No rest for the Dead
Chapter 5: No rest for the Dead
It was almost nightfall when the group reached the residential district of Tokonosu city. Between dodging crazed survivors, police blockades, and hordes of Them, it was actually a small wonder the trip didn't take until midnight.
After driving for nearly half an hour, they reached an apartment building with a Humvee parked near it. Needless to say, Hirano Kouta was absolutely giddy seeing the large vehicle.
After the truck was parked next to it, the chubby boy immediately ran to the Humvee and stood still, admiring the beauty of it.
"A Humvee!" he exclaimed happily. "A military model too!"
"Is this the place?" Komuro Takashi asked as he stretched a bit.
"Yup, isn't it just lovely?" Marikawa Shizuka answered happily. It was her first time home after 2 days; add in the fact that those 2 days felt longer than her entire life, her joy of seeing the gated house was completely normal.
"A gated maisonette with a clear view of the street, near river and a convenience store. If you want to make a fortress, this is probably one of the best options there is." Takagi Saya commented. "Let's start unloading our stuff then. We'll just think about what we're gonna do once we're inside...
"Of course, leave it to Them to make things harder for us." She said with a shrug as she heard feet shuffling from inside. "Everyone, listen up. We'll have to clean the place up before we can rest."
"Hirano, you ride on the back." She commanded. "Don't shoot anything until I tell you to."
"Understood!" he replied with a salute after snapping out of his speechless phase.
"Komuro, you push the truck into the parking area and lock the gates behind you. Your job is to be as quiet as possible. Got it?"
"Busujima-senpai and Miyamoto will be the guards. Defend Komuro and if anything gets inside your range, kill it.
"Marikawa-sensei and I will be in the car to park it inside since we're non-combatants. Now, our clean-up operation begins."
Then, as everyone entered the truck, Takashi began pushing the silver truck. After five minutes of, the entered the maisonette and he closed the gate with a light 'bang' and as he slid the gate's slot in, the first shot was fired and the killing began.
Minami Rika's apartment, 18:00
"That took a while." Saya said as she wiped her hands with a towel. The group was lounging around in the living room after cleaning Them out. It was nice to have a place to call home, even for a while.
"Well, you were the one who insisted on making it harder." Takashi replied after gulped down some canned coffee. "Don't get any blood in the apartment, don't break anything, and so on and so on. Do you think you could pull it off?"
"I know I couldn't, that's why you guys are the offense team, right?" the pink haired girl shot back. "So, what are we gonna do now?"
"Everyone, get comfortable. We'll discuss what we know about Them." The young man called out.
"It's a good thing I wrote notes then." She said as she stood up and walked forwards, making sure that everyone could see her.
"Alright," she started. "This is what we know about Them. I'll start with general information.
"We call the undead that we're facing Them because They don't share several characteristics with the common undead generally known as 'Zombies'. As we've seen during the past 2 days, They can attack one of Their own. We also don't necessarily have to destroy their brain, beheading works just as well.
"They are sensitive to sound and possibly heat. They might retain their sense of smell. Although unsure, assume that this is true for now. As far as we know, They're blind and can't feel anything with their skin. Are there any questions so far?"
"What sort of sound are They more interested in?" Saeko asked.
"We don't know yet. They might not have a preference because I tried it out a few times and they responded even to the sound of a wet towel hitting a locker. For now, assume that they react to every type of sound. Anything else?"
"Besides beheading and destroying their brains, are there any other methods to kill Them?" This time it was Kouta who asked.
"I tried stabbing one of Them in the heart. It didn't work." Rei answered.
"So, basically we either have to destroy the brain or the body?" the military fanatic asked again.
"That seems to be the only way. Yes. Anyone else?"
"Can we cure the bitten victims?" Marikawa Shizuka asked in a moment of focus.
"That depends really. We don't even know what caused this phenomenon. It could be parasites, virus, fungi, bacteria, or even nanotechnology. Now, I'm sure every one's tired. If there are no other questions, we can continue this later." Saya concluded.
Night had completely fallen for the group, yet for some reason a part of Onbetsu bridge was still bright as day. While the women opted to bathe, the men were busying themselves with exploring the house.
"Hey, Komuro, can you help me out with this?" Kouta asked as he held up a crowbar and pointed at a locked locker.
"You wanna break the locker open?" Takashi asked back. Seeing his comrade's nod, he walked to his gakuran that he put on a chair's back and fished out a small brown leather pouch.
"What's in it?"
"Something that I had hoped woulda been useful." He replied. He opened the latch that kept it closed, showing a full lock picking set.
"You can pick locks?" the bespectacled boy asked in surprise.
"It's nifty when you're in a pinch." He then took out a tension wrench and a rake. In just a few minutes, both locks were cracked and its contents free for the taking.
"Aren't you going to open it?"
"Nah, this is your idea. If there's a trap in here, I don't want to be the guy that gets blown up." The delinquent jokingly replied.
"How very loyal of you, Komuro-dono." He replied with a laugh. With the locker now open, Hirano was very delighted with what he found.
"Jackpot!" he shouted with a grin. "Springfield M1A1 Super Match. This baby's a semi-auto. But that's fine, because the M14 series' full auto is just a waste of bullets."
"The magazine holds 20 rounds. And it's fucking illegal in Japan."
"Is it? I saw quite a lot of it." Takashi asked back. But he was promptly ignored by his comrade who was in his gun-nut mode.
"The next one is... a Knight's SR-25 Enhanced match rifle. But, you can't get this in Japan, so it must be a modified AR-10! The other one in the locker is a crossbow. A descendant of the one that Robin Hood uses, the Barnett Wildcat C5! Made in Britain and so powerful, you can kill a bear with this baby."
Finally deciding to check the gun locker, the delinquent took out the last gun in it, which happens to be...
"An Ithaca M-37 riot shotgun! An awesome gun made by the Americans! It played a huge role in the Vietnam war!"
"Cool." He replied as he cocked it once then checked the attached scope by aiming it at Hirano's head.
"E-Even if it's empty, you shouldn't point it at someone! The only thing you should point it at..."
"Are Them, right?" he replied back. With minimum effort, he raised the shotgun with his right hand and aimed it at the door. "Mind if I keep this?"
"Not at all. In fact, I was about to suggest it to you."
They were disturbed by a small, buzzing sound. Judging by the volume, whatever the source was, it was not very far from them. With bright lights coming from Onbetsu bridge, it was safe to assume that the area was rife with activity.
After taking a pair of binoculars out, Kouta looked at the general area of the bridge only to find bad news.
"It's bad. The lights and shouts are attracting a horde of Them."
"Looks like a demonstration or some kind. There's a TV crew in there too, so maybe there's information in one of the news channels?"
Seeing nothing wrong with the suggestion, Takashi turned the 40" LCD TV in the room on, and saw a particularly odd group.
"You're right. Demonstrations." He commented. "Condemning the outbreak of the killer disease... which is a joint weapons project of Japan and America?"
"Sounds oddly specific."
"No, there's another odd detail here. Let's get the girls here first so I don't have to explain twice."
15 minutes later
"Well? We're here. So what's so important?" Takagi Saya asked angrily. Being woken up from a well-deserved rest after a bath, it was no wonder she was emotional. Currently, the twin tailed girl was in a small light blue tank top with only a pair of short shorts providing some modesty.
"Look at the TV and tell me what you think." The delinquent said.
"A group of 100-150 people demonstrating about... Killer disease outbreak? Are they crazy!?"
"Well, it's not like their idea is baseless. For all we know, they might be right in this... outbreak being a failed weapons testing." Busujima Saeko pointed out. The young woman was clothed in a barely decent manner of only a pure white apron, a pair of thongs and nothing else. If they were lesser men, the 2 people in the room with XY chromosomes would be all over her like a rabid dog.
"That's not it." He replied. "Notice what they have in their hands?"
Though the camera image was rather blurry compared to the usual broadcast, they still provide enough details to show the group what their leader meant.
"See here? The signboards are printed in great detail; they also have big banners with clearly printed words." He pointed out. "Because we're in the digital era, rallying 100-200 people in under 3 hours is child's play with social media, etc. But preparing demonstration gear will most definitely take time. With the outbreak only happening yesterday..."
"It's definitely odd for that group to have assembled the gear." Saya finished. "Even if they have a skilled artist to write the words down, making 50-60 signboards and pamphlets to hand out will definitely take more than 1 day."
"That's my point. It's as if these people know what was gonna happen."
"Maybe it happened in overseas earlier?" Marikawa Shizuka suggested. The buxom blond was probably the least decent of them all. With her blouse and skirt in the washer, she was only clad in a large towel that was barely covering her.
"Although that's possible, I don't think any country is stupid enough to let out news that big out without any sort of cover ups." Miyamoto Rei commented. Like Saya, she too was garbed in a tank top, however she only had a pair of white cotton panties on.
"Son of a bitch. Everything is going straight to hell, and still somebody complains about it instead of actually doing something." Takashi cursed.
"We condemn the people responsible for this killer disease!" they yelled.
A gun was shot and instantly everyone was quiet. The officer holding the gun was a fresh graduate off the police academy and in the horde was his partner who had been turned. Seeing the oncoming horde behind him would frighten anyone.
"Hey! I didn't give you permission to fire!" the lieutenant chastised.
But, ignoring the command, the new officer fired again. This time to his partner's head, effectively silencing him forever. Seeing the desperate situation, fellow officers followed suit and discharged their weapon to the floor, hoping that those 'afflicted' would understand and stop their advance.
"STOP!" a woman begged. She was holding her dead child in her arms, yet for some reason none of Them approached her. "My child and I... are still alive! We're still alive! So please... save my child!"
Her child that had died suddenly began convulsing. His body that should be limp stretched like a newly awoken child and reached for his mother. Not for attention nor love and care, but for sustenance. With a bite stronger than any normal human, the child bit its mother's neck and tore it open with a spray of blood.
Unlike her child that lay dormant for some time, the mother turned in mere seconds. Her body convulsed and relaxed in a random interval that made her drop the boy she was holding while the ruby liquid continued to gush out of her dying body.
Within seconds, the transformation began. Her pink lively skin turned ashen gray. Her pupils contracted and her once bright brown eyes were now bloodshot and rolled to the top of her head. Her gait became lethargic and instead of walking, she limped with uneven steps. After she spat out the last a pint of blood, the transformation was complete.
One officer saw the whole thing and instead of fear running through his veins, anger boiled his blood. With calm fury, he raised his service pistol and fired a single shot through the undead woman's head.
"There! You see that?!" The demonstration leader provoked. "The despicable police... have finally resorted to violence... killing civilians!"
While his members cried in outrage, the police chief walked towards him with calm measured steps. All the while, the demonstration got more and more heated.
"This blatant abuse of power by the police is unforgivable!"
"Stand down." The chief instructed. "It's dangerous for you people to stay here."
"Fuck you, pig! You're just here to cover up the conspiracy framed by our government."
"This is my last warning. Go. Home."
"Fuck you! You go home! Go away!"
"Go away! Go away!" the mob chanted.
"We were instructed by central to take any measures necessary to maintain order. Even though it's not exactly legal, our orders were absolute." The chief said tiredly. He drew his gun and pointed it straight at the ring leader's forehead.
For the first time, he shut his mouth and it was silenced for good with a gunshot to the head. As people started to crowd over the corpse, a group of guttural moans came from behind the mob.
A small horde of Them had gathered and though some of them clumsily shuffled forwards, some of them had a healthier pallor and steadier steps. Once close enough to the bewildered crowd, they broke into a sprint, intent on feasting on as much human flesh as possible.
Everything was silent then, only the sound of white noise was coming out of the TV. "That settles it then." Saya said. "We'll have to pack up everything we can and move out first thing in the morning."
As everyone left the room to start collecting supplies, they heard short, rapid barking. "A dog?" Rei asked.
"Leave it be. We have to get ready to move out early tomorrow."
"You girls go ahead. We're gonna... uh... scout the area a bit." Kouta said as he pulled Takashi back.
After the room was empty, the chubby boy took the binoculars from one of the gun lockers and saw just how bad it was. Everywhere around the neighborhood, people were desperately struggling to survive. Everywhere they looked, the same desperately hopeless situation was the same: People who ran died, whoever fought died, and those who surrender also died.
"This is really bad." Kouta said as he handed the binoculars to Takashi who immediately began looking around the apartment.
"Whether it was because of the sound or light, They started to crowd around us." He continued.
"What are we gonna do about this?" the delinquent asked as he put the binocs down. He had had enough of witnessing the massacre and not doing anything.
"What are you suggesting? Start shooting at Them?"
"No, what are our escape plans?"
"That was unexpected..."
"Given your character type, I would assume that you were the type of person who'd do anything to help other people in need, not caring about your own safety."
"As much as I want to do what you just said, I know when the situation can't be helped." Takashi replied as he absentmindedly handed the binocs to a hand.
"Well, making a diversion comes to mind." Kouta offered. "Send something appealing to draw their attention, then run away like hell."
"That's a good idea, but what are we gonna offer Them?"
"A bomb in a slab of meat comes to mind, but I don't think that'll be effective."
"So, we wait and hope they leave then?"
"Indeed, the situation seems hopeless." A voice interrupted, surprising the two boys.
"GAAH! Busujima-senpai, you almost gave me a heart attack." The chubby boy said, holding his chest.
"But that doesn't mean that there's nothing we can do." She continued as she turned, unintentionally showing her bottom to the two, which caused Kouta to suffer a minor nosebleed.
"For now, we should do what we can and lay low." The purple haired young woman said as she turned the lights off. "And try to stay quiet. The less people; turned or not, know we're here, the better. Will you accompany me for a while, Takashi?"
While Kouta stayed behind in the balcony, the two delinquents were having a private conversation in the bedroom.
"This sucks." Takashi said.
"I know how you feel. Seeing those people get bitten and then eaten or turned was not a pleasant experience."
"That's an understatement."
"Self-preservation is necessary now, more than ever, Takashi. I'm not saying we'll just let everyone else die, but we should only do what we can." Saeko said as she hugged the angered Takashi. "We will do our best to save as many people as possible, but within reason."
"Let's rock 'n roll!" Kouta shouted suddenly before shooting at Them who started to surround the apartment.
"What is it, Hirano?" the delinquent asked, immediately peering through the binoculars to the general direction Kouta was aiming his gun.
"Man, I'm good. Even though this is the first time I used it, I can already get a headshot."
"Hirano, whatever happened to the original plan of divert and escape?"
"Dude, there's a little girl that needs help!"
"That pink haired kid? Maresato-san's daughter?" Takashi asked.
"You know her?"
"Her father helped me..., well, us quite a bit." He said as he handed the binocs to Saeko.
"Hold on to that thing. It's time to pay back a favor." Takashi said firmly as he put on his gakuran. "Komuro Takashi always repays his debts."
"I know. Come, I'll help you prepare." Saeko bade.
"Takashi, where are you going?" Rei asked.
"Running an errand." He said simply as he hefted a 20 kg propane tank on his shoulder.
"And this errand involves a propane tank?"
"That... and the truck."
"You're going to do something dangerous again, aren't you?"
"In our situation, even going out of the house is something dangerous." Takashi replied. With a rope in his hand, his friends got a general idea of what he was about to do.
"Well, given how pig headed you are, I know you won't listen to us anyway. Just... Just be careful, got it?" Saya told him shyly.
"You're not stopping him?" the brunette said in confusion.
"What's the point? Even if I try, he'll do it anyway."
"Well, I'm going now. Wish me luck."
"We'll see you out." Saeko said as she called the other 2 girls over.
"You sure that thing's gonna hold?" Saya asked from the porch.
"As long as it gets to where I need it to, that's enough." Takashi answered as he tightened the ropes holding the tank. Satisfied that it wouldn't move too much, he got on the driver's seat and started the engine.
"Takashi, we're opening the door. Are you ready?" Saeko asked.
Without saying anything, the young man gave them a thumbs up. A flash of headlight, a roar of engine, and he sets off to rescue a young girl and her father.