Banchou of the Dead

In the Dead City

Chapter 4: In the Dead City

Tokonosu city was usually crowded in the mornings and quiet during the afternoons. Being in Saitama, traffic was usually the heaviest in the mornings and nights when people commute to and from work, whether in Saitama or all the way to Tokyo. As it was almost 9 in the morning, traffic should still be rather lively.

However, the road was eerily silent, adding an uneasy, tense feeling. Not to mention that now they were nearing a commercial district, the road was littered with all sorts of vehicles, adding another difficulty in their journey. It was luck for the group that Marikawa Shizuka was good at maneuvering a medium sized pickup truck at high speed, but unlucky that she loved driving at high speed.

"Sensei, could you slow down, please?" Miyamoto Rei pleaded as she and the others were thrown from one side of the truck to another.

"Eh? But isn't this normal speed?" the nurse asked back while turning to look at the brown haired girl as they passed a short tunnel. "I usually go this fast going to work."

"Sensei, watch out!" Takagi Saya yelled as she noticed something odd in the rear view mirror.

"Huh? Oh, no!" the blond woman yelled as she made a sharp right evading a fast moving 16 ton bus that sped forward towards them with erratic turns and random weaves. Their vehicle lurched to one side and even had a few moments in which it moved with two wheels before it landed safely with no passengers harmed, but almost all of them were shaken.

As the bus passed, they saw why it moved so haphazardly. Everyone inside had been turned into one of Them or were being feasted on. With no one to properly drive the large vehicle, it continued to speed forward into a 20 m fall. It was no more than a falling coffin for its passengers now. Having nothing to break its fall sooner, the green and white bus fell on a power line, cutting it off right in the middle.

After it finally landed, its gas tank tore, spilling volatile gasoline onto the ground. In a matter of seconds, the severed power line with electricity arcing on its tip struck the spilled fuel and ignited the whole truck. Knowing that worrying about survivors was futile, the group continued on their way to resupply before getting to an appropriate shelter for that night.

"Whew, lucky we made it." The nurse sighed in relief before opening the window and peeked her head out. "Is everyone okay?"

"What the hell was that!?" Saya roared in anger at the nurse.

"Takagi-san?" the nurse asked.

"Have you forgotten the kind of situation we're in? As crazy and illogical as it seems, zombies are attacking us! The whole world, or at least this country is in the shitter! Do you really have the time to pull a careless move like that?"

"Takagi-san, you're being..." Miyamoto Rei interrupted.

"I'm being what? Cold? Cruel? Get it through your nickel plated skull that we're no longer in a normal world! Any mistakes, no matter how small can kill us all!"

"No, I mean... you're being too harsh on Marikawa-sensei. See, she's almost crying."

Looking at the blonde nurse, everyone realized that she was indeed almost in tears while gripping the steering wheel. Generally speaking, it looked like Saya was bullying her and it really made her feel bad.

"L... Look, sensei. It's not your fault. I mean... uh... the whole thing is new and um... it's normal if you're not really... used to it." She said slowly while trying to calm the sobbing Shizuka down.

"Yeah, I'm not that smart, but that doesn't mean you have to be so mean about it!" she yelled out as she cried on Rei's shoulder who switched with Hirano earlier in the trip.

"Sensei, I know that Takagi-san is being mean, but we really do need to be more careful..." the brunette consoled.

"Hey, apologize!" she whispered to the bespectacled girl.

"Sensei... I'm sorry about being so hard on you." Saya apologized awkwardly with it falling on deaf ears while the buxom nurse cried.

Seeing that continuing will be difficult when the group was divided, Takashi offered to fill in as the driver and called out to have the crew rest in a gas station with a convenience store just a stone's throw away.

Xxxx

A gas station near Tokonosu's suburban residential district

It was near lunchtime when the group had passed the commercial district and closed in on a gas station halfway between the school and the residential district. Seeing that the gas tank was halfway empty, they decided to stop for a while and resupply. With the familiar neighborhood being overrun by the undead, none of them knew whether the supplies they had were enough.

"Let's stop here." Takashi said as they neared the gas station. "We'll fill up and get some food from the store inside."

One by one, all of them got off the truck after it was parked next to the pump nearest to the convenience store. As the delinquent put the nozzle into the truck, he realized a fatal flaw in his plan. The gas station was self-service.

"Okay... money?" he asked, turning to his companions, to which all of them shook their heads in negative. "Anyone? We need some for gas here."

"Why not use yours?" Rei asked after a few moments of awkward silence.

"I used my last 30 yen on canned juice." he replied crassly.

"You suck." She said tiredly.

"Compared to who? The all perfect can't-do-no-wrong-Hisashi?"

"W...Wha... Since when do I compare everyone to Hisashi?"

"Well since you say I suck, there must be someone incredible to compare me to, right?! Excuse me that I can't be as good a guy as him!"

"He... Hey!"

"Whatever." He said dismissively as he turned back. "I'm taking money from the convenience store."

"I'm going with you." Saeko said as she caught up with him.

"...Me too." Saya said after she cast a brief look towards her other companions.

The three left outside watched the trio walking into the small store and stayed uncomfortably silent, none of them knowing what to talk about in the situation. It was only due to her experience in handling girls' affairs that Marikawa Shizuka spoke to Kouta, "Hirano-kun, would you mind giving us some privacy?"

Respecting their wishes, Kouta kept watch some distance away from them. Out of earshot, but still in sight.

Xxxx

Inside the convenience store

A small electronic chime rang as Takashi opened the glass doors of the convenience store. Under normal circumstances, it would make customers feel more welcomed and put them at ease. However, the remaining anger and stress in the boy made him more annoyed when the light 'ding-dong' sounded.

"Let's get this over with quickly." Saya said efficiently. "We need money, food, water, and basically any sort of material we can get our hands on.

"Ta... Komuro, take all the plastic bags under the cashier's counter and put all the money in one of them."

"Got it." The boy responded as he jumped over the counter and threw the remaining bags towards her.

"Busujima-senpai, take whatever food you can. Prioritize on non-perishables, canned foods, and sweets. Some chocolate will do nicely." She called over as she handed her senior a handful of plastic bags.

"I understand." Saeko replied. She knew that the high calorie content of the sweets could be used as a morale booster and convenient emergency ration, so what the pink haired girl's suggestion was very sound.

"I'm done." Takashi said after cleaning out the register. "What's next?"

"Then take the bottled drinks in here. If there are alcohols, swipe them too." The twin tailed girl commanded while approaching the counter and handed over another bunch of bags. "Don't be greedy though, make sure you can take them all in one go."

As the delinquent set out to do his job, she knelt down under the counters and took 2 jerry cans hidden in the corner. Seeing that they got everything they needed, they packed up and left.

Xxxx

Outside

"So... Miyamoto-san, what was your relationship with Komuro-kun?" Shizuka asked. Though her eyes were a little bloodshot, she was feeling better and her sobbing had stopped.

"We... well, he and I are... were, were childhood friends." The brown haired girl replied glumly with her head down.

"What changed?" the blonde nurse continued.

"We... made a childhood promise. A silly one I guess... that... when we grew up, we'd... we'd marry each other." Rei answered as she looked up.

"How sweet..."

"Yeah... that would've been the case if... never mind. It's all history anyway."

"That may be, but if you have a problem, wouldn't it be better to just let it all out?" the nurse pressed as she stepped closer to her quarry.

"That's true... I guess." The brunette said, her defenses slowly crumbling.

"Then..."

"We're back." Takashi called out suddenly as he exited the store. "Let's fill up so we can go quicker."

Xxxx

It took the group about 20 minutes in preparation, mainly filling up the truck and the cans, and reorganizing the truck bed to prepare some space to keep more things. They also tied down several things to the bed, just to ensure that they won't be flying around and hitting anyone who sat on the bed.

As everyone was preoccupied with loading the truck, a stalker charged and grabbed the one farthest from the group, who happened to be Miyamoto Rei. In an instant, he had his arm around her neck and his other hand held a short pocket knife too closely to her neck for comfort. With a voice befitting a deranged man, he laughed loudly while his hostage screamed, alerting everyone in her group.

"Nobody moves or this bitch dies!" he yelled while tightening his hold on the girl.

"You, the guy with the gun, drop it. Nice and easy-like." He commanded to Kouta, who obliged and slowly put his nail gun down.

"Kick it away and get back... all of you! 10 paces! And raise those hands!"

After the group of five retreated 10 paces, he asked to Rei: "Whose woman are you?

"Wait, lemme guess." He interrupted. "Yours, chubby? Nah, can't be you. No chick likes that kind of fatty. You're not a lesbo either, so...

"Yours, nii-chan?" he asked as he pointed at Takashi with his knife.

"What about it?" Takashi calmly asked with glare.

"Oh... you know. You have 2 other bitches, right? How 'bout you give this one to me? Share the wealth, eh? I'm not gonna kill her or anything. Just gonna rape her and fuck her and fuck her and FUCK HER. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

Hearing what that lunatic would do to her, Rei began to shiver in fear and disgust. However, she managed to calm herself and decided to wait for the right moment. Being the daughter of a police chief meant that staying calm under any circumstances was a must. Besides, if she couldn't help herself, she was sure one of her friends could.

Though furious like he wouldn't believe, Takashi didn't charge forward like any brainless idiots in action movies. Instead, he relaxed his posture and slowly stalked forwards towards the bastard.

"Who told you to move here, bro? Get the fuck back!"

However, instead of following the order, the delinquent just calmly walked forward, increasing his pace.

"You think I'm kidding? Stop right there! Stop where you fucking are!"

"Or what, dumb shit?" he questioned with a sneer. "Suppose that you did stab her. Do you think you'll walk out here alive?"

"W...what?"

"Suppose you stab her. There's still a chance she won't die. But after you do, that guy will pick up his gun and shoot you. Maybe you'll die, maybe not. But I'll carve up and leave you as bait for the hungry zombies." Takashi continued as he stopped walking and a manic grin stretched across his face.

"I... I'm serious man, get back or I'll kill her!" he stammered as he pointed his knife at the advancing delinquent.

"No... no you won't."

Knowing that his bluff was called, the mugger yelled and poised his knife to stab Rei in the neck when he suddenly got his toe smashed with the butt of the spear.

She then ducked out of the loosened hold and with her left hand, the brunette twisted the madman's knife hand until it faced away. With little resistance, she had managed to disarm the blade and used it to slash at his face.

"AARGH! YOU BITCH!" he yelled loudly while holding his face.

"Serves you right, asshole!" she yelled back as she smacked his head with her spear.

"Let's go, we've wasted enough time already." Rei called while running towards the truck.

"Here, for you." She said as she threw the knife to Takashi, who caught it with ease.

Though surprised at how cold she was, no one voiced any objection. The faster she realized how messed up the world was, the better. With the sun rapidly descending, they all knew that the residential district would be their best bet in getting shelter.

"He...Hey... where are you going?" their unwanted guest called pleadingly when he suddenly heard a lot of shuffling feet and low moaning.

"None of your business!" the furious girl yelled as she climbed to the back seat; the sound was getting louder and more frequent.

"I... I was joking, man... Come on... take me with you..."

"Go to hell!" she yelled again as the truck's engine started; nearly 50 of Them were visible now.

"Come on... I'm begging you here!" he said as he ran and grabbed the back of the truck and in a short time succeeded in climbing the bed halfway.

"Hey, didn't you hear me? I said FUCK OFF!" Rei screamed.

Just as he was about to climb into the bed, his movements were stopped suddenly as his right leg was grabbed by a lumbering undead followed by another who grabbed his other flailing leg. In his surprise, the man nearly lost his grip as the truck accelerated.

He tried to hold on as best as he could by climbing in with his forearms. As he heaved his body upwards, the 2 of Them dug their nails into his unprotected calves, opened their gaping maw wide, and tore off a hefty chunk of his flesh. With no strength left in his body, he let go of the pickup's bed and fell to the unforgiving ground face first, splitting his wound further.

Having his face slashed and gashed, nose broken by the asphalt, and several tooth missing spilled more of his blood than necessary. And in no time, more of Them converged on the thug's body. With his dying breath, all he saw was the retreating silver truck and its 6 passengers.

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