The sun was setting, plunging the ruins of the city in a blood-red hue. Lao Fen hid behind one of the steel constructions that still protruded out of the ground like a broken bone. He held his breath and listened for the sound of steps. Nothing could be heard just yet but he knew that these bastards were somewhere around here.
He took out his weapon, checking the magazine. Bullets weren’t too effective but it was better than nothing. If fired strategically, they could at least impede these guys. That might give him enough time to run away and find a better hideout. Maybe he would even be able to find some other humans. It couldn’t be that he was the only one that had survived in the city, could it?
He shook his head and focused again. There! If he wasn’t wrong, then something was shuffling closer from the northwestern direction. He tilted his head, raising the gun to the height of his chest.
The steps got closer. Lao Fen’s muscles tensed, waiting for the right moment. His aim wasn’t bad but also not to the point where he was able to shoot accurately from a greater distance. If it wasn’t because he wasn’t sure if these bastards were contagious by just touching them, he’d much rather go and break their bones with his hands.
The steps stopped a few meters away from him. Lao Fen straightened up further, prepared to leap out at any moment. That thing just stood there though and didn’t seem to move at all. He cursed under his breath. He wasn’t sure if he’d hit but how long could he stay here?
Sweat beaded his brow. He wiped it away, rubbed his hands on his jacket, and grabbed the gun tightly again. He took another deep breath and leaped out with a yell.
The zombie looked over with wide eyes. The bullet shot out and hit its arm. It missed the joint but some tissue was slashed. Silence ensued.
The arm slid down and fell to the ground with a noticeable sound. Lao Fen and the zombie both looked at the severed limb on the ground. There was some blood and some dead tissue where the arm had fallen off but other than that, it looked just like a normal, human arm.
Lao Fen gulped. His hands trembled slightly but he still raised the gun again. He wanted to aim at the other arm to make sure that the thing wouldn’t be able to grab onto him even if it got close. Then, he looked at the thing.
The zombie … looked right back at him with a QAQ-expression. Its eyes had become even wider and its lips trembled. Finally, tears spilled over.
Lao Fen stared in a daze, forgetting even his fear. After a while, he lowered his gun. Since the accident at that lab hat turned the whole country into a wasteland and made these zombies appear, he had happened upon a lot of these guys in all states of decomposition. With some of them, you could barely see that they had been humans once. Part of their bodies had fallen off, the bones and tendons could be seen below the rotting flesh and the stunk they gave off warned you about their arrival from a few hundred meters away.
This one though … Other than the arm that had just fallen off and a small patch of darkened skin on his forehead, he still looked like a young man in his early twenties. There were even tears running down his cheeks as if his body still worked properly. It looked … a bit cute.
Lao Fen scratched his head. Had he really thought that just now?
The zombie looked back at his arm and then leaned down, picking the arm up. He straightened up again and tried to stick it back on but it got tangled up in the sleeve of the cardigan.
Lao Fen watched in a daze how the zombie struggled and finally put the arm down again. He tried to unbutton the cardigan with one hand but even after trying for several minutes, not even the first button had opened. The zombie stopped and looked up at Lao Fen as if it wanted to ask what to do.
Lao Fen opened his mouth and closed it again. Dang it. Was he really going to tell a zombie how to take off its clothes?! He raised the gun again, pointing it at that thing’s head. If he blasted a hole in there, maybe it would look less human and he’d have an easier time dealing with it?
The zombie stumbled a few steps back. Its foot got stuck on a stone and it fell to the ground.
From where he stood, Lao Fen had no trouble seeing the surprised expression the zombie made before its face scrunched up. If he wasn’t afraid that the thing would get up and leap at him the next moment, he might have laughed.
The zombie sat up and looked at him as if afraid.
Lao Fen’s brows twitched. Why was this thing afraid?! He was the human here, alright?!
The zombie didn’t seem to understand that though. It struggled to get up and then limped a bit further away. Before Lao Fen could relax, it stopped though. Its gaze darted around and finally, it inched closer again.
Lao Fen aimed his gun again, his finger on the trigger almost pressing down.
The zombie froze and then very slowly bent down, trying to stretch its second arm to pick up the one it had forgotten on the ground. As a result …
The zombie stared stupidly as its right hand fell to the ground as well. Then, it raised its arm and looked at the bones sticking out. Its face shifted into a 四-expression and this time, it even started to whimper. “Ow!”
Lao Fen almost threw his gun away. Fuck! What was this thing doing? That was a zombie, alright?! He struggled but finally put the gun away with a curse and then marched over. Anyway, it didn’t have hands anymore. He just had to make sure it didn’t bite him, then he was safe.
The zombie stared at him with teary eyes that looked a little afraid. Lao Fen grumbled under his breath and reached out, unbuttoning the damned cardigan.
He angrily threw it to the side as soon as he finished. The zombie whimpered but Lao Fen just shot him a glare. What was a zombie doing, wearing a cardigan?! Could you have some self-awareness?
He bent down and picked up the hand, looking it over carefully before he patted the dirt away. Surprisingly, it still looked quite well otherwise. There was no decay to be seen. For a moment, he had the absurd thought to ask the zombie just how … he managed to look like this.
He forcefully pressed the notion down and then grabbed the arm stump, taking a look at the bones. It looked as if the bones had just slipped out and the hand fallen off. Sticking it back there shouldn’t be a problem. Just that the skin … Lao Fen pressed his lips into a white line and just tried to stick the hand back on.
When he let go … The hand stayed on for a moment but as soon as the zombie raised the arm and turned it around to take a look, the hand slipped off again.
The zombie raised its head and gave him another QAQ-look.
Lao Fen facepalmed.
The zombie watched him with confusion and then reached out its arm as if asking him to really fix it this time.
Lao Fen lowered his hand and sighed. He once again leaned down and picked up the hand, dusted it off and stuck it onto the arm. The zombie’s face lit up and it wanted to wave the arm again but he held onto it tightly. “Don’t move, dammit. Does this look as if it can be waved around casually?”
The zombie’s delighted expression collapsed.
Lao Fen shook his head with another exasperated sigh and then turned the arm around so that the artery was facing him. He held his other hand on top and a green light shone.
The zombie curiously leaned closer, almost making him pull back but it didn’t bite and just tilted its head, trying to see what was happening.
Lao Fen’s face reddened. If he had a free hand, he would have knocked on the thing’s forehead. “Look somewhere else!”
The zombie flinched and then twisted its head in the other direction.
Lao Fen also looked away. Honestly, it was embarrassing. While everyone else around him that hadn’t turned into a zombie awakened awesome abilities like conjuring up storms or blazing fires, he had actually awakened a healing ability.
There was nothing bad about having that per se but … Which fucking business did a buff guy like him have running around playing the nurse?! The type of person that should be granted this gift by Heaven should be a young girl or some cute gay guy that could be the mascot of a team. Not a hairy two-meter guy with arms that looked like they could rival a bear-trap. If he came and told somebody he’d like to heal them, wouldn’t they think ‘healing’ was some kind of codeword for ‘putting you out of your misery’?!
He wanted to cry just like that zombie when he thought about it but a hairy two-meter guy with tears and snot running down his face was also a terrifying sight. So it was better he held back.
Lao Fen took back his hands and looked at the zombie hand that seemed to have been completely reattached. Huh. Unbelievable that the first thing other than a few scratches on his hand that he had healed was the arm of a zombie. That really made him reconsider his life.
He sighed and then motioned at the thing. “Try it out.”
The zombie happily waved its arm and then grinned at him. There was a tooth missing at the side as if it had also fallen out. It made him wonder if the zombie had collected and taken it along as well. Maybe he could also be a dentist in the apocalypse?
He shook his head at himself and then picked up the arm from the ground. He grabbed the zombie’s shoulder, looked at both ends and pushed the arm back into position before he used his ability once again.
When he let go, the zombie excitedly looked at him as if waiting for clearance. Lao Fen nodded begrudgingly and the thing started jumping around, waving both its arms over its head. Lao Fen facepalmed again but in the end, this was also good. He used the chance to turn around and walk away. Anyway, that thing hadn’t attacked him yet so it likely wouldn’t do that now when he turned his back either. And if there was even a shred of humanity left in it, then it might even hesitate to attack him in the future if they ever met again.
Before he had walked far away, steps sounded behind him. They were a little hesitant as if the person was holding back. Lao Fen stopped walking and glanced over his shoulder.
The strange zombie waddled after him. When it saw that Lao Fen stopped, its face lit up and it accelerated its steps. In turn … it stumbled and fell to the ground. The zombie’s expression turned blank and it looked up at him with teary eyes.
Lao Fen sighed, bent down and picked the thing up by the scruff of its necks. “Fine. Let’s go.”
The zombie happily smiled but then still hesitated to follow. Finally, it pointed in the other direction.
Lao Fen looked over. “Oh, you want to go there?” Well, he didn’t know where to go anyway.
He changed directions and this time, the zombie happily followed along. When they had walked a bit … the zombie stepped out of line and went to pick up its cardigan. Lao Fen stared at the piece of clothing in the hands of the zombie. In the end, it was even held in front of him as if this guy wanted his help with wearing it.
Lao Fen had no idea what he was doing anymore but he took the cardigan, shook it to get the dirt off and put it onto the zombie. He helped him to button it up again and then patted his shoulders.
Looking more closely now, he saw a small nameplate attached to the chest. ‘Lianqiu Min’ was written on it and the logo of the local library. Lao Fen pointed at it. “That your name?”
The zombie looked down and then nodded eagerly.
“Oh. Were you working there?”
The zombie hesitated but then nodded.
Lao Fen pondered. “Intern?”
The zombie nodded again.
“Oh. I see. Well, let’s go then.” He took the hand he had reattached before and then pulled the zombie along. Anyway, this guy seemed harmless enough. Maybe there were actually different kinds of zombies around. He should keep an eye open in the future to make sure. Maybe he would even be able to cure that virus if his ability evolved far enough. That would be a nice thing.