Yohan thought about how he wanted to organize the people again. He was still wary of having a large group of people, but the situation was a bit different now. They were surrounded by water on all sides. It would be difficult for a mutant or even a single zombie to get to them. Invaders would have to swim or sail to them and would get spotted well ahead of time.
Less than 30 percent of the 68 people were combat capable. It wasn’t a small number and the quality of the combatants was high. Yohan thought quickly. It was the right time to change how they operated. Their top priorities right now were organizing the survivors, setting up their defenses, reestablishing the survival rules, and reorganizing the recon teams. The biggest change from when they were on land would be giving the survivors more freedom. It would lessen the stress of the apocalypse, which was what Yohan desired.
“We’ll split up into four groups with 17 people each. If you look at the villages here, you can see houses where people used to live. I’ll assign everyone to a village and you can pick out whichever house you want.” Yohan then turned to face the recon team members. “The recon teams will split up into two groups. The first group will guard the area from Sindo 1-ri to the bridge on the Sindo side and the other group will guard from 2-ri to the dock.”
This arrangement would allow the survivors to live as comfortably as possible. Yohan began assigning the camp members to the four villages and gave everyone a responsibility. Like before, the recon team members were responsible for security and scavenging. Seo Jun was in charge of the technicians as well as part of the group handling administrative work. Everyone else was to work in production. They would work on harvesting the crops that would help them get through the winter.
For now, the majority of the supplies would probably be gathered from Yeongjong Island, but, in the future, they would have to make this island self-sufficient. Elder Park was critical for this. His experience and knowledge would enable them to survive here on their own. Yohan didn’t plan for it, but it was lucky that harvest season was almost here. If they harvested all the crops here, they would be all set this year and maybe even next year. This wasn’t something he was thinking about when Yohan had decided on Sindo to be his second shelter, it was just divine providence.
“We can take it easy on scavenging for a while. Save your energy and get used to the island lifestyle.”
Yohan’s words implied several things. This break was just a temporary reprieve, they would be going out again eventually. Even if they became self-sufficient and eliminated the primary reason for leaving the island, they still should be going on recon expeditions. There were some supplies, like medicine, that couldn’t be produced naturally on their island. Additionally, the others may not realize it, but it was important that their main combatants didn’t get too used to peace. They were the camp’s weapons. Even if they weren’t being used, they still need to be kept sharp.
“This is a good place.” Saeri had chosen a lodge that was right next to the house that Yohan had picked. She wasn’t being subtle at all, it was pretty obvious why she had picked this building, but Yohan didn’t say anything about it. It was cute.
The next few days were busy. Elder Park, Doctor Park Jae Bum, Mr. Kim, Seo Jun, Ji Hye, and the others worked their talents on various projects while the recon team cleared out the entirety of the Three Brothers Island. Afterwards, they started working on a map of the nearby area. Yohan was the busiest of all. He closely monitored the organization and execution of all the top priority tasks.
In order to prevent people from becoming complacent, he had to carefully split them up into groups. One of the first things Yohan did was to get Mr. Kim to install loudspeakers all over the island so that they could make announcements. They also built a situation room with a long range radio that they could use to communicate with the mainland.
“In case of emergency, we can use the speakers to gather people or tell them to evacuate.”
“That’s not hard to do. We just need to get a generator to provide electricity first.”
“There’s a lot of solar panels nearby.”
“I looked around. Most of them provide electricity to the businesses…hmm…I’ll need more time.”
“Is that so? No rush, take your time. The gas powered generators can charge the batteries a bit.”
Mr. Kim looked excited. He had an assistant and the equipment and workspace were better than what they had in Bucheon. Doctor Park Jae Bum selected two well-educated people and began teaching them medicine. Unfortunately, the nurse that used to assist him died in the fight against the Seoul Survival Union, so he needed to train additional medical personnel. Elder Park was full of energy, more so than ever. He roughly divided the space they had and devised a plan to raise the livestock. Soon they would be able to have eggs and goat milk on a daily basis. He presented his plan to Yohan and Yohan assigned a bunch of people to help Elder Park, who was deemed head of agriculture and livestock.
The remaining survivors were assigned to fishing and foraging. Ji Hye had talented hands, so she worked with Grandmother Jung so that she could learn from her as well. They set up a wellness center with a hair salon, tailor, food bank, and restaurant. Seo Jun took two empty warehouses to use as storage for ammunition and supplies. He created documentation for the supplies, as well as a registry of all the survivors.
They had worked together for a few months now. They had also already filtered out all the lazy and selfish people before travelling. At this point, Yohan wouldn’t give anyone the chance to be lazy or selfish. Even if they had missed filtering out some people, he was ready to strong arm them into carrying their own weight. There’s a saying that, when five people get together, there’s always one that doesn’t do anything. Yohan had spent months prior filtering out those people. The remaining survivors here should enable them to enjoy a peaceful life.
* * *
12. Camp Maria
They didn’t notice this immediately, but there were a lot of fish swimming under the murky surface of the reservoir. There were so many that, as soon as they put in the fishing line, they would get a bite immediately.
Bubbles could be seen rising up to the surface of the water. Saeri was swimming in the reservoir. She had a long hose in her mouth and swam like a fish. She observed a big bass that was almost 40cm long and a huge mouth. She scratched the ground, making a noise similar to what smaller fishes would make. The bass started swimming towards her.
‘A little more. Just a little more.’
As soon as the bass got close, the fish harpoon in her hand fired and pierced through the fish’s body. The bass struggled violently as Saeri threaded fishing line through its mouth.
‘And that makes eleven.’
There were already 10 fish dangling from the fishing line in her hand.
‘Should I stop here?’ Saeri only took a moment to make her decision before she smoothly swam up to the surface.
“Hah!” Saeri took in a mouthful of fresh air as she broke through the surface. She raised her scuba mask to the top of her head and looked around.
“Yohan!” She called out to Yohan, who was lounging in a gazebo in the center of the reservoir. He was leaning back with his feet on the gazebo railings.
With some effort, Saeri dragged the fishing line full of bass out of the water and laid it out on the gazebo. Yohan’s eyes went wide.
“What? Am I too sexy?” Saeri smiled as she fluttered her eyes at him. Yohan smirked. Saeri was the same as always. Of course, she was confident for a reason, being a pretty girl in her mid-20s with a well-developed body in a wet rashguard that stuck to her body in all the right ways.
“Why are you flirting so much these days?”
Saeri gave a hearty laugh as she shrugged.
“You might’ve noticed every time you go out, but there’s a lot of bass here.”
“It’s because they breed easily.”
Although the quickly propagating fish could wreak havoc on the local ecosystem, they were a boon to the island’s residents because they could use them to make spicy fish soup or sashimi. They weren’t too concerned about the ecosystem, since survival was more important. Yohan helped Saeri gut the fish and hang them up on two drying lines.
“Here, hold this.” Saeri passed one of the lines to Yohan and he took it without a word.
The pair walked back over the Gubong mountain and towards the supply warehouse. There was a small freezer inside that already contained over 100 frozen bass. It had been about a month now since they had settled down in Sindo.
For the first 20 days, Yohan postponed any tasks that involved leaving the island and focused on securing the island itself. Most of the survivors have gotten used to the island lifestyle now. Of course, it couldn’t be compared to the life they had before the apocalypse, but it was enough that they could pretend that they had just retired to a farm. They had little to worry about now.
However, the fact that they had little worries was a problem. Now that their lives had normalized somewhat, Saeri was more aggressive in her flirting. Before, Yohan could shrug it off, but she was now so obvious that he felt embarrassed. For example, she would give him a strange smile whenever she came out of the water in that rashguard that she wore on top of her one-piece swimsuit. When Yohan would look at her and their eyes met, she would smile brightly and it made him a bit uncomfortable.
He wasn’t stupid. He knew what she wanted. However, he was too embarrassed to say anything. He didn’t want to push her away or draw a line, but he was strongly against having a love life. He didn’t care what other people thought, he had put this wall up since the beginning.
Jung Hwan’s attention was all on Ah Young now. Well, looking at them, it was questionable whether it was a special relationship or just friendship. Jung Hwan took care of Ah Young as if she was his sheltered little sister. It was dangerous because people might take it the wrong way, but it was Jung Hwan…so no one was worried.
On a slightly different topic, the two of them were raising the puppy together as if it was their child. In one month, the black dog grew a lot. Not only them, but as everyone’s lives normalized, lonely males and females started finding each other and became couples. Yohan didn’t stop them. They were living in harsh times and, even though the emotions that came from surviving the apocalypse were probably temporary and impulsive, as long as people weren’t killing each other, it was their business.
As Yohan and Saeri made their way through the mountain pass, they dug up wild greens, mushrooms, and other vegetables. Jae Ho knew which mushrooms were edible and which were poisonous, so they dug up whatever they found.
“Yohan. There’s another one here.” Saeri called out. Yohan walked over and saw that Saeri was referring to a footprint.
“How many times have we seen this?”
“This is the eighth one.”
It looked like it belonged to a beast, but there weren’t any animals here that left this kind of track. There was a deep imprint with four sharp claw marks around it. It looked like it belonged to a small dinosaur. No one could identify it, even Jae Ho and Elder Park were left shaking their heads when they saw it. When they found the footprint the first time, they had thought that there was a mutant on the island. After searching the island for a few days, they concluded that there wasn’t one.
‘Maybe there was a mutant here before, but now it’s gone.’ That was the conclusion that Yohan arrived at.
But now this was the eighth time they’d found its footprint. The strange tracks made Yohan’s survival instincts flare up. He stared at the footprint intently. Now that they had settled down and enjoyed peace for a while, it was time to be on their guard again.
— Ω —