Medical Microfiction: Rigor Mortis

“I’ll Explain It One More Time”

“So you see, Honey, zombies just wouldn’t work in the real world,” Jason explained. “Dying cells flood your muscle fibers with calcium ions, causing myosin-actin cross-bridging, which makes all your muscles contract at once. Y’know, rigor mortis. Without ATP, your muscles can’t unclench, and of course a dead body doesn’t make ATP. When your muscles finally start to relax, that’s because the myofilaments are decaying, and by that point you won’t exactly be able to chase anyone for their brains, will you?”

“GRAAAAAAAHH,” his wife moaned, clawing at him as she strained against the ropes holding her to the shed.


English: Biohazard Placard
English: Biohazard Placard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband and I had a discussion similar to this conversation, so I promised to immortalize him in this Drabble. Of course, this is entirely a work of fiction, firstly because you can guess who REALLY explained myosin-actin crossbridging, and secondly because the real Jason and I have a longstanding pact to put each other down if one of us gets zombified.

That’s true love, folks.

In the meantime, fictional Jason did a dandy job explaining today’s medical term, rigor mortis. Calcium signals the first step in muscle contraction. Usually your body keeps that calcium stowed away inside cells and carefully controls its release, but in death, cell walls explode willy-nilly, causing calcium to flood your system. Jason and I agree that this should logically prevent any would-be zombie from doing much of anything except staring longingly at your retreating brain. But Jason also pointed out that while this nixes “science zombies”, it doesn’t rule out “magic zombies”, which would of course be animated by a mysterious blue glow, thus avoiding the whole calcium problem.

So there you have it: when the zombie apocalypse happens, don’t look to the CDC for answers. Look to Hogwarts.

Since I live a short drive away from the locations featured in The Walking Dead, I know what NOT to do to survive a zombie apocalypse in Georgia. But there’s always the chance I’ll be traveling when it happens. So I want to hear about your zombie escape plan! Tell me about it in the comments section below.

1 thought on “Medical Microfiction: Rigor Mortis

  1. I love zombies…at a distance…not when they get up close and try to take a CHUNK of out me!

    This is Sophia’s plan for the zombie rush:

    Make sure have enough snacks.
    Make sure that desolated location still has electricity.
    Make sure that I have enough reading materials (that’s why I have e-readers/Androids now)
    Make sure there are people nearby who is on Team Sophia…no Team I am going to screw you over.
    Make sure Jonathan and the dogs are with me.

    And that’s it.

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