A Grave New World | Gabrielle Fernandez

cottonbro via Pexels

With the excitement of SurpRise Day approaching, we should remember there is more to the holiday than presents and a day off work. It is a day to honor the dead or rather, not-so-dead, and the historic Rising that forever changed our lives.

The undead, or Zombies as many lovingly joke, came in droves at the start of the decade and soon every town was overrun with these new citizens.

“I always thought the Apocalypse would be more disasters and death,” recounts Mary Higgins, who was one of the first to report on the Rising. “At first, I thought it was extras from a movie or something. It wasn’t until I saw one of them lose an arm that I realized it was real.”

Initial response by many believed the dead rising was a sign of the rapture, but it became quickly apparent the zombies simply wanted nothing more than to make the best of their second chance at life.

“When the undead appeared, we truly expected the worst,” says Dr. Stephen Gladwell, professor at Princeton University and Nobel Peace Winner for his work with the Dead Integration Project. “What we had not expected was that not only were our undead loved ones exceptionally cheerful, but they were more than willing to reintegrate back into society.”

“I always hated Frank,” Margarite Wilkinson of Benton County noted of her late husband. “But since he’s returned, he’s been a perfect gentleman. He does all the chores without being asked, never complains when we entertain guests, and even fixed the gutters. Dinner consists of more raw meat than before, but it’s a small price to pay.”

Wilkinson is not alone in this revelation. Reports from across the country of reunited spouses and family were amazed at the new dispositions of their late relatives. Many accounts of the day the zombies arrived include the deceased breaking the tension with a knock-knock joke.

Opponents of the Rising stated this influx of bodies would create massive infrastructure issues from overcrowding. Jon De Palo, the founder of Putting the Undead Back in Crypts, or PUBIC, was starkly opposed to reinstating the undead into society. “We were sure so many new bodies would be nothing but trouble,” remembers De Palo. “Most cities already struggled with overcrowding. You can imagine the panic we faced at the thought of more people, dead or not.”

But as De Palo and many other anti-zombie groups quickly realized, the benefits of our returned loved ones greatly outweighed the cons. By the following year after the Rising, zombie labor was being utilized all around the world. Needing no breaks and unaffected by the occasional impalement, the undead became a staple in construction and other projects deemed unsafe for the living.

Zelda Maas saw the opportunity early and began the Undead Union, which now oversees almost 80% of the zombie workforce. “It’s been a godsend for so many companies,” said Maas. “The Undead don’t sleep so projects are being completed in a quarter of the time it used to take”.

The evidence of this is clear. Renovation projects in places such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Jacksonville have turned these towns into sprawling metropolises. High speed railroads now connect every major city, with more currently in progress. With the return of humanity’s greatest minds, many diseases such as AIDS, diabetes, and restless leg syndrome have been eradicated. Zombie Louis Pasteur claims he is on track for a cure for the common cold, while Zombie Michael Faraday has created a true hover car which will be available for purchase next year.

Of the many monumental impacts in the last decade, one of note is the dissolving of the United Nations and subsequent creation of the Undead Utopian United Homeland, or UUUH. The newly acquired attitudes of the undead did not end with their high spirits and affinity for puns. It was quickly discovered that Zombies opposed separate countries and preferred a global nation. By the fifth year of the Rising, most electoral positions had been won by the undead. All dictatorships had been eradicated when the slain leaders had revived with a perky disposition and strong feelings toward universal healthcare. It was shortly thereafter world peace ensued.

“It’s about togetherness,” explains Mandeep Singh, interpreter for the East Americas President, Zombie Washington. “When he addresses the people, we know every ‘uuuuuh’ and groan comes from his unbeating heart”.

There are still many hurdles to overcome in the future. A verdict is expected in the next year for Zombie v Oklahoma regarding inter-breathing marriage between the living and undead. Considering the entire Supreme Court is now filled with all undead judges, it is highly expected to pass.

Within the short span of ten years, it is clear the impact our undead friends have had. So, while we wish each other a Happy Burial and exchange gifts around holiday graves, we should also take the time to reflect on the vast progress that has been made and the rotting hands that made it possible. 

Gabrielle Fernandez’s work has been published in SORTES Magazine and The Racket Journal. She loves scribbling stories on napkins and parking tickets. Gabrielle can be found on Twitter @GabbyFez

Leave a Reply