48 Hours a Day
Chapter 471 - Tsunami
Chapter 471 Tsunami
The tallest nearby structures were several residential buildings located on the east side of the road, though a green zone remained in the middle of it all. Zhang Heng visually estimated the distance to the spot, where he concluded that it would be almost impossible to get there in time. Instead, the four-story museum on the west side looked like a more reachable goal.
Wasting not a second, he jumped off the taxi’s roof and ran toward the museum as fast as he could. The cab driver was still in a rage, mad over his passenger trampling on his vehicle’s roof. At that time, Zhang Heng had already arrived at where the bus sign was. He hastily pushed away two high school students engrossed with their mobiles, then ran toward the bicycle and pedestrian lane before jumping over the museum’s ticketing gate.
The ticket collector operating the booth was taken aback by the intruder, yelling at Zhang Heng to stop as he went after him. Not only did Zhang Heng refuse to stop running, but he started to speed up the moment he heard those cries. An elderly couple had just entered the museum, and Zhang Heng slipped in before the automatic door closed.
The museum was open for business not too long ago, and there weren’t yet many visitors. There were only about a dozen people in the bronzeware exhibition hall on the first floor, where they slowly strolled and admired the showroom’s collections.
Zhang Heng found the stairs in a few seconds, but the guards on the first floor were alerted as well. They began to surround him in no time. Zhang Heng, however, didn’t plan on wasting any time on them. His mind raced to calculate how much time he had left, eventually estimating that he should have around six or seven seconds left. At that moment, the guard who was now on his right attempted to pounce on him, but Zhang Heng managed to duck the attack, avoiding it by inches. The guard on his left failed to capture him as well since a shelf separated them.
In the final three seconds, Zhang Heng ran up the stairs as quickly as his legs would climb them. From the corner of his eye, he could see through the glass wall that the gargantuan tidal wave was already making landfall. Then, it struck! The ten-meter wave mercilessly smashed onto the museum’s south-side glass wall, shattering the double-layered tempered glass in less than half a second!
After that, swathes of seawater rushed into the museum along with a barrage of branches, bricks, bicycles, and other garbage. Zhang Heng managed to rush to the third floor at the last moment. Seawater swallowed the two floors beneath him in the blink of an eye, and the guards in pursuit were swept away by the colossal wave before they could even shout for help. The group of tourists visiting the museum had disappeared, probably killed by as well.
At this moment, Zhang Heng felt as if he was alone on a deserted island in a vast ocean. The human species was evidently powerless against natural disasters.
Nobody really expected a tsunami to hit them, and as it approached the city, many people didn’t realize what was happening. It was all but too late when they realized that a cataclysm was coming for them. While many were swept away by the unstoppable current, either being pushed to the wall or trapped in their floating cars, sharp objects impaled the more unlucky ones, or in this case, lucky, as they were instantly killed on the spot.
A little girl wearing a dress about six to seven years of age opened her eyes wide in terror, utterly shocked by the devastation taking place right in front of her.
Zhang Heng didn’t bother asking about her parents. Before he could catch his breath, he saw a second wave approaching at an incredible speed. This one was even taller than the previous one, almost as tall as the museum itself. Instead of running upstairs, he turned and ran to the center of the three-story exhibition hall. He heard a thunderous rumble behind him, and that was when the giant wave effortlessly penetrated the last two layers of glass. The exquisite collections of porcelain from the Tang and Song dynasties had resisted the test of time, but they were nothing against the mighty tsunami. These ended up like the glass wall, too, shattered into oblivion.
The second wave spared nothing in its path, swallowing the little girl behind Zhang Heng too. Zhang Heng held onto a pillar and hugged it as tightly as he could. The ravaging pillar of water came crashing on the pillar violently, and as it hit Zhang Heng’s body, it split into two streams, rushing forward with unstoppable force to the wall.
The museum vibrated and shook to its core, but fortunately, the building’s foundations were strong enough to withstand the impact. Zhang Heng wasn’t so lucky. Since the waves did not break through the wall, they flowed back and headed for him instead. All he could do right now was to curl up and protect his vital organs. Fortunately, the wave was weakened when it returned to Zhang Heng, and since he was holding on to nothing, he was swept along with it. The powerful undercurrent caused him to tumble a few times beneath the water. The world around him spun violently, and all he could do now was ride it out and hope he survived.
That said, after completing the Apollo training camp, Zhang Heng was now a master at resisting dizziness after his episodes of getting thrown around a centrifuge like a ragdoll.
He held onto his breath and tried his best to deal with the impact using his back. Thankfully, he remained conscious, and a minute later, he could clearly feel the undercurrent beginning to weaken. It meant that the tsunami’s first wave was about to over. Zhang Heng waited for underwater for about 20 seconds, and right before he ran out of oxygen, he regained control of his body. As he stuck his head out of the water, he quickly realized that the world around him had changed drastically.
The city was no longer a familiar sight.
The once heavy traffic plying the roads were now all under meters of water. The tsunami had completely engulfed the houses built in the lower area nearby, causing only their roofs to be visible. High-rise buildings survived, though, except for a few who had weak foundations.
Zhang Heng wiped the seawater off his face. He saw broken parasol trees and utility poles floating all around him. Overhead cables were entangled with tree branches, and there was even a sandal undulating along with the waves, its owner nowhere to be found.
After a while, Zhang Heng found a door panel floating by. Immediately, he pulled it toward him. It could be used as a raft, and since getting it meant he no longer needed to tread water, precious physical strength could be conserved. This might just be the first wave, and no one knew if or when the next one would hit the city again. Having those thoughts in mind, Zhang Heng decided to prepare in advance.
Now that he was in Han Lu’s dream, common sense and experience might not work in this world. In fact, the tsunami was more than bizarre. Zhang Heng wasn’t sure if the tsunami was in any way related to the Dreamland of Death, but it explained why Han Lu left her place in such a hurry. She must have been warned.
Nonetheless, considering her exodus to the airport, she could be anywhere at the moment, and all Zhang Heng could do was pray that Han Lu managed to get to safety in time. As for the burning questions in his mind, they would have to wait until she was located.
But the bad news was that the tsunami had destroyed the city, and everyone related to Han Lu had either been killed or missing. Now, Zhang Heng completely lost track of his goal, and he was at a complete loss on what to do next.
For now, he had to look for a safe place, waiting to see if a second tsunami would arrive.