they pushed forward, trampling underfoot the less fortunate, the crowd to the far end stopped dead in their tracks.

You see, the far end of the mass was bound by benches and post and chain fencing. Ahh, the wicked humor of urban planning. I watched from the other side of the chain fence, maybe fifteen feet away as they called out to me, arms outstretched, for help.

As the pressure from behind rose they were being crushed against the barrier. There was a guy looking right at me as his stomach was impressed from side to side by the chains on the fence. He was my age, height, weight, and hair color. He was exactly me, just on the other side of the fence. He couldn’t breath, and the pressure mounted behind him.

I was battlefield deaf, but I swear that I heard it the moment his spine cracked as his body fell limp in half over the fence. Blood gushed red from his gaping mouth onto the green grass.

I stood there watching as these people breathed their last breaths, crushed alive against the fencing, killed by their neighbors and friends behind them. It felt like an eternity.

I saw a hundred years of death at my feet.

I did nothing about it. I felt nothing about it. I just turned and ran. The screams grew louder the farther I got, but I never looked back. I couldn’t look back. Guessing what happened next would let me sleep…eventually. Seeing what happened? I couldn’t live with that.

 

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