What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 1 – The Running Girl Dilemma

1 Mar

If (or should that be when?) the zombie apocalypse comes, it will change not just the world but the way we view it and how we respond to those around us. We will find ourselves facing situations we never thought we’d have to face and doing things – good and bad, brave and cowardly – we never thought we were capable of.

The more we think about this now, the better prepared we’ll be when it happens. So to help you get ready I’m going to post a series of zombie apocalypse dilemmas under the category ‘What Would You Do If….’. I’ll aim to post one each Friday around 3pm here in Scotland until I run out of ideas because, let’s face it, by the end of the week you’d much rather be thinking about zombies than working or studying or whatever else it is you’re meant to be doing instead.

Each dilemma will outline a situation and then ask you how you’d respond if you found yourself in it. In all of them, there will be different choices, each of which have different repercussions for those involved. They’re just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answers, but please post a comment to let me know what you would do and why. If you don’t have time to leave a comment, you can still take part by voting on the poll below the dilemma (if you’re leaving a comment, please vote in the poll as well just so that your views are counted in the results of that too).

So with that brief introduction out of the way, here’s the first one:

What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 1.
The Running Girl Dilemma

You’re just about to enter your safe house after a successful foraging trip when you see a teenage girl being pursued by a horde of zombies. She spots you and starts running towards you, the zombies only a few steps behind. If you shut the door now you’ll have time to lock and bar it before the zombies get there; you’ll then be safe but the girl will die. If you wait until the girl’s inside too, it might be too late. What do you do?


From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK, and available as an ebook and in print in the US from the 21st March 2013. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.

5 Responses to “What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 1 – The Running Girl Dilemma”

  1. cmdrysdale 01/03/2013 at 17:36 #

    To get the ball rolling on this, here’s my thoughts on this dilemma. While I’d know the logical and least risky thing to do would be to close the door now, I don’t know if I could bring myself to do it, I’m just not ruthless enough and I’d never be able to live with myself afterwards. So, I’d probably wait and let her in even if I knew it meant that things could end very badly as a result. This probably means that I wouldn’t survive long in a zombie apocalypse …

    However, you never know after a few months of constantly fighting off zombies and being surrounded by death and destruction, I might have developed a hard enough streak to step inside, casually lock the door and never let her death trouble me ever again.

  2. Jack Flacco 04/03/2013 at 14:51 #

    Great scenario! I think we won’t know what we’ll do until we actually are in that situation. Everyone’s different. When an emergency takes place, things may not go as expected. Some may say they’ll do anything and/or everything for those less fortunate, but throw them in a pit of zombies and they’re running scared like rabbits from a fox.

    • cmdrysdale 04/03/2013 at 17:18 #

      Hi Jack,

      Glad you liked the scenario. You’re right that we’ll never really know what we’d do until we’re faced with a situation for real but it’s always interesting to think about how you think you’d respond.

      All the best,


  3. Candy 05/03/2013 at 11:38 #

    There’s a lot of variables here that would affect my decision making. How many other people are in the safe house, how many lives am I risking by helping the girl? How armed are we, if the Zombies make it inside can we at least put up a good fight? Do I have a weapon on me, can I pick off the closest of the Horde to improve our chances? Am I feeling lucky?

    In a Zombie apocolypse any survivors would have to quickly get into the mindset of personal survival trumping all else, in the given dilemma, the risk (two or more people succumbing to the Zombies and a safe house being overrun) outweighs the benefit (slim potential of saving one person). With such a shift in mindset, one might even be able to live with the guilt of treating human life like a health and safety risk assessment task.

    • cmdrysdale 05/03/2013 at 12:14 #

      I think you have an interesting point here about the shift in mindset towards personal survival as the zombie apocalypse develops, and I think you might be right there, but that in itself has some intriguing implications. Does it mean that you could never truly trust what another person will do if, when push comes to shove, they’ll always put their survival over yours? In this scenario it was a stranger, but how would the decision change if it was someone else in your group, or indeed a member of your family? If you were the one who was running, would you suddenly find your best friend slamming the door in your face (or even your brother or your kids)? Knowing that is always a possibility would quickly break up the cohesion in any group, making life very unstable.

      There’s also the issue that with so many other possible variables in play that you might dither long enough for it to end badly even if you end up making the ‘right’ decision. In a zombie apocalypse, any delays in your action (even if it’s only for a second) caused by you having to spend time working out what’s best could turn out to be fatal for all involved.

      This is why you need to think about these things now while all is calm and not leave it until the zombies are hurtling towards you!

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