Contagion swept through the countryside like a wildfire. If you caught the virus, you turned into one of these things. We called 'em zombies, like from the movies, but it wasn't all like that. In the movies, the zombies moved real slow, and were easy to kill. These things moved. The docs said that it was like the nervous systems were jacked up, like it created a superhighway where there had once been only country roads. It screwed up your brain, kind of short-circuiting parts of it, and it made you into something a lot like an animal, only much, much worse. And you didn't feel pain anymore, or at least you didn't react to it.
You see, pain is the thing that makes us human. Pain is the thing that keeps you from hurting yourself. Pain is the thing that keeps you from lifting the car over your head and throwing it at your neighbor when his dog takes a dump on your lawn. If there was no pain, you could try to lift up a building until your arms ripped out of their sockets. And you might actually get somewhere; the docs told us that your muscles were capable of lifting something like ten times what we normally used 'em for before the tissue was actually destroyed.
The zombies don't feel pain. They don't stop when they're trying to get to you. A zombie could literally tear itself apart and it would keep coming. You could cut the damn things into pieces, and the pieces would still keep coming.
And they weren't the walking dead. Dead was still dead. They were alive, in a sense; you could kill them, but the only way that we knew that would definitely work was to burn the fuckers until there was nothing left but ash.
They ate everything. Everything and everyone. Animals, plants, you name it. They'd even eat themselves if they were hungry enough. The docs had captured some of the creatures early on to try and learn from them. They showed us movies. And it's something that they never tell you: watching your Aunt Martha eat her own arms changes you in a fundamental way. There is no going back.
The virus mutates, and it's transmitted mostly by bodily fluids. In that way it's a lot like HIV. Unfortunately it's also transmitted via bugs, like ticks and mosquitoes. They constantly spray around the Ridge with these propane foggers until it smells like a chemical factory. I don't think any of us remember what fresh air smells like anymore. They say it's a cancer risk, but between the two I'd take good ol' cancer any day. At least cancer doesn't try to make you eat your friends.
At first we thought things were going to be okay. The zombies mostly attacked and ate each other, and we figured that all we had to do was wait 'em out and they'd die off. But then the docs noticed that they had started forming packs, like wild dogs, and they hunted. It's like they were getting smarter.
Now it's war. With an enemy that you can't negotiate with, that doesn't surrender, that never gives up. The only thing that we have going for us is technology, and brains. It's still a waiting game; eventually they will all die out.
Let's just hope to God that they never learn to reproduce.