Amazing Grace –
The El Niño Legend
(Surviving the Zombie Invasion)
Carl R. ToersBijns, author
Carl was doing some serious research on these water logged and bloated zombies that he realized must have some kind of resistance to decomposing as they appeared to be somewhat half-alive.
He had noticed the disintegrating, decayed corpses but he also noticed that the amount of decay was limited and not as progressive or advanced as science explained it to be under these environmental circumstances. Something was interfering with the natural decomposing process and Carl wanted to know what that was.
This prompted him to look into the mystery as he explained his theory to Grace that the flooded El Nino waters appeared to be aiding the retardation of these walkers and their method of rottenness to a degree that kept them more intact than others he had seen.
His theory was that under ideal conditions, their rotted flesh was a magnet for various species of decomposers he knew existed under certain conditions. Off hand, he knew of three decomposers that were organism made of bacteria, fungi and worms or insects. He was certain there were others but having no extensive background in biology, he was guessing they were the major sources in this part of the world.
Under normal conditions, specifically without the interference or dynamics of the El Nino, he speculated the flooding and pools of water was somehow impeding the decomposition or decaying process making them remain stronger and possess more vigor or vitality even when they are half-life or half-undead.
Scientifically, they should have decayed faster but since they were water logged, bloated and underwater at times, they didn’t attract the usual decomposers such as certain bacteria, fungi, and insect species such as flies, beetles, ants, and other kinds of bugs unable to live under the water.
With a puzzled face he cringed and bit his lip, glancing over to where Grace was sitting and asking her, “Why do these un-dead zombies stop decomposing?”
This prompted him to believe he might be able to find a cure for this retardation of rotted flesh that kept the walkers more upright and rigid longer or so it seemed. His curiosity was peeked and he wouldn’t let go of the matter.
Showing her light humor in this conversation, Grace looked at Carl and said to him, “I got the cure right here baby, a sawed off twelve gauge shotgun with Double Ought  buck loaded in it.”
Carl laughed and reached out to give her a kiss. Playfully horsing around and having a good time, they were dealing and coping with the situation at hand light-heartedly and with a good sense of humor. This was healthy under the adverse conditions of confinement and being cooped up all the time.
Later that night, Grace said to Carl, “do you think that these colder nights and lack of sunlight has impacted the zombie’s body temperature too? Since the landscape is constantly flooded killing most of the insects and keeping the flies and other winged creatures away, does all this water along with colder temperatures and lower levels of oxygen alter the rotting of the flesh process?”
Scratching his head, Carl said, “Using your theory, it would mean that zombies couldn’t’ live in severe cold climates like up North in the Dakotas or Minnesota or even places like Alaska.”
He was beginning to see a correlation between hot and cold temperatures and throwing the retardation process of the water interfering with the natural decomposers in the mix.
Searching on the laptop, he began to dive into the matter and started reading tons of documents related to decomposing properties of the human body and how the environment impacted this process.
Additionally, the El Nino did not impact the northern states as much as it did the southern or central states giving them the drier parts of the weather fronts or systems most of the time. This could explain why the zombie experience was rare up there.
This was important to document for this wild and freelanced hypothesis as this hint was significant information that Carl could use to his advantage somewhere down the line.
Assuming that colder temps makes it more difficult to decompose, he also read in his research how the zombie virus prevents a total undead condition and only creates a half-alive, half-undead creature under the current weather related circumstances. He began to wonder how the El Nino had changed this somehow.
This prompted Carl to believe or speculate that controlling the climate would control zombie outbreaks to a large degree and needed to be communicated with other sources.
Whether or not zombie flesh was toxic was hard to determine unless you are a scientist who was fortunate enough to collect real samples and DNA of these creatures. He was certain the military had the answers to this as they have been sampling zombies for many years now.
Perhaps the infection carried with it an immunity to attacks by bacteria or other fungi substances and insects that would normally create maggots and infest the flesh eating worms to eat the skin.
It would be logical that since a zombie cannot reanimate even after being infected, this same process halts the decomposition of the decaying flesh enough to retard the process to a large degree. One has to wonder if this applied to vampires as well and how scientist have dealt with that phenomena over time.
So was the El Nino stopping the zombies from decomposing? Does it slow down the deterioration of their flesh until it no longer falls off and just dangles there on their half exposed skeletal frame?
Does this process create an armored layer of hardened decayed flesh and in the absence of flesh, a skeletal layer of protection like that of a dinosaur skeleton of a T Rex from the past?
Carl knew that walkers moved even when their limbs had been severely impaired or disconnected. These corpses were resilient creatures that never stopped advancing to find their victims. In some cases, a zombie was found too far and wasted away enough to not be able to stand walk or attack a human being who was not infected.
Curiously, Carl wanted to find the answers to this notion that could reveal how to defeat the zombie’s growth and strength to keep on attacking.
Using the reverse concept, these zombies would not thrive well in warmer climates or high humidity places as these undead would decay at a faster pace than those in the colder climates but the only common denominator was the rain from the El Nino.
This brought the humidity up around 90 to 100 per cent and with the heat, limit the lifespan of the zombies for less than six weeks. Using this theory, a zombie would last longer than six weeks under cold climates and high humidity but with the rains drowning insects, fungi and other bacteria, this retardation could keep a zombie alive much longer.
This is contrary to the theory that at first freeze, the zombie plague is over because it couldn’t continue to scavenging as predators and lack the opportunity to reanimate and multiply in numbers.
Using his research material, Carl found out that according to forensic anthropologists, they will tell you that the human body decomposes in roughly one week when exposed to air or water. Temperature and humidity affect this timeframe: hot/wet will accelerate decomposition, whereas cold/dry will delay the process.
He began to assume that the zombie virus when exposed to the weather conditions of the harsh El Nino storms somehow prevents decomposition of flesh and reduces the speed of the decaying process because the lack of availability of bacteria, fungi or worms and insects have been greatly impaired by the standing water covering the landscape resulting in an absence of these microorganism critter to do their jobs.
He wasn’t sure about his conclusions or theories but it got him thinking. If this was something he could manipulate inside his own world of surviving this ordeal, he could alter the conditions to suit his needs to weaken the hordes of walkers and reduce their numbers over time with manipulating the environment conditions around chosen locations.
Ironically, the idea the flood waters helped retard the zombie decaying process was also a curious subgenre of some typical zombie movies that had been shown on TV and caused Carl to think a bit deeper than entertainment purposes.
He was trying to find a cure (other than the twelve gauge shotgun method) for reducing the zombie population and feared the water of the El Nino was interfering with the natural decaying process.
People eating people was not a natural act. It was surreal and cannibalism at its best. Getting a little angry and thinking about these undead monsters living and thriving around him was created a god-awful obsession inside him.
Swearing he wanted to find out how the El Nino had disrupted the rotting of flesh process was his next plan to tackle during his quiet time inside the bunker. After all this time, he was certain the connection between the El Nino and its weather making dynamics impacted the way the zombies in one peculiar way or another.
Besides the fact these walkers were unable to think, walk in a half-baked manner and execute with bizarre rigid movements was something he had accepted but what was unacceptable to him was the chance they were being preserved by the constant deluge of flood waters perhaps giving them a safe place either underwater or partially submerged water to deliberately delay the decomposition of flesh.
It was hard to picture a zombie as a swimmer and Carl was certain that wasn’t the case. He was particularly concerned with the fact that water delayed the rotting part of decomposition.
He needed to formulate a plan to save the day sort of speak and experiment how the water impacted these water logged slow plodding creatures who moved at an interminable or perpetual pace but yet seemed to cope with the environment. Assuming that zombies are half-alive, then the cure to stopping their growth was to stop the half-alive part from living.
Looking at this from a rational and practical viewpoint, Carl knew zombies had natural predators of heat, humidity, insects, cold and a lack of an immunity system.
By all practical thinking, zombies should have no chance of lasting or surviving for a very long time. They lifespan is theoretically too short to multiple in hordes even if one infected person bites thirty people, the math doesn’t make it real. What was driving the exponential growth of these mindless creatures?
Under realistic conditions, the military, cops and public service agencies evacuate and remain intact unlike the movies showing them all wiped out and only a few survivors remain.
Comparing his current status in society, Carl knew and witnessed the presence of military troops and cops in helicopters but none on land where the zombies lived or existed making traveling the roads, streets and highways unsafe.
However, because the El Nino had dumped several feet of floodwater on these same places, they were unsafe also because of poor traverse conditions, not because of hordes of walkers. This would explain the lack of survivors inside the troubled and partially demolished city streets.
Therefore, he believed the El Nino caused the food chain to be depleted for the zombies and denying them of victims to bite and infect creating a stockpile of infected zombies lasting longer but suffering to find flesh to eat or consume.
Another factor has been the absence of animals, any kind of animal, domestic or wild that have fled the flooded landscape following the humans out of town.
If these animals could survive the high waters and function as nature developed them, they would indeed be looking to eat zombies and consume them as meals since they are all meat and bones even if an animal isn’t hungry, it sees a meal.
Zombies are at a distinct disadvantage compared to humans. Humans are smarter, well-armed and able to hunt with instincts for survival needs. On the other hand, zombies wander out in the open having no weapons and can’t think or plan like the humans can.
Unlike the humans who know they possess a fight or flight instinct mechanism commonly called “self-preservation”, zombies don’t hide or seek shelter when it’s in danger.
Henceforth, the El Nino has decimated the insect population that could have attacked and destroyed the remaining tissue of zombies. The rain has kept away the flies, the smaller insects and other bacteria causing or possessing flesh predators.
With the flies missing, maggots are not swarming these undead carcasses of the unloving. They are not eating away the soft tissue of their eyes and other parts that couldn’t survive such an assault meaning that most of their soft tissues will be infested, and their eyes will be very quickly useless.
Thus Southern California, even in the metro areas have been known to have bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars and mountain lions plus a wide range of meat eating domestic animals.
In most conditions, these animals would be strong but the floodwaters have chased them away or killed them as some can’t endure a sustained swim with the waters being so plentiful and creating large pools of water in the low laying areas of the valley.
Hell, just think of the millions of stray dogs out there who'll quickly learn that zombies are an easy meal but drowned or evacuated due to the high waters.
Carl had already calculated the impact of heat, cold and humidity and found reasonable doubt that this process was being interfered by the El Nino created environmental conditions to a large extent.
So why did the zombies survive under water and how come their bodies didn’t bloat with gasses created by the bacteria unless the bacteria growth was stifled. Then the decomposition was slowed down a lot.
Finally, the spectrums involving the El Nino had upset the eco system of the major environment – the desert, the mountains and the sun. In the sun, a zombie would be quickly mummified. However, sunlight has been sparse due to the constant cloud cover and has dropped earthly temperatures drastically.
While the normal symptoms of dehydration are not a concern for a zombie, there is the problem of desiccation. With no reasonable means of replenishing the water in their cells, zombies walking around in the California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas heat all day are going to suffer cell damage due to direct sun exposure to their skin unless the sun disappeared.
Since the El Nino tradewinds are usually heavily filled with moist wind and not dry like in the desert, their existence can be more preserved realistically and at some point, more and more effectively until, at some point, they simply drop and wait for the scavengers to come pick them up for an easy meal.
Thus it was the time that the El Nino altered, the time to exist in such climate and weather conditions was extended by contributing factors that favored zombies. So these undead consumed by a virus turned into Cujos like rabid dogs do and infect others and as they cope within the better environment, they reproduce effectively.
They reproduce like a disease, one that spreads via a bite from the infected like they have a virus carried by the infected zombie saliva or whatever strange zombie created bacteria (if that is possible) produces such a venom.
But this also means their spread should be subject to the same rules of a normal epidemic, and biting is not the most effective way to spread a disease but it does work over time creating the possibility that the El Nino shortens the infection time as well as the other dynamics created, altered or impacted by this longer lasting El Nino storm disaster.
In the meantime, Grace wanted to work on an assessment process to find someone who could help take care of Heather when they were gone looking or scavenging for supplies.
She needed to create a “zombie safe temperament test” that would give her a better clue about the character traits of the person(s) they found out there and chose to join their survival mission. The freshly molded temperament tests includes:
The "assess-a-hand", which involves offering a large, fake hand to the person to see their reaction was to shake it or eat it. This is threatening and can cause even very calm non-infected persons to react in a manner that may show intent.
Touching each other hands – something that many well-adjusted persons don't like but necessary to determine if the person has self-control to avoid an obsession to bite, claw, or grab the hand.
Testing persons for so-called "food aggression", which is a behavior that may be caused by the environment itself showing whether the person has a normal appetite for real human made food that is consumable as behave like zombies who don’t eat or have the desire to eat.
Face to face staring at each other within a cage or barrier between them to determine if a persons is negatively reactive or easily provoked to other people which is not the natural way a normal person would encounter another normal person.
Conduct a fear test to sense fear or insecurities in the person making sure they are suitable for companionship. The test here focuses on stress test, sweating, speech, decision making and verbalization of the fear stimuli used.
The very small amount of caution these tests may provide is largely outweighed by their negative impact on non-infected people and detect those who have been infected or under the influence of the virus making these tests a virtual death sentence for those suspected of being infected or under the suspicion of being infected.
There is no certain order these tests can be or should be conducted. A loaded shotgun should be available for immediate disposal of all unqualified applicants.