Tuesday afternoon. Sophomore Colin Evans and I had just finished an exam for Introduction to Software Engineering, we were walking past the seal, when I felt someone grab my left shoulder.
“Hello friends,” a voice said, eerily. I turned around and there was a girl with a bandana wrapped around her forehead.
“Crap,” I muttered under my breath. Colin didn’t notice what had happened at first.
“What?” He asked. Then his eyes widened in realization.
We were now zombies.
It all started out at MegaFair. I was manning the table for an organization I was involved in while Colin was walking around, looking at the various tables. He thought it would be fun to do Humans vs. Zombies, an extreme campus-wide game of tag. Not wanting to do it solo, he put my name down without my knowledge, much less my permission.
After receiving several emails about the game and times of information sessions, I decided to do it. The four days of tag that followed were exhilarating and nerve-wracking.
“If a zombie gets hit with a marshmallow, they are stunned for ten minutes and can’t tag any humans,” Steven Mitchell, one of the moderators of the game spoke from the front of the room.
Around me sat more than twenty other college students. At that point, I didn’t really want to play the game, but I sat there and listened anyways. I looked down at the teal piece of fabric in my hands.
It seemed really simple at this point.
The humans and the zombies were distinguished based on where they wore their teal bandana. The humans wore them around their right arm, while the zombies around their head. If a human was tagged by a zombie, they were automatically converted. The game would go on for four days: Monday through Thursday. During the day, there would be safe zones. In buildings, on crosswalks, off campus, you couldn’t tag or be tagged. But during the night, it was a different story.
Every night at precisely 10 p.m., a mission would begin. The humans and the zombies would meet at different locations on campus, none knowing where the other was. The humans were given a mission that had to be completed by 11 p.m. And if they were tagged before then, they were converted to the zombie’s team.
Monday came and the games began. I started out as a human. That first day, I only ran into two other players of the game, both humans.
But the night was a little more eventful.
That first night, the other humans and I started out on the front porch of Emerson Hall. The mission was simple: be at the North side of CPA a few minutes before 11 p.m..
A few of the humans went all out, with one wearing Jon Snow attire and another wearing a ghillie suit. I completed the mission that Monday night, without seeing a single zombie.
The next day is when I was tagged.
At first, I was annoyed and told myself I had been so stupid to not be paying attention to my surroundings. How had I not noticed the girl walking across the grass towards me, looking like she was ready to eat my brains out?
My initial goal was to last the whole game without being converted to a zombie, but since that mission had failed, that night, a new goal emerged: kill as many humans as I could.
We met in front of Western Dining Hall that night. Seven zombies and who knows how many humans. I felt an immediate camaraderie in the air among the zombies that hadn’t been there with the humans. We had an organized game plan of where we would go, when the night before, it had just been a free-for-all.
I ended up converting two humans that night. In fact, the zombies slaughtered so many humans that the moderators were considering doing a mass revival. But fortunately for us, they didn’t.
Afterwards, the seven zombies as well as the newly-converted zombies went to Pulley for milkshakes, to celebrate our success that night. There was something about having the same common goal with everyone else that created an instant bond. But I did feel bad for the two workers who spent more than an hour making one milkshake after another.
Wednesday night, I couldn’t make it to the mission, but my fellow zombies tagged every single human but one. We were ready for the Thursday night grand finale.
Thursday night was a complete reverse of the first night. More than two dozen zombies showed up and only five humans. The zombies met outside of Alumni Hall. Before starting out, all of us stood there doing pre-mission stretches and yoga. To any passerby, we probably looked like idiots, just a big group touching our toes at 10 p.m. at night.
Then we took off. Most of the zombies headed in the same direction, up to the center of academic quad. But Colin and I took a different route. We ran over to Bishop Woods, then Shiedler Hall where we found our first human. We hid while he passed by before popping out at him. The human took off like a dart. Now I’m a horrendous runner, so there is no way I would have been able to get this guy, but Colin ran in high school and caught up to the human in no time. One down, five to go.
It wasn’t even five minutes later, when we were heading back through Bishop Woods that we saw another human. Luckily, there was a third zombie near us so we were able to corner her. Two down, four to go.
I’m not sure if it was just luck that night, but we stumbled across a third human a short time later. Then the fourth was tagged by someone else.
The fifth completed his mission: to tag the doors of King library. But there was one human left. And, eventually, she was tagged.
I’d consider the whole game successful. Even though one human made it out alive, I managed to make a total of three tags and enjoyed the game.
Next semester, I’ll play again, and even sign myself up. The goal will be to make it through the entire game without getting my brain eaten, but we’ll see how I fare.