Want to read something to make you examine yourself that also has a little bit of zombie mayhem thrown in? Well look no further, Will McIntosh has done just that. In this short fiction piece, McIntosh has created a world where people are followed by anyone they have inadvertently—purposefully?—killed. In the story our main character Peter is followed by the zombie of a girl that died in a button factory making the buttons on a shirt he purchased.
Still with me? What McIntosh is doing is asking his readers to really think about the things they buy and how capitalism in this country affects the citizens of other countries. How many people have died so that you can have that sparkling necklace and shinny watch that you wear? What about your shoes? Your car? How many zombies would you have following you around on a daily basis?
Another thread that McIntosh has woven into this story is the way that we ignore or fail to bear witness to the deaths that we are responsible for. Our main character Peter has lunch with a friend, his zombie standing near him in the restaurant. Now, old Pete can’t help but think about his zombie (at the time he hadn’t figured out how he had required it, since he is a somewhat anti-capitalist) but there are others that ignore his zombie and their own; yes, there are other people dinning in the restaurant with zombies following them too. But no one chooses to acknowledge the undead hoovering over their clam chowder and fried chicken, they choose not to bear witness to what they have done. And how can they, when all the sitcoms and television shows have unrealistic characters with no zombies?
In “Followed,” the unnamed president has a horde of thousands of zombies following her. With the election over, with four more years of Obama, we should ask ourselves do we want a president who has carried out orders to use drones? How many zombies would he have following him? How many women and children zombies, once civilians, would be just beyond his reach? Would you pretend not to notice them crowded around the white house? Would you bear witness?