Chapter 17 Giant Maggot
Qing shui’s words caused Chang to recall his memories of the intermittent fog in the recent years. It was true that the phenomenon had lasted for a good decade, but it wasn’t until the last two years that the strange fog constantly recurred.
However, the red fog was much less dense, and no organisms had mutated. But thinking carefully, the composition of the fog back then should’ve been the same as the red fog.
“If I’m right, the red fog is just a condensed version of the fog that we’ve been seeing for years.” Chang sniffed the air discerningly while talking. “Even the smell is the same.”
“Exactly… I was wondering why the government made biology such an important subject in the college entrance exam; everything is connected now. Apparently it was all related to the red fog.”
“So are you saying the government knew about the properties of the red fog?” Chang frowned.
“They probably only discovered some of its properties, but they probably had no idea that the red fog would become so dense and cover such a large area of land,” Qing shui analyzed. “But what I’m sure about is that some of the national research institutes must have known about the fog’s properties.”
“However, they definitely failed to anticipate that it could block radio signals, as well as all these other changes to the world.”
“Yes, the world is changing too fast. After only a day in the red fog, all the plants and animals have become such fierce creatures. I wouldn’t be surprised if a stray dog came to rob me with a revolver few days later.” Qing shui cracked a small joke.
“What do we do now?” Chang held the girl’s hand tighter, then beckoned her to stand closer to him.
“We should go to the military.”
“Okay, I am going with you,” Chang looked at the girl, “But we’ll be taking her as well.”
“Is she your relative?” Qing shui glanced at the girl.
“Kinda.” Chang nodded.
“Hi, what’s your name?” Qing shui hunkered down.
“Jing, my last name is Ji.” She answered. “What about your family, sir?”
“I’m not from here; my family lives on the other side of the country. I hope they’re fine.” Qing shui sighed heavily. “Especially my parents…I don’t know whether they managed to survive or not.”
“No one can guarantee their lives right now. Don’t think too much about it.” While Chang was speaking, he subconsciously touched his bone necklace.
“When are we going?”
“As soon as possible. We can’t wait because the environment will become unpredictable once it gets dark.” The two talked in a whisper.
“When we go, I suggest not to take too many people with us.” Chang patted the girl beside her. “She can sense dangerous creatures, but only within a certain range. If the group is too big, we’d become easy targets.”
“Her ability…” Qing shui looked at the girl with amazement. “So human are mutating too? Why didn’t I feel anything?”
“Hmmm, although the growth of plants has significantly improved, it was only the result of evolution. Mutated individuals are still a minority; if every individual were to mutate, there’d be much more species that were born in the Cambrian explosion.” It was a rare occurrence for Chang to discuss biology in front of his biology teacher.
“You’re right… though I didn’t feel any changes inside of me, if this girl really has a special power, it would greatly increase our chance of surviving.” Then, Qing shui lowered his voice and asked, “How many people do you think we’ll go with?”
“Five or six, I’ll go ask Pangzi. You can bring one or two.”
“Got it,” Qing shui nodded.
He was a young teacher and had just graduated from college, so the way he spoke and handled things was energetic.
Qing shui pulled another young girl over as he responded. Chang knew that girl as well; her name was Lin, a classmate of his. She had high ponytails and pale skin, and her grades were as good as Tao’s. She was here all by herself and wasn’t the type of person that spoke a lot.
“She’s a very distant relative of mine, and even though I rarely get in touch with her family, we might as well just bring her along since she’s here all by herself. Can we?”
“Fine.” Even though Chang wanted to bring someone who could hold their own, he didn’t mention it in front of everybody. Plus, she was the only one in the store without any company or family. If he were to choose someone else, their family would come along for sure. Surprisingly, she was the only choice they had.
“Wait a second, I’ll go ask Pangzi.” Chang looked into the girl’s eyes steadily and nodded, then he went to the corner where Pangzi was sitting at.
Chang saw where Pangzi was as he entered the convenience store since he had improved vision. However, Pangzi was huddled up motionlessly in the corner and Chang didn’t have time to talk to him yet.
When Chang got closer to Pangzi, he noticed that though Pangzi was calmer than yesterday, there was still anger and tenaciousness written over his face. His red eyes seemed sorrowful, but he had lost the craziness in his expression.
Chang gently patted on Pangzi’s shoulder and waited for him to speak first.
“You came back?” Pangzi looked up at Chang as he felt a warm hand on his shoulder. Then, he stood up and said, “where’s Tao?”
“Here,” Chang pointed at one of his pendant, indicated Tao’s position. “Don’t worry, if you die before me, you’ll be hung on here too.” Chang made a joke that wasn’t funny at all.
“I won’t; how could I die?” Pangzi laughed desolately and returned Chang another bad joke, “I still need to carry on my family line. I’d feel deeply sorry to my parents if I wasn’t able to.”
“If we’re going to survive, it shouldn’t be hard for us to find someone to give birth to our kids.” Chang followed along with Pangzi’s joke, then his face became very serious, “Do you know what exactly attacked your mother?”
This question was the one that bothered Chang the most, though he didn’t have the heart to ask when he previously saw Pangzi grieving.
“It was something that lived in the sewage and it sprang up from the toilet. I think it attacked my mom when she walked into one of the rooms. I only saw a vague shadow when I got there; it actually got frightened by me and shrank back its upper body into the sewage from the toilet.” Pangzi’s voice was shaking when he was talking. It seemed like his emotions were about to go out of control, “That thing looked pretty much like a maggot, but was larger and longer. Somehow it reminded me of earthworms, except much more flexible and leathery. Its skin was thick and it was about 2 or 3 meters long, and there were sharp teeth on its mouth…”
“That’s disgusting!” Chang felt slightly nauseous as Pangzi finished his description, “It seems like those who live in the sewage also evolved and mutated.”