Dead End Chapter 118

Dead End

Chapter 118

When Sohn Tae-hwan received his gun back from Paula, he unhesitatingly discarded the potato cannon.

“Eh? Why?”

“There’s no plasticine left and the back support is too flimsy for a second use.”

The wrapper that had been used to seal the back had torn apart after one explosion. Trying to block the back and fire again would surely not withstand the explosive pressure.

“Who are you really?”

“A devout YouTuber.”

Sohn Tae-hwan shrugged his shoulders and looked back.

“Damn it! Run, everyone!”

The dogs had opened the iron door much more quickly. Stacked boxes tumbled down, the lock on the iron door snapped with a clang, and the dogs poured out of the door. Alejandro had already set up a ladder against a nearby two-story building, and Sohn Tae-hwan and Paula sprinted up onto the roof.

A dog’s teeth grazed Sohn Tae-hwan’s leg just barely, and he brought his short sword down on the dog’s head with force. The dog fell to the ground, making a dying sound, without even time to scream, while Alejandro barely managed to kick away the ladder.

Alejandro swung the ladder at the last dog trying to climb up, slamming it back to the ground. The dog rolled away with a whimper and Sohn Tae-hwan’s group laid sprawled out on the roof, gasping for breath.

The dogs tried jumping onto the roof but even for a beta-zombie, it was not easy to make it onto the roof of a one-story house. No matter how athletic they were for beta-zombies, they were still just beta-zombies.

Sohn Tae-hwan caught his breath, touching his right hand with his left. Although he had run a bit, the dark veins on his right hand hadn’t changed. It seemed something had shifted after he last collapsed.

“Damn it. But is the sensation completely gone?”

Sohn Tae-hwan only now noticed the shrapnel embedded in his right wrist. It was from when he had shot the lock on the rooftop. He glanced around stealthily and plucked out the shrapnel, dropping it onto the tile roof.

The clanging sound drew growls from the dogs as they looked up, but they just continued circling the house, seemingly out of other options. Sohn Tae-hwan pulled down the sleeve of his cold-weather gear and stood up.

They were getting closer to the house where they had seen light earlier. The dogs were a nuisance, but if they moved well across the roofs, they might be able to evade them.

“Let’s go.”

Just as Sohn Tae-hwan was preparing to move, Paula grabbed his clothes.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

“I think I’m still okay for now. But if I try to bite you all… Oh, you brought a chainsaw. Use that to cut my head off.”

Alejandro laughed heartily, hanging the chainsaw over his back. Despite the short shopping (?) trip, the supermarket had plenty to offer.

Paula had scooped up various batteries, and Alejandro had even taken tools and solid fuel. But although Miguel had arrived with several bags, the backpack he carried still looked pitifully empty.

‘Ah. He must have wanted the medical supplies.’

Sohn Tae-hwan quickly grasped what Miguel was thinking. Carrying a lot of heavy items from here would mean less room for medical supplies like syringes, hemostatics, bandages, and so on. That’s why Miguel had purposely left his bags empty.

Sohn Tae-hwan and the others laid on the roof for a while, panting.

“It’s funny that it took us this much effort just to get here from there.”

“Yeah, you’re telling me.”

Sohn Tae-hwan and Paula looked at the lights of the school. Through the curtains of the school windows, they could see people moving back and forth. It looked like they had closed all the curtains on the beach side of the windows, probably not to provoke the Maestro.

“Paula, you guys need to get back quickly. I’m worried about the inside of the school.”

“…”

Paula knew what Sohn Tae-hwan was talking about. Even from the other side of the telescope, they would have confirmed that they were alive, but it would have been noisy over there about whether they would be able to return or not.

Once the men got hold of bullets, the small society led by Paula would completely disintegrate.

“I wonder if that Kelly bastard is still alive.”

At the mention of Kelly, Alejandro and Miguel smirked shaking their heads. There was no chance that the dogs had left Kelly alone. Even if he managed to run away to the school, given the nature of South American men who scorn cowardly men, they wouldn’t have believed his words.

Paula looked through a telescope towards the school and clicked her tongue worriedly.

“Sohn, we’d better hurry, as you said. The atmosphere at the school is unusual. They’ve been trying to send signals but none are coming back.”

“Did something happen?”

“I don’t know. We don’t have walkie-talkies.”

“Right. There were walkie-talkies on the plane. With luck, they could help.”

Paula’s expression grew darker as she looked at the school. The survivors there had already experienced a time controlled by soldiers and knew painfully well what happened when those with guns acted unfairly.

Again, Miguel stood up speaking to Paula in their mother tongue. Miguel looked clearly worried about his sister. Pointing to the hospital and the airplane wreckage, he talked at length. Paula listened to Miguel’s words then translated for Sohn Tae-hwan.

“Miguel says it might be better if we split up.”

“Split up?”

Miguel showed two fingers to Sohn Tae-hwan and then pointed to the hospital and also to the direction of the airplane wreckage.

“Waste of time. Time waste.”

In broken English, pointing at his watch, Miguel tried to persuade Sohn Tae-hwan. There was no particular reason for Sohn Tae-hwan to object. Miguel would go to the hospital, grab whatever medical supplies they could find, and return to the school, while Sohn Tae-hwan would find a doctor and come back?

However, Sohn Tae-hwan could see through Miguel’s shallow plan.

‘The medicines are a sure bet, but finding a doctor is uncertain, and he is unwilling to risk his life on uncertain things. And who knows, there might be horses over there.’

Moreover, Sohn Tae-hwan’s physical state was obviously strange to anyone who saw. He felt no pain even with shards lodged in his hand, and they all had witnessed him having odd seizures and collapsing.

They couldn’t keep someone around who could turn into a zombie at any moment. Even though he looked fine now, if he turned into a zombie in a tight or dead-end spot, that would be a real headache.

Bitter about it yet understanding he would have made the same choice in Miguel’s shoes, Sohn Tae-hwan realized that no matter how kind people are, to them, he was still an outsider.

“Okay. You guys take the medical supplies. I will go and bring back a doctor.”

They had gone through a lot to come this far, which was a great help to him. Sohn Tae-hwan reloaded his bullets and, attaching his short sword to his waist, then spoke to the group.

“Good. Then you guys head to the hospital. I’ll go this way and find my peers. Right. We should set up a signal.”

“A signal?”

“If you shoot out of the blue upon arriving at the school, it would be troublesome. Use a whistle like this.”

The dogs perked up and barked at the sound of the whistle. Though Sohn Tae-hwan had second thoughts, the whistle was indeed a good signal to be heard from afar. Miguel and Alejandro also practiced the whistle signal with nods.

A whistle meant that someone was still alive. Paula whistled and then pushed Miguel and Alejandro’s backs.

“Wait, Paula. Shouldn’t you go too? Without the bow, both of you are in danger.”

On hearing this, Paula handed the bow to Miguel.

“What are you doing? Are you mad, Paula?”

“Miguel is also good with a bow. He was in the archery club with me.”

As Miguel received the arrow, he fiddled with the bow’s sight.

“Wait, wouldn’t it be better for you to go back with them?”

“Did you forget? That gun. We need that gun. And a trained marksman who can shoot well.”

Paula pointed back and forth between the gun and Sohn Tae-hwan. Everyone had witnessed how accurately he had shot the dog earlier.

Chile might be free with guns, but Punta Arenas wasn’t a city mired in crime, and people who shot well were rare. Additionally, Sohn Tae-hwan’s makeshift potato cannon had left a deep impression. Without that potato cannon’s attack, they might have actually fallen to the dogs.

“I would like to take you with us if possible. I feel like you could guide us to the yacht.”

“What? If it’s for a guide you’re after, you should look elsewhere.”

At Sohn Tae-hwan’s dry joke, Paula let out a small smile. In time, Alejandro and Miguel carefully descended towards the hospital.

The hospital was also a place Maestro wandered and, moreover, it was the place they had returned from earlier. Sending them off, Sohn Tae-hwan felt a pang of sadness. Though their ploy was transparent, they were also risking their lives for someone.

To distract the dogs, Sohn Tae-hwan threw a soda can in the opposite direction of where Alejandro was headed.

“Good people indeed.”

“Yeah, they’re good people. I hope everyone makes it to the yacht alive.”

“Everyone.”

The yacht. From here, the harbor to the north wasn’t visible. The conversation made Sohn Tae-hwan feel an ominous premonition. Was there really an ark in Punta Arenas big enough for the 70 people to evacuate all at once?

Sohn Tae-hwan was aware of the size of luxury yachts through internet or magazines. While there were yachts equipped with sails and built for racing, most modern yachts were large, three-story vessels.

“But is that yacht alright?”

“We keep an eye on it every day through a telescope. It’s almost a daily routine for me too.”

Paula pointed out the school’s north building with a slight smile.

“The yacht was anchored a bit far from the harbor, so the zombies couldn’t get on board. There were many zombies that fell into the water trying to get on the yacht.”

As Sohn Tae-hwan listened to Paula’s narrative, he sensed a disturbing dissonance. This feeling of unease had been present since he first heard about the yacht.

“But doesn’t it strike you as strange, Paula? If such a yacht existed, wouldn’t they have quickly set sail instead of remaining anchored there?”

“That’s the funny thing. Did you see the captain in the school? The man wearing the uniform.”

The captain, distinctly noticeable among the men in his white sailor’s uniform, was well-remembered by Sohn Tae-hwan.

“That man was drinking ashore with the yacht’s owner when Maestro appeared, and the yacht owner died.”

“I see the big picture. So without the employer, the yacht was left stranded?”

“Thanks to that, it has become a ship of hope for us.”

Sohn Tae-hwan’s eyes still brimmed with unease.

‘Shouldn’t there be a quartermaster or a crew on board to take charge if the captain disembarks? They would need cooks and crew too.’

His knowledge came from documentaries he had watched. Logically, it made no sense to leave an enormous yacht, bigger than a three-story house, docked without any precautions. The yacht’s owner could whimsically decide to travel to another city, so a minimal crew had to remain for immediate movement.

‘It’s one of two things. Either all yacht people were out for leisure, or there are zombies inside the yacht.’

The former seemed completely illogical, and Sohn Tae-hwan theorized that the yacht must be infested with zombies. Otherwise, it defied reason why the yacht wouldn’t have left a harbor swarming with monsters.

‘I can maybe tinker with the engine myself, darn it, but I’m in the Air Force, not the Navy.’

At the school now, only the captain remained. The captain would have various pieces of knowledge due to his role, but he couldn’t know everything about the yacht. Large yachts required many crews. Sohn Tae-hwan’s gaze naturally shifted to the Punta Arenas airport in the north.

Based on their words, the north, claimed by that strange alpha beast, contained the airport and undoubtedly the harbor. Then, could they really escape safely by boat?

Maestro alone could easily toss small fishing boats, so it was uncertain whether the beast would let the yacht go peacefully. Moreover, they said the beast was sensitive to noise. Sohn Tae-hwan was increasingly disheartened.

“Sohn. Alejandro is now safely over there, so let’s get moving.”

“Huh? Oh. Okay.”

Sohn Tae-hwan got up, using his gun as a walking stick. From this point onward, the wooden residential area was dwindling, now revealing concrete buildings and shops ahead.

“Oops, forgot the ladder. How do we shake off the dogs?”

“Don’t worry. I know this area well from here. Just follow me closely.”

“Paula, is this close to your home?”

“Punta Arenas is small. It’s practically all my home.”

With a shrug, Paula jumped, gracefully landing on the opposing rooftop.

“The dogs will follow. Hurry up.”

Though the jump across was merely 50 centimeters in width, Sohn Tae-hwan could not afford to be careless. He never knew when another one of those dreadful seizures might strike. He threw the gun to Paula and then took a step back to jump.

Bad premonitions had a way of becoming reality. Just as his leg felt numb like pins and needles from sitting too long, that’s exactly when his jumping foot went numb mid-air, tilting Sohn Tae-hwan’s body dangerously. Below him lay a spiked iron fence, and if he fell now, being bitten by zombie dogs would be the least of his worries; he’d be nothing more than a skewered roast.



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