27th January 2017

Just who is Zoe Reed – the story behind JFL’s very private leader

Part one

Flowers on the floor, a single photo of a man and child on her wall, they are the only signs of life that I can see in our temporary interview place in the back of a small truck. For the woman who sits before me doesn’t seem alive, nor is she dead, but she has a stern look on her face with eyes that showed no emotion. Zoe Reed, small in stature, struck me as a woman who had seen everything a person isn’t supposed to see and now had become immune to all the criticism that has been thrown at her and her organisation. It would be hard to tell that this was the face of a woman who in reality has the pressures of the whole world on her shoulders.

“Murderers, trouble makers, terrorists.”

I relay the words to Zoe who looks back at me with the same blank expression on her face. It’s clear to see that underneath that hard exterior that these words do in-fact cut deep.

For those who don’t know her, Zoe Reed formed the Justice for the Living organisation 4 years ago due to what she describes as a “lack of action” from General Parkinson. Since then she’s fought in many battles, with her stories of bravery and fearlessness infecting the nation.

But many have turned against her, mainly due to General Parkinson who has continued to label the JFL a “terrorist organisation”. Events in Manchester haven’t helped Zoe’s cause either. James Burkenshaw, Chief of Police for Greater Manchester, claimed that the officers who past away in the Zombie attack that struck Heydale, in Rochdale, earlier this year were killed by the hands of JFL. It’s resulted in many different local authorities threatening imprisonment of JFL members, thus lowering the amount of citizens willing to sign up and help Zoe.

“Why did you form the JFL?” I ask as she ignores my first statement.

“To give our nation the slightest bit of hope”, she responds quickly.

“Yeah, but what made you form it?” I reply, pointing towards the photo on the wall.

To me, the flowers and photo, which she obviously carries with her from location to location as she aims to defend those in need, were more than just objects. They looked to be the reason behind the creation of the JFL. The reason why she continues to do all this despite intense criticism. They looked to hold immense sentimental value to her. The photo didn’t represent her life now, it showed me the life she had before this Zombie infection spread across the country – something we know very little about.

They’re my boys. My husband and son.”

I enquired further, treading carefully around what is obviously a very difficult situation for anyone. But instead she talked instead with confidence and without any emotional hesitation. These were her inspirations, something she didn’t mind talking about.

I found myself hanging onto every word she said. It’s easy to see now why people listen and follow her. She talks with such passion and confidence. She told me of how she met her husband, James, in her home town of Pontypridd, Wales. Before the Zombie apocalypse they had a life, they had a future, and they had a son, Harvey. I plucked up the courage to ask the all important question.

“What happened?”

“They got infected.” she says, as her eyes stare into a single white lilly rose she’s now taken into the grasp of her hands.

It was 4 years ago, the death of her loved ones. A holiday, ironically, in the sunny sea-side town of Cornwall. She allows herself to break a smile as she recalls how James took Harvey down to the golden, sandy and vibrant beach bright and early every morning that holiday, the over-eager 6 year-old unable to contain his excitement. She on the other hand was able to sleep in and relax, a break from ‘reality’ as she called it.

But then, the horror struck. The smile that broke has now vanished. She tells of how she went down to the beach a little later, only to see a beach that had turned a vast shade of red. It was swarmed with Zombies. Holiday makers saw their dream day out turn into a nightmare. Zoe saw her life turn upside down.

“I had to run. I knew their fate. It was clear what happened. They couldn’t have survived it could they, nobody did.”

She seems to blame herself. She completes her sentence quickly and almost wants me to tell her that she was right, that they did die and that she was right to leave, but I suppose that’s what kills her the most inside. Not having closure. Not being there with them when it happened.

I believe, to her, the creation of the JFL is one step closer to that closure. She takes it out on the one thing she knows she can blame, the Zombies. .

“I suppose you could say that [I created the JFL in memory of them]. I think about them, always, but I don’t want anybody else to go through what I have. Too many people have lost loved ones, had their world pulled from underneath them. Futures destroyed. It’s those who are left behind who suffer most. I’ve suffered and I want justice. I want them gone. I want General Parkinson to take responsibility for the deaths. He’s a source of the problem due to sheer neglect. If it isn’t exterminated, it could kill us all”.

Part 2 of this insightful interview continues next week.

Posted in Zombie News |

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