Chapter 28: Courage to Live On
Almost arriving at the third floor window, Liu Gan tried his hardest to not create any loud noise because of the possibility of getting ambushed. However, there were no noises that he could hear from within. So Liu Gan decided to climb in, and there was indeed no ambush waiting for him.
The third floor window had a viscous sticky material, as if a zombie had climbed through here before. Whether it was to climb in or to climb out though was hard to tell in this situation. All Liu Gan knew, was that it was not quite safe in this building. So he must proceed with caution to completely inspect the building.
He wrapped up the rope putting it back inside on the window ledge. Liu Gan carefully investigated the third floor, which had a simple layout. One bedroom with one bathroom, and inside the bedroom was a small bed with a wardrobe. Liu Gan first investigated underneath the bed, but there was nothing unusual. Then he checked inside the wardrobe. Inside was a pile of male and female clothes, but there were no zombies hiding inside that either.
Alongside the bed was a simple make up desk, with all of the lipsticks, nail polish and other make up materials still there. It was very clear that a female was living here.
Along the wall was a dinner table, with a simple ethanol stove on top of it. Sitting on this stove was a pot that formed an airtight seal with the stove. There was residual ramen soup in the base of the pot that had long since turned cold. Near the dinner table was a garbage can that contained empty bags of ramen, along with empty cracker packages. There were also four to five empty cans of soft drinks. Everything edible or drinkable had already been cleaned out.
Aside from the viscous material on the windowsill there was nothing particularly abnormal. The floor didn’t have any fresh blood stains and there was no evidence of a struggle. The only thing that was out of place was an overturned chair on the floor.
“Is there anyone there? Does anyone live here? If there is someone, we can leave and choose another location to stay…” Liu Gan whispered at a volume only loud enough for people inside to hear. If someone was living in the building, then his volume was perfect for the whole building to hear him. If there were zombies hiding inside, it was loud enough for them to leave their hideout and rush toward the source.
Within the building no reply could be heard. It was almost completely silent as if this building was deserted, and the only sound created was the wind blowing through the window.
If the female store-owner was pushed out from the window by the zombie, then it was very likely that the zombie jumped off as well. That would explain why when Liu Gan shouted out, it didn’t attract any movement within the house.
The question was, where did this zombie come from? Did she let them in the house?
That would be impossible. The metal gate was locked tight. That meant when the female returned to the shop, there was sufficient time for her to seal up the gate, so it was safe.
This situation must be resolved first, otherwise it wouldn’t be safe to stay in this location for the night.
Liu Gan already declared that the third floor didn’t have any abnormalities or signs of danger. He stood at the top of the stairs and used his flashlight to shine onto the second floor. After deeming the area to be safe enough, he proceeded down to the second floor with his flashlight on.
The layout of the second and third floors were very similar. Both floors had bathrooms and a single bed in the room. However the room in the second floor had a faint smell of rotting flesh, which was very similar to the smell that originated from a rotting zombie. This lead Liu Gan increase his battle awareness.
However, there were no visible traces of any zombie… Except for a very untidy bed that had stains emitting the smell of rotting flesh and a torn rope.
Using the flashlight, Liu Gan looked at the photo frame on the table beside the bed, which contained the picture of a couple. He continued to look for clues around the room cautiously. After a short while, Liu Gan managed to infer from the clues, and guessed what had happened.
There was a high chance that in The Trembling World, when most people were turned into zombies from the plague, the male and female store-owners were not infected and quarantined themselves in the hardware store.
Every game had their unique background story. Some games had very detailed and complicated background stories; large and powerful game companies like San Xing Corporation would definitely have a very logical and comprehensive background story. Therefore when the zombie virus in the Trembling World started to spread, there must have been an appropriate reason and process leading to it.
From the current situation, other than the players who had not been infected, all the population of this world had most probably been infected. However, there would be a very small percentage of the human population that were lucky enough to not be infected. These would include the male and female store-owners of this hardware shop.
As for what was the cause of the plague… For the time being, the reason was unknown.
Whether being alive in this apocalyptic world was a good or bad thing was debatable, because all the friends and family had been turned into zombies. The living conditions you once knew were all a thing of the past. There was no electric supply, no food, no drinkable water, and no law or order. Survivors who want to continue living in this world had a very arduous job.
Other than the need for food and water, what was even more important was the courage and determination to continue living on no matter what. The courage to push through all fears and pull through to going forward to the next day.
Based on the surrounding evidence, Liu Gan had a theory.
The hardware store was only a short distance away from the minimart. After the viral infection occurred, the male store-owner took a huge risk in going out to the minimart for provisions. All of this was to help him and his wife survive in this apocalyptic world. From the empty boxes and cartons, it was obvious that he made a few trips to the minimart.
After a few successful trips, the male store-owner was more confident, and attempted to take more on his last trip. However, his luck ran out. On his way back, he did not notice a stray zombie hiding behind a car near the hardware shop as his vision was blocked by the boxes he was carrying. Even though he succeeded in escaping the zombie, he got bitten and was ultimately infected.
Returning back to the store, the male store-owner got sick as he was infected by the zombie. The female store-owner was worried that he might turn into a zombie, but did not have the heart to abandon him. Instead, she tied him down on the bed of the second floor. The male store-owner indeed turned into a zombie not long after he was infected.
The zombified store-owner struggled against the ropes, and as the female store-owner had no prior knowledge in tying and securing rope knots, the zombie manage to break free. After freeing himself from the ropes, the zombified store-owner smelled the human scent lingering in the air and rushed towards her direction. It ran up the stairs to the third floor, which at that moment, was where the female store-owner was at. When she heard the ruckus the zombie was making, she hurriedly went towards the window and climbed out using the rope she had prepared beforehand. However, the zombie caught up to the female store-owner before she could safely climb out. After an intense struggle, the zombie and the female store-owner fell out of the window together.
There was a high probability that one of the zombies that had been eating the female body was her husband. The other four zombies were probably attracted by the smell of the corpse and came over to enjoy the meal.
This tragic background story was pretty much eighty to ninety percent accurate according to Liu Gan’s deduction of the surrounding evidence.