Encroaching Darkness

A/N: This is not your average Azumanga Daioh fanfic. Set a few years after high school graduation, the azugirls have graduated from college. But a terrible virus has brought the apocalypse, killing off almost all of mankind. In addition, rumors of giant, man-eating insects plague the azugirls left in Japan. Only through courage and friendship can these young women survive the apocalypse, and just maybe save mankind altogether.

--Somewhere in the state of Califonia--

Sitting alone, Mihama Chiyo shuffled through her ever-growing piles of research on the virus that had taken the lives of almost every person on the planet. She frustratingly came to the same conclusion she had so many times before: without a vaccine mankind would surely face annihilation. Despite having three college degrees and even a doctorate the teenage girl wasn't trained in medicine, and although she had tried, over and over, she hadn't even the slightest bit of success in developing a vaccine. But not all hope was lost, she lived in a small community of survivors, and many people were working for a vaccine. Chiyo sighed as she reached for her laptop computer and turned it on. The vaccine wasn't her biggest concern, however, as she was much more interested in the origins of the deadly strain.

At about the same time as the outbreak struck rumors of giant, man-eating insects in the forests of Japan arose. This was brought to Chiyo's attention by an Email sent to her from Tomo, an Email she was once again reading over. At first it appeared as yet another prank from the wildcat, but coupled with the disease Chiyo was certain the two events were connected. She did as much research as she could before communications died along with the majority of the human race. It wasn't a lot, but the teenaged genius was sure this was no prank, and that these mysterious creatures brought upon the planet that horrible virus. Closing her laptop she sighed again. "I have to go see it for myself," the girl assured herself.

But getting to Japan was no easy task, since civilization had collapsed. "I don't know how to fly an airplane or sail a boat," Chiyo thought as she got up from her desk and slowly walked to her shabby little bedroom. It was a tiny room Chiyo, with only her small bed and a nightstand occupying the dreary room. Upon the nightstand lay a lamp, a book, and a CB radio. "Should I try to find someone who can help me get to Japan?" she asked herself eyeing her radio. She dismissed the thought, everyone here was busy holding the little community together and trying to find a vaccine. Chiyo sat down on her bed lost in her thoughts as she tried to determine the best way for her to get to Japan. After going through several possibilities she decided on a course of action. Satisfied with herself the young genius laid down and quickly gave into slumber's embrace.

The next day set about her plans; she gathered up her few belongings and her research and packed them away. For the sake of humanity she had to go and look into the rumors of the insects; however the people of their small community surely wouldn't see her point of view. "I have to be strong," she reassured herself as she picked up the receiver of her CB radio and announced her imminent departure, to the protests of all who were listening. She asked favors of those who could help; she needed any book from the library about boating, supplies for her voyage, information on where to find a worthy vessel, and, most importantly, Chiyo requested a gun and ammunition. She had heard that the insects of rumor were vicious and carnivorous, but she had no idea what she was truly getting herself into.

Having said goodbye to her friends Chiyo drove off, headed for the nearest port. This was the beginning of Chiyo's journey. She knew the journey to Japan would be long and hard. However this would pale in comparison to the hardships waiting for her in Japan. A land cast in the shadow of death, where every survivor dreaded the twilight hour and the long night that followed. This land had become a place of nightmares, where horrible monsters stalked the streets at night searching for their next meal in any human whom did not find proper shelter. The community Chiyo had known as home drew ever smaller in her rearview mirror. The girl softly spoke to herself in a determined voice, "I know these insects hold the answer! I know it!"

A/N: The prologue is short. The average chapter will be about four to five times longer. Although a bit rough in the beginning, the writing seems to improve over time. I've reposted every chapter to fix the format and I also did some minor changes to improve some of the earlier chapters.