Chapter 3: The Crowbar and The Rat
“How did these sparrows become such monsters?” Gazing at the gloomy bloody fog, Chang had a heavy heart.
“How is Saner?” The student who was shouting to the daring student ran out. He looked like he was a good friend of that daring student; they probably came from the same high school. Otherwise, no one would take the risk of running into that dense fog.
Unfortunately, the daring student died, and his blood smeared everywhere.
“I want to go home to see my parents, I don’t know what may have happened to them…” Looking at the mess weakly, Chang muttered to himself.
“You ‘d dare go into this fog?” Glasses didn’t seem to have recovered from the horrifying state.
“I have to go, even though it’s miserable.” Chang took out his cell phone and called his mother again—still a busy signal.
“Can you guys see if you can make a call with your phone?” Chang put his phone into his pocket and tried calling his parents using Glasses and another student’s phone. “I have to go home to see if my parents are okay,” Chang said after he found out the signal was completely blocked.
“Don’t go out, it’s dangerous,” Pangzi squeezed over and said.
“I have to, I’m worried about them.” Chang hesitated for a moment, then walked out of the classroom. Entering the fog, he found that it was denser than in the classroom. As if the fog was alive, it kept trying to get into Chang’s eye sockets. The whole world was full of bloody darkness, and without the sun, his visibility was less than 5 meters.
Chang wasn’t able to see anything three steps away, not even the main gate of the school. He could only focus on the brick floors, moving forward bit by bit by tracing their texture.
“Grass is growing out from the rock’s crevices.” Because he could only see his own feet, he particularly focused on everything within his visible range.
Chang noticed that between edges of the brick floors, grass was growing out. It wasn’t an illusion, but they were getting taller at a rate noticeable even by human eyes. With this speed, the sidewalk would soon become a meadow in less than an hour.
“What happened….?” Stepping on these tenacious grass, he carefully went all the way to the school gate and opened it. What welcomed him was more bloody darkness.
The sky and the horizon was connected seamlessly; the world is completely silent.
No car was honking, and no pedestrians were screaming. There was only some distant muffled sound. The strange fog seemed to be able to absorb sound waves, so sounds could only be heard within a certain range.
In this soundless bloody hell, Chang carefully sought for the direction towards his home, relying on his familiarity of the bluestone brick flooring.
A few meters away, he saw a car stopped in the middle of the street, but the driver was missing.
It wasn’t a surprise; in this mysterious situation, the driver could only see from the cabin to the very front of the car, so there was no way anyone could drive forward in this fog.
Chang looked into the empty cabin and found some blood stains on the steering wheel. There were also dents on the door—obviously, they were signs of a scuffle. Just thinking of the danger that Saner encountered, Chang decided to look for a weapon to defend himself.
“Click”, the door was unlocked. Chang turned to a crowbar in the cabin—the kind of crowbar that would be used to change a tire. It was flat and pointy, sharp as a small shovel, round on one end, and had a half meter long solid iron bar.
Grabbing on the round end, Chang continued his way home. This was a small town in North China, so Chang’s family wasn’t far away from the school. Usually 20 minutes was enough for him to walk home.
Walking alone on the sidewalk, it wasn’t like the doomsday pictured in games and movies, where the world was lifeless. Instead, every few minutes Chang walked, he could see some small groups of people gathered. Some were on the streets, while some stayed in their yards; some were even brave enough to surround a corpse and try to figure out what was going on.
Every face was filled with doubt, uncertainty, and fear. Chang didn’t join any of them. Communication had been cut off, including cell phones and TV signals, so he didn’t know whether equipment with transmission lines were still functioning or not, but the entire radio transmission was definitely malfunctioning.
Carefully carrying a crowbar, Chang continued investigating forward. Unexpectedly, a homeless dog sprang in front of Chang with its crimson eyes and crushed teeth.
The dog stared at Chang, emitting a “whining” sound of threat.
Think of Saner’s experience, Chang clenched the crowbar. He too, stared at the dog while keeping up his guard.
The two were stuck in the confrontation for a while. A moment later, the homeless dog seemed to recall its fear of human; it shook its head and tucked its tail, then ran away with deep whimpers.
“Ha……” seeing the back of the dog, Chang was relieved. He continued to follow the brick floors while paying close attention to the movement around him as he slowly continued back home.
After about 15 minutes, he finally reached his house. Although the grass on the ground was about an inch tall, they didn’t completely conceal the ground.
Chang’s home was a house enclosed with a courtyard, and the yard was usually groomed neatly and tidily. But now standing at the doorway, Chang saw that the home he was familiar with had changed its appearance—the yard was covered with moss and the house was wrapped in ivy. Apparently, these plants with insanely strong vitality grew here.
In the yard, Chang ripped off some vines on the door handle and inserted the key to open the door.
“Mom, are you here?” He entered the house. The fog in the house was a lot thinner than outside, so Chang’s eye felt a sudden discomfort as he had gotten used to the bloody darkness on the street.
He called, but no one answered.
“Dad, are you here?” He shouted. Again, there was no response.
The house was overwhelmed with a smothering silence. Chang had a bad feeling about this.
Walking inside the house for a while, he saw a pool of blood on the floor….and a finger.
That was his dad’s finger. Living together for so many years, he knew his father extremely well, just like how anyone else knew their family members very well. It was an arched finger and was soaked in blood. Indeed, it belonged to his father.
“Dad!” seeing the smeared blood, Chang’s heart shrunk, and he quickly rushed into the living room and rummaged around.
However, he couldn’t find anything except for those blood stains on the furniture. There was no one in this house—until he discovered a huge rat chewing on a human finger.
“F**k!” Seeing this cat-sized rat and what it is chewing on, Chang burst in anger. Chang kicked the desk heavily, scaring the rat and causing it to sneak out from under the bed.
It was fast; normally humans weren’t able to catch a mouse with ease, not to mention a rat that was now the size of a cat. Its huge body didn’t limit its footstep, but rather it helped it move further and faster.
Facing this creature, Chang wasn’t able to keep his mind stable; there wasn’t any fear in him, but rather an explosive anger and hatred.
Chang moved a step forward and smashed the rat with the crowbar.
The tip of the crowbar hit the tiles, releasing a harsh sound. The moment he hit a small hole, the crowbar almost slipped from his hands due to the vibration.
The speedy and huge rat had already dodged to the side the moment it saw the crowbar aimed for it.
It didn’t run away after it dodged. Instead, it “creaked” to Chang from where it was.
Chang calmed down slightly after the first hit, holding the crowbar with both hands, while confronting with this rat.
This time, the rat attacked first. It turned into a gust of wind, aiming at Chang’s feet with its wide open mouth and sharp teeth, biting onto Chang’s ankle tendon.
Chang involuntarily dodged, but compared the speed of the rat, he was much slower. Although he managed to move his feet away, the rat still ripped off a small piece of flesh.
Upon ripping of that flesh, the rat was still not satisfied, so it made a turn and once again aimed for the ankle tendon.
“Ah!!!” Staggering under the pain, Chang raised and lashed the crowbar, directing it to the scalp to the rat.
Seeming to feel the threat of the crowbar, the rate stopped its second attack and dodged again.
But this time, Chang didn’t allow the rat to escape. The moment the rat ran between Chang’s legs, he stepped on its long tail, and then the crowbar pieced through the rat from the back since it was locked in place.
The rat struggled vigorously, emitting a harsh and shrill scream.
Although the rat was strong, its size was still small compared to human. While Chang clenched the crowbar to ensure the rat stayed in place, he kicked on the head of the rat again and again. Every kick was violent and powerful, and accompanying them were numerous curses—“F**k you!”
After dozens of curses, the rat stopped twitching and its whole body softened.
Chang kneeled and fell, as if he had used up every bit of his stamina.
A crisp sound was hear as the crowbar fell to the ground as Chang loosened his hand.
Sitting on the floor and talking large breaths, Chang stood up again. He felt a crisp and burning pain from his ankle.
When humans were in an intense fight, their epinephrine accelerated. They often wouldn’t be able to feel the pain until everything wrapped up.
His flesh was torn off about the size of half a finger long, and blood oozed out of it. This was the most severe wound he had ever gotten in his life.
As a teenage, fighting with others was usually an outlet for their anger from puberty, but no one actually wanted to kill one another. But in this battle, both he and the beast struck at each other fatally every time. Thus, this wound was deep.