“Why? What happened?”
“Th-they’ll be back soon… Run, now.”
“Who’s going to be back?”
“Oouchi–he’s a patient here–is he okay?”
As Satoru and Okano peppered Dr. Noguchi with questions, the nurse Seki started screaming.
I don’t think she was actually trying to say anything. It was just pure, unadulterated fear. In a night that had been full of nothing but terror, her scream was the only thing that chilled me to the core. I had never in my life heard a human being make such a noise.
“Seki, please calm down. Everything’s alright!”
Okano, despite her own rising fear, tried desperately to calm Seki down. Not only did it have no effect, Seki seemed to become even more frantic. Her shrieks echoed throughout the half-demolished hospital.
Then, triggered by the noise, Kashimura got up abruptly.
We didn’t even have time to open our mouths. She took one glance at us, turned on her heel, and ran. She was surprisingly steady on her feet and we heard her running down the stairs two at a time.
What were we supposed to do? I looked questioningly at Satoru.
“Let’s get out of here first. We’ll take them with us on the boat.”
“What about the people who ran?”
“We can worry about that later.”
We grasped Dr. Noguchi and Seki under the arms and pulled them to their feet.
“Hurry, hurry, run…”
Just when I thought he had finally come back to reality, he started muttering incoherently again as he stumbled unsteadily forward. Seki had finally stopped screaming, but now she trembled so violently she didn’t seem to be capable of making any sounds at all.
As we descended the stairs, we heard someone outside shouting.
“What is that?”
Satoru went back up to the third floor and looked out the window. I came up beside him.