Dead End Chapter 27

Dead End Chapter 27

Chapter 027

The mechanism here was a complete rip-off of a haunted house setup. Something would drop from above with a whoosh, creating a loud crash and startling the prey.

Son Taehwan had rigged traps, hanging all kinds of odds and ends on the fishing lines, and every time he pulled a line, sounds echoed from corners as if someone was moving around in the machinery room. While looking at the faintly glowing phosphorescent stickers, he coordinated it all.

“Where are you hiding, you rats!”

The enemy, caught off guard, sprayed his automatic rifle until he dropped his radio on the ground in his haste.

Son Taehwan saw this and completely discarded the option of a reckless assault. The opponent’s marksmanship and speed of changing magazines were far from ordinary.

Surprisingly, even with gloves on, he switched the magazine in an instant. It was the skill of a pro, not the ‘magazine changing time’ Son Taehwan, a regular Air Force officer, had envisioned.

‘How can he be that quick!’

Son Taehwan had thought of rushing in with a scalpel during the short time it took for the enemy to change magazines, like in a film.

Reality wasn’t so simple, and naturally, the opponent had secondary weapons like pistols or knives. Perhaps not charging in was actually lucky for Son Taehwan.

Meanwhile, hearing the sounds of various objects falling from all corners, the enemy shuddered and went to check the generator, as if the first floor of the machinery room was possessed by a ghost. His night vision device was not performing well enough to see every corner, which made him increasingly irritable.

“Damn radio, bloody hell! This godforsaken place is driving me mad! Oh, Lord!”

He even recited the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish, slowly entering further in. And then, he spotted an emergency generator with the striking logo ‘CAT’ stamped on it.

“Captain, the generator is…”

Foolishly, he made a motion as if he held a radio, then cursed when he realized his mistake. It was a ridiculous sight. Upon reflection, the men who had earlier pushed Son Taehwan and Han Sujin to the brink of death also had such a foolish aspect.

Regardless, the enemy’s radio was now lost somewhere, and he looked around with his night vision device to find it.

Spotting the silhouette, Han Sujin whispered in Son Taehwan’s ear.

‘Senior. Should we attack?’

Son Taehwan shook his head, not yet. The automatic rifle the enemy held was a compact M-4 variant, and if they stood up and he swung the barrel and pulled the trigger, it would be over for them in the tight space.

Considering his magazine changing speed, the chance they would fall back, bloodied, was high.

‘The way he handles the gun, he’s definitely a pro. We can’t underestimate him.’

The enemy now begrudgingly cursed at his captain for making him search for the generator, as if he was about to cry out in the darkness.

“Damn it, we could just wipe them out with an air strike if it weren’t for this damn blizzard!”

From his short outburst, Son Taehwan could only make out ‘air strike’ and ‘blizzard.’

As soon as he heard the words, a chill ran through him. Surviving one crisis after another, yet always ending up at a dead end.

Air strike.

An attack from the sky, dropping bombs.

In that instant, military images of air bombs exploding ran through Son Taehwan’s head.

While you could think of a way to counter a gun, an air strike was truly indefensible. For infantry, it was over once the attack craft swooped in and a giant column of fire erupted.

And there was Son Taehwan, without any means of counterattack against the bombing, armed as primitively as a caveman. Even dealing with the enemy holding the automatic rifle seemed impossible.

‘What would happen to this scientific base if it was bombed in an air strike? There would be nowhere to hide or store anything. You’d just freeze to death.’

Compared to the air strike, a blizzard was the safer condition. Sending troops one by one to burn down facilities was because aircraft couldn’t fly in such weather.

Numerous ‘what if’ scenarios flashed through Son Taehwan’s mind, all dissipating like fog, leaving only death and the word ‘dead end’ that the enemies had mentioned.

“……”

Son Taehwan snapped back to reality at the sound of the enemy’s footsteps.

“Bloody radio!”

The enemy finally gave up looking for his radio, spit, and walked toward the emergency generator. As he did, he checked for the C-4 plastic explosive in his pocket with one hand, then cursed in Spanish again.

Once he attached and detonated the bomb, his business in the base would be done. His captain would contact him as soon as the light from the base went out, and he’d be fine as long as he found the dropped radio in the dark.

He cautiously scanned the area with both hands raised, aware that traps were certainly present and that he was being watched.

“You son of a bitch! Come out! Come out now!”

Once again, the enemy set his trigger in automatic and sprayed bullets around indiscriminately. Rounds hit the water heater which hissed as it leaked hot water, and he instinctively pointed his gun in that direction. Of course, no enemy was in sight.

Moreover, his night vision device was the problem. He had wasted the battery hunting at the Chilean base the whole previous day and hadn’t changed the battery before going into action—a mistake.

The beeping battery gauge showed one bar diminishing and then disappearing. Now, he had nothing left to lose.

“Damn it! I need to hurry!”

Haste always leads to errors. The enemy squeezed through the decoy passage made of black vinyl and fishing lines, heading toward the generator.

At that moment, Son Taehwan cut another fishing line, marking the enemy’s position.

“Damn, shit!”

Ta-da-da-da! The enemy saw something swoop down and turned the gun barrel toward it, firing automatically. It was exactly like when Son Taehwan had been attacked by the gorilla zombie.

Two corpses tied to the fishing line dropped from above, crashing onto the enemy. The assorted junk that had previously fallen was merely bait, distracting the enemy and pulling him into the trap.

Hidden in the dark, unable to see what had transpired but hearing a thud, Son Taehwan quietly cheered. Without explosives, he had a fighting chance in the dark machinery room.

A stream of Spanish curses flowed, and the enemy stumbled to his feet.

“What… what is this? Smoke? No, black blood! Heeeek!”

The enemy watched as the black blood vaporized through his night vision device. The steam rising like smoke from the blood soaked through his chest, obscuring his view.

“Aaargh!”

Entangled with the evaporating corpse as if dancing a tango, the enemy was in an uproar. Even with all their gear, a zombie trap using the bodies was too lethal.

The enemy dropped his gun as the fight with the corpse continued, tilting his gas mask and choking on the black blood that filled his mouth.

Infection.

The enemy thought of that word, screamed again in horror, and tried to remove his mask and expel the black blood, but inhalation of the vapor-filled gas had engulfed his lungs.

“Cough! Cough, cough! Choke……!”

At that moment, Son Taehwan heard the clattering of the automatic rifle hitting the ground but remained holding Han Sujin’s hand.

‘Wait.’

Even though he had seen the silhouette of the fallen gun, he couldn’t rush in relying on just that.

He carefully pulled the fishing line connected to the switch of the fluorescent lights in the machinery room. With a click, the light in the center of the room turned on.

Like a spotlight in a theater, the overhead fluorescent light grotesquely illuminated the figure below.

“……”

“……”

Son Taehwan and Han Sujin peeked from behind the yellow body of the generator they were hiding behind, looking at their adversary—or rather, the person who had been their adversary.

Black smoke poured from his nose and mouth, and it seemed as if even from his eyes, black vapor emerged.

This was the first time Son Taehwan and Han Sujin had seen a human being infected, stuck in a dying breath.

“If I had been infected, I would have died suffocated like that.”

“Senior… that’s horrifying. Even though it’s our trap…”

The enemy finally fell forward, grasping his throat, and the two emerged gradually from their hiding spot.

Yet the horrific scene lingered.

“Help. Heelp.”

The sound was like that of someone drowning, squeezing out a voice through water. They clung to each other’s hands, staring at the generator beside them, watching the infected person die and change.

“……”

Unlike the movies, there was no incubation period, no dramatic transformation into a zombie.

In an instant, the tongue rotted, black liquid dribbled, and from the nose and mouth, black smoke billowed.

“Look at that, Senior. The red blood vaporizes.”

“Red blood?”

It was a coincidence. In the midst of convulsions, the black man had bitten his tongue, and the red blood that flowed mixed with the black blood, visibly vaporizing.

“The blood vaporizes, and the volatile gas flows in the vessels instead. Maybe the explosive physical abilities they possess are due to this black blood.”

Son Taehwan, listening to Han Sujin’s calm observation, remembered Han Young’s corpse. Her athletic abilities were unusually high, different from the Han Young he had known.

Was it because the red blood had evaporated and was replaced by black blood?

“It’s like a movie with aliens. So are they controlled by the black blood as hosts?”

“I can’t be sure about that. We don’t know what that is……”

Son Taehwan thought it morally right to put the enemy out of their misery. He pulled the engine saw’s starter cord sharply and approached the man.

“Cough. Help me. Help me.”

He looked down at the black man wheezing and reaching up to him.

He had killed many living corpses before, but this was the first time he would kill an uninfected person.

But he couldn’t not kill him.

He had already led him to certain death, and letting him die without pain was an act of mercy.

It was the moment of his first kill.



Leave a Reply

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