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Meng Feng stepped out of the office. He pushed the door open and looked around downstairs. There was another stairwell. He retreated back to the corridor, and pulled open the window. He leaned over and looked down.
The administration building and ordnance training centre were separated from each other by 100 metres of road. In the centre was an open courtyard. With the moon in the sky, Meng Feng could clearly see the scene in the courtyard.
Tens of zombies were wandering about aimlessly in the courtyard.
Meng Feng: “Liu Yan. The armoury is just opposite. Can you see anything inside?”
“Can’t see anything,” Liu Yan replied. “You’re on your own when you go in. I’ll report the situation outside to you every five minutes.”
Zhang Min: “It’s all zombies down there. How we’re going to get across is still a problem. Walk on a steel tightrope?”
Meng Feng glanced down, and said, “How about we charge out?”
Zhang Min tilted his head to look back, scanning the rest of the members. Their expressions were uncertain and filled with fear.
“We can’t charge out.” Zhang Min said. “If we charge out we might have to shoot. Don’t forget that there are hundreds more zombies below our feet. They’ll chase us up here if they hear gunshots.”
Meng Feng: “How many rounds do you have in your AK?”
Zhang Min took out a round magazine from his shoulder bag, and said, “Twenty.”
Meng Feng: “Liu Yan, there’s nothing more for you to do here. Pay attention to other areas.”
High above on the hill, where Liu Yan was camping.
Liu Yan turned his head to study the other screens, glancing at Jue Ming out of the corner of his eye. Jue Ming’s head was lowered as he looked at his own wallet.
“What’s that?” Liu Yan asked.
“A picture.” Jue Ming didn’t lift his head as he answered.
Liu Yan: “Of your father?”
Jue Ming let Liu Yan take a look. The picture was of a simple, dark, tall, and thin village male. He stood in a photo booth. The background was a cliche-looking sea and sky.
Liu Yan: “...”
Jue Ming: “So old-fashioned.”
Liu Yan: “You said it yourself… I didn’t say anything.”
Jue Ming: “Old-fashioned and handsome. Extremely old-fashioned, he said it himself.”
Liu Yan almost laughed himself silly, and said, “He really must want to destroy this picture.”
“Mm.” Jue Ming nodded, put the picture away and continued. “He didn’t know me yet at the time.”
Liu Yan smiled helplessly. He completely couldn’t tell that the village boy in the picture and Zhang Min were the same person. It was most likely a picture from him in his home village, before he joined the army.
Liu Yan pressed on the controls that let him turn the camera. Jue Ming looked at the screen and said, “It’s stuck.”
Liu Yan: “Yeah. That idiot, Meng Feng. He didn’t set it at a good angle.”
The Number Four camera was on the corner opposite the armoury, where the big empty area in front of the armoury could be seen. It was also the evacuation route that they would take after they obtained the weapons. When the camera was turned all the way, a dead-end could be seen.
“How much time do you guys need?” Liu Yan asked into his earpiece.
Meng Feng: “Seven minutes.”
Zhang Min: “No need. Three minutes.”
Liu Yan did some silent calculations. He put the earpiece on Jue Ming, and let him sit in his place. He turned onto his side and slid down the hill. He ran through tall grass that came up to his waist, and followed the perimeter wall, heading to where Meng Feng had left his grapple hook earlier. He climbed up with hands and feet, and stabilised himself on top of the wall, then crouched his way towards the fourth camera.
“What’s your name?” The golden-toothed fatty pushed open the car door, laughing as he got out. “Little kid, what are you to Liu Yan? How come I’ve never seen you before?”
Jue Ming took off the earpiece, and lifted his head to stare at the golden-toothed fatty.
The fatty walked towards Jue Ming with an eyebrow raised. Jue Ming got up and took a step back, glancing out of the corner of his eye towards Liu Yan who was shakily making his way across the perimeter wall. He didn’t dare make a sound.
The fatty said, “Oh ho, don’t be afraid. What did Liu Yan do to you? Did he hide you in his room? Come here, uncle can take care of you, just listen to uncle…”
Liu Yan managed to turn the camera, and was just about to climb down the wall, when the sound of the fatty’s shout came from the distance.
That golden-toothed fatty had taken Jue Ming into his arms, and pressed him into the back of the car. Jue Ming didn’t resist and only stared with wide eyes at Liu Yan in the distance. He waited for Liu Yan to get ready to come down from the wall, then he fiercely bit into the fatty’s shoulder.
That howl of pain pierced the night sky. The fatty’s shoulder was covered in blood. Jue Ming quickly backed away and hid behind the car. The fatty cursed loudly and chased him. Jue Ming crawled under the car.
The fatty cursed as he squatted down to try and grab him, but couldn’t crawl under the car. In a rage, he got up and went to the left side of the car but Jue Ming silently crawled to the right side, and the fatty shouted, “You little bastard...”
Suddenly, there was a punch to the side of the fatty’s head, making his head buzz. The ground spun before him, and he didn’t even have time to react before he was being grabbed by his hair and pulled back.
Liu Yan dragged the fatty by his hair, reaching the front of the car in a few steps. With a firm hold, he smashed the fatty’s head heavily onto the car.
With a loud bam, the fatty passed out.
Liu Yan panted for a while, and said coldly, “You deserve to die.”
Jue Ming crawled out from under the car. His mouth was entirely covered in blood.
“Wipe your mouth,” Liu Yan said.
Jue Ming nodded, taking the water bottle to rinse his mouth, then spat the water out onto the ground.
Meng Feng asked, “What happened out there? You’re breathing so hard.”
Liu Yan: “I was doing some exercise. There are twenty zombies in the armoury. What’s your plan?”
Meng Feng and Zhang Min both set up an AK on the windowsill. “We’ll be ready soon,” Meng Feng said, and took out his earpiece.
“I’ll take care of the twelve on the east side, you take care of…” Meng Feng paused, and pulled the trigger. The gun went off with a bang.
Zhang Min casually reloaded the gun. “Are there enough bullets? I suspect that there will be more and more.” He fired after he finished speaking. His skill was god-like, immediately taking out a zombie with a headshot.
Meng Feng shot again. “No, there will only be less of them.” Another bullet took out another zombie.
Zhang Min pulled the trigger. The shot was loud.
“You’ve already alerted them.” Zhang Min adjusted the direction of his gun. “The zombies below are making their way up.”
“Continue killing them.” Meng Feng said nonchalantly. “I have a plan.”
Zhang Min narrowed his eyes, looking into the crosshair. “What plan?” He pulled the trigger as he spoke. One bullet went through two zombies’ heads.
The zombies were heading towards the administration building. The zombies downstairs were starting to climb up the stairs.
Meng Feng instructed: “All of you! Lock the doors on both sides of the corridor, now!” He pulled the trigger again, one shot after another. The two of them in front of the windowsill fired more than ten shots, clearing out the zombies in front of the armoury door.
Then came the banging sounds. Another member screamed as if he was going insane. The zombies had made it to the third floor, and were starting to slam against the door.
Clouds passed over, blocking out the moonlight. Outside, it was pitch black.
“Shit.” Meng Feng frowned.
Zhang Min winked with a handsome smile. “Leave it…”
“... to me.” Zhang Min murmured, and pulled the trigger.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Four shots. Meng Feng couldn’t help but cheer. With every shot Zhang Min made, he tilted the angle of his gun very slightly. The AK on the windowsill turned as though it had become a part of his body, sending out four rounds of bullets like it was an art. Seven rounds. Ten rounds. The magazine was empty.
Ten rounds of bullet shells clattered onto the ground. Not one of them was wasted!
Meng Feng: “Go!”
He hooked a grappling hook onto the windowsill, and slid down three floors with a whoosh. Zhang Min said, “Hurry up and go!”
The other members were extremely impressed, they could have almost bowed in respect. All the zombies were being drawn towards the third floor of the administration building, but everyone slid down using the grappling hook, and silently crossed over the 100 metre long road. With Meng Feng in the lead, and Zhang Min bringing up the rear, they ran towards the armoury.
Liu Yan held his breath as he watched the monitors. A line of bright, orange-red human figures passed through the road. The administration building, the field, everywhere was densely filled with zombies, all flooding towards the source of the gunshots.
Zhang Min was walking backwards, and switched to his handgun. A flare soared into the sky, lighting up the space for kilometers around.
Meng Feng: “Everyone, go through the side entrance. Hurry, hurry!”
“It’s a bulletproof lock!” Zhang Min said. “We can’t open it!”
Liu Yan spoke into the earpiece. “I put a few bottles of the liquid Fang Xiaolei made in your bag! Quickly!”
“Your attention to detail is great, Liu Yan!” Zhang Min laughed, immediately searching and retrieving a bottle. He lowered his head and began melting the lock. Meng Feng and the others moved into a protective circle around the side entrance.
Liu Yan: “They still haven’t noticed you yet. There are a few zombies in your area. Zhang Min, there’s one to your left, be careful!”
Meng Feng: “Don’t shoot!” In that instant, he turned and pulled out a dagger. The dagger sliced through the head of a zombie that had just crawled out from the flower bushes.
Liu Yan: “To your right, five o’clock, there are six slowly making their way over! Meng Feng! In the corner! Get away from that corner!
A zombie lunged forward from behind the corner, and grabbed hold of the back of a member who was hugging a gun. They shouted in pain and turned around. Five or six people rushed forward to pull him back. Meng Feng fired the gun in the end. Liu Yan thought to himself that this was a disaster, then said, “More are coming, you still can’t get in yet?!”
“It’s open!” Zhang Min said. “Hurry, get in!”
Once that member was injured, it was as if the whole barracks had been alerted. All the zombies turned and spontaneously started running towards them. Meng Feng and Zhang Min guarded the door, shooting rounds one after another, blowing the heads off of zombies that lunged forward. The other members hid inside the armoury, with Meng Feng covering them and Zhang Min at the door. He pulled out an iron lock from his bag, and locked the side door with a click, sealing it tightly.
The zombies slammed against the door. Meng Feng and the others were inside the armoury. They were safe for now.
Liu Yan let out a sigh of relief.
“Now all the zombies are gathered outside that side entrance. Once you all get the weapons, you can force your way out again.” Liu Yan said, “Can you hear me? Meng Feng? What’s the situation there?”
“I can hear you.” Meng Feng pushed on his earpiece with one hand, his other hand holding his gun. His steady voice echoed in the large, empty, and dark armoury. “It’s completely sealed here. There shouldn’t be any zombies.”
“Stay on high alert.” Liu Yan tiredly said, “I’ll watch for any movements outside. Let me have a drink.”
Jue Ming handed him the water bottle. Liu Yan asked, “That fatty isn’t awake yet?”
Jue Ming looked over curiously, and shook his head.
Liu Yan could taste blood from the water bottle. Knowing that Jue Ming had used it just now to rinse his mouth, and thinking that the blood belonged to that fatty, it was quite hard to stomach.
Jue Ming: “You surprisingly know how to fight.”
Liu Yan: “Just a little, not nearly as good as your father or Meng Feng though.” He screwed the cap of the water bottle shut, then suddenly paused, and asked, “Is there still blood in your mouth?”
Jue Ming shook his head. Liu Yan’s ears perked up. Jue Ming heard it too, and suddenly said, “Someone’s coming.”
Liu Yan immediately made a motion to stay quiet, and picked up the makeshift crossbow he had placed on the hood of the jeep. He gestured for Jue Ming to sit down in the seat, and hid himself behind the car.
Three zombies ambled out of the forest. Their clothes were that of farmers from the nearby town. Their bodies were already half rotten as a result of days of high temperatures. They wobbled and shakily made their way towards their temporary camp.
At the same time, inside the armoury:
Zhang Min flipped a switch on, which lit up the entrance and corridors inside. Dark, red lights, lit up the entire armoury.
Zhang Min: “An independent power supply system, to prevent an outage in case of a bombing.”
Meng Feng: “Very good. Everyone gather up all the guns.”
Meng Feng pulled down his mic. “Liu Yan, do you copy? What’s the situation outside? The armoury is underground, there are a total of two floors. We might have to switch to a more spacious exit. Give us a report of the situation at the main armoury entrance and the fire escape route in the west.
Jue Ming: “The main door outside… there are zombies.”
“Jue Ming?!” Meng Feng and Zhang Min exclaimed simultaneously.
Zhang Min: “How are you here?!”
Meng Feng: “Liu Yan? Where’s Liu Yan! What happened?”
At the campsite:
Jue Ming: “Ah… He’s…”
Liu Yan was hidden behind the car, and made a motion of him pulling up his pants, at the same time aiming his crossbow at the zombies slowly making their way over.
Jue Ming: “He’s taking a piss. Strange, why are there so many… zombies here.”
Meng Feng: “How many are there? What position?”
Jue Ming: “One, two, three, four…”
Meng Feng: “...”
Zhang Min: “...”
Meng Feng roared: “Where’s Liu Yan?! Hasn’t he finished pissing?”
Jue Ming: “One ran that way. Another two are coming. How many did I count just now?”
A zombie wobbled close to Jue Ming. With a whoosh an iron fork left the bowstring, and immediately pierced through the head of that zombie in an explosion of sticky, rotting blood that splashed all over Jue Ming’s neck.
Jue Ming: “... Seven, eight…” He touched his neck while counting, until his hand was covered in blood. He glanced at his hand, then wiped it clean on his trousers.
“There’s a total of nineteen of them,” Jue Ming said. “Even more came.”
From behind Meng Feng came a sudden, pained shout. Jue Ming listened. It didn’t sound like Zhang Min’s voice. He asked, “Dad?”
Over the intense gunfire, Zhang Min and Meng Feng simultaneously released a string of gunshots from their rifles, turning a zombie behind the rack of weapons into a sieve.
“Over there!” Meng Feng roared.
The sound of gunfire was relentless. Zhang Min jumped onto his side. His slender figure slid across the floor as the gun in his hand sweeped the area with bullets. The zombie’s ankles were broken, and it fell to the floor with a heavy thump. With a bang from his gun, he shot it in its head.
The surroundings went quiet. Meng Feng slowly walked with his back pressed to the wall. Finally, he eased his gun. “Clear.”
“Clear.” Zhang Min wanted to show off so he spun the gun around on the tips of his fingers as he laughed. “Your dad is a peashooter and very strong. Don’t be scared.”
Jue Ming: “Mm. What is he?”
Zhang Min: “Meng Feng? He looks like an angry squash.”
Meng Feng said coldly, “Don’t be so talkative. Where’s Liu Yan?”
In those short moments, Liu Yan was able to pull back the iron wire and once again take aim with the crossbow to deal with all three of the zombies. He climbed the hill, and sat back in his original position. He took the mic, and said lowly, “Meng Feng. I noticed something.”
Meng Feng: “What?”
Liu Yan: “Is anyone under you injured?”
Meng Feng scanned the area. Two of the members were hurt. One on the shoulder, and the other on the side of his thigh. Neither were fatal. Under the red light, he couldn’t see their complexion. All around them, the zombies that were taken down criss-crossed the floor, all of them wearing camouflaged military uniforms. Most likely, when the breakout happened, they had entered the armoury to resist it.
The members who got scratched definitely wouldn’t make it, but Meng Feng did not want to deal with them right there. Since Lin Musen was the one who insisted they come, then he should be the one to deal with it in the end.
Meng Feng: “You don’t need to mind it.”
Liu Yan: “I know why the zombies are so sensitive to live people. Their senses of sight and sound are slower than a live person’s, but their sense of smell to detect blood is very keen. Just now, I discovered three… They weren’t a big deal, they’re already taken care of.”
Meng Feng listened to Liu Yan while ushering the other members. Liu Yan said again, “If anyone’s injured, they might attract a lot of zombies. All of the zombies in the barracks are headed towards the armoury.”
Meng Feng and Zhang Min froze simultaneously, their gazes fixed on the two injured members. Their wounds hadn’t closed yet, and were steadily dripping blood onto the floor.
“The side door is blocked.”
“The main door is blocked too.”
Liu Yan’s voice was unsteady. He stood up, no longer looking at the monitors, but at the military barracks in the distance, at the foot of the hill.
22nd August, 2012, 4:50AM, the darkest moment before dawn.
Liu Yan tilted the flare gun and shot it. Its green fluorescent bullet whistled as it flew towards the armoury on the eastern side of the barracks.
The black mass of heads moved in a horde. Tens of thousands of zombies surrounded the inner and outer three floors of the two-storey building. The flare fell into the sea of corpses, and extinguished.
With ten members and every two carrying one box together, they carried five big boxes towards the main door. Outside, muffled noises sounded one after another. Smashing the door, beating the door, slamming the door. The great shutter gate made of iron was slammed against until it depressed inwards. The unrelenting roar of the zombies outside was like a tide that reverberated intermittently.
Meng Feng: “How many?”
Liu Yan: “A conservative guess would be 10,000, surrounding you from the armoury all the way to the field.”
Meng Feng’s head was down as he configured a six-barrelled minigun, and propped it up on his arm, casually saying, “Very good. Do you think I can break through?”
Liu Yan: “Not very possible. By the way, did you buy insurance for yourself?”
Meng Feng: “What would you say if I came back alive?”
Zhang Min and Meng Feng each had heavy miniguns strapped on, belts of bullets wrapped all around their body.
Liu Yan: “Good luck. Jue Ming and I will wait for your return.”
Meng Feng signalled to Zhang Min. Zhang Min smiled, and with a bang from his gun, the bullet hit the wall in front of the armoury door, smashing the safety switch for the door into pieces!
Immediately, the alarms in the armoury wailed. The iron gate slowly opened. Meng Feng yelled loudly, and marched forward, two machine guns going off with deafening bursts, the bullets flying straight and sweeping outwards.
The two of them slowly walked out of the armoury, the wild gunshots echoing in the night. Liu Yan’s heart was in his throat. With the earth-shattering sound of gunshots and sweeping spray of bullets, there was no possibility of being able to communicate with them.
Liu Yan loaded another purple fluorescent bullet into the flare. The fire lit up the entire night sky, and shone on Zhang Min and Meng Feng, who were back to back, slowly moving forward while turning and shooting. Heads exploded along the path they moved on, limbs flailing as they were shot at.
The members carrying the boxes followed behind them. When the magazine was empty, Zhang Min tossed the machine gun away, and pulled out two small caliber shotguns. He began shooting. Bang! Bang! Bang!
“You’re almost out! Move through the west side of the field! There are the fewest zombies there!” Liu Yan shouted.
Meng Feng abandoned the six-barrel minigun, and roared. “Start running!” As soon as he finished speaking, he rolled onto the ground, and threw out a hand grenade.
With an explosion, the blast nearly knocked everyone over. Meng Feng was in front and bore the brunt of the impact. When he crouched, a piece of shrapnel scratched the side of his face and left a line of blood. Zhang Min roared, “Quickly!”
The zombies surged towards them. Everyone headed to the east side of the field and started running as fast as they could. The distance of one kilometer was very short, but with 12 people carrying five boxes of weapons trying to escape death, and nearly ten thousand zombies on their heels, Meng Feng felt that this road could not get any longer.
Zhang Min shouted: “Hurry! Everyone, run towards that flare!”
Meng Feng was biting down on two mine rounds. With a swing of his arm, the sharp edges on the side of the mine round severed the neck of a zombie that was wildly lunging forward. The mine stuck firmly on the side of a horizontal bar. Beep, beep, beep. Its red light blinked.
Liu Yan and Meng Feng shot a flare into the sky at the same time. The blinding red and green fluorescence crossed each other in the night sky. The perimeter wall was finally, slowly getting closer. Zhang Min threw up a grappling hook. Everyone tossed the boxes at the foot of the wall.
Zhang Min shouted: “You five, climb up first! Hook the boxes up!”
The zombies filled the entire combat training field like a flood. The mine that Meng Feng threw behind while running was triggered. The blast from the explosion threw the dense pack of zombies high up into the air. The bodies of the zombies flew everywhere. The boxes were slowly being transported up the wall.
The last wave of zombies was approaching. Meng Feng, who was in charge of bringing up the rear, lifted his gun. Suddenly, he spotted a somewhat familiar face. He felt like he had seen that zombie somewhere before. It raised a rotting, blackened hand. Still on its finger was a white gold and diamond ring.
Xiao Yu? Meng Feng finally remembered. They followed the army here to avoid the breakout. In front, quite a few of the zombies were wearing school uniforms. He really… really had to… kill it?
“Stay focused!” Zhang Min yelled.
Meng Feng reacted quickly, and shot.
Two of his guns fired, breaking both of Xiao Yu’s legs. The zombie collapsed with a moan, ten steps away. It used its elbows to slowly crawl across the ground.
“Catch!” Zhang Min shouted, and tossed something down from the top of the wall. Meng Feng caught the fully loaded shoulder-fired rocket launcher, and placed the scope in front of his eyes.
“This old dog hates learning how to use new weapons the most…” Meng Feng complained, scrabbling around the body of the weapon before finally finding the glowing keyboard of buttons.
It lit up with a rainbow of colours. The scope let out an electrical buzz and quickly came into focus. Meng Feng keyed in some coordinates and slammed the trigger down. A mini rocket was launched out with a whistle, and hit the beam of the water tower.
“Another one!” Zhang Min laughed loudly, kneeling on one knee at the top of the wall, he launched another mini rocket. The collapse of the water tower shook the earth and flattened the horde of zombies, a torrent of water flooding out.
Meng Feng said, “Are they all transported?”
Meng Feng scaled up the wall, and gazed downwards from the top of it. Outside the perimeter, everyone else was exhausted, lying all over the ground and panting.
Zhang Min grinned and said, “We should have blown up the armoury just now, or else that Mr. Lin might send us here again.”
Meng Feng said, “It would take the whole perimeter wall down. Too dangerous.”
Liu Yan ran a few steps, and paused at the side of the hill. Jue Ming flew all the way down the hill, and jumped into the arms of Zhang Min, whose whole body was covered in blood, and buried his face in his chest.
Meng Feng looked at Liu Yan with some anticipation in his eyes, thinking that he would express something with some kind of gesture.
However, Liu Yan only looked aimlessly at the ground, turned away and said, “Remember to keep the monitoring system. There’s a shortage of supplies. Bye–” With that, he went back inside the jeep.
Meng Feng really wanted to curse. He could only climb back up the wall again and helplessly collect the infrared sensors.
The three jeeps rushed down the hill. One was filled with the injured members, which Meng Feng drove. The fatty who suffered Liu Yan’s beating was still unconscious, and was tossed to the backseat. Inside the other jeep sat the members who weren’t injured. Liu Yan brought along Jue Ming, with the equipment in the back of the jeep, and drove back. The last jeep was filled with weapons, escorted by Zhang Min. There were people injured, but no one asked what would happen to them.
Meng Feng looked at the gradually lightening sky. In his heart, he knew that he definitely couldn’t abandon them here or shoot them.
Otherwise, when other people look at the events of today, the next time they are surrounded by zombies, as soon as they are bitten, that person will give up and their chance of survival will be gone. What would be the point in struggling?
Even before the battle began, you either had to fight against your own people as a zombie, or else, after covering for your buddy and escaping the danger, you had to get shot in the head by your comrade in arms. Who would be willing to face that?
Meng Feng wouldn’t want himself or Liu Yan to suddenly receive a bullet in the back one day.
Liu Yan picked up the walkie talkie and said, “How come there are only three sensors?”
Meng Feng replied, “One broke. Stuck in the barbed wire. Did you touch it?”
The camera on the last sensor was tilted towards the inside of the barracks, its red signalling light blinking.
The sky brightened into whiteness like the belly of a fish. The zombies lost their target, and once again began to wander around aimlessly. A pale light spread across the sky.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cael.