Episode II

We used to live in the city. Well, technically we still do, but with so many falling victim to zombie paranoia after the outbreak and fleeing for the hills so to speak, it feels more like we’re living in the country. It’s not like the city is the high-density population area we remember from childhood, right? I can go days now without seeing another human. I wish it were so with the zombies, but no. Zombies are as rampant as fleas on a squirrel here. Oh, how I wish driving the zombies away were as easy as repelling fleas. It’s not, although I reckon if you’re reading this you already know that. Still, I’ve found at least one all organic repellent that’s really helped.

Harvey and I were out hunting for blackberries one afternoon. It was hot and sunny, perfect weather for being out since the zombies in our area seemed to eschew both the sun and heat of any kind. We’d happened across a fine stand of Himyalyan blackberries, the terribly prickly kind that take over darn near everything in their path but produce some of the biggest, fattest, sweetest berries by late summer it makes you wonder if maybe it’s worth the devastation they cause. I was merrily filling my bag when I heard a rustling deeper into the thicket. At first, I thought it was probably just a bear, maybe a cougar. As I picked my way back out of the bramble, Harvey began to bark wildly. Barking like that could only mean Zombies.

Harvey took off as I spilled out of the bramble. I heard the sound of cloth ripping behind me. I scrambled to my feet. I glanced back and ran. The zombie wasn’t alone. There were three of them hot on my heels, moving faster than seemed natural at the time. I’d only encountered the first gens at that point, so this was my first encounter with their deadlier progeny. I followed Harvey’s wild barking ahead, tearing through dried grass field, a small stand of willow, and across a shallow creek. The zombies followed, pulling up short at the creek. Water seemed to give them pause, but not for long. By the time I’d scrambled up the opposite bank, they were mid-stream. Ahead, Harvey beckoned from a wide field of green. I slipped on the bank as one of the zombies lurched toward me. It’s fingers brushed my calf, sending a fresh burst of adrenaline into my veins. I surged forward into the field of green. To my amazement, the zombies stopped in their tracks. Harvey wagged and rolled back and forth in what I later realized was pennyroyal. As it turns out, zombies and fleas alike hate the scent of pennyroyal.

While you may be able to repel fleas for the season with a simple wash once a week with tea of pennyroyal or even the essential oil if you’re lucky enough to have found a stash in one of the old herbal shops that’s still good, zombies will require frequent re-application. Daily application, twice daily if it’s the second gens you’ve got on your hands. The older the pennyroyal gets, the less it repels zombies; fresh pennyroyal is hands down my top choice. If you’re lucky enough to live in a more permanent place, I’d recommend planting the space around your dwelling with a thick stand of pennyroyal. You’ll want at least six feet in depth. Anything less and they’re more likely to cross.

If you’re like me, tending to move about, you’ll want to brew a more potent zombie repellent. I wish that adding a touch of cedar or thuja or citronella would strengthen the repellent as it does for fleas, but I haven’t found that to be so. The onion family, including shallots, garlic, chives, leeks, and all manner of onions seems to help as does Thyme and Eucalyptus. Thyme and Eucalyptus are easily found in our area. They’d been common landscaping plants in the old days, and I’m heartily thankful for that. I brew a tea of onion, pennyroyal, thyme and eucalyptus about once a week to use as a wash for our hair and clothing as well as for Harvey. It’s a stinky brew, unlike the flea mix, but I’ve lurched past both first and second gen zombies on several occasions successfully due I’m fairly certain to my homemade zombie repellent. Like I said, it’s smelly, which maybe exactly why it works, but it’s easy to make and if it drives off an infestation then I say bring on the stick.

May you be well,

Zombie Hunter C.

Publisher’s Disclaimer: This column is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locals or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.