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The eerie groans from above sent chills down their spines.
Zombies. A seemingly endless horde of them.
Lin Feng felt as though he’d been thrust into a scene from one of his favorite movies, except this was all too real.
The ceaseless sounds from above only fueled Lin Feng’s curiosity and excitement. Memories of “Zombie World War” came flooding back, stoking the flames of his undead fascination.
A minute passed. Then another. Then ten. Thirty… An hour…
As the minutes stretched on, the weight of their situation began to sink in.
“Hey, Feng, are those zombies still out there?” Song Zhe asked between bated breaths.
They had taken shelter beneath a shopping mall manhole, but the constant shuffle and groans above hadn’t subsided.
Time felt distorted. An hour? Maybe more?
The proximity to the mall seemed to amplify the sewer’s putrid stench—a vile cocktail of rot and waste. Some of their group, especially the girls, looked queasy.
“I swear, at this rate, the smell will get me before those zombies do.”
“Well, Song, the more you talk about the stink, the worse it gets. Still, those zombies sure are taking their own sweet time,” Lin Feng replied in a slightly muffled voice. Right this very instant, he had a towel tied around his nose as a makeshift mask. If there was ever a time he regretted having heightened senses, it would certainly be now.
If there was a silver lining to be had, at least this was the winter. The rot would have been unbearable in the sweltering heat of summer.
Peering through the manhole gaps, any hopes of a swift resolution instantly vanished. The horde hadn’t thinned in the slightest. The sheer number of zombies over the past hour was a sobering reminder of the danger outside. If they’d been caught up there, they would’ve been toast in no time.
To begin with, E City was a bustling metropolis, with a dense population. Such numbers were only to be expected.
“Hey, Feng!” a voice called out playfully.
“I get it, I get it,” Lin Feng cut him off irritably, gazing around. “We could head back, but it’s just as dicey with all that dampness and those lurking shadows.”
With his night vision giving him an edge, Lin Feng noticed a fork in the sewer up ahead. One path was waterlogged, but the other, despite smelling like death itself, had a walkable icy layer.
“Man, this stink is next level,” Song Zhe groaned, accidentally smudging his hair with some gunk from the sewer’s wall. “What did I just touch?”
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“Let’s keep moving,” Lin Feng pushed the group on. Still, he couldn’t help but notice the discomfort evident on everyone’s faces, especially the ladies. The stench was just too overpowering.
Guiding the group toward the fork, they tiptoed on the side ledges to steer clear of the wet center. As they distanced themselves from the mall’s shadow, the overpowering odor began to fade.
“Maybe we should pause here,” Lin Feng proposed, eyeing the fragile ice further on. “Doesn’t look too promising up ahead.”
“Sounds good,” Yan Aoxue chimed in. She quickly arranged a spot for everyone on a cleaner brick, lit a candle, and motioned for the flashlights to be turned off.
“Did anyone else see that ripple over there?” Song Zhe suddenly asked.
Lin Feng squinted, trying to catch a glimpse, but all seemed still.