Dead End Chapter 63

Dead End

Episode 063

Tae-Hwan Sohn perked up his ears at the mention of “that thing.” Meanwhile, the brutes were urinating with a splattering noise, discussing the people they had raped or killed the day before.

Shielding Han Su-Jin from the vulgar conversation, Tae-Hwan Sohn cupped one hand around her ear to block the sound. Though he had engaged in such conversations during his military service, the circumstances were now entirely different. Just when he found their lewd laughter and crude jokes unbearable, the men suddenly brandished their weapons.

“Damn! Have we been spotted?”

The gun Tae-Hwan Sohn had was a semi-automatic rifle, while the thugs had fully automatic weapons. Despite Tae-Hwan Sohn’s marksmanship, at such close range—no more than two meters—the difference was stark.

Pop! Pop! Pop! The men recklessly fired toward the piles of garbage. Chills ran up Tae-Hwan Sohn’s spine as if ice formed on his back. He couldn’t afford to look back.

Quickly, they turned off their flashlights. Tae-Hwan Sohn momentarily lost sight of his targets. Single shots rang out: Bang! Bang! The sound of gunfire reached someone who was running towards the garbage piles, causing them to tumble to the ground.

“Damn it! Who’s there!”

He could sympathize with the panic-stricken reaction. The enemies were ruthless killers, and the sight of a rifle-wielding figure had caused the spontaneous movement. Tae-Hwan Sohn’s mouth went dry, unsure of what to do next.

“Did we see that wrong?”

“Only one way to find out. Hopefully, it’s a woman.”

“That’d be great. With this cold, I’m craving for a woman’s warmth. And a hot bowl of soup.”

“Heh heh heh.”

The thugs approached the garbage piles, heading towards the snowmobile. Tae-Hwan Sohn hesitated. One step closer, and based on their trajectory, they would trample right over Han Su-Jin and Tae-Hwan Sohn!

“Damn. Now I’m not sure what the right move is.”

The men hadn’t yet shown hostile action, which made Tae-Hwan Sohn hesitant to shoot them in the back. Still, if he let them go, their numbers would only increase despairingly. Reducing their numbers now seemed advantageous. He placed his finger on the trigger of his Dragunov rifle, trembling.

Then, something happened that seemed to clear Tae-Hwan Sohn’s indecision. From behind, someone yelled, turning the attention of the “Red Scorpions” back. In that moment, they noticed the breath from Tae-Hwan Sohn and Han Su-Jin. Zombies don’t breathe.

Startled, the thugs aimed their guns accurately at their hiding spot.

“What the! How did they get here!”

“Shoot! Just shoot! They’ve got a gun!”

At that moment, Tae-Hwan Sohn had no time to consider the limits of ‘self-defense.’ He cast aside his ski parka disguise and raised his Dragunov. As if in slow motion, he saw them shoulder their weapons while he, surprisingly composed, shouldered his own.

Fwoosh! A shot from Tae-Hwan Sohn’s gun hit one of the men in the neck. The sound of an automatic rifle—tatatatata—echoed. The thug fell backward, still squeezing the trigger, and his blood splattered onto the goggles of the thug beside him.

Tae-Hwan Sohn had no lights on his rifle. The surviving thug screamed, tearing off his goggles in that brief, crucial moment. Tae-Hwan Sohn pulled the trigger calmly. Bang! The second enemy fell into the snowbank.

The sound of the Dragunov echoed softly into the snowy field, then only the sound of the biting wind remained, as if nothing had happened. Tae-Hwan Sohn approached the fallen men with his gun still aimed and called out urgently.

“Han Su-Jin, are you alright? Eh?”

“Senior, I’m okay.”

Han Su-Jin’s voice trembled. They had narrowly escaped an absurd death. The fear of dying hit Tae-Hwan Sohn belatedly. Blood melting into the snow under the thugs’ flashlight froze back into crystals, like rose petals scattered on the snow.

“It’s different from the movies.”

“Senior.”

“It’s okay. If we hadn’t fired, we would’ve died.”

“That’s right. If we hadn’t shot them.”

Tae-Hwan Sohn unintentionally omitted the subject in his sentence, but Han Su-Jin deliberately emphasized “we.” She calmly began to collect items from the bodies. Rifle magazines. Two rifles. These items were precious.

Tae-Hwan Sohn quickly turned off the rifle light and surveyed beyond the hill. It was about 100 meters from the hilltop to their location. He felt ready to shoot at anyone who might appear on that hill. In front of him, Han Su-Jin continued to extract items like body armor, even as her hands were stained with blood.

“Are you okay, dummy?”

“You’re teasing me, so you must be fine.”

“Shut it.”

She felt the slight tremor in Tae-Hwan Sohn’s voice and moved closer to him. She used the back of her clean hand to wipe away the tears in Tae-Hwan Sohn’s eyes.

“You shouldn’t cry like this. What would become of a man?”

“What, should I chop it off for you?”

“Ha ha, thanks, Tae-Hwan sister. Not that your ‘equipment’ seems particularly useful.”

Tae-Hwan Sohn let out an involuntary laugh at her words. With her by his side, he could find reason to laugh. Alone, the harrowing emotions would have been unbearable. Killing wasn’t as easy as the movies made it seem; even veteran US soldiers struggled with it.

The two…

People consoled each other as they secured the enemy’s belongings and then reported via radio that it was safe behind them.

“Hey Shepherd, what the hell happened? I almost got killed!”

“The pastor freaked out because he saw a zombie.”

“So he delivers that grand sermon and freaks out over a zombie?”

“Hehe, well. Anyway, any problems?”

“We’re good up on the hill. We need to speed up the work, though.”

“Okay.”

At that, people behind them began to sluggishly move. It was once again a race against time. Son Tae-hwan pulled over a corpse to check their snowmobiles.

“This is…”

“Senior, it’s really cruel how people can become.”

Frize. They hunted people and made contracts for money per head. Thus, there had to be a way to keep count.

Attached to the snowmobiles were the ears or noses of zombies, or those cut off from live humans, strung on wires. These people cruelly severed body parts from corpses, not knowing if they themselves would be discarded. Son Tae-hwan shuddered and discarded those items in the snow.

“Senior, I’m finding humans scarier than zombies now.”

“Yeah. At this point, zombies seem better. At least they don’t wreck people like this over money.”

Han Su-jin also looked sadly at the ears and noses before speaking behind Son Tae-hwan.

“Senior, what’s worse? We’re different, but we’re going to tear these corpses apart to use as bait to survive.”

“Well…”

Son Tae-hwan found the question difficult to answer. Indeed, as the pastor said, almost every culture takes care of the dead with ceremonies. If possible, they want to respect the deceased in their whole form.

The reason for mutilating the body was different, yet the act was the same.

Of course, if Son Tae-hwan and his group weren’t at a disadvantage, they wouldn’t be doing such a thing, but Son Tae-hwan couldn’t shake off the feeling even when justifying the reason.

The reason to avoid mutilating the body was a primal emotion—he didn’t want to be butchered up when dead. Son Tae-hwan sighed deeply and gritted his teeth.

“Asshole. If I ever turn into a zombie, feel free to use my body as a weapon. Damn it, it’s all over once I die. I don’t believe in souls or heaven.”

Han Su-jin silently kicked his butt.

“Aren’t you rather violent? Is that okay for a doctor?”

“Words become seeds. Stop talking nonsense and let’s just take the snowmobile back.”

“Violent lady.”

“Crudemouth.”

Han Su-jin smoothly started the snowmobile, and one with a bit of gasoline left returned to the previous defensive line. Atop the snowmobile were two corpses they had just killed.

“Lieutenant, you okay? No injuries?”

“Thanks to you. But isn’t there anyone here who got attacked by zombies?”

“That pastor panicked when he saw this.”

Shepherd sighed at the sight of the zombie with its head smashed. Although the fallen zombie was a less threatening Beta zombie, it had approached the pastor directly and could have been quite dangerous. Moreover, in the dark, it was impossible to tell if it was a Beta or an Alpha.

However, because of the panic without properly assessing the situation, they came close to losing two precious people. Son Tae-hwan’s leadership and Han Su-jin, likely the only medical doctor on King George Island.

The pastor kept sighing awkwardly, looking at the ground while others glared at him. It was already an annoying situation given they were hiding in an odd place with supplies and causing trouble.

“You gave such an enthusiastic sermon, and because of you, we almost died.”

“Exactly. Annoying guy.”

Son Tae-hwan sensitively felt the atmosphere turning sour. The people were armed and had just smashed what resembled human figures, zombies nonetheless. In such cases, crowd psychology can take over, and if someone throws a punch, the situation can spiral out of control.

They still needed more hands to turn Chile’s base into a Stalingrad of World War II. Moreover, by killing a scout, the main forces might arrive sooner. And even setting all that aside, such an atmosphere would not be conducive to survival.

It started with hitting the pastor for his mistake, but later people could become crazier and end up fighting with weapons over small mistakes. Even if they beat Red Scorpion by divine intervention, Son Tae-hwan would have to worry about Han Su-jin’s safety in that situation. He observed the turn of events and then calmly said.

“Pastor. You understand you did something as worthless as trash?”

“Yes? Yes…”

“You understand you have to take responsibility.”

“…”

“Then you will cut those corpses and the ones in the control room.”

Son Tae-hwan flipped an engine saw to him that someone else brought.

“Wha… what?”

“I was going to draw straws, but you should do this.”

“That’s too much.”

“The least you can do is take responsibility.”

In truth, Son Tae-hwan had considered how to lure the zombies and pondered over cutting the bodies. Of course, Son Tae-hwan had the experience, so he could have cut them for others.

But, Son Tae-hwan was one to clearly distinguish when to sacrifice and when not. If he kept sacrificing, it might even come to compromising Han Su-jin or Park Dong-Hyuk’s survival.

‘It becomes a right if the favor continues.’



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