Authors: Suchitra Chatterjee
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
Copyright © 2016 by Suchitra Chatterjee
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the author
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Published & Printed in the United Kingdom (England)
(Jungli Pugli Publications)
Contagion Part One
The Abandoned Trilogy
Edited by Rohan Banerjee
Jungli Pugli Publications
Thorncroft Residential Home
New World Succession - (NWS)
Garlic Petrol Bombs
General James Bowes-Lyon
Katana Noggin Cricket
Special Needs Soup
Quotes by the Abandoned
Dedicated to the following people
First and foremost, this is for my parents, Ma and Baba, for all their support and encouragement over the years with regard to my writing. From my first scribbles aged 8 to where I am now. Thank you, I could not have done it without you both.
For my big sister Manju Banerjee-Thomas aka Sissy Chops, Sispa, Sissy, Sis, thank you for everything, especially the child of my heart, your son Rohan. Much love.
In loving memory
Valerie Ann Burgher, born in New York, raised partly in Jamaica, a much loved childhood friend who loved writing as much as I did, who was my playmate, my friend and my little sister. We watched Sesame Street together, drank chocolate milk from big plastic beakers, swam in the pool with Manju and Ranjit, you even told me you were going marry Ranjit and had a wedding with your Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls. When you grew up you became a journalist, you never got to meet Rohan, Manju’s son who followed in your footsteps. You were taken from us far too soon; miss you lots “little sister.”.
Also for Richard Gladman, a Facebook friend who loved all monsters, especially Zombies – if there be a Zombie Pagan afterlife, Richard will be there…running it!
For Dorothy Fish, my Great Aunt, and Godmother, who died in 2002, she believed in me but most important of all, she loved me unconditionally, warts and all. Still miss you Ani.
And finally for Philip Wise, last but never least, the truest Oysterite ever, he dared to dream his own dreams, live life to the full, and photograph it whenever he got the chance. Phil, I hope you and your Dad are now together in heaven, tending God’s gardens and taking photos for his albums.
The book would have never been possible without the help of so many people such as my busy journalist nephew Rohan Banerjee who took the time to read the book and is still reading it and still editing it as of the launch of this book! A revised grammatically correct edition to be out very soon.
Also big thanks to my big sis Manju Banerjee-Thomas for all the medical questions I couldn't answer, they weren’t easy questions especially the ones about suicide and stomach pumping!
I have to mention Lucy Hendey-Graham who told me she wanted to read and hear stories about “people just like her” and also her brother Rory, aka Rag’n’Bone Man whose amazing 2016 song ‘
’ I have played over and over again whilst writing this book. It actually inspired me to write more.
I must also thank my friend from my Oyster days, Sarah Gordy, actress, poet, artist, and dancer who showed and is still showing me that disabled people are not just the sum of their disabilities. She and her mother Jane are incredible and totally supportive of my writing,
And then there is Dawn Fuller from the Oyster Project who kept nagging me to do more with Zombies, here is the end result which I hope you will like.
Thank you so much to Indira (Ratbag) Sengupta, my bestest best friend since she was 4 and I was 8, the first ‘reader’ of the book and one of my staunchest friends and supporters. We will be friends forever…mainly because you know where all the bodies are buried…
And of course Sally, Zombie Genres I know are not her thing, she is more of a ‘chick book’ girl but she was willing to read this book for me. That is friendship for you, plus she too knows where all the bodies are buried…
A very important thank you goes out to Dr. Pushpa Parekh, my tutor when I was an international student at the amazing Spelman College (
) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 1995 her encouragement and friendship is greatly appreciated and valued to this day. She more than anyone understands the meaning of disability and how it can impact on all of your life.
I met many people at SCOPE, (
who encouraged me to write this book, like Corinne Mills, Leila Francis, Harriet Cavanagh, Bec Bart, Nu McAdam to name but a few. Thanks guys.
I got help and encouragement from a work colleague, PCSO Kevin Brown of Sussex Police who posted the book’s details out onto social media for me off his own back. Thank you.
And then there was Zombies in Brighton on Facebook who put the call out on Social Media for a name for the Pathogen. Much appreciated guys.
I couldn’t have done this without MrEK78 – a YouTuber - for his help with information on military weapons. Thank you so much.
The artwork for the front cover rocks! Thanks to Digitilian Magazine, cool or what, huh?
Susi Maxwell-Stewart gave advice with regard to the little known Kabuki Syndrome which the character Eden Manders has. She also read the book. Thank you so much.
I have to also thank Luci Maxwell-Stewart for her wonderful sense of humour which is very much reflected in the storyline. Her Special Needs Soup comment whilst we were having lunch one day has pride of place in this book.
Thank you to the Black History Project (
for making me realise that writing comes in all shapes and sizes! Respect to you Mr Williams!
Acknowledgement and thanks for my good friend Alice Denney, poet and Trans activist for all her support and encouragement. In dark times you were there for me and I came out on the other side because of you.
Marc Hollingworth, is an Apple Geek, and I have to give thanks for his advice about communication in the digital age. I can’t change a plug fuse much less talk about the digital world!
Tamara Wells has a very big thank you for the wonderful photographs she snapped for me in the wilds of Portslade for use in the Twice Dead Graphic Taster Comic and Digital Limited Edition Book, as well as her help with the editing of the book.
Chess plays and important role in this book, so thank you to the two chess players at Brighthelm, Michael Ruxton and John Gardener for allowing me to take photos of them for use in the Graphic Taster Comic and Digital Limited Edition Book
Peter Chan also let me utilize some of his amazing photos for the
Graphic Taster Comic and Digital Limited Edition Book. I wouldn’t have got to know him if not for Ludo Foster a fellow Black History Supporter and PhD Graduate from Sussex University.
Terri Jenner, what can I say about you? On Facebook you have faithfully followed Twice Dead and shared it without fail to all your friends and family. Thank you so much for your support and use of photos in the
Graphic Taster Comic and Digital Limited Edition Book.
I must mention Nick Grout, and Bunty Fergus, who have also faithfully followed my Facebook page since I started writing.
) ,. Thank you so much
Gary Robertson, I hope you are resting like you promised (AKA KISA) from Carecentres Mobility – (
wonderful photographs of his Alsatian Henry for the Graphic novel taster. Henry has now been renamed Karma in all formats of the book.
Grateful thanks also to Kayleigh of Dux Doodles (
who is working on a special edition cover for Twice Dead – Contagion.
Thorncroft Residential Home for the Physically and Mentally Disable
the South of England, named in the Doomsday book as being an early Roman Settlement, known for its natural beauty, flora, fauna and ancient underground river system that feeds into the ice-age Monocot lake. The Home is set outside the town of Thorncroft itself, some 20 miles away, amid an ancient woodland that is well known for its copious and abundant wild garlic and
hen all was said and done, it was luck rather than any kind of design that we survived the Twice Dead outbreak. If you think about it logically, we should have been the first to go. The first to be slaughtered and devoured by the Twice Dead.
I now have a tendency to over think things, and this is one of the things that I often over think. Once upon a time I did very little in the way of thinking for myself. I drifted through life, but now it’s different. In order to survive I had to find my voice. Not easy when silence has been your companion for most of your life.
Occasionally Seb and I will try and talk about the “
before contagion days,
” but these conversations are usually cut short by either Wolf or Elise who make a point of not letting us get together too often.
I know they aren’t keen for any of us to dwell on the past, to remember those horrific early days, and all that took place along with the equally horrific things that were done, not only by the Twice Dead, but also by our fellow human beings.
We are changing the status quo in a Twice Dead world with people who we first saw as our enemies but now have become allies and with them, will be part of the legacy that we shall pass onto the next generation.
Before I go any further though, I have to make one thing categorically clear. We are not super heroes like those you read about in popular comic books. We are not special, well other than literally being special needs, but that is as far as it goes.
We certainly weren’t valued members of the society we inhabited when there was a society in existence; if anything we lived on the periphery of the so-called normal world, aping able-bodied people in a futile attempt to be accepted.
Moreover, to add further insult to injury we were the often-unwilling participants of that insidious phenomenon known globally as “
inspiration porn.” It works like this. An able-bodied person witnesses a disabled person overcoming basic obstacles in their lives; this therefore implies to the able-bodied person that anyone less disabled has no excuse not to be inspirational themselves.
You too can be a Paralympian, or get a job in TESCOS stacking shelves, or volunteer in a charity shop, or be fund raiser for the cause of your choice! This will make you instantly inspirational and people will look at you with admiration and say things akin to, “Hasn’t she done well?” or, “I don’t see why the boy next door can’t be a Paralympian, he’s in a wheelchair isn’t he?”
Funny isn’t it how the world can be such a contradiction at times? Running a marathon with one leg makes you potentially inspiring, but if you want to be treated the same as an able bodied person, well then the equality playing field suddenly isn’t accessible anymore.
In some ways though, disabled people don’t help themselves, sometimes it isn’t their fault, but other times it is. Understanding how a disability affects an individual can be very difficult because no two disabled people are the same. In addition, society even in the 21
century with its many civil and criminal laws to protect disabled people don’t always get it right.
So what happens when the world as you knew it ends catastrophically and you just happen to be a person who has a disability? Well if you follow all the Zombie apocalypse theories, then people like us should be the main course on the Zombie menu of easy food to catch.
Nevertheless, in our case we did survive and we did adapt. Obsessions and even certain ailments that were once looked on with derision and irritation were suddenly life and death skills to be utilised to keep one-step ahead of the Twice Dead and the New World Succession.
Only now am I starting to really comprehend what the coming of the Twice Dead did to all of us in one way or another. Perhaps the contagion had infected us, but not in the way, the rest of the world had been infected.
Perhaps our infection was to bring us back to life because we were already dead, cocooned, sheltered and living artificial lives. Nothing about us was real and then the world we had known ended and we had to either wake up or truly die.
For me, my transformation was more testing, and more painful than it was for the others. Don’t get me wrong, we all had it tough, but I was the one who fought against it the most. I was the one who had willingly lived in a world of self-imposed blindness, born out of the loss of my birth parents and a long term foster family.
From that time until the first day of contagion and the rise of the Twice Dead I had readily let others take charge of my life, tell me what to do, make decisions for me, but that was about to come to an end once and for all.
We lived in the Thorncroft Residential Home for the Physically and Mentally Disabled. Never heard of it? Not surprising, most residential homes for disabled people aren’t on the celebrity map circuit and the majority of them are out in the sticks, just like Thorncroft was.
Thorncroft was yet another home for people with disabilities, with one minor difference to most other residential homes. It was inhabited by mixed abilities and its age range was diverse. Yes, it was mixed; you had people with learning disabilities living alongside physically disabled people who didn’t all have learning disabilities.
It wasn’t a big home, the age range was 18 to 40, though most of the residents tended to be between the ages of 18 and 30. There were 26 of us in the home, but at the time of contagion, only eight of us were in residence. The others were away visiting friends and family.
One person who very rarely had any visitors was Seb Garrow. He hated Thorncroft, but a court order had put him there. Once upon a time Seb had been on the racing circuit as an up and coming professional driver, he had apparently been very good, the next Lewis Hamilton was the prediction but an accident had put paid to that. His legs were pretty much rendered useless when a car he was a passenger in, flipped on the motorway, killing his friend who was the driver and permanently injuring Seb’s spinal cord.
It didn’t help that the car they both were in had been speeding, and that the driver was pretty much out of his head on drugs, as was Seb. Seb had been lucky that he was the passenger and not the driver, not just because the driver was dead, but also if he had been driving he would have prosecuted for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, because when the car flipped it hit another car and killed the driver and his two passengers. Seb very rarely talks about the accident, not surprising really
So not only did Seb loose the use of his legs, he also lost his up and coming celebrity status in the racing world. He had apparently been on TV, as told by Eden, and he had been dating one of the finalists of some reality show I never watched about modeling.
All this came to an end with the accident, his trophy girlfriend dumped him, sponsors wished him luck and moved on and his family put him into detox, which resulted in him attempting to take his own life, though he denied this, saying that it was accident. Because of this, he was deemed to be a danger to himself and to others, so a Court Order for his protection was granted, and the order included he reside in Thorncroft under specialist supervision.
In my case from the age of three I had no family to worry about me. I had been moved from foster home to foster home, with the longest stay with one family being three years. I was also in and out of hospitals for until my own medical condition stabilised and Social Service decided that my physical disability was quote, “
mild in comparison to her complex emotional problems
Actually they were more concerned about my lack of emotions as I did not show them much nor did I interact with people very well, preferring my own company to that of my so-called peers.
The previous residence before Thorncroft left a lot to be desired in the way that it was run and the clientele it supported. It was supposed to be temporary whilst my Court Order was updated but it was the worst 18 months of my life. There was no one more relieved than me when the day came for me to leave what I privately called, ‘the dumping ground.’
Thorncroft was completely different from the dumping ground. It was a place where the majority of the residents were allowed to do their own thing as long as they followed all the house rules, and were respectful to the staff who took care of them. And what was even better for me was that Thorncroft was set in spacious grounds that included a heavily wooded area, meandering streams, a lake that I was told had been formed during the ice age and wildlife and fauna I had only ever read about but never seen. An added bonus was that the residents were well looked after and life was sweet, for a while.
Seb as you can have guessed failed big time with obeying most of the house rules and being respectful, but I was happy to find my own niche, which was usually in the garden reading a book or doing some sketching depending on how I was feeling at the time.
My education had been a bit patchy due to my ill health and I had moved from special school to school because not all Fosterers or homes were in the same area and as I said before, the longest time I stayed in a foster care placement was for three years from the age 12 to 15.
However, I loved to read and this was encouraged by the majority of the families I lived with, especially Theresa. I suspect she might not have been so keen on me reading if she knew exactly what I was reading! I also have an almost photographic memory and absorbed knowledge like a sponge. Not that I did much with that knowledge other than accumulate it, but that was to change.
I also liked to do puzzles, work out solutions to them, the more complex the puzzle, the more I liked it. I apparently was borderline Autistic; well that is what Social Services said, so along with my long-term physical and mental health problems, like Seb I had a long-term care order in place.
I moved from juvenile foster care into my first residential home when I turned 18 but unlike Seb, I didn’t fight the system. I drifted along with it, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t aware of what was going on around me, subconsciously I was totally aware of my surroundings, and every now and then I woke up and jabbed at something that bothered me, but mostly I drifted because I guess it suited me. I didn’t have to worry about looking for work, because I was seen as incapable of holding down any kind of job.
The live in and day staff at Thorncroft were nice enough, they tended to leave the more-able minded of the disabled residents to their own devices, people like me who had a physical disability that didn’t require a wheelchair, just a customised leg brace and as and when needed an elbow crutch and who was placid and quiet in their eyes.
There were certain things I had to do, like going on certain home outings, eating with the other residents, some socializing, but primarily within the context of my closed and well-supervised world which I could usually manipulate to suit what I wanted to do.
Seb was supervised way more than me because he bucked the rules given half chance but also because he was seen as being a danger to himself; he had his own PA, Gregory, or the Gorilla as the residents called him. Gregory had no qualms about lifting Seb out of his wheelchair and carrying they young man cursing and fighting to either his room or the TOR space if he was being really difficult.
Surprisingly though, Seb had quite a good relationship with the Gorilla, mainly because Gregory had a passion for racing cars and speed, in the same way that Seb still did. Despite no longer being able to race, Seb still loved racing and dangerous sports. He kept himself as physically fit as he could with daily upper body exercises and regular physiotherapy for his legs and spine.
I can’t honestly say I remember all the residents from before the rise of the Twice Dead, only the ones that were left at Thorncroft when it did happen.
There was me, Seb, Jasmine, Paul, Eden, Stevie, Phoenix and Cassidy. Staff wise on that fateful day was the Gorilla, Mitch the coach driver and Shannon one of the Auxiliary Care Assistants and the live in Assistant Manager, Adag.
It was what you would class as an ordinary day, a Sunday in fact, all the residents who were going to stay with family or friends for a summer break had gone on the Thursday or Friday morning and what was left in Thorncroft were us, those who either had no family to bother about, families who weren’t able to get down that week, or if they did have family, well let’s say, they rarely visited.
I remember how warm it was that day, too warm in fact, and the air smelt funny. Sweet and cloying. It was going to be a hot summer I thought as I took my book out into the garden and sought out the shade of a favourite tree.
I had found the book in a charity shop on one of the home’s outings.
it was called, by Eugene Bryne. My reading material is quite eclectic.