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Chapter 4: A Limb for a Life

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Mi Dashuai
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Crack. Crunch.

The sound of shattered glass echoed under their cautious steps as the group of 11 individuals made their way through the hallway. Sunlight streamed through the windows, revealing a gruesome scene. Corpses, some of them spider remains, littered the floor, and the green acid from the spiders had corroded the walls. These lifeless bodies were not of Lin Feng’s classmates but students from other classes.

“Go this way,” Lin Feng led the group, motioning them to avoid the windows and proceed towards the stairs.

At the corner of the stairs, Lin Feng signaled for everyone to halt. “The homeroom teacher of Class 3?” he whispered.

Beneath the stairs, a zombie faced the wall and banged its head mindlessly against it. Its glasses were skewed, and its once humorous Mediterranean design was now covered in blood and bite marks. In the first place, did a zombie even need glasses?

“Pass quietly, don’t make any sound,” Lin Feng instructed, and Song Zhe relayed the message to the others.

Lin Feng was the first to go up the stairs, being the leader of the group. Upon seeing him ascend safely, Song Zhe attempted to trace his steps, all the way keeping a wary eye out for the glass shards scattered about the ground, lest they brought unwanted attention to themselves.

As they ascended the circular staircase, the upper floor shielded them from view. They managed to pass the homeroom teacher without disturbing him, even Old Liu who took a longer time due to his advanced age.

However, when the chubby female student was about to pass, a spider crawled over the window, grazing her hair in the process. Startled, she emptied her lungs in a shrill scream to match the ages, a feat, given that she was already a banshee at the best of times.

“The homeroom teacher!” The last male student cursed as the homeroom teacher turned towards the source of the sound and headed towards the stairs.

The male student desperately covered the female student’s mouth to muffle the noise, but it was too late. The homeroom teacher was alerted and approached the corner.

Perhaps it was due to the structure of the stairwell, or perhaps the limited sight of the zombie to begin with, the zombified homeroom teacher did not immediately lunge at the chubby female.

With just a hair’s breadth separating them from danger, the male student desperately held his breath, all the while clamping down on the chubby girl’s mouth. A torrent of cold sweat ran down his back and face as he fervently prayed that the teacher wouldn’t take another step forward.

Crack- the dreaded sound of death. In his zeal to silence the girl and himself, he had inadvertently stepped on one of the glassy landmines dotting the ground. By the time he flinched and withdrew his foot, the glass had already shattered from his nervous weight.

The zombie teacher whipped his head around to face the terrified pair and lunged right at the more bounteous of the two.

“AHHH! It hurts!” Startled by the pain of being bitten, the chubby girl staggered backwards in shock, stepping on the scattered glass shards in the process, further embedding more and more glass shards as she flailed about in a dance of blood.

“****.” The male student cursed under his breath. Realizing that the girl was done for, he turned and tried to run up the stairwell. Unfortunately, the chubby girl wasn’t having any of that.

“Damn you, let me go, you fool, if you want to die, go die by yourself.” The boy frantically kicked at the chubby girl to release her vice-like grip on his right hand. But try as he might, she held on fast, and amidst the despair and loathing he felt, the homeroom teacher finally caught up to him and tore into him.


Lin Feng turned around and yelled at the rest of the class, “MOVE!”

Even from a distance, he could already hear the signature shuffling and footsteps of the zombies approaching them. The chubby girl’s screaming had attracted the attention of any zombies on the zombies to their location.

The stream of students dashed up the winding staircase to the next floor. Close behind them, the zombies had already gathered into a horde of death, arms grasping out like a grotesque porcupine.


Another boy had fallen victim to the zombies. The last boy at rear was bitten on his shoulder.

“Yicheng!” A girl half-wailed, “he was trying to save me when…” She slammed her broken chair leg at the zombie’s head to try and rescue the boy, those who noticed the situation rushed in with their weapons ready as well.

As the zombie’s head slowly caved in from the sheer force, its jaw began to slacken.

The girl swiftly pulled Zhang Yicheng into an embrace.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. It’s a small price to pay for your safety,” he bravely forced out a smile as he said that, but that smile might as well have been a smile from a ghost.

“Then let’s go!”

While the girl wasn’t wrong, Lin Feng couldn’t help but throw one last look at the couple, especially at the wounded shoulder of the boy.

“Yes, let’s hurry. We can talk more after we get to safety.”

With that horde of zombies still hot on their tails, the last thing they needed was to argue.

A little later, they came to the end of the sixth floor, and as expected, there, they found a half-constructed spiral staircase with a ladder in the center. Beside that ladder was the typical safety sign one found at construction sites.

On the end was Liu Mengqi, hands grasping the sides of the ladder, and worry written all over her face.

“Hurry, they are right behind you!” Liu Mengqi urged everyone, helping them cross to safety.

Without a second thought, Lin Feng dashed up the ladder to the other end.

“Song Zhe, you’re next, quick!” Liu Mengqi stuck her hand out to try and pull the boy up midway.

By this point, the zombies were already caught up to them, and the last few boys had to fend off their attacks with wooden sticks.

Finally, everyone managed to climb up the ladder, slightly worse for the wear. The ladder was pulled out of the zombie’s grasp, leaving a few of the dangling stragglers to fall back down to the lower floor. Yet even as their bodies crumpled into a broken mess, they did not stop grasping at the students above.

“Phew, that’s the last one.”

“Wait, Chen De… Your hand.” Another male student pointed shakingly at Chen De, who had just pulled up the ladder.

“****.” There, on his otherwise flawless right hand was a pair of neat bite marks, seemingly mocking him with their deep, blood-red rivulets.

“I… ****…” Chen De broke down into tears. “Lin Feng, what should I do? I don’t want to die yet – I still have a younger sister waiting for me at home.”

The boy practically begged Lin Feng as he collapsed to his knees in front of him, all the while grasping onto his wounded hand.

Even Lin Feng was stunned by the desperate action, but he quickly remembered a scene from the movies about how they dealt with such wounds.

“There might be a way, but…”

“I’m begging you.”

Lin Feng walked up to the nearest fire extinguisher corner, and cracked open the glass with the provided hammer, retrieving the axe inside.

“There’s only amputation left, are you sure about this?”

“Do it, I don’t want to be a monster.”

Lin Feng grimly reached out to tie a tourniquet around Cheng De’s arm using a shred of clothes.

As he did that, he had some of the other students search for a source of fire. Because this area was the last to be completed, the walls were mostly barren, but the long duration of construction meant that the workers who worked here ended up bringing in a brazier as a cheap means of keeping warm, even though the school explicitly told them not to. Fortunately, they chose to ignore those warnings.

“Lin Feng, are you planning to-” Old Liu walked up to the boy and asked.

“I’m going to cauterize the wound after we amputate, or at least that’s what the movies say, who knows if it will work. But it’s not like we have another choice now.” As he said that, Lin Feng picked up the axe with shaking hands, while the others prepared the brazier.

Old Liu answered after giving it some thought, “it might work, but the pain will be immense, and there’s a chance he might still get infected anyway.”

“Do it, Lin Feng, I’m ready. And there’s no time now.” Chen De raised arms with a determined look in his eyes. By now, his arm was feeling a little numb from the lack of blood.

“Alright.” Lin Feng shoved a piece of cloth into his mouth, in case he bit down on his own tongue due to the pain. Having done that, he pulled Chen De into one of the nearby classrooms on the 7th floor that had a lounge.

The resting area came equipped with a sofa and some basic cooking implements. Naturally, a restroom was included as well, and that was where the grisly deed was to be done.

Hands shaking, Lin Feng raised the axe and looked at Chen De. His classmate had his eyes closed, but he did not have this luxury himself as he stood there in a daze.

Just then, an irate voice from behind chided him, “coward, I’ll do it.” It was Zhu Hanfeng.

He reached out and snatched the ax from Lin Feng without much difficulty, then sneered at the boy. Raised in a rough household, hacking off limbs wasn’t that shocking to him at all, in fact, those were just entry-level.


Lin Feng tried to thank his gruff classmate, but before he even got the word out, Zhu Hanfeng had already swung the axe down with terrifying precision.

“Hmph, how do you plan on surviving if you can’t even handle such a toy?” He sneered one last time at Lin Feng before tossing the ax into his waiting arms, and left the classroom.

Stunned, Lin Feng stood still for a moment before quickly rushing forward to help Chen De get on his feet. By now, he was wracked in pain, face pale and body icy cold. Even through the stuffed cloth in his mouth, his screams were still audible, though his eyes were starting to lose focus.

As Chen De approached the stove, his arm dripping blood in a trail behind him, he turned to Liu Mengqi and asked,

“Is the fire hot enough?”

“It’s still a little lacking,” Liu Mengqi replied, testing the temperature with her hand and indicating that it wasn’t sufficient.

Lin Feng glanced at the barely conscious Chen De and urgently said, “Hey, Chen De, stay with me here, we need you awake! Damn it, we have no other choice.” He picked up Chen De’s bleeding stump and pressed it against the edge of the stove.

“Quick, pour some oil into the stove to increase the temperature,” Lin Feng instructed Liu Mengqi.

“Brother, your life now depends on the wind and the temperature. Hopefully, they will bless us with sufficient heat to cauterize the wound,” he explained.

The stove’s chimney faced the wind, so the stronger the wind, the bigger the fire, and the higher the temperature.


Chen De was jolted awake by the sudden pain, but only for a second before he lost consciousness from the sheer pain.

“Sizzle, sizzle. Oh, how terrible,” Zhu Hanfang looked at the unconscious Chen De, shaking his head, and waved his hand dismissively to disperse the acrid smell of burning flesh around him.

“Zhu Hanfang, that’s enough! Are you even human?” Liu Mengqi shouted at Zhu Hanfang, who sat arrogantly with his legs crossed.

“Don’t forget, I’m the one helping here. If it weren’t for me, that pretty boy of yours wouldn’t even be able to lift a finger. Hah.”

“That’s not a reason for you to mock Chen De.”

“Enough, his wound has stopped bleeding, and that’s all that matters,” Lin Feng interrupted their argument and helped Chen De up.

“Let’s take him to the resting room; there are some folding beds there for the workers,” Old Liu said, taking the unconscious boy’s pulse at the same time.

Lin Feng nodded and carried Chen De into the resting room with the help of Liu Mengqi. From the side, the other students in the classroom watched the three of them disappear into the resting room with various expressions.

“Old man, I’m hungry. Where’s the food stock you mentioned?” Suddenly, Zhu Hanfang spoke up, staring fixedly at Old Liu, who was tidying up the stove, his fingers quietly polishing the unused brass knuckles he wore.


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