I spy with my little eye four blundering, brainless brutes shuffling about, bumping into things and being generally bothersome. I don't really have the best vantage point, so four is actually just an estimate from visual observation and from my futile attempts at echolocation. To err on the side of caution, I will proceed under the assumption that there are, at a minimum, twice as many as my projected estimate; over preparation is certainly preferable to the contrary.
Much to my dismay, my hurried and panicked inner self has erected an enormous mental blockade in my mind: a towering citadel eclipsing my thoughts within the darkness of its shadows. I have managed only two possible courses of action, excluding of course simply retreating for the door empty-handed, for to retreat outright would be to abandon Shilah and accede to her death, and I will not be having any of that. Unfortunately, both of these options have unknowns that could immediately render them unviable. Even more unfortunate is the fact that I cannot accurately determine the viability of either plan until fully committing to one of them, and if any of these unknowns were to rear its ugly head, the line will have already been crossed; no takesies-backsies; the ever-charismatic and lovely Xander will be relegated to the role of community chew toy. Let us hope not.
Although my observations of their tendencies thus far paint an unflattering image of clumsy, mindless buffoonery, we are one in the same—hapless brethren in a broken world—and I know far too little about them to allow myself to engage in any needless violence against them. Still, even if I could confidently conclude that they were indeed empty vessels, truly unfeeling and unthinking, irreversibly comatose skin bags, I do not think that I could find it in my being to inflict harm on them. Yes, it is possible that they cannot feel pain, and it is equally possible even that I would be ending their pain... still, I do not think that I could bring myself to violence. Does this make me compassionate? Cowardly? Or am I simply a fool? Conversation for another time. Back to the matter at hand:
Option #1: Perhaps I can arm myself with one of these brooms or mops lying about. I could be the "Sweeping Swordsman," the legendary passive warrior renowned for sweeping you off your feet–in the literal sense of course, I've no desire for the figurative route–to accomplish his goals. He exudes discipline, this hero, gracefully bringing down all of his foes and leaving them only with a bruise on their bum, and maybe a bruise on their ego. Anyhow, if I can sneak down one of the empty aisles and wait for one of them to round the corner, I might be able to trip them with the broom (I've decided that the mop heads are a bit heavy for my flimsy frame). I am certainly not what one might describe as light-of-foot, but my athletic ability–for lack of a better phrase–is notably superior to that of any other zombie that I've encountered. While perplexing, this absence of agility and alertness, I might be able to capitalize on this deficiency. Naturally, the noise of the creatures hissing and flailing around on the ground will likely alert the others, but in theory, I should be able to strategically position myself so that I can take the rest down one by one, like an assassin, striking with stealthy bristle-blows to the feet as they shuffle toward each racket.
However, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the potentially glaring issues with this plan. Firstly, I've no way of knowing that they won't just stand right back up after being swept off their feet. While my observations thus far lead me to believe that they would just crumple to the ground and that would be the end of it, I've no way to be sure. It is possible that they could begin crawling after me, slithering over all of the empty bags and empty cans and empty boxes to exact their revenge after suffering such merciful humiliation, but such movement can only be assumed to be slow, and therefore not entirely worthy of concern. But if they simply rise back to their feet... well, the plan falls apart entirely. Furthermore, if my assumptions about the limits of their ability are incorrect and they very competently jump right back to their feet and proceed to chase me in a fit of rage and with wrathful agility... well, thus ends the story of Xander. for I cannot cope with the stress of pursuit.
Secondly, I've estimated there to be four zoms (this is a rather hip abbreviation), and I have devised this plan under a safer assumption of eight... but what if I am completely wrong? What if there is a proper army of them and they stand right back up after having their feet knocked out from under them? What if I am wrong about them altogether and they really do have a cognitive ability similar to my own? What if this, what if that?
Option #2: Okay, I don't actually have a fully-fledged second option. The only other idea I could come up with is to trust my judgments of them thus far and to proceed under the assumption that they will not pursue one of their own. But, are we truly one and the same? Why am I seemingly so different...? Are these apparent differences apparent to them? If only I knew... I could have already strolled on over to the pet food aisle, grabbed a bag of cat food (provided there even is a bag of cat food on the shelf) and been on my merry way.
What to do... what to do...
What was that?! A gun? Another. Yes, those are definitely gunshots. And now voices... People? The danger level has risen even further. Surely they would not waste ammunition on a zombie already face down, yes? Therefore I must... Oh, the irony in playing dead.