Dead End Chapter 71

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 71

Chapter 71

Son Taehwan dusted off the frozen sweat from his body and stood up once more. Staring into the distance, he spoke again with his parched voice.

“We have to go, Shepherd.”

“Huu. Do we have to go again?”

Shepherd too brushed himself off and got up, looking towards Chile Base. It was eerily silent there, making the events they had experienced just minutes ago seem as if they had happened years past.

“Lieutenant, do you think there are any survivors left?”

“I’m not sure.”

They had been running without the opportunity to look elsewhere. Son Taehwan recalled the people who had been shooting slingshots. Though it lasted only a few minutes, had those people not slowed the enemy’s advance by firing those slingshots, Son Taehwan and his companions would have had no chance of survival. Son Taehwan’s feelings became complicated again.

As a result, Son Taehwan’s group had ended up pushing other people off the metaphorical planks of survival. Biting his lower lip, Son Taehwan thought about the battle at Chile Base, the sudden interference from Red Scorpion, the advance of the zombies.

“Shepherd, could there have been a better way? A way for more people to survive? I made a judgment… Shepherd, I wouldn’t mind if you cursed me for it.”

“Lieutenant, let me tell you one thing for sure,” Shepherd said, stroking his chin as he watched Son Taehwan.

“You’re not God. You just did what you had to do.”

“But I…”

“At least those who survived won’t curse you. They got their fill of food, at least compared to when they were trapped in the control tower. And, well, they got their fill before they died.”

Unable to hold back his emotions, Shepherd wiped away his tears with two fingers.

“Besides, you saved me and the doctor here, right? That alone is the greatest accomplishment.”

Those words mixed with Park Donghyuk’s urging to survive made Son Taehwan feel a pang of guilt.

Surviving was the ultimate achievement.

Their survival, saving others, was a achievement. Son Taehwan clenched and unclenched his hands, nodding his head. He found a reason to survive on the red line where humanity was destroyed.

He had seen a picture of Park Donghyuk’s wife and at least had to convey the news of her husband’s death to her. He felt his trembling hands slowly steady. This was the greatest accomplishment Son Taehwan could achieve.

“Let’s hurry. They will be pursuing us.”

“Okay. Let’s move, Doctor.”

Shepherd helped Han Sujin to her feet and took the lead. Now, the outline of Nelson Island was coming into view, with the strait less than a kilometer away starting to appear. Eventually, the three of them reached the beach and just looked out over the sea without saying a word.

Nelson Island seemed within reach from the beach, but the ominous sounds of ice clashing hinted at danger.

“I still think it’s crazy. Sujin, should we look for the boat again?”

“But we don’t have time, do we? If we delay here any longer, those weird zombies could catch up.”

“Damn it. Do we really have to go over there? Shepherd, you agree with this?”

Shepherd nodded as if to agree. A kilometer was neither a long nor a short distance. A blizzard had been blowing for days, but luckily, the ocean was calm at the moment. The horizon was visible in the distance, and the afternoon sun glinted off the pack ice. Yet, the eerie sound of the ice rubbing against each other in the current remained chilling.

People dispatched to Antarctica are educated several times about the danger of ice floes. It was forbidden to recklessly climb onto ice floes. Of course, Son Taehwan had a bit of a mischievous streak, and he’d often fish on top of huge ice floes, but he well understood the danger. If an ice floe flipped over, the ice on which they had been standing could trap them underwater and press them down. In the end, trying to find a way out, they would be trapped in ice and die.

Even without the ice floes, the Antarctic waters were cold. Regardless of how well you dressed in thermal gear, there was always the risk of hypothermia. All three of them were wearing thermal suits, which meant they wouldn’t swim very well either.

“Hey Lieutenant, if this thing flips over…”

“It’ll be hard to survive. We can’t even light a fire here, and we’ve got so much equipment.”

The three of them were carrying all sorts of gear and food. If they fell into the water, they would have to give up all this equipment. In a dire situation with zombies chasing behind, giving up their gear equated to death.

“Let’s distribute the guns and equipment.”

“How?”

“Tie them and drag them in bundles.”

Son Taehwan first wound the fishing line and clothesline he had prepared around his body. Then he wrapped the important items in plastic bags and tied them with both the fishing line and clothesline.

“A conga line operation?”

“If we do this, the weight will be less, and if someone falls in, they can be pulled out.”

Son Taehwan passed the end of the clothesline to Han Sujin. She too, stripped off her thermal suit, wrapped the waistline around her waist, and dangled various items. Shepherd followed suit after the two, attaching ammo and rations. Items like chainsaws and spears made from knives dangled from the clothesline. Supplies from the backpacks were also wrapped in bags and hung in a line like a string of sausages, and the three of them looked at their absurd appearance and let out bitter laughter.

“We look like a circus troupe.”

“Son Taehwan’s circus. Sounds fun, right?”

“What’s fun about this?”

As Son Taehwan was about to flick her head playfully, something caught his eye in the distance. He grabbed the sniper rifle hanging from the line and took aim.

“A penguin?”

“A penguin?”

Startled Shepherd looked in that direction and let out a sigh of relief.

“Damn it, I’m so on edge, I’m scared of everything. Lieutenant, let’s just go.”

“No, it’s strange.”

“What now?”

“That penguin. It’s not moving at all.”

“So what? Maybe it also wants to sunbathe.”

“No…”

Son Taehwan didn’t know much about the ecology of penguins. However, the place where penguins usually appeared was Narvsky Cape, where Son Taehwan had gone fishing. This area, whether due to strong currents or some other reason, rarely saw penguins.

“Sujin, do you like penguin meat?”

“Senior, stop talking nonsense and… Senior! Look over there! Black smoke is rising!”

Son Taehwan quickly aimed his gun behind them. Through his scope, he saw people running.

“Wait, Sujin! There are people coming! That’s… the pastor! It’s the pastor!”

Two people were coming this way. One was the pastor, and the other, who shot a gun backward while running, was a person wearing a skull mask. Behind them, a horde of growling zombies was chasing.

Two more people had survived the fierce battle at Chile Base. However, something strange was happening. Weren’t they walking almost at the pace of the zombies?

Son Taehwan did not have the luxury of pondering this oddity. Though he was happy to see the pastor’s face, he gritted his teeth upon seeing the chief of the Red Scorpion and blurted out with an astonishingly dry voice.

“Let’s go.”

“Senior. The pastor is over there. Is that okay?”

“It doesn’t matter. He’s… no longer interested in being involved with the Red Scorpion.”

Shepherd shrugged and turned away. Son Taehwan did not want to waste his precious sniper bullets in this place. While he felt a pinch of conscience for leaving the pastor, Son Taehwan genuinely disliked getting involved with the Red Scorpion.

Shepherd’s earlier words were also helpful. Both the pastor and the Red Scorpion had been given the utmost chance by Son Taehwan. In truth, there was no obligation to throw away one’s life to save them.

Would they have helped if the positions were reversed?

Son Taehwan guessed not. While Han Sujin or Shepherd might have helped Son Taehwan, those people would probably have made the same decision. Shepherd also stared hard at the pastor before moving forward.

“Don’t blame anyone, Lieutenant.”

“If you were in the same position, would you wait for me?”

“Hehe. I’m the kind of person who bets on the living side. I’d wait for you.”

The two shared a smirk and stepped onto the ice floe, keeping some distance between them.

“Hey, wait for meee!”

The pastor had seen them and shouted desperately. While Son Taehwan’s group certainly heard his voice, they continued walking across the ice. The chief of the Red Scorpion also fired his gun, signaling there were people here. But the three of them had already gone dozens of meters further onto the white ice floe.

“Priest, quit wasting time and throw more. Hehehe. They want their food, don’t they?”

The chief shot at the zombies behind him and urged the pastor. The pastor was carrying a strange pack and tossed it back, writhing as though it disgusted him.

It was like a scene from a safari park, with a few differences: the creatures chasing behind the two men were not wild beasts but a horde of zombies, and the pastor was not tossing chicken but ‘chopped up corpses.’

The zombies instinctively swarmed the fallen body parts. They crunched down on the now-frozen human flesh, bunching up and slowing down somewhat. That’s how these two had managed to escape late and survive while nearly walking at the same pace as the zombies.

“Pastor, throw it faster.”

“But… there’s hardly any chopped up bodies left!”

“Don’t forget why I saved you. If necessary, I can send you off as meat.”

“Eeek!”

The pastor had personally cut up the body the day before, falling into despair over the destruction of his humanity. Yet ironically, at this moment, it was those very body parts he had severed that were keeping him alive.

The pastor having these body part pieces with him was really just coincidence. In case of a large zombie assault, they had planned to use a slingshot to launch the parts. But with the complete annihilation of the slingshot squad, the pastor ended up escaping with this backpack. Even as he cried, he kept throwing chunks of corpse.

On the other hand, even in the face of grave danger, the chief casually smoked a cigarette and looked this way as he changed his magazine.

“Ice floes. I see. So if we go that way, we can survive?”

He leisurely eyed the area as if asking if they would take that route on a picnic. The chief aimed at a threatening ‘runner’ with sniper fire. The runners were aggressively chasing the chief, while the other alpha zombies hadn’t pursued this far.

“Hehehe. An interesting prey. Pastor, have you ever hunted?”

“No, no I haven’t! Why aren’t you running?”

“That’s because of the hunt. There’s an interesting prey over there.”

In the meantime, the pastor wanted to throw everything away and run, but if he did, this madman would shoot him. The pastor had clearly seen how the chief dealt with his subordinates who ran out of bullets—the reason the pastor was still alive was because his legs were healthy.

“Priest. The first time you hunt, it’s for the fun of eating. You get to enjoy meat, like venison or wild boar.”

The pastor looked at the human remains in his hand and recoiled. The chopped up body was completely frozen solid, and at a glance, it looked like pork or beef.



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