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SPECIAL STAR

Author: ShawnGuh

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: THE START OF THE END

As an ancient book unfurls, a multitude of worlds spill forth from its pages. Within this vast expanse lies Terra, an immense flat realm adrift in an infinite sky, with the sun shining above and the moon lingering below. Once governed by godly monarchs, the true history of Terra has faded into obscurity. Now, our tale unfolds in the city, Radiant, a western city where a multitude of non-magical humans reside.

As the alarm resonates, Adam(28) awakens, commencing his preparations for work. He enters a room where his slumbering seven-month-old daughter, Leona, rests peacefully. Moving to the kitchen, he finds his three month pregnant wife, Lia(27), and their son, Conor(11). Affectionately tousling Conor's hair, Adam encourages him to consume his vegetables, but Conor, declaring himself a carnivore, expresses his distaste for greens. Lia reminds Conor to hurry or risk being late for school. Before departing, Adam and Lia share a tender kiss, bidding each other farewell.

Arriving at his workplace, Adam parks his car and steps into a bustling factory. Guided by the hum of gears and machinery, he proceeds to a room filled with various apparatuses. Pushing his utility cart onto the busy work floor, where machines tirelessly churn out plastic products, Adam locates the one in need of repair. Brandishing a wrench, he sets about fixing the machine, while nearby, Kiren(20) organizes an assortment of plastic items. Curious, Kiren inquires about Sam's upcoming promotion. As Adam tends to the machine, he confirms Kiren's query, acknowledging Sam's well-deserved advancement. Kiren loads a box of products onto a rack and wonders how long Adam has known Sam. Adam reveals a decade-long friendship, blossoming quickly following his marriage. Kiren mentions their own three-year acquaintance and expresses a desire to join Adam and Sam as friends. Emerging from the machine, Adam jests that Kiren, still only twenty, must wait until turning twenty-one due to their drinking habits. Kiren laments his approaching birthday, suggesting that they start their journey as best friends now. Chuckling, Adam encounters Sam(30), who arrives and checks on them, clutching a clipboard. Adam reminds Sam that is it not wise to be late for work on his day of promotion, prompting a laugh from Sam, who explains he encountered heavy traffic. After ticking off a few items on his list, Sam eagerly reminds Adam about the celebratory gathering at his place. Sam affirms his readiness to partake in libations, and Kiren interjects, expressing his desire to attend as well. Playfully, Sam states that this is an exclusive affair. Pointing to the accumulating products on Kiren's workstation, he instructs Kiren to return to work.

Later, Sam arrives home, hastily changing clothes, while his wife, Megan(29), inquires about his plans. Sam responds curtly with a touch of anger, affirming his intention to go out again. Megan asks if she can accompany him, prompting a frustrated outburst as Sam asserts it is a boys' night and she cannot join. Megan's brother, Austin(25), emerges, wondering if he can tag along, given the occasion. Sam glances at Austin, who has Down syndrome, and dismisses him, claiming he lacks the intelligence to hang out with the boys, remarking that playing chess won't make him any smarter. Sam's son, Duke(12), comes to Austin's aid, assuring him of his inherent intelligence and offering to play together. Megan, crestfallen, gazes out of the window as Sam departs, slamming the door behind him. Wiping away her tears, she takes a seat on the couch, patiently waiting.

At night, Sam arrives at Adam's house, greeted by Lia's warm smile as she opens the door. Adam and Conor emerge, surprising Sam with balloons and gifts, celebrating his recent promotion. Sam grins and playfully pinches Conor's cheek, while Adam and Sam exchange handshakes before heading inside. They make their way to the living room, where the evening unfolds with laughter and glasses filled with alcoholic beverages.

As the night progresses, Adam's eyelids grow heavy, and he drifts off to sleep. Waking the next morning, Adam stirs to the sound of his daughter Leona's cries. Hastily, he rushes to her room, soothing her back to tranquility. Afterward, Adam proceeds to the bathroom to freshen up, pondering the extent of his previous night's indulgence. Returning to his bedroom, he notices his wife's absence from the bed. Glancing at his phone, he discovers messages from Lia, indicating that she received an urgent call from her mother and hastily left home. Concerned, Adam dials Lia's number, seeking assurance about her mother's well-being. Engaged in a conversation with Lia, Adam absorbs the situation and concludes the call, understanding the gravity of the matter.

In the kitchen, Adam prepares a succulent steak while Conor enters the living room, switching on the television. The news reporter on the screen mentions the impending meeting of the "Big 3" in Nemura city. Presenting the beautifully cooked steak, Adam brings a smile to Conor's face, who eagerly savors the meal. Glancing at the television, Adam expresses surprise at Conor's interest in politics. Conor, mouth still full, explains his admiration for the strength of the "Big 3" and his fascination with magic. Adam nods, informing Conor that his mother will be returning home soon and entrusting him to watch over Leona. Just as Adam is about to depart for work, Conor reveals that he has a secret to share. Adam promises to discuss it after work, hurriedly making his way out, but not before Conor reminds him about their archery practice scheduled for the next day. Waving goodbye, Adam heads off to work.

As Adam pushes his cart through the bustling work floor, he passes a hooded man adorned with a crown symbol on his back. Intrigued, Adam turns to observe the mysterious figure as he exits the factory. Resuming his path, Adam reaches his station and resumes repairing the same machine. Meanwhile, Kiren loads boxes onto a rack and questions Adam about Sam's absence from work. Confused by Sam's repeated tardiness, Adam ponders the reason behind it. Kiren then inquires about their drinking session from the previous day. Adam responds, admitting that they consumed a considerable amount and his memories of the night are hazy. Adam dials Megan's number and she picks up, informing him that Sam did not return home the previous night. Adam proceeds to recount his recollections from the previous evening, explaining what he can remember to Megan.

Suddenly, a loud scream reverberates through the work floor, causing both Adam and Kiren to turn their attention towards the source. They witness a terrified co-worker crawling backward in fear, confronted by a bloodied woman. The worker pleads with the woman to stay away, but she pounces on him, biting into his flesh as blood splatters. Filled with panic, Kiren retreats to a hiding spot, while Adam rushes to intervene. Adam witnesses the gruesome scene, noticing the bite marks on the dying worker, which prompts him to vomit. Overwhelmed by the situation, he questions the horrifying reality unfolding before his eyes.

As the bloodied woman advances towards Adam, he issues a stern warning, gripping her neck to force her head up. He observes her lifeless gray eyes, bulging veins on her face, and a bloody mouth. Fending off her attempts to bite him, Adam pushes her away, and she growls in response. Emerging from his hiding spot, Kiren recognizes the woman's resemblance to a zombie. Their attention is then captured by a cacophony of screams echoing throughout the workplace. Filled with fear, Kiren covers his ears and witnesses the previously deceased worker rising from the ground. Succumbing to panic, Kiren proclaims the grim reality—they are indeed facing zombies.

With a nearby hammer in hand, Adam brandishes it at the two advancing zombies, warning them that their actions are no laughing matter if this is some sort of prank. Kiren, overwhelmed by terror, closes his eyes and continues to panic. Adam cautions the zombies that he will strike if they come any closer, though his shaken state he betrays his composure. Suddenly, a voice resounds within Adam's mind, announcing that it is time. Clutching his head in pain, Adam experiences a momentary disorientation. Despite hitting the female zombie in the shoulder with his hammer, she remains undeterred, continuing her relentless pursuit. It dawns on Adam that this is no prank or dream—it is an undeniable reality.

In the midst of chaos, Adam notices another worker being chased by a running zombie. Kiren's desperate cry of "the end of the world" fills the air. With a determined swing of his hammer, Adam strikes the female zombie's head, causing her to collapse lifelessly onto the ground. Shaken by the sight, Adam struggles to comprehend the situation. Meanwhile, Kiren desperately fends off the worker zombie's advances. Coming to his friend's aid, Adam forcefully pushes the zombie away from Kiren, swiftly pulling him to safety. Using a nearby table, Adam flips it over as a makeshift barrier, shielding themselves from the relentless onslaught of the worker zombie.

Back at Adam's house, Lia is busy cleaning the kitchen while Conor remains engrossed in watching news about the Big 3's meeting. Curious about his prolonged focus, Lia questions Conor if he intends to watch something else. However, Conor disregards his mother's inquiry as something catches his attention in the window. Moving closer to investigate, Conor spots a zombie slowly making its way along the sidewalk. The zombie suddenly locks eyes with Conor and sprints toward the house. Alarmed, Conor calls out for his mother just as the zombie violently smashes its head against the window.

Reacting swiftly, Lia grabs hold of Conor, witnessing the relentless zombie repeatedly bashing its head against the window until it shatters. Urging Conor to retreat to his room, Lia seizes a broom and braces herself as the zombie clambers into the house through the broken window but the sharp fragments of glass slash open its stomach, causing blood to gush out as it stands upright in the living room. The crimson liquid flows onto the floor, creating a macabre scene. Growling menacingly, the zombie remains determined, prompting Lia to deliver a forceful blow to its head with the broom, which unfortunately breaks upon impact. Momentarily stunned, the zombie quickly regains its composure and lunges at Lia, attempting to bite her face. Lia employs the broken broom to exert pressure against the zombie's neck as they fall onto the sofa.

Just then, Conor emerges from his room, armed with his bow, and fires an arrow at the zombie's shoulder. However, the zombie remains unaffected by the attack. Utilizing all her strength, Lia pushes the zombie away, causing it to stumble and fall onto its back. As the zombie struggles to rise, Lia drives the broken broom forcefully into its chest, pushing out the zombie through the broken window, where it tumbles headfirst onto a nearby rock, shattering its skull upon impact. Disgusted by the gruesome sight, Lia attempts to contact Adam on her phone, but he does not answer. She then reaches out to Megan, who answers, and Lia proceeds to recount the horrifying events that unfolded within her home.

At Megan's residence, Austin engages in a solitary game of chess outdoors while Duke emerges from the house and realizes there's only one chair. He informs Austin that he'll fetch an additional chair and departs. While Austin remains focused on the chess pieces, he suddenly perceives faint rustling sounds nearby. He scans the surroundings and rises to his feet, spotting a trembling young girl on the ground nearby. Approaching her, Austin inquires about her well-being, anxiously surveying the area. His attention is drawn to a bite mark on the girl's arm and a trail of blood adjacent to her. Following the blood trail, he arrives at a house where he witnesses a zombie feasting on another man through a window. Alarmed, Austin swiftly retreats, but the little girl awakens and leaps onto him.

Meanwhile, back at Megan's house, Megan is still in a phone conversation with Lia, urging her to stay calm and contact the police, deeming it the most appropriate course of action. Megan continues her dialogue with Lia while Duke carries a chair towards the front door. Austin rushes back inside and promptly retreats to his room. Duke sets the chair down and approaches Austin's room, finding the door closed. He queries Austin about his well-being, only to be met with a request to leave. Placing his ear against the door, Duke discerns Austin's anguished sounds. He cautiously opens the door, witnessing Austin convulsing and undergoing a transformation into a zombie. Bewildered, Duke utters Austin's name, prompting Austin to turn and charge at him. Duke hurriedly shuts the door as Austin pounds against it.

As Megan remains on the phone with Lia, a loud scream emanates from the receiver. Megan withdraws the phone momentarily, just as a car crashes into a lamppost in front of her house. Dropping her phone, Megan witnesses numerous zombies attacking the driver. Hastening to Duke, who still clings to the doorknob, Megan is informed by him that something is amiss with Austin. She pulls Duke away from the door, and the banging ceases. Suddenly, Austin bursts through the door, pouncing on Megan. She struggles to hold him at bay, catching a glimpse of his lifeless, grayed-out eyes. With Duke pleading for Austin to stop, Megan delivers a kick, sending Austin tumbling down the stairs. Nonetheless, Austin quickly ascends, prompting Megan to seize a nearby vase, shattering it against his head. Austin collapses to the floor. Shaken with fear, Megan's trembling hand betrays her unease.

Amid Duke's calls for Austin, he rises slowly and charges towards Duke. Megan seizes Austin from behind, restraining him while Duke tearfully questions his actions. Witnessing Austin's wild and bestial behavior, Megan declares that he is no longer himself. With all her strength, Megan executes a suplex, slamming Austin onto the floor, breaking his neck. As Megan rises, she notices Austin rising with his broken neck, rushing towards her. Megan pushes him away, and they both tumble down the stairs. Before Megan can regain her footing, Austin attempts to bite her with his broken neck. Crawling backward in retreat, Megan observes Austin, with broken ankles from the fall, also crawling backward while his broken neck is swinging his head upside down from side to side. Megan's back collides with the kitchen counter, but before she can rise, Austin pounces on her. In a desperate act, Megan thrusts her phone into Austin's mouth to hold him back. Amidst their struggle, a knife on the kitchen counter begins to shift, eventually falling onto the floor. Seizing the opportunity, Megan uses her free hand to grasp the knife and repeatedly stabs Austin in the chest, yet it fails to halt his advance. Austin manages to shatter the phone with his bite and swallow it. Witnessing Austin's inverted head nearing her, Megan stabs him in the head, finally ending him. Austin falls lifeless before her, and Megan begins to weep, apologizing to him. Covered in blood, Megan rises to witness the chaos unfolding outside through the window.


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