Staying in that room wasn’t living.
Sure, they weren’t dead, but just trying to hang in there, waiting for the day when either they break through that door or for the supplies to run out? That wasn’t living.
Miki didn’t understand. It was true, that the world outside would be dangerous and it wasn’t like Kei had a foolproof plan on how she’d survive out there - that was why she had stayed there for as long as she did, after all. But nothing would change unless she took that first step.
Closing the door, she approached the stairs leading down.
Out here, Kei was surviving.
She had escaped from the shopping mall, grabbing what she could from one of the stores, and in the shadow of this abandoned house, she stuffed the content of a random can of food into her mouth.
Rustling sounds came from the other side of the wall and Kei sat up straight, willing herself not to make a single sound as she waited for the sound of feet being dragged on the asphalt pass.
Was this living? She couldn’t say. But there had to be something she could do here that she couldn’t back there.
Perhaps ‘living’ was simply no longer possible in what remained of this world. Or perhaps she just hadn’t managed to find out how. Either way, dragging her body against the wall as she grabbed her bitten arm, Kei knew she had failed.
No living humans. Barely anywhere she could get supplies from without having to run into one of them. The same with shelter. And as sluggish as their movements looked, with sheer numbers, it was only time until one caught up to her.
Kei wondered if Miki was doing better than her, at least, back in that small room.
Hunger was the one constant for Kei after the pain and fever had subsided. And yet, she felt no appetite for the food she previously scavenged. Neither did they sate the hunger when she forced them down her throat. Unsure what to do with the curious craving, she headed to the one place where everything was constant: that storeroom she shared with Miki.
They were no longer chasing after her. That should’ve told her everything she needed to know. But between the hunger and her determination to see Miki again, she had no time to think about what it meant.
Kei was so hungry.
What was she doing again? Trying to find food? No, she was going to find Miki.
She was going to find Miki, and then… what?
She didn’t know. All she knew was that she wanted to meet Miki, and here she was, right in front of that door.
She knocked on the door and called for Miki, and her voice sounded weird, but it did the job, with the door opening and there Miki was -
Wait, why was she backing away? Kei reached out to grab Miki’s hand -
- and shoved it inside her mouth.
Hungry, hungry, hungry, so hungry.
There were all these others wearing the same clothes as her and they were walking towards the same direction, so she walked along with them.
Where were they going? Would there be anything to eat there? She didn’t know. But she did feel like this would be the right way to go, like she’d walked this path before. Next to her was another one wearing the same clothes as her. Did Kei know her? Whoever she was, it felt right to be walking next to her.
Soon, all that remained in her mind was hunger.