Dead End Chapter 102

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 102

Chapter 102

Son Taehwan attempted to stand up from his seat, but foolishly, his habit made him grab the handrail with his right hand as he tried to rise, toppling backward instead. The Beta Zombie dragged itself towards the fallen wall while Son Taehwan, using a timber piece as a cane, barely managed to get to his feet.

After experiencing a seizure earlier, Son Taehwan felt his body wasn’t moving as he willed it to. With effort, he focused his mind and swung his wooden weapon with one hand.

“Damn it! Just! Be quiet!” he cursed.

Although Son Taehwan succeeded in swinging his weapon at the Beta Zombie’s head, he lost balance and tumbled to the ground.

Strangely, his balance and sense of distance were off, nothing like before. He intended to strike the Beta Zombie’s leg with the timber, but the stick swerved hopelessly out of his hand.

It felt like being drunk, but the odd part was his mind remained unusually clear. It was like watching someone else make drunken blunders while sober.

Meanwhile, zombies attracted by the noise rushed the collapsed wall in large numbers, too many for the staggering Son Taehwan to handle.

Wobbling, he managed to rise and grabbed whatever tools he could find nearby. Fortunately, the workshop’s abandoned tools lay strewn around. Holding a carpenter’s hammer, Son Taehwan fiercely struck down the Beta Zombie that attacked him.

With a wet thud like a watermelon cracking open, the zombie collapsed, and Son Taehwan, using his left hand, swung again, hitting another zombie’s head. These were all Beta Zombies, and while Son Taehwan had faced far worse in Antarctica, his current physical state was deteriorating into a complete mess.

In rapid succession, he downed two zombies with his hammer but again fell to the ground. Another zombie pounced, the stench like all food waste combined. Son Taehwan, suppressing the urge to vomit, struck the Beta Zombie’s head with the hammer. As the deer hoof of the hammer acted like a lever, the skull split open, and he rammed the broken timber into it.

Brain matter sprayed onto Son Taehwan’s face, and rotten flesh splattered on his chest. He swung his hammer at the shin of another approaching Beta Zombie.

There was a snap as the hammer’s bone broke and the unlucky zombie tumbled onto another, falling like a row of bowling pins. Son Taehwan hammered down on the fallen creature’s head as if driving a nail.

He did not have the luxury of making jokes. Holding a wrench and a hammer, he blindly smacked the zombies in front of him.

It was a desperate struggle.

Son Taehwan continued to flail at the Beta Zombies like a drunk, unable to find his balance. The wrench snapped a wooden plank and the hammer punched a fist-sized hole in a wooden desk.

Unable to move properly, Son Taehwan struggled even to contend with the slow-moving zombies. Eventually, he found himself with his back against the wall, supporting his body firmly with both legs while staring down the zombies.

Moving felt like needles pricking inside him, especially the heart, like it was being squeezed, making it hard to breathe.

Despite everything, the Beta Zombies steadily pushed forward, reaching for him.

Son Taehwan was startled when he saw the entrance he’d come through earlier. The horde of zombies squeezing in was much larger than the last he’d seen at the fall of the Chilean base.

Punta Arenas might be a mid-sized city, but it had a population well over ten thousand.

“Punta Arenas was supposed to be safe!” he muttered, having trusted the radio transmission from the Antarctic base that encouraged him to head to Punta Arenas. But now, seeing the situation, Son Taehwan intuitively understood.

Why? How? Now was not the time to question. Even if they were just Beta Zombies, their sheer number was a threat, and Son Taehwan loathed the idea of becoming an Alpha Zombie, let alone a Beta one.

Only then did he notice a path leading to the top of the circular saw bench. The wreckage of a light aircraft had torn up to the ceiling, leaving the workshop’s H-beam girders slanting down invitingly as a possible route up. Using the saw bench as a foothold, he thought he might manage to climb onto the roof.

The problem was his own body. Could he, staggering so heavily, really manage to climb up using the H-beam? Son Taehwan glared at the gaping hole in the wall, cursing under his breath.

“Let’s give this shit one last try!” he exclaimed.

He threw the monkey wrench at the closest zombie. With a crack, a head shattered, and he staggered towards the circular saw bench.

He thought he leaped, but his movement was as sluggish as the zombies. He clumsily stepped onto the bench, slamming his hammer onto the head of a zombie grasping at his ankle.

Brain matter and rotten blood splattered, and with one blow, the zombie fell. But like hungry ghosts from hell, another grabbed Son Taehwan’s pants leg, stretching it. His insulated trousers tore, spilling down feathers as he swiftly stripped them off.

The Beta Zombies, as if tearing at his flesh, clawed at the down-insulated trousers, now strewn with white feathers. Son Taehwan saw his chance and eyed the protruding H-beam while overhead. The zombies plastered their faces with feathers and turned slowly towards him.

He couldn’t hesitate any longer. He leaped—or rather, plummeted as if suicidal from atop the bench.

The zombies reached out as though expecting prey from the sky but Son Taehwan’s body didn’t fall as they hoped. He had a belt in hand that he’d fashioned like a cowboy’s lasso and thrown over the H-beam.

“Please! Pleeaase!” he begged.

His left hand clutched the end of the belt, while his right hand, missing a wrist, failed to grip the H-beam. In desperation, he bit the belt and, after several attempts, managed to grab the edge of the H-beam with his left hand. Mirroring a gymnast, he then swung his body, hooking a leg over the beam.

Clinging with his mouth biting the belt and grunting in effort, he climbed atop the H-beam. But the situation worsened as zombies added their weight, causing the beam to groan under stress and tip perilously.

Son Taehwan shook his foot free of the gripping insulated boot. The zombie holding the boot lost balance and tumbled, causing a domino effect among its peers.

Son Taehwan didn’t miss his opportunity, scrambling onto the H-beam like a cockroach. The workshop’s roof connected to the main house’s roof, which he urgently rolled himself onto.

As he did, the H-beam collapsed with a clarion clang, the roof frame shattering and zombies crushed beneath the building’s walls and roofing.

Son Taehwan gasped for air, looking over the dust-clouded workshop, with only a hammer in hand.

Inside, he saw useful items—a fuel canister and a power generator—but it was pointless to consider them. The noise had drawn even more Beta Zombies towards the settling dust.

Laying sprawled on the roof, he looked back over Punta Arenas. Throughout its streets, Beta Zombies roamed aimlessly.

“What was that message? Punta Arenas is safe?” he muttered.

The message from the Chilean base had claimed Punta Arenas was safe, protected by the military. Son Taehwan looked northward. From memory, the Punta Arenas ‘airport’ lay in that direction.

Like the distance between Incheon Airport and downtown Incheon, Punta Arenas’s airport was somewhat removed from the city. Son Taehwan recalled as much about the airport’s location and structure as he could from his flight to Antarctica.

“Right, Punta Arenas airport was a military base. It wouldn’t be strange for forces to be stationed there, being the largest city in the vicinity.”

The message had definitely told him to come to Punta Arenas, assuring safety. Son Taehwan nodded northward.

“Sujin or Shepherd would have thought the same. Maybe we’ll link up there. And who knows, there might still be a plane to the U.S.”

He sighed heavily while gazing north.

“Wasn’t it about a 20, 30-minute drive last time?” he wondered.

From his position, faint outlines of the airport teased his vision behind rows of hills. Son Taehwan looked across to a familiar ‘tail fin’ on the distant horizon.

It was the very plane that had carried him and his party from Antarctica. Given the plane’s wreckage from a bird strike, he knew the others couldn’t be far from where he’d fallen. They’d likely survived because Son Taehwan swiftly reduced speed and altitude at the last moment. Perhaps Sujin or Shepherd had also landed there?

Determination set in. If he’d survived, high chances were for Sujin and Shepherd as well. He scanned the surroundings sharply. More and more zombies, lured by noise, approached this isolated building. If they encircled it completely, Son Taehwan might be stuck, helpless.

Quickly, he stood up on the roof and grabbed whatever items he could. The roof, covered with slates and held down against the wind by discarded tires and washing lines, rattled beneath him.

He wrapped a line from the tires around his waist and gathered the tires together.

His hand’s feeling was returning, his balance slowly improving. Flexing and gripping his hands, he fiddled with a Zippo lighter.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here.”

He set up the tires and rolled them in the opposite direction from the Punta Arenas cityscape—noisily crashing into slates tied with washing lines. As if on cue, the zombies began to chase the rolling tires off the roof.

Seizing the moment, he climbed down and cautiously moved towards the city.

“My god, it’s maddening. Does moving trigger an outbreak?” he groaned.

No sooner had he reached the ground than he staggered and leaned against a wall. Black veins seemed to snake from his wrist, pulsing ominously.

‘So I can’t even run?’ He didn’t have time to complain, as some zombies, alerted by the rustling, turned towards him.

Frozen as if caught red-handed, his escape was once again a collapsing roof. The previous disturbance had caused the connected slate roof to crumble as well.

Son Taehwan dashed cityward, but quickly lost his balance and tumbled down a slope. Dry grass filled his mouth and scraped his face, but pain was the least of his concerns. Roadside, zombies attracted by his fall began to approach.

The path from the remote woodshop to Punta Arenas ran straight as an asphalt road with wild shrubs sprawling beside it. Son Taehwan hurled himself into the underbrush.

Nearby zombies converged on the crashing noises of the house. A zombie in native Indian dress was present, and tourists with backpacks—now all uniformly zombies—climbed the asphalt path to the remote house.

Son Taehwan held his breath in the dry shrubbery, watching the advance.

‘Wait, is that military uniform?’

He had seen it multiple times while waiting in Punta Arenas city—Chilean military garb. Some zombies shuffled in fatigues, prompting Son Taehwan to deduce what had happened and why there were so many Beta Zombies here.

‘They must have issued an evacuation order. Punta Arenas was the only city that could have mounted a defensive line.’

The government had likely consolidated people to isolate and control the spread of the mysterious zombie outbreak. Though assembling people made distribution of food and resources easier, it did not suit this type of contagion. Gathering had likely accelerated infections, leading many to become infected.

‘Hold on. Doesn’t that mean Punta Arenas airport is at risk, too?’

The presence of zombies in military dress…



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