The Baker Orange

Zombies take over ‘Terror Train’

Story by Taylor Shuck, Editor

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Life’s a lot harder when you’re dead.

First of all, people look at you weird when you have gashes all over your face and blood dripping down your shirt. To these people I say, “Try cleaning yourself off when you hardly have use of your limbs anymore.”

Entertainment Editor Taylor Shuck volunteered as a zombie on the Terror Train for the Midland Railway Train Depot in Baldwin City.

You sit next to them on a train and they press themselves as flat against the wall as they can, as if you smell.

Also, words are impossible. The closest your vocal chords can get to talking is grunting and occasional screams. It makes it hard to tell train passengers that they are stepping on the hem of your skirt or to ask your fellow walkers to kindly move out of your way.

Thirdly, everyone thinks they know what it’s like because they’ve seen shows like “The Walking Dead” or movies like “Dawn of the Dead.” But really, they don’t know what it’s like. I wasn’t hungry for your brains — I just wanted the candy in your lap. Also, if you’re mean to me, I find it a lot funnier to scare the living daylights out of you.

Luckily, I’ve washed off all the makeup, and I’m back to the real world, where my fingers work to type, I can sing in the shower again and my gimp leg has magically healed itself.

But for one night, I was a zombie on the Terror Train for the Midland Railway Train Depot in Baldwin City. For two weekends of the year, the depot gives scares and chills to community members with a different theme, this year’s being “Phantoms of Quantrill’s Raiders.”

On my night, the ride sold out at 150 tickets. Parents bring their children in hopes of what I can only think are endless night terrors. I walked through the “terror car,” where there is a half-human playing with a bloodied and dead rat, a girl who creepily says “mommy” and other scares that haunted me for the next few hours.

What’s impressive is how Mark and Peggy Keller of the Baldwin City Community Theater gather enough volunteers to put on loads of makeup and creep around all night scaring little kids. OK, now that I think about it, it was actually pretty fun.

The whole thing is volunteer-based, with a little extra help coming from Zeta Chi fraternity. Some volunteers do the event every year, while others, like me, were there for the first time. Most were younger, maybe still in high school, but the creepiest of volunteers were in their mid-40s, with outfits that had obviously been well thought out.

I went into it a little hesitant, OK, a lot hesitant, and came out with yet another experience that I can chalk up to randomness. I think that’s what life’s about — trying new things. And while I’m still alive, I might as well do as many things as I can, including, ironically, acting dead.