“The two of you should go,” Okano said quietly. “I’ll hide here with her. Please come back for us later.”
Her voice was calm, as if she had already accepted death.
“No way. I could never!”
“There’s no other choice. Plus, fleeing by boat could be more dangerous. After all, he wouldn’t expect anyone to stay here. …now hurry!”
“Saki! Let’s go.”
Satoru grabbed my arm again and started dragging me away.
“I’m sorry…” I said to Okano, tears flowing down my face.
I turned my back on her and ran as hard as I could toward the boat.
We passed a charred, blackened corpse. It was still smoking. Then Fujita came into view, his limbs twisted in all the wrong directions. I tried to shove my emotions aside, but that didn’t stop me from shaking uncontrollably.
Satoru cast off the moment we got into the boat. He slowly turned the boat around and pushed off. We laid down below the gunwhale to keep out of sight.
Against the dark sky, all I could see were ghostly images of the hospital. I kept thinking that the fiend would appear at any moment. My entire body was limp with fear.
Satoru deftly maneuvered the boat through the narrow waterway away from the hospital. How was he controlling the boat when he couldn’t see where he was going? I looked over at him and saw that he was using the starlight reflecting off of a small mirror to guide him.
Eventually, the boat rounded a large bend.
“…we’re safe now. He can’t see us from the hospital anymore,” Satoru whispered.
“Then hurry, go as fast as you can!” I said.
Satoru shook his head. “We should stay quiet for a little longer. Even if the fiend isn’t here, there still might be queerats around. We’re too close to the banks; we won’t be able to escape if they fire at us. There’s a wider canal ahead. We’ll go full speed from there.”