第 ３ 話
こっち！ "This way!" Mari's companion yelled, and before Mari had a chance to react, he was already pulling her across the street. Mari couldn't see clearly, but was aware of bodies, infected people and those fleeing, and of bodies on the street, either dead or convulsing as they transformed. Were it not for her companion pulling her through, she wouldn't have known which way to step so as to weave through them for the short distance it took to get where they were going. With her companion finding a new hope to fight on for, Mari determined she would be equally capable, and swept her wrist quickly across her eyes to clear them of tears.
At first it didn't look like there was anything particular to go to, but between two buildings was a narrow space, with stairs going both up and down. Mari's companion didn't hesitate to head down. The stairwell was dark, but at the bottom was a doorway, and off to one side a small table covered in fliers. There was a sign on the door, but Mari didn't get a chance to read it before her companion had pulled it open. It was large and heavy, designed to help muffle sound, with rubber and foam around the edges that made it seem like it sealed the air in when it closed. Mari went right inside, and her companion pulled the door shut after her. Mari crouched a little to catch her breath while her companion searched the door for a lock. When he found a deadbolt and secured it, he turned so that he could lean with his back against the door in order to catch his breath.
There was a moment when they were in their own world, a bubble that enclosed just the two of them. They were breathing hard from tension and having sprinted, and their breath seemed to synchronize as they looked up at each other. Then, just as they both felt an awareness that they had helped each other get to safety, their bubble was broken by someone calling to them, more surprised than angry. They straightened and turned toward the voice, speaking over background music that was at a volume that one could be heard above by raising their voice a little.
おい！そこで何やってんだよ？ "Hey! What are you doing?" said a bartender, a man in his mid twenties in jeans and a t-shirt, with light brown hair carefully styled to look unkempt. The bar was immediately to the right of the door they came in, so the bartender remained behind the bar counter while addressing them from only a few yards away. He looked puzzled, not sure if this was anything to get angry about yet. As Mari and her companion looked around, they could see some high tables and an empty dance floor close to the back wall, not so far away. It was a small bar, and still too early in the night for the kind of patron that would come here to wait for the morning train. There were three young women in conservative business attire, maybe just a little older than Mari, sitting at a table all with their phones out. They looked concerned, and from the way they were going back and forth from looking at their phones to looking at the man and woman who had burst into the place, they had some idea of what was happening and feared this might be connected. There was another couple in the back, where it was dark and hard to see. Other than that, the bar seemed to be empty.
外は…みんな…みんなが… "There's... outside... people are..." Mari's companion said. It wasn't that the situation was hard to describe, just that it was hard to say in a way that would sound like reality and not the product of a crazy mind.
外は、暴動が起きているみたい。テレビとかiPhoneは？きっと何かニュースになってるよ "There's a riot outside," Mari said. The bartender looked at them, his brow furrowed as he mentally processed their actions and words. He stopped and stood, unsure if he should walk over to re-open the door, or take their word for it and leave it closed. "Do you have a TV or iPhone or something? There has to be something about it on the news."
The bartender didn't move right away, needing a moment or two to process what he was being told. He then turned, his movements still slow and deliberate, indicating that he was still hesitant to accept their words at face value, but that he felt the need to look into it further before making decisions. Fishing underneath the cash register that was on the end of the bar close to the door, he pulled out a dusty grey plastic remote control, and with it he walked out to the front of the bar. Above the bar, where Mari had not yet noticed it, was a large flat television, playing a music video that was unrelated to the background music playing over the speakers in the room. Taking a moment to find the right buttons, he began to flip through the stations. An American action movie, a cartoon, a shopping network...
止めて！そこ！ "Stop! There!" Mari said. There was a soccer game being played between two foreign teams, but the image of the game had been reduced slightly, pushed up a little into the top and right, making way for text to scroll by in white text against a blue background on the bottom of the screen, and a network logo on the left hand side.
…渋谷では、大規模な暴動が起きています。警視庁より勧告です。渋谷駅付近には立ち入らないでください… "... reports of rioting in Shibuya. The police department is advising people to avoid Shibuya station and surrounding areas...."
それって本当ですか？ "Is it true?" A female voice spoke from behind the Mari, her companion, and the bartender. One of the three women at the table had come up, and her question was not in relation to the television screen, but from something she had read on the smart phone in her hand.
あぁ、何かが起こっているんだ、人がまるで狂ったように… "Yeah..." Mari's companion said. "I mean, something is going on, people are going totally crazy."
ツイッターで『人が病気で死んでいる』ってつぶやいている人がいる… "Someone on Twitter said people were dying of a disease."
病気だけじゃない、狂って人を襲うんだ。 "It's not just a disease," Mari said. "People get insane and then they attack other people." The woman's face did not change, she remained almost without expression, as if what was happening was too much to encapsulate in a reaction. She simply turned and walked back to her table. The bartender raised his arm and scratched at the back of his head in a reflexive gesture to indicate uncertainty.
どうすれば… "I don't know what I'm supposed..." suddenly, interrupting the bartender, there was banging on the door. It sounded like more than one person slapping at the door with their bare hands. Mari and the two men took a reflexive step back, then froze, as if their motion might somehow inspire more aggressiveness from the people outside. The door shook, and hints of dust came off and caught the club lighting for a moment before disappearing into the darkness.
Mari's companion waved his hand a little to catch the attention of the bartender, who needed a moment to have his attention pulled from the door. Mari's companion pointed at some of the tables nearby and then with a sweeping motion communicated that maybe they could push some tables up to the door. The bartender tilted his head a little, indicating uncertainty, but Mari's companion took the absence of refusal to be agreement and stepped quietly and cautiously toward a table. The bartender followed, and then so did Mari. Mari's companion lifted a table, a tall table for standing beside while drinking, with one thick leg in the middle and a small round top, and the bartender lifted another. Mari picked up a third table, near the three women, and there was a moment where they exchanged glances. The three women had been conferring, and seemed for all their conversation to not be able to come to a consensus on what to do. They looked at Mari as if to see if she expected something of them, and Mari looked back wondering if they expected her to tell them something. None of them had any answers to any of their questions. After a pause, they all bowed slightly, not much more than a nod of the head, just as a way of not being rude. Then Mari turned away, taking the table toward the door.
When Mari got there, the two men were laying the tables down on their sides, with the flat top of the tables pushed up to the door. It was pretty clear that the tables did not fit into any angle relative to the door or its handle that would make an effective brace. The two men were gesturing at each other, trying their best to communicate ideas to each other about how they might be able to place the tables in any way that might help fortify the door. Mari just put her table down behind them and waited for them to come to a decision. Just as the two men were about to lift one of the tables to try something, the banging at the door stopped. All of them froze in a slightly crouched ready position, staring at the door, as if it was just as likely to explode in toward them as stay silent and unmoving.
The three of them slowly stood up straight, every moment giving them confidence that the people outside, as insane as they were, would not linger indefinitely if there was no easy route or clear indication of victims this side of the door. Still, no one wanted to be the person who made the decision that it was okay to speak just yet, in case they were wrong about how persistent the insane were.
One thing was clear, though, to everyone inside the bar, was that something was definitely happening outside, and it was not safe to leave. The three at the door turned to see the three women in the bar looking back at them. The couple in shadows near the back of the room had also stirred, the man standing up beside the table to see the commotion at the door, and the woman with him looking on from where she sat. Mari looked to her companion with the neck tattoo, and he turned to look back at Mari. They didn't need to speak to convey to each other what everyone was thinking. "So... we're trapped in here."