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Features / Zombies on the loose in Voxter woods

A terrified RSPZ guide radioing for help. Photo: Elizabeth Atia

ON THE first of November 2013 a pod of twelve ‘caain’ whales became stranded on the shore in Busta Voe, writes Elizabeth Atia. Eighteen volunteers went to their rescue, staying with the pod throughout the night, successfully managing to refloat them in the morning.

However, one of the whales was sick, and one by one the volunteers succumbed to a strange illness. The whales were spotted a few days later frolicking off Whalsay, but the fate of the volunteers was not as pleasant.

An infection had transmitted zoonotically from the whales to the volunteers, and they turned into zombies – gruesome undead with one goal: to consume human flesh.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Zombies (RSPZ) rounded up the infected and contained the spread.

This incident remained unreported in the local media.

Since then the zombies have been under scientific observation by the RSPZ, and on the two-year anniversary of the event they decided to move the zombies to the Voxter woods and open up the area to the public.

The zombies were safely contained in pens, tethered by thick chains.

Myself and a small group of friends went to observe these zombies. As an avid fan of The Walking Dead TV series I was keen to witness the behaviour of zombies first hand.

Upon our arrival at Voxter House, facemasks were distributed by our guides Karen and Sam and we given a safety briefing. Do not provoke the zombies. Do not touch them. Keep your mask on so you don’t become infected.

A group of activists barged into Voxter House.

Zombies were on the loose, in the dark, around Voxter House on Sunday.

“Zombies have rights too!” they protested loudly.

The activists were escorted from the building and our small group headed up into the wooded area.

A local crofter came running down the road, “Don’t go up there!” he shouted. “All my sheep have been eaten by something!”

The activists ran by us again, shouting about zombies’ rights, but we ignored them.

The RSPZ guides ensured we would be safe, dismissing the ranting of the activists, and we carried on.

The first zombie we observed was Amy. We could hear her vocalisations, as if there was still a hint of humanity in her. Amy had been found at the end of the beach eating one of the volunteers. The RSPZ has been studying her to see if zombies age in the same way that humans do.

Then we met Eve, a medic. She still had her wetsuit on from when she had been helping refloat the whales.

Then there was Adam. He was found in Brae looking for children to eat. He never found any, thankfully, as the RSPZ managed to contain him first.

We were quite enjoying our rather unusual, yet thrilling, experience until we came to the next pen. Our guide told us this was Hector’s pen, their most dangerous zombie.

It was empty.

The activists had released him.

The activists had released all of the zombies.

The emergency alarms went off and we frantically searched for the emergency route out of the woods. Disorientated, we could not find it, but our guide said there was an emergency shelter nearby.

We could hear the rustling of slowly moving zombies in the trees, but it was so dark and despite our torches we didn’t see them coming.

The youngest of our group, 13 year old Louis, was taken.

His screams! Oh, his terrifying screams as he was eaten alive – those will haunt me until my final days!

Our guide said it was too late for him, there was nothing we could do. We had to leave him behind to get to the shelter.

We made it to the shelter, but radioing back to the Voxter House headquarters for help we could only hear the groaning, rasping sound of zombies.

Then the zombies started entering the shelter from underneath the canopy! A third guide, Christine, came to our assistance, but she too was taken! We could hear her screams in the forest as we fled. She screamed and she screamed like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

We fled.

Be warned, dear reader, the zombies have been set loose in Shetland! Do not, under any circumstance, enter Voxter woods until the remaining zombies have been rounded up and safely contained again. We only just made it out of the woods in the nick of time to warn you.

NOTE – no humans or zombies were harmed during this fantastic RSPZ Fright Night Tour – a fundraising event for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). As far as fundraising events go, this is one of the best I have ever attended. Super scripting, choreography, acting and makeup and just the right amount of adrenaline pumping made for a rather superb Sunday night out. I do hope this becomes an annual event!

Elizabeth Atia

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021