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138 The Aftermath

 Day 5 - 9:27 AM - 2nd Grade Building Rooftop, Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

Mark jumping off the roof like that made everyone tense up. Most of them hurried to the edge of the roof to what Mark wanted to do.

BUZZZZ!!!!

Halfway the fall, they heard a buzzing sound as the beetle tightly clutching Mark's body flapped its wings slowing his decent.

TSST! TSST! TSST! TSST! TSST! TSST!

As Mark descended, he started shooting the infected that were attracted to the sound of the beetle's wings. As soon as he landed, the beetle detached from his back and flew back to the roof leaving Mark to fend for himself alone facing several dozens of infected. Without a change in his expression, Mark drew his machete with his right hand and held the sub-machinegun on his left.

Blood of the infected splashed into the air and spurted to the ground as Mark started to eliminate the infected coming to attack him. Body after body, the infected fell at a constant rate.

CLICK! CLICK!

Failing to keep count on his ammo, the sub-machinegun finally ran out. However, instead of retreating, he kept pacing forward as a smile started to bloom on his lips. He started running faster and faster hacking every single infected that came across him.

During the time he killed Dominador, he made Laelaps throw in the infected from the outside. All in all, there should be at least thirty thrown in. Adding Dominador's men that turned after being bitten after subtracting those he killed, there should be at least a hundred infected here now. Still, the number did not faze him but he even felt more and more exhilarated as the battle lasted longer. The feeling was similar back then at the rooftop of the City Hall when he fought that huge woodman.

On the roof, Captain Dela Rosa and the others were watching Mark with a stern expression. As he could not help it, the squad captain turned towards Nikky and Rollan.

"I heard that you two knew him before the apocalypse, am I right?"

To the captain's question, the two nodded.

"I knew him since first year high school. Why do you ask?"

Rollan said with a confused expression.

"Can you tell me what kind of person he is before the outbreak?"

"That's..."

Rollan hesitated to answer.

"If it's inconvenient, then it's fine if you don't answer. I'm just curious because he can kill living people and the infected without batting an eyelid. I'm thinking if he had some criminal records involving killing people or at least, getting involved in fights often."

Captain Dela Rosa said making the others listening nod in agreement. There was no way for a normal person to display the behavior Mark was exhibiting.

"Please, don't judge our friend like that."

Nikky interjected with a frown.

"I didn't mean it like that. I'm not judging him or anything. It's just peculiar."

Captain Dela Rosa tried to appease her.

It was then that Rollan spoke while shaking his head.

"Mark... He didn't have any criminal records for sure. And for fights, it's even more impossible. You won't probably believe me but Mark is a timid person."

"Timid?"

Irene could not help but ask and then she looked at Mark below who was smiling while he slaughtered the infected.

"Yes, timid. He doesn't like talking to people and would stay away from anyone as far as possible. Even to us, his friends, his vocabulary is very limited. If he doesn't even interact with people, how he would be involved into fights or even kill someone. For the past three years, he even shut himself away from the world only spending his time inside his house and barely going out."

Rollan replied while shrugging his shoulders.

"That's..."

It was now time for Captain Dela Rosa to frown. It was because looking at Mark and his actions. How he killed the infected and wiped out Dominador's men. There was not a tint of a timid person on him. Rather, there was only a silhouette of a blood thirsty person.

It was then that Rollan spoke once more while looking at Mark below.

"Well, there are instances that he displays that sharp eyes and smile though."

Hearing that, everyone looked at him urging Rollan to continue.

"Back then, I'm the one tending at my aunt's internet café and Mark was a frequent customer there before he became a shut-in. When he is playing zombie survival games, war games and everything that involved killing monsters and other players, he will start to let out that expression once he started to get too immersed in playing."

Rollan then sighed before continuing.

"Looking at that expression of his, it makes you feel that he belong to the world of the game that he is playing than being just a player in front of the computer. His current expression and the expression he had back then... There is no doubt that it is similar. It's as if he belongs to this chaotic world now."

As Captain Dela Rosa heard Rollan's explanation, he came into a realization and pity could be seen in his face.

"What's wrong Captain?"

Irene asked as she saw his expression.

"I think, I know the answer to the question in my mind now and thought that it is a pity."

"Pity?"

Irene asked once more while everyone waited for his answer.

Captain Dela Rosa then looked at Rollan.

"Your description of Mark coincides with what I have in mind. If I'm correct, he is similar to those people who were born for a chaotic world. They are mostly quiet people and tend to stay away from crowds. However, when chaos comes that they needed to spring into action and fight for the benefit of themselves or the people around them, their potential is unleashed. Their prowess is higher than common people and even some of them despite living a normal life can rival a fully trained soldier. At the face of threat, instead of cowering, they can still let out a smile and the more they are cornered, the more their prowess increase."

Looking at the bloody scene below, Captain Dela Rosa stared at Mark's expression before continuing.

"This is also why I asked if he had a record of killing someone or if he gets involved in fights often. It's because people like those in the modern society can only be found in the military, private armed groups or criminals. People like them in the military can easily climb up ranks and criminals with the same traits tend to become slippery and notorious. By how you described Mark, it seemed that he managed to rein himself by immersing in video games. Nevertheless, the traits are similar. I heard from my son before that there are ranking in those kinds of games right? How did he fare when he started to behave like that?"

Captain Dela Rosa turned towards Rollan waiting for his answer.

"When he smiled like that while playing, he's like a rampaging madman. He starts to dominate the game room and if he was playing first person shooters, he tends to get kicked out of the room due to the very high level of skill he was displaying."

"It's a pity right? If he's in the military, he'll probably have a very high rank now. Might even be higher than mine."

Hearing that, everyone on the roof could only accept Captain Dela Rosa's theory.

While they were talking, they heard Mark shouting from below.

"What are all of you talking about? Get down here already!"

Jolted away from their thoughts, they saw that all the infected below were all killed already. They were too immersed about what Captain was saying that they neglected what was happening below.

Hearing the shout, Emika started to cover her body along with Laelaps with vines and jumped off the edge. She and Laelaps slowly descended with the vines' support. The beetle also followed suit flying towards the ground while the others were left dumbfounded on the roof. Since they were all normal people with the exception of a few Evolvers that still had no ability to descend off the rooftop like that, they could only use the ladder once more.

The vines then that blocked the entrance started moving making the soldiers and barangay police waiting below jump back in fright. When they saw that their leaders were finally going down, they all sighed in relief and watched the vines clear up the way.

With the faction leaders on the lead, they entered the area that was once annexed by Dominador and his men. Now however, all that were left were lifeless bodies that littered the place. Upon entering, the first thing they saw was Mark and Emika who were gathering the guns and other weapons used by the men under Dominador's rule.

While entering, Irene's nose irritated due to the heavy smell of blood in the surroundings. She was a soldier in the military but the scene and smell was still too heavy for her. She then approached Mark who was putting the guns into a large basket made of green thick vines.

"Hey, is it really necessary to wipe out all of them?"

Irene asked while covering her nose. After all, it was not just the smell of blood, there was also the smell of rotting flesh in the air due to the number of infected. Though the infected were not really rotting, there was still the bad rot like smell being emanated from their exposed wounds.

To Irene's question, Mark glanced at her and answered while pointing at the direction were the canteen building was located. The first floor of the building was still covered in vines however.

"Once you enter those rooms behind the vines, you'll sure regret that you didn't have the opportunity to kill even a single one of these people."

At the end of Mark's sentence, he kicked one of the dead bodies that belonged to Dominador's men.

Irene was skeptical about what Mark said so she started to make her way towards the building Mark pointed at.

"Emika, remove the vines there."

"Hai~!"

The vines around the canteen building receded while Irene was making her way with a few curious soldiers that followed behind her.

However, the moment all the vines were removed and they stepped into the vicinity of the building, their eyes dilated. They could smell an uncanny and disgusting smell emanating from the place. For the male soldiers and the non-virgin female soldiers, this smell was something they knew and it sure was not a good sign as Mark already pointed out before that the missing women and children were kept into these rooms.

Entering the room, they saw the abducted women and children. Most of them were naked while some only had dirty rags to cover their bodies. All of their eyes were dispirited and they all looked undernourished. Even worse, there were some of them that were obviously tortured while doing the act as purplish bruises and wounds were seen on their skin.

Upon seeing that there were people entering the room, most of the women and children retreated in fright towards the furthest corner cowering in fear. They all tried to shrink their bodies as much as they could while wishing that they could not be seen. Some of the women immediately shielded the children on their backs. Still, not all were able to retreat. There are those who were conscious but could not move anymore due to the state of their bodies. And even worse, there were some who were unconscious.

Some might think that those who were left lying on the floor were just sleeping but with all the commotion that happened outside, it was impossible for them to continue sleeping.

Captain Dela Rosa also stepped into the door and saw the situation inside. Clenching his fists in anger, he bellowed to his stunned subordinates.

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"All of you! Snap out of it! All the men! Get out! Call all the female personnel we had and also call for female volunteers! Get the medics and doctors here ASAP!"

Rollan, Nikky and her group also saw what was going on inside. The two women hurriedly drived the men away making them wait outside.

Irene who was the first to enter could not help but tear up seeing the state these women and children were in. Furthermore, it was obvious that the trauma they received was too deep that they did not even realize that they were soldiers and help was coming.

Unable to stomach what she had just saw, Irene stepped out of the room to calm herself when he heard a voice in front of her.

"Believe me now?"

Looking at the source of the voice, Irene shook her head.

"It's our fault isn't it? As soldiers, we failed to fulfill our duties."

Irene lamented.

"I can't be helped."

Captain Dela Rosa who had just finished ordering his subordinates interjected between Mark and Irene's conversation. Fury was apparent on his face without a doubt.

"We lacked both manpower and firepower to deal with these bastards. If it was even done wrongly, it's more likely that we will find these people being used as a shield."

Captain Dela Rosa then looked at Mark.

"If it's not for you, these people might have to suffer even longer. So we can only thank you."

Captain Dela Rosa vowed his head.

'These two are really good soldiers.'

Mark thought.

"Anyway, I'm getting ammunition and guns from their armory alright?"

"Feel free to do so. If it was within the law before the apocalypse, you can't but f*ck the law now right?"

Captain Dela Rosa cursed not being able to hold his anger any longer.

Soon, the medics and doctors came. After realizing that they were finally saved, the women and children inside all released their emotions through tears.

It was then that one of the doctors examining an eight year old unconscious girl shouted.

"Captain!"

"What's wrong?"

Captain Dela Rosa hurriedly approached.

"This girl... She's on the verge of death."

"That's..."

Captain Dela Rosa's eyes dilated.

"She has several bone fractures on her ribcage. There were also signs of tearing in her cervix. Her sex organ was even bleeding at the moment. There are also swellings on her body indicating that she had been hit with something hard several times. Her breaths are already shallow and her temperature is already below normal. It won't be long till she breathes her last."

Everyone who heard the doctor could not help but feel down. The women and children were finally saved but they were very late for this little girl.

"Give me the records of these people. Let me check if she has relatives remaining. We should inform them."

Captain Dela Rosa ordered and a stack of paper was soon given to him. There were no pictures on the papers but pencil sketches of the missing people. Still, he managed to find the accurate record for the dying girl. Seeing the record, the captain shook his head.

"What's wrong captain?"

Irene approached and looked at the record. She also had the same expression as the captain afterwards.

The girl was one of the first children to have gone missing and she did not have a single relative left. Her disappearance was only reported by the assigned caretaker of the orphaned children in the settlement.

Then, while the two lamented about the fate of the girl, someone took a peak at the paper from behind them and spoke.

"No relatives huh... In that case, can I have her?"

Everyone who heard that looked at Mark who spoke those words.