“Push! Push harder!” Dr. Zheng’s hands were covered in blood, and his voice had long turned hoarse. “Hold on! HOLD ON!”
The mother’s voice was completely hoarse as well. She shook her sweaty face desperately, and pain had twisted her face into a terrifying grimace. A few women with children gathered nearby, some praying in unison and others unable to stop themselves from crying out loud, “Push a little harder!”
“Hold on, you must hold on!”
Guo Weixiang pushed the door open. “We have to go, quick! A hoard of zombies are here!”
The women looked at each other, and the shrieks of the mother turned even sharper. Their eardrums all felt as though they had been pierced by knives.
Guo Weixiang had no time to care about the ongoings. He move forward to carry the mother. Dr. Zheng stopped him anxiously, “What are you doing?”
“There’s no time already, do the delivery in the car! I’ll carry her!”
“She can’t be moved! She’ll bleed excessively!” Dr. Zheng roared, “I’m not going, I’ll stay here and deliver the child!”
Guo Weixing panted urgently. After Dr. Zheng’s shout, he turned towards the mother with a broken voice, “Harder! You have to hold on!”
Outside the window, not far away, the third signal shot up the night sky with a long trail behind it, reflecting upon every blank and hopeless face.
The zombies were 500 metres away.
The armoured vehicle came hurtling from the end of the road, executing a flawless drift when it entered the gates and came to a ear-screeching stop in front of the crowd. Zhou Rong kicked the back door open, “In in in, hurry!”
“We can’t fit anymore!” Ding Shi stuck his head out of the window. “I’ll drive the first group of people to the dormitory and let them get up Xiangzi’s car, then I’ll come back for the rest!”
It was true that the vehicle could not fit everyone, as there was a limit to its capacity. With the space available, there were at least ten people on site who would need to wait till the next round. Zhou Rong’s eyes swept across the crowd, speaking decisively. “The rest of the people will run after the vehicle first, just run as much as you can! We won’t leave any of you behind. The ladies will get on first, you!”
Wu Xinyan straightened, gasping. Her arm was caught by Zhou Rong, and she was rudely shoved into the vehicle.
“The older and the slower ones, you! You! And you!”
An old man was pushed a couple of times. He slowly stood up, and voices rang around him.
“Quick, don’t take your time!”
“I won’t get on,” The old man spoke slowly. “I’m already 68. To be able to get here I’ve already been very fortunate. Why would I unabashedly continue living? It’s better to let the young ones get one first, I’ll…”
The anxious crowd immediately interrupted him.
“There’s space! Get on!”
“Mister, don’t say anymore, hurry up and get on!”
The old man was almost pushed up the vehicle by the crowd. The space was soon entirely filled, and both Zhou Rong and Si Nan worked together before finally managing to close the door.
Other than Zhou Rong, Chuncao and Si Nan, there were nine young and fit men. Only a few had wanted to get on the vehicle but failed to do so, while most of them were young men with no homes and families, and they stayed behind willingly.
Zhou Rong exhaled, and he shone his high lumen tactical torch towards the north. The dark scenery looked haunting. The rotting stench of the zombies had wafted over to them, and they could smell it clearly.
“Everyone,” Zhou Rong leaned towards the nine survivors, each with a different expression. He spoke, “Thank you all. I won’t be saying any more sentimental words. Let’s run.”
Just as he finished speaking, a loud explosion happened nearby.
The zombie hoard had entered the area laid with mines, triggering a series of earth-shattering explosions!
In the inky black night, a life-and-death race with time was happening.
On the northern highway, the explosions gradually came closer, and the army of the living dead staggered towards a clear objective. Rows and rows of broken bodies fell onto the road, a carpet formed from rotten meat and black blood.
Even more zombies were moaning, making their way towards the factory on the meat carpet. One after another, they seemed tireless.
Far away, in the direction towards B City, an endless swarm of zombies were moving, looking like an enormous tide.
Guo Weixiang sent everyone in the dormitory, except for Dr. Zheng and the woman in labour, into the armoured vehicle. Together with the first group of survivors Ding Shi had driven over, the entire vehicle was almost bursting at its seams.
Ding Shi seemed to speed like the wind. Before he even came to a full stop, he saw several people sprinting towards him, with flames in the background.
“Where’s the mother—?!” Zhou Rong shouted.
Ding Shi was almost in tears. “She’s still in labour! She can’t be moved! I asked Xiangzi to first drive towards the south!”
“Chuncao, Si Nan, bring them up the vehicle!” Zhou Rong yanked open the door to the driver’s compartment, motioning at Ding Shi to move seats. “I’ll drive. Quick, go to the dorm and pick up the mother. Fuck, why didn’t they just move to the vehicle to give birth? Just remove a door and use it as a stretcher!”
Ding Shi, “I don’t know, Xiangzi said moving her would cause her to bleed excessively…”
Zhou Rong, “You guys don’t know anything, this sort of thing always happens in television dramas! Once you move her onto the door, she’ll give birth immediately!”
In the back compartment, Chuncao called out. “I know, I know! In the second season of The Village Committee, the female lead had given birth like this! It’s fine!”
Si Nan, “You Alphas, don’t brag about your knowledge of childbirth. What shallow ignorance… The zombies are here!!”
Dragging their feet, the moans and shrieks from the first wave of zombies tore the sky, and they rushed towards the gap in the barbed wire fence at the north side of the factory.
Ding Shi leapt up from his passenger seat, climbing to the roof of the vehicle with a flamethrower and aiming it behind the vehicle. In an instant, flames roared out, blanketing the sky, roasting the zombies into ashes!
Zhou Rong slammed the accelerator, and the vehicle shot forward.
Chuncao stuck her head out, yelling, “Rong-ge, beware of 2 o’clock!”
The flamethrower ignited a second round of explosions from the nitroglycerin. Tens of millions of Si Nan’s carefully shattered glass bits erupted, cutting through the heads of countless zombies.
Still, there were too many of them, and what was left standing of the wire fence was unable to withstand the zombies’ assault. The fence soon collapsed under the attack of the swarming living dead. Flanking the factory, zombies rushed from all over!
With a hand on the steering wheel, Zhou Rong shifted the gears of the vehicle. The armoured vehicle performed several perfect drifts, creating a bloody path like an F1 car and ruthlessly grounding many zombies into paste.
A sharp squeal of the tires, and the armoured vehicle came to a steady stop at the dormitory. Zhou Rong commanded clearly. “Chuncao, go up and carry the woman down! Ding Shi, cover us!”
Carrying her assault rifle, Chuncao kicked the door open and ran. She received a sudden clap on her shoulder, and Si Nan’s hoarse voice was heard. “I’ll go with you.”
In the rearview mirror, Zhou Rong’s brows twitched, but he hesitated from saying anything.
However, no one noticed this trivial detail. Si Nan turned to wave at Zhou Rong, then jumped off the vehicle with his submachine gun.
— He would not discover that moment of complicated feelings in Zhou Rong’s eyes. Or maybe, even if he discovered it, he would also not have the time and the mood to slowly work through that mixture of guilt, sadness and self-doubt.
Once again, Ding Shi blasted the flamethrower, clearing the zombies running after the vehicle. Just as he was about to switch over to the Type 89 machine gun, yells exploded from within the vehicle. “Behind! Behind!”
Ding Shi turned to look, only to a wave of zombies following Si Nan and Chuncao the moment they stepped into the dormitory. No one knew where they came from, but in a few seconds, they filled up the empty area between the dormitory and the vehicle, blocking the passage for them to move the expecting mother.
“Fuck!” Ding Shi raised the flamethrower. He pressed the trigger, but nothing happened.
— The high octane petrol had burnt out, it was out of fuel!
“Rong-ge!” Ding Shi nearly broke down on the spot. When he turned back again, he saw the zombies drawing closer. They were less than a hundred metres away from them!
The armoured vehicle they were in was already riddled with holes. The bulletproof glass had been shattered by Chuncao’s RPG when they were in T City, and they had replaced it with normal glass after that.
The chassis of the vehicle was in an even worse state. The moment the vehicle was surrounded by zombies, everyone in the car would have problems surviving!
Amongst the terrified yells of the people, although Zhou Rong looked composed, he could not hide the pallor of his face. Sweat dripped down his always spiky, messy sideburns.
“Attention, Si Nan. Attention, Si Nan.” Zhou Rong turned on the vehicle’s megaphone. “You might be unable to retreat. Report on the lady’s situation, report on the lady’s situation.”
At the same time, in the dormitory—
The dying cries of the mother rang out one after the other. Dr. Zheng was covered with blood, his eyes bloodshot, and he suddenly shouted joyfully. “I see the head! I see the head!!”
Si Nan and Chuncao looked at the dense crowd of zombies below. They exchanged a glance, and no delight could be seen in both their eyes.
“Si Nan, Chuncao.” Zhou Rong’s voice was trembling slightly. “Report on the situation.”
The Type-89 machine gun rained bullets, accompanied by Ding Shi’s furious yells. However, it was still not enough to stop death’s advance. The first zombie slammed into the vehicle, its arms pounding against it blindly, shattering the rear window.
Glass shards covered the backseat, and everyone rushed to crouch down. Cries of terror rang out!
“A little more!” Dr. Zheng shouted with his might. “Harder! Just a little more!”
“Go, Rong-ge.” Si Nan murmured.
He took in a deep breath, sticking his head out of the window. He yelled as loud as he could. “Go, Rong-ge! Quick, go!!”
In the driver’s compartment, Zhou Rong shut his eyes.
More and more zombies gathered, and the windows on both sides of the vehicle had been shattered. The zombies reached into the vehicle, grasping above the survivors’ heads. Some zombies were even holding onto the ladder at the back of the vehicle, trying to climb onto the roof of the car to catch Ding Shi.
Zhou Rong opened his eyes, and stepped on the accelerator.
The armoured vehicle made its way through the crowd of zombies, crushing them under its wheels and leaving a path of blood behind them.
“Si Xiaonan, wait for me.” Zhou Rong’s powerful voice rang from the loudspeaker. “Rong-ge will come back very soon.”
Leaning against the windowsill, Si Nan watched the armoured vehicle drive slowly away. In the mass of zombies below, it looked like an insignificant speck.
“…” His lips moved slightly, as though he wanted to say something. But his voice was very very quiet, and even he himself was unable to hear it. “Ok.”
The zombies who had lost the armoured vehicle scrambled about blankly, but it only lasted for a few seconds. An indistinct scent of blood in the air stimulated them, and following after the source of the smell, the zombie hoard found a new target.
The first zombie started crashing into the metal door of the dormitory, followed by many others. The door creaked dangerously!
Chuncao’s face paled, but when she opened her mouth, her voice was still very calm. “I still have about 900 bullets. You?”
“A thousand and six hundred,” Si Nan replied.
Chuncao nodded. “Alright, you can use your knife to commit suicide, there’s no need to save any bullets for that. Remember, before you die, help me first. Like how you did it for that girl in T City, make it fast.”
Si Nan smiled slightly. “Sure.”
The two exchanged a smile. At the same time, they aimed their rifles downstairs, and fired!
The submachine gun and the assault rifle created a storm of bullets, and a large number of zombies blocking the door fell.
However, this high pressure firepower was limited, but the number of zombies was unlimited. Even more zombies tirelessly lunged forward, and the pounds on the door became heavier and more hurried. Finally, after a few exceedingly loud bangs, the metal door was forced open!
The ground even shook slightly. Simultaneously, a baby’s bright cry pierced the air. “Wah—!”
“It’s out, it’s out!” Tears of joy rolled down Dr. Zheng’s face. Carrying the baby, he sobbed silently, “It’s finally here!”
The zombies downstairs flooded into the building, and wave after wave surged upstairs.
Si Nan and Chuncao burst out of the room at the same time, shouting, “Prepare for retreat!!”
The industrial area was to the south, about thirty kilometres from the factory.
The zombie hoard had yet to reach that area, and there was only the occasional zombie stumbling about in the wild.
Zhou Rong stepped on the brakes. Twenty metres ahead, Guo Weixiang jumped off his vehicle like a mad man. “Rong-ge! Dading! Where’s Chuncao? Where’s Si Nan? Where are our people?!”
He seemed to have sensed something. His tone during the last question was laced with disbelief and sorrow.
“They…” Before Ding Shi could answer, Zhou Rong patted his shoulder and jumped off the vehicle. He too went to pat Guo Weixiang’s shoulder.
“Rong-ge?” Guo Weixiang asked in alarm.
Slinging a bag off one shoulder, Zhou Rong carried the heavy machine gun and walked down the road. In the unending pile of abandoned vehicles facing the opposite direction of the city, he selected a modified Jeep. Opening the door, he dragged the already rotting owner of the vehicle down the car.
Ding Shi scrambled down the vehicle. “Rong-ge, what are you doing?!”
“I’m going back,” Zhou Rong replied lightly.
He got into the driver’s seat and started the jeep. Slowly turning away from the traffic jam, he stopped in front of the stunned Ding Shi and Guo Weixiang.
“My team members are still in the factory,” Zhou Rong said. “I promised Si Nan that I’ll go back and pick them up.”
Guo Weixiang shook his head, unable to make even a sound. Tears welled up in his eyes.
“If Yan Hao wakes up, let him take up the position of the captain of Squad Six, Unit 118. If he doesn’t wake up, the two of you shall discuss what to do in the future. You must definitely send the serum to Nanhai.”
“Find a place to cremate Yingjie, and bring his ashes back for his wife and child.”
“These few years that Rong-ge has been your captain, I didn’t manage to get much benefits for you guys, and had no ability to lead you guys in a brilliant career. Instead, in the end, one by one we all lost all lives. Rong-ge has done you wrong.”
Zhou Rong reached out through the window, clasping their heads. He smiled, “Stop crying, it’s very embarrassing, alright? I’ve hidden two cartons of cigarettes under the driver’s seat. If I don’t come back, I’ll leave it to the both of you.”
The survivors all stuck their heads out of the windows, blankly and sorrowfully watching this scene.
If there was an opportunity for Zhou Rong to wash his face and change his clothes, he would probably be a stylish, handsome, rakish hero popular amongst the Hollywood films.
However, this hero now did not have much style to him. His combat uniform was dirty, and who knew how much guts and blood was stuck on his boots. His hair had not been washed for a few days already, and there was even stubble on his chin.
Zhou Rong finally waved at them, and that action was indescribably cool.
“Tell Yan Hao that idiot, he lost again.”
He started the car. The modified Jeep rumbled and tore through the bloody night, speeding straight towards the factory surrounded by zombies.