29 Fragility of Life

Her name was Karuizawa Amaya, a little girl who was separated from her older sister when the outbreak started.

Due to the influx of uninfected trying to get inside the stronghold, some needed to be transported to another stronghold. After all, there was no way a single stronghold could accommodate every person in the city. Hence there were transports that went on.

On one of these transports, a single girl was separated from her sister. Even though her sister specifically reminded her to stay where she was, she was pushed by a crowd of people into one of the armored buses that transported people to another stronghold. By the time her sister realized she was missing, she was already long gone, and the stronghold where she was sent to was never recorded.

Her worried older sister had no choice but to join the next batch of transports in hopes that she'll be reunited with her sister... but before they could reach the stronghold where they were supposed to be transported, one of the armored bus's tires exploded and the bus tipped over. It didn't take long before it was overrun by the infected.

And later that day, the shelter where the two sisters stayed was also overrun by the infected. The unlucky circumstance that the younger sister found herself in turned out to be a lucky gesture of chance. She managed to escape the fall of a shelter as well as the failed transport.

Life without her sister was hard, but that didn't stop her from functioning. She knew how to take care of herself, and her adjustment to her new life was faster than expected. She befriended a couple of children her age, and together they stayed under the protection of their parents. Now she didn't have to worry about bad people in the shelter since she earned the protection of her friend's parents.

However, just when her life was transitioning into an easier survival scenario, the worst-case scenario happened, and the shelter was overrun with the infected. It was all because of a certain mother's fault. She had a baby with her, but she didn't realize her baby was bitten. While she was breastfeeding her baby, her baby bit her, and then the infection transpired.

It was one of the weirdest stories of a shelter being overrun by the infected... but it certainly happened. Amaya witnessed all of it. From the baby having a seizure while she was sucking on her mom's nipples... to the point where the baby turned rabid and bit her mom's...

The mom jumped on someone, and that someone jumped and bit another person. It was a snowball effect, except the snowball was killing people, infecting them with a virus that took over the mind. The bloodshed, the hellish scene that Amaya witnessed was deeply etched in her memory.

By the time she realized what was going on, she was the only one who was uninfected. She was crouched in a corner, covering her ears as she silently bawled her eyes out. She wanted to get out of the shelter, she didn't want to get bitten... but how could she? Hundreds upon hundreds of infected surrounded her, and there was no way out.

They weren't attacking her, sure, but she was still trapped nonetheless.

This scene went on for hours... with Amaya and the infected at a standstill. Unbeknownst to Amaya, she actually carried a unique trait that made the virus avoid her. She wasn't the only one who was blessed with such a gift, but it was by a stroke of luck that she was born with it.

A Canary.

That's the term coined for a small percentage of people who are avoided by the virus. This term came from the term 'canary in a coal mine'— a historic practice where miners would place canaries inside a cage to check if there were oxygen or poisonous gases present in the cave. The Canaries were pretty much the front liners when it comes to zombie subjugations or supply gatherings... and they are valued as if they were national treasures.

In the end, she wasn't able to overcome her fear. She cried herself to sleep, and by the time she woke up, a flashlight was pointed at her. Two Hybrid Hunters were staring at her in bewilderment.

"What the—"

"Isn't this like winning the lottery?"

"Yep, she's a Canary."

"A young girl as a Canary? Now that's something you don't see every day."

"We've never even seen a Canary in the flesh... this feels weird."

Amaya remained quiet. When she was put in a cage she remained quiet. When she was stowed at the back of the truck with other Hybrids, she remained quiet. Her urge to cry was still there, but after witnessing the horrors of a peaceful stronghold shifting into an infected territory, Amaya didn't feel like crying anymore.

She had no idea why she was called a Canary, or why the infected didn't attack her.

But at the end of the day, she was still alive... and that's something. The fragility of life was displayed in full view right in front of Amaya's eyes, and now her perspective when it comes to the question of life took about a sudden change. She didn't feel hopeless at all, but rather, she felt detached from the real world. Everything seemed like a dream... and yet they were all real. She wanted to convince herself that all the despair she witnessed wasn't real... but the scenes kept on repeatedly displaying in her mind like a roll of film on a loop.

When she came to her senses, she was still in a cage, and a man was staring at her. It was a young man... she could tell, but she had no idea why he was looking at her.

The man didn't hesitate to remove his suit, tossing it to her. As soon as the suit touched her skin, she immediately felt the sheer coldness of the place. She clung to the suit as she tried to bring her temperature up. She breathed in and out. Slowly. And a cloud of breath appeared on her mouth. It was fascinating, but not as fascinating as the warmth she felt when she wrapped her body with the suit.


Amaya still had no clue what was going on. A kind lady opened her cage, and she was led to a room where she was bathed. She was then given food, which she gorged down like a pig. Then she was dressed, a cute frilly dress of light blue and white. It was warmer than the suit, but Amaya still preferred the suit over it. Even when she already wore the dress, she still wore the suit over it.

It felt warm.

"Hello? Hello?" Kazuichi repeatedly called to the little girl but Amaya seemed to be staring into space. "Come on, what are you spacing out for?"

The next thing Amaya noticed was Kazuichi, extending his hand toward her. She gladly took it, feeling the light tug as she walked alongside him. Just like the suit she was given, the hand that held hers was warm, briefly reminding her of her older sister.

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