“Rong-ge,” Si Nan called out quietly.
The four special force soldiers were in a row, their bodies bent and their feet light, following the tracks to the platform. All the way in front, Zhou Rong replied with a low voice, “What’s wrong?”
“Why did Yan Hao…”
Si Nan found it rather difficult to continue, while Zhou Rong tiptoed and looked up. Roaming on the platform were about a dozen zombies, and they were badly decomposed. Forty metres away was a lift to a platform above that was already out of order.
Zhou Rong rapidly calculated the distance and time, adjusting his submachine gun to the single shot mode. Aiming at a target, he spoke lightly, “You’ve saved everyone, and then saved Yan Hao’s life on the roof of the shopping mall…”
Through the silencer, the sounds of the shots were dampened. The zombies by the lift all received a bullet each, and they crashed onto the ground.
“It’s natural that he’s grateful towards you.” Zhou Rong lifted his gun, motioning that it was safe, and leapt up onto the platform.
Like ghosts, they all made their way through the platform, past the bodies who died a second time, and climbed up the lift like wind.
The ticket inspector in uniform at the gate had already turned into a zombie. His back was facing the lift, and was moaning quietly. They looked past him, and beyond the gate was the bus station hall. Hundreds of living dead crowded there, swaying and lumbering about in the dim and vast space.
The oxygen level here was low, and the air was stagnant. For now, the zombies had yet to discover that there were a few additions of people that were alive.
However, without a doubt, once they registered their presence, this place would immediately become a hell with waves of zombies swarming over.
“Rong-ge, I feel that Yan Hao still feels a lot about you.” Si Nan stuck close behind Zhou Rong, his distance close enough to bite his ear as he spoke. He asked as he surveyed their surroundings, “How did the two of you meet?”
Zhou Rong’s attention was concentrated on the hall, and did not register the strangeness of Si Nan’s first sentence. “I was delegated to 118, and took over their previous captain who had died in the line of duty. There I met everyone, including Yan Hao. Fuck, why are there so many zombies here?”
“So where were you originally?”
Feeling the warm breath hitting his ear, Zhou Rong unconsciously tensed his jaw. “Comrade Xiao-Si, when did you start being so talkative to me? We’re still about 20 minutes away from our targeted destination in B Zone, how should we make our way there…”
“Just having a chat,” Si Nan said.
“… I used to be in charge of escorting ambassadors.” Zhou Rong was resigned, “Comrade Xiao-Si, although I’m very happy that you’re getting close to me, having hundreds of our zombie friends so close, I’m very interested, but I don’t have the guts for it. Why don’t we look for somewhere empty after getting out, I guarantee that you will have a very good user experience…”
The ticket inspector zombie seemed to have realised something. He slowly turned his extremely decomposed face around.
The next moment, a crack was heard. Si Nan’s hands reached out lightning fast, and twisted the zombie’s neck a hundred and eight degrees.
“What experience?” Si Nan lowered the zombie’s body silently as he asked.
“…” Zhou Rong replied earnestly, “Nothing.”
“So why do we have to stay here?” Si Nan asked. “Can’t we go from above?”
They all looked up simultaneously. In the shadows above, a few thick cable pipes and air ducts tangled together, going past the hall of the bus station, and stretched outwards.
A few minutes later on the ceiling, Chun Cao was first, Si Nan second, Zhou Rong third and Zhang Yingjie was fourth. This was arranged according to their sizes, they squeezed through the narrow gaps between the cables and the ducts, hugging the pipes as they moved forward.
Below them was the tightly packed hall. If they happened to slip and fall, those hundreds of unaware zombies would immediately be alerted.
“Yingjie, you’ve actually put on weight.” Zhou Rong gritted his teeth and climbed through and extremely narrow gap, grumbling in difficulty.
Zhang Yingjie was panting, “Rong-ge… it’s you who lost weight… Ah—!”
Zhang Yingjie’s face was covered in dust, and finally made his way through the crevice where two cable pipes were almost stuck together.
“If we continue for another 100m in this direction, we’ll reach the fire escape. When we’re there, I’ll jump down and blast the safety door open, you guys will cover me with fire.” Chun Cao hugged the air duct tightly and inched forward. “Everyone, hold on for a little while more, in front, I estimate that the number of zombies is…”
Before she could finish, Zhang Yingjie tried his best to make the turn. The tactical bag on his back brushed past the steel cable support on the ceiling, and some sharp metal edge caught onto his bag and tore the left strap.
The tactical bag swung to the right, hitting the air duct below him.
The sound of the impact was boosted by the hollow duct. The zombies all looked up at the same time, and started moaning in hunger!
The bag weighing forty kilograms hung from his right arm, and the weight dragged Zhang Yingjie to the left, causing him to slip.
Zhou Rong exclaimed, “Yingjie!”
With a slap, Zhou Rong gripped the strap of Zhang Yingjie’s back, carrying the weight of the person and all his gear with just one hand!
Chun Cao yelled, “Rong-ge!”
Luckily, this was a ninety-degree bend. If not, Zhou Rong would not have been able to grab onto Zhang Yingjie behind him, and he would have already been torn apart by hundreds of zombies.
Even so, the unimaginable weight nearly caused Zhou Rong to fall as well. At the critical moment, he tightened his jaw and hugged the air duct, two legs wrapped tightly, and finally prevented himself from falling.
Chun Cao shouted, “Quick, Yingjie! Climb up!”
The zombies in the hall moaned and groaned, all reaching up desperately. Zhang Yingjie was hanging in midair, the tip of his toes only a few centimetres away from the zombies’ fingers. No matter how he tried, he was unable to grab onto the air duct, and cold sweat dripped off him. “No… I can’t… I…”
Right at this moment, a tearing sound was heard. It was sharp amidst the groans of the zombies, and everyone tensed up. Zhou Rong’s field coat was unable to handle the stress of the weight, and had torn across his back!
Zhang Yingjie roared, “Let me go Rong-ge!”
Zhou Rong gritted his teeth, ignoring him. His arm trembled violently.
“Quick, Rong-ge!” Zhang Yingjie could only watch as Zhou Rong’s body slid down a few more centimetres, and he was furious. “Quickly let go of me!”
Si Nan raised his gun and aimed, shouting, “Jump—!”
The Type-89 gun roared with fire, the bullets sweeping the zombies away!
This was essentially gambling with their lives. They all jumped down from above in tandem. When they landed, more zombies swelled forward, only to get their brains blown out by Zhou Rong and Zhang Yingjie’s guns!
“Run!” Si Nan yelled. A second grenade shot through a distance of a hundred metres, and blew the safety door to the fire escape into pieces!
The four people sprinted through the waves of zombies. Chun Cao and Zhang Yingjie led the way, while Zhou Rong took the tail. Forcing a trail of blood and flesh through the crowd with their firepower, the bullet casings sparking everywhere.
In the chaos, everyone could feel the zombies crashing against their chests, their limbs and their backs. However, they simply did not have the time to check if they had been bitten, and could only shoot wildly around them. Just as the lines of zombies approached, they were all thrown back by their guns!
They soon reached the end of the short hundred metres, and Si Nan snapped, “Move away—”
Chun Cao and Zhang Yingjie moved in tacit agreement, one to the left and the other to the right. Bullets from the machine gun then burst past them non-stop.
At the same time, Si Nan was holding onto the Type-89 gun, the ammunition belt cutting through the air like a humongous python. The heavy firepower tore through the zombies in front of the safety door!
Zhang Yingjie shouted, “Go ahead! I’ll take the back!”
Si Nan grabbed the back of Zhou Rong’s collar, dragging him with immense force towards Zhang Yingjie. “Don’t be long-winded, run!”
Zhou Rong staggered backwards, and was caught at the same time by Zhang Yingjie and Chun Cao. They leapt out of the hall, running into the fire escape.
It was two short seconds since they stopped firing and ran to where they were. However, in these two seconds, without the suppressing fire, the zombies had all swarmed close, the crowd engulfing the solitary person in the rear.
Zhou Rong wrenched his head back. “Si Nan!!”
That roar was somewhat heart-rending. He struggled away from Chun Cao, and ran forward without any consideration!
Chun Cao and Zhang Yingjie both lunged forward without saying a word, holding him back from behind.
Just at that moment, the earth-shaking rattling of a machine gun was heard. The zombies in the hall were thrown all over the place, bits of their skulls splattering everywhere, and a slender figure rose up from the ground—
Si Nan was almost stepping across the heads of the zombies. Carrying fifty kilograms worth of gear, his feet however were nimble and lightning fast. In a twinkling, he shot through the safety door!
“Why are you all just standing there?!” Si Nan roared, his face covered with the blood of the zombies.
Zhou Rong jolted, instantly running upstairs. “Don’t let them catch up, quick, run!”
The zombies in the hall were blank for a moment, and soon found their targets again. Lurching after them, they entered through the door, and started a chase in the dark fire escape.
Between every floor of the shelter were six steps. The gear on all four people added up to about two hundred kilograms, but their speed when running up the stairs was like a hundred metres dash, soon leaving the stiff-jointed zombies in their dust.
Zhou Rong pulled out his electronic ID from his inner chest pocket as he ran. Each time they passed a safety door he would stop and swiped the card, but none of the doors unlocked. Chun Cao was bursting with fury, “What’s going on? Did the back-up generator stop working as well, or has the central computer system broke down?!”
“There’s not enough power! All the doors have been sealed!” Zhang Yingjie exclaimed. He turned and shot downwards, sweeping the zombies following them down the stairs.
Si Nan pushed Zhou Rong away, raising the machine gun, about to shoot. However, the barrel was caught by Zhou Rong. “Hold on, there’s a shuttle bus on the plaza at the top. Follow me!”
They were now in the central transportation hub. When the virus broke out, at least ten thousand people must have been infected. In the situation where the light rail system was stopped, the probability of their success in killing their way through the ten thousand zombies to reach Zone B in the west was close to zero. They had to look for an alternative transport.
Zhou Rong took the lead and ran upstairs. Just as his feet landed, a loud sound was heard above him — Boom!
The ground shook, dust from the ceiling scattered down, and the sound repeated, now closer — Boom!!
Zhang Yingjie staggered, and a grenade was launched across the ceiling.
Si Nan and Chun Cao steadied themselves. They watched as Zhou Rong grabbed the railing and leapt down.
When he landed, he did not stop. Standing up and bundling Si Nan away, he ran down the stairs. “Fall back!”
Chun Cao, “What’s going on?!”
Zhou Rong, “Gorilla!!”
The frenzied roar of a beast sounded right above them.
The stairs above crumbled, bits of cement peppering the four soldiers. Through the green-lit night vision goggles, the head of a three metre tall gorilla corpse could be seen in the dark, its teeth dripping with fresh blood. Its murky eyes rolled, and stared directly at them.