Dead End Chapter 95

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 95

The four people were once again running across the flat expanse of the glacier. It was a marathon, continuous series of sprints. Son Taehwan took the shell backpack Han Sujin had been carrying.

“Whoa, you taking care of it for me?” he asked.

“If you fall behind, we’ll leave you!” she retorted.

“As if you’d really leave me behind!”

Son Taehwan nearly stumbled as thoughts of her lips distracted him for a moment. All around them, miscellaneous objects of all shapes and sizes thrown by the steel spike zombies embedded themselves into the ice. Gasping for breath, the group finally reached the aircraft.

Despite being pursued by seagulls, the three managed to fend them off with close-combat weapons. The majority of the seagulls had flown in from another island and were engaged in fierce combat with the steel spikes at the mountain’s summit, which made their defense more feasible.

“Darn it, we need to move faster! We must head toward the Spanish base!”

The seagulls, initially underestimated, slowly ascended to avoid the powerful steel spike zombies and began a strategic retreat back to their nests, a collective instinct not unlike that of the living. The defensive efforts of the zombies were more robust in smaller numbers, and as their casualties grew, they made the rational decision to withdraw.

“Damn it. We’re going to be attacked from this side. Shepherd! Where’s the fuse?”

“Working on it as we speak! We need to get out of here first—this place could be targeted!”

Shepherd, experienced as he was, had made a judgment based on this knowledge. The open stretch from the mountain to their location meant certain doom if a steel spike threw something their way.

The four of them stood up, seemingly in agreement, and prepared to bolt forward.

“Damn. Miss, how about becoming a preacher? You preach better than my local minister!”

“Pfft. Stop joking around.”

“Dear Lord! Where art Thou leading us? Lieutenant! Show the way!”

After hearing this, the clergyman cocked his head to the side in confusion but soon hurriedly followed Son Taehwan. His eyes sparkled strangely as he watched the others dash ahead.

The seagulls continued to harass the steel spikes and their zombie brethren. The whip-wielding zombie stood in for the other two, providing air defense as it descended the mountain, while the steel spike hurled chunks of ice from the mountaintop.

“Lieutenant! We need to dodge! All we’ve done today is run!”

“Got it!”

Accompanied by a sickening swoosh, another ice shard plummeted to the ground. Knowing the landscape’s advantage, the steel spike remained stationary, while his two zombie companions trudged down the mountain.

“Damn it! We’re scattered! It would’ve been easier to just stick together!”

The four of them scrambled uphill on the glacier to draw the bombardment away from the plane. Their feet sank deep into the snowdrift the glacier had gathered, slowing their pace considerably.

Then, they faced the worst ‘trap’ that Son Taehwan had forgotten about—a danger that anyone who visits the Antarctic learns to watch out for. It was natural phenomena that everyone is ‘educated’ about before coming to the ice continent.

Son Taehwan was the first to fall for this trap. As he sprinted on, scanning the terrain, he suddenly disappeared right before their eyes. Shepherd involuntarily screamed out while struggling to maintain his balance, his toes right at the ‘edge of a cliff.’

“Lieutenant!”

A crevasse. A monster-like fissure hidden within the glacier. It was a devilish maw that could plunge hundreds of meters deep, devouring explorers who dared to traverse Antarctica. Son Taehwan had been trained to always expect a crevasse where there was a glacier, but he had no time to think about it with the steel spike on his tail.

Dangling at the very edge of a three-meter-wide crevasse, one hand gripped the slick ice and the other…

“Preacher!”

“Ugh, catch me!”

As Shepherd lost his balance and toppled, the clergyman managed to grab Son Taehwan’s ammo harness by pure accident. Objects hurled by the steel spike closed in, and explosions erupted around Son Taehwan’s group like artillery shells.

Snowflakes burst up like sand, and ice shards flew in every direction. Son Taehwan’s grip on the ice wall began to slip, and the preacher was the only thing supporting his weight. If the preacher let go at this moment, it meant certain death.

“Preacher.”

“I… I have sinned. I thought wrong. Now, I hear the Lord’s voice.”

“What are you doing?”

Tears dropped onto Son Taehwan’s face with a soft plop. As he wept, the preacher clenched Taehwan’s harness with both hands.

In the meantime, Shepherd pulled on the clergyman and all three managed to scramble away from the crevasse.

“Preacher…”

“Miss, you were right… I, too, as a human…”

The preacher roughly wiped his face with the back of his hand, and Son Taehwan felt the complexity of fate. He had forced the preacher into a corner at the Chilean base, and if not for this preacher, who had somehow survived, Son Taehwan would have died here.

Son Taehwan also felt something welling up within him. He had experienced an indescribable warmth at the brink of the crevasse.

Humans save humans.

Ultimately, it was only humans, with their warm blood, who could save their own kind. Son Taehwan felt the preacher’s warmth in his hand. The preacher, his face now a mess of tears, held back his sobs.

But they had no time to dwell on the warmth they felt. A cold wind whistled by, bringing back the biting reality.

A fat zombie and a whip-wielding one closed the gap about a kilometer behind Son Taehwan’s group. The steel spike had moved down to a vantage point on the slope and continued the threatening support fire. The faint outline of the fat zombie’s eyes gouged out by seagulls was visible, and the zombies menacingly advanced.

Despite the unexpected attack by the seagulls reducing their numbers, the three zombies remained difficult to face.

“Shepherd! Can you take the shot!”

“You forgot? This has a short barrel. Anything beyond 100 yards is out of range!”

Complaining, Shepherd prodded the snow with his rifle as if it were a detection rod, anxiously starting to walk sideways. Then, without having to go far, snow piled atop the crevasse crumbled.

“It can’t be… Does this continue on?”

No, that wasn’t all. The large crevasse where Son Taehwan had fallen revealed more fractures, like glass shattering, exposing the web-like landscape of the glacier.

They had strayed far from the plane, unintentionally entering the very center of the treacherous crevasse network.

“Lieutenant! What now?”

“We’ll have to make our stand here.”

“How?”

Son Taehwan instantly regretted using two more bullets at the peak. With only two sniper rounds and three enemies to take down, approaching them would result in being overwhelmed as easily as at the Chilean base.

Moreover, there could be more crevasses where they stood, unknown to them. They couldn’t advance by poking around with a walking stick as other Antarctic expeditions might.

Once again, the limits of time and distance pressed on them.

Son Taehwan swallowed hard as he looked at the immense crevasse, instinctively realizing this was the place to stake their survival.

“If I were dead, I would’ve been long gone by now.”

He glanced at the items he was holding and the assets available. It was another moment to take a risk. Shepherd had a homemade time fuse made with a wall clock and a simple electric device. Han Sujin brought shells. Moreover, Son Taehwan saw the surrounding crevasses as potential weapons. Even a zombie would be finished if it fell into one of those.

He handed Shepherd the shell-filled bag, saying, “Put the fuse together.”

“You’re not going to do anything crazy, are you?”

“No! It ends here! Draw them in even further and finish them! Maybe if…”

As if on cue, the ice chunks hurled by the steel spike began to fall around them, and the accumulated snow started to crumble into the crevasse due to the indiscriminate bombardment.

The weight of the ice the steel spike threw was enormous. With each impact, the snow perched above the deep valley fell, revealing the hidden crevasses.

‘We could use this to our advantage! They can’t check the terrain, after all.’

There was no need to probe with a stick. They could locate the crevasses by where the snow gave way, lure the zombies in, and then detonate the bomb. With a bit of luck, they could kill the two enemies standing before them. As Son Taehwan measured the distance with the rope and the terrain, he started to develop a plan for luring them. A ridiculous gunshot unexpectedly rang out from nowhere.

Bang.

It wasn’t the sound of a sniper rifle or an automatic weapon. The group had three guns, and the sound came from the last one, a ‘revolver.’ And the person holding that revolver was…

“Preacher! What are you doing?”

“Isn’t it that no one can go there? We have to kill those zombies, right?”

“What are you trying to do!”

Earlier, during Han Sujin’s rescue of the preacher, she had dropped the revolver, which the preacher must have picked up. He pointed the shaky gun back and forth between Shepherd and Son Taehwan.

Both Shepherd and Son Taehwan had slung their rifles or pointed them down, both stunned by the preacher’s surprise move.

“You can’t be planning a betrayal, right? Hah, where will you run to if you shoot us? The fuel is over there! Grab it, and we can all survive.”

Shepherd was furious, but the preacher didn’t lower his gun. Instead, he began to do something entirely unexpected.

“Shepherd. Give that back to me.”

“What? Wh-What are you planning?”

Pointing the gun at Shepherd, the preacher gestured towards the backpack. The one that Son Taehwan had handed off to him in an ideation of self-sacrifice, which somehow ended up back with Shepherd, who was now strapping it to himself.

Uncontrollably, Son Taehwan reached out to the preacher, who instantly pointed the gun at him.

“Don’t come any closer.”

“Preacher. Don’t do anything foolish. We can all survive.”

“I have seen… my sins.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?”

“Maybe I’m under an illusion. That merely repenting my sins would ensure the Lord’s forgiveness.”

Son Taehwan was struck by these words. In reality, he had tried to sacrifice others with his sweet potato fries. But now, the preacher was inserting the connected fuses into his parka as his hands trembled violently.

“What are you doing!”

“It’s not because of you, nor is it a sacrifice for you. I am a selfish man. Yes, I am. How do you think I survived the Chilean base?”

“What are you saying?”

“I came here with two other church members. As the horde of zombies approached the boiler room, I made a choice.”

Son Taehwan had a sudden realization of what that choice entailed.

“Don’t tell me… You shot those people?”



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