My heart beats against my rib cage, relentlessly fraying my nerves. I can hear pounding footsteps outside the classroom door. Another human falls. Clutching my nerf gun tightly to my chest, I take a deep breath. I push open the door open make a run for it, surviving another day.
During the past two weeks at Evangel University, I have been participating in a 24/7 game of tag–zombies versus humans style. The game, formally known as EUZombified, has been labelled “The Plague” this year. To start the game, one person is secretly notified that they are the initial or “Alpha” zombie. The Alpha Zombie wears a bandanna around his or her neck or head. His objective is to infect (or tag) others. Humans wear bandannas around their arms or legs. As the Alpha zombie begins tagging human players, the zombie infection spreads and soon the zombies outnumber the humans. When a human player is turned zombie, he cannot participate in the game for one hour. Once the hour wait is finished, he switches his bandanna to his neck or head and begins hunting humans. The human players can shoot zombies with Nerf guns or hit them with socks in order to stun them. If a zombie is stunned by a human player, he is not allowed to interact with the game for five minutes and cannot tag that specific human for the rest of the day. If a zombie does not tag a human in 48 hours, he or she starves out of the game. The group establishes “safe zones” around campus in which zombies cannot tag humans and humans cannot stun zombies; for example, classrooms, computer labs, a player’s dorm room or floor, chapel, the theater, and the library are all safe zones. The game also “pauses” during the weekend, ending at 6PM on Friday and starting back up 8 o’clock Monday morning.
This is my second year participating in EUZombified. As always, the game is intense. I have discovered I can be quite a paranoid player. My mind calculates every possibility of ambush. I prepare myself for all aspects of the game. I change up my daily schedule, park in a different location, patiently wait extra time in order to escape tricky situations, and am willing to walk the extra distance in order to evade attack. As of right now, there are two human players and four zombie players left in the game. I am one of two humans, and I know for sure that three out of the four zombies are specifically targeting me.
Still, despite the odds against me, I am absolutely stoked to have made it to the top two this year. I took a “ninja” approach to this year’s game, flying under the radar and refusing to draw attention to myself. The cocky players always go first. The zombie “hunters” fall soon after. My current understanding of the game centered around a single thought–if they don’t know me, they can’t hunt me. I was an “unknown” until two days ago. Most didn’t even realize I was participating. One friend commented, “Christina! I haven’t seen you for two weeks!” My reply? “Exactly.” As Monday approaches, I’m not stressing over survival. I am completely content to go out as number two human. Still, with victory so close, I will not go down without a fight. My Nerf gun will be at my side, and my socks will be at the ready. If I go down, the zombies go down with me.
Some people might think it childish to run around with a Nerf gun and shoot people or hide from “zombies,” but I don’t. Sometimes it’s good to dabble into childish activities. When you take a moment to do something crazy or childish, suddenly stress doesn’t seem so terrifying. “The Plague” has helped combat the stress of the approaching final exams and papers and other projects. The friends I have lost to the zombies spur me on; I must survive. If not for myself, I must survive for those who have already fallen! My heart pounds and sweat collects on my forehead, but I will not give in. Viva a la resistance!!! I will survive…hopefully.