Fu Erdie sniffed and her eyes were moist. After a long time of stalemate, she closed the door again when she heard a rumbling noise near her floor. There were zombies coming from outside.
She could not let go of her dog. She could not bear her dog being casted out by her own owner. She was also hurt by the thought of leaving her dog which she took for two years. They have been together at home in the first place, then they should also be at home together in this situation. She thought of being a mutant while at home.
“So be it.” she said fearlessly. She did not care about being a mutant.
As she closed the door, she heard some cracking sounds like stone breaking.
She looked down. She did not see anything wrong.
“Maybe it’s a corpse that wasn’t cleaned up outside the door.” she thought. She symbolically poured a bit of water towards the doorway position. It was better than not cleaning it at all.
Fu Erdie’s balcony was an inner balcony of eight or nine square meters with three side walls and a full window on one side.
She lay on the ground. She let the heat blow over her body. She turned off the lights and air conditioner. She also charged her mobile phone and kept a long power plugboard beside her that she could make calls and receive messages at any time and kept her phone fully charged at all times.
It came to nine o’clock in the evening but the weather was still tense and drowsy which made her lethargic.
The indoor temperature was 35 degrees. The dog next to her sticks out his tongue because of the heat but it did not make a sound.
Fu Erdie got up from the ground.
Even without the mutation, she still felt hot. She herself slowly recovered from the sultry heat and irritation that anytime could kill her.
She was at her own home. Every time that she was in her home, she felt safe and peaceful.
She prepared many buckets of water. Ever since before the unknown virus outbreak happened, she was at home everyday and rarely got out except to walk her dog every afternoon. That was the reason she had the habit of hoarding instant foods that she could eat anytime. Her remaining foods at her pantry could make her eat for a month if she spare some food.
She thought, if the zombies outside could not get in, she could live at home at least for a month to see if she can wait for rescue.
However, the current mutation was unknown. The virus outbreak would not avoid or pass over a person because of an extraordinary identity or title job. Anyone could be affected by the outbreak. It could be ordinary netizens, police officer, people with higher positions like president, CEO, business owner, etc.
People would think of many possibilities to save their lives such as going to a police station to seek shelter. If an infected person tries to enter, it would create chaos and could infect a large number of people. In that case, the current situation could get worse and the rescue operation would be more difficult.
It would be easier for the rescue team if everybody stayed at their homes and waited for help. But the downside was, many initial waves of rescues would be missed and passed over people inside home because the rescue operation would be more focused on the outside. The rest of the C-city was full of zombies. If Fu Erdie decided to go out in this situation, she could not escape zombies.
She looked at her messy room. She thought deeply and gritted her teeth. She planned to take the bike out to go to her family’s house and see if she could also find Zhao Xiaolu.
Her parents are out of town, thousands kilometers away from C-city which were not in the scope of the outbreak.
Her grandmother is her closest relative, but the bus ride would take an hour or two to get there. She could not drive and she did not know how long she would have to ride using the bike.
One of his relatives was her eldest uncle. She usually went there and it was a 40 minutes ride. If she would use the bicycle, it would take less than 20 minutes to get to her eldest uncle’s house. Her uncle’s family has a car. She assumed that it could take her to escape.
In fact, there was also his youngest uncle. Its family was also closer to her, but the relationship was not as close as the eldest uncle’s. She preferred to ask the eldest uncle’s family for help.
She packed a bag of luggage and grabbed a hammer. When everything was ready, she opened the door aggressively and rushed out in a fury.
As soon as she took a step, she met the wobbly eyes of the neighbor who was wandering in the corridor.
At that moment, her neighbor’s eyes were full of white and seemed to be gleaming as if it saw a
fresh meat that was ready to be eaten.
She quickly closed the door, locked and chained it. Then, she pushed the dining table and sofa with full force towards the door to make it difficult for the zombies to break down the door that left them banging her door outside.
Then, minutes passed on. The zombies shifted their targets and walked away one by one.
Fu Erdie breathed a sigh of relief, but suddenly she remembered something.
The door of the house was opened outwards.
Fu Erdie left surprised by what she did. She was inside against the door and lonely.
She was terrified of what might happen. She was angry because she did not think about the opening of the door. And laughed at herself because she was supposed not to feel these emotions in the first place.
She slowly dragged the sofa and dining table back to its original position. She continued to call her family, relatives and some of her friends.
Perhaps, it was a stroke of luck, she got through her eldest uncles’ line.
Her spirit lit up, she asked while shaking. “Uncle, how are you now?!”
The eldest uncle’s side was not particularly noisy. She could hear the voice of her eldest uncle’s wife, as well as her cousins talking next to each other, and the sound of highway horn in the background. There were no more weird and shouting voices or even signs of panicking people.
Her uncle replied in a weak voice. “We are okay. We just left the Eastye District from the Jiuhui Tunnel.”
Fu Erdie froze on what she heard. There was dead air for a moment. She did not think anything. That was her only escape and hope.
Her eldest uncle broke their silence. “We went through this tunnel and we didn’t get you. We don’t have time to look for you. Everything happened quickly. Please get some help from my little brother. Call him and ask if he can take you out. If you can’t, hide at home and wait for rescue.”
One of her cousins spoke with guilt, “We are really sorry. It was really complicated. We are near the Jiuhui Tunnel. If we take a detour to your house, we would lose a chance of the road. I’m really sorry again. Like what father said, call younger uncle. He might help you. He was much closer to you.”
Fu Erdie had a bit of time to speak. “It’s fine, take care of yourself, have a safe trip.” She said gloomly.
The air conditioner was turned on. It was 26 degrees. The breeze was not cold.
She touched her arm and turned it up a degree.
Actually, it was not bad.
Her eldest uncle was right. They had to go around a bit more than his brother.
She opened her contacts on her phone. The number of her younger uncle was registered to her phone but there was no call history between them. Her fingers paused, thinking if she should have made a call.
She thought carefully at her current situation.
The thing is whether they took a detour or not, everything was at risk. It would affect everyone.
If picking up someone was as simple as parking the car and waiting for her to go down, then everything would be fine.
But it was not the reality. It was not as easy as she thought. There was still danger coming into her house and even parking the car. She could not even get downstairs, she had to ask her uncles to pick her up. Do they still want to take the risk knowing the threats of zombies?
Fu Erdie put herself into her cousins’ situation. If her parents were at home with her, they would have picked them up and taken a detour to get her cousins. Then, if her dad risked going upstairs to get them and got scratched by a zombie, would she be willing also to save her relatives?
No. In the bottom of her heart, she was not willing to save them. But a part of her says she needed to help them. She was firm. Her father was more than his 50s. He was not a young and strong man anymore to toss and turn.
Although it was his Dad’s nature, he would definitely save his nephews and nieces. But in her view as a daughter, it would have ruined his life. She was not selfish but she could not bear to lose his dad.
Did she still have to ask for the help of her youngest uncle?
Even though she was hesitant she still dialed her youngest uncle’s number.
After many trials of the dial and minutes of ringing, she finally got through.
“We have already left! Don’t blame us for not looking for you. I really dare not to wait at your house!” said her cousin who answered the call.
She faintly heard the voice of his younger uncle’s reprimand on the other end of the phone.
Her cousin yelled, “Then, what else can we do? We could not even collect our things, Pa! Then, we have time to save someone’s life?! Unbelievable, huh!”
“Say it again, you kid!” her uncle replied.
“That’s how it was!”
Her auntie, the youngest uncle’s wife, suddenly roared at them while she was driving. “Hey! You two, stop arguing! If you want to make noise, get out!”
Her younger uncle took the opportunity to grab the phone and said apologetically, “Fu Erdie, stay at home. Don’t panic, and wait for ZF’s rescue, okay?”
Fu Erdie knew what situation she had to face. She breathed deeply and calmly said, “Actually, I just needed to check on you. I was going to say, you don’t need to look for me, I have food and water at home, I can stay, just take care of yourselves. Goodbye.”
After that, the call ended.
In the end, Fu Erdie was alone. Even though she prepared herself for this kind of situation, she suddenly felt sad. She indeed said goodbye to her uncle, but she could not help but regret the chance she had wasted.
She smiled bitterly and weakly leaned back on the sofa.
She thought that if she had run out much earlier to her uncles in the first place, she might have had a chance to be safe.
But what had she done? In the beginning, she was forced back by a zombie. Then, she laid on her floor and waited for the universe to give her the illusionary alien powers. Plus, she still did not know where Zhao Xiaolu was. She did not try again to go out to fight zombies to find her relatives. Now, she decided to stay at home and wait for the rescue.
Fu Erdie lowered her head and stared at the floor. She thoughtlessly called other people in her contacts.
Her grandmother lived with her aunt and cousin. She remembered that her aunt had a car. In her mind, she would try to contact them and ask to take her with them.
Fu Erdie knew that she would be fine along the way.
Her dog came to her, whined and licked Fu Erdie’s hand.
“With my cute doggy baby~”
Her grandmother’s phone could not be reached. There were also no messages from his aunt and cousin.
Her friend, Cen Xiyang, who worked in the evening shift also did not know what to do.
Fu Erdie thought and assumed that Zhao Xiaolu was likely to have been killed.
She went in front of a surveillance monitor located in the corridor. The number of zombies increases because of people coming in and out.
Then she went to her pantry and kitchen. She counted her supplies.
She first counted the instant noodles. She had two boxes of noodles, each had 24 packs per box, for a total of 48 packs. That was enough for her to eat for a month.
There were also some vegetables and fruits in the fridge which should be eaten first in the next few days or else it would be rotten and be wasted.
When the whole building paid the property management fee before, they would send 10 kilograms of instant rice and another five kilograms of rice grains which could be eaten for another two months.
But that was only her theory if there was no virus outbreak.
She only knew how to cook rice and some easy to cook dishes throughout her life. She knew the process of how to cook rice. To cook, she would need an electric rice cooker or liquefied petroleum gas. But, most of the disasters and apocalypse she had watched, water and electricity would be cut off in the next few days or weeks. What can she do to cook rice if she did not have electricity?
Fu Erdie was clueless.
She concluded that rice should be eaten early.
There were still several jars of homemade kimchi that her mother gave during the spring festival.
As for dogs, there were 20 kilograms of dog food that could also be eaten for the next two months.
Fu Erdie touched the well-behaved dog beside her, “We are going to live and die together.”
The dog rubbed his head against her hand.
After she calculated her approximate date of death, Fu Erdie remained calm.
She looked at the remaining vegetables and sweet potatoes that she rarely consumed. She sighed, got up and turned on the balcony light. She pried off the ornamental plants in the flower bed, and planted all the potatoes along with them.
Although, she was sure that in a month or two she would die.
But, what if…
What if she could grow a vegetable field herself at home?
But, she did not know how many times to water and fertilize the plant. She did not even know if those vegetables were planted in the soil, she did not know how many hours that the plant should be exposed to sunlight. There were many things in the world that she did not know how to do. Then, include the problems with the insects and animals in planting. What if she got sick on what she had planted?
For example, the small kumquats, peppers and green onions were planted on the balcony for fun,
would they grow well and taste good?
She had many reasons not to plant such as the small flower beds on the balcony were not enough to support her after two months or when she consumed all her stocks.
She suddenly became emotional. Even in the shortest string in heart, she had the will to survive after this agony. She let herself plant the vegetables.
She needed to dig out the ornamental plants and she did not throw those flowers away. Hence, she found a courier box, and put a thin layer of soil in it, watered it with some water, and then she put the plants on top.
Fu Erdie intended to hang those dug-up plants on the ground at the bottom of the building at dawn tomorrow. To let them fend for themselves and give them gratitude to be with her for the last years.
After the plan was made, Fu Erdie slept peacefully.
The air conditioner was blowing dutifully, and she had no nightmares or dreams that night.
The next day, before dawn. It was just five o’clock when Fu Erdie woke up.
She opened the balcony window to see what was going on outside.
The chaos that had been going on from the first day she encountered a zombie had not still subsided until now.
There have been three car accidents as far as her eyes could see. Those different kinds of vehicles were blocking the road that made the road more congested.