Hero Pandemic chapter 51: Farewell
The next day.
I woke up. Because I didn’t use alarm, it is a natural awakening.
As usual it was not compulsory wake up by noise or insects, so I felt quite satisfied. When I open my eyelids just as it is, LED light that simulates the sunlight is shining gently……the light is shining lightly on me. Apparently it seems that I could wake up naturally thanks to this light.
When I got up and stretched my body, my joints cracked.
(Even though there was a futon, it seems that it was useless to have just one piece on the floor……)
Various beds were in the sleeping room. Because it is a laboratory which assumes that the worker would not able to return home so even if it is called a sleeping room, it is all good stuff. However, it cannot be avoided that it is impossible to get a comfortable sleep only by laying the futon directly on the hard floor and the joints of my body hurts by all means.
By the way, there was a reason for sleeping in the research room instead of the sleeping room. Reason being there were countless dead bodies in the sleeping room. Even though there are two corpses here, fortunately the all-you-can-eat vegetables hide their appearance.
Picking up the baggage that I had brought out and pulling out the cosmetic tools and toiletries, I got up to go to the shower room attached to the sleeping room――――I remember why I slept in the research room which is to satisfy three major needs, that is, to live, not to die and to finally sleep well after two days without a good sleep. It is natural that you don’t want to sleep in a place where corpses lay around.
But today as well , having to stay to identify the cause of the pandemic, I was sleeping because there was nothing to kill time with.
Kaede said yesterday, “Tomorrow morning, surely, I will know everything.” if that is true, there may be answers already.
Just to be sure, the watch of my smartphone is showing that it was past 7 o’clock already. The definition of morning is different for each person, but it can be said that at 7 o’clock is not “early morning” but “morning”.
I put the makeup tool on the futon and left the futon to head next room.
However, Kaede isn’t doing any work to elucidate the cause, but is sleeping on the desk. I wonder if things didn’t progress as easily. I gently covered her with the still warm blanket that I had before, over her.
In addition I pick up the pages printed that are spread on the floor and arrange them around the desk.
When I thought that it would be better to put away the corpse that is lying next to Kaede, I saw his stained name tag by chance.
――――Midou. The name isn’t readable with the hardened blood.
“That’s my father”
When did she, or was she awake from the beginning? Looking back, Kaede wrapped in the blanket was rubbing her sleepy eyes.
“The name is……unnecessary. Professor Midou. I have only called him professor in the last dozen of years.”
The feelings swirling in Kaede´s eyes were too complicated for me to understand. However, it is transmitted that there was no grudge against father.
“From that, I knew the cause.”
Sudden changeover, the surprise that her father is here in the laboratory has blown her away.
“Well then……what is the reason why the world has become like this……?”
We can deal with it if we know the cause. Of course I was confident in Kaede that she would accomplish it.
However, Kaede continues spinning words as if she spits them out, without changing her expression.
“It’s pointless to know the cause. I’m in charge of this virus――――no, not exactly, the man who invented the [Cordyceps] had declared that it is impossible to stop the pandemic.
Kaede says. Cordyceps sinensis is literally an insect during winter and a kind of mushrooms that become grass in summer.
You write it as a winter worm, because Cordyceps sinensis is a bacterium parasitizing on insects.
“Originally it is a fungus parasitizing a moth.The moth larvae are born in the summer and grow by eating the sprout root in the soil, but when the fungus sticks to the larvae during this time……the fungus will grow up by absorbing the insect nutrition.”
Parasites also have a kind of coexistence with the host, but because the Cordyceps is a fungus, the host continues to intake nutrients until it dies. Of course, the larvae are exhilarating to flee from the ground to feel danger――――the larvae will die before they reach the surface of the earth. And for a long time in the winter, that corpse remains alive in the ground. This is a Cordyceps.
And when it gets warmer, the insect germinates and looks out from the ground like a commonly known mushroom. If left untouched, the mushrooms that looked out from the ground will change to a grassy shape. This is summer grass.
“I came to be told that these two strange ecology are『Cordyceps sinensis』.”
“Then, we will continue to live with the dead……”
“Yes. We’ve seen a lot of things before, too”
A human who keeps living with the dead.
“Well then, that really is Cordyceps sinensis………………Cordyceps, sinensis……??”
I noticed. Cordyceps sinensis is an insect during winter and that it germinates in summer as a mushroom. That time is approaching.
“Did you notice?――――Yes, it has not germinated yet. Germinated hyphae grows and produces and releases spores……that is to say, we have not even got a pandemic base yet”
It was a kind of reproductive action at the same time though it was a meal to be able to live naturally that the zombie attacked humans. The purpose is to increase the seed, zombies do not attack each other.
There is a sense of reality in the sudden fantasy of zombies. This nightmare is not a dream but a reality, and it has been informed that it is hopeless.
“It’s ironic. This Cordyceps is a new species that I found……instead of parasitic on insects, I accidentally found them parasitic on rats. A Cordyceps infested with insects produces special antibiotics so that the body of the dead insect does not decompose, but if the rat is the same, then the antibiotic will be made available to humans. That’s what I thought”.
This laboratory was collecting viruses and fungus that destroyed the humanity. But Kaede, who came to me by chance, was supposed to be carrying on with the assumption of saving humanity from that virus.
But the result is as you can see. It is supposed to be a savior, but its rather the reverse, thus mankind is cornered. Analyzing is also a matter of time.
“It was I who found this Cordyceps sinensis, my father improved it……as I said, because I was participating in an experiment to make biological weapons……most of the time I did not participate in the latter half.”
Perhaps, when her father refused to take part in the experiment, he might have already been in a situation where it could not be undone. But Kaede, too, didn’t really think about this ending. It is the one that a new kind of virus and mold are found every year even if she said that she has found a new Cordyceps sinensis and she has forgotten until coming here.
I expected that Kaede was going to have a symptom similar to that of zombies, with the rabies virus modified had. Zombies did not show up on rainy days, because rabies patients thought that it was a kind of symptom feared by water. And if it is rabies, I was aware of the vaccine.
“I thought it was calm, but it wasn’t. A water pistol is more effective than a bullet if it is rabies, and if it is not so, the possibility should be low……a strange hope, but the desire to determine that is upsetting…… I’m sorry, Yumi-san. It was all meaningless to come here. I just lost hope……”
Kaede was unusually talkative today though it was not necessarily quiet.
I conversely lost my words. I can not think of words of comfort or hope.
“When is the grace to destroy mankind?”
“From now… I guess a few months. Maybe sooner.”
“Is … that so?”
Silence dominates the place. I had nothing to say, and I couldn’t say anything. Just despair was here.
(Humanity can’t be saved anymore … this is the end.)
It is frightening for humanity to be destroyed. But one person can not fully understand the fear. Despair for me is that moment……when I saw Kazuya collapsed on the rooftop. However the moment I was told that the world suddenly collapsed, only a vague emotion was born.
Kaede feeling is caused by what he brought in and she seems to feel responsible because it was her father, but there is no responsibility to feel by me naturally.
“Kaede-san……I’m going. There’s someone I want to meet”
“You have been saying it since I first met you……I wonder if you are going to meet him.”
“Yes, because he saved my life by betting his life, so I also bet my life”
Kaede looked at the dazzling me who still has hope in this world.
“Goodbye, Yumi-san. I wish you luck.”
“Yes, Kaede-san, you too. See you again. I’m sure we two will come and see you.”
Kaede tried to say something to that word. But she couldn’t issue a word and fell asleep on the desk again, because of the accumulated fatigue.
I guess it was truly marginal. Maybe when she got up, Kaede might not remember the present interaction.
I looked at the corpses with no head.
Still, there is a feeling close to conviction that Kaede will resist up to the end without giving up.
(To live and meet him again, I have to hurry……）
I was dressing and carefully prepared. There is enough food here, but only vegetables would be cruel. Some desserts other than peaches are placed in the baggage with selected canned meat.
Cosmetic tools are unnecessary, but I don’t want to be ugly in front of Kazuya. It is packed in a pouch neatly, but at the very least, it is put on the side of the rucksack.
I had already thought about the route to the shopping mall. The biggest obstacle is the zombies in the university and the food. There’s probably one loophole somewhere. I decided to go back to the room I had stayed until now. It’s the perfect place to find a place where zombies might be surveying, because you can safely see the university.
(Come to think of it, where is the exit?……)
The doorway used by us before is an emergency escape door. If there should be a regular doorway……it cannot be found. It seems it is completely blocked.
Without help I headed for that pure white space. As usual the unnatural white line of lockers feel as if they are tombs. In fact, because there are dead bodies in it, it really seems real.
(The wind……can’t feel it）
There is no sign of a step in the room that cleaned you by an air shower. But to get out of here, I wonder if I need a card key like Kaede had. There was no reaction in particular, but that electronic sound sounded the moment I touched the door.
The door opened unexpectedly lightly. Because it is an escape door, unnecessary trouble which hangs when going out from the outside might have been omitted.
But once you get out, you can’t go back.
To raise my motivation, I decided to prepare my voice and I went to the darkness where I was paired with my space.
I heard the door lock behind me, before I turned the flashlight on. A crisp, dry sound, but there is no one who responds to it. Just to be sure, the lights illuminate the left and right, but the shadows and shapes of zombies have not been found until long before being swallowed by the darkness.
I return the way I came. Now I am alone and helpless.
Although it is so now, Kaede was like a older sister to me who helped me many times along the way in the judgment. From now on, I have to live by myself alone.
(……By the way it may have been a while since I walked outside alone）
After the pandemic happened, I was together with Makoto and Kazuya. There were a lot of people at the base and until now I was together with Kaede.
Being alone in this frightening environment, will stain your bones. Even though I´m just walking, my spine freezes and the joints of my legs do not move like an oil-powered machine. I want to twist my head to see if I was breathing badly.
Scary. I’m just scared. Everything is horrible. The stain on the wall did not seem to be one of this world.
Therefore, the delight when seeing light which dimly shines in the distance was indescribable.
It may be the first time that a mere light could be seen shining with glitter.
(Finally, the exit……!）
When I went to get food in the basement, I wonder if Kazuya also felt helpless in this way. Surely, I at that time might have been able to support the mind of Kazuya in some degree.
Anyway it’s just daylight. There is no reason to be in a safe place where there are people waiting.
Now I can understand the feeling of Kazuya more than at that time. I love Kazuya more than that time.
A sense of tickled and fluffy adventure. What kind of reaction will Kazuya have when he knows about my great adventure of return? I climbed up the ladder thinking so.
He will definitely be surprised. Then what happens? Will he be angry, worried, or willing to come and see me?
I could see the lid of the shadowed manhole. Because it was not closed at the time of coming, only half is available.
First of all, I shifted the manhole with an unstable posture that put my hands on the ladder so that my body can pass.
The manhole was moving slowly while scraping the ground. A little bit more.
――――At that moment, my arm which had been put out at considerable strength was pulled.
My body floats and my head hit against the cover of the manhole not shifted yet.
Flickering sparks were scattered in the back of my eyelids. Countless hands are pulling my arm.
“Ah, no, stop”
I felt a burning heat from my left arm.