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This is bad. A lot of prey came. I was expecting one or two to come after killing the second one. But that’s not the case. There must’ve been so few prey left that one or two dying was enough to alarm them. There’s no way out. But I wasn’t expecting one when I holed up in here. This is my final stand. I’m in the best position I can be, even if it’s bad. There aren’t others to help me. I can’t see an end to the prey. Is this how prey feel in their final moments? When they’re swarmed by others, eaten alive? I wonder, is there anything after death? What happens when I die? It seems like I’m about to find out. I forced myself to survive, to avoid having my brain consumed by hunger. Dying, I won’t turn dumb, mindless. Maybe it won’t be so bad. It’s a shame I haven’t met God yet. Or maybe the chief in front of me is God. He wants me dead.

But I won’t die that easily. I’ll kill as many prey as I can before dying. And if I’m lucky, I’ll live. That’s right. I’m going to live. I’ve never died before. I won’t die now. …Maybe I did die before turning into an other. That’s irrelevant. I readied my spear, kept my knives at the top of the bag of arrows, ready to grab at any moment. The prey weren’t rushing. Lucky me. If any of the prey had spicy brains, they’d be attacking me right now. It seems like the old prey won the fight.

“Any volunteers?”

I’m behind a chokepoint. If any prey come, they have to come alone. The one that volunteers, it’ll be the hardest one to fight, confident it can beat me. But if I survive, if I don’t receive any severe injuries, my chance of survival increases—even if only by a tiny bit. Once more prey die, the remaining prey become easier to kill. They might even flee.

“Most of us are injured, Chief.”

“Ron?”

“I’m … not confident, Chief. Didn’t this smart infected kill Cosmo? I’m definitely not as good as a fighter as Cosmo was.”

“Chris?”

“I’m injured.”

“Jen?”

“I—”

“No.”

The prey aren’t confident. And it seems like the prey that are good at fighting are injured. It makes sense. The better they are, the more they’d fight, leading to more injuries.

“What do you mean no? Jen’s one of our better fighters.”

“How about this? We take those drug addicts we tied up and make them to fight the infected?”

“That’s not a bad idea. Why should one of us have to risk our lives? Those addicts were the ones that got us into such a shitty situation in the first place.”

“Yeah, that’s right, Chief. Make those fuckers do it instead.”

There’s a lot of debating going on. It sounds like the old prey caught some new prey. And they’re going to force them to fight me. That’s a bad situation. They’ll be like me, forced to kill to survive. If I fought an old prey, they’d try to run, reduce the risk to themselves. They won’t fight me to the death. I can’t let the prey call the new prey. I’ll use my bow, ready an arrow, force a prey to come inside to stop me.

“Watch out! It’s loading its bow!”

“Shit!”

“Chief! Stop ducking when you hide behind your shield!”

The prey with the shield crouched down, thoroughly protecting itself. But it completely exposed the prey behind it. I aimed my bow. Fired. And hit the door. One of the prey slammed it shut just in time. I’m starting to think I should’ve found a room with a window. Then I could’ve escaped at least. I didn’t think all the prey would gather here. Wouldn’t that mean the rest of the garrison is empty? Can I dig my way out? Break down the wall. I have the wood cutting tool. The wall is made of wood. Should I try it? There’s no guarantee the prey will stay in this building. I might lose my chokepoint, be forced to fight in the middle of the garrison.

I’ll stay. I picked this spot in the first place because it was good. The prey with the spicy brain, maybe I’ll get lucky with my bow, kill it before it enters. But I can’t count on my luck. The prey with the spicy brain, injuring their limbs doesn’t matter. I have to end the fight quickly, go straight for the brain or neck. Most likely the neck since the head is protected. The prey fight without care for themselves, focusing only on offense instead of defense. I don’t think it’ll block my attacks; the last one didn’t. It’s a good thing I fought one of the new prey before. Without that experience, I’d make a poor choice.

I waited for a while. The prey were talking outside. But their voices were too muffled. There were footsteps. Then, the door made a sound. I readied my bow. There was more talking. The door opened by a tiny bit, letting in a sliver of light.

“The instant I open this, it’s going to shoot, is what you’re saying.”

“Yes, so be careful.”

“Where’d you put my baggie?”

“Your what?”

“You know, my baggie. The pouch I kept in my underwear.”

“We burned it.”

“Motherfuckers. Do you know hard finding that shit is?”

“Is he going to be alright? He’s shaking.”

“Who knows.”

“Hurry up, bastard. If you want to live, you have to kill it.”

“You better not close the door behind me. I can’t see for shit in the dark.”

The door opened. I was about to release my arrow. But there wasn’t anyone there. They must’ve followed the door, opened it, walked with it to hide behind.

“Hand me that glass.”

A moment later, a piece of glass came out from behind the door. Reflected on it, there was a dome. That’s a neat trick. Instead of looking at me directly, risk being shot, the prey can use a reflective material to look around objects. I’ll have to remember that trick. If I can survive this, that is.

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Virlyce

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