Chapter 10: Medication
“Antibiotics are prescription drugs! It’s impossible to find it in convenience stores or someone’s house,” Glasses exclaimed.
“Then go to a pharmacy or a hospital. Otherwise, he’ll die before sunrise!” Qingshui touched Chang’s forehead again, “it’s a miracle for him to still be alive now.”
“Who would go out in this darkness…” Glasses’ voice went quieter as he said apprehensively.
“I’ll go…” Chang heard their conversation and slowly opened his eyes. “I’ll be dead if I stay here anyways; at least there’s hope if I go look for antibiotics. There were quite a few pharmacies and small family hospitals on the street, and I remember there’s one on the corner of the street. Don’t worry, I’ll come back safely.”
As he spoke, Chang scrambled against the wall and stood up. His lips were chapped, “Do you guys have a flashlight?”
“I’ve got one here.” Glasses took out a flashlight from his backpack. “The battery is full, and it should last for a few hours.”
“Thanks.” While Chang was speaking, he handed his backpack to Glasses, “There’s some food and medicine in my backpack, if…If I never come back, you can have them all.”
Finishing his sentence, Chang grabbed the crowbar in his right hand, with the flashlight in his left hand and pistol tucked on his waist. He then hobbled to the entrance of the store.
“Wait.” A familiar voice came from behind Chang’s back. “I’m going with you.”
Tao caught up.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were so heroic.” Chang said so without making a stop. He unlocked the door and uncovered himself to the dark world.
Chang merged into the darkness and cautiously crept forward within the range of his flashlight.
Grass, moss and bushes were everywhere, and some were almost as tall as an adult. Moreover, the dense fog made Chang feel like he was digging for treasure in a miserable dungeon only illuminated by fireflies.
There were no stars and no moon; there was only an eerie and smothering silence.
Due to the fog dampening sounds within a certain range, sinking into this darkness felt like being thrown in another universe.
“Are you scared walking by yourself? I asked you to wait for me.” Another “firefly” chased over; it was Tao.
“Haha, why are you treating me so well? If you were a girl, I’d probably have fallen in love with you at this moment.” Chang tried his best to hold back the dizziness, then cracked a joke, “You’re good at studying and your face is pretty…you also helped me all along this journey, what a pity that you weren’t a girl…”
“You ass, unfortunately I’m 100% a dude. If you were a girl, you would have fallen for me. Stop bullshitting, we need to get to the hospital as soon as possible.” Tao said as he shoved Chang lightly.
The vibe between them settled again. Under the light, they kept their pace towards the hospital.
Their destination wasn’t far; it was only one kilometer away, and they were both familiar with the area. If they were going there before the red fog, it would’ve been 10 minutes on foot.
However, things were different now. Not only was the world dark, but standing in the middle of the road, the buildings on each sides couldn’t even be seen. The pavement was shattered and hard to walk on. Rubble, soil and the stems of plants mixed together, making it difficult to judge whether they were on the right track.
Moreover, the two needed to be constantly on guard against any dangers that might come from any direction.
The 20 minute travel wasn’t very tranquil.
Fortunately, they still managed to reach the hospital by relying on their familiarity of the area.
Though the journey was dangerous, they didn’t run into danger, making them pretty lucky considering all the misfortune they had.
“Do you want to know why I came here with you?” Walking into the hospital entrance, Tao abruptly asked.
“There had to be a reason other than to help me. Your mind was pretty clear and I still don’t think you were being heroic.” Chang pushed the tall grass aside.
“Yeah, it’s because I had a wound too, and it’s infected.” Tao raise his feet from the grass, revealing an injury on his ankle.
Under the light, Chang saw two small circular wounds. The injured area wasn’t wide, but was pretty deep. It had already festered, and although it was less terrifying compared to Chang’s, pus and blood were oozing from the inside.
“How did you…?” Liu Chang raised his eyebrows.
“Bitten. I was bitten when you went home, but it wasn’t by a snake. It was painful in the beginning, but the discomfort went away so I didn’t care much. Until I noticed that I had a fever and heard of your symptoms, I realized that we were in the same boat.”
“Well,” Chang moved forward unsteadily, “you didn’t look as sick as me.”
“Yeah, my body temperature was still lower than 38 degrees Celsius, but it’s been increasing.” Tao said. “I can’t just leave it until I get weaker. I don’t want to wait until morning comes, so it’s better to plan in advance before I become immobile.”
Chang didn’t answer back as he used all his strength to maintain his last piece of consciousness.
He felt everything around him spinning and twisting, and his brain got even dizzier. He squeezed the crowbar so hard that his hand turned pale–the pain from his hand kept his mind conscious.
“Stay with me! We’re almost there.” Seeing Chang’s face, Tao stepped forward and pulled Chang’s arm over his shoulder.”
The two lurched into the building.
“The pharmacy is right there.” Tao pointed ahead.
“Hey, do you think there’ll be monsters waiting for us? In horror movies, hospitals are always dangerous to go into, right?” Chang was still joking weakly as if it could divert some of his attention away.
“That’s hard to say, but even if there are monsters, we still need to go. Otherwise, we’ll die here.”
Dragging Chang, Tao opened the pharmacy door and heard a series of noises immediately.
Tao pointed his flashlight forward. There weren’t any monsters there, only human all sprawled out on the floor.
“What…?” Tao exclaimed, but obviously no one responded.
The people on the ground looked very weak.
“In this broken world, you didn’t think we’d be the only two that had infections, did you? If bacteria had mutations, then there’s no surprise that common diseases would become fatal.” Chang said in a faint and dull tone, “Leave them alone, it’s more important to get ourselves some antibiotics.”
After his last sentence, he found himself an empty corner and sat down.
Tao rushed to the counter and got the antibiotics he needed from the piles of medication. He took his dose first, then he fed another dose to Chang.
“I don’t know if I can hang on until tomorrow.” Chang spilled some rubbing alcohol on his ankle. He struggled to not fall asleep–he was afraid that he would never open his eyes again.
“You should be able to.” Tao glanced at his friend, then gave him some words of encouragement.
“Thank you.” Chang’s black pupils drifted onto Tao. Chang grinned, but because of his chapped lips, a hint of blood appeared between his lips.
“You’re welcome. I’m not here for you, I just happened to help you.” Tao found a clean spot beside Chang and sat down.
“Why has every other organism mutated aside from us humans? If the red fog is some sort of catalyst, reasonably speaking, at least some of the human population should’ve mutated too!” Chang curled up and looked again at his frightening wound.
“We talked about this in biology class, don’t you remember? The more complex the organism is, the more difficult it is to mutate. Since humans are one of the most sophisticated creatures on earth, it wouldn’t be a surprise that we’re the last in queue.”
“So that’s the reason…” Chang grinned again. He had finally lost the battle against his dizziness, even though he had put all his strength in preventing his eyelids from closing. He feel asleep peacefully.