Chapter 35 Fear
Everyone feared death, but the ways in which people dealt with death were completely different – a lot of people learned to live with the fact that they would be burned to ashes after they died, but no one wanted to be torn into pieces by disgusting tentacles in the stench of the sewage and rot with maggots covering their body.
If this was what Chang would face when he died, he would rather be gnawed to death by the giant dog – at least it sounded like a more decent way to die.
He wanted to get out of the sewer, but facing death wasn’t as easy as he thought.
Therefore, he looked up and down for the halo on top of his head and the dark sewer… It was a great dilemma for him.
The fear of death and prospect of choosing how to die was probably the worst feeling anyone would ever have. It was like asking a convict how they wanted to be executed, “Do you want to be shot or beheaded?”
The fear invaded his heart bit by bit; in the darkness, even a slight sound of dripping water could make him become tense; the barking from the manhole made him even dizzier. He didn’t even have the courage to go further in the sewer to look for another exit because it was too dark down here. The darkness seemed thick and dark, tempting him to move closer. As if he was reaching the end of his life, he imagined numerous tentacles lurking on the sides, just waiting to tear him apart without ever being heard from again.
Chang was scared, so he stayed inside the beam of dim light from the manhole, as if it was warming Chang. He began to fade from consciousness as past memories flooded his mind–
He thought of the college entrance exam, recalled his three year high school life and subsequently, his teenage and childhood memories.
Hanging out with friends, staying up late playing video games, reading numerous novels, watching anime and studying occasionally…
The homemade braised pork he ate, the basketball field covered in sweat…
His stable and worry-free life, and the lanterns that he lit up with his childhood friends in Mid-autumn festivals…
His nagging parents, and the smell of his home…
Chang never clearly knew how happy his life had been before this moment – he had been living in heaven! He used to complain so much and gotten bored so easily. He even pitied himself for living such a stable life…
He used to argue with his parents because he didn’t want to study, and he even ran away from home and pitied his own life while sitting on the ancient city wall…
“Would what I’m currently experiencing be different if I studied harder?” Chang curled up under the light and started sobbing.
He always thought that he was the kind of person with a strong mind. Even in the apocalypse, he was stronger than most of the people he had met. But in darkness, he still felt the urge to cry when he thought of his parents and the life that he had before.
He started losing sense of time in his sorrow…
It was a chaotic moment for Chang, but it was broken by sudden erratic barking from above, followed by a few gunshots.
After the gunfire, Chang heard two familiar voices. He sprang up after he recollected himself and carefully stared at the circular halo to confirm that it wasn’t his hallucination.
“Am I saved?”
“Chang!!” The same shouting came from above, and he knew who it belonged to – Jing.
There was no longer any barking and there were people he knew at the other end of the light.
Jing’s voice gave him hope, so he immediately refocused himself. He grabbed onto and climbed the iron staircase as fast as he could as he climbed from the darkness to the light of hope.
Step by step…
“I’m here!!!” Chang was unable to hold himself back despite not fully climbing out of the sewer.
Someone followed the voice of Chang and they parted the grass in front of him – it was Jing, Pangzi and Qing shui.
He was familiar with everyone he saw here.
“I didn’t die!! Hahaha, I didn’t die in the sewer!” Chang jumped out of the sewer and picked up Jing, giving her a big hug. His voice was loud and clear, “I can’t believe that I didn’t die down there!!”
“You survived!” Chang’s joy rubbed onto Jing, and the trace of anxiety on her face turned into joy as she laughed cheerfully and innocently. Her happiness made the long scar on her face less noticeable.
“It’s great that you’re still alive, bro.” Pangzi patted Chang’s shoulder heavily and he glanced at Chang’s face. Noticing his red eyes, he asked, “Did you cry?”
“No way… why would you think that I cried??” Chang laughed. “It was the stench coming form the sewer; it made me tear up.”
“You climbed out of the sewer?” Qing shui stood to the side. He took out of some pills and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, but he was puzzled, “You’re such a bad ass… to be able to slide into the sewer while fighting the beast, I thought you were dead already. To be honest, you should have…”
“Should have?” Chang took the rubbing alcohol and sprayed it on his wounds.
“You should have died!” Qing shui’s word shook Chang’s hand, and he dropped the bottle. “What do you mean by that? You wanted me to die??”
“That’s not what I meant! I went back to the base first and came back for you immediately. It has been an hour since I left, and you were bleeding all over in the sewer. In fact, you should have been dead because of how long it has been and where you were.” Qing shui pinched his chin. “These factors could have caused a serious and fatal infection; it doesn’t make sense to me.”
“I don’t care about whether it makes sense or not. Maybe I was lucky, but I survived, and that’s all the matters, doesn’t it?” Chang waved merrily, “I’ve never felt so grateful to be alive.”
“I need to find an explanation; I…I need to go down to the sewer and check out what happened,” Qing shui said.
“Wait… what? Oh please, I just managed to escape from there. You could easily die if you go down.” Chang cleaned his wounds and took an antibiotic pill, and then put the half-full bottle of rubbing alcohol back into Qing shui’s backpack. “Oh, I totally forgot to ask. How did you drive away the dog?”
“I traded 15 kilograms of dog meat to get the help of six soldiers with guns. Their rifles were powerful and the loud gunfire apparently scared away it.”
“Where are they now?” Chang looked around and didn’t see anyone else.
“They went after that beast; It’s a great target for them anyway. The dog is probably more than three or four hundred kilograms, so if they can catch it, all of the soldiers at the base can have meat for dinner.” Qing shui glanced in the direction they ran, and added, “Unfortunately, it’s impossible for them to chase the dog. Even if they make it, compared to how strong the dog is, those rifles won’t be able to kill it. It’s a pity since the soldiers may die.”
“Wait, do you think the dog will come back?” Chang wanted to leave this dangerous place as soon as possible.
“I don’t think so, and I know that the soldiers will come back, since they can’t run as fast as the beast. Let’s wait for a few more minutes.”
While Qing shui was talking, Chang heard the rustling sound of shoes stepping on the grass. A moment after, six unhappy soldiers carrying their rifles walked out.