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296 The Sudden Arrival of Unusual Creatures, Another Clue on the Source of the Contamination

 Day 44 - 10:28 AM - San Jose, Antipolo, Rizal

Mark finally learned about the most probable reason of the contamination. Any aircraft flying around the world crashed after the meteoroids exploded in the atmosphere forty-three days ago. That was because the sudden entrance of high concentration of Mutagen on earth hit them and turned the people aboard those aircrafts into infected monsters and other unsightly things. However, there were still some things that did not fall into place.

If the people aboard that plane were really the cause, why did it only happen now? Furthermore, the people here in this town seemed to have never encountered any infected people.

As Mark thought further, his eyes widened.

"Is it perhaps... related to that?"

"Sir, is there something wrong?"

Imee asked as she saw Mark's expression.

With her question, Mark turned back to her.

"It's nothing. Did you people check the area where the airplane crashed?"

"We didn't." Imee shook her head. "No one from our town would dare to venture inside that forest. We also don't know the exact location of the crash. All we could do was to send people to inform the authorities."

Imee then fell silent. Those people, surely, no one managed to return. From her silence, it was likely that one of her loved ones were among them.

Soon, some steps could be heard from their side.

"Managed to sink it in?"

Mark spoke without looking. He knew who the person was in the first place.

"It's hard... but I can manage."

The person replied. Her voice was wavering and sounded rough.

"Miss Jennivive, what happened?"

Imee asked as she looked at the teacher.

Her eyes were red and she seemed parched. It was obvious from her looks that she had just finished crying.

Seeing the teacher's state, Imee suddenly turned towards Mark.

"What did you people do?!"

Of course she would be suspicious. Aside from her sickness, Jennivive welcomed them fine. Now, something happened for sure from the current state of Jennivive.

"Imee, stop it. They didn't do anything bad."

"Then why?"

"They just told the truth. The worst thing we could hear right now."

Jennivive tried to smile but she was not able to.

"What truth..."

Imee was confused.

"You two better do that later."

Mark interjected between the words of the two. When they looked at Mark's face from the side, they saw that his face was too serious as he stared at a certain direction. He then took out a pocket sized radio from his belt.

"Karlene, Edzel."

From the second floor, Mark saw Edzel and Karlene stop what they were doing as they heard Mark's voice from the radio.

"Boss?"

"Mark? Why use the radio, you can just shout right?"

Two voices interjected one another from the radio Mark was holding.

"Make the children evacuate. We got company."

"What?"

The two were surprised. One reason was because they suddenly have enemies at a strange time. According to the things they learned from Mark's base, feral evolved animals were more likely to attack during the night unless prey wandered near them during the day which was less likely to happen in places inhabited by people. Even though they were aggressive, they were not totally mindless. This early in the day and was about to approach noon was a very unusual time if the enemies were feral animals. From Jennivive's story, the only threat they had in this place was the number of animals that turned into monsters which for sure meant evolved animals.

Another thing that surprised the two was Mark's unusual serious tone as he told them about the threat. The two then heard Mark's admonishing tone.

"You two stop gawking around! The enemies this time is unusual to its better to retreat first!"

Hearing his shout, the two immediately moved. When the children learned that there were enemies coming, they immediately complied on evacuating. The younger children ran first towards the school while the older ones moved with Edzel and Karlene from behind.

"Sir Mark, what is going on?"

Jennivive asked. Hearing that enemies were coming, she could not believe it immediately. After all, there was no danger on sight even though they were on the second floor.

"Sir, are you sure about..."

Imee also tried to ask but she was not able to finish her words. Running from the northern side of the town, there were several horrendous looking creatures.

"No way..."

"My god..."

Imee and Jennivive could not help but gasp seeing those creatures.

Mark glanced at the two. From their expression, it seemed that this was not the first time for them to see such creatures. They seemed to be more surprised about the quantity and not the creatures itself.

"You encountered those creatures before?"

"Yes..."

Jennivive's voice was shivering because of her emotions.

"Those were similar to the ferocious animals that attacked us the other day..."

Imee said.

Running between the houses, trees and bushes at the north, many figures of animals could be seen running. Despite Jennivive and Imee could not get a clear figure of the enemies, they knew those familiar characteristics.

Mark on the other hand frowned seeing those figures. For sure, they were evolved animals. However, he could not tell whether they were feral or not.

They were several kinds of animals. There were boars, deer, civets, macaques and even birds. Even insects were present in the group. In Mark's estimate, there should be about more or less sixty to seventy of them. The smallest was about the size of a dog while the largest was the size of a horse. Still, even though there were a large variety of the animals and insects, all of them were running on the ground. Mark could not tell if the insects were the same but all the animals were bald. They totally lack fur or feathers from their bodies.

One thing was consistent among all the animals though. They all have red lichen like things sprouting all over their bodies. As for the animals and those insects that had softer bodies, the swellings on their bodies were prominent. It was the same symptoms prominent to those who were infected by the contamination in the river, the very same symptoms the people sick people in this building had.

"Hmmm?"

Mark then noticed that each of the animals and insects had bulging sacks on different parts of their bodies that seemed to be releasing heat and smoke. Those bulging sacks even looked like that they were pulsating. The only difference the enemies from the sick people.

The question most people would think was why these animals would suddenly attack now. However, Mark had a vague idea.

"Amihan, it seems that they are here for you..."

Mark suddenly spoke calling a name Jennivive had not heard before making her turn to him in confusion. She remembered that his daughter was called Miracle so he was not talking to the little girl.

Then, Amihan flew out of Mark's bag shocking the two sick women.

"Wha-what?"

The two both stepped back but did different reactions. Jennivive stared wide eyed in shock but Imee kneeled on the floor looking at Amihan in reverence.

Both Mark and Amihan ignored the two and stared at the incoming enemies.

"What do you think?"

Mark asked.

"My Lord, it had similar presence to one of my kind but it's all reeking of miasma. Probably... One of my kind that turned into an evil spirit or something similar. That person should have felt my presence here my lord. I'm sorry."

The frown on Mark's forehead became even deeper. It was a tricky situation. Although he just wanted to investigate a bit, it seemed that their group appearing in this place put the people here in more danger.

Mark then felt a small hand straightening the frown between his eyebrows.

"Father, Aunt Aephi said, it's bad to frown too much."

Seeing the warm scene, Jennivive and Imee should have smiled if not for the current situation. With the panicked voices of the children below, the two could not pay too much attention to the scene and even Amihan was neglected by Imee as she stood up once more.

"Everyone! Run faster!"

Jennivive shouted towards Edzel, Karlene and the children running away. Even though they were all running as fast as they could, the children's short legs could not take them away any faster. The two women on the second floor of the school started to feel nervous.

On the school yard, everyone could already see the enemies surging from the other side of the earthen street. Some of the animals were already crossing the street and was about to step into the schoolyard.

TSST! TSST! TSST! TSST! TSST!

Edzel had already prepared his silenced assault rifle and started shooting as they all retreated. Some of the children flinched as they heard the sudden gunshots as it echoed badly on the open area.

"Ignore the gunshots! Run!"

Karlene immediately pulled the children back from their stupor and pushed them urging them to run away.

BAM! SPURT! BLAG!

Different sounds were heard as the vanguard of the animals fell after being hit by the gunshots. Some of them were directly hit on their head while most were hit on different parts of their body.

Many of Edzel's shots missed the target. He was still not too experienced with guns with just one or two days of a few hours practice. This became a fatal flaw this time.

The injured animals slowly gained their footing once more and strange enough, those that were hit on their heads were also the same. None of the animals remained unmoving and still charged towards the school despite their bleeding bodies.

As he saw what happened, Edzel fired his rifle even more. However, it was obvious that he had already lost his cool. His shots became even more inaccurate and rather than stalling the enemies, the noise he was making caused the enemies to charge towards them faster.

The situation was becoming more and more dangerous.

"Quick climb up!"

Karlene shouted as she helped the smaller children climb up the emergency ladders. Still, their speed was not enough. Ignoring their sickness, the two women dragged their bodies towards the direction of the emergency ladder. It seemed that they have at least a countermeasure for something like this. The two women grabbed a roll of manila rope hanging near the ladders and started to lower the rope. The two covered their hands with thick rags that seemed to be used for cleaning windows so that they would not touch the rope directly.

Seeing the rope, the children started to tie the lowered rope to the bodies of the smaller children and the two women would pull them up. This way, the time needed by all the children to climb up would be shortened as their numbers was reduced. Still, the bodies of the two women were considerably weakened by their disease. Imee's arms seemed to be in extreme pain as she frowned with tears on the corner of her eyes but she did not let the pain stop her.

But then, the two became surprised as they were pulled back by the rope. The two could not help but look behind and saw Miracle pulling on the rope which gave the common sense of the two a huge blow.

"You two should just rest. Just give it to her."

Mark said with a nonchalant attitude.

"But..."

"Just let go. You two will just get in the way."

Mark said that with a tint of intimidation. The two finally let go of the rope and Miracle started pulling the rope on her own which further widened the eyes of the two. Furthermore, the little girl was pulling it up with very little effort. She even seemed to enjoy pulling the rope as if she was playing.

"Amihan, guard this place, especially Miracle."

"Yup! No problem! My Lord, are you going?"

"It's our fault that these things appeared here so I have to make a move. If not for that, we could just leave this place and go find the source."

With that, Mark removed his backpack revealing the [Darkness Shade] Set on his back and put the backpack down. He then jumped off from the second floor making the two women nervous as they hurried to see Mark below. Seeing that Mark landed fine after jumping down, their felt a bit relived. However, the two women were now questioning themselves whether they were dreaming or not.

After all, they were being besieged by nightmarish creatures and the people they met just now seemed to be nightmarish in a sense too.

Of course, the nervousness of the two was just the start. As they saw Mark face the incoming creatures, they could not help but shiver.