SINCE the coronavirus first reared its ugly head at the start of the year, I’ve found myself, almost exclusively, watching and reading stuff about the end of the world. I suppose it’s a kind of morbid curiosity, wondering what will happen if the apocalypse suddenly arrived tomorrow.

I remember the last time I was at the pub with my pal back at the end of February. While putting the world bang to rights, the coronavirus came up in conversation and we both confidently declared it was “nothing to worry about” because “nothing ever happens”. How incredibly wrong we were.

I’ve always been into stuff about the end of the world since I was a wee guy. Books and films and all that, anything involving some cataclysmic event I will seek out and devour. Zombies, asteroids, viruses, artificial intelligence gone rogue, the rapture, the possibilities of any or all of this happening are endlessly fascinating to me.

The first bit of creative writing I ever attempted was a pathetic attempt at a novel about zombies attacking Glasgow when I was 13. Inspired by the film Shaun Of The Dead, it centred around a guy and his dug trying to survive as the dead rose from their graves. I think I got about 10 pages in, realised it was mince and gave up, not even attempting to write anything again until a couple of years ago.

But the idea of that first book I had a go at writing all those years ago has never left me and I still often find my mind wandering into “What if” territory. Thinking to myself while at the shops, rummaging through the reduced section, what if a horde of zombies just burst in right now and started feasting upon people. What would I do? Where would I go?

I posed this question to my maw and my wee brother. “Imagine,” I said to them, “you’re sitting having your dinner, watching the news and John Mackay goes: ‘We have some breaking news. Gangs of what appear to be bloodthirsty cannibals have been reported all over Scotland. We advise you all to stay home, lock your doors and board up your windows. Remain calm and stay quiet.’ What would you do?’

“Hide up in the loft,” my maw said. “Fill as many containers, pots and pans with water as I could, grab some food and hide up there and wait for it to calm down. Maybe sneak out after a few days, get some more food. If the motor’s fine then try and head up to the highlands and start a new life there.”

It seemed a very good plan to me. My wee brother, however, seemed less that enthused at the prospect of all this.

“I’d let them eat me, man, or just turn me into a zombie,” he said. “Living like that would be terrible. Pure scratching out a living, eating manky tins of beans every night. Always on the run, pure living in fear. Nah, I’d rather just get eaten straight away.”

We both looked at him, stunned.

“What if you turned into a zombie and came after me?” my maw asked him.

“Dunno,” he replied. “Just lock me in the shed or something. I’ll be fine.”

I’ve been thinking about what I’d do in such a situation. Would I be as cool and calm under the pressure as my maw said she would be? Or would I crumble, allowing my zombiefied wee brother to recruit me into the undead ranks? I have no clue.

I’d like to think I’d be able to adjust to a post-apocalyptic lifestyle quite easily. There’s something about it that does sound somehow appealing. No phones, no deadlines, nothing to worry about other than what your next meal’s going to be and where you’re going to sleep that night. Maybe I’d end up safe on a wee farm somewhere secluded, growing my own food and living off the land. Just me, my girlfriend and the dug, living the most wholesome life ever.

But then, I think, what if we get found by the zombies? What if they smell us from miles away and a horde approaches through valleys and over hills? Maybe, just before they find us, we’ll be sitting down to dinner, celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday with a few pints of moonshine we’ve figured out how to brew. Then we hear shuffling footsteps and the cries of the dead. They’ve found us. We grab the dug and hide up in the barn, safe from their clamouring hands. We lie quietly. Holding our breath as the zombies prowl through our home, looking for us. They seem to be losing interest now. Then we both look at each other in a panic, as the dug’s ears go up as he spots a zombie. He starts to growl. We try and cover his mouth to muffle the noise but it’s too late. He goes berserk, his barks echoing around for miles, as he mistakes the zombie for the postie he hated from Dennistoun. It’s over. We get eaten.