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As they made their way through the underground passages, Lin Feng regularly teamed up with Li Yixin to scout ahead. They’d locate a manhole cover and peek above ground to check their surroundings. Why Li Yixin? Well, Lin Feng wasn’t too familiar with the local area, whereas the girls in his class had explored extensively for supplies and food.
Lin Feng addressed the group, a touch of frustration in his voice. “We’ve ended up on Zhangsan Street, but we’re headed in the wrong direction. We need to backtrack to the fork we passed earlier,” he explained, and they descended using an iron handrail.
This marked the third time they’d taken a wrong turn. Lin Feng’s sense of direction underground was less reliable compared to above ground. He even recalled getting lost in underground shopping malls in the past, let alone these winding sewer tunnels.
The principal approached Lin Feng and suggested, “Lin Feng, how about we take a short break? Everyone seems tired from all the walking.”
“Sure,” they’d been traversing the underground passages for over an hour, and the unpleasant odors were taking a toll. Lin Feng climbed back up to the manhole cover and peered above.
Their surroundings were characterized by parked cars in disarray, and the narrow road showed most vehicles deformed and damaged, emitting thin plumes of black smoke. Commercial streets on both sides meandered, devoid of any visible signs of zombies.
With a delicate touch, Lin Feng carefully opened the manhole cover and ascended. The smell of leaking gasoline stung his sensitive nose.
He whispered to Anna, who was about to climb up as well, “Wait here for a moment while I check if there’s anywhere for us to settle around.”
Anna, equally hushed, responded, “I want to go too!”
“As if! Stay here and look after the others,” Lin Feng said firmly, brushing off Anna’s persistent puppy-dog eyes. He took a few steps away, then glanced back to make sure no one was following him, letting out a sigh of relief.
Rambunctious as always, this young girl insisted on venturing out despite her wounds; he even saw her subtly covering up the stitches on her abdomen right before they left.
Crouching down behind the cover of a dilapidated car, Lin Feng cautiously made his way toward the adjacent shop. Amidst his careful movements, he heard a familiar melody drifting through the air.
“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are…”
Lin Feng raised his head, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound, which seemed to be coming from approximately 50 meters away, perhaps from a television or a radio.
Glancing through a crack in a shattered car window toward the source of the melody, Lin Feng discovered a working television.
Electricity? But why was there a power outage around his school when it seemed the power plant in E City was still operational?
These automated facilities should continue to function smoothly for an extended period unless something unforeseen had occurred. In fact, the plant might be a viable stronghold, given its remote location.
Approaching the television, he found a young girl with her back turned, engrossed in the program displayed on the counter. What struck Lin Feng as unusual was the absence of the usual groans or growls. As he scanned the surroundings, he saw no other zombies nearby. Could it be that these accursed zombies only acted collectively? Curious.
He cautiously approached the girl from behind, his knife ready but held low, and spoke softly, ensuring his words reached both of them.
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“Little girl, are you alone?”
With his knife poised for action and his gaze firmly fixed on the figure before him, Lin Feng couldn’t determine whether it was a living person or a lifeless corpse.
“It’s so scary… Mommy, Mommy, where are you?” The young girl’s voice trembled through the air.
“Hmm? Little girl, you’re human! That’s great. Come with me; it’s too dangerous here.” Lin Feng carefully lowered his knife and reached out to hold the little girl’s hand. However, as he turned her around to face him, he was met with a disturbing sight—a substantial bite mark on her face and traces of blackened blood at the corner of her mouth!