7 ◇ The Chicken Booth ◇
Several blocks away... Lu Xing could be seen walking quietly along the streets filled with vendors of all sorts. He was in Downtown Farmer's Marketplace, where the aroma of good food was thick in the air.
His stomach grumbled.
"Ah...food." Lu Xing practically drooled.
He stopped by the closest food vendor, and found...
"Ma'am, I'll have 3 pork steam buns, 3 sweet bean paste steam buns, and 3 vegetable steam buns." Lu Xing requested barely containing his excitement, "Please add a cooling tea as well."
The elderly auntie behind the booth handled the order to the T. Happy with his order, after paying 13 yuan, he continued walking. His bag hung by his right wrist that was holding his drink, and in his left hand was a pork steam bun which he was happily munching on.
The bliss he was feeling was rather understandable...
He had lived through so many food shortages during his prior life that a simple steam bun was practically gold now.
'Now to find the livestock vendor...' Lu Xing thought scanning the street.
Then he finally spotted it at the street corner, and after reaching the booth, he took a good look at it. The man had chickens and quails all over his booth in cages or he had egg cartons with hatchable or non hatchable eggs. Baby chicks were in boxes with the top uncovered.
"Hey mister...you wouldn't happen to have any coops for sale? And maybe an incubator or two?" Lu Xing asked as he continued looking at the types of quails and chickens available.
The gruff looking man who sat behind the booth with the appearance of someone who was in a foul mood...straightened up instantly.
"I've got two coops for sale on the back of my truck as it so happens. In fact, I've also got three incubators back home too." The man said giving him a wolfish smile, "Would you be liking to purchase a certain type of birdies to your fancy as well kind sir?"
Lu Xing was immediately relieved to find that he'd be able to purchase what he needed from the first day.
"I'll have 10 button quails, and 9 pekin hens, and 1 pekin rooster." Lu Xing said pointing to each cage before, after placing his drink into the bag and stuffing what was left of his steam bun into his mouth, he then took out a piece of paper and pen from his pocket.
He quickly wrote down something down before passing it to the mister.
"Take everything I've ordered and insure that it arrives on time to that warehouse. That includes the two coops, and those three incubators. You'll be paid in full the moment you arrive that day and time." Lu Xing stated as he neatly handed over 10,000 yaun.
The man's eyes lit up.
"Yes of course sir. That won't be a problem." The man took the money with shakey hands, "Would there be anything else that this humble man can do for you sir?"
"Where do you live if you don't mind me asking?" Lu Xing asked his brow raised inquiringly.
The man eyes widened in surprise.
"Why I live in Qianbei Village just north of Y City, in the outskirts, just us humble hard working folks out there." The man said.
"I see," Lu Xing said, though unnoticeable, he had been shaken by the information, "Sorry if this seems odd...but is there a Peng family in that village?"
The man started feeling flustered, "Actually, I'm Peng Xiong, my family is the only Prng in that village...why do you ask kind sir?"
Lu Xing blinked in surprise.
'This is too much of a coincidence...' Lu Xing thought feeling a sense of sadness settling in...
"Are you related to a pair of twins? They go by Peng Xiaolang, and Peng Yiran?" Lu Xing asked hoping he was wrong...
"Why yes. Those two are my children!" The man, Peng Xiong, suddenly smiled proudly, "Have you heard of them?"
"Ah yes...only in passing though." Lu Xing said acting embarrassed as he placed a hand against the back of his head.
"Good smart children those two!" Peng Xiong boasted rather fondly as he pocketed the money and the note from the man.
"Yes, truely intelligent types those two. And their only...16 yrs old right now...its quite impressive..." Lu Xing said but is hands involuntarily became fists.
"Did you watch that insane broadcast earlier?! Lots of people are talking about it, some think its an insane hacker, but some think its a cult!" Some random passersby were talking rather actively...
"Tch..." Lu Xing let out, he knew it would be hopelessly useless but he had given it a try regardless.
"It's odd what's happening...someone hacking the tele only to leave such a farfetched story..." Peng Xiong started saying then shook his head before scratching his chin, "Except my children seem to have become fans of this Silver Fox man. Seems they want to believe what he's saying...about the red moon...and the zombies."
Lu Xing couldn't help but smile, as he notice how embarrassed the older man seemed.
"After this delivery you'll be doing for me...I would like to give you some advice." Lu Xing said, "Head to Z City, take it as a vacation of sorts if you must...but head over there before the 23rd. Maybe that Silver Fox or whoever might be just saying stuff, but I don't believe that there's anything wrong with humoring your kids."
Lu Xing could see the hesitation in the man's eyes...
"Right, we haven't even agreed on the payment amount...how about 50,000 yuan." Lu Xing said, "That'll be my final offer."
The man was shocked speechless.
"This should be enough to get you and your kids a well earned vacation right?" Lù Xing asked smiling.
"Good sir, that is much more than what you'd be paying for all of this!" The man waved at his booth, all his hen and roosters and quails were hand raised and farm hatched.
All inexpensive, the coops were handmade by him and slightly weathered, the incubators were spares... all under 25,000 yuan.
"Yes sir...perhaps you're right." Peng Xiong said feeling shaken, his first customer in three days...yet...here he was being overwhelmed by the young man's generosity.
"Good, then I'll be seeing you in Qigong Warehouse, at the agreed time." Lu Xing said as he waved to the man, his hand rummaging through the bag for another steam bun, as he began to walk away.
Munching happily away as though no unpleasant memories from having seen Peng Xiong...
But the more he tried to forget it, the more the memories flooded in...
'No way I would've recognized him...' Lu Xing thought as he continued walking, 'after all, he was dead back then.'
The memories unwanted as they were...began to vividly be relived.
Lu Xing could practically feel himself walking into that nightmarish moment in time...
The moment when he realized for the first time that humans could also be monsters.
<The walls had been dyed in blood...Peng Xiong's corpse laying in the middle of the hallway... A bullet straight through his head, the man hadn't been a zombie...that had been obvious from the first glance. Instead his son was in one of the rooms, strung up to a ceiling fan...his body mutilated.>
<The worst part was that zombies had obviously not been the culprits.>
Lu Xing began to hail for a taxi, his eyes were darkened by the emotions the unwanted memories brought him.
The taxi arrived, so he got on and gave the man instructions.
<The boy had been raped...played with...and tortured to death. The disgust and sheer horror of the scene had cause Lu Xing and the other survivors nightmares for nights afterwards. They ended up searching the deserted village for supplies...possibly even more survivors. That very same day, Lu Xing had come across the house's secret crawl space under the floor in the closet that was in the bloodstained room.>
'That's when I met her...' Lu Xing thought back to the dirty faced girl he'd met that day.