Jane Galletti and Steve Fish of Plattsburgh became the undead during the 2012 Zombie Walk on Oct. 13.
PLATTSBURGH — Dana and Cheryl Lawrence are lucky to be alive.
As they were crossing Margaret Street in Plattsburgh, a terrible sound—groaning and growling—cut through the crisp autumn air and stopped them in their tracks.
There, on the sidewalk, a foul horde of the most unspeakable wretches was shuffling by on the sidewalk, all seemingly bound for the same destination.
Thinking fast, the couple hid between two vehicles and watched in horror as the walking dead crept past them.
Dana stood wide-eyed, with Cheryl in his arms, as the last of them withdrew.
“I’m going to give her up first,” he said nervously, his survival instinct running high. “I’m more of a cut and run kind of guy.”
The Lawrence’s were not the only people to witness the procession. In fact, on Oct. 13, about 350 zombies started at the Plattsburgh Farmers Market pavillion and descended upon downtown Plattsburgh, causing pedestrians and restaurant goers alike to recoil in abject fear.
It was the fourth time this event has occurred, causing some experts to begin referring to the phenomenon as an “annual undead migration.”
The exact cause of the outbreak has left some mystified, but one of the plague’s victims offered an explanation.
Between guttural lapses in speech, Tyler Gadway, 10, of Plattsburgh, recounted his terrifying tale.
“A Camaro that was going 95 miles an hour hit me, and that’s when my hand flew off,” Gadway said, proudly showing off his stump. “As I was lying there, one of my horses bit me right in the neck, and I got the infection.”
Gadway then admitted he has bitten at least 17 people since contracting the disease.
Others were not so sure where their condition originated. Shoben Runyon remembered waking up from a head injury he suffered, and soon he began craving raw meat.
His mother, Sedona Runyon, was the first to notice the bite mark on his cheek.
“I am a zombie nurse, so I can take care of him,” she muttered through steel-blue lips. “But looking at some of these people, they seem to be getting worse.”
As Sedona’s own zombified joints began to stiffen, she offered a cautionary statement to the still living: “A good tip is to blend in, and keep your distance.”
Staying away might be good advice for some, but Kimberly Cummins wasn’t taking it.
Cummins took a different approach in dealing with the zombie apocalypse. As the human organizer of the event, her desire was to look like one of the undead—and become their leader.
“First, you get a bull-horn from the city police,” Cummins said. “They’ll listen to anyone with a megaphone.”
Cummins used the bull-horn to communicate to the mass of malevolent menaces, and then, as if controlled by some unseen hand, the horde assembled into a tattered line.
Grumbling and scuffling along, they proceeded to follow Cummins through the streets.
“They’re really as dumb as bricks,” Cummins said. “I have just blended in with them, and they don’t know the difference.”
But Cummins’ intent wasn’t malicious. On the contrary, she was trying to help restore their humanity.
“I’m actually leading them to a zombie rehab center, a place where they can dance their blues away,” Cummins said.
Misfits tribute band Return of the Fly provided music for the zombie prom, held in Plattsburgh State’s Angell College Center, which helped the fiends reconnect with their softer, gentler sides.
And as the night began to fade, so did the malicious intent of the undead, whose cheeks soon became rosy as their pulses returned.
The long sought cure for zombiism, it seemed, was not medicinal or surgical after all—it was simply good old-fashioned tender loving care.