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34 Cheer Up

 1:51 PM - City Mall Bacoor Rooftop, South Wing

Ange was feeling better as the members of the group try to pacify her. However, she was still far from her unruly self. It did not take long for the others to realize that no matter if the Biters were alive or not, they would need to fight and kill them to survive. Like how it was in the movies, no one knew if there would be a cure or not and for heck's sake, they did not even know if it really was a sickness or not.

Still, it did not change the fact the Ange had to kill her friends that turned and she was feeling down because of that. Paula sat beside Ange just stroking her back without saying anything else. There was very little to say anymore and Paula could understand her friend's feelings. She just needed time to recover from it.

The men were on standby. They already finished securing the places in the rooftop that needed barricading. Now, they are only having their guards up in case something unexpected happened. These men even prepared makeshift weapons with the things they can find here. With iron pipes as base, they attached and welded blades cut out from smaller metal sheets they found. They then sharpened the edges and pointed parts using an angle grinder.

Calvin was holding to a spear, Fernan and Joseph both had a machete and Bernard had an axe. They also made weapons for the girls which are all smaller machetes. It was not because they are females or because of gender discrimination but because they ran out of materials. Even Ange was not given a makeshift weapon and had to keep the baseball bat Mark lent her.

It wasn't really the best weapons but at least better that having nothing.

While everyone was minding their own business, Mei suddenly stood up and walked towards the central area of the rooftop for unknown reasons. They all watched her in wonder. Paula had the idea why she suddenly went that way though. It was like what happened earlier.

Before Mei could even reach the central area, a man in a sci-fi looking sports armor appeared. The man seemed to be surprised to see Mei walking towards his direction. The man took off his helmet revealing his unkempt hair and average looking face. The man smiled at Mei.

"Mei'er, how do you even know that I'm coming?"

"I don't know, Gege. I just feel it somehow."

Mark did not know how to reply to that. It was not like that he did not know that she was walking towards him already.

"Alright, let's go back."

"Un."

The two went back to the group but of course, Mei remained hiding behind Mark as the men were also nearby.

The group stared at Mark who just returned. The clean pieces of sports armor that he wore earlier were now stained with blood. His face looked drained, as it seemed that he spent a lot of energy. He had another sports duffel bag that hung on his back and aside from his machete that was in his left hand, his right hand carried a fire axe.

When he arrived, Mark saw Ange who was slumped on her chair and Paula who was patting her back.

'It really happened huh?'

Bernard went in front of Mark and handed him his notebook. Mark received the notebook and looked at the old man.

"You have questions right?"

"Not just me, we all do. But first, I'll say I learned a lot reading your notes there. It looked like that you've preparing for a zombie apocalypse to happen for a long time."

Mark bitterly smiled.

"Not really. It's just a hobby of mine. Who knows that something like this would actually happen?"

"That's true."

Mark then moved to one of the vacant seats and Mei handed him a bottle of soda.

"Thank you."

He put the things he was carrying down beside the chair he sat on before receiving the bottle of soda and gulped half of the soda in the bottle in one go.

Mark then face the people in front of him who wore inquisitive expressions.

"Go ahead and ask your questions. Geez, why do I always have to be the one on the hot seat?"

He grumbled making the rest of the group besides Ange wore bitter smiles. They could not help it. After all, this was the second time that this happened.

Going straight to the topic, Bernard asked.

"It's about what you had written about the Biters."

"Well, I knew it would be that. You guys want to know if they are really alive. Right?"

Everyone nodded. Ange also raised her face and looked at Mark.

"Unfortunately, they really are alive."

"Do you have any proof?"

It was Joseph who asked. Mark was starting to think that this guy really liked to cut in between conversations of other people. Still, he answered.

"I do. I caught a Biter and an Eater and checked it myself. It was after I entered the emergency exit there in the west wing earlier."

"What did you find out?"

"Simple. The Biter I caught, her heart is still beating. I also checked the Eater but it doesn't have one, it's not even breathing. I don't understand how the bodies of the Eaters work. Anyways, the Biter I caught is still alive so the others should also be."

The members of the group started contemplating after hearing what Mark said. He also saw Ange droop her head. She really looked sad.

"Anyways, what's with those weapons?"

Mark asked as he noticed the makeshift weapons everyone had. If he had to say, he was impressed by the idea. The weapons they made did not look bad either.

"It was Calvin's idea."

Bernard answered his question.

"You?"

Mark turned at Calvin, surprised.

"What? Even I look like this I worked in a metal works several years ago. I had a fair share of things I learned from there."

The middle aged man looked at the sky as he puffed his chest in confidence. Again, it was far from his usual silent attitude. And it would only happen when he was talking to Mark.

Then, Calvin was startled when he looked back at Mark. He was not listening to him at all! And Mark was staring at Ange the whole time he was talking!

The veins on Calvin's forehead were about to pop out but he held it in and sat down returning to his usual attitude. The father and son due could not help but scratch their heads as they watched him.

Under the stares of everyone, Mark stood up and approached Ange. Paula did not know what he would do but she somehow knew that he could bring her friend back to normal. Just like how he did several times more than an hour ago.

Mark squatted in front of Ange who was staring blankly towards her hands placed over her knees. It was then that she noticed that there was someone in front of her. She raised her head and...

"WAHHH!"

Ange was startled and pulled her face back with haste. She retreated too fast that she almost fell on her back!

"W-What are you doing!!!"

She shouted with her face turned red.

Everyone smiled. Paula almost failed to hold back her laughter at her friend's reaction. Well, Mei pouted a little though.

They all saw it. When Mark squatted in front of her, he closely stared at her. At the time Ange raised her head, his face was just an inch away from hers.

"Well, it's good that you're back."

Mark snickered.

Ange looked at him and looked around her. Now that her mind was clearer, she could not help but notice how much worry she brought them. She then heard Mark spoke.

"Don't think too much about whatever you are being melancholic about. Just think that what you did is right."

"But! I..."

"Killed living people? What is wrong about that? You did not kill anyone just because you wanted. You killed because you wanted to protect yourself and protect someone important to you."

"But..."

"Still arguing huh?"

Mark started to feel exasperated and he raised his voice a little bit.

"Then, I'll give you a question with two choices. Just choose one! Hear me?!"

"O-okay."

Ange was startled by his sudden attitude.

"I and Paula were surrounded by a group of Biters. Which one of us will you help?"

"Of course it's Paula!"

"Then good! I don't need your help either! Biters? Eaters? Alive? Dead? Those things don't matter as long as you needed to protect someone. Just think of protecting yourself and the people important to you. Nothing else matter."

"I know! But-"

"Then, you will let yourself and Paula gets eaten because you can't kill them?"

"That's..."

"If you're playing like that then... Don't kill unless it's necessary. Then, continue living. Live for those you needed to kill and already killed. Live the life that they are supposed to spend."

Ange became silent as she contemplated about what Mark just said.

"Also I'll tell you this. I don't want to say that we needed to purposely kill all those zombies but for every zombie that is killed, there would be less of those who can potentially kill other people."

Her eyes opened wide. That thought slipped past her mind.

"Well, you still have a lot of time to think about what I said so there's no need to rush."

Mark stood up, took the new duffel bag he put down beside his chair. He then went back to Ange and put the duffel bag at her lap.

"Also this. So cheer up."

Mark then returned to his seat. Everyone was looking at him, amazed.

They did not know just how he ransacked his bank of references in his brain just to deliver all those words properly!

"This is!!!"

Ange's excited voice entered their ears. They all looked at her and saw her taking out the contents of the duffel bag. In the bag was another set of sports armor identical to what Mark was wearing. The only difference was the sports armor in front of Ange was designed for females and was white in color with red colored outlines.

Paula looked at Mark. Her heart was filled with gratitude towards him for cheering up her precious friend. Though his methods were rather unusual, it was effective, totally effective.