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26 Their Next Move

 Calvin's strange behavior somehow washed away most of the awkward atmosphere that Joseph and Mark created.

After he stopped laughing, he then said to Mark.

"I'm starting to like you lad, If you need something I'll do my best to help."

But he was met with Mark's reply using a monotone voice.

"I don't swing that way."

"YOU!! I didn't mean it that way!!!"

Unable to hold back anymore, Bernard and Joseph who knew Calvin the most started laughing and everyone followed suit. Even the little Sariya laughed merrily imitating the adults around her.

Calvin sat embarrassed and turned his body away.

Mark watched spectacle grinning as if he controlled the whole situation but he actually had cold sweat dripping on his back due to two reasons. First is because of what Calvin said. Even though he knew what he really meant and took the opportunity to turn it into a joke, it still sent shivers on his spine. The other reason is...

He can feel Mei's stare behind him. Mark is sure her eyes are filled with stars right now.

Bernard glanced at Mark.

'He really had the knack in controlling the atmosphere.'

The awkward atmosphere before was totally dispelled now.

***

After the situation calmed down...

"Anyways, I also wanted to go inside the TechZone so I'm with Fernan's idea."

Mark said which made Fernan really happy.

"Why would you want to, didn't you already said that it is dangerous?"

Bernard wasn't opposed but he wanted to know the reason.

"You said that the cellular networks are busy right? It is just busy and not disconnected. It means that the network is still online. I want to try if the wireless broadband internet is the same. What we need the most now is information and we need to know what really is happening. The internet is a good source for those information. I know that we can't count on DSL now but there might be hope with the Broadband. Inside the TechZone, there should be plenty of Internet connections we can use."

Bernard and Calvin nodded, what Mark said is plausible.

"Also, if Fernan's cousin followed my instructions strictly, then they should still be alive. Fernan's cousins are not bad, also that clerk with them, if they survived then its good."

They understood what Mark is saying as he already explained himself earlier.

"Then, what do we need to do?"

"I already have a plan. I just need some strong boards, hmm... Metal sheets would also work and something to make noise, possibly something loud."

Mark said with his hand on his chin.

"Hmm, we can probably find something like that." Bernard said.

"You need something to make noise right?" Calvin interjected.

"Yeah, I need those to attract the zombies."

"Attract is it? Then those should be fine I think."

Calvin pointed behind Mark.

"Right, those should be good." Bernard nodded.

Mark followed what Calvin pointed at and saw several unlabeled wooden crates which are only printed with the explosive hazard sign.

"What are those? Explosives?"

"Though you aren't wrong, that's not it either. Those are fireworks."

"Fireworks? Why would... Oh right, it's that time of the year isn't it. Are they planning to use those for the New Year?"

"You catch on really quickly huh? Anyways, are those good?"

Mark smiled.

"That's more than enough if you ask me."

"Then, we'll look for the boards you wanted."

"Ah, also some wires and I see that you had tools with you. Do you have some pliers and drills?"

Calvin grinned and pointed behind him with his thumb.

What Mark saw are several metal tool boxes quite a distance away.

"We have everything you needed."

"Then things would be easier then."

As almost everything is ready, Mark told the males of the group what he is planning.

Mark also asked them to barricade all the entrances to the rooftop.

"I know what we can use the emergency stairs behind the Mall but what if some survivors managed to climb the stairwell and we barricaded it, wont they get trapped there?" Joseph asked.

Though Mark didn't really care about that but he knew that these people won't ignore such circumstances.

He sighed.

"Say, does all the doors that lead here open inwards?"

" Hmm... I think they do. There are three."

"Then, create a small space outside the door and make the barricade climbable by people."

"Would that work? Wouldn't those zombies be able to climb that?"

"Though the possibility isn't zero but so far, we haven't encountered even a single one that could. The zombies even have a hard time climbing the stairs so it should work for now. If a zombie managed to climb then let's just deal with it."

The men nodded at what Mark said.

Then, the other men went to work while Mark was left to recuperate. Though his condition seemed better, he is still far from his normal shape.

Paula and Ange went to tour the rooftop. Though it looked like that it isn't the appropriate time for them to play, Mark knew that the two girls are just trying to distract their selves.

Reyah placed some flattened cardboard boxes on the floor at the elevated part of the rooftop and brought Sariya to sleep.

Mark decided to walk around at his pace and observe the area.

As for Mei, there is no need to say too much, she behind Mark, like a puppy following her owner.

Mark finally had the time to observe the odd rooftop. This mall's rooftop is actually way different from what he imagined.

If someone would think about a mall or even other establishment's rooftops, what would enter their minds first are bare concrete rooftops surrounded by short walls or fences with barely anything at all.

Yet...

What Mark sees right now is very different.

Almost the whole rooftop is covered with metal roofing with large metal foundations! Then, the walls surrounding the rooftop are as high as his forehead! Those walls should be more than five feet tall.

What the heck is this?

That aside, the rooftop is far from being bare. Though it is reasonable that one can find exhaust vents, cooling machines and those firework crates since it is already past mid-December, why are there boxes and crates that looked too out of place?

There is also the heliport at the southern side of the mall just beside the door he entered before. When he leaned back at that time, he thought he was leaning on a wall, but to think that he was leaning on an elevated heliport.

Still, even though it is far from what he imagined, this rooftop more suitable for inhabitation than the one in his mind.

And who knows what kinds of things he could find here?

With all those in mind, he turned around.

"Mei'er, you don't really need to follow me around too much. You need to rest."

Mei opened her mouth a few times. She seemed to be gauging the pain in her lips.

"Y-you're not resting either."

"You're really giving me that reason huh?"

Mei nodded.

"So, you won't rest if I don't rest?"

She nodded again.

"Seriously?"

"..."

Mei firmly stared at him.

"Geez... Alright, you win."

To think that he can't do anything about her, no, actually he can do something. But that would probably break her.

For some reason, he can't bear to do that to this fragile rabbit.

Mark peered through the space between the roof and the tall wall and decided as he looked at the sky. The weather is quite cloudy and it isn't that hot due to the season so he decided to climb the roof and rest there. The roof isn't that steep and is actually built almost flat so falling from it won't be an issue unless someone is idiotic enough to roll over the edge of the roof. He also saw a ladder leading to the roof above the central area of the mall and it is a good spot.

There, he can rest and Mei would also rest. At the same time, he can observe the situation below as the front side of the mall along the Tirona Highway is visible from that side of the roof. Though the air is quite warm and stale but don't really felt that bad as cold wind still blew from time to time.

He is hitting four birds with one stone here, or rather, three birds and one rabbit.