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99 Citta Italia

 Day 3 - 3:42 PM - Molino Boulevard, Molino II, Bacoor City, Cavite

Mark sat on the roof of the MB Sprinter while they drove on the way back. The seat was quite uncomfortable but he decided on not entering the vehicle to save time and for the wind to lessen the unpleasant smell that permeated on his clothes. Another thing was this place allowed him to see a better view of the surroundings and he could eliminate any sudden and incoming threat.

Not long after, about a minute or so, they finally saw the place where the convoy stopped. It was on the side walk between the road and the vacant farmlands on the curved area of the boulevard. However, it seemed that the atmosphere in the group was not that good. After getting closer, Mark could tell that everyone's morale was even lower than before.

The area around the convoy was a total mess. There were about a hundred bodies of dead infected surrounding the convoy. It seemed that their battle had just ended as the pools of blood and the dead bodies were still fresh. Mark could also see the number of the policemen that were short by three people and they were currently encircled around a body covered in cloth.

When they arrived, Mark could see the relief and amazement on their faces. While they were struggling with about a hundred infected coming after them, the group that was confronted by several hundred infected actually returned unscathed. Furthermore, there was barely any damage on their vehicle. The relief on the faces of the survivors could not be hidden that Odelina and the rest also noticed it.

When their vehicle stopped, Mark jumped down and was immediately approached by Madam Lanie and Chief Mallari.

"What happened here?"

Mark asked while looking around. He was not sure why there were a lot of infected here. Even though the number was nothing compared to the horde they encountered earlier, the number was still too many compared to the number of the infected in this area before when they passed by.

"The infected got attracted here when one of the volunteers fired his gun. He was attacked by an infected covered with fungal roots and had a mushroom growing out of its eyes."

Chief Mallari narrated the situation along with what happened to the volunteer and the number of their losses.

According to the two, they lost two volunteers and a policeman because of the mushroom infected and another volunteer and another policeman because of the infected attracted to the noise. They lost a total of five men in the span Mark and his group was gone.

"Have you found the person you are looking for?"

Madam Lanie asked in curiosity.

"We did. He's unconscious but he should wake up sooner or later."

Mark said indifferently. He then looked at the sky and the direction of the sun before continuing.

"We should hit the road now. It'll get dark soon."

What Mark said put on more pressure on the shoulders of the two. It would be more dangerous for them if they got stuck on the road after nightfall. Before the outbreak, this distance away from the City Hall was just several minutes but they all spent a whole lot of time just to bypass the blockades on the road and deal with the dangers around.

Actually, Mark wanted to see the mushroom infected they were talking about and take some pictures and videos. To say the truth, the Bluetooth camera on his collar showed that he was recording every single detail of their encounters. It was for documentation and future references if needed. However, their time constraints were getting tighter at the moment. In about two hours, the sun would set and it would be hard to continue on the road after that. They must reach Firenze or at least, find a place to spend the night and hit the road tomorrow.

With that said, everyone immediately prepared for departure. The police was dismayed about the loss of their comrades in arms and wanted to give them a proper burial but that was not possible at their current circumstances. The best that they could do was to place their bodies away from the road and offer some prayers before departing. What made them dismayed even more was that they could not even approach the body of their comrade that had fallen victim to the mushroom spores and could only look at it from afar afraid that the body would release spores again.


After a few minutes of preparation, the convoy was now, back on the road. Mark sat back inside the vehicle after changing into another jacket. It seemed that the smell was too strong that Abbygale did not even want to approach him before he changed his clothes once more. He looked at the two unconscious people with a little bit of annoyance. These two sure know how to sleep. The fever of the woman had already ceded and she was just sleeping peacefully, Carlo was another thing though. His fever was still as high as before. There was not much change in his condition.

Even though she knew that Carlo was not in any danger, Sundra could not help but worry. Still, Mark and Melissa were sure that Carlo's condition was due to evolution. If not, Carlo would have long been gone to the afterlife already, considering how high his temperature was.


While contemplating about Carlo's condition, a sudden ear piercing scream sounded inside the vehicle making everyone flinch. It seemed that the woman had already awoken. Unfortunately, the first person she saw upon waking up was the female infected who was tied up at the end of the seat. Like a cat stepped on its tail, the woman tried to stand up and run away just to bump her head harshly on the roof of the vehicle waking her up fully and making her squat on the floor in pain.

Everyone was surprised at her antics that they did not even manage to get the right expression to look at her. Melissa immediately approached her to calm her down. As a nurse, she experienced these kinds of thing from time to time making her the first person to react. There were times that patients would be delirious after waking up due to the trauma they received before falling unconscious. However, Mark knew at this moment that the woman was just being muddle headed from sleeping for too long.

When the woman finally calmed down, she swept her eyes around and finally confirmed that she was safe however, her face turned red after realizing how embarrassing her actions have been. When she saw Sundra looking at her, she could not help but avert her gaze. She remembered what she did in desperation back there in the rooftop when they were all dying in cold. Even if it was for the sake of survival, huddling in her underwear with her superior at work in front of his girlfriend was still shameful.

Every change in her emotions did not escape the Empath in the group. Mark could not help but sigh while shrugging his shoulders. It looked like they really picked up a baggage this time. Though she seemed to have the same temperament as Angeline, she was clumsier and more unreliable. He wondered how this woman could work in a fast food restaurant in that condition.

Learning everything that happened while she was unconscious, the woman looked at everyone with gratitude. However, expressing it would come in another time. The convoy had already reached their first stop before getting to Firenze, Citta Italia Private Subdivision. There was a problem though.

The huge gates of the subdivision were closed.

"Everyone, just stay here. I'll check the gates."

Everyone nodded except for the clueless woman and Abbygale that did not even ask for permission and just jumped off the vehicle after Mark. He could only shake his head to this but did not reprimand the little girl. She could handle herself after all. Together with Abbygale, Mark made his way towards the closed gates.

The police men also went out of their vehicle to guard the perimeter. However, it was unnecessary. The infected at this area had already been killed by them after they attracted them by the sound of their guns firing. Still, it was better to be on-guard rather than get caught off-guard.

Fortunately, the gates were just closed and not really locked. After Mark entered through the pedestrian's gate at the side, he immediately opened the large gates blocking the road. Nevertheless, Mark was not happy about the easy opening of the gates. It was not because there was no action but the place was too silent. It was normal if they did not find any human but how could there be not a single infected to be found?

Furthermore, he could see marks and dried up blood on the gates, the street and the walls but there were not a single corpse to be seen. It was really odd that it gave Mark a bad feeling, really bad feeling. However, this was the only road closest to their destination. He might be wrong about his intuition either.

Still, it seemed that not only Mark felt something wrong. Abbygale was also looking around warily. Her eyes were dilated like a cat sensing her enemy.

When he opened the gate, the vehicles slowly drove into the subdivision. The MB Sprinter drove over towards Mark and Abbygales direction. After the convoy entered, Mark was contemplating if he should leave the gates or open or not. In the end, he closed the gates. It was not to let the infected into the subdivision. Who knows? Maybe they would need to go through this route once more.

"Master, is there something wrong?"

Odelina pulled down the windows of the driver's seat and asked Mark. She could see the unpleasant expression Mark had while he was observing the area. The other people inside the vehicle perked up their ears after hearing the question. It was not them being nosy but they also wanted to know the situation.

"You don't feel anything odd Odel?"

Mark said while sizing up the surroundings. Realizing what her master said, Odelina looked around and replied.

"Master, isn't it too quiet?"

Odelina also felt the oddness of the situation. Also, the place was too clean, odd for a place without people.

"Should we go back?"

Odelina asked.

"We don't have a better choice other than this road. You saw the situation back there where the horde came from. Our alternative route should be there but the road was blocked."

"What should we do then?"

"Let's proceed. We'll just be careful."

Odelina nodded while the people inside the vehicle who were listening could not help but feel nervous. Would they really encounter danger here? The place looked peaceful though.

After conversing with Odelina, Mark approached the police vehicle making Chief Mallari and Madam Lanie to come out of their vehicles.

"Is something wrong?"

The congresswoman asked.

"Nothing much but I'll just warn you guys to be wary of the surroundings."

"What's the matter?"

Chief Mallari asked sensing the uneasy atmosphere around Mark.

"Look around you, doesn't it look odd that you can see nothing but dried up blood. There wasn't even decapitated body parts or extracted body organs around."

Hearing what Mark said, the countenance of the two changed. This was really strange and odd. It was good that Mark mentioned it to them since they did not realize at all. They just thought that they did not see any infected since the gates were closed.

"I'm just saying that we should be careful while we traverse this road. Be prepared for anything that can happen and act accordingly."

The two agreed to his advice. They knew the other routes they planned as alternative was already inaccessible. This was the last road with the least danger and obstacles.

Going back to his vehicle, Mark opened the door and let Abbygale inside but he did not enter.

"Mei'er my bag."

Mei immediately handed him his bag. Mark stretched his hand and took the bag from Mei's hand.

"Gege, where are you going?"

"I'll stay on the roof. I just don't feel easy so it's better if I could act without needing to stop the car."

To what he said, Mei nodded.

"Gege, be careful."

Mei approached the door.


Mark patted her head before she retreated. Mark closed the door and propelled himself up to the rooftop of the vehicle.

With a knock on the driver's window, he signaled Odelina to move on. The vehicle started to move and drove through the private road with the other vehicles behind.

Mark sat on the roof warily observing the surroundings. He would look here and there and look back and forth without stopping. It may cause him a bit of a stiff neck later but he could just not feel at ease at the moment, as if there was something tugging on his mind.

Everything was fine after they left the gates and the drive went smoothly. However, after they exited the phase 1 area and passed by a vacant lot with a convenience store, Mark's countenance changed. He felt a pressing pain in his head and his eyes turned bloodshot. He turned to his right and his bloodshot eyes dilated.

He immediately took out the two radios in his waist, one to contact Mei while the other to contact the radios within the convoy. Pressing the voice input buttons, he shouted.

"Everyone prepare! Enemy at 3 o'clock!"

After shouting, he immediately put back the radios and pulled the Assault Rifle by his side. He started to aim at the incoming enemy.

Everyone in the convoy who heard what he said turned their faces to the right side of the road. Seeing the incoming danger, the survivors had the look of horror on their faces. Even the countenance of the policemen and the congresswoman's group turned grave.

"What is that?"

Sundra voiced inside the MB Sprinter. However, the only person who could answer that question was sitting on the rooftop getting ready to shoot.

And the target...

It was a three meter tall dog, rushing towards their direction from the street to the north like a hungry beast with its blood covered mouth and ferocious golden stare.