Guoba is a ‘scorched rice’ which is eaten as a snack. Stuck with chinese name since it sounded tastier.
Dried chicken, duck and goose fluttered in the breeze above the living room. A section of sausage on top resembled a banner in full flight. The past few days were filled with drilling noises, now filled with the aroma of cooking. The 16th floor had changed so quickly.
Several handymen on the 14th floor balcony smelled the fragrance. One asked,
“Yesterday was pancakes, what is today’s smell?”
“Guoba! My grandmother would cook it way more delicious than the supermarket!”
“What do you think they are doing? Why would they need to cook so much every day?”
“Maybe for lunchboxes?”
“Making lunchboxes and guoba?”
“There is no smell of side dishes.”
“Who said that? Wasn’t there such smells just yesterday?”
“It was 5:30 in the evening, someone must have been cooking dinner!”
Today’s tasks were now complete! Luo Xun smiled as he removed the excess oil from the last piece of guoba. He was happy since he had used up half of the loose bulk rice. Bulk food is hard to store, especially in a home with many plants. He decided to make food in advance so the worms would have nutrients while digging through the soil.
Luo Xun installed a fan along with hoods for a gas stove outside the kitchen. Energy was always scarce, doubly so in an apocalypse. Therefore he needed to save electricity in order to avoid paying any fees to foreign parties.
For example, he had three freezers, one was vertical, the other two were horizontal. All three were large volume appliances with high energy saving capabilities. Right now only one is operational, filled with all kinds of meat bought from the supermarket.
All the bulbs were replaced with energy saving variants. Luo Xun also stockpiled candles, alcohol and so on. Back in the living room, the puppy saw Luo Xun and climbed his leg, shaking her tail merrily while begging for hugs.
Luo Xun picked up the puppy and gave her chin rubs while lounging on the couch. His body stank of sweat but Luo Xun felt too tired and lazy to change clothes. He also cannot be bothered since he was alone and the puppy could not abandon him.
There were two fish tanks next to the sofa, one had several fish and other had shrimp. These were not ornamental aquatic creatures but ones bought at the market. Luo Xun did not know the exact care methods but they were living, cheap and easy to bring home. The fish and shrimp species were not known due to small size. The next day half died, the rest dwindled down to four fish and three shrimp remaining.
The eight quails were held in a modified aquarium tank next to the balcony window. Luo Xun had specially bought mealworms for the birds to be stored in a separate tank. The animals were easy to raise, pad the ground and give vegetables. Luo Xun did not know when the quails would lay eggs.
Luo Xun fished out his cellphone and aimlessly surfed the Internet while glancing at his meat stores. With 2080 yuan left, Luo Xun planned to go out the day before doomsday to buy a bunch of ready made snacks and takeaway. In between now and the apocalypse, there was not much to do other than preparing food and playing with the puppy.
In less than 10 days, the world would greatly change. It was unknown how many people would die during the apocalypse. His fingers subconsciously inputted words and Luo Xun was drawn to one of the search results.
On November 22 “How to make/use technology during the apocalypse” was created in a forum. The content was very detailed, starting from well-known protective measures to teaching people how to repurpose existing household items, water purification and stretching food stores. The thread attracted a large crowd of onlookers.
The thread was active with sudden and spontaneous additions. Each time the writer went online, followers would happily find new content. Moderators rated it highly since there were no prophecies, rumor spreading or telemarketing; just teaching people on further uses of existing household items.
Afterall many things are readily available at home. Even if most did not believe the apocalypse would come, it was not a bad idea to grow sprouts, garlic and cherry tomatoes at home. Even if the plants were not eaten, they could be used for greenery beside the computer.
Home planting had been quietly popular in current society. Housewives afraid of potentially unsafe produce were the first to try. The tension increase since the title included ‘apocalypse’. Quite a few inquired about the topic which drew in people with planting experience.
Luo Xun felt faint regret as he looked out from his home. Was the post made too late? Would more people have been helped if he posted earlier?
No, it was not too late. Luo Xun posted the day’s content and scratched the sleepy puppy. Interested people would naturally experiment and check other posts. The uninterested would do nothing even if someone predicted the apocalypse.
No one would believe conspiracy theories without proof. Even knowing that the apocalypse would start on November 28, Luo Xun was willing to believe that his past life was nothing but a dream.
It was November 26, 11 in the evening according to the phone clock. Tomorrow he would go out one last time, the next day doomsday began. On November 27 at 8 in the evening the writer posted the last forum post.
Many onlookers arrived early, refreshing the page in wait of new information and tips. People had tried planting home crops, some bought distillation equipment. These were hands on activities people had not done since leaving school science labs. At 8 o’clock the new post appeared. Some reread the entire post since the contents were very shocking.
Today is the last post because after midnight on November 27, that is November 28, the apocalypse will arrive.
The author advises the following: if you live with someone, it is best to stay in separate rooms and lock the doors since zombies cannot turn knobs by themselves. If you have pets, best keep them in cages or separate rooms because once a zombie their lethality surpasses imagination.
Those who see this message should store up as much tap water as possible since the author does not know when the water gets contaminated. Saving water costs nothing, tomorrow everyone can have a water party.
Other precautions have been described. Even if the previously mentioned items like food and medicine are not prepared, first aid maneuvers can be used until a rescue team arrives. Believe it, zombies will appear.
P.S. The author hopes this prediction is false and we all see the light of day tomorrow.
The reply surprised everyone who shifted to a “it is like that” mindset. Someone had speculated that the posts would lead people along then drop a bombshell. This kind of trick is common online, especially in conspiracy forums.
Up until now, the writer had been teaching them while cultivating worry but the final post made people think “hogwash as expected”. The last message was deleted after some discussion at 8:21 p.m.
On November 28 at midnight, the sky quietly turned dark red, some noticed but thought it was normal. Luo Xun stood in front of the bedroom window, the puppy was in her cage, the small quails in separate containers and the few fish and shrimp in individual buckets. Even the worms and plants were separated from each other.
Tonight had the same red sky, the same dark atmosphere. Gradually a dark green light shined in all directions as snow began to fall.
Luo Xun stared blankly at the sky then crawled into bed. In his past life he did not turn into a zombie or develop powers. Right now he could care less about powers, he just hoped he did not wake up a zombie…