One Year


Podcast Episode #365

Cheery intro music starts playing for 10 seconds, and fades as Steve begins talking. 

Steve: Good morning, listeners! I’m Steve, the host for this podcast, and I hope all of you are well on this fine morning. The date is the fourth of August, 2029, in Oakwood Falls, Montana. Today marks one year since the outbreak! If you’re still with us, congratulations. As per usual, we are taking in survivors, so to repeat: we are located at Oakwood Falls, Montana!

Steve: Now, moving on, to start the day off, I’d like to announce that we have a brand new, very special segment on the show: WE get to hear from YOU! That’s right, you get a chance to broadcast to the camp and get 30 seconds live on air!

Steve: Production is now going to be on the lookout for any incoming distress signals, standby… 

Interlude music playing in the background, machinery noises and typing fill the air and whispers can be heard.

Steve (whispering): We got one?

Steve: It looks like we have our very first caller! Hello listener, you-

Snarling and groaning can be heard in the background. A light flickering can also be heard. Flies are buzzing around, and there is a strange noise in the background: like someone eating jello.

Caller 1 (whispering): I need help, there’s like a thousand zombies here, they chased me into this building and now I’m in a filing cabinet and I can hear them eating out there and l-

Steve: Now slow down, could you speak up? Where is this?

Caller 1 (whispering): Near Yellowstone park! If anyone is nearby, (groaning and snarling) please, please help. I (sounds get louder) don’t think-

There is silence, besides the callers panicked breathing. Suddenly, a loud banging can be heard and it sounds like the doors of the cabinet are flung open. Caller screams and the line  goes flat, a loud and long beep comes after.

Steve: Well…it seems their connection was cut. You heard it here first, folks! Yellowstone Park is overrun. If you are nearby, consider running! If you’re inside…good luck.

Long pause. Thunder. It starts raining. Steve sighs.

Steve: Well…I believe we have another caller on the line! Production, patch them through.

Jackson: Morning, Steveie, I’m Jackson. Gotta say, I’m a huge fan of your work. When I’m out killing zombies, I always have your radio show on. Put it on speakers, the noise helps lure ’em in.

Steve: I, uh, appreciate the support, Jackson!

Jackson: Anyways, I called in to talk about something that really grinds my gears, Steve: having to tell people about your bites! Every camp I go to, It’s always, “were you bit?” and “have you come into contact with any contaminated fluids?” It’s my body! I reserve my right to freedom! It may be the apocalypse, but it’s still America. And don’t even get me started on-

Steve: Well hold on now, I’m sure that’s a matter of safet-

Jackson: Nonsense! I’ve been splattered with zombie guts and bits and I feel just fine. Matter ‘o fact, I was bit just now, right before tuning in! I sound fine, don’t I?


Jackson can be heard groaning, and his breathing turns laboured and slow. He sounds out of breath and feverish.

Jackson: I am feeling pretty hungry, but that’s just because I haven’t had breakfast. I’ll catch you tomorrow morning, Steve!

Steve: I wouldn’t count on it! Goodbye, Jackson.

Click and a beep. The host has hung up the phone.

Steve: Well, I think that’s enough of that. That’s natural selection for you, I suppose. Fret not listeners, you’ll get your chance to be live on air too another day! Just stay alive long enough.


Steve: I’m now going to pass it onto our former meteorologist, Heather, to talk about today’s forecast!

A few seconds of silence, people walking can be heard.

Heather: I’m still a meteorologist, Steve. The apocalypse doesn’t negate the 6 years I spent on my doctorate.

A “sorry” can be heard from Steve off screen.

Heather: Today’s forecast reads heavy clusters in the East, noticeably near Yellowstone Park. The clusters have begun spreading to neighbouring towns. If you are near Yellowstone Park, evacuate immediately. I repeat, evacuate.

Paper rustling, Heather clears her throat.

Heather: Down in the South near Woodsbeth and Whiteridge Park, do expect a light shower of the undead. Prepare for around a few hundred zombies tonight. The West should expect a quiet night, with a couple cases reported in Greenflower this week but have been reportedly dealt with. In other news, Yellowstone camp, Woodpine camp and Sutton camp have all fallen. They are overrun with a 0% survival rate. However, Ivory camp has reported a 3% survival rate of 6 survivors: only for all but one to be mauled by a bear on their way to another camp. A moment of silence for those we lost today.

Long pause. More shuffling of papers.

Heather: In closing, as the monsoon season draws closer, do remember to pack an umbrella or a poncho while scouting. The only thing worse than foraging in the woods with zombies, is foraging in the woods with zombies while there’s a thunderstorm. Back to you, Steve. 

A few seconds of silence, people walking can be heard.

Steve: Thank you, Heather! Good luck to our listeners in the East, if there are any left. Now, listeners, let’s move on to today’s Hot Topic segment : food, food, food! It’s been on everybody’s minds. Whether you’re rotting or you’re running, you’re bound to be hungry. But if your rations are running low and the nearest camp has been overrun, what is there to eat? What should we be eating anyways? Please welcome Mr Nathan Brown onto the PODCAST! He’s going to share the importance of a good diet, the best foods to eat and some tips and tricks on foraging with us. Hello, Nathan!

Nathan: Mornin’.

Steve: So, Nathan, listeners are dying to know one thing: what is the ‘superfood’ these days?

Nathan: Well, there is no such thing as a super snack or whatever. A human needs a balanced diet, naturally. If rations at home or camp are low, a good alternative food I’d recommend would be ants. 

Steve: Yum! Why ants specifically?

Nathan: They’re full of protein, and the little buggers are everywhere. Pick ‘em off the floor and into your mouth, there’s your daily protein intake right there. You could also use lizards, cockroaches, any beetles, anything you have to work with, really. You could get creative, roast them for a little texture. I personally like to get my critters a little crunchy. Naturally. 

Steve: Naturally. Well, Nathan, I have a question for you that’s been circulating around the camps: could you cook and eat a zombie? Real, or myth?

Nathan: Well, I haven’t tried it myself, but I reckon if you roast the damn thing enough it’s sure to kill off the virus. Maybe. If you try it, do let me know how it goes.

Steve: Fair enough. Another question for you: how do you suggest camps keep food up and hunger low?

Nathan: A small population would mean lesser mouths to feed, lesser people starving, and lesser problems. If foraging and farming still isn’t working, I would recommend both cutting down camp population while feeding survivors, at the same time.

Steve: Sounds perfect! I don’t see a problem with that at all. How would you go about accomplishing this?

Nathan: Cannibalism. 

Awkward silence. Steve clears his throat.

Steve: Uh…Interesting. Well, that seems like all the time we have today. Thank you for your time! (whispering) cut it.

Nathan: But what about my foraging segme- 

A long and loud beep  follows. Interlude music plays for some time, around 20 seconds.

Steve: Greetings, viewers. After further investigation, it has come to light Mr Nathan has never been a nutritionist even before the apocalypse. Apologies, dear listeners.

Steve: Moving on from the Hot Topic of the day, let’s discuss some of today’s stories! Firstly, uh… 

Papers rustling.

Steve: Okay, first up, a touching story in these trying times from our sources down in Florida: A 54 year-old man, Lance Stein, has decided to stand by his wife in their home even after she has been bit. Talk about love knowing no bounds! Now, let’s hear from the modern-day Romeo himself: Stein has agreed to a feature interview on the podcast! Good afternoon, Mr Stein.

Shallow breathing in the background. Occasional soft snarls and hisses throughout the interview. 

Stein: Afternoon, Steve. And please, call me Lance.

Steve: Sure thing, Lance. As I’m sure you know at this point, we’re calling to ask you a couple of questions about the..zombie in the room. 

Lance: Her name is Sheila. 

Steve: ..I see. I apologize, Lance, I didn’t mean to offend. Moving on, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering: why keep- or, continue living with her even after she was bit?

Lance: I couldn’t bear to leave her. My family and friends all said I should’ve left. But what me and Sheila have, it’s special. It’s still there. 

Steve: But surely, it must be hard, right? Can you give us a walkthrough of a day in your life? 

Lance: What relationship isn’t? I usually keep her gagged, to prevent getting bit. Then I go about my day as usual, foraging, tending to my crops, we might even read a little together in the evening. 

Steve: That sounds lovely. Another question: how do you feed her?

Lance: I obviously don’t have the means to, so I let her roam around when she gets a little restless. I assume she eats then.

Steve: Hold on, and she comes back home? Do you follow her out?

Lance: I don’t. I let her out and in a couple of hours she’ll wander back home. 

Steve: Wow. That’s impressive, seeing as most zombies have deteriorated past remembering how to walk upright.

Lance: Last week, on the day of our anniversary, I think she tried to bring me flowers. She was holding some wild flowers and a dead rat. I assumed it was a gift.

Steve: How thoughtful. I gotta say, Lance, you have surprised me. I didn’t think it was possible for a zombie to seem so…human.

Lance: I don’t know about the rest of them, but my Sheila is still in there.

More growling in the background, as if in response to Lance.

Steve: Thank you for sharing, Steve. I, for one, really enjoyed that, and I’m sure our listeners will too.

Lance: Thanks, Steve. Stay safe. 

Click and a beep. The call has ended.

Steve: Our crew had also interviewed some camps in the area: they all shared the same sentiment that it is outright dangerous to have a zombie in a camp, tied up or not. This has sparked a heated debate among the Floridians and given rise to the Lance Stein movement, advocating for him to be allowed in camps with Sheila. Now, listeners, what do you think? Touching, or crazy? Let him in or leave him out? Vote now using our hotline, and we’ll tally the responses tomorrow morning.

Multiple phones ringing, whispering in the background. Typing fills the air.

Steve: And just like that, we’ve covered our story for the day. For our listeners tuning in during the early afternoon, we will now be moving on to our weekly gun safety segment. 

Clunking sounds on the table. Sounds of a briefcase being opened and a gun being put down on the table.

Steve: As our more frequent listeners may know, this segment was usually hosted by Mr Franklin. Unfortunately, Frank met his untimely demise with a few stray zombies while out scouting nearby. Ironically, his pistol jammed as he was ambushed, and…he couldn’t make it.  I’ll now be hosting the gun safety segment in Frank’s place. We’d like to perform a 21-gun salute in honour of our fallen friend, but this is the most we can offer at the time.

Window opening. Single gunshot. 

And now, a moment of silence.

A long pause.

Steve: Right! Back to the ZSS. First things first, what to do once you’re bit. This has to be the most frequently asked question on our hotline- (hurriedly) at +1-415-557-4400, call now- and we’re here with the answer: pray, cry, hug your loved ones goodbye! Well, maybe not the last one. Getting close to those you cherish isn’t a good idea!

Papers shuffling.

Steve: Experts suggest self-incineration, but if the idea is too much to bear for you, I’d recommend running deep into the woods before you turn! For those of you who haven’t caught on: there is no cure. There is no home remedy. Once you’re bitten, all you can do is wait to turn. All you have left are the mere minutes before you become one of them. Seconds, if you’re unlucky.


Steve: Anyways, let’s move on! 

Steve: Last but certainly not least, we have a recent and very interesting discovery for you all: a new and unique species of the undead native to…America. The Bloaters. In my experience, these zombies are the lowest threat of them all: they wouldn’t eat anything that isn’t in front of them. It’s a wonder they haven’t all died off, but I guess the average person isn’t survival-savvy enough to escape one. If you see one near you…do whatever. The chances of one killing you are basically zero.

Papers rustling.

Steve: And that concludes our ZSS segment! Now, next week, we-

Door opens. Footsteps. The zombie noises, running, and shouting can be heard outside, as well as several vehicles starting up.

Survivor: Sir, we’re evacuating our camp. We need to leave before we’re overrun.

Steve: What? Why? What happened? 

Survivor: Apparently some idiot fired off a shot and lured the zombies to us. There was a cluster wandering nearby, and all the attention is attracting other strays. 

Steve: Ah. That might be on m-

A window breaks. Steve screams, and the Survivor swears. 

Survivor: Shit! It’s a Bloater!

The sound of struggling continues. Zombie eating sounds can be heard. The briefcase opens, cocking sounds can be heard. Two shots are fired. Several footsteps enter the room. Hurried mumbling, there is a click and interlude music plays for 30 seconds.

Jason: Hello, dear viewers! Unfortunately, our dear host Steve will no longer be joining us any longer. I will be the show’s new host, you can call me Jason! (vehicle sounds in the background) Ah, right. We are now searching for any camps to join, so Oakwood Falls is no longer our location. I repeat, we are no longer located at Oakwood Falls, it is overrun. Do tune in tomorrow morning listeners, as we will have settled at another camp…hopefully. Good luck, and godspeed! 

Jonathan Peterson (Class of 2024) is a writer who favours fantasy over realism, and often writes fiction and poetry. When he isn’t producing fiction, he spends his time consuming it.