Before she could open her mouth, Okano sprang into action. She pulled Seki toward her, covering Seki’s face with her body and began patting her rhythmically on the back like she was comforting a child. Seki struggled for a moment, but quickly relaxed.
The footsteps continued up toward the second floor.
Dr. Noguchi waved for us to keep going. We crept forward until we reached the back door. He grasped the doorknob and twisted.
The door didn’t open. I thought our hearts would stop right then and there, but then he slid the bolt above the door and it swung open quietly.
I felt as if I had escaped from a tiny, rotting coffin into the infinite vastness of hell.
When we had shut the door behind us, Dr. Noguchi turned and tottered off in a random direction.
“That’s the wrong way,” Satoru said, reaching out to stop Dr. Noguchi.
He pushed Satoru’s hand away brusquely.
“Don’t follow me. Pick a direction and go.”
“Listen. We have to split up. And even then we might all get killed anyway. But if we’re lucky, one person will survive.”
A strange sound echoed through the building. A cross between a crying scream and an animalistic roar. He had probably seen the queerat corpses and discovered that his hostages were missing. We had to get out of here.
“We stand no chance alone. We have to fight as one.”
“As one…? What are you talking about?” Dr. Noguchi’s lips twisted in what looked like a sneer.
Behind us, the footsteps were coming down the stairs. We were out of time.
“You saw him kill those two people just now. It doesn’t matter if there are five of us or a hundred of us. The outcome is the same.”
“What are you going to do against a fiend? Just go already!” He shoved Satoru aside.
Fiend… My blood froze just hearing the word.
Logic and common sense rebelled against this piece of information. How could a fiend be part of the queerats’ attack?