Chapter 1: The Two Left Behind
“Even if we wait for help here, the situation is just going to get worse! We will leave here and go to the base of the Japan’s Self-Defense Forces!!”
Hearing those words, I felt like a doubt I had been holding for years was cleared up. Why are the main characters of a Japanese manga and anime always high school students?
Just say it is marketing and it’ll be over with that, but that is probably not right. The reason why students play an active part in the world of anime is because of that fact that they have the ability to take action. Humans who cannot act, cannot move the story. And for someone like me, for whom stability comes first, and who loves to maintain the status quo, it is impossible.
“Listen up everyone―Don’t die not matter what!”
Everyone else responded to the high school student’s encouragement by standing up with a roar. As for me…I remained seating. I didn’t bother to stand up, didn’t bother to try and act, and didn’t even try to change.
I am 28 this year. A common office worker who has neither a special skill nor a hobby.
On the other hand, their average ages are about 17. They rise, full of hope, and both their physical and mental strength are greatly different from mine. That’s why they must have made the resolve to leave this place behind and go outside―outside where the zombies run rampant.
Day 1 Pandemic
It is the mutation of a virus or a bio-weapon, on the news they merrily made such assumptions…well, not exactly merrily, but the news anchors read the script as if it was someone else’s problem. The dead have reached tens of thousands of people in Africa already and although they weren’t able to prevent the second infection in the United States either, the majority of Japanese didn’t take any measures, probably because of the environment of an “island nation”.
In that way, Christmas Eve arrived, and the first infection was confirmed in Japan. I at that time was suffering from an influenza and didn’t know anything about it.
By the time the medicine I received from the doctor ran out, it was already all over. The fact that I don’t watch television, and that I live in the outskirts of Tokyo…all of these factors made it so that I noticed only after I tried to go to my workplace―about mankind’s defeat.
After I caught the influenza, it was pretty painful when I realized that I had forgotten my smartphone at the hospital. Thinking that I couldn’t go to work for one week anyways, I used my accumulated off days and took two full weeks off to relax, and so I didn’t especially need my phone. Since I had enough stocks of food, I didn’t go to a convenience store or a supermarket either. It was such a life of living for two weeks without going outside my house.
I didn’t notice that humans were becoming zombies because I was completely isolated from society.
When the bus didn’t arrive even though the time was long past, I walked to the station without being able to call a taxi because I didn’t have my phone, and still I didn’t meet any people. It was then that I realized that something was wrong.
While wandering around here and there, I joined up with a group of students who had come outside for securing food…and so I was finally able to slip in here, this place of safety known as a shopping mall.
Of course, I was half-dead many times before I reached here. If I didn’t get help from that high-school student leader, right now I would probably have been groaning along with rest of the zombies. Therefore, while I was thankful to him…I couldn’t make the decision to follow him when he left along with the others.
Since the movement of the zombies is quite dull, if everyone helps each other, the danger becomes much less. Even so, casualties would be unavoidable, and when push comes to the shove, the guy who would die would probably be me. I don’t have the strength of an active high schooler after all. Since the world has become what it has, to a certain extent I am prepared to die. But becoming dead weight for someone else is a different matter.
I didn’t want to consider the possibility that these young children who lived only around two-thirds of the time I lived would lose their lives because of me.
“…They’ve left, haven’t they?”
The remaining ones are only me and a high-school girl.
With long black hair extending to her waist and slightly drooping eyes, she is a girl who leaves an impression. She is somehow similar to the girl I liked in the past.
The leader said that he would entrust her to me. If he did that, it would become a reason for me to not have to leave from here. He was a very perceptive young man. They will surely accomplish what they set out to do.
“Yes, they have.”
If I was an adult who could say something smart here, I would have gone along with them instead. However, it is impossible for me.
I know my limit. I have nothing. I had no zeal like them…I look at my hand, and am shocked at how dry it is.
“For now, these are the rations that everybody left, and since we don’t have too much, be careful with them.”
“Thank you…very much.”
I distribute emergency rations such as canned food and water equally to the two of us. Although the amount seems a lot at first, if you consider the upcoming siege in which the future is unclear, the amount is not much at all. It’s at the level of holding out for a month, barely.
To walk from here to the base of Japan Self-Defense Forces, it would normally take nearly one week. If the train and the subway are moving it would be one thing, but forget public transport, since you can’t even move normally when on foot…even the time limit of one month is severe. It can also be said that it’s impossible.
Even if you assume that they will reach their destination in two weeks, they won’t be able to make it back in a month. If Japan Self-Defense Forces was functioning properly, we wouldn’t need to shut ourselves here. In other words, at worst they have been obliterated, and even at best they don’t possess the fighting power to exterminate the zombies.
Even though just by remaining here death was already kind of decided, I have explicitly chosen to die. If I die, I want to die so that I don’t get in anyone’s way. If I told him such a thing, that leader would have taken us along, even by force.
Therefore, instead of playing the hero, I chose to sacrifice a lone girl. Although they will probably do their best, I and the girl will die here.
The girl comes over to me without knowing that I am thinking about such things. In her hand is a can of peaches.
“Ah, were there no can openers?”
“I don’t know…how to use it.”
That reminds me, recent canned foods come with the pull-tab attached. Even if a youth who was used to it doesn’t know how to use a can opener, there is no helping it.
“This, you use it like this…”
The girl follows my hands with her eyes. However, probably because she is cautious, she stays outside my reach.
No wonder. She suddenly had to live here together with an unknown man. Her attitude is correct. So much so that if she wasn’t like that, I would have said something to her from my side.
“If you have anything else that you don’t know, it’s fine to ask me without reservation, okay?”
“…Thank you ve–hiii!”
When I hand her the canned peach, our hands touch, and she reacts by greatly backing away. Although it is indeed awkward when she is this wary of me, I lightly wave my hand to the girl who is looking this way with an apologetic face and told her that I don’t mind it.