Rescue from the Dead
Chapter 6: Rescue from the Dead
Maresato Alice wasn't really sure what had happened over the last 2 days. Her father who usually went home late at night was already at their house before noon. The contrary happened to her housewife mother who disliked going anywhere for longer than 3 hours; she still hadn't seen her after she went shopping nearly 5 hours ago. It scared her, to say the least; the young girl was worried whether she would see her mother again.
The whole situation was surreal, if not maddening. After hunkering in their house for a day like the news told them to, the little girl and her father fled the house when it was suddenly invaded by Them. All things considered, the planning was practically non-existent; they didn't bring any supplies, no weapons safe for a wrench her father brought, and they didn't know where to go.
"Don't worry, Alice. We'll get to safety soon and then we'll meet up with Mama, okay?" he said with a shallow breath. After being promoted to editor, he had not had the time nor opportunity to exercise; whether by choice or circumstances; like when he was a reporter. That scoop he made about juvenile delinquency in Tokonosu city was the career booster that landed him a better paycheck.
'And a weaker stamina.' he thought to himself, panting in exhaustion while hiding in a public restroom.
"Papa, are you tired?" she asked worriedly.
"No, no. Papa's fine. Are you okay? Do you want a piggy back ride?"
"I'm a little tired, but I can still walk." Alice replied.
"Good girl. You were always strong." her father praised as he knelt down and looked at his daughter's eyes. He patted her head and ruffled her maroon hair, just the way he knew she liked.
"Come on then, we should get to safety." he said. He felt a little less tired than before and as he looked at the darkening sky, he realized they should hurry lest the darkness take them.
Night had fallen when the Maresato family reached near the Arakawa river. The neighborhood that was usually quiet by night was eerily noisy tonight with the moans, groans, and scrapes caused by the undeads' feet being dragged on the ground.
"Just a bit more Alice."
"Are you sure this one will let us in, papa?" she asked as she looked to a house with its light on. It was a 2 storied family house with the walls painted light yellow. Under normal circumstances, one might stop to admire the skills of the architect who designed the building who made the abode look elegant with simple decorations. However, it was neither the time nor place to comment and praise building architecture.
"I don't know, but they have to." He replied. He stood up and began knocking on the door. "HEY! Open the door! My daughter and I need shelter for the night!"
"Go away!" a muffled voice from inside the house answered.
"Please, I don't care what happens to me, but please let my daughter in." he pleaded.
"NO! Go bother another house!"
"But my daughter...
"Fine! If you won't open, then I'll break the door!" Mr. Maresato yelled in rage as he raised the heavy wrench in his hands, fully intent on breaking the wooden door down.
"Okay, okay! We'll open the door. Hold on a second."
As the door was unlocked, Mr. Maresato was overjoyed and moved to open the door wider. "Thanks. You really saved..." he said happily, but he was welcomed with a stab to the chest with an improvised spear.
"...us?" Now he had a full look of everyone in the house. There were 6 of them, 3 males and 3 females; probably a married couple with their parents and in-laws. The one holding the spear was the youngest male; most likely the son, while the other 2 older men held a baseball bat and a golf club respectively.
The women were less armed than the men; one had a frying pan in her grip, another had a kitchen knife, but the last woman, the oldest was the one that caught his attention.
She held prayer beads in her clasped hands and prayed loudly, either to Buddha or whatever gods she believed in for his salvation. It was ironically hypocritical, he thought; here this woman was, praying for his soul while it was her son or maybe son-in-law was the one who killed him.
Alice was now horrified out of her mind, she had most likely lost her mother to Them and now her father was dying right in front of her. The shock induced by the whole situation hadn't set in with her young mind, but once the initial numbness faded, she realized just how hopeless the whole situation was.
"A... Alice..." he called.
"Papa? PAPA!" she rushed to him and knelt down, holding his right hand in her small grip.
"I'm... fine." He whispered out. "When it's... all... clear... hide... okay? Hide and... stay safe."
"Stay... strong...okay? Papa... loves..."
With one last gasp, the man passed away. Only one of many who would succumb to the fear of their common man and certainly not the last. Her mind practically shut down, Maresato Alice cried out and held her deceased father.
"Papa, please! I wanna be with you... I wanna be with you forever so please... "
The sight was heart wrenching. In no way was she prepared for such a loss. Unfortunately, They don't have any compassion nor mercy and a crying child grieving over her father would make a fine meal.
Komuro Takashi was not known for having the brightest ideas, nor was he known for the safest approaches to things. But he was known for his bravery and ingenuity. So when he saw the little girl who was in dire need of help, he did what any person of his character would do: he charged forward in a truck with a full propane tank strapped to the bed and a molotov cocktail safely placed in his coat.
His plan was as follows: drive straight to the girl, get off the truck, throw the molotov cocktail, then run like hell. In a nutshell, that would probably make for a very effective rescue operation, but he completely forgot to think about his return strategy.
With less regard than necessary, Takashi ran through nearly every zombie he could. Sometimes, he swerved the truck precisely to hit one of the undeads. This reckless prejudiced hate was also slowly, but surely reducing the tires' grip and finally it slipped.
As the truck began swerving out of control, he slammed on the clutch and hit the brakes; slipping all the way to his destination. With no other way to stop the truck, the delinquent opened the door, turned left then right, aiming to hit a wall. Nearing the opened gate of the door, he jumped out of the truck.
Alice had been never cried much before; always a happy child, she was the bright light of her family. Then, the light had dimmed by merciless circumstances and she lost her parents. She had crawled away from her father when more of Them approached her and now a dog was barking at the horde of Them.
It may have attracted more of Them towards the girl and itself, but the barking also brought a hidden blessing in the form of a 5 metric ton truck moving at 80 km/h crushing an undead man to a wall.
Hearing the loud crash, Alice looked up only to see another one of Them ready to lunge at her. She screamed in terror and closed her eyes, hoping that her death would at least be a painless one. Another sound, this one stopped Their moaning abruptly. Braving herself, she opened her eyes to see a teenager wearing a gakuran beheading one of Them.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
Though still in shock, the little girl managed to give a nod at his question. She didn't know who this person was, but she was happy as could be that he was there.
"Can you wait a bit? I think we have to clean up a bit over here." Takashi continued as he went on to cut another one of Them while another one behind it got its head shot by a high powered rifle.
"Nii-chan, behind you!" she cried.
Without missing a beat, he turned to his back and struck with the blade in his left hand. The strike hit home and another one of Them bit the dust.
"Can you stand? We have to get out of here quickly. My friends and I know a safe place." he said again, extending his hand in an inviting gesture.
The young girl didn't say a word and kept looking in the direction of a dead body.
"Your father?" Takashi asked.
She nodded sadly; her eyes were starting to tear up, but she held herself. At the very least, she wanted to look brave in front of her father. Takashi pulled him down from his slumping position and crossed his arms over his chest before pulling down a sheet from the clothesline and covered him.
He said a quick prayer and pulled out a flower, holding it out to the little girl. "He sacrificed himself to find shelter and give hope for his daughter. He was a splendid father." He eulogized.
Alice looked at her father's body one last time and started to cry. She thought she had run out of tears, but it looked like she still had some for her father.
Takashi waited patiently for her sobs to die down. No matter who or where, he still couldn't get used to the sound of women crying. He just hoped that he never would.
"Shit." He swore. Letting the girl cry was the moral thing to do, however it was not the best one as more and more of Them gathered after hearing her cries. Or maybe They had working noses? The young man didn't know and didn't care. They needed to go, right now.
There was no time to waste; the first thing he had to do was create a distraction, so he did just that. The young man pulled out the molotov cocktail he put in his gakuran and lit it with a lighter. Seeing the satisfactory flame, then threw it to the truck's location.
Takashi pulled her up and hid behind the house, waiting for an explosion that came not even 1 minute later. As one would expect, it was loud, bright, and hot. The explosion created a fireball reaching 20 m tall and 15 m across for a few moments before the remaining gas was left burning. Even from behind the wall, Takashi still felt his ears ringing.
It was a good thing he remembered to close his ears and instructed Alice to do the same. He knew the family who hid in the house may or may not survive, but he didn't care; couldn't afford to care. If he didn't do it, more of Them may swarm him and the little girl. Then, surviving would be impossible. Besides, who knew, maybe they had barricaded the door.
Peering around the corner, he saw that several of Them was shredded to mincemeat by the explosion, others were burning like a torch while still shambling this way and that. To his disappointment, not all of Them were disposed of, but the burning ones are spreading the flame and the truck had turned into an effective road block. With that way blocked, he climbed onto a wall and pulled Alice up, carrying her on his shoulders then walked back to the safe house.
"I never expected the explosion to be that big." Kouta commented.
"He had a nice plan, but didn't really take physics into account. Though the fact that he didn't shoot the tank and hope it blew up was a nice consideration." Saya said while lowering the binoculars she used to look at Takashi and Alice.
"The problem now would be the return strategy." Saeko replied.
"What is that idiot doing now?" the pink haired girl said, once more using the binoculars. "What the hell?"
"Let me see." The senior said as she took the binoculars. "Hoo? He's improved."
"In what way?" Kouta asked as he peered through his rifle's scope.
"He's faster than before and could leap while carrying a someone on a piggyback. That counts for something."
"You mean he's done this before?"
"A couple of times, yes."
"Onii-chan, are you sure this is OK?" Alice asked.
"Yeah, I've done this before." Takashi replied. "Though without this much pressure."
Running on fences are generally thought of as a thief's skill. But it was very useful for getting out of sticky situations, especially if one were chased by a rowdy crowd who were more... grounded; like they were. Currently the two were o tall wall fence that connected between houses in an almost perfect grid shape. The reason was, they couldn't be sure of the roads' safety yet; even with the explosion sure to attract Their attention and the resulting fire that should have incinerated a few of Them. Besides, there might be a few of Them hiding in a corner for an ambush; no matter how unlikely, it must be considered.
"Can you... slow down a bit?"
"I... I gotta go potty."
"We can't. Look, if you have to go, just go. I'll allow it." Takashi said with a dejected laugh. "Just... try not to get any on my hair, OK?"
"Pack up, we're leaving." Saya ordered after she put down a pair of binoculars. "We're picking them up.
"Get as much weapons and supplies you can!" she called out. "Food, water, clothes, anything you need."
"Umm... Takagi-san, this is Rika's place, not mine. And some of the stuff we're taking are hers." Shizuka apologetically said.
"When we see her, we'll apologize and reimburse her for them." she replied. "We can't apologize or anything if we're dead."
"Put all of them into the Humvee and hurry up, we don't have much time!"
Being surrounded by enemies was not something new for Komuro Takashi; in the 4 years he had been a delinquent, most of his 200+ fights were with the odds stacked against him. In all those fights, the strategy was almost the same: divide and conquer; run a safe distance away and then pick them off one by one. After all, if he had to make a comparison, life was more like Dark S***s than Dyna*** Warriors. Being surrounded by even 3 chumps could spell death if one were to charge forwards without thinking. In this situation however, dividing and conquering could not be done simply because the enemies were everywhere, there are no gaps with which he could escape, and he was burdened by another person.
"This is really troublesome." he muttered.
"Hey, Alice, how far do you think we travelled?"
"I don't know."
"Because I could swear I'm hearing something very loud is coming our way and oddly enough I'm not the least bit worried." he said again.
A distinctly loud growl from an engine was heard, along with screeching tires. It was obvious just by the sound that whoever was driving the car had great difficulty driving it for a while. The noise was loud enough that some of Them who were nearby but out of sight were distracted and turned their rotting faces to the source of the sound only to be shot down by a high powered rifle.
"Get in! Quick!" A very distinct voice belonging to a pink haired girl ordered after the heavy vehicle stopped and opened its doors.
Without missing a beat, both young man and young girl jumped into the Humvee.
Next morning, approximately 7 a.m
"Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream." A young girl happily sung on top of a metal plated vehicle crossing a river.
"Wow, Alice-chan, you have a great singing voice." Kouta praised.
"Heheh, do I?" she asked back with a blush.
"You do. You'll be a great singer for sure in the future."
"Jeez, it was just yesterday that we have to abandon a perfectly good fortress." Saya grumbled from inside the Humvee. "And then he just sleeps like a log."
"Isn't this fine, Takagi-san? He was in a lot of trouble yesterday." Marikawa Shizuka said. The fact that she was able to drive perfectly well in the shallow river was a proof to her skill behind the wheels. The Humvee just took some getting used to.
"Trouble that we had to bail him out of. Hey, how long do you plan to sleep?" She reached out to the back and saw a scene that made her blood boil.
The young man was sitting in the middle of two beautiful ladies; Rei was using his shoulder as a pillow and Saeko slept on his lap. The fact that his hands were on top of each of their head, giving an illusion of affection made that sight even more infuriating.
"Dammit….. Wake up, you ero-manga protagonist!" She yelled out loud.
The three people in question stirred a bit, not at all comfortable being awoken from their rest. They blearily looked at each other and then to the pink haired girl in front of them before they suddenly realized their state, it was very unfortunate that a certain part of the delinquent's anatomy had decided to wake up together with him.
The pink haired genius had been furious then, but now she was absolutely livid. It was then that she decided to go on a sermon mode regarding morals and illicit relationships as if she were part of the Disciplinary Committee. Given her… spirit for it, all 3 passengers plus 1 driver became the unwilling victims of a very unforgiving tsundere childhood friend.
"Hey, Kouta-chan, why did you close my ears?" Alice asked. She was rather confused when the chubby boy immediately covered her ears following a rather loud yell from the Humvee.
"Eh, well… Uh…, a… a bee! That's right! I thought I saw a bee and I was worried it would get into your ear." Kouta hastily answered. How would he explain to this child that one of his classmates had just insulted his other classmate in a manner so… unique, even he wouldn't be able to explain it correctly? Besides, children should not know about ero until they reach the age of twelve (hopefully older).
"Ah, Kouta-chan, look!" The young girl pointed towards the river bank where a small group of Them were waiting.
Takagi Saya was well known in Fujimi High School for her explosive temper, arrogant attitude, and unmatched intellect. For some people, only part of the three traits would show; mostly the arrogant attitude and the unmatched intellect. However Komuro Takashi, Busujima Saeko, and Miyamoto Rei are currently experiencing only the explosive temper. It was like she had been 33% explosive, 33% arrogant, and 33% brilliant but now had forsaken the arrogance and intellect to take on a 100% explosive approach.
They were saved when Hirano Kouta banged on the Humvee's roof and yelled out. "Eyes front! I see 10 of Them."
Saya decided that exploding on her three…. Comrades? could be continued later. It was time to be intellectual. She stood up and snagged the binocs from Hirano's hand and peered to the distance. There were indeed some of Them. It seemed getting rest on dry land would have to wait a while.
"Dammit, Saya. I told you a million times already. There are times when you can be loud, there are time when you should be quiet. But did you listen? No…. lil' miss genius knows everything." Takashi grumbled as his machete cut off another head. That would make 9 of the 15 Them that hobbled around the river bank, not 10 like Kouta said. Given the noise of the Humvee and a certain genius, it was obvious some of Them had heard it and approached the possible spam-for-undead can.
He turned around and saw Rei trying to get used to her SR-25 and stabbed one of Them through the head with the bayonet. It was a good thing Kouta didn't use his guns too much; They are attracted to noise after all. The chubby boy had attached scissor blades to the bat and smacked it Their head, effectively killing it in one blow. While Saeko had dealt a heavy skull shattering strike to last Them's head.
The delinquent looked at his other childhood friend who looked smug crossing her arms under her bosom with a grin on her face. He had the urge to get back at her and judging by the look on his lover's face, she had the same idea. Oh well, revenge can wait. It was time to take a small break and a change of clothes for the ladies. The boys of course were told to stand on the opposite side of the Humvee while they changed.