Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Siege of Tokyo, pt. 1, 569 words

Like the rest of the world, we first heard about them not long after they emerged from beneath the American city of Denver. Why there, nobody knew. And nobody really believed the stories about them, not at first. It was like hearing about one of those silly zombie movies, the kind my father had loved. Who believes those things can be real?

They weren’t really zombies, though. They spread out, and everyone stopped laughing at the stories of the “living zombies” as they soon ranged out of control. We tried for a while to keep laughing it off, me and my friends, since they were on the other side of the world from us, but our laughter grew ever more hollow with each new day.

Their military forces, the hordes pouring out of Denver and capturing or killing everyone they came across, those were the feint. While the world’s eyes were on the ragged front they kept pushing back further every day, many of them were secretly already amongst us. We felt, somehow, secure in the knowledge that they were a definable, visible horde that could, with enough effort, eventually be held and then pushed back. Even if they knew how to use our weapons and some simple combat tactics, they were a known quantity. Once the Americans got over their stubborn pride and called on the other nations of the world for help, the invading army would be pushed back. Lives would be lost, yes, and it would be a tragedy… But it would be one we would survive.

We forgot that the most frightful defining feature of any zombie is that it makes us into them. They replenished their fallen numbers with those they captured and changed. That was horrible enough. What we didn’t know was that they didn’t have to act like a ravening, mindless horde. They’d been amongst us secretly for years now, sleeper agents made to go about their normal lives until this day when they emerged in force, where the sleepers would then awaken and hinder or cripple efforts to fight back. At one point, the Americans tried to launch one of their own atomic bombs upon Denver, in hopes of somehow stemming the tide by cutting out the heart of the horde. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It would have played like a comedy of errors if it hadn’t so sharply underscored how deeply they had actually penetrated the halls of power in the United States. It also meant they could have done it anywhere.

Suddenly, anyone could have been one of them, pretending to be a normal human and even carrying on friendships and relationships while plotting our downfall. Any error, any mistake by anyone in power or at a critical position, could be in truth an act of sabotage. As the cancer ate away at the heart of the United States, the government grew paranoid and more fractious than usual. Accusations of treachery flew soon and swift. The same terror gripped much of rest of the world. Most every nation committed purges of some kind or another, whether locking up anyone suspected of being a sleeper agent until a reliable test could be developed, or simple execution. Many leaders who escaped the purges were assassinated by common men and women who had taken to heart the accusations of treachery made by demagogues seeking to eliminate political opponents.

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