Dead End Chapter 25

Dead End Chapter 25

Chapter 025

Han Sujin looked up at Son Taehwan with a determined face. At times like this, she didn’t seem like the sort of lady who would be nicknamed a bungler or charlatan. She was quite capable.

“But against someone with a gun, we don’t stand a chance, right? What should we do?”

“Rushing in recklessly is tantamount to suicide. I’m going to fight here.”

Han Sujin then turned her gaze from the falling snow outside to the dimly lit machine room.

“Wouldn’t it be better to follow them and strike from behind? When they’re headed toward the research building.”

“No. They’ll be constantly looking over their shoulders to guard against unknown zombies. If we get caught even once, we’re finished.”

“Ah… I hadn’t thought of that. Then it’s better to fight here as you say, Senior.”

“Right. And we are familiar with this place now.”

“So how do you plan to fight?”

Instead of answering, Son Taehwan started tying fishing lines around various parts of the dimly lit machine room, setting down the chainsaw beside him.

“Ah, traps!”

“Judging by your quick recognition, you’ve been a solo lady spending Christmas with ‘Home Alone’, haven’t you?”

“Ugh, that’s so annoying. Stop teasing me about being single from birth. I’ve had boyfriends too, you know.”

“When? Back in kindergarten?”

Han Sujin kicked Son Taehwan’s behind with her foot and hurried down to the lower floor.

“Keep it down and move quickly, Senior.”

Soon, the two of them had set up cleverly hidden fishing lines all around, like in ‘Home Alone’. Starting with places that were unavoidable, like stairs and entrances, they even rigged parts of the floor that were hard to check with the naked eye. Then Han Sujin brought Molotov cocktails from upstairs and slipped them into her pockets.

“These might not do much against zombies, but they should work well on humans.”

“Deadly.”

While the armed person was stirring up other buildings, the two of them had turned various spots within the machine room into traps. Even though these might be meaningless in front of a gun, they had to struggle to survive; after all, there was no running away in their situation.

“Senior. But will this really work?”

“Think back to when you or I first entered this building. They’ll also be disoriented in the dark, obviously more wary of zombies.”

Besides, this was Son Taehwan’s original workplace. He already knew the indoor layout like the back of his hand from yesterday’s close combat fight. However, looking at the cruel traps he’d set up, he shivered.

“Killing zombies is one thing but killing people is different.”

“…”

Han Sujin’s hands froze. Both had failed to fully consider this amidst their thoughts of survival. Seeing her reaction, Son Taehwan thought he should not have brought it up.

“I’m sorry.”

“No, Senior… We’re like being on the plank of Charon.”

“Charon…”

It was a fairly famous story. A person holding onto a plank from a shipwreck, with someone else rushing towards them. In order to keep the plank, the first person forces the other into the water, killing them.

Was that person guilty or innocent?

Son Taehwan knew that term through detective comics and felt a strong dilemma.

“No need for self-reproach, Senior. We wanted rescuers, but they started the fight. We are justified.”

“…Yeah. It must be so. This is a matter of survival.”

“Senior, you always hesitate at times like these. Get it together, Son Taehwan.”

As if in annoyance, Han Sujin slapped Son Taehwan on the back – a sign of her support, whether it was for mental strength or for the actual fight. Only then did Son Taehwan feel bolstered.

The traps Son Taehwan and Han Sujin set up across the first and second floors of the machine room were ruthless. They had set them up with the almost casual intent to kill.

After setting all the traps, they returned to the second-floor window, anxiously waiting for the armed person to come back. Son Taehwan glanced out the window at the dilapidated wooden building. The blizzard had softened, and visibility had improved to a good 10 meters.

“If the weather improved this much, even escaping on a snowmobile would’ve been dangerous. Even if we lost them, the ski marks wouldn’t have disappeared.”

No sooner had Son Taehwan finished speaking than the sound of automatic rifle fire erupted from the east side of the living quarters.

“Perhaps, there are other survivors?”

“Probably they’ve shot Captain’s corpse.”

“The captain? Was the captain bitten too?”

“No.”

In a way, the captain suffered a lot alike Han Sujin, but he was just unlucky. While hiding indoors from the wandering zombies, he eventually froze to death as the heating failed. At least he was mercifully eaten after freezing to death.

“Consider yourself lucky.”

“Lucky in what? Meeting you, Senior?”

“No. You had the guts and responded wisely, but you also had weapons and things to ignite.”

“Wow, is that a compliment? Not that it gets me anything… Wait, a sound! I hear a sound, Senior. The sound of a snowmobile.”

Han Sujin grabbed Son Taehwan’s arm tightly, cutting off her playful remarks. Her shaking conveyed her fear, despite her attempts to appear unfrightened.

Son Taehwan too felt unsure if they could win this battle. The first floor of the machine room was full of cruel traps, comparable to an automatic rifle, but depending on the situation, either Son Taehwan or Han Sujin could fall victim to their own traps, putting them at risk.

Therefore, they both hoped the enemies would note the situation on the first and second floors and retreat. Regrettably, the sound of the automatic rifles grew louder, with gunfire now erupting from the adjacent power station.

Amidst the sound of snowmobiles, they heard two men conversing loudly in either Spanish or Portuguese. Although indecipherable, the two assailants seemed thoroughly angered by Son Taehwan’s fishing line tactic.

They recklessly shot bullets at the building from atop their snowmobiles.

Ta-ta-ta-tang!

The chilling sound of metal sheets being punctured followed, and the building’s exterior walls were holed through and through. Naturally, an Antarctic research facility wasn’t bulletproof, and light streamed through the new holes in the second-floor walls where Son Taehwan and Han Sujin crouched.

“If they shoot so indiscriminately, there’s no countering that. Surely they wouldn’t throw a bomb?”

But as if to mock their hopes, a deafening explosion sounded from the direction of the power station. The vibration of the blast was felt physically. The assailants had hurled a high-powered bomb inside!

With a roar, the small windows leading to the generator room shattered. Following that, flames shot up as the cogeneration unit exploded. The generators burst one after another, and the side of the machine room became a sea of flames, sending pillars of fire skyrocketing.

“My God, this is what I saw yesterday…”

“Senior, what do we do now?”

“…It’s okay. They won’t have a second explosive. It should be fine.”

Son Taehwan reasoned calmly as he looked at the gaping holes in the walls and the explosive. If the assailants had enough bombs, they wouldn’t need to fight so perilously at the wooden building. It would be a simple cleanup operation to plaster each building with explosives and detonate them sequentially.

Son Taehwan realized why they targeted the power station specifically. Like most science bases, it was similar in certain aspects, usually operating a cogeneration unit for heat and electricity. The attackers had cut the electricity and heat spreading from the main base after an outer excursion.

“Merciless bastards. Want us to hide and freeze to death just like the captain.”

Once the power was confirmed dead, there was no need to get their hands dirty. Simply depriving everyone of heat and electricity was enough. They would either come out or freeze to death inside.

“Don’t worry, Sujin. They’ll think the heat and electricity are gone and will soon retreat. Then, no matter where the survivors are hiding inside the base, it will be hard for them to survive.”

“Cruel… isn’t it?”

“Yeah. But it’s efficient.”

Son Taehwan wrapped his arm around Han Sujin and leaned against the wall. Two snowmobiles patrolled the base perimeter, shooting indiscriminately, while the two of them shivered in terror. Then one of the assailants shouted loudly.

“Damned rat! You may not know where you’ve run off to, but remember one thing! You’re as good as dead!”

The thug was so infuriated he prattled in English before unleashing a barrage of automatic gunfire above.

“There’s nowhere to run! This is a dead-end place! A dead end, you hear me! Good luck, lucky guy! Twiggs zero one! Such a damn lucky bastard!”

He sprayed bullets around once more, and Son Taehwan felt chills listening to his malevolent warning.

Dead end.

A road with no escape.

Could the two of them survive, even if they managed to stay alive here? The situation for Son Taehwan and Han Sujin was truly a dead end.

And to Son Taehwan, the term he heard in English seemed to have a dual meaning. Now that the cogenerator had exploded, the two of them had reached an inescapable dead-end, and also, this place was the end of a hell that only welcomed living dead.

Living Dead and Dead End.

Son Taehwan repeated the words over and over. Was it really the end? Was there really no way left to survive?

They struggled desperately to survive just yesterday and today. But if all their efforts were in vain, what then?

For real, the cogenerator blazed, and with the fuel catching fire, pipes began to burst consecutively with loud bangs. If the oil supply warehouse exploded too, the chance of surviving in this machine building until a rescue team arrived would also vanish.

Even if a rescue team did come, there was no way to confront these armed men. Son Taehwan and Han Sujin were utterly isolated here.

“……”

He leaned listlessly against the wall with gaping holes, staring blankly at the window glowing red from the flames.

Han Sujin, too, sat by Son Taehwan’s side, silently staring into the machine building’s interior.

The words ‘dead end’, ‘no escape’, drilled into their hearts, gouging deep.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *