Chapter 4: Preparation
Staggering a few steps, Chang endured the pain coming from his ankle and searched the house again, but no living person was found, there was only the one and a half fingers—half of one finger was bitten off by that rat.
Picking up those two fingers, Chang gazed at them with an empty heart. He sobbed inaudibly, but tears never came out of his eyes.
Unlike girls, guys always had a hard time venting their pain.
Fortunately, Chang stayed optimistic; he didn’t believe that his parents dead. He walked into the kitchen and put the fingers in the sink. He rinsed off the blood and put them into his pocket. Then he turned away and walked into his bedroom. He turned on the computer to see whether the network was still connected.
Accompanied with the noise of his computer starting up, Chang clicked on the network connection – it was a success.
“So things still work, as long as they are connected with a direct line.” As he opened the browser, news was already all over the screen. Even the normal sidebar ads had all switched to broadcasting urgent news. It was flooded with an endless amount of news all about the “apocalypse”.
After clicking the news, there was an overwhelming amount of commentary and speculation in addition to the news.
Going through the three largest news sites, Chang quickly browsed all the news and commentary and subsequently summed up several important messages: first, the red fog had not only filled Kaifeng, the city he lived in, but rather the entire country and whole world was covered in the fog at almost the same time. Second, the fog blocked communication signals, including those from satellites and radios. Third, there were bizarre animal and plant mutation events, and as time passed, the number of mutations steadily increased.
And finally, the world sunk into panic.
Officials hadn’t come forward and explained anything, so all that was known was from the distressing news, along with the events that some people had experienced.
It seemed that animals and plants had become bloodthirsty, and every species was filled with aggression. More precisely speaking, every species was competing for living space as if they living in terror of becoming extinct.
When Chang continued on searching for other news, the internet went down. At the same time, he was aware of an indistinct noise coming from the floor——
Looking down, Chang didn’t know since when, but a massive amount of Rice hispa covered the floor. They seemed to come from the smell of blood, as they rushed to the living room and devoured the rat body and the pool of blood from Chang’s father. The ones that had a better sense of smell climbed towards Chang’s wound, causing him to stand up without a second thought.
“F**k!” he cursed. It was a natural reaction from being horrified. Chang shook his legs, then he heavily stepped on the Rice hispa after they fell off his leg.
Chang felt a sharp pain from the sole of his feet, as if he had stepped on rocks. Those beetle were only wounded from his vigorous stepping. No one could imagine how sturdy their shiny black armour was. “If I were smaller, I’m afraid I couldn’t even injure them,” Chang thought.
“The house isn’t safe anymore.”
With beetles everywhere, it made him think of the aggressive scarabs from some science fiction novels. Although these insects currently looks far less aggressive than scarabs, under these red fog, it was impossible to tell how they would change by tomorrow.
Looking at the house, Liu Chang knew he couldn’t wait for his parents to come home any longer.
As for the cable breaking, it was caused by these beetles.
Going back to his bedroom, Chang took a pen and a stack of paper—“Mom, Dad, I am going to school, find me there.”
He wrote on three pieces of paper. One was posted on the bedroom door, one in the living room, and then he walked out the house and posted the last one on the patio door.
Outside the house was still surrounded by the smothering world of red fog.
Chang returned to the house after posting the last note.
Carefully picking up the blood stained crowbar from the swarm, he shook off some Rice hispa on the bar and walked into the kitchen.
Chang rinsed off the blood on the bar and his wound. After he disinfected the wound and wrapped it with a bandage, Chang considered what to do next.
There was no doubt that the apocalypse had come.
However, unlike what were written in novels, there were no revolting zombies nor wastelands from the aftermath of a nuclear war.
The world had sunk into a bloody darkness, and except for humans, other species didn’t seem to have any problems surviving in the darkness. The situation was that human dominance on Earth had been challenged—as for food and shelter, they were still sufficient for now.
“Perhaps the end of the world didn’t happen overnight,” he thought. During the moment Chang was contemplating, the Rice hispa had doubled its size.
“Maybe the apocalypse is much worse than what was pictured in any fiction. It’s only a matter of time until everything wraps itself.”
Seeing these beetles with boundless vitality, Chang knew that he could no longer delay. He pulled out a giant backpack that he purchased few years ago and loaded it with food from the refrigerator, as well as a first aid kit and medicine. He also picked up a knife and put it in the side pocket of the backpack.
Soon, the backpack was stuffed and weighed more than 40 pounds. He couldn’t carry more or it would slow him down.
Finishing packing, he took a glimpse at some beetles that had climbed onto his feet, tracing the smell of blood. Chang shook off these beetles and realized, “The smell of blood might give me trouble.”
Thinking about this, Liu Chang turned back to his parents’ bedroom, he rummaged through the drawer and found a bottle of perfume, he sprayed it all over his body.
“I don’t know whether the fragrance can cover the smell of blood, but it should be unpleasant and pungent enough for other animals.” Chang in fact had no idea how well the fragrance would work, but that was the only thing he could do now.
Chang double checked to ensure he didn’t miss anything, then carried his backpack, crowbar in his right hand, knife inserted in the side pocket of the backpack, and left his home.
Nothing changed outside the house, but the bloody darkness hadn’t dissipated. It grew even denser. Chang looked down, cautiously distinguishing a trace of the sidewalk. Familiar landmarks had become even more concealed, and the walls and houses on the roadside were covered with crazy growing vines. The ground was broken apart by the healthy and vigorous grass and the visibility was even less than three meters now.
It seemed that no matter what the circumstances were, the growth of plants were much faster than that of animals.
The speed of growth of the Rice hispa had astonished Chang, but in comparison to these plants he saw, the bugs were definitely less surprising.