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Harry decides to check the 1st floor one more time...

Chapter 14 - "Mall Worm"

Instead of going up to the second floor I decided to check out the first floor.

Dilapidated department stores can be seen through the metal gratings.
Everything is scattered about, and a giant spider web bigger than any I have
ever seen stretches throughout the area.

I walked along the fence that bordered the first floor.
After passing by a show window with mannequins, I came to a walled-off space.

Sand is spread all over the open area inside, and it is lit by incandescent
light from above. At first glance I thought it was outside.
There appears to be a high ceiling that can not be seen so well in the dark.

There is a circular hole in one of the metal gratings that surrounds the area.
From there I can enter the area.

I bent down and stepped into the walled-off area.
Upon moving in just a bit I find...a rifle.

I pick up the rifle at my feet and try readying it.
As I do so an unspeakably unpleasant tremor comes from below me, and it shakes
my entire body.

It is not something that I can see.
I decide this because I felt it only from below me. I can clearly tell that
something with a long body, like a caterpillar, is moving around below me.

As I move it moves in the same direction. So it is obvious that it is aiming
for me as it moves.

And then it shows itself.

It is a giant caterpillar about 5 meters long.
It sprays a green liquid from its fierce tusk-covered mouth. I can tell that
the liquid is poisonous just from looking at it.
And that it is definitely being discharged towards me.

I did not dodge it in time, so some of that liquid got on my arm.
The pain is sharp.
Red is rising up where the poisonous liquid got on me, as it is dissolving
the components of my skin.

I am in danger now.
I once again ready the rifle that I just picked up.
And then I rain bullets into the creature that has appeared above ground.

Green fluid began to leak from its abdomen, so it twisted its large body
and once again burrowed underground.

A steel plate is conveniently lying in the middle of the area.
If I can just get on top of it then I should be able to avoid direct attack...


I will not move from this position.
The steel plate looks like it would be safe; however, I would not be able to
sense its movements below me if I moved on top of it.
I judged that staying in this position is best for attacking.

It is about to rise above the ground again.
Just where is it going to appear from...

I listened carefully.
I wagered that it is coming from behind.

I spin around and fire the rifle.
It had just appeared there and my first shot went right through its head.

It exploded like a piece of fruit exploding, and liquid with a revolting color
and horrible smell began to flow around it.
I pursue it as it begins to try and escape back into the ground, firing
the rifle on this deserted floor of the Town Center.

I notice a way out. The hole has reappeared.
I flee the Town Center...

Perhaps the caterpillar from before was blocking my path to the hospital, as
my route, which had been blocked until just before, was now restored.

The entire town seemed like the insides of an enormous living thing.

If a part of it is treated...then a part of it is destroyed.
If a part of it disappears...then a part of it appears.
I get the feeling that I am wandering about within a living organism that
has become a labyrinth.

I open the gate to the hospital and then energetically open the door
of the examination room.
Inside Lisa was waiting for me.

She changes from looking completely exhausted and rushes over to me in an
innocent, childlike way.

"Glad you're OK."

"Thank God you came back.
I was scared to be here all alone."

"I'm here now. I was worried, too.
I'm real happy to see you."

I lightly hug Lisa and gently draw away. I then speak while looking into
her eyes.

"Lisa, can you tell me how to get to the lake?"

"The lake? You take Bachman Road."

"The road's blocked."
I recall what Cybil told me.

"Well, that's the only way out there."

"Are you sure?
There's gotta be another way."

Lisa places her hand on her chin and thinks for a bit. Then her eyes open
wide as if she has realized something.

"Wait, I just remembered something."


"There's a water works over by my old elementary school.
It's been abandoned for years.
There's an underground tunnel out there used for inspections, or something!
I remember hearing it runs all the way to the lake!"

"Really?! You think I can get to the lake from there?"

"I've never been down in there myself, so I'm not positive.
Besides, it's all fenced off to keep people out."

"If there's a chance, I've got to try."

Lisa embraces me again just as I think that her face is beginning to look

"Harry, don't go!
I don't want to be alone.
It's so scary I can't stand it."

This one room in an empty hospital.
In this state in which monsters could kick in the door and enter at any time,
she has no weapons with which to defend herself with.
So her being gripped with fear is only natural.

Lisa says "Don't go"

What should I do?

A ) Take Lisa with me.

B ) Leave Lisa here.