A big piece of meat
The beast violently thrashed around the campfire, throwing Zhang Xiao Qiang around like a ragdoll. Dizzy and unable to keep his sense of direction, he vomited, as he clung to its back in desperation. If not for the searing pain in his hands, he would have thought that he had lost his limbs long ago. Suddenly, there was a bump. It seemed to have broken his tailbone as he felt a numbing sensation creep from his hips to waist.
“Wahh…” Zhang Xiao Qiang cried out. Now, he was continuously vomiting, but all he could taste was the bitterness of only the bile that remained. The monster carried him on its back, unrelenting in its rampage. All his joints felt as though they had been torn apart. Unable to muster up the strength to fight, all he could do was clamp onto its neck and waist.
In the corner of his mouth, he could taste a faint sweetness; Zhang Xiao Qiang had bit down too hard, and his gums were starting to bleed. It was hard to keep his eyes open; he could feel the unconsciousness quickly coming upon him.
Zhang Xiao Qiang didn’t know where it would take him, nor did he know what fate awaited him, but none of that mattered now. He was already riding it and it was too late to get off.
Reaching a galloping pace, the wind began to sting Zhang Xiao Qiang’s eyes, so he buried his face into the beast’s back. He could hear the wind as it whipped through its fur and the steady, rhythmic pounding of its feet. His body felt the vibrations and the bumps in its body. His mind was blank, he didn’t care about anything, only the peace of the coming end.
After some time, the sky began to lighten. The beast also started to slow down, and touching its neck, he could feel some wet fur. Only when the sky was completely bright, did it reduce its pace to a trot, panting heavily.
“Here’s my chance!” he realised, releasing his hands and grabbing onto the horns of its head, pushing it forwards. Zhang Xiao Qiang sat on its neck, his legs tightly wrapped around its throat.
Holding onto its horn with his left hand, he drew out the hammer from his waist and smashed it down forcefully onto its head. “Eeee…” the beast let out a wail as it tried to throw him off. Zhang Xiao Qiang started to feel faint again.
However, it’s bucking stopped, and Zhang Xiao Qiang struck its head again, causing the beast to shake it’s head once more. At that point, he stopped, so as to avoid being thrown off, and once it had, continued his attack.
This happened in turn, over and over, eventually tiring the beast, however, Zhang Xiao Qiang was losing the strength to hold on. Suddenly, as he leaned back, the beast stood up, throwing him backwards.
But as he fell, he managed to grab on to its horn and held on, waiting for it to return to the ground.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the crossbow arrow firmly embedded in its forehead, lodged just deep enough to hit bone but not the brain, making it painful but not fatal.
Zhang Xiao Qiang saw hope, and gathering himself, he sat on its back and waited for an opportunity.
“Another chance!” it stood up again.
Zhang Xiao Qiang grabbed onto the horn, left leg wrapped around its chin, right foot on its back, and straightened himself up. “Dang” the hammer hit the tail of the arrow, causing it to sink further into the beast’s forehead. “Eeeee….” it moaned again loudly, leaving his ears buzzing.
The beast continued to leap up and down; sitting on the top of it, he felt like he was flying up and then falling. The hammer flew out of his hands, the left hand that was holding onto the horn was now bloodied from grinding.
He did not know how long it would be until it finally ceased, before it, taking a few steps back… then a few more, fell down sideways onto the ground. Zhang Xiao Qiang didn’t let go, and so was thrown onto the ground with it.
He groaned as he pulled his left leg out from underneath it. Unable to feel anything, he rubbed his calf to which there was a slight pain. “Is it broken?” he worried, and checked it more carefully.
The leg bone was fine, but his left foot was hanging off his leg, “It’s dislocated.” Zhang Xiao Qiang gently pushed it a few times and until it suddenly moved up.
“Sshhhh…” he breathed in painfully, and looked again; it still wasn’t connected.
“I’ve never learnt to do this,” he chuckled to himself nonchalantly.
After several attempts, and torturing his feet in the process, he finally managed to fix it. The wounded Zhang Xiao Qiang looked over at the slain beast.
“Morning! Uncle, waaa! That’s a big goat!!!” Yang Ke Er exclaimed from behind.
Zhang Xiao Qiang turned around to see that the camp was only 10m away. Smoke gently wafted away in the breeze from the now extinguished camp fire. Yang Ke Er sleepily looked at the mutated beast’s body; he had spent one night riding the beast and ended back at the starting point.
He shifted his gaze to her, then to the sky, which was completely bright. A wave of weariness washed over him. “Don’t worry about me, im going to sleep” Zhang Xiao Qiang said hoarsely, as he lay on the carcass which was still warm and fell asleep.
A little girl was playing leapfrog at the same time, as she panted continuously. Zhang Xiao Qiang looked at the two large horns on their sides. The big horn, around 60-70cm in length, was engraved with spiralling lines from the top to bottom. They both felt like they were made of jade and knocking them together made a brittle metal sound. The big horn was hollow, thick at the bottom and thin on the top. The top was sharp and felt firm, there was no trace of the knife cuts, but it had a cutting edge.
“It really is a treasure!” exclaimed Zhang Xiao Qiang as he ran his hands over it. Looking carefully he saw the smooth fine lines, admiring its mystery and elegance. Even though he wanted to take it off he was afraid to do so.
A knife would have no effect and his hammer would only smash it. Mulling it over in his mind, he decided to take the steel crossbow bolts and use the hammer to slowly chisel away at the horn of the beast.
By the side there were some bamboo poles with pieces of animal fur. The hide was also a treasure; poking it did not damage it in the slightest, but it was still soft. As he was pulling it off, his head started to hurt from a wound he had sustained, so he used his shovel to slowly strip it away. Now the beast lay there naked.
“Uncle, that was 2000 times!” Yang Ke Er reminded Zhang Xiao Qiang that she had done 2000 jumping jacks.
“Rest for a while, then do another 2000!” he responded casually, wondering what good the two horns could do?
“Uncle” Yang Ke Er said.
“????” Zhang Xiao Qiang looked at her.
“It’s a lot of physical work, is there any meat to eat? Otherwise I can’t keep jumping!” Yang Ke Er complained.
“No!” Zhang Xiao Qiang was definite.
“Isn’t that a big piece of meat?” Yang Ke Er pointed to the naked beast.
“Huh?” Zhang Xiao Qiang began to think.
Zombies eat flesh and mutated dogs eat zombies, however, the dogs did not become infected after consuming their virus-infected flesh. This means that the virus in the meat will let it evolve but not mutate, furthermore indicating that there are some substances in the animal that will produce a positive response when combined with the virus. Therefore, animals must be immune to the virus.
Zombies don’t eat other zombies, because their flesh will have no effect on their evolution. Zombies must then be only interested in virus-free flesh.
Previously, the zombies had surrounded the dogs, so naturally they would have wanted to eat the dog’s meat. This means that the flesh of the large dogs had no virus, as it had already been cleared by the animal’s body!
“Which means you can eat it and it’ll be fine!” Zhang Xiao Qiang realised.
“Uncle, can I!” Yang Ke Er persisted.
“Continue to train, we’ll talk come dinner time!” Zhang Xiao Qiang said.
“Yeeeesss!!! Theres gonna be meat to eat tonight!” Zhang Xiao Qiang bounded away, in high spirits.