Meng Feng, “Where are we going?”
Liu Yan, “Hospital.”
Meng Feng, “We can’t go there! The zombies all came out from there!”
The jeep suddenly took a sharp turn, a harsh sound could be heard on the road at night as he pulled the car to the side of the road.
Liu Yan shouted, “My mother is in the hospital!”
Meng Feng shouted at him, “It’s too dangerous! You will die!”
Liu Yan quickly kicked Meng Feng, causing the car to hit a roadside bench. A *bang* was heard, and then no more sound could be heard.
“I’ll give the car to you,” Liu Yan said coldly. “I wish you good luck.” He then turned around and got out of the car, but he was held tightly by Meng Feng.
Meng Feng said in a deep voice, “I’ll accompany you, don’t be so capricious right now, okay?”
Liu Yan sighed, reversed and turned back onto the main road. The streets were completely empty. Meng Feng said, “The hospital is a high-risk area, the afternoon news reported that the rabies patients were sent there…”
“Stop talking!” roared Liu Yan, hitting the car horn forcefully in frustration and sadness. Meng Feng went quiet, and Liu Yan rapidly breathed as he continued to drive.
“Where’s your father?” asked Liu Yan.
“Still in the army,” said Meng Feng. “but I am unable to find him.”
Meng Feng’s father was an officer, his mother had long left him when he was still very young. During Meng Feng’s childhood years, he didn’t have a father or a mother. Both his parents didn’t care about him. It was his paternal grandmother who raised him. The lack of discipline led to his poor academic performance. Only until he was in his third year of high school when he met Liu Yan and fell in love, did he take his studies seriously. However, it was too late. He had failed the university entrance examination, and he had to join the army.
What kind of father is that? Liu Yan inwardly criticised the man in his heart. The very least he could do was spend some money to obtain the appropriate credentials for his son to attend university. However, after Meng Feng’s father retired, he didn’t bother asking about his son’s well-being or life.
“What is this?” Meng Feng noticed the books that were next to the dashboard, turned on the lights on the roof of the car, and began flipping through the pages one by one.
Liu Yan, “My Department Head lent them to me, it's said that the U.S Department of Defense had published a guide on the internet many years ago. Many people regarded it as a joke, after that, a lot of books were printed and was spread all over the world.”
Meng Feng, “Do you think they had already begun preparing for this situation? What do you think?”
Liu Yan, “How would I know? We don’t need to save the world, as long as we can survive then that’s not bad already.”
Meng Feng, “Dead yet still able to move… this is a virus, not ghosts or monsters. You’re an atheist, Liu Yan.”
Liu Yan, “I hope it is… no, what is this?”
The jeep slowed down before stopping. Several police cars were parked horizontally in front of them. Further ahead was the hospital.
Five to six men were talking loudly on the intercom. Liu Yan drove the car over. A policeman ran up to the car and shouted, “It’s blocked! Do not come over!”
The policeman tapped the car window. In front of them, the sounds of a machine gun firing could be heard. When Liu Yan heard the sounds, he shuddered.
Meng Feng rolled down the window, the policeman shouted, “Go back! Just go back!”
Liu Yan said, “I must go over!”
The machine-gun fire was deafening, the policeman shouted, “Everyone is dead! Those living have been evacuated, this is already a quarantined area!”
Liu Yan shivered and stared at the policeman. He noticed a shallow cut on his neck. The wound was already scarring over.
On the side of the policeman’s face, one could see purple-brown streaks. Anxiously, he said, “Turn around! Leave this place! The government will soon begin evacuating!”
There was an explosion in the distance, the policeman no longer bothered with Liu Yan. He gestured for them to leave before running back to the defence line.
The wailing became louder, sounding like the wind blowing. Liu Yan remembered the last sound during the conversation with his mother on the phone. “Mother—!” Liu Yan burst into tears, stepped on the accelerator, driving straight towards the blockade.
Meng Feng, “Liu Yan! Wake up! Don’t be impulsive.” Meng Feng hugged Liu Yan tightly, he shouted at Liu Yan’s ear, “I’ll drive! Let me drive!”
Liu Yan madly hammered the steering wheel and his head slammed against it. Finally, Meng Feng was forced to press the side of Liu Yan’s neck until his vision went dark and lay down unconscious.
When he next woke up, Liu Yan’s short hair was messy, and he was sitting in the front passenger seat. The road’s yellow lights flashed across his face.
Meng Feng, “You go back to sleep.”
Liu Yan was silent and dizzy, in a haze, he asked, “Where is this place?”
“The road going out of town.” Meng Feng focused on driving along the road exiting Z city.
Liu Yan, “Didn’t you go back home to collect your things?”
Meng Feng shook his head, Liu Yan’s vision was blurry as he looked out of the car window. Outside of Z city’s third ring, the roadside twenty-four/seven convenience stores were still open.
“Should we inform them to evacuate?” Liu Yan asked tiredly.
Meng Feng replied, “The government will inform them, they already know. Nobody will believe you if you currently run into another person’s house and shout loudly.”
Liu Yan reluctantly nodded his head, they all avoided the heavy topic and nobody mentioned the hospital or what happened to Liu Yan’s mother.
The traffic was getting worse and worse as more cars came, the car had to slow down due to this. Liu Yan borrowed the lights to flip open the book and asked, “Do you not want to find other people?”
Meng Feng lightly answered, “There are several comrades-in-arms, but they aren’t in the city.”
Liu Yan opened the book. “B, Escape Tools: It’s time to choose the tools you need to sustain your life and survive. Standard Disaster Survival Toolkits are enough for short-distance travelling. The items listed below are a must for long-distance travelling.”
Liu Yan muttered to himself, “No matter where you go, you need at least three litres of water a day.”
“What?” Meng Feng asked.
Liu Yan, “Stop the car.” Liu Yan pushed open the car door and exited, he brought his wallet as he rushed towards one of the roadside convenience stores. The convenience store was empty, and Meng Feng impatiently honked.
Liu Yan gestured to wait for a moment, went into the store to buy one box of canned food. Meng Feng immediately exited the car and ran over to help him put the things in the car. Liu Yan entered the store again, buying a flashlight, distilled water, a charcoal grill used for a barbecue, chocolate and finally, highly concentrated alcoholic spirits. Everything was loaded into the car.
The car in front had left, the cars waiting behind them began honking but there were more and more people exiting their cars and looking towards them.
Liu Yan closed the car door and blankly asked them, “Why are you leaving this place?”
The car owners, both men and women stopped honking. They all looked at Liu Yan and didn't speak for a moment. They turned to each other and began running towards the convenience store, snapping up the items inside.
Meng Feng, “Let’s go.”
Liu Yan got in the car and they began moving forward again.
He had spent all his cash, had overdrawn more than 5000 Yuan on his credit card. He had bought an emergency kit, a barbecue, two barrels of water, a box of canned beef, a box of canned luncheon meat, a big box of chocolates, four flashlights, batteries, and binoculars. There was also soap, a bag of laundry powder, two boxes of biscuits and ten rolls of tissue paper.
Meng Feng asked, “Are we going to your university?”
Liu Yan, “Yes, actually we didn’t need to buy so much stuff.”
Meng Feng, “No, we should’ve bought a few more water canteens.”
Liu Yan said, “The University has those things, I just hope that no problems occurred there.” Liu Yan bowed his head to read the book.
Meng Feng asked, “What does the book say?”
Liu Yan replied, “The zombie outbreak is divided into four levels. The first level is a small riot, usually, there’s around about ten to twenty that are infected with the virus that causes a small riot. God, this book was written by a madman...but his words are reasonable.
Meng Feng, “Continue speaking.”
Liu Yan, “The second level is Crisis, there’s usually about twenty to a hundred zombies moving… it’s possible that the city centre and hospital… it’s likely the outbreak was to this scale at home. The third level is a disaster, the number of zombies will be in the thousands, causing havoc within a hundred miles radius. The duration of the attacks, together with the clean-up would last several months. At this time, the army should mobilise to seal off the area and clean up.”
“Is there more?” asked Meng Feng.
“The fourth level is extinction. At this time, the zombies will have occupied the whole world. It would take around ten to fifteen years before the remaining humans will have to wait for natural death, or will begin killing each other… This is too much.” Liu Yan’s heart was filled with absurdity, the manual was simply ridiculous. However, the real thing had happened tonight, so even if he wanted to not believe, he had to believe.
The speed of the motorcade began slowing down once again. Meng Feng said, “It’s similar to the rabies virus, it’s just that we haven’t discovered this type of strain yet. Mad cow disease, rabies, vaccines for these diseases will be researched and made. It’s the same for this one as well.”
Liu Yan nodded his head and looked out of the window. This virus and rabies… although there is a great difference, there are also surprising similarities between the two. Those infected lose their minds, wandering around and attacking others. People are infected through xx means. The difference was that the former occurred in dead people, whilst the latter occurred in living people.
But who could prove that these walking zombies were dead?
Liu Yan thought about the security guard zombie dragging its intestines, and couldn’t help shivering. The motorcade raced through the toll station stopping completely when there were three cars left.
A loud voice could be heard from the loudspeaker saying, “We received a new notice from the traffic control bureau that the section of road in front is under construction. All vehicles please head to National Highway 973, we are temporarily preventing passage here. We are sorry for the inconveniences caused.”
Meng Feng, “What now? The road is going to be blocked and isolated.”
Liu Yan, “Just wait a while.”
The door to a private car in front opened, and a man exited the vehicle. The man pointed at the toll station, cursing. It was hard to hear the man’s voice clearly because he was so far away. Liu Yan raised the binoculars, his eyebrows furrowing when he spotted the scar on the man’s wrist as he was pointing and waving.
Looking at the rear of the car, a mother was hugging their child as she trembled.
“Can you see it?” Liu Yan passed the binoculars over to Meng Feng. Meng Feng took a look and Liu Yan said, “Behind his ear.”
Meng Feng noticed it. “Grey spots.” Meng Feng said, “He must have encountered a zombie, he’s already been infected.”
Liu Yan, “Do you remember that policeman?”
Meng Feng gasped before nodding his head.
The owner had a pale face after he failed to negotiate. The man entered the car, stepped on the accelerator and crashed against the toll gates.
A loud sound could be heard, and the man would then quickly drive ahead.
“No rushing!” shouted a voice that came from the loudspeaker.
Patrolmen came one after another and Liu Yan said, “Go decisively!”
Meng Feng grit his teeth and pressed down on the accelerator, rushing through the toll gates. Five to six cars followed him at high speeds. Liu Yan looked back, there were a few police cars surrounding the checkpoint, forming a tight blockade that sealed the area. It was too late for the other vehicles to rush through the toll gates.
Liu Yan looked at the scene nervously for a moment, soon all he could see were small black dots as they furthered the distance between them and the toll station. They passed the lights on both sides of the highway quickly. Only then, were the duo relieved.
“Let me drive,” said Liu Yan tiredly.
Meng Feng said, “Go eat some food, rest for a while. You’ll drive during the night.”
Liu Yan went to the seats at the back to check. He had been hungry all day, he opened a packet of biscuits and took a sip of the unfinished distilled water to fill his stomach. He asked, “What is this?”
Meng Feng turned around to see Liu Yan holding a folder in his hands, inside were several contracts. “Work,” Meng Feng said with a blank face.
“Accident insurance… personal safety… life insurance…” Liu Yan said, “You sell insurance? How many have you sold?”
Meng Feng was looking at the road in front, answering, “I haven’t sold any insurance.”
Liu Yan, “You aren’t fit for this line of work.”
Meng Feng sighed. “The monthly salary depends on the commission, the basic salary is five hundred a month.” Meng Feng’s voice was low and gloomy. “The government takes too long to assign jobs, I could only find a temporary job to get by first.”
Liu Yan said, “You should be glad you haven’t sold anything yet, otherwise your mental state wouldn’t be stable. Your company is probably already bankrupt, not even a single coin can be given.”
Meng Feng and Liu Yan both laughed. Liu Yan happy said, “If we can come back alive this time, I’ll buy one…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Meng Feng warned, “Be careful!” He turned the steering wheel sharply.
The sound of braking pierced the eardrums. The two vehicles braked simultaneously on the highway. Meng Feng and Liu Yan’s jeep slid to the right side of the road, the private car that was not too far in front of them, uncontrollably spun in a circle before noisily smashing into a fence.
“What happened?” Liu Yan unfastened the seat belt, gasping as he leaned against the side of the window.
A little girl screamed, piercing the silent night’s skies. The scream came from inside of the private car that had crashed.
The woman screamed miserably. “Help-” the voice stopped abruptly. The little girl’s scream was like a sharp whistle. Hysterical, Liu Yan was trembling as he held onto the binoculars. He saw a pool of blood on the back seats of the private car, it was all splattered onto the glass and window.
Meng Feng grabbed the binoculars to look, and immediately put them down. All around them, silence pervaded the area.
The sound of something banging against the window could be heard, Liu Yan and Meng Feng shivered, the chill spreading throughout their entire body.
“Go…” Liu Yan said, “The mother and daughter should be dead.”
Meng Feng reluctantly nodded, stepped on the accelerator and raced towards the open road, leaving behind a long trail of smoke as he sped through the darkness.
They didn't speak, and after a long period of time, Liu Yan suddenly unbuttoned his shirt with trembling hands.
Meng Feng said, “Don’t frighten yourself!”
Liu Yan’s bare upper body was white and well-defined. He wiped his arm with a disinfectant tissue, and then cautiously recalled the first time he had seen a zombie before reuniting with Meng Feng. He confirmed that he had never made direct physical contact with the zombie.
Liu Yan repeatedly wiped his index finger and left with the tissue because he had touched one of the zombie’s eyeballs. He nervously retrieved the rubbing alcohol from the first-aid kit and poured it over his hand.
Using his left hand to steer the wheel, Meng Feng gripped Liu Yan’s wrist tightly with his right hand. His resolute face was covered by a layer of light. “What are you afraid of?” Meng Feng laughed. “Even if you were infected, the only one who would suffer is me.”
Liu Yan thought for a moment, then put the rubbing alcohol away. Meng Feng finally released his grip, mumbling to himself, “What if I turned into a zombie?”
“I don’t know,” said Liu Yan. “Don’t expect me to save you.”
“I don’t need you to save me.” Meng Feng said, “Just remember to escape at that time.”
Liu Yan immediately said, “No.” He earnestly stared at Meng Feng, who was using his elbow to support the steering wheel. Meng Feng leaned forward, gazing deeply into Liu Yan’s eyes, letting him look at his eyes carefully.
“There aren’t any spots.” Meng Feng smiled handsomely. “My skills are very good, how about I strip naked and let you examine me?”
Liu Yan’s eyes carried mirth. “No, thank you. In fact, I don’t even care if you have any scars on your body.”
Meng Feng, “Then what are you thinking about? Thinking of me?”
Liu Yan, “A little, I suddenly want to examine you.” Liu Yan then whispered: “It doesn’t matter. Either I eat you, or you eat me. It’s not fun to be the only one living.”
“That’s true.” Meng Feng agreed. “It’s lonely if you’re the only person alive,” said Meng Feng as he turned on the radio in the car. Liu Yan rolled down the car window, and the cool summer night breeze blew in, carrying the sounds of rock music along the highway.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.