48 Hours a Day
Chapter 310 - Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Chapter 310 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Sand and stones dissipated heat quickly, and desert temperatures between day and night were at different extremes. In fact, the temperature difference between the noon and early morning could be in excess 30 degrees Celcius. One could either roast under the scorching sun or freeze at the drastically falling temperature at night. Also, to avoid the many venomous snakes and insects that made the desert their home, Zhang Heng chose a relatively high terrain to start a fire. Besides, fire also prevented larger and more dangerous predators from approaching them.
However, danger didn’t always originate from the surroundings. Zhang Heng, Jia Lai, and Bruno were all sitting around the bonfire. This should be the best time for them to make up for the lost stamina during the day, but none of the three dared close an eyelid. This was, without a doubt, the best opportunity for them if they wanted to get rid of each other. During the day, NASA kept a hawk’s eye on them from a few kilometers away, and it was difficult to carry out any dangerous maneuvers without being noticed. Although unknown if any NASA personnel stayed awake after nightfall, one thing was for sure. Visibility was significantly reduced in the dark. Even if the observers put in their best efforts, it was difficult to see everything from that distance.
The flames of the bonfire danced in the night, accompanied by crackling wood and flying embers. Nothing else moved apart from that, and it wasn’t after a long time before somebody spoke in a low voice.
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.”
“Dylan Thomas… it’s a poem he wrote to his critically ill father,” Zhang Heng said. “I always thought it was from the movie ‘Interstellar,’ replied Bruno as he yawned and rubbed his eyes that could barely keep open. Throughout the day, he used up most of his energy, and after dinner, he could feel the fatigue kicking in. However, he didn’t dare close his eyes even for a minute.
“I liked that movie a lot, and this poem as well. It’s relatable to our current situation, eh?” Jia Lai added. “Each time we participate in a new round of the game, we face the risk of elimination and loss. Let’s not talk about what happens after we lose. Everyone knows one thing, though. We mustn’t give up until the very last moment. After all, we don’t want to be forgotten by the world.”
“Uhh, to be honest, I don’t care if anyone remembers me or not,” Bruno shrugged. “When I thought that I would never be able to host a future party in my Australian mansion or driving my Porsche 911 to pick up hot college chicks, or my younger brother taking my share of my inheritance…. hell, of course, I don’t want to lose. After all, who knows if I would have such good luck in my next incarnation
“So what about you? What is the driving factor that gets you through these rounds?” asked Jia Lai as he shifted his gaze to Zhang Heng. “Since everyone isn’t resting, let’s talk to each other. There’s not much time left for us anyway.”
“I don’t know. For now, I’m just trying to figure out why these games were created in the first place,” Zhang Heng nonchalantly commented as he poked the bonfire before him with a twig.
“Yes, we all want to know who hosted this game, what its purpose is, and when it will stop and how to beat it eventually… but then again, we don’t always get answers to all our questions, right?”
Jia Lai’s eyes flickered in the fire as he stared blankly, and no one knew what went on in his mind. For a moment, Zhang Heng even thought that Jia Lai was about to strike.
Suddenly, Bruno’s nervous voice broke the awkward silence. “Yo, guys, look! What is that?!”
He just had just gotten up and was about to visit the nearby bushes to empty his bowels. Right after he unzipped his pants, something flashed before his eyes in the nearby darkness. Unsurprisingly, Bruno was freaked out. His fight or flight instincts kicked in, and he instantly panicked. He didn’t even bother clearing out the rest of the by-products in his stomach, running and stumbling while trying to pull his pants up.
Zhang Heng and Jia Lai stood up immediately when they heard the strange rustling, looking at each other in surprise. Clearly, this unexpected situation had nothing to do with any of them. Zhang Heng picked up a burning wood from the bonfire and pointed it in the direction where Bruno was running from. It was then that he saw mysterious silhouettes above the dunes not far away from them.
“What the heck is that?”
“It should be a mountain coyote.”
Zhang Heng observed quietly for a while. In the novice quest, he learned many techniques to identify animals from Bell. It happened to come in handy now, where Zhang Heng’s mind automatically fell on information about mountain coyotes.
A coyote subspecies native to the North American continent, the mountain coyote, could be found across the United States. The species could be seen in Washington State, the Cascade Mountains in eastern Oregon to the south through the Great Basin, the Sierra Nevada Highlands, and all the way to northern Mexico.
Most of the time, however, these coyotes thrived in forests, swamps, and grasslands; places that were abundant with food and water. It was rare running into a pack in a desert, and to make matters worse, they looked to be starving as well. The creatures appeared to have not hunted for a few days. Otherwise, the three players who had stayed close to the bonfire all the while would have never been targeted.
Zhang Heng was unsure if the NASA observers had noticed their predicament, but even if they did come to the rescue, it would take a good amount of time. The mountain coyotes were already on the prowl, stalking and surrounding their victims. It was one of those creatures that feared no man, and as humans continued to encroach into wild territory, there were often sightings in the suburbs. That said, although these creatures were usually solo hunters, they had now unexpectedly appeared in a pack.
Even Zhang Heng wouldn’t want to deal with five coyotes alone. Of course, he could turn around and run. Although most likely unable to outrun the coyotes, he should have no problem running faster than Bruno or Jia Lai. Then, something suddenly crossed his mind. Instead of leaving the campfire, he kicked two pieces of burning wood as thick as a forearm to Jia Lai and Bruno.
Jia Lai hesitated for a while, but eventually picked up the burning wood on the ground. He instinctively turned around and ran, but in his haste and anxiety, he tripped and fell, eating a mouthful of sand on the way down. When he raised his head, a coyote was already above him, growling and baring its massive fangs.
Bruno was nearly scared to death, but he also knew that he could count on no one in a time like this. That said, he should have been grateful that Zhang Heng and Jia Lai didn’t choose to eliminate him now. Fortunately, Bruno was also an experienced player who had completed several rounds, and though his game items were gone, the skills he mastered hadn’t left him. So, in a split second, he wrapped his elbows around the coyote’s neck so that it couldn’t bite him. Quickly, he got up and pinned the coyote to the ground.
On the other hand, Jia Lai was a lot calmer under the attack of the coyotes. He stood there and watched them with an icy stare. And just as the canine’s hind legs slammed the ground, preparing to pounce, Jia Lai jumped, strangling the unexpecting coyote with lighting speed.