The lean wild dogs that usually roamed Neihu District in search of leftovers were nowhere to be seen. All had taken to the nearby mountains and headed north toward the largely expatriate Tianmu community and, beyond it, Yangmingshan. At first, they had fled human beings who suddenly had become much meaner than was their wont. Then, as more and more animals in the horde began bearing marks of violence on their sinewy bodies, the mountains and forests beyond became hunting grounds where the bloody spectacle within the civilization beyond the tree line was replicated with equal savagery.
As it turns out, the epidemic didn’t just affect humans. Animals, too, were fair game, usually victims of human zombies that, for one reason or another, were unable to find live humans to feast upon. In other words, the disease was zoonotic and could cross the barrier from human to animal. And vice versa, as the terrorized inhabitants of Tianmu realized once the forests had been emptied of all life and the army of the undead, now counting not only dogs but also wild boar, cats, squirrels and monkeys, returned to civilization in search of new flesh and blood. For several days, undead humans, their clothes shredded, were seen walking equally undead house pets around town, some on blood-dripping leashes, others in pet strollers bulging at the rim with crimson limbs and viscera.
Nowhere, however, was the animal kingdom visited by horrors that surpassed that which took place at the Taipei Zoo in southern Taipei. There, on the fourth day of the catastrophe, and when the visitors had stopped coming, Lu Chin-wen, a dedicated zookeeper for fifteen years, went to work as usual on his small motorcycle. The guards at the gate, aware that even in times of emergency the animals still had to be fed, let him through with a cursory a glance, missing the festering wound on the left side of his torso, courtesy of his wife one hour prior. Going through the motions as his brain continued to operate on the last echoes of his former self, Lu was going to work — until a newer, and much darker, instinct kicked in. With no humans immediately within reach (the guard post was too far by then), his sudden hunger guided him towards the next best living thing.
Soon thereafter, cages and pens and aviaries were bathed in blood as animals small and large, recently infected by Lu's madness, turned on each other (the process was much faster than with humans, ostensibly the result of the animals’ less-developed cognitive centers). Tigers, elephants, macaques, all became murderers. In the midst of all this, Tuan Tuan the male panda, his left hind leg bitten by a frenzied Lu, devoured nearly half of Yuan Yuan his female counterpart before escaping the pen. He then headed straight for the enclosure in which the Formosa Black Bears, the antipode of China's pandas, one could argue, were being held.
After watching gruesome scene after gruesome scene on the close-circuit cameras, the security guards abandoned their posts, leaving behind them hundreds of doomed animals who would eventually die of from lack of live meat to feed on.
Up north, other animals met a happier fate as a sanctuary, already in existence for several years to accommodate abandoned animals of all types, was expanded to welcome in more two-, three- and four-legged creatures with still a heartbeat in their chest. Little by little, the population of the sanctuary exploded under the benevolent guidance of a Brit who long ago had made it clear he liked animals much better than humans. Dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, all were taken in and fed as long as food reserves could keep up. With help from a small group of volunteers, electrical fences were erected around the site to keep the dead out and the live inside (though they feel no pain, the undead are repulsed by the unexpected flash of light). One night, in a scene of high tension, a tiny Labrador stood yelping in front of a monstrous Rottweiler, the latter’s huge cancerous jaw opening like an endless chasm, ready to bite its prey’s head off. Only the thin electrical wires prevented the ghoulish Rottweiler from sucking the life juices of the naive pup. After several attempts, the infernal monster trudged away, sniffing about for possible ways into what, by now, had come to be called Sean’s Ark. (The plan worked, though less so with undead humanoids, who needed to be dealt with in the old-fashioned way: extreme violence.)
As the deluge of death threatened to submerge an entire nation, many people took the idea of a sanctuary to heart and built their own as they prepared to fight back. But this is still days ahead. By now, the international community has become aware of the unfolding catastrophe in Taiwan, and an emergency meeting has been called at the World Health Organization in Geneva to address the situation.