Chapter 100 – Haku
(Okita Rinne’s Point of View (New Character))
It was almost by a miracle that I was able to keep my virginity intact.
Of course, it was largely due to the protection of my grandfather and leader of this community, Takashi Okita.
But more importantly than that, it was because of men keeping each other in check.
‘Whoever lays a hand on Rinne will be beaten by others.’
There was this kind of unspoken rule in our community.
I am a beautiful girl. I am aware of this much.
Many men get speechless when looking at me. Sometimes even men who are a lot older than me.
At one point I thought men had a total lack of intelligence.
And that ended up influencing my personality quite a bit… Honestly, it just couldn’t be helped that I at some point started thinking of myself as a queen.
We were currently living in a community that was located right in front of my grandfather’s bicycle shop. Right under an overpass.
This was originally a bicycle storage area, surrounded by a sturdy fence.
My grandfather swiftly responded to the start of the apocalypse, and he tried to be as helpful as he could to the people living nearby. It was just like him to be a humanitarian, I suppose.
He dismantled his bicycles and used them to build a barricade around his own home, the bicycle shop.
By connecting the bicycle parting lot and the store, we created a safe zone where many people could evacuate to.
On top of that, he also allowed everyone to use his own personal shallow well, letting everyone have access to water, which was becoming scarce.
I didn’t tell it to him, but I honestly thought that this was a stupid move.
Humans are creatures who flock to others’ kindness.
And as a result of this kind of thoughtless action, tragedy was born.
After a while, I also ended up learning something.
People are truly unable to be violent easily.
They don’t want to hurt others if they can avoid it. They don’t want to wield blunt weapons or blades.
The wall of ‘common sense’ that society has built is too strong.
Many people were unable to participate in the act of disposing of the zombies that stuck to our barricades. To them, killing zombies was an abominable task.
Only a small handful of people were able to do it. The people who were stupid, who had no morals, who could ignore the emotions of others without hesitation.
… Before this whole apocalypse started, those people were the ones that we referred to as ‘people who couldn’t read the mood’.
And once, while I was walking near the barricades, I heard one of them say some troubling words.
‘If I pin you down and take hold of your crotch, you’ll become obedient, right?’
He said those words while killing the zombies outside the barricade.
From that moment on, I had a really bad feeling about him.
Two days later, I was almost raped. It was the worst experience I ever went through. It was much more horrifying than even my worst nightmares.
The only reason I was saved, was because some elementary schoolers that I had befriended had quickly noticed the situation and alerted others.
Many people were angered by the situation. They talked about how they couldn’t forgive those men, they talked about killing them or beating them.
Many said those words… And yet, that was not what happened.
Those unsalvageable and stupid men were expelled from our community.
… Because nobody had the will to become the executioner.
… I really think that those men should have been killed.
And now, a cruel ending was just around the corner.
The number of zombies that gathered around our barricade has only been increasing.
Normally, we should have been killing them as they started clinging to our barricade, but… This community did not do that.
They couldn’t take on the role that was previously fulfilled by the men that we banished.
Sometimes I wonder… Wouldn’t this community be much safer if we had forgiven those men, and allowed them to remain here?
Well… I suppose I’m also responsible for the fact that this place is being surrounded by zombies… As I’m not killing them either.
… After coming to this realization, after realizing we would be better off with those disgusting men here than without them, that I was useless without their help… After understanding this much, I could no longer hold food in my stomach. I started puking every time I tried eating.
The team that was searching for supplies, which was our last hope, has not returned.
Were they attacked by zombies on the way and died? Or did they just give up on this community in its entirety?
In any case, the only people left in this place are now old people, women and children.
“I have ‘sleeping’ pills.” My grandfather told me this morning. He was visibly exhausted, “We can use a whole bottle of this… Mix it with this yogurt that we saved until now, and then it will end.
“It will be just like eating cornflakes for breakfast. That will make it easier for you.”
It was my grandfather’s way of showing kindness, I suppose. He wanted his beautiful granddaughter to pass away while remaining beautiful.
But that’s not how this works… Death is never beautiful.
We just rot and start spreading a horrible smell around us. We become a lump of flesh that is covered by flies and maggots.
The beautiful things of this world can only be created by living people.
Therefore, even with things like this, I am still determined to survive.
The sun was about to set.
“Miss, it seems like the barricades are about to be breached.” A boy named Aoyama Ryouji called out to me. He is eleven years old, looks a bit goofy, but is also quite cute.
“… I suppose.” I sighed heavily.
I have resolved myself to this a long time ago. This was not the time for us to die.
“Ready your weapons. We’ll fight.” I told him.
“Fight…? Just us?” He asked.
“Of course. Who else is there? What are you expecting? For a superhero to come save us?” I asked him back.
“To tell you the truth, I’m kinda hoping for it.” He replied.
“It’s okay to cling to the hope of a miracle coming, but I’m sure that this kind of thing only comes to those who work hard, those that put their utmost into doing what they need to do it, those that keep trying even when they are sure that they can no longer go on… It’s only for those people that miracles may come.” I told him.
Ryouji averted his gaze and sighed… He seemed to be skeptical.
Well, I suppose it can’t be helped. After all, his uncle won the lottery after spending twenty years living at his parents’ house. Until this apocalypse happened, said good-for-nothing uncle was living a comfortable life with all the money he won. He got his miracle without doing anything.
But well, now is not the time to worry about that.
I left my grandfather’s bicycle store and walked close to the barricades, reuniting with everyone else.
I lifted my sword, which was actually just a decorative sword, a thing that my grandfather collected as a hobby.
Nonetheless, with this sword in hand, I spoke loudly and clearly, “Ready yourselves everyone, it is now our time to fight!”
I was hoping they’d gather and respond to my voice, as if I was their Jeanne d’Arc, but… Almost nobody reacted to my voice.
They seem to have already given up. They’ve come to terms with the fact that they’re dying soon.
Only a few people here are willing to fight. Only a few responded to my words and gathered in front of me.
Two nerdy middle schoolers who were previously on the team that gathered supplies, but that were now stuck here with us.
Eight elementary school students, including Aoyama Ryouji.
And one adult… A single old man.
“Our plan is simple. We’ll purposefully let the zombies destroy the barricade and let them come inside.
“Then, when the time is right, and enough zombies came inside and spread out within this bicycle storage area, we’ll break through their numbers and escape the barricaded area.
“Our destination is the Miyabigaoka High School. If we’re lucky, every single one of us can be saved.” I explained to them all.
“But… Even if we manage to break through this zombie horde, there is no guarantee that there will be people in Miyabigaoka…” Ryouji said.
“Fireworks were set off some time ago near the school, some of you saw them too, remember?
“If there are people shooting fireworks, then there are people out there who are still alive.
“Believe in it. Believe in me.” I replied.
“However…” Ryouji started saying.
“Stop it with the ‘buts’ and the ‘howevers’. Accept the situation and embrace the will to see through this. Those who survive will carry on the will of those who died.” I cut him off.
It was starting to get dark.
The barricade was creaking, and it shouldn’t last much longer.
Whether you’re young or old.
Whether you’re a man or a woman.
Whether you’re beautiful or ugly.
Death was equal to us all… And it was right around the corner.
“Ah… Miss Rinne.” A boy wearing thick glasses stepped forward.
“Mmm? What is it?” I asked.
“This… Please take it…” He presented me a golden rosary.
“I’m Buddhist though…” I replied.
“I know, but this is the only thing I can give you…” He muttered.
… I suppose this is his way of showing his feelings.
“Thank you.” I took the rosary.
I wonder… Even if I don’t believe in it, should I pray to God for protection?
Well, for now, I need to do what I can. As a way of showing my gratitude to the boy, I smiled as brightly as I could. It was all that I could do to help morale right now.
“Y-you’re welcome!” The boy said.
And at the same time, the creaking of the barricades became noticeably louder.
I thought that the defense lines had finally been breached.
“… Time is running out… Soon, everyone…” I started saying.
I had just made up my mind for real. I had made my decision.
And then, an enormous sound roared from a building not too far from here.
I looked in its direction and saw a large hole in the building that used to be there. It felt like something straight out of a movie, as if giant monster had punched through the house and broken a large portion of it.
“Wh… What is that?” I muttered.
At least for now, even if just temporarily, I’m currently in charge of this community. I must ascertain what was this abnormality that I have just seen.
Is it a new threat?
Or have we maybe… Been truly blessed with a miracle?
And then, I noticed that something was sending the zombies flying.
“It’s a tank! The self-defense forces must have come to help!” Ryouji shouted, “My uncle was right, after all! Even if you live a completely mundane life, if you trust your luck, you’ll manage somehow!”
… What was that?
… I feel like his uncle has served as a really bad example for him…
“It’s too early to feel relieved, everyone. The number of zombies surrounding us is far too large. Even the self-defense forces might lose to this.” I told them.
However, these concerns quickly disappeared.
Whatever it was that was fighting the zombies, didn’t seem to be having any trouble with this battle. Whatever this is, it is not being pushed back by the zombies at all.
“Amazing! The number of zombies is steadily decreasing!” One middle schooler commented.
For the first time in a while, the faces of the people present here seemed to be filled with emotion.
I suppose this is hope. They are hopeful now. They can realistically hope to survive another day.
And eventually… We found out that there were only 2 people handling the zombies… Two young girls.
One is a girl about my age, the other seems to be a small middle schooler.
“That is…” I muttered as I remembered something I once heard from the men in the supply-gathering team.
They said that they saw a swordswoman who was as strong as a demon.
I thought that it was just a bad joke at first. Or maybe an attempt to instill hope in everyone in these tragic times.
But apparently, that was not the case.
“A hero…!” Ryouji excitedly muttered.
“Mmm?” I muttered.
“There was a rumor about it, wasn’t there!? That a woman who called herself a hero had appeared! I’m sure those people must be them!” Ryouji exclaimed.
Good grief… Zombies alone are already crazy enough, but now we have a hero too?
“Uooryaaa!” The swordswoman screamed. She was close. Close enough for us to hear her.
I squinted my eyes and tried getting a better look of her.
… It can’t be!
“What’s wrong? Miss?” Ryouji asked me.
“I’ve seen that jersey before…” I couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity of the situation, “Just why is one of my classmates the hero!?”
“A classmate? As in… She’s a student of Miyabigaoka?” Ryouji asked.
I nodded, then kept staring at the girl. She was surrounded by too many zombies, so I couldn’t see her face.
… Do I know her though?
I need to know. I jumped on top of the barricade to better see this girl’s face.
“Hey, miss! It’s dangerous!” I ignored Ryouji’s shout.
Suddenly though, I saw several zombies coming my way, surrounding me.
“Aah…!” I heard the voices of the people inside the barricade.
They were dismayed. They seemed to be thinking that this was my end.
But in the next moment, the swordswoman leaped through the skies while using a single zombie as her foothold.
The moon was right behind her as she flew… And for a single moment, my eyes crossed with this girl’s. This girl whose body was completely stained with black blood.
I opened my mouth wide open… I couldn’t help doubting what my own eyes were seeing.
My will. My determination. All those feelings that had filled me until a small while ago… Those feelings were now greatly shaken.
Why, of all possible people, it had to be that girl…?
“What’s wrong, miss?” Ryouji asked me.
“… I know that girl.” I was still stunned, but I managed to mutter a reply, “We were in the same class.
“Her name was…”
… I can’t remember it. I can’t remember her real name.
She had a nickname though. A pretty widespread one.
“This girl, we called her Haku.” I stated.
And then, in complete unison, the heads of all the zombies that surrounded me were separated from their bodies.
It was a truly quick move. Far too fast for my eyes to keep up with.
… I see.
She is the real monster. The zombies were so weak that they couldn’t even compare to her.
She has surely saved us alright.
But right now, I could feel nothing but the clouds that were completely taking hold of my heart.