Dead End Chapter 97

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 97

Chapter 097

White vapor moistened his cheeks, and incredulously, Son Taehwan felt the real sensation of being alive.

Despite multiple leaps pushing his body close to its limit and the ever-present fear of unpredictable crevasses, Taehwan found the fear itself to feel profoundly human.

Then, once again, a peculiar race unfolded in three directions. Han Sujin and Shepherd were slowly retreating toward the Spanish base, and the iron spikes chased Taehwan down the slopes, pursuing him in a direct line.

Taehwan spared no signal flares as he leaped over crevasses. He was about to signal with a flare stick when, sure enough, the ice devil swallowed him whole.

It felt just like when a high-rise elevator plummets down. Taehwan stepped onto what he thought was the last of the crevasses, but alas, it was yet another one. As his foot fell through the air, he was sucked into the snowy abyss.

No scream came out. All he saw was the flare stick, slipping from his grasp, plummeting into the profound depths below. The red stick burned with a hiss and completely vanished into the bottomless pit.

“What’s happening?”

Dangling above the snow, Taehwan could only hang in disbelief. A walkie-talkie and a water bottle dropped with a clank, disappearing into the distant hole. Below him was a serpentine crevasse, dark like the essence of shadow itself.

“Ah, the gun…”

Perhaps Taehwan had used up all his luck in Antarctica. As he fell into the crevasse, by pure chance, the long barrel of the Dragunov rifle caught on the edge like a stick.

“Hehe, ah…”

Now devoid of strength to cry, Taehwan had no time to marvel at his extraordinary luck. Ice chunks soared over the crevasse, and seagulls cawed above. If the infected seagulls saw him like this, they might eagerly swoop down to pluck out his eyes.

To make matters worse, the sling of the gun rattled, and Taehwan noticed it slowly stretching.

“God or whatever, do you want me to live? Damn it!”

With no strength left, Taehwan used the momentum to throw the pack he carried overhead like a pendulum. The sling kept stretching, and Taehwan reached for the cliff ahead.

But that too was just a mound of snow. With a rustling noise, the snow crumbled, and the end of the rifle barrel precariously hung off the edge of a triangular block of ice. Taehwan extended his arms behind to the stock of the rifle.

At that moment.

“You bastard!”

An ice fragment, thrown by the iron spikes, struck the resting gun. The ice beneath the butt of the rifle collapsed, throwing Taehwan off balance. As the rifle slid out from its icy perch, it fell into Taehwan’s arms.

“You goddamn… This is driving me nuts!”

It was a split-second improvisation. Crevice bottoms usually widened as they descended, a rare occurrence. He grabbed the rifle horizontally and jammed the butt into the wall. With a crackling sound, the stock shattered, wedging into the ice. Half the stock was lodged in the wall, and the barrel spanned across to the other side.

Wrapping the broken sling around one hand, Taehwan stepped onto the rifle stock, hanging like a pull-up. The barrel might bend under his weight, but no time to worry about that now.

Just 50 centimeters to the top.

Taehwan pressed the stock with his feet and reached up as if climbing a cliff. The piled snow crumbled, and finally, he grabbed onto a solid piece of ice.

“Aaahhhhh!”

Taehwan’s upper body emerged onto the snow, and once again, far away, his eyes met those of the iron spikes.

“You son of a bitch! Keep talking! I’m not dying! There’s a lady waiting for my return!”

He climbed up the crevasse like a frog, clutching the sling in his hand, pulling the rifle toward him.

“Argh, come on out! Damn you! If I don’t have you, I’m in trouble!”

The Dragunov and a single bullet were Taehwan’s trump cards, and a turnaround was impossible without the Dragunov. Of course, there was the revolver Han Sujin had given him, but to make a hit, he’d need to get within 50, no, 30 meters. With the iron spikes’ strength and intelligence, that was tantamount to suicide.

Taehwan pulled on the sling again, and with a snapping sound, the sniper rifle was dragged out. Gasping for breath, he gripped the gun.

“You owe your life to this. When I make it out of here, I’ll gild you in gold. Yeah, that’s a promise.”

Despite the ordeal, the sniper rifle seemed unscathed, even the scope intact. Through the scope, Taehwan could see Han Sujin and her group crossing the glacier towards the Spanish base.

“Wait for me. Just wait.”

Now, without a walkie-talkie—dropped into the crevasse—coordinated strategies were no longer an option. It was a battle of pure strength and wits between the iron spikes and Taehwan.

Taehwan looked westward and took another deep breath.

The time had come to resume the chase, to engage in the madness of a race, where such running was no match for the opponent.

“If that lady knew about this, she might hit me.”

Taehwan hoisted the pack back onto his shoulders and began climbing the “mountain.” It wasn’t much of a mountain—just gravel and ice that crumbled with every faulty step.

Soon Taehwan spotted another one of his trump cards.

Meanwhile, the iron spikes leisurely followed Taehwan up the ridge. Free of annoying seagulls since the explosion, it could bombard the human relentlessly—Taehwan.

It was like throwing stones to hit a frog. As iron spikes roared at the human, he stumbled down the rocky hill at the mere sound of that roar.

Iron spikes figuratively grinned, enjoying the spectacle of cornering prey, much as animals do.

“Krrooaaar!”

As if conquering Livingston Island, the iron spikes bellied out a victorious roar into the sky. The seagulls circled like crows, and puffs of black vapor burst from its throat as it pursued the human.

Gunshots echoed from afar, but they were merely a distraction; too distant to threaten iron spikes. It knew to beware only the ‘whoosh’ sound of incoming projectiles. However, that sound was absent, and iron spikes continued to drive the human towards the west side of the island. Closer and closer, some of the thrown ice fragments hit Taehwan’s back, but every time, the human adamantly got back up and ran.

Perhaps this war was over from the moment iron spikes and its kind landed on the island. The humans continued their futile resistance, but it was a matter of time.

As iron spikes trailed the rising signal flare into the sky, its facial expression twisted in confusion. The path seemed clear, but while paying attention to the flare, the human vanished from sight.

And it was more than just disappearance. The human had cunningly lured the iron spikes to the most dangerous area and shot the last flare into an astonishing location.

The previously leading flares were fired horizontally this time. The bright red dot streaked across the sky as a carpet of black seagulls erupted from their nesting ground, all rising into the air as the flare landed amidst them, triggering a mass exodus from the roost.

All of this was the trap of Son Taehwan, having carefully observed the surroundings.

1. Seagulls would instinctively attack anything approaching their nests.

2. Alpha zombies’ damaged tissue does not regenerate.

The seagulls, who had been avoiding the spikes and explosions, now descended upon iron spikes like bombers on a target.

“Gruuaaarrr!”

If the howl could be translated, it would be fury. Taehwan had baited iron spikes to the very place it all began, the drilling site—also the seagull’s nests.

Freshly hatched seagull chicks were present, and their parents fiercely defended them with their lives. Technically, the chicks were infected by the black muck spewing from the drilling, but the seagulls didn’t care.

And as Taehwan observed, alpha zombies, despite their brute strength, do not recover from gunshot wounds or show shock, a subtle difference with massive implications on the battlefield.

Despite thrashing to drive the seagulls away, the effort failed. The birds attacked iron spikes’ eyes and ears, sensory organs, at once. Jets of black vapor sprung from iron spikes as it continued to roar, seeking the human.

One of iron spikes’ eyes was punctured with a seagull beak, and its sense of smell was besieged by infected seagulls, rendering it unable to locate its prey—a complete sensory shroud from the birds.

“Gruuuuuaaaar!”

It swung its arms, swatting the seagulls like flies. Despite their strength, new waves of birds filled the void, relentlessly assaulting iron spikes.

Again, iron spikes hoisted a massive ice block, hurling it haphazardly forward. The ice crashed near the drilling site with a ghastly thud, obliterating the seagull nests. The chicks’ shrill cries filled the air, provoking even more ferocious vengeance from the adult seagulls.

Iron spikes flailed like a person engulfed in flames, advancing towards the site of the drilling. From afar, the infected seagulls swarming seemed like a massive black orb.

Taehwan watched from somewhere as it thrashed towards the drilling site. In his hand was the Dragunov, his grip firm.

“Son of a bitch. I thought this wouldn’t be nearly enough. Ready to finish this?”

Now, 50 meters away. Close enough to see a person’s facial expression. Slowly, he aligned the crosshairs of the scope on iron spikes’ head. From this distance, even Taehwan could aim well. He was confident from his long-range shooting experience at the Chilean base.

But what unnerved him was having only one bullet left. Moreover, only a headshot would do, and the pressure of this single chance constricted Taehwan.

If he missed, iron spikes would sense the shot and strike back instantly.

“Considering the current distance and its reflexes, it won’t dodge. Without a doubt, it’ll be crushed under an iceberg.”

For both Taehwan and iron spikes, it was the final opportunity.



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