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A female of the species, going about her business.  All is fine, until suddenly, attack!  An ugly, insectoid creature leaps upon her.  It injects its eggs into her body, where the developing larvae happily eat the internal tissues and then burst out through the abdomen.

Sound familiar?

You think I’m describing the plot of a film, don’t you?

This is real.

The wasp Dinocampus coccinellae injects its eggs into the body of a ladybird, which plays unwilling host to them.  After bursting out of its hiding place, the larva builds a cocoon under the ladybird, which remains in place to protect it while it develops.  When exposed to lacewings, unprotected cocoons were devoured utterly, but so were 85% of cocoons protected by dead ladybirds.

Because this isn’t just a space-alien horror film.  This is a zombie space-alien horror film.

The ladybird usually remains alive – in fact around 25% of affected ladybirds survive the ordeal and completely recover – but is partially paralysed.  Venom released by the larva causes it to twitch and grasp, warding off predators.  In this state, only a third of cocoons get eaten by lacewings.

What’s your favourite nature-zombie story?

I’ve always wanted to feel like a movie star.

The thought popped into her head as she ran through the meadow towards her lover, causing her to laugh.  The wind whipped her hair around her face and the sun lit the scene with all the ferocity of a newborn kitten.  Beneath her feet flowers danced among the grass.

Suddenly her foot sank deep into a rabbit hole and she fell, cursing, into the mud.  She picked herself up and tried to stand, but her ankle collapsed and she fell again.  Choking back tears she saw her lover start to sprint towards her.

She didn’t look back, but she knew it was hopeless.

The zombie horde would reach her long before he did.

I’ve been listening to Songs to Wear Pants To, and specifically, the Zombie Ninjas.  I started to consider where I would go in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Given full and free choice, I would of course choose a well-stocked (food, water and weapons), comfortable castle, fort, or other defendable location.  Preferably one with a secret back exit tunnel that allowed me to escape if the defences were breached, a full medical staff, a laboratory and scientists who could cure the disease, and a large number of people I trusted.

However, within the realms of places I am vaguely likely to be, Winchester School of Art seems like a good choice.  It doesn’t sound promising, from the name, does it?  But they have this:

Winchester School of Art

Winchester School of Art

And they are right next to a large park, so once we’ve waited out the infection we can plant crops to help us survive.  If there are Zombie Ninjas we’re all doomed, of course, but for normal zombies it might do in a pinch.

Have you considered what you would do in times of disaster?  Do you have a fall-back position planned out?

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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