Taking a step back to look at the recent events that have occurred, It became clear that there was a need to reevaluate the meaning of "A Bad Day."
I mean, I'm sure everyone in the world would agree with me. From emotionally scarred teenagers to those with terminal illnesses, they would all nod their heads vigorously agreeing with me. Today was a bad day. Well, that was a given seeing as the Apocalypse was also referred to as "The End Of Days." It was just too bad the End of Days had to end on a bad day. But for me personally, the past few years have been full of bad moments.
One day, you're at school, friends, girlfriend, plans for the future. The next? Well...The next day you're undoubtedly fucked over for no real reason. At least, that how it went for me.
"Up ahead," Daniel called out, interrupting my thoughts. I looked up to see a familiar creature with sharp limbs. A thin body, limbs reminiscent of pikes, and only a mouth as a facial feature. It was the same one I ran into at the mall.
“I see.” I lifted the crossbow and took aim. As we inched closer the creature, in turn, opened its mouth and tilted its head upwards. Just like in the mall, this creature seemed to rely on smell or taste to locate its prey.
I squeezed the trigger and fired a bolt before it could do anything. Even though my usual accuracy is far below average, I luckily managed to shoot it in the head. The creature dies before it realizes what even happened. A wisp of black smoke flew into my wrist causing my total number of black coins to reach 6.
My expression crumpled which cause Daniel and Paul to take notice.
“What’s wrong?” Daniel asked nervously. Come to think of it, he’s been nervous ever since Bobby died. Even Paul showed nervousness, I could see it on his face.
It was similar to the faces people would show me as they attempted to stall for time. The reason why someone would stall for time? A few years ago, a “vigilante” group used to pay people for info on me. They would harass and attack me with the mistaken belief that it was justice. My first run-in with those “vigilantes” was when I attempted to stay with who I thought was a close friend. He made the expression Daniel and Paul had when he insisted I stayed. Long story short, waking up with pepper spray to the face and a baseball bat to my ribs wasn’t an experience I was too keen on revisiting. Even when I reported it to the police, all they received was a slap on the wrist that was more of a congratulatory pat on the back if anything. What can I say? The world loved Minerva and hated my father who attempted to ally with anti-Minerva extremists.
“...” I stayed silent for a few moments as I alternated my gaze between the two of them. In my personal opinion, plain silence was the best tool for intimidation. It gave way to a crawling sense of uncertainty which was easy to exploit.
As if to prove me right, they show signs of discomfort as I continued staring before I finally spoke. “They only give out one coin now.”
Daniel awkwardly chuckled before speaking, “I guess it was a bonus if you managed to kill one before we got to this place.”
I could only shrug at his statement, “Let’s go.”
We were currently 60th floor and the general pattern became clear. Those monsters randomly appeared once or twice for every twenty floors we descended. So from 1-20, there was a guaranteed monster somewhere. At least, that was the pattern so far. Our pace was slow due to me stopping to turn on the gas in each room. I was under the assumption that there had to be a reason for the gas to work in the first place.
After a while, we arrived on floor 47 and was met with another creature. It’s appearance put me at a loss for words, it looked like a something straight out of a cheap science fiction movie. Like all the other creatures so far it was also hairless. Its head was mostly made up of a crocodile-like snout. Its black beady eyes rapidly blinked as it looked at us. It stood about 4 feet tall and from what I could see was as least 5 feet in length.
“I’ll distract it and you both attack when you see an opening,” I say as I readied the crossbow.
Daniel and Paul moved to the sides of the hallway to make their presences less appealing. This was the tactic we decided on as we continued moving further down.
I fired off a bolt from the crossbow and miss completely, but it gets the monsters attention. It turned toward me and began running at me.
I raise the crossbow to defend myself as it leaps at me.
“Shit!” I cursed as we tumbled to the ground. Its snout bit down on my crossbow causing it to bend from the stress. It didn’t take much to guess what would happen next, it snapped the crossbow in half. The creature snapped its jaws toward me in a vicious manner.
I reach for the knife in my waistband while I look to Daniel and Paul for a moment only to see them hesitating with their weapons raised. I pull the knife and stab it into the monster's neck as hard as I can, eliciting a pained yelp before it slumped over. A black wisp flew into my wrist, setting my total amount of black coins at 7.
“Fuck! What the hell was that?!” I shouted at Daniel and Paul. The half crocidle, half dog like creature was easy to kill, but hard to deal with. It was only natural that I would be angry.
“Y-You were in the way,” Daniel said with a sense of bravery he seemed to have gained from thin air.
“In the way?” I repeat with disbelief. I looked at paul only to see him look away with a sense of guilt.
They must’ve noticed I killed Bobby and thought that I would kill them next.
I look at Paul with my hand held out, “Give me the broomstick.”
“But…” Paul trailed off with a reluctant expression as he looked at Daniel.
“You haven’t killed anything with it at all,” I say before Daniel could speak.
Paul tightly clutched the broomstick as he looked at my knife.
“It’s the only one I have.” That was a lie. I had a small pocket knife tucked into my sock, but I can’t trust the two of them so it's better to have some sort of insurance.
Paul finally handed over the broomstick, which was good for him, because if he didn’t I would’ve taken it.
“Thank you.” I reached in my backpack to retrieve some duct tape before using it to tape the knife on the end of the broomstick, giving me a makeshift spear.
“I’ll be right back.” I take my wooden spear and go into one of the rooms.
I lay my spear against a wall and turn on the stove before heading to a bedroom and climbing out of the window. It really never gets easier to do it. I look at the long drop that awaited me if I slipped while doing my best to shimmy my way across the ledge. I pry open a window to an adjacent room and crawl in while being as quiet as possible. My real purpose in entering a different room so covertly was to eavesdrop on Daniel and Paul who were having a quiet discussion just outside of the door.
“...I don’t know, he doesn’t seem much better than Bobby. If I’m being honest he seems worse, I trusted him in the beginning, but something’s off about him,” A voice that could only be Paul’s spoke.
“At least Bobby was straightforward...Ulysses seems like he’s the type of person to backstab us. We heard Bobby’s screaming earlier. I think...I think Ulysses let him get killed by that monster,” Daniel said.
“So what should we do?” Paul asked in a concerned voice. Since he was pretty old he was the most at risk. It was true, if I had to I would get rid of him first and then focus on Daniel.
“I thought we could talk things out, but he might pretend to and then kill us later. Maybe we should let him get killed by a monster...I’m not sure if I could kill someone just yet.” Daniel said.
“...I think you’re right. I’m too old to fight with him so the best course is to let him get killed by a monster,” Paul agreed.
I nearly let out a sigh, thinking back on it, I should’ve let Bobby hurt one of them more. Then at least I would’ve had more of a reason to kill him and they wouldn’t be as quick to lump me in the same category with him. I would have to kill them before they let me die, or at least I would have to slow them down.
I crawl out of the window and make my way back into the room they saw me enter. I kicked a few things to make some noise, in order to let them think I was scavenging. What I really was doing was digging through my backpack to get the rubbing alcohol and the aerosol can I looted from the convenience store earlier. I gathered up some of the dry items in the room and made a trail leading to the far corner. I doused some of the items in alcohol and left others untouched. The hope was that the dry items would burn a bit slower before reaching the accelerants. Once it reached the items drenched in rubbing alcohol it would speed up.
Shifting my focus, I taped the nozzle on the aerosol to allow a continuous spray. Seeing as everything was in place, I pulled out a lighter and held it near the can before I changed my mind. The sound might be too loud, so I took it into a bedroom and lit it there. As expected it would’ve been to loud if it was in the kitchen. I place the aerosol can near the edge of a dusty bed before closing the door behind me. The last was to burn the trail of items that led to the corner. The small fire started up and spread quicker than I thought, but it still had yet to reach the soaked items so there was time to lead Daniel and Paul away.
As for the smoke? I stole a half-face gas mask from the store earlier so I thought I would be ok. There was a question of whether it was the proper type of gas mask to protect from smoke, but it looked pretty expensive so I took it as a sign that it was. The only worry would be my eyes if I took too long to get exit the building my vision would be hindered.
I now had to do two things I wished to avoid. The first was to make a spear out of the broomstick out of fear that it could break, but the crossbow was destroyed so I had no choice. The second was to prematurely set the building aflame. I would have preferred to make it to floor twenty before burning anything, but Daniel and Paul gave me no choice.
I step out of the room and close the door behind me with a calm look. Daniel and Paul aren’t surprised since I made noise on my way out.
“I couldn’t find anything that could be used as a weapon in there. We should keep a lookout while we move to the other floors,” I said without giving the slightest hint to what I had done.
They both gave somewhat delayed nods as they acknowledged my words. We started to move again under a grave silence.