Will The Stars Remember My Name?
A bit late but, Happy Halloween to everyone!
"Ryo! Ryo!" called out Ryuuji as Ryouta mumbled something in his sleep.
"Wake up, Ryo!"
This time he opened his groggy eyes and looked at Ryuuji frantically trying to wake him up.
"God, Ryu, calm down. What is it?"
Ryouta got up half-heartedly and rubbed his eyes.
"I don't see any- !"
His jaw fell wide open as he saw zombies walking around the empty street in front of their house, growling and clawing at their gate.
"What. The. Actual-"
"Listen, we don't have time. We'll have to escape through the backyard. Here," he threw a black bag towards him, "I collected some essential supplies. C'mon, let's go before they break through the front gate!"
Ryouta got up in a hurry and changed into a yellow t-shirt and black pants and tried to see if there's anything else he could grab before they leave.
"Hurry up Ryo!"
He heard Ryuuji beckoning from the backyard as he collected some nuts and other non-perishable food. Just then, there was a loud sound and the front gate broke away and endless zombies filled their front porch. Ryuuji ran out to the backyard and started climbing the wall which Ryuuji had already climbed.
Ryuuji jumped down the other side and whispered to him, "Ryo, it's clear. Come on."
Ryouta looked at his house and then suddenly remembered something.
"Ryu, mom and dad! We can't leave them behind!"
"They're just pictures Ryo, we'll come back for them!"
"No, I'm getting them now. You wait for me."
Ryouta had already jumped back in before Ryuuji could even try to persuade him. Even if they were mere pictures they held a lot of value for both the brothers. It was worth risking his life. He could hear the front door groaning against the weight of the zombies as if it was about to give out anytime. There was no time for Ryouta to be sneaky. He rushed into his house and went straight to the small room where he would light an incense stick and pray to his mom and dad. He grabbed their photos and stuffed them into his bag. Just as he closed his bag, the front door gave away and zombies fell on the entrance of his house. For a moment, everyone went still. He looked at the zombies staring at him, their bloody mouths open and their yellow eyes dazed. Their skin had turned murky greenish-grey and their teeth were falling out. Their clothes were torn and their black nails were razor sharp.
Ryouta stared back at them until the zombie at the front started groaning and tried to aggressively make his way towards Ryouta. Ryouta stood there, dumbfounded, as he saw the male zombie drag itself on the floor, other zombies not far behind, and reach out for him. Its hand grabbed Ryouta's ankle as he calmly thought, "Ah, so this is how I die..."
He felt someone grab his t-shirt from behind and pull him. The person brought out an ax and hacked at the zombie's arm which had grabbed Ryouta's leg. The person pulled him away at the last moment and ran straight for the backyard. Ryouta cranes his neck to see that the person who was dragging him was no other than his little brother. Ryuuji had jumped back in to save Ryouta. He closed the glass door to the backyard and threw Ryouta on the ground. He raised his hand and slapped Ryouta across the cheek so hard, Ryouta cried out in pain.
"SNAP OUT OF IT, RYOUTA!"
Ryouta blinked in confusion at Ryuuji and then stood up. His eyes became focused and he nodded.
"I'll get you back for that slap later. Let's run."
A wide grin finally appeared on Ryuuji's face as he nodded back and both of them started climbing over the wall as the zombies beat their fists on the glass door. One of the cracks finally away and the zombies rushed to catch the two brothers but they both managed to jump out just in the nick of time.
Panting, both of them stood up and leaned against the wall. They could hear the zombies growling and making weird noises on the other side.
"We... We did it," said Ryuuji in between pants.
Ryouta wiped his sweaty forehead and scanned their surroundings. The commotion at their house had attracted other zombies as they slowly made their way towards them.
"No time to celebrate, let's go!"
"Wait! Ryo, your foot..."
He saw the severed hand of the zombie that had grabbed his foot still attached to his leg. Hot green blood oozed out from its cut wrist and dripped down his ankle. Ryouta plucked it out and threw it back over the wall.
The two of them quickly ran to a small empty alley and sat there for some time, thinking about what they could do. Ryouta took out a water bottle from his bag and took a few sips. He threw it over to Ryuuji. He took one huge gulp of water and closed the bottle. Handing it back, he said, "We need to keep moving to avoid getting eaten by those zombies."
"Yeah but that would increase our possibility of being caught by them, won't it? They're everywhere. I think we need to find a place we can set up as our base."
"The two of us aren't enough to set up a base, Ryo..."
"We need to find other people. Those who are not infected of course."
Silence filled the air and Ryuuji looked far away towards somewhere.
"Futaba?" Asked Ryouta.
"Huh?" Ryuuji turned back to answer, "No... Yeah- I mean, not just her. All of the students and our friends... Haru-senpai, Shio-senpai, Ai-chan... I wonder if they're ok." He said in a low sad voice.
"Don't worry Ryu," said Ryouta with confidence which he didn't know himself where it came from, "I know they'll be ok."
"I sure hope so..." Ryuuji's voice trailed off.
A few hours later, when it was almost noon, the two checked whether there were more zombies on the street or not. The street seemed relatively quite empty from before. The two brothers risked their way towards their school where they hoped to find other people. The school was a big place and it was pretty famous as it was built by the renowned Daigo Ichinose. The school was closer than Daigo's house so the two of them had decided to go there before they went to Daigo's house which, they assumed, would most definitely be protected by strict security.
The two somehow made their way to school. On the way, they had sneaked past through large hordes of zombies and if needed somehow sprinted past the smaller hordes while taking the risk of them chasing the brothers. Tired and out of breath they reached the school after sundown. The moon had already come out and the stars were shining bright. They entered the school grounds and found the building barricaded. There were people inside the building and they managed to grab their attention. They were admitted into the building and a doctor checked them for bite marks. They were cleared soon enough and went to their allocated room. When they came to their room, they saw Futaba and Haruto sitting in one corner of the room. They both rushed towards them and the friends embraced each other.
Futaba said, "I'm so glad you both are fine! I was so worried about what was gonna happen."
"See, I told you, Ryu. They're gonna be fine."
For once, Ryuuji was actually happy and didn't retort back. He nodded, almost tearing up, and said, "I'm really really glad you guys are ok..."
Then he noticed the dark expression on Haruto's face. He had been trying to hide it till now, but he couldn't do that anymore. His fingers tapped his knees restlessly and he kept on looking out of the window.
"Wait," said Ryuuji as it suddenly dawned upon him, "Where's Shio-senpai!?"
Haruto said boldly trying to look courageous, "She's fine. I know she is. I just know it. She would have been here if we hadn't gotten separated when we were running away. It's all my fucking fault, I-"
Haruto broke down over the absence of the closest and dearest person to him. A heavy mood settled in between the group of friends.
Ryouta and Ryuuji were too tired to do anything so they tried to get some sleep. They were both restless and didn't enjoy a proper rest. The whole thing had happened so suddenly, that they couldn't believe they were actually amidst a zombie breakout.
The next morning, they got up and tried to help Haruto calm down who hadn't slept the entire night. He didn't eat anything and refused to drink water. All four of them were sitting in silence when suddenly a woman who was standing near the window started screaming. Everyone rushed to her as she raised her trembling hand and pointed outside.
Hordes of zombies were heading towards the school, all of them in tattered clothing and hands out, as if reaching out for a delicious meal to feast upon.
"Oh shit!" Cried Futaba.
Ryouta and Ryuuji looked at each other and nodded.
"Guys, we know a place that will definitely be safer than the school. Let's get out of here before this place gets infested by zombies."
Haruto grinned, "Yes. Good. I had been itching to get out of here. I will find Shio this time."
Ryouta reluctantly nodded and together they weaved their way through the all-familiar school to exit through the back of the school, where there were a lot of bushes and trees and led into a forest. It helped them hide from the zombies as they slowly made their way towards Hinata's house.
Soon they came out of the forest onto an empty, misty eerie street. They walked quietly, hugging the walls. Suddenly, Ryuuji stopped and Futaba bumped into him.
"Ow!" She whispered, "Why did you stop?"
Ryuuji gulped and pointed towards two zombies that appeared out of the thick mist. They... Looked familiar to them for some reason. Futaba gasped, suddenly realizing who the people in front of them were. Natsu and Miyuki. They were walking together and looking around for humans to feed on. Even as zombies, they were by each other's side and held hands. Just before being infected, they probably must've been together holding hands. It was so painful for them to watch. Ryouta clutched his bag tightly and whispered, "There's nothing we can do, let's- let's move on."
Somehow, they managed to look away and started moving towards the Ichinose Mansion. They reached the mansion without being noticed and pressed the doorbell. The camera outside the metallic steel gate whirred to life and pointed towards them. From the intercom came Himawari's voice, "Master Ryouta, Master Ryuuji, I'm glad you're fine. Please tell me honestly if someone amidst your group is infected."
"No, no one is infected."
After a moment of silence, Himawari said, "Very well. I place my trust in you."
The metal doors slowly creaked open and the three of them entered into their property.
"Wait," said Futaba, "Haruto why are you standing outside? Come in quickly before the zombies come!"
Haruto turned around. He was smiling sadly as he looked their way.
"I'm sorry everyone. I- I need to look for Shiomi."
"Haruto don't be stupid!" Cried Ryuuji, "She'll be alright, you need to stay safe to meet her, right?"
"I'm sorry Ryu, I just... I just have to go."
"What the hell! Ryouta, tell him to come back."
Ryouta stared at Haruto for some time before saying, "We can't stop him."
"We just can't Ryu. He has already made up his mind. Nobody can stop him."
Haruto nodded at Ryouta.
"I'm glad I could be your friend Ryo. You're a wonderful person."
"I'm glad too but- but-" said Ryouta as he choked on his own words and cried, "You're not a wonderful person! You're a stupid asshole for throwing away your life like this!"
A tear appeared at the corner of Haruto's eye. He controlled himself from crying and said confidently, "I know Ryo. And I'm sorry about that... I- I will find her, I promise you. I will find Shiomi."
"You better, you idiot!" Said Ryouta while sniffling.
Haruto nodded and disappeared into the mist. The metal doors closed with a loud clang. When they came closer to the mansion they found Hinata and Ai running out the front door. They embraced and held each other and cried their eyes out. After a while, Hinata ushered them inside and served hot chocolate to everyone.
Ai told them how she managed to escape from her house and how she ended up at Hinata's place while Ryuuji and Futaba recounted their own horrific experience.
Himawari sighed, "Well, the whole situation has been a little gruesome and sad. I'm glad all of you are here right now. Master Ichinose is in the other room arranging for two helicopters to come and pick us up."
She glanced at the tablet in her hand which showed a few zombies gathering outside their home.
"I just hope you kids can escape in time."
"You too Himawari," said Hinata firmly. "You'll escape with us too."
Himawari politely smiled and bowed but didn't say anything.
Just then, Daigo broke into the room.
"C'mon, hurry up! The helicopters are almost here!"
A loud noise erupted from somewhere near. Himawari quickly opened her tablet to see that the zombies had broken through the outer gate.
She took out two huge butcher knives from behind her and shouted, "Go!"
"Wait, but-" tried Hinata but Himawari shoved her towards Ryouta.
She nodded to him and said, "Master Ryouta, take care of Mistress please. I entrust you with her."
Ryouta tried to say something but Himawari had already left the room to greet the zombies. Somehow they managed to drag a wild Hinata away as she tried to let go and came to the roof. Ryouta looked below from the roof where he saw Hinata slashing her way through the huge crowd of zombies all alone. But it wasn't enough. In a matter of time, they had overpowered her and as she disappeared into the horde of zombies, she looked up at Ryouta and smiled. Then, with the last bit of her strength, she shouted, "GOOOOO!"
Ryouta quickly helped Ai and Hinata climb one helicopter with Daigo as it flew away. Just as Ryouta entered into the second helicopter, the roof's entrance burst open and the pilot got scared and lifted the air vehicle leaving behind Futaba and Ryuuji.
"NO, NO WAIT!"
Ryuuji shouted something to Futaba which he couldn't over the roar of the engine. Together, they held hands and backed up. Just as the zombies reached them they ran towards the edge and jumped at the helicopter. Somehow, they caught the bottom rail of the heli. Ryouta extended both his hands and the two of them grabbed it.
The helicopter veered left and the pilot shouted, "There's too much weight, you'll have to let go of one person."
Ryouta shouted, "I'm not letting any of you go!"
Ryuuji shouted, "No! Let me go! I just want you guys to be safe."
Futaba shouted back, "Don't be stupid Ryu! This is not the time to play the self-sacrificial role!" She looked towards Ryouta and said, "He's your brother, your family. Save him!"
Ryouta yelled in confusion as the pilot shouted, "You have to let go of someone! Right now!"
Ryouta cried out in pain and made a decision. He let go of one hand and cried as he saw the person fall towards the ground with a smile on their face.
Ryouta opened his eyes and woke up. He got up, the adrenaline pumping his heart as it took a few seconds for him to realize everything was a dream. Drowsy, he got up and went to the kitchen where Ryuuji was cooking something.
In his cheerful voice, he said, "Helllllooo mister Ryo. What's up?"
He turned and faced him.
Ryouta said, "G- Good morning."
"Huh, you look terrible though. What's with that guilty look on your face? Did you throw my toothbrush in the trash or what?"
Ryouta took a deep breath and with a shaky voice said,
See you next Friday!