In fiction based on an apocalytic or disaster scenario, there are some places where survival is pretty much impossible. In a nuclear war story, any character who is at the location where a nuclear bomb is dropped either dies outright from the blast, or if at a slightly greater distance, from a fatal dose of radiation.
In Christian end-times fiction, people who are in the Antichrist’s headquarters are likely to add to the body count sooner or later. And in zombie apocalypse tales, the natural Death Zone is the city. Any city will do. Live there, stay there, and you die.
Why? Zombie-ism is an epidemic. Cities have high population densities— more people to become infected, become zombies, and infect others.
Cities also have slum areas— places where people are accustomed to wait hours for even emergency medical services, and to call the police and not have them show up until the crisis is over. Many of these people have been trained by government social programs to be passive and to wait around for the government to get around to helping them. These people are, sadly, just zombies waiting to happen.
Cities don’t produce food. It all has to be trucked in. Once a city has a zombie epidemic started, would YOU make a food delivery there?
American cities have stricter gun control laws and few gun shops. I believe Chicago got rid of their last gun shop. So guns will be confined to police/military, who will be swarmed and killed in the line of duty, criminals, who if intelligent will get the hell out of the city, and the bodyguards of the rich, who will also leave town— with their employer, their family, or possibly with both. So: more defenseless people in the cities. Also, more people who couldn’t hunt for food on their journey to a safe space.
People in the cities, once their level of hunger gets high enough, will leave. Freeways will be blocked with stalled cars, so the journey, for most, will be on foot. They will walk through suburbs, and even through the farms that provide city farmers’ markets with fresh food. These areas will also become infested with zombies seeking prey.
Where is the Life Zone in a zombie apocalypse? Rural areas, and ones not too close to infested cities— even small infested cities. They must not be in touristy vacation areas— too many refugees will show up there. These refugees will scare off the game in hunting attempts, overfish the rivers and streams, and trample grain fields and raid gardens.
A good rural area will have working farms, woods and streams, and people who know how to hunt, fish and farm. A small Amish settlement would be helpful. Even though the Amish are indirectly dependent on technology that won’t be available, they know how to farm with horses and actually have the horses and horse-drawn equipment.
Rural areas tend to be full of armed citizens who at least hunt once a year during gun deer season. Most hunting families have quite a few guns— because different prey often requires different guns, because some older guns are replaced by newer models but kept for sentimental reasons, and because guns are a good investment. And they have ammo for target practice. This will help rural areas keep their smaller numbers of zombies at bay.
So— when the z-apocalypse hits, remember— cities are death, rural areas are life. And good luck in getting to the nearest life zone!
This is a post in the A to Z blogging challenge: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/