Dead End Chapter 111

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 111

Chapter 111

The number of Beta zombies was beyond Son Taehwan’s imagination. Due to Son Taehwan’s actions, the barrier had collapsed, and the zombies inside the barrier had pushed their way in, filling the streets with only the staggering Beta zombies. Alejandro quickly climbed up a ladder to the roof. Son Taehwan kept forgetting that he was missing fingers on his right hand. Climbing the ladder became an unconscious struggle as he would reach out with his right hand and stumble or find it difficult to support his weight with his left hand when descending.

Son Taehwan nearly fell off the ladder again due to a misstep with his right hand.

“Be careful. If we make noise and attract them here, there will be no way to escape.”

Paula quickly grabbed Son Taehwan’s right hand and pulled him up. While bringing him up to the roof, Paula stared at Son Taehwan’s right hand.

“You?”

The end of Son Taehwan’s right wrist had turned black again. It seemed that every time he moved his body strenuously, his heart would beat faster, and along with his blood, the energy of the black soil was spreading through his body. He hadn’t even walked a few meters from the school and it had already gotten this bad.

Son Taehwan was already feeling as if his heart was being tightly grasped. Moving continuously seemed to be too much of an effort and it seemed like it would be better to rest.

Although he had gotten ample sleep before leaving Antarctica, it was just yesterday that there had been an intense battle with the iron spikes, and the day before that, he had been chased by orcas. His physical condition was already off due to exhaustion since the fall of the Chilean base on King George Island.

“Are… are you alright?”

“I’m fine. Don’t worry. If I think I’m turning into a zombie, I’ll blow my own head off with my hands. And.”

Son Taehwan pointed towards Kelly, who was glaring at him from a corner of the roof. The man was like a hyena waiting to pounce on an injured buffalo, ready to snatch the gun and run away the moment Son Taehwan fell. There was also the grudge of losing a friend because of Son Taehwan.

Son Taehwan felt as though a blade was against his nape. If things went sideways, Kelly might kill Paula as well and take the guns. If people at the school were to ask about what happened to Paula and Son Taehwan, it would suffice to say they were taken out by the Maestro or Beta zombies.

After all, there was no evidence of how they had died, and it was unlikely anyone would bother to check.

‘This has become damn troublesome.’

At least when he was being chased by the Alphas in Antarctica, he hadn’t needed to think of such troublesome issues. Everyone was united in the effort to survive. Despite the situation in the town of Punta Arenas being more critical and desperate than that on King George Island, people were at odds with each other.

Son Taehwan laughed at the absurdity. What use was it to wield petty power with a gun inside the school when isolated here? Without food or water, they would eventually die. Everyone would die.

Son Taehwan carefully made his way down to the roof of the bus garage with a smile on his face.

Under the roof was a bus that had been reduced to scrap, and they could walk over it. Next to the bus was a pile of batteries used for buses, along with various parts piled up like a mountain.

“It would be great if there’s a usable battery.”

“There should be a few good ones. That one’s scrapped, and that one’s new.”

Paula shrugged her shoulders and tapped Son Taehwan on his. As they conversed, Alejandro, leading the way, folded the ladder and walked slowly across the bus, placing the ladder against a nearby house.

Son Taehwan thought their method of traveling since yesterday was a bit odd. While it was dangerous where the Beta zombies gathered, there was no need to go through the trouble of climbing up and down ladders. Beta zombies only walked at the pace of humans. Nevertheless, it certainly seemed weird to climb the rooftops just to prepare for Alphas like the Maestro.

Son Taehwan looked at the road stretching cleanly towards the beach. He had passed the racetrack the last time he was here, so he roughly knew where it was located. If they followed the long road straight down, they would arrive in about ten minutes.

“Was your name Alejandro? There aren’t many zombies from here on out. Can’t we just walk down there?”

Alejandro, who was not very good at understanding English, just shrugged his shoulders without fully understanding Son Taehwan’s words. Paula tapped Alejandro’s back and replied for him.

“It’s because of the dogs.”

“Dogs? Ah, those on the map?”

“Yeah. When sending out dogs, the doctor said they seemed only to infect humans. But, four days ago, a person got infected after being bitten by a dog.”

Son Taehwan looked down the straight road again, feeling a chill. They had sent out no fewer than ten dogs.

Whether the dogs were Beta or Alphas, they would be faster than humans. Considering a dog’s explosive charge, taking on the dogs in an open space would be insane. People often forget that dogs, deeply integrated into human life, are also fierce animals.

Even a grown man wouldn’t stand a chance if a dog decided to pounce, let alone a zombie dog. Since dogs move lower to the ground and hide in narrower spaces, they could suddenly leap out.

Son Taehwan sighed, thinking of the dog that had helped him in Antarctica.

“Ah. Now I understand. The gun wasn’t for the Maestro, but for the dogs.”

“Exactly. To reach the yacht, we’ll have to pass through areas where dogs roam.”

Following the orcas, they now had another troublesome foe—dogs.

“Anyway, be careful. According to the telescope, this is where the dogs start appearing.”

Kelly also grumbled about not wanting to be bitten by dogs, spewing curses at Son Taehwan. Son Taehwan wanted to hit him, but now wasn’t the time.

Now, the surroundings had darkened, and Punta Arenas was completely shrouded in darkness. While there were some streetlights that were occasionally switched on, aside from the school, everything else was just darkness.

Paula switched on a large flashlight with red cellophane attached to the front to light the way. The others also turned on their flashlights, covering them with red plastic.

“Nontine is also sensitive to light. Same goes for the Maestro.”

“Bet it’s sensitive to light? That’s new to me.”

For Son Taehwan, who had only been running away from zombie hordes on King George Island, this was a surprising fact. It seemed that the survivors at the school were fairly accustomed to this situation, as they must have also been moving around at night for food and water.

Alejandro handed a flashlight to Son Taehwan, who then cautiously walked on the roof. Thankfully, there was no need to run. Under the red light, his right hand seemed to appear even more grotesque.

The black veins were now spreading to the surrounding veins.

‘Damn it. Do I have to amputate my hand?’

Looking at the black veins that were slowly turning blacker, Son Taehwan felt bleak. Amputate his hand? When it had been cut at the woodshop, it was lucky that only his wrist flew off, and there was no bleeding, but there was no guarantee that would be the case this time.

If his hand was amputated and he began to bleed profusely? Now, Son Taehwan and his group were on their way to get medicine and a doctor for a dying pregnant woman. Would Han Sujin be able to save him if it were that kind of massive bleeding?

Han Sujin occasionally mentioned stories about working for Médicins Sans Frontières, saving patients who had lost limbs to landmines. It had seemed like stories from a faraway land, but now Son Taehwan was at a point where he had to decide whether to amputate his wrist or not.

‘But it is strange. When my wrist was cut off, did the infection stop progressing?’

The more he thought about it, the stranger it seemed. If one is infected by the black soil from the Alpha zombie, one becomes a zombie within seconds. Why hasn’t Son Taehwan turned into a zombie immediately?

It must have taken at least 10 minutes from the plane crash to the isolated house’s woodshop. In 10 minutes, there would have been plenty of time to become an Alpha zombie. Given individual differences in body or personal characteristics, it seemed impossible that Son Taehwan still had his senses intact.

“Hey. Snap out of it. What are you thinking about so deeply?”

“Huh? Oh, Paula. It’s nothing. How much farther do we have to go?”

“Looks like we’ll have to go around the bottom. At least it’s a lot better now that the moon’s out than a few days ago.”

It was truly fortunate that the moon had risen. Until a while ago, nothing could be seen due to the darkness, but as the full moon rose from the east coast, it lit up the city of Punta Arenas like a searchlight.

Since they were in a place far removed from pollution, the moonlight seemed to shine even brighter. Under the moonlight, the shapes of the Beta zombies stumbling around and the outlines of the ruined beachfront buildings could be seen.

Kelly shuddered at the sight of the ruins along the beach, saying,

“It’s all the work of the Maestro. I was at the coast when he appeared, and I escaped here.”

“Kelly, then you’ve seen the Maestro?”

As soon as the Maestro was mentioned, Kelly became mute, as if he had honey in his mouth. His face was the very picture of fear under the pale moonlight.

“Look. It doesn’t matter how many words. If we do it right, we can kill the Maestro.”

“Kill him? That?”

“Yeah. As I said, I came here by killing the Alpha zombie orca that you guys call Steam Man.”

“Killer Whale?”

This time, Paula chimed in with wide eyes. Although she had heard from Paula before about killing an Alpha zombie, they had not mentioned the orca.

“It was tough riding the rubber boat on the sea. But I killed him. As I said, they are not invincible. So tell me. What does he look like? His size or something like that.”

Despite Son Taehwan’s words, the expressions on Kelly and Paula remained unchanged.

“We would have fought against the Maestro if we could,” said Paula. “When the soldiers were here, we had plenty of bullets and automatic rifles.”

“Yeah, Paula’s right. Forget it. It’s best to avoid the Maestro. He’s on a different level than any Steam Man you’ve met.”

“Not good. No good. A fight with the Maestro? No.”

Even the usually cheerful Alejandro shook his head, siding with Kelly.

“Just what kind of guy is he? You can at least tell me what he looks like, right? I’ll figure out the rest.”

Paula hesitated for a moment, sighed, and then answered,

“He looks just normal. He’s about your height, and he’s not particularly muscular.”

“Hmm. And that kind of guy has the strength to lift and throw a fishing boat?”

“Right, you might tilt your head if you see the Maestro. He’s just a regular-looking Steam Man in a suit on the outside.”

Son Taehwan didn’t understand. The iron spike had a muscular man as its host, which gave it incredible strength. Therefore, Son Taehwan had carelessly assumed the Maestro was a mixed martial artist from South America.

However, Paula and the others said the same thing—the Maestro looked ordinary. Ordinary?

“The Maestro’s power is something… it’s something that shouldn’t exist in this world. It’s like…”

Alejandro chimed in, summarizing Paula’s words in one phrase,

“Diabolo.”

“Yeah, Diabolo. A devil. Like a devil that came up from hell.”

As they continued to use more abstract expressions, Son Taehwan didn’t know what to say. In the end, their message was the same: to see and judge for himself.

An Alpha zombie with transcendental strength.

Son Taehwan followed Paula silently afterward. They were headed towards the racetrack hospital, taking a longer southern route from the bus garage.

“Wait.”

Just as they were about to climb down from the roof, Paula stopped everyone and pulled out a pair of binoculars. Son Taehwan also noticed something moving under the bright moonlight.

“A horse?”

There was a small racetrack next to the hospital, which would naturally have horses. Drenching in saliva that reeked of decay, a horse trotted along the road.

The scene would have been rather picturesque if the horse wasn’t a zombie—with the moonlight shining down and an unsaddled horse prancing on the asphalt, mane fluttering in the air, those watching remained silent at the sight.

Paula put her finger to her lips, signaling everyone to wait for the horse to pass. Suddenly, things took an unexpected turn.

The sound of horse hooves below drew in human zombies. They hovered around the horse as if mistaking it for another piece of meat and then suddenly attacked. The horse, perhaps as a defensive measure against the sudden human zombies, let out a high-pitched neigh and kicked back with its hind legs.

Even a regular kick from a non-zombie horse would cripple a human, and this horse seemed to be an ‘Alpha,’ infected but powerful. One hit from its kick tore one of the human zombies, which flung towards the roof where Son Taehwan’s group was hiding.

Everyone instinctively covered their noses and ducked. Rotten blood and chunks of flesh rained down like water, and the zombie’s body slammed against the roof before falling to the ground.

“Damn, of all the…”

The whinnying horse reigned over the area as if the Beta zombies meant nothing, its kicks ripping through human necks and bending legs that smashed against the garage door. No matter how you looked at it, this seemed like a scene from a nightmare, not reality.

And it would’ve been nice if it was just a horse causing a commotion, but the racket created by the horse stomping and kicking, the Beta zombies flying into buildings, and all the commotion were like a chaotic party.

“My God. Run. Everyone needs to run.”

Almost simultaneously with Paula’s words to others, the same surreal scene from earlier in the day unfolded.

A massive shadow overlapped the huge full moon and then swiftly flew towards where the neighing horse was stationed. This time, it was a fishing boat, which should’ve been in the harbor, flying through the air. Nets spilling from the vessel smothered the Beta zombies, and rotten fish poured out toward the horse.

Fragments of the boat also fell towards Son Taehwan’s group, and the anchor from the boat slammed into the roof with a clang.

“Alejandro!”

The chain, like some kind of metal saw, cut through the wooden house. The houses in Punta Arenas were mostly wooden, unlike those in Korea, and the intense force applied tore them apart like cardboard boxes…



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