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“Stab it! Stab it!”

The prey were lively. A lot louder than earlier. I’m not sure why. I don’t have the luxury to care. Four prey were sent to chase after me. More prey were sent to the buildings I set on fire. They think the fire is more dangerous than me. I don’t mind. If they had sent more prey to catch me, I’d be in trouble. Even with four prey, it’s difficult. How am I supposed to fight four prey? Two have shields; two have spears. This is their territory. I don’t have any traps lying around. Without traps, I can’t fight them. Not if I don’t want to die. They’re armored like me; I have no advantage over them at all. I’m holding a burning piece of wood that I took from the campfire. If I throw it at a building, maybe they’ll peel off to stop it. But I won’t; there might be an important building I have to set on fire. For now, I’ll run.

“If you stab it, it’ll die! It’s not invincible! Keep stabbing!”

And the only place to run to is towards the others. Escaping into a building is a bad idea. I don’t know any of their layouts. The prey will corner me. With others around me, at least they’ll distract the prey, giving me a chance to escape. But I see the cause of commotion now. It’s Big Other. Where did it come from? It’s towering over the prey and others alike. It doesn’t matter where it came from. It looks like it’s in trouble. There’s a lot of blood coming out of it: its chest, its arms, its legs. Everywhere but its head. The dome was working. Even though it was injured badly, it was still moving. There were three prey by its feet. And the others took advantage of that, pressing into the prey. Their formation was broken, a punctured circle. I didn’t expect my plan to work so well.

“The smart infected’s heading towards you guys! Can you intercept it?” The shout came from behind the prey behind me, chasing me. The prey ahead of me were surrounded by others. There was no way for them to stop me. How did so many more others appear? Did Big Other open a path when it arrived? There were a few others walking out of the trench. They shouldn’t be able to do that.

The fire on the burning piece of wood was getting dangerously close to my clothes. Clothes burn easily; I don’t want to lose my armor. But the prey wear lots of clothes. They’re grouped up nicely too. I’ll throw the fire at them. If I’m lucky, they’ll burn. They don’t have any hole-digging tools to put out the flames. But if they do put out the fire, I’ll learn a new way to do that other than covering it with dirt. I threw the piece of burning wood over the others, onto the group of prey.

“Ah? What the hell!?”

The prey didn’t catch on fire. How disappointing. The group of prey separated a bit, giving the flaming piece of wood space. None of them were focused on putting it out, stabbing at the others with spears instead. The four prey chasing me were catching up. They weren’t carrying many things compared to me. Luckily, I wasn’t too far from the group of others. I approached them. And they completely ignored me, letting me skirt around them. But when the four prey approached, a few others peeled off from the main group, reaching for the prey. I still don’t know how the others know I’m not a prey. I look like one. Maybe I smell.

“We lost it!”

I circled around the group, heading to the area behind Big Other. The four prey weren’t chasing me anymore. With the burning piece of wood dropped into the prey’s formation, another tiny gap was created. A few more others pushed in. But they were killed almost instantly. But their bodies didn’t disappear. They fell to the ground, acting like a permanent wedge, keeping the formation open for more others to advance. There weren’t that many left. I couldn’t count them all. But compared to the amount on the ground, there’s more dead others than alive. If it wasn’t for Big Other opening a path, the others would be in a bad position, maybe wiped out. I’m glad Big Other isn’t a prey anymore.

But even with Big Other, at this rate, the prey would win. Only six prey or so died. And three of them were Big Other’s doing. This is a terrible rate. It’s sixty or seventy others per prey. And the prey that peeled off to stop the fires I set would come back soon. There were more prey inside the first building I set on fire. I purposely went to the furthest place I could to send the prey further away. But I didn’t expect there to be prey inside. Maybe they’re kept locked up as a food source. But if they come out to join the fight, it’ll be a disaster. Is it time to retreat? I’ve done everything I could, and it doesn’t seem to be enough.

No, I haven’t done everything yet. There’s still the motorcycle. The prey are thinned out compared to earlier. There’s a path open behind them where less others are gathered. I can drive the motorcycle into the prey. But if I do that, I might ruin the motorcycle. The prey can stab the wheels with their spears. If that happens, I might die. And if I don’t die, I’ll ruin my escape path. The motorcycle is the quickest way out of here. I already know the prey are faster than me. And I can’t give up the meat I’m holding in my bag. It weighs me down. But without it, my brain will be eaten by my hunger. I have to make a choice. Maybe driving the motorcycle into the prey will work. Maybe it’ll fail. Is the risk worth the reward?

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Virlyce

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