Chapter 3: Infection
It is easy to get to the basement. Unlock the fire door, descend the stairs, and you will reach the first floor of the basement, which is the food section.
The fresh ingredients are rotten, but the canned food can be still be eaten without worry. Sweets should also have no expirations dates. However, the reason why I didn’t go to the basement so far is easy to understand; it is because it is connected to the outside. To be exact, it is connected to the underground parking lot, which leads outside. But the fact that it leads straight outside without any obstacles makes it the same I suppose.
I have come to that basement floor. I can’t hear a single sound.
I breath in short breaths and cover the flashlight with the palm of one hand while holding it in another, so the light doesn’t spread out as much.
My view is limited and if I tripped on something and made a sound by any chance…my steps grow heavy thinking about it. I can’t feel any zombies around, but there is no way they are not here. The food that the boys left behind was procured from here, and at that time two boys had died. At the very least, those two boys and the zombie that attacked them should still be here.
“…canned peaches, huh?”
I found canned peaches while looking for something which seemed edible. If my memory was right, Honjo-san had canned peaches in her hand at the very beginning, one month ago.
This is essential.
I forcibly screw the can in the pocket of my jacket.
For the time being I have hung a shopping basket on my right arm, but if I´m attacked by a group of zombies, I will abandon it and run away. If that time comes, I will at least have these canned peaches. It’s my idea of future planning.
“Aah, the lack of exercise is proving to be quite…”
Because it is necessary to light up the front with the flashlight, I can’t change the angle of my arm. However, ten years have passed since I became an office worker and neither my physical strength nor my muscular power was what it used to be.
I have collected a moderate amount of food in the basket, and since I’m getting tired, I think I’ll return now. I have enough food to survive for another month if added to the remaining food from before. Of course, that is possible if only one person is eating.
A clattering sound rang out.
It happened suddenly just when I got careless thinking about returning. Somehow, I manage not to drop the flashlight.
Fortunately, zombies are slow-witted. They are quite strong, but their speed is quite pathetic. The recent zombie movies show many strengthened running zombies, so I must be thankful that those don’t exist.
Right now, I don’t know whether those guys react to light, so I switch off the flashlight just to be sure.
Click! The slight sound of the button echoes. However, it isn’t noticed by the zombies who are probably somewhere in the surrounding.
I can’t move from here until my eyes are accustomed to the darkness, so I sit down on the spot unwillingly. So that I can immediately move even if something happens, I keep one leg upright.
Apart from my breathing sound, I sometimes hear a clattering sound. Although there is surely something, it is indiscernible whether it is one or more beings. I think that it is only one, but if I’m wrong I will die. So, I can’t help it but to be as careful as possible.
I gather my determination as I move while bending my waist. I move as carefully as possible, but the contents of the basket make a little noise nevertheless.
My heart is beating so hard that I start feeling that it is too noisy. I know it isn’t actually making any audible sound, but when I think that it may attract a zombie, it weighs on my mind.
I pass through the food section. On my right and left there are walls in the form of food shelves, so if by any chance I was sandwiched, there’s no way out. The rest is to pass through the fresh food department where the shelves are only waist height tall until I reach the cash register area.
However, naturally, the world isn’t so sweet as to let it end without anything happening.
“Are you serious?”
Tsuu. Sweat runs down my back.
I can’t see very well from here, but there is single zombie. There would be no problems if there is only a single zombie, but that would be only in the case that I don’t have to go near it.
There was only one zombie, but it was in front of the door I came through.
It isn’t looking this way, but towards the door. Although I didn’t lock the door, because the door is closed, a zombie won’t be able to open it. I must deal with that zombie somehow. I can make a sound and try to lure him towards it, while heading to the door from another route, but I can’t avoid death if I call other zombies while doing so.
What should I do? The other side is basically above me in power. Passing by his side to get to the door is also dangerous.
“…There is no choice but to make a first move.”
I can hit the zombie’s head with full strength from behind, because I have no choice but to damage the brain. For real zombies, their brains are their weak point, so it would be possible to kill them with that.
However, there is a problem…I have never murdered a person before.
I haven’t even finished off a powerless and completely rotted zombie before. Can some like me really carry it out and kill a zombie? I have such doubt inside me. Of course, I’m ready to slaughter it, but it’s another question whether I can actually carry it out.
Still, I can’t stay like this forever, so I strengthen my determination and advance forward.
“Don’t take this personally.”
I take some kind of can from the basket and raised my arm to fling it against the parietal area of the zombie.
But before I swing down my arm, I feel a certain sense of incongruity. Since it was dark, and I was looking from far away, I didn’t notice it at all before. The zombie is a girl in her late teens. Of course, I can only see her body from behind, but even that was too beautiful.
“Hey, you, you aren´t a zombie?”
Even I think that it’s a stupid question.
The girl looks back, reacting to my question. It is a young girl as expected and her body doesn’t have any wounds.
“A human…come on, don’t surprise me like that. Why are you here?”
The girl doesn’t answer. She just looks at me with hollow eyes.
“It’s very dangerous around here. For now, let’s go inside– tsu!?”
I am just able to hold back the scream that was going to come out of my mouth.
This girl is a zombie!
Because she had a really beautiful body I didn’t notice it, and I can’t see where she was bitten. However, the brutality shown is obviously of a zombie.
I push her with full force against the cash register. A loud sound rings out and I began to hear sounds from here and there. It seems like the other zombies have noticed me.
“Shit, I need to retreat!”
I forcibly move my right leg between myself and the zombie and kick her abdomen with all my might. I feel guilty from the soft sensation of kicking a girl, but she isn’t a human any longer.
The girl loses her balance, and without waiting to see her fall, I face the door.
Because zombies are slow witted, she need several seconds to get up, in the meantime I have enough time to open the door and lock it behind me completely.
“…Shit, I’m so unlucky.”
I lean against the fire prevention door and check every corner of my body.
…A part of my shoulder is missing.
I don’t know when I was bitten, probably because of the adrenaline.
Well, even if I knew exactly when I was bitten, it makes no difference. Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to run away if I knew.
“I danced along with misfortune…”
(ED: No idea, some reference maybe.)
The kids nowadays wouldn’t get such a joke. Thinking that, I laugh dryly.