page40As you drive away, the figure on your trunk falls and hits the curb with a crack. Yowtch. If you’re wrong about this whole zombie thing, you may have just killed a guy. You look back through your rear view mirror, however, and see him stand up on twisted legs and immediately attack the driver of a passing ice cream truck. That makes you feel . . . ew. Mixed. At best.

Ernie lives on the far side of town, but with some creative driving that involves more than a little reliance on sidewalks, you manage to clear the heart of the zombie infestation. When you finally get to his house, you’re startled by your friend’s appearance. He already looks like he hasn’t slept in days.

“Zombies,” Ernie says carefully after you explain what’s going on. “Okay. That makes sense.” He rushes to his window and peeks through the blinds. “Are they crawling out of graves or being helicoptered in? Did anybody see you come here?”

“I don’t think so,” you say, not sure which question to answer first. “It looked like they were making more zombies by biting regular people. I didn’t see any helicopters. Or a lot of soil or anything.”

“Okay. Okay.” Ernie is deep in thought. “I have some theories. They could be military. I know for a fact the army has been working on classified experiments on cadavers at an underground facility in the New Mexico desert. Who knows what could come from that?”

Government experiments. That sounds pretty bad. “What else have you got?” you ask.

“Well, how much do you know about para-religious suicide cults?” Not a whole lot, you confirm. “Basically, there are forces in the world that defy logical explanation,” Ernie continues. “I’m not prepared to rule out Satan worship or ancient pagan black magic or contact with extra-dimensional beings. If people have tapped into any of these forces, zombie infestations are the kind of thing you might expect.”

Extra-dimensional pagan devil worship. You feel a little pale. “Anything else?”

“There is one more theory,” Ernie says. “You’re not going to like it.”

“What is it?” you ask.

“You have to promise not to laugh.”

“Ernie, just tell me.”

“Fluoride.”

You laugh. “It’s not fluoride, Ernie.”

“No, I have a whole file!” your friend insists, grabbing a bunch of papers out of a desk drawer. “They used it to pacify the anti-war population in the sixties! What if it’s been building up or something? Can you get too pacified? Like, zombie pacified? I don’t know. What do you think we should do?”

If you decide to follow up on the military experiment angle, turn to page 90.

If you think it all sounds more like ancient dark prophecy stuff, turn to page 153.

If Ernie really won you over with his carefully-reasoned fluoride argument, turn to page 224.

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