Project: Phantasma

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VII. The Diarrhea Wane

Blood and severed body parts were strewn all over the place. The others started gagging due to the gruesome environment. Walls and glasses had smears of blood, some in handprints. For some reason, liquid excrement could be smelled. It was dark, and they had to squint to see well.

Jane huddled near Kim, covering her mouth. “Does someone have a light?”

“Just stay quiet, guys,” Lloyd said. He didn’t know the reason, but he thought it’s the right thing.

“What… happened?” Christopher asked.

Ran out of toilets and found out the expiration too late, Gab thought.

No one replied. Nobody knew. Their recent lockdown in the conference room made it so. The stalls were a mess. Most of the glasses were shattered. There were no signs of life, except the grunting of some unknown things on the bottom floors. They knew those things were hostile, so they made as little noise as possible.

Garbage cans, tables, chairs and various products were mostly toppled over, sautéed with human products. Most corpses had a trail of liquid excrement around their bottoms. Jane threw up, unable to take what’s at hand. The others were rather worried than disgusted, given the environment they were in, but Kim comforted her on a corner. With her vomit all over the place, the environment just got more disgusting. Christopher fought the food back making its way through his throat.

“It’s not safe here. We should replenish ourselves and barricade somewhere,” Gab suggested.

Lloyd was amused. “Replenish ourselves? That’s an interesting way of saying it.”

The grunts from the lower floor was mighty uneasy for them. Someone lost in the dark would mean instant danger. Screaming through fear of being alone or through pain from merciless human canines meant a pack or so coming their way, Lloyd thought. They stayed close, wading a little every uncertain step. Their steps had crunching sounds every now and then, but it wasn’t as loud as the countless gruntings that seemed to be growing louder. It could be a trick of the mind, but it pays to be safe than sorry.

They arrived at the groceries area. It was a free shopping haven, but the dark stalls seemed to be more of a trap.

“Okay, so I guess I have to check the stalls. If I don’t come back, it’s either I’m dead or I’m laughing at the free condoms,” Lloyd said.

“Are you obliged to do this?” Gab said. “I’m not against your leadership, but you gotta tone down your hero business or we’re gonna lose a leader sooner or later.”

Lloyd just smiled, but it faded into a quick frown. “Wait, where the hell is Toph?”

They looked around, but Jane looked like she had something to say. She was raising her index finger.

“Yes, Jane?” Lloyd said.

“He already went inside… I tried to stop him when I saw him but I thought we had to make as little noise as possible... He was far away when I noticed.”

Lloyd didn’t have enough time to get pissed. They heard a suppressed scream, along with sounds of ripping. Lloyd jumped over the counter like it was a lazy dog (geddit?). He disappeared in the 4th alley from their location, and Gab didn’t know where to look for in caution. The two girls huddled near him, but he didn’t enjoy the moment. He was tense.

Lloyd passed a flashlight stand, ripped the hard plastic cover, and waved his torch around. “Toph!” He shouted while keeping his voice low. The different-colored products that were worth grabbing at the moment felt more limiting than enticing. “Toph!” He called out again. He could hear feeding. He looked back and couldn’t see the area where the others were. He wanted to back out, but the sound started to seem like potato chips. He walked around the stalls and saw Toph on a corner, eating Pringles like his HP depended on it.

After the unwanted tension, Lloyd advised them to take what’s a little more than enough. They ended up with 4 large bags of urinary tract infection.

The cinema seemed like the perfect haven. Lloyd and Gab checked inside as the others waited. After a couple of moments, Lloyd popped his head out of the giant double doors. “All clear.”

Christopher looked down from the 4th floor balcony before going inside. The power must have been cut off, he thought. He saw fast, dark figures crawling and running from down below. He also had the urge to go to the restroom. “Shit. My stomach’s grumblin’ badly. Is there a comfort room there?” He said as he massaged his tummy.

Lloyd smiled. “Ohh. Good luck with that bro. There’s one near the in-theater popcorn stand. Turn right.”

They used poles from the popcorn stand to bar the double doors. Suddenly, Jane screamed. Everyone ran toward her and discovered a dying man covered in human smoothie. The dying man reached out for them as he struggled in stink. “Guys… Throw me outside or all of you… Will die.”

“Dude, it’s just diarrhea. There’s a comfort room here,” Gab said.

“You don’t understand… This is the symptom of… Turning into one of them.”

Kim gulped as she covered her nose with her sweet-smelling hanky. “What do you mean, sir?”

“There’s not much time left! Hurry!”

Gab and Lloyd carried him outside anyway, because his smell was unbearable. They went outside and the two laid the man down near the stairs.

“Are you sure about this?” Gab asked the man.

The man did not respond. He just closed his eyes. His breathing slowed down.

Gab covered his mouth. “Oh my God! Are you dead? Is he dead?”

The man opened his eyes. Lloyd jumped back and was ready to counterattack but it was false alarm. The man looked at the two. “Go. I think some more came out...”

The two willingly walked away rather happily. The real reason was no one ever wants a man covered in poop inside a closed space, but they wanted to pass it off as belief in what the dude said.

“I can’t believe we believed him.” Gab said to Lloyd, the two now barring the double doors. “I mean, c’mon, diarrhea?”

“Maybe this happened because of something we ate,” Jane stated.

Kim pushed the bridge of her glasses. “Or something we didn’t.”

They exchanged skeptical glances. “Lunch.” They said in chorus.

Suddenly, the restroom door flew open, with jelly poop smell emanating from inside. Something wrong came out. Not poop. Two things very wrong. More wrong than listening to a group of boys who sound gay and wrongly claim that what they sing are songs. One, Christopher is in frenzy. Bloodlust in literal and figurative meanings. Two, he’s in a frenzy without his pants on.

“Dude! Cover your shame!” Gab shouted. He looked at Lloyd. “I’ll lure him out.”

Lloyd pulled the girls and hid them in a corner, impressed by Gab’s sudden bravery.

“Hey! Face your dick hair away from the girls!” Gab taunted. He kept tapping the pole used to bar the double doors against the wall and ran outside, Christopher followed.

“Barricade while we’re outside. I’ll help Gab.” Lloyd said to them. He ran outside, seeing Christopher trip over his pants, his chest slamming flat on the floor. Gab ran back after hearing this, doing the strongest kick he could straight through Christopher’s chin, hearing a snap and stopping his grunting.

Lloyd, not knowing that Christopher is dead and with Demacia in mind, charged with a pole but slipped on blood. His planned spear stab landed a spot a lot lower than Christopher’s spine. Flop.

“Woah,” Gab said with two eyebrows raised. “Dude. That was completely unnecessary.”

“…That wasn’t… On purpose.” Awkward silence. They stood looking at the pole. “Am I supposed to get that out of his poopchute?”

Suddenly, Gab looked agitated, pulled the Excalibutt (ha!) and pulled him down. “Duck!”

The foul-smelling man from earlier swooped over their head and slammed to the ground in front of them. He turned around and launched himself towards Gab. He dodged sideways and they made their way towards the theater door, knocking like hell. “Open in 20 seconds! I repeat, in 20 seconds!” Lloyd shouted.

They heard the girls confirm, signaling Lloyd to grab Gab by the arm as they ran around, a 4-storey fall keeping distance away. But the man was fast. He was gaining. He launched himself again towards Gab. Lloyd bashed the pole into its face while it was in mid-pounce. Gab executed a follow up kick to the chest. 18. 19. 20. The doors opened and they dived inside, the girls barricading it immediately.

“That was fuckin’ awesome, Gabriel.” Lloyd complimented as they panted and sat down on one of the cinema seats.

“Thanks. Didn’t know I could do such stuff. All thanks to Resident Evil 4.”

Jane looked worried. “You guys okay?”

The two, in unison, responded in different affirmations.

Kim handed them drinks. “Here.”

They all noticed a serious aura around Gab. He looked like he was pondering about survival, or he discovered something that was crucial. His eyes were unblinking and focused on the item on his hand.

“Gab, are you alright?” Jane asked. She wanted to tap his shoulder, but she was afraid that they weren’t really close. Not that it really mattered at the moment.

Gab stared at the Sprite can he was holding. He gripped the pin but did not open it yet. “Looks like we won’t be using the restroom.”

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