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116 Different Fates

 Day 4 - 1:55 PM - San Miguel I Subdivision, Molino IV, Imus, Cavite

Mark, Mei and Abbygale who were on the back of Laelaps were leading the group. Due to the road not being maintained, the road had become cracked and eroded causing dents on the road here and there. Due to this, Laelaps could even run faster than the vehicles even if she did not run on her full speed.

Atop Laelaps' back, Mark was looking around not only to secure that their group would not suffer surprise attacks but he was also looking around the scenery. Since this part of the road was not that inhabited by people, the side of the road was filled with grass, bushes and trees. If it was before the outbreak, these plants would be looking unsightly. Now however, the vibrant lush green leaves that now covered the plants were giving the scenery a nice look.

Arriving near the end of the back road, it was the corner that led to Carlo's house. After turning on the corner however, everyone's countenance changed. It was not because there were a lot of infected nor did they see hostile people. Rather, it was because there were quite a number of dead bodies scattered across the street. The bodies did not look like they were killed by people nor they were eaten by the infected. It more looked like that their bodies were smashed into pieces.

Mark urged Laelaps to move forward as he looked around but he did not see any possible threats. The street was too quiet. Moving to next corner of the first block, there was a house that occupied two lots. It was Carlo's house. Mark however, sighed even before they arrived. It was because he knew that Carlo was bound to be disappointed. He could not detect any people inside his detection range. Meaning, Carlo's family were either dead or had left.

It would be good if they really left, at least, even though very small, there was a possibility for them to be alive. If not however, there was nothing that they could do.

Mark, Mei and Abbygale went down from Laelaps back as the place was confirmed to be safe. Laelaps on the other hand turned back into her normal size which was about the same height as Abbygale. Laelaps was a really large dog corresponding to her breed.

The people inside the vehicles went out after Mark told them that the area was safe. But of course, none of them went close to the mutilated bodies that littered across the street. Not only that the bodies looked gross, they also had started to emit a foul smell. It was already too long since the bodies were left here, if it was not for the cold weather in this month of December, these bodies would have started to rot even earlier.

"Carlo, you guys can carefully search inside. I'll keep guard here outside."

Mark spoke.

"Alright."

Carlo replied and was about to turn around when Mark tapped his shoulder making him look back.

"Don't expect too much. I can't detect anyone inside your house."

"I know."

Mark was surprised by his response.

As if Carlo knew what Mark was thinking, he continued with a bitter smile.

"Our cars are not here so I think they left."

Hearing what Carlo said, Mark understood. With their family's vehicles not present, it was more likely that Carlo's family left. Considering the location of their house which was on the furthest block from the entrance of their subdivision, the possibility of someone else taking the vehicles away aside from Carlo's family members was close to none.

"Bro, I'll enter now. They must have left something for me."

Mark nodded and let Carlo go to his house. It was obvious that Carlo was crestfallen after not finding his family here but at least there was a chance that they had gone to a safer place. Though it might also be possible for the opposite to happen, it was better to be optimistic at these kinds of situations.

Standing on the other side of the road, Mark watched Carlo who saw the front doors of their house locked. Carlo then went to the side of the house and lift up a potted plant revealing the spare key underneath. Together with Sundra, Carlo went inside after unlocking the door. Outside the house, the other members stretch out their legs that had gotten stiff due to sitting inside the rocking vehicles while looking around.

Mark on the other hand kept on observing the surroundings together with Mei while Abbygale was riding on the back of the normal sized Laelaps. Even if the dog was in its normal size, it was still big for the little girl to ride on her back.

"Nee~... Scary Uncle, let me ride on the dog..."

Emika made her way towards Mark and started nagging.

Mark scratched his head. This girl was even looking at him with puppy eyes.

"Later, alright? After we find a place to stay for the night, I'll let you play with Laelaps."

"Promise?"

Emika stretched out her pinky finger which Mark accepted.

"Okay, promise!"

"Yey!"

With that, Emika happily skipped back to her mom who was also looking around the place with curiosity.

Seeing the green haired girl skipping happily would be a nice scene to see if not for her skipping between the dead mutilated bodies in the middle of the road.

As if waiting for the right timing, Anna who was fidgety approached Mark while carefully choosing the place to step on.

"I know. You want to look at your house right?"

Mark who saw through her intentions spoke before she could.

As her thoughts was seen through, there was no need for her to fidget around and directly replied.

"Yes."

"Where is your house?"

Mark asked since the even though Anna and Carlo was neighbors, the closest house from Carlo's house was actually several lots away with the next house about two blocks away. Mark did not know why but this place was actually devoid of inhabitants for the most part leaving a large part of the subdivision vacant. Maybe, the people who lived here did not want close neighbors at all.

At Mark's question, Anna pointed at the house following the street. It was the fourth house closest to their position. It was about three blocks away in front of the subdivision's multipurpose plaza that could be seen from their location.

"Alright, we'll go with you. I also want to survey the area a bit."

Mark said before facing the others around the vehicle.

"You guys stay here. We'll check Anna's house."

"Can I go?"

Rollan spoke. Actually, he wanted to get away for some time as it was kind of awkward for him to stay with people, mostly, women that he did not really know. Furthermore, Carlo who was only other male, with Siegfried and Mikio who were children as exception, was also not around.

Mark noticed his best friend's situation so he could only nod. With that, Mark, Mei, Abbygale, Laelaps and Rollan would be going with Anna to check her house. Leaving the rest of the group, the five people and one dog walked away while keeping cautious of their surroundings.

"I didn't think that there would be a subdivision like this. It should be a private subdivision right? However, there's barely any house around."

Rollan voiced his thoughts as he looked around.

"Uhm. I don't really know why this place is like this. Our house was bought by my grandfather so I don't know much of the details. It's been like this since we moved here."

Anna replied as she was the inhabitant of this subdivision in this group.

It was not surprising that Rollan brought that up. The first time Mark had been to this place several years ago, he also had the same questions in his mind. Compared to the neighboring subdivisions which were brimming with houses and people, this place looked like it was located in a rural area. The place was brimming with fauna and directly to the south of the subdivision was a wide plot of vacant land.

Even though, the house was quite a distance away, the group arrived fast. It was because they had to match Anna's walking speed that was accelerating due to her nervousness and eagerness to go home.

However, like Carlo's house, Mark could not detect any human or animal inside the house. While looking at the house, Mark felt a tug on his jacket and turned towards it. He saw Laelaps pulling the end of his jacket. Seeing that Mark turned to look at her, Laelaps then looked at the window on the second floor of the house, as if she was pointing at it.

Mark knew that Laelaps was telling him to look at the windows and as he did, he saw some movements inside. The movement was minute but with his eyesight that got stronger after his second evolution, he was able to detect that very small movement.

"Anna, don't get into the house immediately. Let me check the window above first."

Hearing what he said, Anna felt very nervous. It was as if her heart was going to jump out of her throat. She forced out a reply with great difficulty.

"Okay."

Mark then stepped forward and jumped over the closed gates after affirming that there was no danger behind the walls.

Observing around, the lot was about thirty-six square meters with the floor area of the actual house only occupying a third of the lot area. The house was small but it was built with a second floor with a very small balcony that could only fit six people standing side by side.

Under Anna's gaze, Mark jumped towards the balcony and grabbed the railing before propelling himself unto the balcony. Afterwards, Mark stealthily peered through the windows beside the balcony door. There, he saw the scene that would surely become Anna's nightmare.

Inside the bedroom of the house, there were four people. One infected and three dead bodies. Furthermore, two of the dead bodies were young boys. One seemed to be at early high school age while the younger was probably not in his tens yet. The dead adult was a female who had close resemblance to Anna while the infected was a male who was wandering around the room aimlessly. After looking closely, Mark could see that the three dead bodies had the appearance of the infected. It was likely that the three had already turned before they were killed. The three were killed by a gunshot to their foreheads. Mark could even see the revolver pistol that was lying on the blood stained bed.

Mark had seen what he wanted to see and jumped back down from the balcony. He then made his way out through the gates since the gates were actually not locked at all. He felt that he should have checked the gates first before jumping over the wall like an idiot.

"How is it?"

Anna nervously asked as she saw the stern face Mark had after going out.

"How many members does your family have?"

Mark asked.

"Including me, there are five, my father, mother, and two younger brothers. Why did you ask?"

Mark looked straight at her. He then narrated what he saw inside the bedroom in detail along with the clothes that Anna's family wore for confirmation.

"No... No. "

Anna's tears fell like an unbroken stream.

She actually wanted to see the scene but Mark suggested her not to. If she saw the scene inside the bedroom where almost everything was splashed with blood of her loved ones, it would not be surprising if she committed suicide.

Because of that, she could only weep as her knees weakened crumbling her to the ground.

The others around could only stare at Anna as there was no words could be said to her that would get her back in shape. Mei approached Anna and started to pat her back but she also did not voice any consoling words. From her experience, Anna needed to cry it all out first.

However, it looked like Anna could not take the grief she had. She lost consciousness.

Mei who was next to Anna hurriedly supported her body.

"Gege, carry her."

Mei said while looking at Mark.

Mark shrugged his shoulders as he made Rollan put Anna on his back. This was not because he did not want to carry her in front but as they still needed to make it back to Carlo's house, it was better of he could use at least one of his hands in case that something suddenly happens. Rollan on the other hand should not carry her or else, their speed would suffer as he was not an Evolver nor in the perfect condition to carry another person.

However, it was just useless thinking. They made it back without any issue. Mark was just being cautious because no one knew if the cause of these mutilated bodies on the road was still around.

"What happened?"

Charmaine asked the question everyone had after seeing the unconscious Anna on Mark's back.

Carlo and Sundra had just returned outside with a better complexion but seeing the Anna's state, they could not help but feel nervous once more.

Mark made Anna lie inside the vehicle before he told them what happened turning everyone's mood sour. After all, it happened to Anna. It could also happen to their families.

"Carlo, how is it?"

Mark asked as he saw Carlo holding a folded paper in his hand.

"I'm right. My family left for evacuation."

Carlo showed the letter.

It seemed that on the later time during the initial outbreak, some areas were evacuated through various means and the locations for evacuation were broadcasted on television. According to the letter, Carlo's family along with several relatives made their way towards Tanza, Cavite where a small army base was located. It seemed that the evacuees going that way were transported through helicopters. The helicopters were going towards Corregidor Island which was about twenty kilometers away northwest of the Cavite's northwestern shore and about forty-five kilometers southwest of Bay City.

Corregidor Island was a tourism island showcasing the remnants of World War II, now however, it looked like that the government turned the island into an evacuation zone.

The question now however was if Carlo's family made it safely.

After that, they packed up their things and decided to move towards the next location.