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97 With the Horde Blocking the Way Back

 Day 3 - 2:59 PM - WCRonalds, Molino Road, Molino II, Bacoor City, Cavite

Mark stared at the three people who were huddle together unconscious.

"Gale, guard here inside. Make sure that no infected to climb up the stairs."

Hearing what he said, the little girl nodded and attentively guarded the stairs.

Actually, there was not much need to guard the stairs as the infected was not too adept on climbing up on higher floors. Mark just did not want to make his daughter see the scene outside the door. Even if they were unconscious, three full grown adults huddled and sleeping together in their underwear was not a sight for children to see.

When went to her post, Mark approached the three unconscious people. He finally confirmed that the man who was in the middle was the person he was looking for, his younger brother, Carlo. The woman to his right was also familiar. If Mark was right, she was Carlo's girlfriend Sundra. Mark did not recognize the other woman though.

The faces of the three were reddish and their breaths were ragged. Kneeling down, Mark touched the foreheads of the three and confirmed that they were all in the same condition. They all had high fevers and their underwear was still wet. Mark found the clothes of the three hanged on one of the machines on the rooftop and the clothes had not yet fully dried up.

Mark looked around and noticed that there was no place to hide from the rain in this place. The place was filled with different machines that were bolted on the roof and the walls. If this was the case, these people might have been under the rain for the whole day yesterday. That situation would sure make anyone experience hypothermia. These three huddling closely might have been their last resort to the situation and keep their bodies as warm as possible.

These people surely have been stuck here in this place with more than a dozen of infected on the second floor. Mark turned at the two dead bodies. One of them just died and the other might have been dead several hours ago. They did not manage to handle their illness and had probably given up resisting. It was peaceful death if they died while being unconscious.

***

It seemed that touching their foreheads disturbed Sundra and she weakly opened her eyes. Turning her head slowly, she saw a man exuding a scary aura standing beside them. However, she did feel scared at all. She opened her mouth and said in a whisper like manner.

"Please, help us."

The weak woman stared at the man but he did not reply. It was then that she felt worried that the man who just arrived had ill intentions. However, the man then moved. He took out a radio from his belt and spoke.

"Mei'er."

"Gege! What is it?"

Sundra heard a female voice from the radio. The voice sounded like an angel, as it she was about to fetch them into afterlife. The man who was called Gege by the female on the radio replied.

"Tell Melissa to go inside the restaurant. I'll get Gale to fetch her. Bring three towels, medicine for fever and water that isn't cold. Also Mei'er, prepare some hot water and cook some porridge on the cooker. You can do that right?"

"Alright!"

Hearing the conversation, Sundra felt tearing up. How could she not realize that those things that the man requested were for them who were lying on the floor in sickness? Their hard days were finally over. Since the outbreak came too sudden, they were stuck in this roof without any preparation. There were actually eight people back then.

Knowing that they would be stuck in here for some time, the three tried to go inside the restaurant to fetch some necessities but never came back. Among the remaining five of them, only Carlo, her boyfriend, had the courage to volunteer to get food but she did not let him go. After sunset on the first day, they were tired and hungry. However, they had no way of getting food and other things. Then, the accursed rain fell. At first, they thought that it was a blessing since they could at least drink the falling rain but the rain did not let up until midnight last night.

After being drenched with rain and exposed to the cold for long, they all fell sick and their hunger further led them to fell unconscious. With the last resort, she and Carlo removed their rainwater drenched clothes and huddled together. With no choice left, the other female who was one of the staff in the restaurant huddled together with them. Still, the effect was not enough and they still lost consciousness after sometime.

Sundra looked at her unconscious boyfriend. His condition was worse than her since he used his body to cover her up from the rain. She raised her weak hand and touched his cheek with a weak smile.

***

On the parking area in front of WCRonalds, Mei who was helping Odelina to hold back the infected received Mark's orders and immediately complied. Odelina also heard what Mark said and realized that something must have gone wrong. She let Mei do what she was asked to do and was left alone to deal with the incoming infected.

Soon, Abbygale went out of the restaurant and escorted Melissa who was now carrying a large bag back into the restaurant. However, Mei did not go back to help yet since there were other things she was asked to do.

Unfortunately, Odelina was in a dilemma. The horde had finally caught up and the front of the horde was just a few blocks away. This was something she could not handle alone.

However, she must not let down her master. She must think of a way to hold these infected back. Looking around, her gaze fell onto the parked and abandoned vehicles. It gave her a good idea.

She punched a Biter coming her way breaking its skull and then, she closed her eyes to concentrate. At that moment, the lower part of her jeans was torn a slit on both sides. Next, a grey bony growth started to cover her feet and legs while the bone armor covering her hands started to grow and cover her forearms up to her elbow.

***

Back at the rooftop on the second floor, Mark waited at the side as Melissa administered medicine on the three people. Sundra was conscious but the other two was not, needing her help to ingest the medicine they needed.

"It's hypothermia, isn't it?"

Mark asked Melissa.

"Yes, the symptoms clearly showed it. However, this man's fever seemed to be something else. The temperature was too high and I could say that his high body temperature is the reason why these two women are still alive."

"I see, so that's the case."

Mark smiled which made Melissa baffled at his expression.

Sundra who was already helped to sit down and was given a dry towel to cover her body leaned on the wall behind her while drinking some water from the bottle given to her. Hearing the conversation of the two, she could not help but worriedly look at her boyfriend who was still unconscious and suffering. She weakly stretched out her right hand and held Melissa's arm getting her attention.

"Please, save Carlo."

She said in a muffled voice.

To her plea, Melissa gently smiled and said while pointing at Mark with her thumb.

"You don't have to worry. Even if you don't say it, my boss there won't watch him die."

Sundra looked at Mark who squatted beside Carlo and was checking his state.

"Thank you."

Sundra said filled with gratitude.

"By the way boss, why do you seem happy when he is burning with high fever?"

Melissa turned towards Mark and asked.

"Just where did that "Boss" come from?"

Mark replied with a question while looking at the nurse in confusion.

"Because you're the leader right? I'm not your servant so I won't call you Master like Odel so boss is just fine. Right, Boss? Also answer my question first."

Hearing her reasoning, Mark shook his head. Though, her reasoning was right on point, somehow, he was reluctant to admit it. Furthermore, as if Mark would not notice that she was paying back for the fright she received when they tore through the horde.

"About his fever, it's likely that it is connected to his evolution."

"Evolution?"

"Remember what I said about the Mutagen changing the bodies of the survivors? Abnormally high fever is one of the symptoms of that."

Mark looked at the unconscious Carlo and continued.

"In his case, maybe, what he will receive would be like stronger body and cold acclimation."

"How are you sure about that?"

Melissa looked confused.

"Hmm... I forgot to explain it earlier I think. You see, what the person who was undergoing before evolution experienced before falling into high fever would affect their evolution. Odel's children for example, they were both mortally wounded before evolution so they received every high regeneration rate. If you try to would them now, it would be healed quickly."

"Wait, wait. I didn't about that?!You and Gale aside, Mrs. Odel's children were also abnormal?"

Melissa stared at Mark wide eyed.

"We'll yeah? Odel too."

"Then Mei is..."

"Nah, she's normal, the only abnormal about her is her mental state right now."

Mark shrugged his shoulders making the nurse speechless.

Sundra who could not keep up and did not understand most of their conversation could only understand one thing. Carlo was not in danger and might even be in better state after he woke up. She could finally breathe in relief.

BAM! BAM!

While the people in the rooftop were immersed in their work, they heard loud sounds coming from the front of the restaurant. Mark jumped onto a machine followed by Melissa to see the situation outside. The scene outside almost made Melissa fall back in shock.

The horde was already in front of the restaurant and was trying to pass through the line of toppled cars that somehow appeared. However, that was not the most shocking part for her. At the parking lot, she saw Odelina whose arms and legs were covered with grey bones was kicking vehicles toppling them into a barricade in front of the restaurant.

On Odelina's every kick, one side of the vehicle in front of her would lift off the ground making the vehicle roll on its side scattering glass fragments and other metal parts around. Now, she understood what Mark had just told her.

She then heard Mark's voice asking her a question.

"Melissa, can we move that other woman? We need to get out of here as soon as possible."

Mark was frowning. The horde had already blocked the road in front of the restaurant. Since he was at a vantage point and higher than the ground, he could now make out several familiar silhouettes among the horde. There was a Level-1 Mutation Dozer and even another of that Charred looking infected. There were even some that he saw for the first time. Unfortunately he would not be able to examine the abilities of those guys due to the existence of the horde.

To his question, Melissa replied.

"We can but her body should be handled with care since her muscles are in pain due to her fever."

"Alright, you two stay here and I'll move them to the vehicle first."

After Melissa nodded, Mark lifted the unconscious woman who was covered with a dry towel in a princess carry and brought her out. Before the apocalypse, Mark would have struggled to carry this woman but his evolution helped him do so. He effortlessly carried the woman to the first floor with Abbygale as guard.

Upon arriving at the vehicle, Charmaine, Mei and Odelina's children were surprised to see Mark carrying an unconscious almost naked woman. The two women wanted to ask questions but stopped themselves from doing so since it was not the time to do so. After making the unconscious woman lay down on the sofa, Mark immediately returned to the restaurant and picked up the fever stricken Carlo on his back with Melissa's help.

Charm was shocked to see Carlo who was also unconscious. However, she was relieved that he was still alive at the same time. For one last time, Mark went back inside the restaurant to pick up Sundra. Like the unconscious woman, Mark lifted her in a princess carry. Sundra was embarrassed but did not say anything. She knew that these people were their saviors and it was not right to be picky about things.

Mark brought Sundra with Melissa and Abbygale beside him. With the little girl guarding Mark back and forth into the restaurant, the work went smoothly even if the infected managed to enter the restaurant from the northern side which was open and connected to the parking lot of the mall beside the restaurant.

After settling Sundra inside the vehicle, Mark went together with Abbygale to meet Odelina. Melissa returned inside the vehicle since she knew that she was of no help even if she stayed outside.

When Mark reached Odelina's location, he could see the barricade of vehicles effectively holding the horde back. After all, the barricade was made with several layers of vehicles toppled together.

"What's the situation?"

"Master, we can't use this road to go back. The horde became larger after we attracted the infected from the malls on the side of the road and from other areas nearby."

"But we can't make a detour either."

Mark said while frowning and continued.

"The route to north is prone to traffic and there are several schools there. There should be a lot of infected there."

"We're in a dilemma aren't we, Master?"

"Let me try something first. If it didn't work, we'll try to find another way."

What he said made both Odelina and Abbygale look at him.

"Master? What do you want to do?"

Mark tapped his chin with his right index finger and said.

"You'll know when you see it. What you two should do is get on the vehicle and get ready to leave."

"But Master."

"Do you two trust me?"

Mark looked at his servant and his daughter. Both nodded without hesitation.

"Then, do what I said and wait for my orders on the radio."

The two agreed and hurried to back into the vehicle. Seeing the two enter the vehicle, Mark looked at the horde in front of him.

"Well, what will you do at this situation Freed? As if you will answer."

Mark fiddled with his phone.

"What music is best for this scene I wonder? Alright, this one."

He played the song titled "The Wind is Blowing" sung by a Japanese Idol group from his phone and smiled while his eyes became sharper and his body exuding an unexplainable aura.

"Here it goes."

After inhaling and exhaling deeply, Mark jumped into tallest vehicle in the barricade making sure that every infected in the horde saw him.