Dead End Chapter 109

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 109

Chapter 109

A map created at the cost of lives by the dogs.

It briefly marked the movement paths of the zombie known as Maestro by dates, and the areas where the Maestro would start its attacks were scratched out. If one stepped into that zone, an attack from the Maestro was guaranteed.

Seon Taehwan realized, just by eyeing the map, that the spot where the airplane fuselage had fallen was right in the middle of Maestro’s path. Indeed, it was just as Paula had said. Blue lines showing the paths the dogs had taken were drawn with a pen, and without exception, they stopped at the scratched-out areas. As Paula received the map back, she said,

“See? Isn’t it just as I said?”

“…….”

“We’re not trying to force you. But we’ve seen this countless times.”

Paula pointed to the celestial telescope that was placed against the wall.

“Is that thing used to watch where the dogs got attacked?”

“That’s right. There were different kinds of dogs. Cautious ones. Ones that ran wildly. But it’s all the same. Bang.”

She clapped her hands lightly as if to demonstrate the simple explanation. Seon Taehwan too, felt as if he could visualize the scene.

Sticks are thrown with all one’s might, and the dogs run after them. But soon, they can’t advance a few meters more and get crushed under cars or boulders hurling towards them. It wasn’t for nothing that the survivors at the school tried to escape while avoiding Maestro’s territory.

“The Steams herd the Nonsteams en masse. Not just the Maestro, but many Nonsteams from the city hall area. Even if you survived the plane crash, you’re as good as dead…”

“Be quiet. I’m not dead. I’ve survived worse shit in the Antarctic.”

“Face the reality. It’s a miracle that you’re alive after running away from the beast’s territory.”

“Paula, at least I want to confirm the body.”

“That’s selfish. What’s the point of checking the dead? You surely know, if Antarctica has come to this state?”

Paula’s words were undeniably close to hard truth. An airplane fallen in Maestro’s territory; even if one did survive the crash, surviving in an area teeming with beta zombies was no easy feat.

“It’s your choice, but wouldn’t it be better to escape by yacht?”

Paula narrowed her eyes and waited for Seon Taehwan’s answer. This time, he could not respond easily.

Clearly, there were many here who needed rescue. Children, pregnant women, the ladies, the elderly. The weaker these people are, the less they are protected in a world without law and order. The soldiers had perished while attempting escape and Paula had likely led these people remarkably well with her archery skills.

Although Seon Taehwan was impressed with Paula’s skills, he couldn’t stop thinking about Han Sujin. It was unsatisfying to end things meekly, and Han Sujin’s smiling face didn’t seem like just another comrade who could be easily abandoned.

“Do you love her?”

“What, what did you say?”

“That doctor. Is she your loved one?”

“No. She’s just… a colleague. She was a doctor in Antarctica, and before that, just a college senior and junior.”

“Don’t lie. It’s obvious when you look.”

Seon Taehwan found himself in the midst of unexpected love counseling. He meant to laugh it off in disbelief, but before he could, a call from Paula cut through. She rose swiftly, like lightning, and moved to where the lookout was stationed. Seon Taehwan also had a bad feeling and followed her.

She exchanged some words in Spanish with the locals and then peered toward the beach with binoculars. Seon Taehwan’s gaze naturally shifted to the beach as well.

“What is that? A lantern from the plane?”

Seizing the binoculars from Paula’s hand, Seon Taehwan investigated further. Twinkling. The light was flashing. It was unmistakable – someone, a human, was manipulating a flashlight.

No survivor from the school would dare to go there. And it was impossible to expect anyone to be alive on a beach that was Maestro’s territory. In other words, that light belonged to someone who had crash-landed there. Without realizing it, Seon Taehwan cheered and clapped.

“She’s alive! Damn it! I knew it! She’s alive!”

Seon Taehwan rambled on in Korean, so Paula and the others merely glanced at him blankly. However, they could guess why he was so ecstatic.

“Pa… Paula, lend me a flashlight. I… I have to answer. They’ll surely recognize our signal.”

While Seon Taehwan and Shepherd hadn’t arranged for light signals, he was confident they would recognize it. Soon, a child brought him a self-generating flashlight, and he frantically turned the handle on and off, making the light blink.

“Do you see? Paula? They’re alive! All of them are!”

Seon Taehwan tried to calm his racing heart and explained calmly to Paula. Although alpha zombies were quite intelligent, it was highly unlikely they knew how to send signals by flashing a light.

Shortly after, a signaling light flashed from afar, and Seon Taehwan responded by flashing back, swirling the light to indicate his acknowledgement. But then, the distant light disappeared. No matter how frantically Seon Taehwan blinked the self-generating flashlight, there was no response.

Seeing this, the locals shook their heads in disagreement, murmuring amongst themselves. As if representing their thoughts, Kelly who stood behind Seon Taehwan, derisively commented.

“She’s dead. That area is crawling with Nonsteams, not just Maestro’s territory.”

Seon Taehwan tossed the flashlight into Paula’s arms and grabbed Kelly by the collar.

“Shut your mouth, you bastard.”

“Huh. What? Are you upset because your friend is dead? How do you think I feel? Same shit. It must’ve been like when we were crushed by the boat just now.”

Kelly’s cold gaze left Seon Taehwan no choice but to let go of his collar. After all, it was Kelly’s friend who had died while trying to help Seon Taehwan. Without Seon Taehwan, Kelly’s friend might have lived.

He sighed and leaned his head against the window frame. The flickering light he had seen just moments ago was no longer visible. He bitterly imagined that light might have been the last flicker of life for Han Sujin or Shepherd.

A local who seemed friendly patted Seon Taehwan’s shoulder, and he fiercely gripped his gun. But even with a firearm in hand, there was no way to help his far-off comrades.

The streets teemed with beta zombies, and Seon Taehwan was all but unfamiliar with the area’s geography. Moreover, it was the territory of the formidable Maestro. A wrong approach meant Seon Taehwan could just as likely perish without any achievement.

“I’m sorry…”

“No, it’s alright.”

Just when Seon Taehwan was about to say he was fine, a piercing scream filled the air.

Paula quickly strung a carbon arrow to her composite bow, and Seon Taehwan too, stood up with his gun in hand. The sound of commotion flooded the classroom, followed by the school bell’s clangorous ringing.

Was it another attack from Maestro? Even if one could predict the routes where movement was possible, it was still just a prediction. There was no guarantee that zombies would move as humans anticipated.

Seon Taehwan watched outside, staying alert. However, the outside was quiet, with only the aimless wandering of beta zombies. If it had been Maestro, it would have begun its attack by launching something colossal like a statue, but there was no indication of any such thing.

Soon it became clear why the screaming had occurred. The cries came from the room serving as the cafeteria, and inside, the women were telling Paula something in frantic Spanish. It seemed something had gone awry inside.

The cafeteria was also the place where the cookie boxes containing bullets were stored, making it a sort of forbidden area. While Paula was blocking the men from entering, Seon Taehwan and Paula’s eyes met.

“What’s happening!”

“I’ll… I’ll tell you later.”

Through the semi-open door, Seon Taehwan me a beseeching look: they needed a doctor and realized Paula was also considering the offer.umbn’s legs, Seon Taehwan caught a glimpse of a pregnant woman, bleeding between her legs. Even to someone who knew nothing about birthing like Seon Taehwan, the situation inside seemed dire.

An old midwife tried to calm the pregnant woman by placing her hands on her belly, but the pregnant woman screamed and panicked.

“The baby… the baby is upside down. The grandmas are trying their best, but it’s dangerous.”

Paula quickly summed up the situation and also relayed it to the others in Spanish. It was a difficult birth. Even the experienced midwives were at a loss, distressed.

Seon Taehwan grabbed Paula’s wrist, attempting to close the door, and pulled her toward him. She was easily drawn in as if he were pulling a paper doll, and Paula looked at Seon Taehwan, puzzled. Despite being a man, Seon Taehwan shouldn’t have been able to capture Paula so easily. As she looked at him dumbfounded, he simply stated.

“You need a doctor, right?”

“That, that’s right.”

“Give me the bullets. I’ll bring the doctor.”

“Wait, you can’t just… You know? The bullets are essential for getting to the yacht on the beach.”

“Look. Are we going to just stand by? You saw that light! The doctor might still be alive!”

“But the light stopped midway!”

Seon Taehwan then turned speechless again, before beginning to insist.

“No, there’s a doctor out there somewhere. She must be alive!”

“That’s unreasonable!”

As they argued, inside, a woman continued to scream and gasp for breath. Seon Taehwan had noticed the terrain features on Paula’s map.

Within Maestro’s territory was a ‘hospital’. The beach area Maestro occupied was part of the bustling area of Punta Arenas, which likely meant that a significant hospital and various medicines could be remaining there.

Punta Arenas was small. Even if the hospital was considered far, it was no more than 10 kilometers away. The town barely spanned a 5-kilometer radius.

“Fine. Let’s assume the doctor died because the light disappeared. But we still need the medicine, right? I’ll fetch it myself. No one else needs to come. I can do this alone. Draw me a map of the place.”

“But… but…”

“If you’re the leader, make the right call. After all, until this morning, I didn’t even exist here, right? I’m just going to take the bullets I had and the map. If I go out and die alone, it’s no loss to you, right?”

Paula hesitated. She knew where the hospital was, and if things went well, the medicines could indeed be brought back before the mother succumbed to a complicated birth. Additionally, among the midwives, there was someone who, though unofficial, knew how to handle the medicines, and there was also a nurse.

More so, this Eastern man was someone who could die at any moment, right? Paula’s gaze shifted to Seon Taehwan’s right hand, where black lines had appeared. She too was beginning to realize Seon Taehwan’s right hand was reaching its ‘limit’.

“Just give me a moment to discuss with the old nurse.”

As the old nurse whispered something to Paula, the atmosphere began to take a strange turn.

Behind, including Kelly, the men watched Paula with sinister eyes. The men’s thoughts were predictable.

If Paula agreed to Seon Taehwan’s proposal, the next step in the conversation could involve people being sent to rescue the doctor.

Just today, they had already lost Kelly’s friend while securing the gun with Seon Taehwan. Moreover, the place where this crazy man from Antarctica wanted to head to was precisely Maestro’s territory. Those who knew the true horror of Maestro couldn’t just stand by.

The local men argued amongst themselves and pointed fingers at Seon Taehwan. Although he couldn’t understand their words, he knew what they were saying.

Don’t do something unnecessary. Your friends were all killed by Maestro.

How many lives must be risked for just one baby?

Let the baby and the mother die. Survivors also have a hard time, so what’s the use of all this?

Their words were logical. The men had already taken on plenty of risks gathering food and supplies. A baby, a mother, and able-bodied men.

Simply put, it wasn’t hard to determine who was more valuable to the organization. In addition, the men were more essential for escaping to the beach. In such circumstances, was it worth risking lives for a newborn and its mother?

Although their languages differed, the American Kelly could tell from the context and taunted Seon Taehwan.

“Hey, ching chong. You understood what they’re saying, right? Wake up. No one is going with you.”

“One newborn and one mother. Those lives are less important than those of able-bodied men, I guess.”

“You got that right. So…”

Kelly stealthily showed the two 12-gauge shotgun shells he held to Seon Taehwan. His eyes weren’t on Seon Taehwan but on the gun. Kelly was suggesting a coup in this chaos.

With the gun, the annoying women could be used for pleasure. Children could be used as bait for Maestro like the dogs on the map, and maybe they could reach the yacht safely. Of course, Kelly said none of this, but Seon Taehwan read much from his expression.

“How about it, ching chong? If you play your cards right, there might be a reward for you.”

Kelly leeringly glanced at Paula’s buttocks. Seon Taehwan cracked a wry smile and sighed again.

“Every bastard’s the same, thinking the same crap.”

“What did you say? What did you say, ching chong?”

Seon Taehwan muttered in Korean, incomprehensible to Kelly.

“Hey, ching chong. Hand over the gun. I’ll take care of everything.”

“No. I am human.”

“What did you say, you son of a…”

Instead, Seon Taehwan pointed the gun at Kelly’s head and flashed a wicked grin.

“I’d rather die a human than become a zombie to my last breath.”



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