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The stench of blood, incomplete dead bodies scattered everywhere, and the agitated infected that wanted to enter the alleyway, that was the aftermath of the battle that occurred in front of the main building of the Medical Center.
There were more than a thousand dead bodies around that was more than enough to make anyone with a weak stomach to vomit. However, this number was already low for a hospital in the middle of the city.
A lot of the infected wore hospital gowns indicating that they were just poor patients unable to survive due to their weakness. There were also those wearing hospital staff uniforms, but their number was way lesser than the antic.i.p.ated quant.i.ty of staff in a large hospital compound like this.
Mark raised his sight while inspecting the building in front of him. According to the map, Phillip drew, the temporary blood bank was actually on the first floor of the extension building behind this one. However, the only way to get there was to go through this building.
Still, Mark could not help but notice. The longer he stared at the hospital, the creepier it became.
Hospitals were always known to be the kind of locations with eerie vibes. Negative energies filled these kinds of places way more than graveyards had.
While staring at the building, Mark felt a bit dizzy. Being an Empath did not only mean that he could only feel emotions directly from people. Sometimes, the lingering energy from extreme emotions left behind was more dangerous. In hospitals, there were plenty of these kinds of lingering heavy sentiments.
If possible, Mark would not go to these kinds of places. Even before the outbreak, he avoided buildings such as this. Fighting infected hordes felt way better than this.
Nevertheless, he had no choice. The blood bank in the university moved here temporarily because of renovations. It was totally the worst timing.
"Gege? Are you okay?"
Mei asked as she saw him shaking his head.
"I'm fine, don't worry." Mark smiled. "Let's go?"
Hearing the question, Mei nodded.
This time, it was only Mark and Mei who would enter the hospital while everyone else remained outside.
Hospital hallways were always known for being small. Even though having more people would usually increase the survivability of a group in a zombie apocalypse, it would be quite the opposite in stuffed places with a high population like hospitals.
With more people, it would be hard to maneuver around the cramped hallways while watching out for possible ambush in every corner. Friendly-fire would be easier to happen when there was very little s.p.a.ce to fight in.
If there was only Mark and Mei to go inside, the two of them could easily avoid such issues as both of them had the ability to move from place to another quickly.
Furthermore, the initial entry did not need a lot of people in this case.
What Mark wanted to do first was to scout the actual location of the temporary blood bank. Once he found it, that was when he would formulate a plan to move the blood bags out of the Medical Center as efficiently as possible.
While the cleanup outside was still happening with Iola guiding Odelina to search for [Mutagen Stones] and Aephelia making Logan eat the corpses, Mark and Mei entered the hospital from the main entrance.
The two cautiously entered the main lobby, the area that was very likely to be the most s.p.a.cious in most hospitals.
As Mark expected, not all the infected came out despite the commotion they caused outside earlier.
These infected were not the fast types, however. While most of them were [Eaters], the type of infected that had dead bodies, the others were either those that were already disabled before they even turned or those that damaged their bodies after they turned.
In the lobby, there was even an infected with no lower limbs. It was not a new injury, however, as the stumps had already healed long ago. Probably, the limbs had already been cut in an operation for quite some time already.
Ignoring the struggling infected on the floor, Mark and Mei readied their weapons and rushed in.
Right now, Flam was sheathed on Mark's back while his other weapons were hidden in his cloak. Mei, on the other hand, had an a.s.sault rifle on her back and two pistols on her waist. However, the two wielded different weapons. No, it was not really different as these weapons were not really new ones.
They both held crossbows, the very same crossbows Mark made at the male back then. However, both crossbows had already been remodeled with [Blood Metal] to make the weapons stronger. These weapons were the best for this time as they only needed to infiltrate and not cause as much commotion inside. If they needed to kill something, these crossbows could do it silently.
Mark and Mei made their way across the lobby and into the hallway further inside. They were lucky that the temporary blood bank was on the first floor. Because of that, they only needed to follow the general directions on the map.
A crossbow bolt was fired as an infected shambled out of one of the open rooms unto the center of the hallway.
As Mark expected, all sorts of strange infected could be found here inside the hospital. The one that Mei killed just now was one of those. It was an infected with yellowish spots on its skin that would seem to be very likely to explode in the slightest contact.
There was another one whose body was too bloated that it blocked the entire width of the hallway.
Without any choice, Mark used Flam to cut the infected into pieces and clear a way for them.
In the midst of the exploration and about midway the distance they needed to traverse to the area where the temporary blood bank was, they heard something.
"UUUWAAAA! UWAAA! UWWAAAAAA!"
A voice of a crying baby could be heard echoing in the hallways.
Hearing the eerie voice, Mei could not help but turn to Mark to see what he thought of.
Mark shook his head.
As an Empath, he should be able to tell if there was a baby around. However, he could feel nothing. There was no living baby around the area to make such noise.
This brought Mark into two guesses. The sound could either be coming from an infected infant that mutated into something that could mimic a human infant to catch prey or worse... Something that they could not see at all.
As there was no way that it was a human infant, the two carried on.
It was until they reached the next corner, an area further behind the main building.
Both the two of them stopped on their steps with frowns on their forehead.
The hallway was dark. Not because there were no windows or rooms to illuminate the place but because of the wall, floor and ceiling covered with a flesh-like membrane. The membrane was rather thick as it seemed to be about half an inch to about a whole inch thick.
Who would have thought that the una.s.suming Medical Center outside was actually a possible infected nest hiding from the eyes of everyone?
As the situation was unusual, Mei turned to Mark with a meaningful stare and Mark replied with a gesture that they would continue onward.
Mark then took out the [Photokinesis Mental Crystal] and created a ball of light in front of them to illuminate the darkened way forward.
Each of their steps caused a squishy sound as the two walked over the floor covered with flesh-like membranes.
The stench was quite nauseating.
Because of the membrane covering all the possible exits and entrances in this area, the air was stagnant and the smell of rotting flesh permeated the hallways. The smell became worse as they went further in.
"UUWAAA! UWAA! UWAAAA!"
"UUWAAAA! WAAA! UWAAAAAA!"
"UUUWWAAAA! UWWAAA! UWWWAAAAA!"
A chorus of many infants echoed across the hallway. It was a very chilling experience and Mei could not help but move closer to Mark.
Like before, Mark decided to ignore the cries and continued forward. Now, however, Mei was clinging to his arm.
There was another strange thing.
Since they entered this area, they did not encounter any infected along the way. Normally, an infected nest would be br.i.m.m.i.n.g with a large number of infected and they would not leave the nest unless under some special circ.u.mstances.
Before the next corner, Mark stopped and looked at a sigh which seemed to be a directory of the hospital. Of course, the location of the temporary blood bank was not in it but he found out that they were still quite a distance away.
At the next corner...
They heard another voice of an infant. This time, however, it was not a cry similar from before. It was more of an eerie moan.
Mark and Mei continued forward. Now in a very cautious state.
The eerie infant voice continued and was getting louder for every second that pa.s.sed.
Finally, Mark shot the ball of light forward illuminating the area upfront.
And the horror scene finally happened.
A baby could be seen crawling...
Upside down on the ceiling...
The baby seemed to be about a month or two old. Its head was twisted backward staring at Mark and Mei with its head upright and its body upside down on the ceiling. Its right eye was half closed while its left eye was hanging out of its sockets.
Aside from those infected like traits, the most prominent thing on the infected baby's body was its umbilical cord that was still attached.
However, the umbilical cord was not cut short but was actually horrifyingly long. It was too long that it led somewhere else while hanging unstably and swinging side to side.
Without further ado, Mark shot his crossbow.
The infected baby fell on the floor with a squishy plop as its head was pierced by the bolt of Mark's crossbow.
Mark and Mei flinched as a deafening screech of a woman echoed cross the closed off hallways.
Lumps appeared on the membranes on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Each lump moved at fast speeds and all of them came from both in front and behind.
Each lump was accompanied by eerie voices of infants.
SPLURT! SPLURT! SPLURT! SPLURT!
One by one, the unsightly looking babies burst out of the lumps on the fleshy membrane. While all of them had different appearances, the unbelievably long umbilical they had connected to their bodies. The weirdest part in that was some of them had their umbilical cords attached to the wrong places on their bodies.
In any case, they were surrounded.
Mark grabbed Mei's hand and the two vanished in a puff of black mist.
Inside the subs.p.a.ce, Mark and Mei continued to move forward leaving who knows how many infected babies were there.
As they ran, the two could not help but notice that the umbilical cords, like electrical wires on electric posts, went somewhere else.
"Mei'er, we'll check what kind of abomination this umbilical cords lead to. Are you in?"
Mark asked as they stopped at the stairs leading to the upper floor. The same way where the umbilical cords hanged and headed to.
"Un. Let's go."
Mei replied readily grasping Mark's hand tightly.
They did not take the stairs on foot but Mark used his [Shadow Mist Movement] to follow the leads.
It was not far from the stairs on the second floor. The Maternity Ward along with the Nursery.
And there, Mark saw a two and a half meter tall abomination. A woman with a bloated body plastered unto the wall of the maternity ward. And all those umbilical cords connected to the infected babies, those were connected to her stomach that had a huge gaping hole.