Dead End Chapter 80

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 80

Chapter 080

The zombie had bitten Han Young and the infection began to spread sequentially. The sergeant, reacting reflexively, shot his pistol, and the bullet lodged below Han Young’s ribs. Amidst the chaos, the Chinese sergeant dropped his gun but picked up a wooden stick to desperately push back Han Young. Young, whose birthday it was that day, ended up pinned against the wall like an insect in a display case. Han Young’s body twitched as it remained stuck to the wall.

“She was almost dead because of that.”

Black smoke rose from the stake stuck in her chest, and her face was half-crushed. Son Tae Hwan realized how the female Alpha, Han Young, could have been defeated despite being a zombie.

She’d been shot and been pinned like an insect, but then had managed to escape. Fatal injuries like that could have easily been lethal even for an Alpha zombie.

As the sergeant dealt with Han Young, the very first zombie bit the sergeant too.

“Arrrghhhhhhh!”

A miserable cry rang out, and the creature quickly bit the sergeant and sequentially infected the others. Son Tae Hwan watched as people backed away in shock, his eyes red with emotion.

“Everybody out now! I’ll handle this!”

Just then, Kim Hyun Soo arrived wielding a mop handle, pushing at the threat and helping the others to evacuate.

“The chef…”

“It was Hyun Soo who got everyone to safety. All of them.”

The outbreak escalated quickly, but it would have been much worse had Kim Hyun Soo not stepped up. About three or four infected were ferociously driving people back.

“Now I see why he was so strong, able to give orders to the others.”

In this situation, a gun was essentially power. The Tokarev pistol the Chinese sergeant dropped had gone straight into the hands of the platoon leader.

He began to issue orders while shooting, and cameras outside the living quarters captured all of it.

“They’re drinking blood!”

Someone screamed that in Korean amidst the chaos. There had been people torn apart and devoured, and the zombies crowded them, licking the blood, which then turned into black smoke and evaporated as they stood up.

Meanwhile, Kim Hyun Soo had managed to fight his way out of the living quarters amid the zombie onslaught, while others scattered. The Chinese tried to escape using the snowmobiles they’d arrived on, but the gorilla-like sergeant was not to be underestimated. He pounced on a snowmobile like King Kong, toppling it over and tearing into the neck of the person on it.

Inside the living quarters, the captain almost succumbed to panic, securing the doors. Young’s zombie could be seen growling and struggling against the wall, everyone desperate to survive.

The camera once again focused on the front of the living quarters.

“Senior, hang on. Isn’t that Dong Hyuk?”

“That son of a gun Dong Hyuk… he lied.”

Park Dong Hyuk had indeed told Son Tae Hwan that he had arrived later. However, going by what had transpired, he knew too much detail about the earlier events.

Dong Hyuk had been shown drinking from the start in the video and had also participated in the merciless ‘vote’ outside the living quarters.

This was outrageous.

Park Dong Hyuk testified that a wounded Chinese was placed in the power station, with the consent of the remaining Chinese members.

However, the reality was different.

Amongst the urgency, the Chinese conversed and incredibly cast a vote.

Behind the scenes, Kim Hyun Soo, who had barely survived, and the other ten or so people that had made it raised their hands and pointed to an injured person.

A zombie licking up blood.

The zombies were so fixated on the blood and flesh that, despite other targets, they first went for the fresh blood meal.

The people realized in that moment the means for their survival. Like the sailors of the Caldus Nades, they could easily survive by pushing someone else into the water.

Shepherd frowned as he watched the video, instantly grasping the situation.

“Bait.”

Boom.

It wasn’t an injured person who became the bait – it was the weakest-looking among the Chinese geologists, a woman. The bleeding woman, horrified, started running toward the power station.

The armed platoon leader made a sharp judgment of the situation and drove her into the power station like hunting a rat. Then, the zombies sniffed around, following the blood trail and chased after her.

Click.

Son Tae Hwan had no choice but to click on the touchpad to stop the video. The footage was shockingly inhumane. According to the video, in their desperation to survive, they sacrificed the weakest among them in a heartbeat.

There was a strange tension among the four of them as their gazes naturally drifted towards Han Soo Jin.

“Senior, I mean me. If the snow car hadn’t broken down that day, I could have been there.”

Son Tae Hwan shivered from head to toe upon hearing that. It’s possible that Han Soo Jin could have been the victim in the video.

“Senior, you see? Dong Hyuk hasn’t told us the whole truth about what happened at Sejong Base.”

“Right. Dong Hyuk himself must have been injured later and abandoned like that, after raising his hand to sacrifice that woman.”

The more cruel reality was that the woman sacrificed by majority decision was subjected to coercive victimization and violent methods.

Is a decision made by many voices necessarily right?

The survivors at Sejong Base must have thought they made the wisest choice. When faced with the zombies’ fierce movements, was it not better than everyone dying? That’s how they’d justify it.

“Shepherd, do you want to survive like that?”

“I’d rather die than throw someone out as bait.”

“Even if it means you die?”

“What kind of question is that? That’s insane. Yes, I’d rather die than live like that. I want to die as a human.”

Hearing these words, it was as if a great gong had sounded inside Son Tae Hwan’s head.

“As a human…?”

“Yes. Until the final minute, the final second, I want to die with my dignity intact, as a human.”

To die as a human.

At that word, Son Tae Hwan felt as if his cluttered mind was finally clearing.

He hadn’t yet decided what was right. He might have to make harsh decisions to send someone to their death in the future. He didn’t know what the appropriate decision was because he didn’t know what was right.

But, pounding his chest with his fist, Son Tae Hwan muttered to himself the word ‘human.’ With zombies outside, the word ‘human’ felt all the more special.

Human.

“Just being alive doesn’t mean we’re human if we’re not zombies. That’s right, Shepherd. I want that too. To die as a human.”

Shepherd nodded and smiled wryly, and Han Soo Jin also smiled and nodded in agreement.

The pastor continued to kneel and pray. In the meantime, the laptop’s battery warning chimed that it was almost depleted.

“Damn it. Somehow, looking at this makes me feel like we’re back in civilization.”

“Do you think this is the Czech Republic?”

Beautiful Czech landscapes scrolled by in a slideshow, and Son Tae Hwan’s hand hovered over the laptop’s touchpad once again.

It was entirely by chance. When he shut off the shocking video, it seemed the cursor had inadvertently skipped to ‘new video list.’

The list of videos previously opened on the computer appeared, and Son Tae Hwan shakily moved the mouse over to a file marked ‘CNN.’

“Senior, what’s that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s something saved by someone who died?”

The annoying beeps of the laptop’s low battery continued, but none dared to suggest what to do next. Even Shepherd, who made light comments before, now looked tense at the mention of Pandora’s box.

“Damn, it’s like Pandora’s box.”

“Hope there’s hope in it.”

Son Tae Hwan, reflecting on the meaning of Pandora’s box, was about to explain in detail but instead clicked on the video the cursor was on.

The familiar face of a CNN anchor appeared on the laptop screen, and everyone inhaled sharply. Even the pastor, previously bowing his head, turned to focus on the news video.

“We are in Atlanta City, where martial law has been declared! Folks, behind me you can see numerous infected and the military has just started an operation…….”

Suddenly, a fighter jet flew low above the anchor, drowning out his voice. A scene that would never have been seen on a recorded broadcast appeared live – napalm bombs dropped by the National Guard turned a section of Atlanta City into a sea of flames.

“The National Guard has begun a massive airstrike! But both the state and federal governments are…….”

The clip of the F-16 making a low-altitude bombing run was abrupt, and that was the end of it. The playlist resumed playing the next video, which was even more shocking than the bombing footage. It was CCTV footage from an elementary school on the East Coast of the United States, far more chilling than the images of the air raid.

“Damn!”

A figure resembling a Beta zombie appeared at the school, and the footage showed elementary school students desperately trying to evacuate.

“This isn’t Atlanta! It’s a Western city!”

“I know, I’m watching it too!”

The children tried to escape, but being confronted by other zombies at the school gates, they erupt into tears.

The next scene was cut, but from the anchor’s excited commentary, it wasn’t hard to guess the outcome.

Suddenly, as the video player attempted to continue, the computer powered off with a click. The fan noise halted, plunging the Czech base into silence. The group once again found themselves speechless.

The recent footage was scarier than the camera footage from Sejong Base. Even more terrifying was the playlist: beyond the elementary school footage, there remained about seven videos, likely depicting subsequent events.

“God damn it… Corporal, that wasn’t fake just now, was it?”

Son Tae Hwan clenched his fists, lips pressed tightly to refrain from speaking and letting go of even a sliver of hope.

“Atlanta, damn it! If you go south from there, it’s near my hometown!”

Shepherd’s anxiety was understandable; the nightmare that seemed to end in the Antarctic Pursuant continued all the way home – an idea that Son Tae Hwan wanted to avoid at all costs.

“Shepherd, remember the radio broadcast we listened to yesterday?”

“Yesterday’s radio signal?”

Shepherd recalled the transmissions they had picked up at the Chilean base’s air traffic control.

The messages they received were twofold.

One was the international distress frequency, a message from an unidentified government. The other was a communication from the Punta Arenas airport in Chile.

Although both seemed suspicious, the content was not entirely hopeless. In fact, the Punta Arenas message implied that rescue teams might be sent.

“Yes, the rescue team! Do you think, miss doctor, a rescue team or plane will come?”

“They have no reason to lie to us. They told us to get to Punta Arenas by any means necessary. As I said yesterday, the first message spoke of shelters and evacuation.”

Shepherd pondered Han Soo Jin’s words, then turned to Son Tae Hwan. His lips parted slowly and he began to speak.

“What our doctor here says makes sense. Despite my suspicions, they have no reason to lie like that.”

“But Corporal, you saw it, right? F-16s bombing Atlanta? I’ve never heard of the National Guard bombing its own soil.”

“Who said anything about a defense failure?”

“What about the kids being attacked?”

“Even the best-laid defense plans can falter when zombies break through. And Shepherd, think about it.”

Son Tae Hwan, feeling thoroughly unnerved but desperately trying to convince Shepherd – or perhaps more himself – shifted his gaze away from the noose untied from the neck of the suicide victim.

Son Tae Hwan realized that there were more recent videos than the elementary school one that he had just viewed.

‘That Czech person watched it. And then he died. No, that’s why he died.’

He reasoned that whatever was in that video, the unknown content made it all the more terrifying and unnerving.

However, one thing was certain.

The content of that last video must have been horrific enough to drive a person to suicide.



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