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Zombie Inside! Got my shoe, but not me.


As life's narrative unfolded before me, it seemed to have taken a peculiar turn akin to a plotline straight out of The Walking Dead. Two figures emerged, each embodying qualities reminiscent of characters from the series: one exuding the noble aura of Rick Grimes, while the other emanated the menacing presence of Negan.

Uncertainty clouded my judgment as I struggled to decipher their true intentions. One lurked in the shadows, his motives shrouded in mystery, while the other operated more openly, his intentions discernible yet enigmatic.

The saga commenced when I was approached to apply for a position within one of their companies. As I engaged with a recruiter, a subtle detail escaped my notice—a casual mention of "Happy Hump Day," a phrase laden with implications that eluded my consciousness. Little did they know, I identified closely with Carl, feeling the weight of vulnerability akin to his struggles within Alexandria, especially during my early days in the United States.

The tangled web of encounters grew more intricate when one of the men crossed paths with an acquaintance of mine, exchanging brief pleasantries, while the other engaged with the same individual in a manner shrouded in ambiguity.

The unraveling of events took a bizarre turn when an image was sent to me depicting one of them engaged in an act of humping, their identity obscured from view. My mind raced as I attempted to discern whether Rick or Negan was captured in the image. Yet, both appeared equally foolish in their actions, oblivious that they were unwittingly hitting Carl's vigilant eye.

Caught in a web of manipulation, I found myself unwittingly drawn into a tangled dance orchestrated by the two men who had entered my life. One operated in the digital space, his charms and seemingly genuine interest weaving a facade of friendship and collaboration. The other remained hidden, his intentions obscured behind a veil of secrecy.

At first, I believed the man to be a potential ally, someone eager to partner with me and my brother in our endeavors. Slowly, however, the lines blurred, and I was led down a path of deceit, manipulated into believing that his affections extended beyond mere camaraderie.

My vulnerabilities became his tools, exploited to warp my perceptions and kindle false notions of love. He skillfully played upon my passions, particularly my adoration for The Walking Dead, leveraging my fondness for the series to deepen his hold over my heart.

Yet, as the layers of deception unraveled, a new player emerged as a Toastmasters scam, further entangling me in their intricate scheme. Coaxed into visiting the company premises under false pretenses, I was met with insults and disappointment.

To add to the surreal nature of the ordeal, references to The Walking Dead permeated every facet of their manipulation. I dubbed myself an "anonymous Buddha" on the fan forum. I was subjected to bizarre encounters with Buddhist monks wandering the company grounds—a surreal juxtaposition against the backdrop of corporate intrigue. 

The manipulation reached its zenith when they deployed an RV akin to those featured in the series in a bid to mesmerize me further. Images of Maggie and Glenn, characters from The Walking Dead, inundated me, each a calculated move to mold my thoughts and actions in their desired direction.

As the pressure mounted and the web of manipulation tightened around me, I faced yet another test of my resolve. Despite their insistence, I steadfastly refused to attend the office party orchestrated by the enigmatic figures who had insinuated themselves into my life.

Instead, I sought solace and sanctuary amidst the wonders of the Exploratorium, hoping to find reprieve from the suffocating grip of their influence. However, my attempts at escape proved futile as the ominous whistles synonymous with Negan's presence echoed through the corridors, signaling that I was not alone.

Fear coiled in the pit of my stomach as I realized I was being followed, the specter of Negan's menacing aura looming ominously over me. With each echoing whistle, the shadows seemed to draw closer, threatening to engulf me in their darkness.

Yet, I refused to succumb to despair even in the face of this palpable danger. Drawing upon the resilience and determination of Carl Grimes, I pressed forward, navigating the labyrinthine halls of the Exploratorium with unwavering resolve.

For in this moment of uncertainty and peril, I knew that my strength lay not in submission but in defiance. And so, with each step forward, I dared to challenge the forces that sought to manipulate and control me, steadfast in my refusal to be swayed from the path of my own choosing.

In the depths of my vulnerability, when I least expected it, the enigmatic figure who had remained hidden behind veils of secrecy made his move. With an unexpected and surreal gesture, he kissed me, the touch of leaves brushing against my lips, sending shockwaves through my being. Tears welled in my eyes as the reality of the situation dawned upon me.

It was a calculated maneuver, orchestrated to break me down and shatter my resolve's last vestiges. They wielded Glenn's memory like a weapon to bring me to my knees. But I refused to surrender. With every ounce of strength I possessed, I fought back against the onslaught of manipulation, refusing to succumb to their machinations.

Yet, in their folly, they failed to realize the ripple effect of their actions. The walls that protected me came down. Drawn into the twisted game of winning me, others became unwitting participants in their scheme. Like zombies, they pursued me relentlessly, adding to the chaos and confusion that engulfed me.

As exhaustion threatened to overwhelm me, the hidden one revealed his true form, transforming into a metaphorical Negan, and his intentions finally laid bare. His followers, emboldened by his example, showed me nothing but disdain, their F**K you gesture of contempt a cruel mockery of my plight.

And then, in a moment of sheer madness, he struck me, his blow landing with devastating force; before that, he made me kiss his eye. As pain seared through me, I felt a part of myself shatter, much like Carl Grimes had lost his eye in the unforgiving world of The Walking Dead. I lost my eye. 

But even in the midst of agony and despair, a flicker of defiance remained, for I refused to be broken by their cruelty, to be reduced to nothing more than a pawn in their twisted game. With the resilience of Carl Grimes coursing through my veins, I vowed to rise again, reclaim my agency, and forge my own path in a world fraught with darkness and deceit.

Their attempts to shape me in the likeness of Maggie or the Black Widow were futile, for my essence remained steadfastly rooted in the resilience of Carl Grimes. This was in 2017.

In the ebb and flow of time, the essence of Carl Grimes that once resonated within me has faded, leaving behind a void—a sense of emptiness that echoes through the corridors of my soul. Who am I now? The answer eludes me, obscured by the passage of years and the weight of experiences that have shaped my journey.

In the wake of 2017, as the memory of Carl Grimes waned, I found myself adrift, grappling with the uncertainty of identity. No longer tethered to the resilience and determination that defined him, I stand at a crossroads, uncertain of which path to tread because I know more now, and I'm a monster, too. 

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