About six months ago, when all of this crazy, undead nonsense started, it was much harder for me to tell apart a “walker,” or zombie, from a human. Now it is simple because I know what signs to look for, but back then it was much more difficult. I almost got myself killed a few times thinking a walker was still amongst the living. On the flip side of the coin, I almost impaled my neighbor’s little boy with my billiard cue stick thinking he was a walker. He came limping at me and moaning after his whole family had been ravaged by an undead hoard near the park. He was the only one that got away, but he had been bitten, securing his demise just days later. Even so, I would have felt terrible had I killed a human…a child, for that matter. That is one reason why I quickly learned what signs to look for when distinguishing between living, breathing, humans and brain-hungry, walking corpses. Crooked walking and cocked necks, moaning without speech, and decaying flesh are just a few of the more common signs to watch for when trying to differentiate between zombies and humans.
When confronting the undead, remember that they use to be human just like you and me. Because of this, zombies and humans still tend to look very alike. A walker’s clothes may be bloody and torn apart, but be careful not to shove your billiard 7.62×39 surplus ammo cue stick through a skull due to a few holes in some jeans or a bloody shirt collar. You may be trying to kill someone that is still breathing. Instead of primarily looking at their clothes, pay more attention to the way they move. Any sporadic motion or clumsiness, such as limping, a crooked walk or gait, the dragging of an extremity, or a cocked neck, is a warning sign and should be approached with extreme caution. And if they have their arms outstretched and are reaching out trying to grab and bite you, then attack or flee, as you are dealing with walkers, for sure.
Moaning and no speech are two more signs of the undead, although humans are very capable of this, too. Be careful not to use the “shoot first, ask questions later” routine if someone approaches you and doesn’t speak. They may just be timid, afraid, or acting cautiously. Likewise, a person in considerable pain might be moaning for help, not moaning to munch on brains. However, always approach with extreme caution and loudly and firmly announce yourself. Once you have spoken, chances are likely that a person will respond with words. A walker will not. Moaning, groaning, and complete silence are undead signs not to be ignored. Group a moan with outstretched arms and a limp, and you are most assuredly looking at your next undead victim, as long as it does not get you first.
Decaying flesh is way more obvious to observe, although you must be a lot closer to a zombie than what I consider to be a safe distance to determine whether you are looking at rotten, decaying flesh versus scratches or simple wounds. A deep laceration surrounded by dried blood stains and bruises may look bad, but does not necessarily signify death. It could be a human in terrible pain needing dire assistance. However, if you happen to witness someone who’s face is half missing, yet he still gives chase, then thrust your billiard cue stick deep into its skull, killing it off for good.
Decaying flesh should also point out another vital component about your cannibalistic nemeses. None of a walker’s internal systems work. This includes the Central Nervous System, respiratory system, endocrine system, digestive system, circulatory system, and all others. These systems shut down permanently, allowing them to survive on only the minutest of brain activity and the instinct to feed. Since the only things that technically work on their bodies are their brains and senses (which, by the way, are heightened to levels that easily surpass that of a human, giving them an advantage in sight, sound, and smell), you must cease all brain activity to kill them. Massive brain trauma, whether it be by spear, crow bar, pool cue stick, a bullet, a sturdy bludgeoning weapon, or whatever else you have in your undead ammo dump is the only way to permanently drop a zombie and kill it once and for all.
Looking for these general undead walker signs when out and about in our current state is essential if you expect to survive. After you acquire some basic zombie hunting skills and you have disposed of a handful of walkers, you will become more and more confident with time. I did not want this life. I did not ask for it, and I wish things were different. But since I have it, I have decided to embrace it and share my knowledge to aid in the survival of others. Now it is not just my life in my hands, but anyone else’s out there who might be listening to my advice. So even if it means taking on an entire undead hoard with just my billiard cue stick in hand and loyal dog by my side, I will prevail. I am prepared and know what to watch for to stay alive, and will help you recognize the same. More transmissions forthcoming.