My father rang home tonight to say the area had been cordoned off by the police, that there were sirens everywhere and that instead of coming home on break, he was going back into work. My mother was intrigued so she persuaded me with my wet hair to change into day-clothes and go check it out. It was like a scene from the apocalypse when I went outside, I have never seen the area so eerily quiet - not a single car or person was in sight. I wandered down the middle of the road toward the hill, not a soul around, not a sound, and I contemplated all of the Zombie survival quizzes I had taken and thought of fallen London (clearly I have been playing way too many games on the internet). As I walked on I saw the barrier behind me in the distance blocking one route into the area, as I continued farther toward the hill I saw another barrier stopping access from that side: It was all so strange. I wandered half way down the hill, checking for zombie's on the way, and was met with nothing. I spied the towering walls convinced I was being watched; if it wasn't zombies then it had to be aliens surely. Where was everyone? And where were these sirens my father had mentioned along with cars, beeping, and arguing amongst the grid-locked drivers? This wasn't the scene of mayhem I had expected to see, this was the polar opposite - a zombie movie. I thought about the filming of it and how perfect the setting was, but I couldn't escape the paranoia that after all the Oscar-winning performances I have seen, that this really was it.
Nothing was happening on the hill so I walked back up in the other direction to the other barrier. I could hear this dull drilling noise, the only noise on the road. Inside houses people were standing at windows talking, looking out and generally going about their business, completely oblivious to the fact that right outside their front doors I was walking through what could well be a post apocalyptic zombie waste land. I kept walking down the middle of the road and saw an elderly couple - the man stared at me so intently I genuinely entertained the thought that maybe it was me, maybe I was the zombie , but I kept walking, he eerily stared at me as I kept walking and he and his wife got into their car - the only other sound outside besides that low drilling noise. This scene was getting stranger by the minute. The couple kept watching me as I walked, not because I was in their way walking down the middle of the road on a freezing night in hobo clothing with wet hair, but either because I was looking like a zombie, or because I was staring at them like they were the walking undead. I kept walking following the sound of the drilling and the couple eventually drove off - Can zombie's drive cars? Yes they can. Mistake number one would be to assume they cannot. I could at this stage see people, high viz jackets, a drill and some panic. I immediately thought dead body, after all this area is somewhat synonymous with various crime boss types from over the years. I figured the people I could see weren't zombies, from where I was standing they seemed very much alive. Maybe mistake number two, but I kept walking anyway intrigued.
There were 4 of them standing around a hole. No sirens, no police, no fire brigade, no army, no bomb squad and no dead people... Just 4 council workers drilling. It was then I saw it; the scene that had caused so much speculation about a zombie filled post apocalyptic waste land; the thing that had seen sirens and a police presence at the only other entrance to the area not 30 minutes previous; the very speculative thing that had caused my mother to send me with my wet hair and hobo clothes out into the freezing night on my own to investigate: A burst sewer pipe. I thought maybe there was a sewer monster, maybe there was a... And then I thought, "Fuck it, I'm going home".