Dead End Chapter 96

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 96

Chapter 096

“After being struck in the leg with a pipe… and although another had grabbed my hand, I just shoved them away. That person… ever since then, I’ve been haunted by their voices. Ignoring their pleas for help, I fled for my life.”

It was a tragedy that had unfolded countless times, not only at the Chile Base but elsewhere as well. Like how shooting someone else can save one’s own life when being pursued by a bear, this minister had survived by sacrificing those he knew.

The secret to the minister’s survival in the boiler room was all too simple and cruel. Moreover, his decision resonated with the one Park Donghyuk had made in front of that boiler room.

“I realized as I watched you all. I can’t be forgiven for my sins by just running away. I… I must carry the weight of what I’ve done. This is my repentance. This is what I can do.”

The minister’s bitter reflection mirrored the convenient religious views held by death row inmates.

Those who had cruelly taken the lives of others yearned to reach heaven after death. They would hastily repent and brainwash themselves into believing they were followers of God, but such acts could never wash away their sins.

The minister was finally facing his sins and attempting to bear them.

“Hey!”

“I plan to go to heaven. You can call it selfish if you want. I can’t take this unbearable wailing in my head anymore. I… I…”

“What the hell, this isn’t some sort of suicide bomb attack!”

“Your words earlier made me think a lot. Perhaps, saving you is my way of atoning for my sins. I will send you to safety. Maybe that’s why you saved me.”

The minister had certainly been listening to the conversation between Han Sujin and Son Taehwan. Words that had once come from Son Taehwan’s mouth now spilled out from the minister.

A small resolution, steely eyes.

Son Taehwan had seen those eyes before, and without realizing it, he blurted out ‘Donghyuk’ instead of ‘minister’.

“Donghyuk. What are you trying to do, huh?”

“Seonbae (senior)!”

Han Sujin grabbed Son Taehwan’s back and they both rolled away as the minister, limping, rolled forward. As if on cue, a massive block of ice slammed between the minister and Son Taehwan. The ice on the glacier, like ice floes, suddenly sank as if hell’s gates had opened.

“Minister!”

Son Taehwan and his party had been standing on that ice sheet, which now shattered under the barrage of metal spikes, leading to another ordeal. A vast crevasse appeared between the minister and Son Taehwan’s group, and the minister looked over at Son Taehwan, grinning slyly.

“You’ll need this! Survive! Don’t become like me! I was a despicable sinner, and I’m trying to wash away my sins!”

The minister threw a revolver toward Han Sujin’s feet.

“Donghyuk! What are you doing! What the hell are you doing!”

“Seonbae! It’s dangerous!”

The minister walked towards where fat zombies were shuffling, his figure resembling Jesus carrying the cross. Ice shards shattered against his arms, and despite the pain that sent him rolling on the ground, he rose again, heading toward a fat zombie and another with a whip.

“Minister! Ah! Damn, what are you doing!”

“Seonbae! No! You can’t run! You’ll die, Seonbae!”

Sensing an opportunity, numerous seagulls flew toward the minister, who neither chased them away nor hesitated to activate a time-fuse explosive created by Shepherd.

Perhaps the minister had made up his mind since yesterday. Mixed with the loud noise of the seagulls, his hymn steadily rose.

“A sinner like me, saved…”

There could be no more fitting song than this as a prayer for forgiveness. The minister collapsed forward, his hymn becoming fainter, while the fat zombie and the whip zombie drew closer. The distance had narrowed so much that the whip zombie’s loose arm touched the minister. As the whip touched the fallen minister’s corpse, another gunshot rang out.

“I won’t let you die! Do you think I would just leave you to die!”

Son Taehwan had pulled the trigger of his sniper rifle. Perhaps that one shot was the voice of his conscience. He had let Park Donghyuk die and failed to protect countless others. His seemingly futile sniping severed the whip zombie’s shoulder.

“Ahh! Donghyuk! Donghyuk!”

All that was left to see was the minister’s face from a funeral held the night before last. What had the minister thought while burying the dead? Son Taehwan said it was a funeral for those who could not be buried, and perhaps this had struck a painful chord with the minister. Among those they mourned, there were those whom the minister had driven to death.

“Seonbae. Perhaps he always intended to do this.”

“Where! Where is this! Goddamn it! There can’t be a God if it’s like this!”

Son Taehwan screamed into the sky. But his cries were swept away by the whistling wind, and the homemade explosive crafted by Shepherd blew up with a roar. Ice shards and blizzard shot up into the sky, and everything on the glacier disappeared into the depths of the crevasse.

It was as if a magician had made a person vanish. The seagulls that had swooped down on the minister, the fat zombie that had disgustingly pursued Son Taehwan, all were gone in a flash.

Whistling winds blew, and the only thing visible were seagulls ascending into the sky.

“Ahh!”

Son Taehwan cried again, looking at where the minister had been. It wasn’t that he was particularly fond of the man. On the contrary, since their first encounter, they had been at odds.

“People… it’s all so futile. Kuuk.”

Like a spiderweb, all the ice over the crevasse shattered, and Son Taehwan, alone, found himself standing on an ice pillar. As if at the witness stand in a courtroom, he fiercely wiped away his tears there.

Han Sujin was dazed, looking at Son Taehwan from across the crevasse, about four meters wide. In her hand was the revolver the minister had thrown. Son Taehwan was on the ground, crying bitterly. Han Sujin looked at him with mixed emotions, then her face turned pale with fear again.

“Seonbae! Seonbae! It’s not over yet! Ice spikes are coming!”

The fat and whip zombies had vanished in a single blow, thanks to the minister’s sacrifice. Yet, the danger was far from over. Without time to mourn the minister’s death, Son Taehwan had to fend off new threats. As if mocking him, ice shards fell around him.

Ice shards shattered, brushing past Son Taehwan’s face as he raised his tear-streaked face.

“This damn thing! How far will you push us! How much further!”

The steel spike, flying from a distance, continued to launch objects. Though the range had dropped due to the seagulls’ intervention, it was still too far for a sniper rifle to reach. Having lost one arm, the creature’s other arm had grotesquely swollen.

Son Taehwan, still overwhelmed by raw emotion, quickly realized the anomaly.

‘It’s become stronger. Has it evolved?’

The terror of alpha zombies was unending. Newly infected individuals were not much of a threat, but given time, these alpha zombies seemed to undergo rapid evolution. Even a casual glance revealed the steel spike was hurling heavier objects further.

“We can’t go on like this. We need to think of something.”

“Seonbae! Come here! If you circle around that way, it looks like you can make it!”

Once again, indifferent snowstorms descended, and Son Taehwan looked over where Han Sujin was, then towards the ice spike closing in. The seagulls hovered overhead, circling without attacking the steel spike.

‘They’re on guard because of the explosion!’

The blast caused by the minister had swept a significant number of seagulls down into the crevasse. Apparently, the birds were now waiting and watching the situation unfold.

Son Taehwan scanned the terrain from where he stood, relieved to see where it was safe and where danger lurked as the ice in the crevasse had collapsed due to the minister’s sacrifice.

The crevasse was narrowing to the north. If Son Taehwan ran in that direction, he could potentially lure the steel spike.

“Let’s do this. Shepherd! Take the girl to the Spanish Base!”

“What! Lieutenant sir! You want to die, too? You’re insane!”

Shepherd, angry, looked ready to jump towards the ice pillar where Son Taehwan stood. Son Taehwan, throwing a rotten smile over his shoulder and carrying the additional bag Han Sujin brought, did not have the face of someone who had given up, like the minister had.

“I won’t die!”

Like a roar pulled from deep within, Son Taehwan shouted. Han Sujin and Shepherd could only stare blankly at his fierce determination.

“No more of this! I utterly refuse to let anyone else die here! I will end it with that creature! So you two head back to the Spanish Base! There will be a way if you go back!”

“Seonbae, what will you do!”

“I told you yesterday, didn’t I? I won’t die! Besides, if I just run a bit further up north, the glacier will end! If we dawdle here any longer, that steel spike fiend will kill us all!”

Son Taehwan pointed out the abnormally enlarged muscles on the creature’s right arm. Even from a distance, Han Sujin could immediately tell something was off with it.

“Seonbae… why are you so desperate not to die? You don’t have to go!”

“No, I want to end this connection with that thing. I’ll say it again, I’m not dying. Absolutely not. And… And… I have something to ask you!”

“Ah…”

Han Sujin’s face flushed as she subconsciously stroked her lips with her finger. When she looked up again, Son Taehwan was already leaping across the northern crevasse.

“Go! Not just letting you go! Protect the plane! Got it? That’s why I’m sending Shepherd with a rifle! Shepherd, you get what I mean! Who knows what’s out there! So protect it with that gun!”

Son Taehwan resolved to face the monster with just a Dragunov sniper rifle.

“Seonbae! Then take this with you!”

Han Sujin tied the revolver to a cord and threw it towards Son Taehwan. The revolver flew through the air and landed at Son Taehwan’s feet, which he immediately picked up without a second thought.

Snow cascaded down as Son Taehwan leaped across another crevasse. The sight was precarious with him carrying not only a sniper rifle but also a backpack. He climbed another crevasse and yelled back at the steel spike.

“Steel Spike! Remember me, you bastard! Let’s end this! Right here, right now!”

Son Taehwan fired several remaining signal flares into the sky, which the circling seagulls evaded, and the steel spike dumbly stared at the glittering flares in the sky.

“You’d love to kill me! I’m the one who wiped out your kind! Me! Does that get under your skin, you bastard? I’m the one who screwed you over!”

Son Taehwan fired another signal flare skyward, diverting the steel spike’s attention. He ran towards the northern ridge for a reason beyond just Han Sujin’s safety.

The steel spike was coming down from the mountain summit, precisely on the path leading to the Spanish Base. If someone didn’t draw it away, the worst could happen. If the plane were to be hit by its projectiles, it would all be over.

“Steel Spike! Today ends here! Right here!”

Finally, the steel spike acknowledged Son Taehwan. Perhaps it was thanks to their numerous encounters at the Chile Base. Son Taehwan had always been the one to stand against the steel spike’s group, and the creature recognized him at an instinctual level.

The chest of the steel spike swelled as it began to roar, resounding throughout Livingston Island. The seagulls that had come down to take a look were scared off by the noise, climbing back into the sky as Han Sujin looked back in shock.

“Han Sujin! No time to look back! Go! Go!”

If Son Taehwan hadn’t distracted the steel spike and the seagulls, maybe all three of them would have perished. The route to the Spanish Base had more crevasse fractures than expected, and the escape of the two was slow. Shepherd checked for crevasses he could jump over and kept running.

“Steel Spike! Here! Look at me!”

The third signal flare launched into the air. As before, the seagulls and Steel Spike, attracted by the bright red signal flare, began to chase after it mindlessly. Again, Son Taehwan jumped across crevasses, one after another. Soon his breath caught in his throat, and plumes of white air exhaled from his mouth.

‘I’m not doing this merely to save her! Donghyuk! I’m sick of it! Understand? I’m done sacrificing my life for someone else! I’m going to live! Damn it, I’m going to! We’re all going to live and get out of this frozen hell!’



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