IWOL Chapter 23: Basement

Dong Zheng and Allen briefly discussed the division of labor. Starting from the cabinet next to the wall on the left, they began to pull each out one by one to check the cabinet compartment.

Generally, when a compartment is pulled out, it is easy to determine whether there are people inside. Dong Zheng pulled out seven or eight in a row, and only three of them contained corpses. The corpses were mostly complete, and their deaths did not seem too terrible. Soon they finished checking the wall, and there was still nothing noteworthy.

Just as they started searching the corpse cabinet facing the door, there was a sudden impact from the right-hand cabinet, creating a muffled sound that came slow and heavy.

Dong Zheng paused in the middle of pulling out the compartment and looked at Allen. He saw the heavy “it finally happened” look in the other person’s eyes.

“I knew this would happen.” Allen pushed back the cabinet in his hand. Because of the huge fluctuations in his heart, he forgot to mind his strength and created a loud bang.

After a short period of silence, the cabinet in front of them also made a series of terrible sounds and cabinet doors began to tremble from the impact.

Bang, Bang!

Dong Zheng took two steps back, took a deep breath, and tried to keep his voice steady. He said to Allen, who was full of fright. “You woke them all up.”

“I didn’t mean to.” Alan raised his hands and looked at Dong Zheng with innocent blue eyes.

Dong Zheng hesitated and said in a low voice, “We’d better hurry…… If we can’t find it fast enough, I’m afraid that something terrible might happen.”

The two moved at a faster speed and opened all the cabinets without making a sound. Finally, they looked at the remaining eleven noisy drawers and grew silent.

Allen tentatively asked, “How about…each person takes five?”

Dong Zheng’s expression was indifferent. “You woke them up, you decide.”

Allen hurriedly said, “Let’s do five per person. At this speed, it’ll be faster. There’s nothing to be afraid of. You see, inside is a dead person, and we are also dead in reality, so in a sense, we are like moving dead people. Right, just like the brothers inside.”

Dong Zheng didn’t want to be considered the same as a zombie. “In my current state, I don’t quite think I’m like a dead person.”

The sound of the impact in the corpse cabinet on the right was getting louder and louder. The situation wasn’t good. Dong Zheng no longer wasted time wrangling with Allen. He directly pulled open the corpse cabinet.

He quickly pulled out the drawer compartment. Before the living dead inside had managed to respond, he hurriedly glanced inside. After confirming that there was nothing there, he closed the compartment neatly. The zombie inside hadn’t reacted yet and was locked in again.

“I’m sorry to bother you.”

All the corpses were placed in a head-to-toe posture with their feet to the cabinet door so there was no such thing as directly coming into contact with their faces. After seeing Dong Zheng’s action, Allen no longer dawdled. He tolerated his fear and reluctantly opened the cabinet door.

In the mortuary, there was only the sound of banging and the sound of the cabinet doors opening and closing, which was almost maddening.

Dong Zheng put his hand on the handle of the third cabinet door and was about to pull it open. Suddenly he felt a sudden pain in his temple. It was so sharp that he felt nauseous, as if something had stabbed his head with a needle and twisted it hard.

He grunted, almost losing his senses. The cabinet door slid open slowly out of inertia, but Dong Zheng didn’t immediately respond.

When Allen realized what was happening, it was too late. The lively Mr. Dead had sat up and opened his mouth full of black saliva and was aiming it at Dong Zheng!

“Be careful!”

Just as Allen shouted, Dong Zheng endured the discomfort, quickly grabbed the corpse’s neck, and slammed the body back into the compartment before it managed to bite. Then, he quickly closed the door.

The corpse still had a leg outside, and it twitched a few times. Allen help lifted the leg up and quickly thrust it back into the compartment before finally closing it completely.

“What’s wrong?”

Dong Zheng frowned and pressed his hand to his temple, rubbing the throbbing vein there. He took a deep breath and said, “Suddenly got a headache.”

“That headache coming at this time almost caused your death.” Allen was still feeling the after affects of fear. The key he’d just found hung firmly from his fingers, but the joy that had come with finding it was gone. He hurried to the mortuary door and opened the large rusty lock.

What had happened to Cui Zuojing?

The distance was too far, and the space between them was too wide. Dong Zheng didn’t know what kind of situation Cui Zuojing was in at all. Only a growing headache told him that Cui Zuojing had left him for far too long.

If he didn’t come back soon, Dong Zheng might not be able to hold on.

Dong Zheng followed behind Allen and walked out of the mortuary. Before he managed to take the last step out, he heard a loud noise. The happy corpses in the cabinet on the right had knocked open the door and fell with a plop to the ground!

As if there was some kind of silent order, the corpses on the wheeled bed sat up one after another. The cloth covering them slowly dropped, revealing the pale, stiff faces of men, women, and children.

They turned their heads in unison, opened the black holes of their eyes, and stared at the two people at the door. The incandescent lamp flashed twice and suddenly went out, plunging the room into darkness.

“Ah!”

Allen screamed like a girl, turned without hesitation, and ran away.

Dong Zheng was pulled away by him but did not immediately escape. He quickly closed the narrow door of the mortuary, and the lock fell into place just as the door began to violently shake.

Allen ran faster than a rabbit. He was almost out of sight. Dong Zheng hurried to catch up. He ran just two steps when the headache that he’d been neglecting due to nervousness and fear suddenly intensified. He staggered.

What the hell…

Dong Zheng took a deep breath and stiffened his legs hard, trying to maintain his painful consciousness in order to keep up with Allen.

The two people ran to the elevator on the other side of the corridor and stopped. The elevator was broken and the door yawned wide open. The faint red light in the elevator shaft could be seen. Allen glanced up inside and saw that the elevator was hanging between the first and second floors and was stuck in place by a large group of plants.

“Take the stairs?”

Dong Zheng hummed in agreement, and the two turned and pushed open the closed door that led  to the stairwell. Dong Zheng immediately held his breath against the flying dust but still couldn’t hold back. He coughed while covering his nose.

Naturally, there wasn’t much light in the stairwell, and the sign that said “Safe Passage” vaguely pointed out the direction.

The only things that could be brought into the box were items obtained from other boxes, as well as some specific items, such as clothes, food, water, or a small number of weapons created by the weapon manufacturer.

Dong Zheng and Allen didn’t have any lighting materials or weapons, so they could only explore with bare hands.

The door of the mortuary was locked, so there was no need to worry about any possible danger from below. The air in the stairwell was extremely stuffy due to the lack of air circulation, and there were plants growing everywhere in the corner.

The two walked upstairs in silence, unaware that not long after they had passed, the vines that were originally wrapped around the handrails of the stairs were like snakes lurking in the shadows and were moving slowly in their direction.

Sitting on the corner of the wall was half a body. The person was wearing a hospital gown and was so withered that it was difficult to recognize his face or age. Part of his legs had disappeared, and a thick weed grew from the broken limbs, as if he were a potted plant.

“Okay, I probably understand the connection with plants here.” The surroundings were too quiet, and Allen subconsciously lowered his voice to say, “Realistic Plants vs. Zombies? Parasitism?”

It seemed like if he spoke any louder, he would disturb something.

Dong Zheng shook his head. There were too few clues, and all thoughts could only be speculations for now.

Dong Zheng bypassed the body and had just taken a few steps when he suddenly heard a woman’s voice ringing in his ear. “I’ll be discharged from the hospital in three days.”

The voice was very light, just like a lover’s whisper in his ears. It sounded so close, as if the speaker was pasted to his side. Dong Zheng abruptly froze, his hair standing upright. Allen, who was in front, seemed to hear nothing and was still walking upward.

“After we leave the hospital, let’s take the children and go to a park in the suburbs. I haven’t been out in a long time,” the voice murmured again. Dong Zheng lowered his head and saw that a thin hand was extending from behind him. It gently grabbed his right arm, as if wanting him to stay.

Dong Zheng squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again.

Not an illusion.

It was unknown what was in this dark and sinister environment.

Despite the layer of clothes, the place touched by the hand still felt a biting chill. Dong Zheng took a deep breath, didn’t wait for the woman to speak again, took three steps forward without hesitation, and chased after Allen with the fastest speed.

As he broke away, a cry bursted out from behind him. Countless hands stretched out from the shadow, trying their best to grab him and pull him back.

Dong Zheng’s trousers were tightly grabbed, but he ignored them completely and continued to hurry forward. The withered and brittled fingers could only unwillingly fall apart, and grumbling chatter followed him up the stairs.

Allen had already pushed open the staircase door on the first floor and walked through. As he left the staircase, Dong Zheng glanced back. The plants emitted a luminescent green light, and it was unclear when they had filled the entire staircase. The ends of the branches and leaves grew, seeming almost humanlike. From their stretched out palms was a mouth full of teeth. A large black flower in a pot was trembling gently, emitting a womanlike voice.

He closed the door quickly.

As cold sweat dotted the back of his shirt, Dong Zheng recalled everything he’d done before, and his fingers shook uncontrollably.

As a firm atheist who had received a materialist education since childhood, he had never had this type of fantasy in his 26 years of life, let alone fear of ghosts. But, this was why, when his world view completely collapsed, it brought forth a fear that was even more profound.

The first floor was no longer dark at all. The long corridor was filled with lights. Allen let out a sigh of relief. When he turned back, he found that Dong Zheng’s lips were pressed so tightly together that they had gone white. The heart that had just relaxed tensed, and he carefully and cautiously said, “What?”

“There was something in the stairwell just now,” Dong Zheng whispered. “All the plants here may have consciousness. They can imitate humans. Be careful.”

“Er…I know.” Allen stared at Dong Zheng, hesitated, and slowly moved his gaze up above Dong Zheng’s head. A drop of cold sweat trickled down his forehead.

He swallowed hard, and looked at Dong Zheng.

The moment their eyes met, Dong Zheng immediately dropped to the floor. At the same time, there was a loud bang. The double-edged leaves of an orchid stabbed into the place where Dong Zheng’s head had just been, shattering the glass window!

“Damn! Fuck! What the hell are these?!” Allen yelled and helped Dong Zheng up. The two hurried to the other side of the corridor. Allen pushed the double door open and firmly ran into the thing before he could see clearly what it was.

 

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Dreamer
Dreamer
1 year ago

Oh no CZJ is causing DZ problems. He’s gonna get a scolding when he returns ahahaha!

Anony Laurel
Anony Laurel
1 year ago

Hm, I want CZJ to run across DZ in his chase. Not join up, just, open one door, run through, open another, and leave. Maybe even without noticing him