Cowardice

I’ve explained this a few times now. I should try to write it down.

Last Friday I attended 2.8 Hours Later, a zombie LARP/performance/survival horror thing at a secret location in London. It combined Security Theatre with Running Away. It was extremely well done, and I loved/hated the whole damn thing.

I learned I’m an awful, awful person.

Our first encounter with the zombies plays over in my mind. We are told to get medical supplies from a suitably miserable location, patrolled by awful, groaning undead. I zone out during the chats and talking between our team of seven as they work out what the best route and tactics are to get the supplies. I am, instead, transfixed by the shambling corpses groaning and bleeding just twenty feet away.

I crouch with the others as we enter the ‘level’, slinking along the side of the room to try and see the supplies. Instantly a few spot us. They start shambling over, dragging their limbs at a sluggish rate. I think ‘Okay, we can do this, we can outrun them. This is fine.’ And then one of them works out it can probably reach the person leading our raid – someone I don’t know – and everything goes to shit.

The zombie runs. Other zombies run. I clatter into someone, dunno who, and the lot of us scatter to the corners of the room. Within a fraction of a second I forget the mission entirely and run for the exit. One of them blocks it, and starts running at me. I spin on my heel and run away. I run so hard. I run so fucking hard that it is completely impossible for me to comprehend how awful and gangly I must have looked. I am six and a half foot of limbs and panic and I am being chased by an actor pretending that he wants to eat me.

I stick my arm out, grab a piller, and yank myself around back the way I’ve come. I know this to be true; I still have the bruises on my fingers. The zombie overshoots me and I use the momentum to hare it back towards the exit. This is now blocked by two more zombies. One has trouble picking between me and another target – again, no idea who – and I get past as it commits to grabbing the other runner. There’s a puddle and a final lurching creature between me and sanctuary. I go around the puddle, losing a second but avoiding a potentially life-threatening slip, and in the process manage to just get past the outstretched fingertips of the zombie. She hadn’t noticed that I’d bypassed the puddle.

I hare it down the slope to safety, empty-handed, heart thumping through my throat. At the bottom is Felix, who has supplies and is OK. Then comes Davids. He is probably fine. We hear screams. And that’s about that.