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17 Why He Let Them Go

 In the dimly lit cinema hall, Mark was half-kneeling on the floor, in front of him, a half-naked girl with only a jacket draped over her back covering her body is crying. Mark, who was still pokerfaced, is quite baffled by the girl's cry. For some reason, the girl's tears did not only stem from what happened to her just earlier, it felt that it rooted from somewhere deeper.

He felt how heavy the weight that this girl's tears carry but can't do anything about it. He can only gently pat her head trying to provide some comfort.

As Mark pat her head, he is thinking about what to do next. The girl needed to clean herself but she is clearly not in the condition to do it. He thought of calling the girls outside to help but quite reluctant to do so. The girl's body is stained by a man's fluid so other girls might find it disgusting. He can do it himself and it would be a lie if he said that he didn't want to but it is really felt inappropriate.

In the end, he decided in calling the girls outside.

As he was about to stand, the girl hastily grabbed his right hand.

"You need to get cleaned up quick so I'll call some help. Don't worry, they are girls."

'Well, there is also a man but... I'll just lead him to the other side I guess?' he thought.

It wouldn't be surprising if this girl would be wary of males after those bad things happened.

Mark patted her head one more time after she let go of his hand. But before he calls the others outside... He looked around him. The boy he kicked is still unconscious and the leader is silent. No. Rather, the leader is...

'He already died huh.'

Being soaked with his blood, the gang leader already stopped breathing.

'And another change of plans.' He sighed.

Mark can't leave her if the place looked like this. He approached the unconscious boy and removed the chains tied on his belt, then used the chains to tie the boy's hands behind his back. The gangster's unnecessary bling came handy at this moment.

Then, he stuffed the weapons left by the gangsters into his duffle bag. A three feet long iron pipe, a machete and an ice pick. These weapons would come in handy.

He looked back at the armless dead body.

'I. AM. NOT. TOUCHING. THAT.'

Mark approached the girl again just to find her staring at him. Though she already stopped crying at some point and she tried wiping her tears with her hands leaving dirty marks on her face. Her face stained by tears, semen and blood made her look rather pitiful.

He picked up his handkerchief once more and folded it in reverse before wiping the grime off her face.

"Can you stand?"

The girl weakly nodded. She tried to stand but fell down almost immediately. Luckily, Mark is just there to catch her fall. He then helped her as she try stand straight up.

With his help, she tried walking but her steps were very unstable but she would knit her thin brows from time to time due to pain. Tears accumulated at the corner of her eyes but she held it in.

"Xi-Xiao Mei."

She suddenly spoke. Mark looked at her confused but it's not like he don't have any idea what she is talking about.

"Y-Your-"

"Mark."

Mark did not let her finish.

"Well, the introduction came out of nowhere but you can call me Mark. Just Mark is fine I think. Also don't try to open your mouth if it's painful. Your cheek is bruised and you have cuts on your lips."

He led her towards the other side of the cinema and helped her sit down on a chair at the end of the middle row.

"Wait here a bit."

He then walked towards the double door on this side of the cinema. The doors were also locked but were easier to open from this side. After unlocking the door, he opened it slowly.

BAM!

A blood covered person fell just in front of him. No, it's not a person, it was.

Ange was just outside the door and felled the zombie just by his feet. Mark then opened the door wide at normal speed.

He saw Ange aiming the metal bat at him but immediately lowered the bat after seeing who opened the doors.

Mark looked around and saw several bodies on the floor and zombies that are closing outside the cinema area. He ignored the bodies and faced Ange.

"You alright?"

As Ange is still panting, she just raised Mark a thumbs up.

'You don't look fine at all though.'

The others also went out of hiding after seeing him come out. Paula filled him in.

"Several running ones came due to the gunshot earlier."

"It's my fault I guess." He scratched his head.

BANG!

Everyone, not just Mark's group but including the incoming zombies outside turned their heads towards the central area of the mall where the gunshot seemed to come from.

BANG! BANG!

More shots echoed across the mall.

The slow moving zombies outside turned around following the source of the gunshots.

"The show started without us huh. Well, it would buy us some more time I think."

Mark said taking back his group's attention.

"Anyways, let's go, I need some help."

He turned his back without waiting for reply took a box from a nearby food counter and entered the cinema hall once more. The others hastily followed. They seemed to start getting used to Mark's unnerving attitude.

After entering, he told the employee to stay near the door to guard for a bit before leading the girls to Xiao Mei. What they saw was the pitiful appearance of the beautiful girl and the unpleasant stench that lingered around her.

It seemed that Xiao Mei was still uneasy as she immediately grabbed the hem of Mark's shirt when he got close. He patted her head to assure her that it is fine making her settle down a bit. This might just a simple gesture but the girls Mark brought was filled with a plethora of emotions, such as 'it seemed that he really is a good person', 'we just saw a pleasant side of him' or 'something fishy is going on'.

Then the girls received a glare from Mark.

He told them the circumstances and ask them to help Xiao Mei clean up her body and handed them the box he just took from the counter outside which turned out to be a box of tissue paper. He also took out a small spray bottle that contained rubbing alcohol for them to use.

Mark was surprised as the seemingly conservative Paula did not show any disgust as she helped Xiao Mei wipe her body. The same goes for the mother who let her child sit down on a nearby chair as she cleaned Xiao Mei's hair. And he was flabbergasted by the fact that the boyish mannered Ange who looked unfazed by blood was really reluctant to deal with the disgustingly white liquid though she still ended helping after being scolded by her friend.

Xiao Mei was also proactive in cleaning herself but as she felt weak and her hands shivering, she was of no help at all.

Mark on the other hand left the girls on their work as it was improper for him to watch and went towards the fire exit near the big screen. He opened a gap on the door and took a peek outside. There are no zombies that can be seen even though there are blood marks left on many parts of the corridor.

"Looked like the plan worked somehow."

That is right, he planned this. It is the reason he let the two gangsters run away. He thought of the possibility that there would be zombies inside the back corridors which he concluded to be right seeing the marks left behind. He let the two go in hopes that they would lure away the zombies away.

Though he also expected it to not work or the two would run back luring the zombies in, he prepared some backup plans but the plans he thought of was wasted in a good way.