Dead End Chapter 113

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 113

Chapter 113

As soon as Son Taehwan turned around, he was violently kicked by the horse’s hoof. He reflexively put his right hand to the spot where he was kicked on instinct.

Why?

Even Son Taehwan wasn’t sure, but just like earlier when he had fallen from above, his right hand hadn’t felt any pain at all. Eventually, the horse’s hoof touched his right forearm, and like someone on a roller coaster, he was flung into the air with a whoosh.

Normally, getting hit squarely by a horse’s hoof would shatter human bones like matchsticks and knock the person unconscious. However, instead of pain, Son Taehwan only felt a dull pressure as if something was simply pressing down on his right arm.

He didn’t feel any pain at all.

Considering the agony he had felt from a mere rose thorn when he had struggled out from the rosebush earlier, this was a highly strange occurrence. Tossed by the horse’s hoof, Son Taehwan tumbled on the asphalt road and quickly stood back up.

“What’s with that guy? Eh? Di… Didn’t he get hit? Wasn’t he hit by the horse’s hoof?”

Kelly and the others were astonished to see Son Taehwan unscathed. A beta zombie kicked by a horse’s hoof would have been smashed to pieces upon impact with the wall, not to mention an oven made of iron that would have been punctured. Yet Son Taehwan not only stood up without his bones being broken but promptly threw himself into a nearby building.

The other locals also discussed Son Taehwan among themselves with bemused expressions. Kelly, who didn’t understand Spanish, couldn’t make out what they were saying, but she caught one word that stood out.

Diablo.

Kelly suddenly grasped Paula’s shoulder and looked meaningfully into her eyes.

“No… He’s becoming like the Maestro! We have to kill him!”

Kelly’s eyes naturally tracked to the bow that Paula was holding. Among them, only Paula could possibly kill Son Taehwan. While horses couldn’t be killed with one blow, humans were different. Paula was a sharpshooter who had hit the heads of numerous beta and alpha zombies. If she aimed properly at Son Taehwan, he would die.

“But, but. We need that man right now.”

“What are you talking about! If he turns into Steam Man, we’re done for! Beasts, the Maestro, and now him too!”

Kelly’s voice trembled with terror, and he unwittingly raised his voice. His point was valid. With them unable to escape because of the Maestro and the Beast, if Son Taehwan also turned into an alpha zombie, their hopes of escape would be dashed.

“Hey, Paula. Think clearly! This mission is a bust! We have to shoot him, take his gun, and head back!”

Kelly pointed toward the school. The distance from the school to the house they were in was less than a kilometer. The lights flickered at the school as if someone was watching them through binoculars.

Kelly immediately waved his hand toward the window in the direction of the school and crossed his arms to signal an ‘X.’ Even if he didn’t alert them, the school would have figured out what happened from seeing the horse go wild and the Maestro throwing objects around.

Paula faced a choice.

Kill Son Taehwan and run, or follow Son Taehwan’s advice to herd the horse in a narrow space and kill it?

Whatever the decision, it had to be made quickly. As they had observed, the Maestro’s activity dwindled at night, but he would react instantly if a threat like the Beast approached. If they were unlucky, the slim hope surviving at the school could be extinguished.

“We have to…”

Just as Paula tried to say something to the people who entered the house, something broke through the window and flew in. It was something she had warned about and then had forgotten.

“It’s a dog!”

Alejandro reacted quickest. Upon hearing Kelly’s shout, he pinned the dog’s neck to the wall with his long monopod. Meanwhile, Miguel, another local, violently hacked at the dog’s neck with a hatchet. Black blood streamed down, and Miguel, frowning, pointed outside.

“Paula! Outside! Outside! More are coming!”

“Good Lord!”

They were trapped. A crazed horse was rampaging outside, and in the chaos, dogs were trying to enter the house. Paula quickly loaded her arrow and shot the head of a dog trying to enter. The arrow satisfyingly penetrated the dog’s head, spraying rotten blood.

As she reloaded another arrow, Paula glanced inside the house. It was a typical two-story wooden house in Punta Arenas, and inside there was a wooden staircase leading upstairs. Paula pointed to the staircase and shouted.

“Dammit! Everyone, upstairs!”

Kelly was the first to skedaddle, stumbling up the wooden stairs. In the meantime, dogs that had run all the way from the street jumped through the windows and charged in. According to the map Paula had, this wasn’t supposed to be dog territory. Apparently, the ruckus caused by the horse and the Maestro stirred the dogs as well.

“Paula! Upstairs! Too many!”

Miguel, who had swiftly picked up a fallen chair, knocked a dog’s head with it. The dog struck by the metal chair didn’t make a sound and was thrown against the wall. Alejandro and Miguel used the monopod and chair like shields to clear a path to the second floor, while Paula fitted the bow on her back and adjusted a parasol pole into a spear.

Thunk. They cornered the dogs with the ladder and chair and then Paula stabbed away with her spear. They had endured several days of fierce battles with the dogs and knew better than anyone how to handle them.

The three of them took down the dogs rushing in one after another, but the number of dogs exceeded their expectations. Alejandro and Miguel tensed up, merely watching the snarling dogs.

One successful attack on either Miguel or Alejandro meant annihilation. The infected dogs were all beta zombies, but their athletic ability differed from that of humans. Humans had to accurately shatter a dog’s head or cut the throat, whereas the dogs could scratch with their claws or body slam to inflict wounds and infect humans, which was also fatal.

The tension peaked, and the three of them, including Paula, reluctantly stepped back toward the stairs leading upstairs.

“Look, Kelly! Do something! Throw anything from upstairs!”

Paula called for Kelly, and both Alejandro and Miguel shouted something in their local language to the second floor, but there was no response.

“The coward! Did he escape by himself?”

They should have noticed it when Kelly was talking about shooting Son Taehwan. Kelly was already running away towards the school through the second-floor window. No one could blame him for running. The plan to go to the hospital without provoking the Maestro had already failed, and things had turned into a complete mess.

Dumbfounded, Paula chuckled in disbelief before telling Alejandro and Miguel in their language.

“Now that it’s come to this, we need to thin them out. It’s better to put down these dogs to ensure a safe escape for the kids and everyone else.”

“Understood, Paula. Anyway, I’ve prepared myself.”

“But what about my sister?”

Paula briefly glanced toward where the horse was evidently still fighting Son Taehwan. It was incredibly curious that Son Taehwan was still holding his ground against the horse, regardless of whether he turned into Steam Man.

“Maybe this Son guy is insanely lucky.”

“Yeah, he survived a plane crash and has been coherent despite being infected.”

Alejandro shrugged, sporting a kindly smile.

“Maybe he will really bring back a doctor. Surely he will.”

Miguel nodded with a mournful look. Having dropped into this hellish place to save his pregnant sister, even that useless hope was reassuring.

As Miguel nodded, the dogs charged. Like wild dogs pouncing on their prey, they leaped into the air all at once.

“Upstairs! We’ll hold them at the staircase!”

Instead of blocking with the ladder, Alejandro swung it sideways like a baseball bat and struck a dog’s flank. The sound of ribs breaking was followed by a dog collapsing to the ground, tangled with its companion. Taking the chance, Miguel and Paula quickly climbed the stairs leading to the second floor.

The staircase leading upstairs was narrow, barely wide enough for a person. Alejandro staggered back with the ladder, preventing the dogs from recklessly jumping up. Originally, this house was home to little children, and to prevent them from falling, the stairs were entirely covered with wooden boards up to the second floor. This prevented the dogs from attacking Alejandro from the side, and all they could do was bark angrily at the three people climbing to the second floor.

“Be careful, Alejandro!”

But these were not dogs that would just back off. One of the dogs crouched low and leaped up the stairs. Alejandro stood the ladder vertically to smash the dog’s head, but only the upper jaw shattered, and the dog continued trying to bite at him.

“I’ll help you, Alejandro!”

From the second-floor banister, Paula leaned out and thrust her spear into the dog’s head.

Like pinning an insect, the dog’s neck stuck to the wooden stairs, and the zombified dog still struggled, trying to attack Alejandro. From above, Miguel threw a brass candle holder with force, smashing the dog’s head to pieces.

Despite one of their own being miserably subdued, the dogs continued their relentless assault. The dogs that sprang at Alejandro, who was down, truly soared. Right as Alejandro squeezed his eyes shut, expecting the worst,

“Damn beasts!”

Miguel and Paula teamed up to throw a wardrobe down from the second floor. The dog aiming for Alejandro was flattened under it, and the heavy wardrobe fit perfectly over the stairs like a lid, sealing it off with a crunch.

The zombie dogs drooled and gnashed from the gaps around the wardrobe, but they couldn’t climb to the second floor because of it. As Alejandro’s legs gave out and he was helped up by Miguel,

“Damnit all! Get down!”

Before she could finish dealing with a humanoid beta zombie, Paula loudly called for Miguel and Alejandro to duck.

Another surreal scene unfolded. There was a large window on the second floor facing the beachside, and what was flying in, filling the window, was a church bell tower.

With the bell tolled, the bell tower flew in and swept away the top part of the two-story house as if Stephen had slapped away the upper tier of a wedding cake. The wooden boards were ripped away by a massive force, and the second floor where Paula stood became nothing but ruins in an instant.

The walls that had been there moments ago flew with the bell tower toward a bus garage behind them, stirring up a cloud of dust. Paula was more taken aback by the disappearance of their “escape route” than by the vanishing second floor. Now, they had to travel not on the path they came but find a new one.

What startled Paula more was something else.

“The Maestro.”

Off in the distance, on the beach road, she could discern a human silhouette. There were no street lamps or anything of that sort, so she had to rely on the moonlight to make out figures, but Paula instantly recognized this figure.

The Maestro.

The Great One. Or the conductor of an orchestra.

True to the metaphor, this figure on the beach stood erect with his hand half-raised as if conducting an orchestra band. Although it was hard to see the silhouette bathed in moonlight, indeed, as Paula described, the Maestro was nothing like a muscular man.

“Maestro is all the way over there. Paula. What do we do?”

Paula’s gaze automatically turned to the school. If the Maestro came in the direction of the school, everything would be over. Paula’s decision was straightforward.

“We’re going toward the Maestro.”

“Say what?”

“We have to lure him back into his territory. If we don’t, the school will be in danger.”

Even the kind-hearted Alejandro couldn’t hide his troubled expression. Carefully stepping into the Maestro’s territory was one thing, but luring the Maestro back was something else entirely.

“I’m not saying we all have to go. If you want to split, that’s fine. It’s not too late.”

Pride is something taken seriously in Latin America. No matter how kind-hearted a person might be, it doesn’t look good for a man to be told such things by a woman.

“I promised to return with a doctor and medicine. I’m going.”

“Paula. Me too.”

Alejandro smiled agreeably and nodded readily. As they reached a consensus, Son Taehwan’s voice came from somewhere.

“Damn it! Did everyone run away? I’m losing my mind!”

They didn’t miss the figure of the Maestro shift slightly toward the direction of Son Taehwan’s voice.

“Hey! The Maestro is moving! This is dangerous! Don’t make a sound!”

Ironically, even as she said this, Paula was still raising her voice. Before long, the silhouette of the Maestro vanished from the beach road, and they saw only a wave of debris rolling in like a tsunami. It was unclear how he had done it, but the Maestro had scattered the remnants of the church into the sky.

As if scattering a destroyed Lego building into the air, the crumbling remains of the church building fell everywhere – both where Son Taehwan was and Paula’s location.



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