Dead End Chapter 82

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 82

Chapter 082

Son Taehwan swiftly cleaned the blood with a rolling tissue paper and tossed it into the battered stove. Zombies were sensitive to the scent of blood.

Han Sujin, too, wiped off the blood that had stained the map and checked on Son Taehwan’s condition.

“Senior, that’s enough. You need to stop.”

“Hey. We need to figure out what to do next.”

She seriously addressed Son Taehwan while inspecting his eyes and nose.

“No more. If you keep worrying, you’ll collapse from overwork. And this is for your sake, too.”

“…….”

“If you collapse, then I, I… it’ll be hard to survive.”

If Son Taehwan fell, their strength would decrease significantly. Only Shepherd and Son Taehwan knew how to handle guns, and Son Taehwan was also their leader.

“But still… Sigh. It’s not all bad, I suppose.”

Son Taehwan sighed as he too gazed upon the red blood stain.

“Sujin, am I finding comfort in seeing blood right now?”

“Comfort?”

“As in, ‘At least I’m not one of the walking corpses’ sort of thing.”

Her hand, which had been checking on Son Taehwan, paused in its motion.

“…You’re right. We’re still alive.”

“Yeah. Alive.”

He remembered Park Donghyuk’s last words.

Alive.

He thought that being alive was the most important thing at this moment.

Soon, he folded the map and placed it on the desk before approaching the stove.

“Then let’s dry our clothes.”

“Oh, right.”

Apart from Shepherd, the three had fallen into water and had stayed wet all the while, eating and conversing with one another. Son Taehwan only felt uncomfortable after she declared a ‘Doctor Stop’. Until then, he didn’t even notice the discomfort.

“Hey, reverend. Peel off your insulated clothes and dry them. Otherwise, they’ll freeze or rot and lose their warmth retention.”

“Ah? Yes, sure.”

Only then, as if suddenly realizing it, the reverend put down the Bible and fumbled to remove his clothes.

The salty sea smell wafted through the air as the three, dressed merely in thin tracksuits or dress shirts, shivered in front of the stove. No matter how well the heating worked, the old base was draughty.

“I found this at the back. Use it to cover yourself.”

Shepherd stood up and threw a thermal blanket designed for extreme cold, and without delay, the three covered themselves with it. Shepherd also draped a blanket over himself and leaned his head against the wall.

“Brr. So chilly.”

“Can’t be helped. If we want to dry our clothes.”

“Senior, can you come over here?”

Han Sujin, with the blanket over her shoulders, opened her arms toward Son Taehwan.

“What are you suggesting, miss?”

“Brr, it’s cold. I can’t snuggle with that reverend, can I? Hurry up. It’s a good chance to hold a fair maiden, right?”

“Where’s the fair maiden?”

“You again. Be quiet. If you don’t want to freeze to death, come here quickly.”

Hesitantly, Son Taehwan entered under her blanket. Like a mother hugging her child, Han Sujin embraced him tightly from behind.

“Don’t, don’t cling too much.”

“Brrr. What else are you thinking about in this cold?”

Son Taehwan wore only a short-sleeved tee with a hoodie over it, and she too was dressed in a thin T-shirt. Consequently, he couldn’t help but be conscious of her soft chest pressing against his back. Son Taehwan coughed awkwardly, but Han Sujin pressed her body fully against his broad back.

“Just for a moment. It’s warm.”

“…….”

Shepherd snickered mischievously, prompting Son Taehwan to lob a piece of wood at him.

The sounds of the reverend’s mumbling prayers and the others breathing filled the room as Son Taehwan started to nod off. The magic of being able to sleep soundly in a secure place after a full meal was incredible.

Sorrow, anger, despair, laughter, the ecstasy of victory.

Son Taehwan had experienced all these emotions in a single day, and it felt as if he had become numb to them, just like physical pain. Before falling asleep, it seemed as if he heard Park Donghyuk’s yelling again.

Survived.

All that mattered now was the sound of her heartbeat pressing against his back. With that steady pulse in his ears, Son Taehwan drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow was uncertain, but for now, they were alive.

The stove fire crackled as Son Taehwan completely passed out. Shepherd, too, leaned his head against the wall, drooling, and the reverend also dropped his Bible while mumbling verses. Unlike the chaotic day, a peaceful night passed.

The wind howled outside, and although a shrieking sound could be heard from afar, it didn’t reach them.

“Ugh! Oh my God!”

Son Taehwan woke up when sunlight streamed through the window. He had been sleeping soundly when suddenly a tickling sensation in his mouth awoke him with a start. He saw something black in his mouth and screamed again in horror.

Black? The first thing that came to his mind was black blood.

He tried to get up, but his arm wouldn’t move properly. His mouth kept tickling, and his fear intensified.

‘I, I! Ahhh! I’ve…!’

He tried to scream but realized the black thing’s identity and let out a relieved sigh. It turned out he had been lying next to the stove, and his arm wasn’t moving properly because it was pinned under Han Sujin’s waist.

The black culprit was not blood but her hair. It seemed that during their tossing and turning, her hair had whipped into his mouth.

“Aish. What the hell?”

Son Taehwan carefully withdrew his arm and flexed it as if doing dumbbell exercises; it was so numb from being pressed for so long.

Next to him, Han Sujin was still sleeping deeply, oblivious to the world and drooling in her sleep.

Son Taehwan tapped her forehead and then looked around. He immediately noticed the absence of Shepherd and the reverend.

“Shepherd?”

No response came. A chill ran down Son Taehwan’s spine. The sniper rifle, which was supposed to be beside him yesterday, was gone.

He reflexively reached for the MREs and water, which were supposed to be nearby.

“You, you betrayed us!”

The food and ammunition had been barely enough for the four to survive. If it came down to chances, it would’ve been better for Shepherd to take a boat and leave the island alone.

Son Taehwan, in panic, tried to stand but fell, and MRE bags and water bottles tumbled down.

He dumbly stared at them, then sighed deeply, realizing something. Even if he had left the two behind, it was unlikely he’d leave the food.

“Phew. You got me scared.”

“What are you talking about, senior? You’re the one who startled me… What’s happening?”

Still half asleep, Han Sujin stood up but stumbled, accidentally headbutting Son Taehwan in the back of his head.

“Hey, watch it.”

“Ouch! Sorry. Not on purpose.”

“Not on purpose?”

“It’s because you made such a fuss, senior. What the heck is going on?”

“Shepherd and the reverend are gone.”

Now it was her turn to be surprised as she quickly glanced around. Son Taehwan took her forehead, pointed at the remaining MREs and water bottles, and explained what happened.

“Oh, that’s true… Even if they ran away, they wouldn’t leave the food behind.”

“Anyway, let’s get dressed. We need to go outside.”

While adding firewood to the stove, Son Taehwan hastily gathered his clothes. How long had they slept? In the meantime, the insulated clothes were dry and warm inside, and the clothes they had been wearing were pleasantly heated.

Removing her hairs from his mouth, he observed her long hair. He hadn’t noticed it in his panic earlier, but if her hair had entered his mouth, it meant they had been holding each other tightly throughout the night.

Son Taehwan’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Of course, for someone with dating experience like Son Taehwan, spending the night with a woman wasn’t unfamiliar. But why was his heart pounding uncontrollably?

‘Goddamnit, have I gone crazy? Why am I like this?’

Son Taehwan heard her rustling as she put on her clothes, and that sound seemed unusually suggestive. He tossed the hair aside, coughed, and turned around.

Han Sujin was biting on a yellow hair tie and gave him a ‘What?’ look.

“Huh? Got something to say?”

“No, no.”

She tidied up her hair into a ponytail and brushed her forehead with her hand. Although it was a simple hairstyle, it seemed to suit her quite well.

Son Taehwan observed her long eyelashes, jawline, and the contours of her neck, and then, like an adolescent, he abruptly turned his head away.

“Sigh. Something must be wrong with me.”

“What’s that? You’ve been muttering alone like someone out in the rain since earlier.”

“Quiet. Let’s go have a look.”

As soon as they opened the door to the Czech base, the footprints leading away from the building became visible.

“Not south, but towards King George Island.”

“Why did they go that way? Anyway, Sujin, you have your gun?”

“Got it right here.”

Son Taehwan gave her a long look, then tilted his head quizzically. She had been dressed in a thin T-shirt yesterday, with no place to hide a gun.

“Where did you hide it?”

“That’s a secret.”

“Where is it?”

“If you knew, you’d probably go into full-on pervert mode.”

Pulling on his cheek, Han Sujin walked ahead, stepping on the footprints.

“Hm. But looking at the footprints, they don’t seem to have run.”

“How do you know?”

“When you run, the weight falls on the forefoot, but these footprints show they were just walking. The stride is consistent, too.”

“Wow. You know everything, huh?”

“I’m a graduate of the Kid Sherlock Holmes Detective Class, okay? Ugh, stop laughing!”

Annoyed, Han Sujin punched Son Taehwan in the stomach, and they again started jostling each other on the snowy ground.

They hadn’t walked far when they found Shepherd’s figure atop a hill.

“Hey, Shepherd!”

“Shh! Quiet!”

Shepherd was peering through the sniper rifle at something. The reverend was also shivering and gesturing for them to be quiet.

Son Taehwan and Han Sujin, seeing their gestures, crouched down immediately and assessed the situation.

“King George Island? Why there?”

Tense, the two approached Shepherd.

“What’s going on?”

“See for yourself.”

As Son Taehwan took the sniper rifle, he glanced at what Shepherd had dragged along. There were bloodstains in the snow and drag marks. Son Taehwan momentarily thought of murder, but that wasn’t it.

“A sealion?”

“It was there when I went scouting this morning. I’m against hunting seals and sealions in normal circumstances, mind you.”

The sealion looked to weigh approximately 50 to 60 kilograms—attractive prey for those running low on food.

“Did you call us here for this hunt?”

“Yeah. It was quite heavy, this sealion. Even with the reverend’s help, we barely managed to drag it here.”

“Originally? So there’s something more?”

The reverend, pale, pointed towards the sea. White water splashed and hissed as if fountains shot into the air, waves crashing and foam scattering everywhere. The ice floes they had crossed with great toil the day before were breaking apart with the commotion.

In the midst of that noise were orcas spewing black plumes like steamships, and the seals and penguins were fleeing from them. As the seals and sealions sought to escape the orcas, the orcas came ashore to hunt, chasing them upon the land.



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