Run. An action to move faster when the situation called for it, a series of rapid movements capable of quickly draining even the most trained people's energy and, in the case of those who have found themselves involved in an apocalypse, the only way to try to save yourself from zombies.
Since the beginning of that sudden change they had done nothing but move quickly from one side to the other, yet at that moment they felt that they had suddenly become very heavy boulders, struggling a lot to be able to coordinate their feet without tripping miserably.
They had hidden themselves in a toy store, waiting for the attention attracted by the explosion that had occurred shortly before to be directed elsewhere. They were exhausted in both body and mind.
“For now we should be safe, zombies have no reason to pass in such a narrow street” Jeongyeon was trying to catch her breath. She was leaning forward, her hands on her knees and her breathing ragged "are you all right?"
Since none of them seemed willing to answer Dahyun had to do it "I don't think so at all, but we've come this far and that's what matters"
In a corner of that small structure there was Jihyo huddled, still in Momo's arms. She was crying non-stop, holding on to the blue-haired girl with all her strength until she left nail grooves on her back.
Despite the excruciating pain, the older hadn't stopped her hair delicately, joining her in a silent cry "It's all right, you're safe now" she had whispered it with all the sweetness she was capable of, intending at least to calm the uncontrolled sobs of that fragile young woman.
"It's not good at all" the words coming out of were almost incomprehensible "Chaeyoung is dead and I don't find it right"
"Unfortunately crying won't bring her back, but we can honor her sacrifice by doing the impossible to survive" she had pulled her away a little to wipe her cheeks "a person like her didn't deserve to die so young, much less in a similar way, though I want to believe that she didn't suffer and that it was all immediate"
Mina was watching those two, her posture rigid until she seemed taller and a hard look to hide the sadness in her heart "judging from the scale of the explosion I doubt Chaeyoung had time to feel pain, I think it took not even a second"
Silence returned to fill the four walls where they had taken refuge, giving them the definitive awareness of having lost someone important. Besides that, however, there had been another huge loss: to escape the zombies that had been attracted by Chaeyoung's screams they had been forced to throw away all their backpacks except those containing their weapons.
They had nothing to drink or eat and that night too they would have had to give up sleeping under a warm blanket, but they hoped to be able to save themselves thanks to the help of the army. They had to hold out for a day and then they would finally be free from the shackles of fear.
"Let's go back to the hospital and, in the afternoon, some of us will think about catching something to eat at the supermarket next to it" was Nayeon who spoke, intent on turning a small knife in her hands "we can't go too long without drinking and eat or tomorrow we won't be able to reach the school terrace"
"You're right, we have to be as fit as possible" Dahyun was hanging up the belt from which her swords hung "I suggest to hurry, going to get food could take a long time and we don't want to go out when it's dark. Can you get up?"
Tzuyu had been rubbing her knee ever since she sat up "it hurts a bit, but if I've been able to run I don't think I have a problem with a more leisurely pace"
"Stay next to me and, if you feel like you can't do it, tell me"
"I will, thank you for your concern" in a normal situation she would have tried to take her hand, but she was determined to wait for the night to be able to do it without being seen by the others. The thought of being able to sleep next to Dahyun was useful in not making her burst into tears again, an action that she absolutely had to avoid at that moment.
They all got up after a moment's hesitation, each of them with a weapon in her hands and the will to survive skyrocketing.
Due to the crowd of undead that had formed, the girls had to take another route to reach their refuge, lengthening the journey by several minutes.
"Maybe we should go through the park" Jeongyeon was pointing at the iron gate about to fall "so as to cut off a good chunk of the road"
"You're right, it might be less risky than the high street" Nayeon motioned the others to move in that direction, grabbing her baseball bat to be ready to fight at any moment.
They remained silent to be able to pick up any cry coming from the zombies, who were also scattered in that place which until a few days before was filled with the joy of children. The rides had also been destroyed, but judging by their appearance, vandals had done that to them.
Moving without making noise suddenly became impossible: each step produced a sound that seemed to be amplified through a megaphone and even the condensation of their breaths was giving them a hard time.
A short distance from them there was one of those monsters, who didn't even have time to react to the sight of the group of young people because an arrow was violently stuck in its skull.
"Out of one, maybe I should eliminate as many as possible" Mina readied another arrow, ready to strike again.
"It would be better to preserve the weapons we have, otherwise in a situation of real danger we would be doomed. I would say it could be almost worse than the time my nail broke before our date" Sana was hidden behind her girlfriend, hands on her tense shoulders.
The blonde looked at her out of the corner of her eye "you know very well that I don't notice these things and I'm surprised that you think nails are more important than your own life"
"You must always be at the peak of your beauty, even in the event of death I must be the most beautiful and cared for"
At that point it was Momo who glared at the pink-haired girl "shut that damn mouth for once"
Sana's intention was to do a joke, but she just had to look at Jihyo's expression to realize that she was totally wrong "I'm so sorry, I'm trying not to think about it and I said it without realizing it"
"It doesn't matter, if we let ourselves go to pain it would really be the end of us" she patted her lightly on the back before noticing something with a familiar shape in the grass "be careful, there's a mine"
Although she had spoken in a low voice, a zombie had managed to hear her and had immediately started running towards them, forcing them to do the same to save their skin.
The park exit wasn't far away, but running on uneven ground full of obstacles wasn't easy, so much so that it put a strain on Tzuyu's lack of stamina.
"I don't think I can handle this pace!" her injured knee was hurting so much that it locked and forced her to stop.
It was Nayeon who pushed her from behind her, doing what she could to motivate her to run "just hold on a little longer, please"
Jeongyeon and Dahyun came to their rescue, while Mina was standing on a bench to hit the zombies who were joining that desperate race "at this rate I'll run out of arrows, hurry up!"
The adrenaline had reached its peak and it was precisely that that put aside the pain of the tallest of the group, who started running again thanks to the help of the two girls who were pulling her.
"Climb the wall and jump across!" Nayeon positioned herself beneath it to help them pass faster, going last to use her skills acquired over the years.
However she had not been fast enough and she had felt her leg grabbed with a lot of force, so much so that she started screaming in desperation, but her fear did not prevent her from breaking the face of that zombie with well-aimed kicks.
After freeing herself she had joined the others, limping slightly "let's hurry up, we're almost there"
Arriving at the hospital, the first thing some of them did was throw themselves on their beds to recover their strength. They were so exhausted that they fell asleep within minutes, falling into a deep, dreamless sleep.
The only ones left awake were Nayeon and Jeongyeon, who were drawing on the pack of cigarettes left by Chaeyoung to pass the time.
They spoke in a low voice so as not to disturb the others and the older had done nothing but blame herself for anything "if I hadn't convinced Momo to help me take medicines by now we'd all still be at home"
"You are a normal person and without any magical ability to make you stronger, you need to stop making absurd demands on yourself. Things happen and very often nothing can be done to change them, but that does not mean that the fault is yours" she was her cheeks, her eyes fixed on hers "it's thanks to you that we became a group, it was you who wanted to give shelter to all of them and you acted like a mother even though you were scared too, does this also have no value? Good heavens Im Nayeon, you're just a horrible person"
The playful tone with which she had uttered the last sentence had strangely managed to elicit a smile from both of them, lightening the atmosphere as much as possible.
Nayeon was observing the faded gray hair of the one she had in front of her, it lightly with her fingers "there is something I would like to tell you with some urgency"
"Tell me, my ears are perfectly functional"
The older had stopped to stare at her, dropping her arm on the armrest of the plastic chair "you smell fantastic to say the least"
Jeongyeon's eyes only conveyed confusion "huh? I understand you love me, but it's undeniable that the smell I'm giving off is anything but good"
"Trust me, it's so good I want to bite you" she was her lips.
The seriousness with which she had said it prompted the other girl to get up from the chair with a jerk, turning her gaze to the body of her neighbor and noticing a patch of blood on the right leg of her jeans, at the ankle "whose blood is that?"
At that point Nayeon seemed less tense, but only for a short time: it was enough for her to uncover herself to notice a bite mark surrounded by a greenish patch "I didn't notice, " she got up too, out of the triggered trance again from the smell of human flesh "I was bitten. Jeong, you have to do something!"
That desperate scream sent Dahyun off the bed and woke up all the others, making them witness the painful moment.
Jeongyeon stood still, staring blankly at the girl in front of her "I…I can't believe it"
Nayeon's face was getting wet and dirty from the tears of blood she was shedding, making her hands shake as soon as she touched her cheek "I think it happened when the zombie grabbed my leg in the park. You have to kill me, I don't want to become a monster"
"I can't do it Nay, you can resist this thing. You're stronger than a stupid virus" the desperation was such that she denied the evidence "we haven't gone to Europe together yet and you promised to organize our trips between the various cities" she was crying too, totally not giving a damn about looking like a naughty child "you promised to put up with me for life, don't think I forgot"
"She's losing control" Dahyun was next to the gray haired girl and she had put the blue-hilted katana in her hands "do what she asks, don't be selfish"
"Do you understand that it's not easy? Stupid little girl, stop putting your mouth into things you don't understand and get out of my way!" she gave her such a push that she ended up on the floor.
Despite this she had not broken down in the slightest, aware that she could not be offended by a gesture dictated by her desperation "do you really want to make her die like a monster? Is this the love you feel for her?"
"Jeong.." Nayeon's eyes were losing their color "please, I don't want to hurt any of you. I already failed to protect you, don't let me have this regret too"
Dahyun's sword was released from her scabbard to be pointed in the direction of the neck of the person who was losing her humanity "I will only do it because your wishes are mine too"
"Thank you" she leaned over to give her one last pat on the head, noticing how her fingers were already bent out of shape "thank you all, I'm not saying it was nice to live like this, but as Chaeyoung said it was like having a family. I'm going to her, I hope I don't see you too soon and that you live a long and happy life"
She had time to say the last word before her head threw back in a monstrous scream and it was at that moment that Jeongyeon the blade in with all her strength, crying uncontrollably "I can't live without you, I can't"
What happened next was confusing, but Mina and Dahyun had taken care of carrying Nayeon's body to another room. They each said their last goodbyes to the mother figure of their group, after which they used Chaeyoung's yellow lighter to burn the corpse.
They had lost two people in the space of a few hours and the weight in the girls' chests was becoming unbearable, so much so that anger prevailed over anything else.