Dear Diary,

Today might just be the last day of my life on earth as I know it. After so many things that we have done and been through together, I did not expect things to end in such a manner. We were locked up, all five of us, in cells that base personnel used for detainees last time. So much for the naval base being a safe zone for humans. The five of us were the only ones in the entire cell block, but the bowls as well as the clothing that laid around the other cells suggested that we were not the first ones who have been kept here. I could not help but to wonder if the soldiers that we saw had been kept in these cells as well.

Most of our belongings were confiscated, but I was lucky that I was able to sneak my pen and my diary in. There was a small opening in the wall, and it was the only source of light for the entire cell, so I sat below it. The rest of us were still too dazed to talk, and my brain was still processing the things that the founder said just now. From the silence that lingered in our cell, everyone was most probably thinking about the same thing. We were required to give an answer tomorrow, and I already have a rough idea of how would I respond.

The sound of humans and zeds alike drifted through the small window, and settled in the cell. We had no idea of how the outside of the wall looked like, as we were blindfolded from the moment we were captured until here. It was funny how we had expected our first encounter with another survivor group to be all happy and uplifting but instead, all we have got so far was to have guns pointed to our heads, our wrists tied, our heads covered with a hood and a threat thrown at us. I wondered how KM was doing and whether he would be considering to save us.

Thinking back, the sight of how he suddenly landed a kick on one the people who were pointing the gun at us still awed me. In that split second, he managed to push them aside and dashed off while the rest of them looked on helplessly . His actions had caught every one of us off guard, and by the time everyone realized what has happened, it was already too late. The burly man ordered two of his guards to search for him, but KM had disappeared. Obviously that did not make the burly man happy, because right after he heard that, he punched Jack in the stomach and ordered for the rest of us to be bound and brought back to their headquarters. My skin felt a stinging sensation as one of the guards tied a rough rope around my wrist and pulled with all his might. The guard was obviously good, because my hand refused to budge no matter how much I struggled to break free after that.

A black hood was then placed above our heads, and a string secured it from the bottom. I assumed it was to prevent us from learning about where they were bringing us. The damp smell of sweat was still clearly breathable from the hood, and it made me want to choke. I could not even begin to imagine who or how they had used it on before. After that, I remembered about being led on a long walk. We went down the stairs, we went up the stairs, there were twists and turns; and eventually, I lost track of the path that we were taking despite trying to commit it to memory. It was strange how despite hearing the sound of zeds far away, we were not asked to slow down, crouch or anything. We just kept walking at a steady pace, concrete floor pressing the bottom of our feet.

It was not long before a change in surrounding started to become apparent. The sound of the zeds were beginning to soften, replaced by the sound of water gently lapping on the shore. The concrete floor beneath me has gave way to a softer ground too, and the familiar feel of grass beneath my shoes greeted me. It was only for a while before I felt the touch of wooden planks underneath my feet and finally, came the instruction for us to get up on a boat. I was about to ask where the boat was in defiance, before I was shoved into it by a heavy hand. I landed on my side, and I could smell the wood and seawater coming from below. The boat shook as the rest of them were shoved in the boat in a similar manner to me. We kept surprisingly quiet throughout the ride. Mike had specifically passed a message along to the rest of us, asking us to not try anything drastic for as long as possible until we know what type of situation that we were in. Our captors did not say much too, but I caught them occasionally whispering about how pretty Julie looked. I was personally worried and not to mention angry. I hoped that Daniel did not hear the conversation, or else I would not know where this situation may end up.

“Bring them back,” the burly man’s voice sounded. “I will look for the escapee,” he said as he hurried away. Judging from the footsteps that accompanied him, he was bringing another guard too. A part of me was angry that KM had escaped and left us behind, while another part of me hoped that he would make it out alive. The big question now, however, was the type of fate that awaited us.

I heard the sound of the engine starting, the type that you would hear from a speed boat. The engine roared to life and before long, we were speeding across the water. The smell of the ocean air passed through my hood, and the waves crashed against the boat as we bounced across the water. Other than the sound of the boat's engine and waves, it was surprisingly quiet. No one was talking, and I was starting to wonder if the others were actually there.

A sickening thud behind me jolted me alert, and in the next instant, the boat began veering in a zig-zag direction. The guard behind me screamed, and began to spew Hokkien curses as he tumbled around the boat. The impact from his struggle with his attacker rocked the boat even more. I began to feel sick from all the motion but somehow my heart was telling me that I should not sit this one out. From beside me, I heard Mike's shout as he jumped towards the front of the boat. The boat was gradually slowing down now as no one was manning the engine, but it continued to rock back at forth from all the impact. I could hear Mike, Jack and the guards all grunting and screaming as they fought against each other, with Mike and Jack constantly bellowing directions to each other on where the guard was. I continued to struggle with the rope that held my hand firmly behind my back, and considered how I could join the fight and help the both of them.

However, just as I was trying to pinpoint the direction of where to throw the weight of my body, I was hit back instantly with the force of another body being thrown at me. The impact sent me and the body tumbling to the back of the ship, slamming my back against the hard body of the boat. A sharp pain shot through my back immediately. The body in front of me groaned in pain, and from the sound of the groan, it was Mike. I heard a dull clunk coming from the front of the boat and after that, the sound of heavy boots quickly approached the area where Mike and I was. I felt Mike getting picked up by someone and before I had a chance to do anything, I heard the same clunk sound, followed with a howl of pain from Mike. A weight dropped beside me, and right after that, a swing from the boots that I had heard earlier just now  landed on my stomach. Another Hokkien curse. The pain from it shot straight up to my brain, and it sent me rolling to my side. Another kick landed on my back, and I screamed in pain. The guard cursed in Hokkien again, before spitting on me. His saliva landed on my face, wetting the hood that covered my head. I spent the remainder of my journey uncomfortably with the pain and the damp feeling on my cheek on the bottom of the boat. The guard was stronger than what Jack and Mike had predicted, and we failed in our escape attempt. I cursed myself for not joining in the fight earlier.

As we were being led from the boat to our cells, there was nothing we could use to determine what kind of situation that we were in. The guard that brought us here rambled on agitatedly as we were led from the boat to what I presume was the jetty of the naval base, as about three to four other guards responded to him with simple answers like 'yes', 'uh-huh' and 'yeah'. It seemed like they had little interest in what our boat guard had to say. Before he left however, he gave me a punch in my abdomen one last time, before proceeding to spit on me again. I could only silently endure the pain. There were now two damp marks on my cheek, and they smelled horridly of cigarette smoke and rotten food. We were ordered to walk by the other guards and I tried to memorized as much of the environment around me during the journey. It was hard to guess what was around us when we could not even see where we were walking, and a few times the guards around us burst out laughing when they purposely let Daniel, who was walking in front bump or crash into stuff. There were several times too when they made indecent remarks to Julie, asking her to sleep with them in exchange of her freedom, and I felt anger burning inside of me. However, we just let the comments slide to prevent anything untoward from happening. The last thing we wanted to do was to provoke them. I had no idea what was they did to Jack or Mike, and I could only fear the worst.

When my hood was finally taken off, I was already staring into the empty cell that we were going to spend our time in. Mike and Jack were already slumped in one corner of the floor, their heads bloodied while Julie and Daniel were in another corner. He was not showing any signs of him being her boyfriend, and I could not help but wonder why. They would normally be close together, but now they were far apart from each other, and were not even exchanging eye contact. It was not until later that I found out that it was under specific orders from Julie, as she said that the more Daniel protected her, the higher the risk that our captors would do something to her. “It is basic human nature,” she said, to want to show off power. And having Daniel protect her would only provoke our captors into wanting to display their power. That was why Daniel did not do anything when they made indecent remarks too. It was not an easy feat, and it was not surprising that I would later learn that this decision almost caused them to break up.

"You would spend your time here until our leader has time for you," the guard behind me said, before he pushed me into the cell and locked the doors behind me with a bang. Remembering what they did to the soldier, I could just hope that they would not do the same to us.

The cell itself was hot, with no form of ventilation or way to keep cool, aside from the small window. In better days, a fan or an air-conditioner would have kept this room cool, but without electricity, we were at the mercy of the heat. Mike and Jack were still groaning with pain, and the three of us ran to check on them. The first word that they uttered was sorry. We assured them that everything was okay and no matter what happens, we were going to stick through this together. My heart could only wonder how much of that sentence was true.

I eyed the surroundings of our cell. The floors were empty, grey, and one bunk bed was located on the left side of the room. A sink and a portable toilet was on the other side. The room seemed too small to house us comfortably to begin with, and should we find ourselves needing to stay in here long, I do not have the slightest idea of how we are to cope. Aside from the five of us and the facilities of the cell, there was nothing else that we could find. No water, no food, no change of clothes, nothing. Our captors did not even bother to even leave a guard with us.

A feeling of despair was beginning to take hold of me as the reality of our situation slowly sunk in. There we were, inside a prison cell, surrounded by grey walls, with no idea of why we were here or whether we would have any chance to go out. All our talk about fighting the zeds were for naught, because we were captured by our fellow humans even before we had the chance to do anything. We did not do even anything wrong in the first place to begin with. Why on earth would someone point a gun to us, tie us up and put us in a cell even before explaining what was happening? And shouldn't we be fighting the bigger threat outside of us? The moving sea of grey, instead of being locked up in these grey walls? That I could not understand. The rest of us were trying to put on a brave face, but deep down inside, I could see that we were equally worried about our fate. We kept quiet almost all of the time we spent in the cell, trying not to think of the worst. But the more you try not to think of something, the more you do.

The only one that seemed to be least affected was Mike, as he paced impatiently in the cell, while the rest of us were too lazy to do anything. He kept going on about escape plans and such, saying about how we will be out before the next day. However, when he saw us in the state that we were in, you could see the look of disappointment in his face. He had wanted to scold us, raising his voice and asking why the hell were we in that state. Did we just not call ourselves the Zed Resistance Group he said, wanting to rid the world of zeds? How come we have chosen to give up so quickly just because we found ourselves in this situation? Only the silent walls greeted him when he was finished, as the rest of us were lost in our own thoughts. Mike was about to continue on his speech, when the sound of approaching footsteps silenced us all. It reverberated along the empty walls, and Julie and Daniel, who were lying next to each other just now, quickly distanced themselves.

The footsteps grew louder, finally revealing whom they belonged to. It was the same burly man that we saw earlier today. The one who pointed a gun at us. He was wearing a polo tee now, his collars flipped upwards. A gold Rolex hung from his hands and he wore Bermuda shorts along with black sandals. If I could describe his sense of clothing with one word, I could only say that it was weird. But clearly he was a man of importance, as two guards stood by his side. They were different from the guards whom we saw earlier and both of them were vastly different from each other too. One looked way younger that any of us who were in the room. His golden hair, which was half shaved at the sides and the two big holes that adorned both of his earlobes gave us the impression that he was a street punk wannabe. The pimples that dotted his face and his young complexion seemed to suggest that he was only somewhere between fifteen and twenty years of age. His counterpart on the other hand, had a bulging stomach and a balding head, and wrinkles were clearly visible on his face. The only common thing that they shared was the rifle that they carried with them.

"So it seems that your friend has gone missing," the man in the middle started. "Not that it is important anyway, because I am less interested in one person than all of you who were here. Besides, with the concentration of zeds around here, it would be a miracle if he could pull anything off."

The rest us stayed quiet as he talked, and I realized that Daniel had hid Julie near the back of the room as the rest of us guys stood as close to the door as possible.

"What do you want?" Jack said, as he slowly made his way to the entrance, until only the steel bar of the door separated them. The burly man did not seemed one bit intimidated, and he stared off into the eyes of Jack, as if accepting Jack's challenge of will. The sound of the zeds continued to flow from the window, and together with it came the sound of a girl laughing. There were other humans here after all.

"Simple," Mr Burly said. He took a step back and eyed at all of us before going on. He said how he was running a small operation here, taking in refugees escaping from the zeds and protecting them. He mentioned how he was the one who found this naval base abandoned, the ships pulled off from the harbour to evade the incoming zeds, and how he single handedly restored the base into livable condition. Survivors are welcomed to the base, and as the founder here, he would do his utmost to help them. However, because of the tight operation that he was running, there had to be a few rules that we must follow in order to be accepted here. First, he must always be referred to as the founder. No one can go against the founder and the founder's words are the law. There could be no doubts against his words as any form of dissent would only weaken the leadership and group’s operations. Facing an enemy like the zeds, we as humans would need to be more united than ever, which was why strong leadership was vital, he said.

"After all, against an enemy that cannot be killed..." he went on, and Daniel cut him straight there. Daniel went on to say that zeds can be killed and how we had found out about it. As Daniel was about to mention the zeds’ weakness, the founder loudly interjected.

"NO! They cannot be killed! All of us saw it, right?" To this sentence both the guards on his side noded their head in agreement. We were all confused with the statement that he was making. Mike especially, could not take what he was saying. Mike went on to challenge him on how could he not explore this opportunity to take out the zeds when he has the chance, and being someone with control of a naval base, he could certainly make a difference.

The founder basically laughed at Mike's statement, and loudly declared to his guards that there were other heretics that he now has to deal with. In his loudest voice possible, he told us how he was going to be generous and allow us one night to think about the offer, and how, should we refuse, he would have no choice but to send us back out. However, when he was finished with the sentence, he took a step closer to us and whispered in a tone only we could hear.

"You see, I would not want the zeds to go away, I would want them to stay instead. So why would I want to eliminate them?" the leader said, and he gave the most sinister grin that I have ever seen in my life. 


P/s: As this is a work in progress and as I am trying to finish the story before November ends and not forgetting that I have work from 9-6 everyday, there might be grammar errors here and there and if you spot one, I would sincerely apologize for it. I am looking to publish this story, so if you spot any spelling or grammar mistakes, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know by dropping a comment after each post. Proofreading your own work is confusing after all. I won't forget your kindness!


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