Dead End Chapter 103

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 103

Chapter 103

As he expected, the rooftop of the workshop didn’t offer a clear view, but on the outskirts of Punta Arenas, trucks and sacks of dirt were piled high. The yellow earthbags fluttered in the wind, releasing sand and dirt into the breeze.

The temporary barrier beneath them was being head-butted by Beta zombies, reminiscent of the Wailing Wall in Israel. With every strike of their heads against the wall of sacks, more sand poured over the zombies’ heads.

‘That makeshift wall is pretty useful against Beta zombies.’

Beta zombies were not only slow-witted, their physical abilities were also nothing extraordinary compared to humans. They couldn’t run, nor did they exhibit any superhuman strength.

However, looking at the makeshift barrier, Son Taehwan couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease.

The barrier was definitely useful against Beta zombies.

But what about Alpha zombies?

Son Taehwan’s gaze drifted naturally towards his severed right hand. The culprit behind his infection had been a flock of seagulls tainted by the black soil, the Alpha infection source. Whether those gulls had truly come from King George Island in Antarctica or were secondarily infected, it meant there were Alpha zombies here.

A chill ran down his spine as he recalled the Alpha zombies he had encountered so far. A single steel spike, relentless in its pursuit from King George Island, had thrown cars around like toys.

‘Against Alpha zombies, a barrier like that is useless.’

In the base at King George Island, there had even been an Alpha that leapt over containers like a gymnast. The hastily-built barriers meant nothing to it.

Back at Chile’s base on King George Island, Son Taehwan had devised far more intricate defense lines. However, those defenses had collapsed in an instant, leaving only a few survivors – a pastor, Han Sujin, Shepherd, and Son Taehwan. They had no choice but to flee the fallen base and run westward, towards safety.

‘The important thing isn’t the Betas; it’s the Alphas. There are definitely Alphas here, no matter what form they take.’

Son Taehwan’s mind went to the ‘killer whale’ that had tormented him from the moment they had left King George Island. It had pursued them relentlessly, attempting to catch and eat them even as they reached the plane on Livingston Island.

Could there be Alpha zombies that aren’t human?

He pondered the dangerous predators of South America but struggled to think of any particularly threatening. The best he could come up with were black panthers or pumas.

‘There might be bears. But the most frightening thing is a human Alpha zombie.’

Intelligence.

Alpha zombies used their heads, unlike the Beta zombies. The most cunning creature on Earth was indeed the human being, and the most terrifying to Son Taehwan was a human host zombie.

Gripping a hammer, he sighed. Against an Alpha zombie, a mere hammer would be insufficient to protect his life. He glanced alternately at the airport and barricaded Punta Arenas.

If there were planes at the airport, maybe he could use one. He could survive alone. Perhaps, for survival’s sake, it might be better to head to the airport instead of the city center.

“I can’t just leave Sujin and Shepherd behind.”

Son Taehwan surmised that Han Sujin and Shepherd had to be within the city. The Cessna he had been in had crashed here, with the fuselage with wings having flown a bit further before plunging into the city center.

‘They would’ve slowed down enough not to die. No, they must be alive.’

Thinking of Han Sujin made his heart flutter again. The cute lady who hadn’t grimaced even once, despite all her hardships in Antarctica.

Was it a coincidence? As his heart raced, Son Taehwan’s right hand began to shake uncontrollably, starting another seizure.

The pain was worse than before, and despite trying to suppress his screams by clenching his right hand, the whimpers escaping between his teeth and the rustling of the bushes as he writhed were uncontrollable.

A few Beta zombies that had been lurking around the collapsed house turned their heads to the bushes where Son Taehwan was hiding. Strange noises, whether curses or dialect, seeped from his mouth, and he had no choice but to stand up.

If the Beta zombies amassed, it was only a matter of time before he was surrounded. Given Son Taehwan’s current state, he wouldn’t stand a chance against 10 zombies, let alone 100.

Stumbling around, he searched for a car near the isolated house but found none in working order. Some cars had rammed into trees and others were overturned in the street, spewing black oil.

Son Taehwan clutched his shaking right hand and frantically looked around. Simply turning his head made him lose balance, and he soon collapsed, planting his face into the grass.

The smell of dirt filled his senses, and he spat out the mud that entered his nose and mouth. Even as he performed a pathetic attempt at slapstick comedy all by himself, Beta zombies were drawn to the noise and approached his vicinity.

“Damn it! Stop!”

His veins bulged like writhing snakes, and Son Taehwan collapsed forward in sheer agony.

“Oh yes, damn it! Better to feel the pain. That’s better. If I can’t feel the pain anymore, it means I’ve turned into a zombie!”

Son Taehwan forced a rotten smile, trying to convince himself with nonsensical logic. He purposefully hit his head on a slate in the yard and laughed crazily. Pain shot through his head. He gradually became accustomed to the pain, chuckling and smiling.

Next to the slate where Son Taehwan had bashed his head lay a children’s bicycle. The long seat and yellow color, complete with training wheels.

With nothing left to hide, Son Taehwan propped up the bike and leaned on it. Despite his hands and legs trembling uncontrollably, after hitting his head on the ground, he could forcibly move his limbs.

Son Taehwan recalled a childhood story of falling off a bike, laughed, and mounted the bike with training wheels. Coincidentally, this isolated house was on a hill, and without pedaling, the bike shot downhill.

Having the training wheels was actually advantageous for Son Taehwan in his current state. As he wobbled, the yellow training wheels rattled, helping him maintain balance, and he became more adept at riding the bike. However, his appearance was indeed pitiful.

With one side of his polar outfit torn during the crash and having lost one of his polar boots to a zombie, he was riding barefoot in his underwear on a children’s bike – a sight fit for a deranged person.

As the rattle of the training wheels hit the asphalt, the Beta zombies all turned their heads towards the moving bike. The distance from the isolated house to the center of Punta Arenas was merely 2 to 3 kilometers. Even running on foot would take only a few dozen minutes to reach that distance.

As Son Taehwan rode down the hill, the distance felt even shorter. The sight of barricaded Punta Arenas got closer and closer, and he was on the verge of humming with joy. However, there was one problem.

“What the? Why aren’t the brakes working? Huh? Huh!”

It was time to start braking due to the steep incline, but no matter how hard he pulled the brake lever, there was no response.

Looking down, he realized the unfortunate truth—the brake line dangled uselessly beneath the bike frame. The front brake pads were rusted and broken, and the back brake line had snapped. The bike wasn’t abandoned without reason.

To make matters worse, the path Son Taehwan took downhill became increasingly chaotic. It seemed that in the aftermath of the evacuation order, cars heading to Punta Arenas had crashed, damaging the asphalt.

Son Taehwan’s body flew as the bike’s wheel hit a pothole. The bike’s downhill speed was not negligible; he was soon flung onto the grass again.

A crunching noise of shrubbery indicated a break, and Son Taehwan tumbled in the grass, nearly losing consciousness.

“After all the death-defying hardships in Antarctica, am I going to die here!”

He quickly got up and checked his condition. Perhaps the broken shrubbery had cushioned his fall because aside from his severed right wrist, there were no broken bones or stabbing wounds.

Although he was mostly unharmed, the noise of the falling bike and ensuing crash had attracted the zombies on the city side, and they were heading his way. Son Taehwan let out a deep sigh and shook his head in disbelief.

He was still some distance away from the Beta zombies chasing him from the isolated house, and about 600 meters away from the city’s temporary barrier. Between them, a couple of beta zombies were heading towards Son Taehwan, but he felt confident he could handle one or two zombies.

The bicycle’s front wheel was completely ruined, and it was useless now. There wasn’t much else in the vicinity that could serve as a weapon.

For now, Son Taehwan tied a laundry line to the back of his makeshift hammer and frantically scanned his surroundings.

“Ah, so that car is what made the hole?”

It was the overturned car he had seen earlier from the hill. It seemed the car had rolled down hill, carving out segments of asphalt in its wake.

The car was an old Toyota truck, typical in South America, with hastily loaded agricultural products still on it. Dried corn and bottled preserves suggested that the truck’s occupants had attempted to evacuate to the city before meeting disaster.

There would be approximately 5 to 10 minutes before the zombies could cover the 600-meter distance. Determined, Son Taehwan approached the truck. Since there might have been zombies inside, he tightly clutched the hammer, ready to strike at any head that might pop out.

However, the truck’s driver and passenger seats were disappointingly empty. Apparently, the occupants had already been rescued and transported elsewhere after the truck had flipped. Son Taehwan warily watched the Beta zombies attempting to encircle him from both sides while he searched the truck.

Chile had liberal gun laws, so it was common for people to hide handguns in their dashboards.

“Jackpot.”

As soon as Son Taehwan opened the dashboard, a package of Remington shotgun shells tumbled out. Each package contained five rounds, and there were four packages in total. The truck’s owner must have been in such a rush to abandon it that they hadn’t even bothered to take the shells with them.

Son Taehwan had once been part of the Bird Alert Team, known as the BAT, while stationed at an air force base, tasked with driving away birds that interfered with aircraft operation by using a shotgun.

When he checked the inside of the dashboard, an odd box popped out.

“What’s this? Excalibur? What the hell is so grand sounding? Cough.”

The flat box was grandly labeled ‘X-Caliber,’ adorned with a simple illustration. Son Taehwan was at a loss whether to scratch his head or cheer at the sight.

Next to the X-Caliber brand name, ‘Survival Gun’ was printed.

“A survival gun? Like those paintball guns or something? Better than nothing, I guess.”

He quickly opened the box and took out its contents. As he extracted the item, Son Taehwan was even more bewildered.

“Is this really a gun?”

The item was a heavy piece of metal. Its exterior resembled the vintage Winchester lever-action rifles from the Old West era. The trigger guard had a handle like those found on lever-action rifles, and the barrel, much like a clay pigeon shotgun, folded in half to fit inside the box.

“What the hell? This isn’t a lever-action rifle, is it? A shotgun? What is it? Why does it fold like this?”

What perplexed Son Taehwan further was the gun’s ‘chamber.’ The gun had two chambers – one for standard 12-gauge shotgun shells, which spilled out from the dashboard, and another for ammunition the size of a pencil. The two chambers were vertically aligned similar to a double-barreled shotgun used for clay pigeon shooting.

“Is this for .22 caliber rounds?”

Once, he had talked about guns with an American visitor at Sejong Base, who boasted that 22 caliber bullets wouldn’t kill even if you were shot with them, claiming to have been shot himself. It was the same .22 caliber ammunition that was now tucked into the stock of this unusual gun as spare ammo.

Son Taehwan tried inserting a shotgun shell into the chamber and it fit snugly. A .22 caliber round also fit perfectly underneath the larger chamber. When he straightened the folded gun, it looked quite impressive. He aimed the sights at an approaching zombie’s head. The gun’s sights were primitive, but it wasn’t entirely worthless.

“Ah, two triggers. That’s what it is. A gun kept in the dashboard for emergencies.”

Son Taehwan had heard from the American about the existence of such guns in the US—a powerful shotgun combined with a .22 caliber for emergencies.

The gun had no magazine or loading mechanism, so after firing, one had to break it open like a sporting shotgun to remove the spent shell by hand. Son Taehwan tried to remove the shell casing but found it challenging without his wrist.

Eventually, he managed to extract the shotgun shell by hooking it with his upper teeth. Reloading with his left hand was cumbersome.

As Son Taehwan examined the gun, the Beta zombies were closing in by the second. If he were to fire, it would…



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