A treatise on zombie behaviour
A brief expose of zombies and their habits.

What makes a Zombie?

In order to understand zombies, it is necessary to understand what CREATES a zombie. There are already numerous works on the subject so I’ll simply give a brief overview, as well as a little myth-busting. The pathogen lies dormant in the subject until death; that is to say that infected cells function as normal cells until those cells die off. One interesting side effect of this is that when cells die, but the organism does not, then the organism gains control over what is essentially a zombie limb (or organ). Nerve function is nonexistent in such a limb, and motor-function is limited, but it still essentially acts as a normal limb. Anyways, once the organism dies, the infected brain cells resume activity. Nervous system reconnections take place over a few hours before the subject stands up. At this point the subject enters the state known as reanimation, or, as most people would call it “Zombification.” Random neuron firings ensue as the pathogen assumes authoritative control over the brain and nervous system. This is interesting as well because of what happens next: the pathogen stops. The virus apparently has no idea what to do with a living body, so instead it urges the body to pursue basic fundamental urges: the need to feed, and the need to reproduce. Disgusting as it may be I really should say that at this point the sexual appendages of the subject are still fully functioning, however nerves are no longer active and as such zombies do not get “horny” per say. However the urge to reproduce is still present: due to the fact that the undead cannot be born and are instead created by spreading of the pathogen, this manifests itself as the urge to infect the living. This, along with the urge to feed, creates a powerful hunger for living meat. It is unknown why zombies seek out living meat rather than simply eating whatever they can find, though it is suspected that this stems from an underlying instinct to hunt for food, lying deep within the confines of the human mind.

 

MYTH 01: zombies will not attack each other.

 

Zombies, in fact, often confuse the movement of each other for the movement of human “prey” and as such will often look to each other as a source of food…until, that is, they find out the meat is rotten. However, much like a hunter chooses it’s targets: in the presence of both the living and other zombies, a zombie will almost always hunt the former.

 

MYTH 02: the virus only infects already dead subjects.

 

Actually, the pathogen infects the living and dead alike, and those who are living merely wait to die; and become zombies.

 

MYTH 03: zombies only eat brains

 

It is unknown how this rumor started, but it is most certainly untrue. Zombies will eat pretty much anything living (or undead) that they can find.

 

 

Types of Zombies

 

Most survivors faced with the undead will notice that not all zombies act in the same way, so herein I have attempted to classify a few different types of basic zombie behavior.

The Feral Zombie

Feral zombies are those that act alone, and wander in search of prey. Feral zombies are generally those that have been undead for a longer period of time, or those that have become lost from a horde. Feral zombies are all unique and possess few distinctive qualities other than the fact that they are always alone, and very rarely stop moving unless they have found prey. The majority of zombies fall into this category.

 

The Horde Zombie

Horde zombies are zombies that group together to gain greater efficiency in hunting the living. Hordes are often formed when zombies accidentally group together in chasing a survivor. Horde zombies sometimes feed off of other members of the horde, but after a certain amount of time spent among a horde, this behavior usually disappears. Hordes usually stay linked by rudimentary communications in Kizombie (see below). Little is known about horde command structure other than that it exists; it appears that hordes usually have leaders, and set punishment for vaguely defined rules.

 

The Stationary Zombie

Also known as “the camper zombie,” stationary zombies are essentially feral zombies that rarely move. It is this type of zombie that are the most mysterious, as very little is known about why stationary zombies remain where they do. Basic observations have revealed that stationary zombies generally spend their day inside a 10-block radius.

 

Language among zombies

 

Studies have shown that zombies do communicate, however; due to oral decay they are not able to speak any of the languages spoken by those humans that count themselves among the living. Various zombie languages exist, most of which are forms of English using either systematic vowel-replacement, slur translation, or changes in certain sounds. The four most common languages used by zombies are (in order from most to least used):

 

Kizombie – a language based on a phonological system of 14 consonants, 2 vowels, and 5 clicks. In English this language is known as Kizombie, and in kiZombie it is known as zamgrh. Rather than being a symbolic translation as in the cases of most zombie languages, this is a distinct and organic language following simplistic and natural rules. Much like English, Zamgrh consists of a phonetic alphabet in which a letter or combination of letters may take several tones. Previously it was theorized that there were only 21 distinct phonemes available. In written language these can be denoted by the following characters: z, a, m, g, r, h, n, b, and ! serving as letters in the English sense. By far the most complex of the zombie languages.

Zombish – a code for translation into English that replaces all vowels with r ’s and changes certain letters.

Zombese - a code for translation into English that replaces all vowels with r ’s and changes certain letters.

Zomban - a code for translation into English that replaces all vowels with r ’s and changes certain letters.

 

Any astute reader has probably noticed that all of these involve vowel replacement, this is due to the fact that vowel annunciation is impossible because of the decay in the front of the mouth. All vowels other than a are pronounced using the front of the mouth, whereas an “ay” or “ah” sound can be made using the throat. The front of the mouth decays sooner than the throat due to the constant use in hunting and devouring, and as such zombies that have been undead for any substantial period of time cannot use the front of their mouth.

 

Zombie movement patterns

 

Perhaps the most important study of zombies is the study of movement patterns, a survivor who doesn’t know where zombies are going won’t be a survivor for much longer. Feral zombies move randomly. That’s fairly simple. Horde zombies are much more complicated; they usually have a “home area” which they stray out of to hunt, but return to after a couple days. Stationary zombies, obviously, stay in one place, however the method with which stationary zombies choose the areas in which they stay is currently unknown. Ironically the weakest zombies cluster in areas with large congregations of survivors.

 

Zombie population trends

 

Generally, within the city of Malton, zombies represent between 36% and 43% of the population, survivors holding between 62% and 55%, and uninfected-dead and revivifying bodies making up the difference. Of the zombie population about 45% are composed of feral zombies, about 38% are horde zombies, and the remaining 17% are stationary zombies. Please note that this is an average measurement, the population may vary at one particular point in time.

 

Zombie neurology

 

It is unknown whether or not zombies “think” in the human sense, but they have shown advanced behavior patterns as well as, in some cases, memory. Zombies also seem to be sentient, and it should be noted that zombies which are revivified back into humans retain their level of thought. Experiments are ongoing to test whether zombies “think” and so far have supplied intriguing results.