I turned around quietly and looked at the hill by the weak light of the moon.
The queerats still hadn’t moved. They were still watching us from their vantage point halfway up the hill.
That’s good, just stay there. We’ll be gone soon. No one’s threatening you. You know what’ll happen if you shoot us, right? If you just let us leave, nothing will happen. But if you harm us, we’ll kill all of you. So please. Behave for just a bit longer.
I prayed silently to myself. I turned to face forward again, and stopped.
There were four black silhouettes. One had its hand raised.
“Who’s that?” a low voice asked.
“M-me,” Mamoru gasped. “I think we should make a run for it, right now.”
“What are you talking about? We’re going to be fine. Alright? Just a bit more.”
Mamoru lowered his hand and we all felt slightly relieved. If three hands went up, that would be a majority. Though in reality, even if we didn’t have a majority vote, all it takes is one person to panic and take off running for the entire plan to be ruined. When the queerats start attacking, we’ll all have to run for dear life.
“Saki, you’re walking too fast.”
Shun’s voice pulled me back to reality. Without knowing it, I had broken into a slight jog.
“Oh, sorry.” I slowed down, mentally kicking myself for panicking.
“Just a bit farther,” Satoru said. “Shun, when we reach the last twenty meters, let’s run. It’ll take a couple of seconds for them to start shooting. We’ll definitely make it to the woods by then.”
“…I don’t want to run at all,” Shun said, sounding hesitant. “If we run, they’ll chase after us. Just because we’ll be in the forest doesn’t mean we’ll be out of danger.”
“But we can hide in there. If we don’t run, maybe they’ll…” Mamoru stammered, raising his hand again.
“Hey…behind us! It’s like,” Maria choked out.
I turned around and felt my heart contract painfully in shock. The queerats were descending the hill.
“They’re coming!” Maria screamed, raising her hand. Two votes.
“Wait. Not yet. This doesn’t mean they’re going to attack,” Shun tried to calm them down, but they didn’t lower their hands.
Satoru started raising his hand uncertainly.
“Stop!” I said to him. “We’re almost there. Just…”