“Yohan, I don’t think this is right. These supplies don’t belong to us. What gives us the right…” Byung Jin finally spoke up, troubled by Yohan’s orders.
“Byung Jin.” Yohan took one of the keys for the room and put it in Byung Jin’s breast pocket and patted it in place.
“Nobody here is entitled to the supplies. Besides,” Yohan gave him a pointed look, “I don’t intend on being nice to those who have already jilted us once.”
Byung Jin and Jung Hwan yielded to Yohan’s firm resolve and made their way towards the food storage with heavy footsteps. Yohan watched them as he placed a cigarette in his mouth.
‘Rather than using the old carrot and stick method. It’s better to discipline with the stick first and then eventually offer the carrot.’
* * *
The two men began moving supplies to the new storage room, the women’s break room. Some of the camp members noticed the activity and were staring at them. They suspected something was going on. The pair ignored the crowd as they focused on their task. While they were hard at work, Yohan found Saeri and Min Seo resting and brought them along to help. With five people dedicated to the task, the old storage room was quickly emptied out.
“Don’t worry about the daily comfort and luxury items. We’ll be getting more from the loading dock later anyways. Focus on the necessities for now. Water, rice, ramen, canned food, and snacks. Anything that’s compact and has a lot of calories.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” A high pitched voice interrupted Yohan’s instructions. The group turned to look at the speaker.
The majority of the survivors in the camp had gathered around them. Everyone was there, minus the children and a few adults. At first, the survivors thought that Yohan’s group was getting some food to eat. However, once they soon realized that the group was taking all the supplies, they gathered to confront them.
“We’re moving the supplies into a new storage room,” Yohan replied.
“Everyone is sharing the supplies. You shouldn’t move them without getting consent from the whole camp first. Doing something like this… people might misunderstand…”
“Misunderstand? In what way?”
“Misunderstand and think that you guys are hoarding the supplies for yourselves!”
“Oh,” Yohan smacked his palm with his fist, as if he only just understood the person’s meaning. “It’s not a misunderstanding.”
“From now on, we’ll be keeping the supplies safe. After we take inventory, we’ll begin rationing it out periodically. It’ll be at the same time every day, so don’t complain if you’re late and miss out. You will probably be a bit hungrier and more uncomfortable than you are now, but this is important for everyone’s survival.”
“Who gave you the right to do this!?” A man in his 40s was pointing a finger at Yohan. All the survivors were getting noisy. Some began to shout.
“This is what we get for taking in an outsider!” A woman yelled, with a squeaky voice. The crowd was starting to get rowdy. Yohan had expected to encounter some resistance. His expression was unaffected, but the group members moving the supplies under his command looked surprised. They felt as if they were walking on eggshells.
“Oh, I forgot to say something important,” Yohan added, “People who don’t follow my rules and orders will no longer receive any supplies. If you don’t like the way I do things, you can go out and get your own supplies.”
“We’re going to be cleaning up the ground floor soon and everyone will need to participate. I’m not asking everyone to fight with us, just clean up afterwards. Everyone except children will have to help out.”
The crowd’s animosity was reaching a peak. Somebody threw a used diaper at Yohan. It landed just in front of his feet.
“Who gave you the right to pull this crap!?”
“We don’t need your help. If you’re going to act this way, then get out!” A few men approached them, looking like they were ready to evict the group at any moment. Yohan burst out laughing.
‘They’re scared of a few zombies, but they’re not scared of the people who can actually kill those zombies?’
Yohan reached into one of his pockets, pulled out his other revolver, the one that he had before coming to the mall, and pointed it at the approaching figures. They stopped in their tracks. Gasps could be heard from the crowd.
“Jung Hwan, Byung Jin. Say something. Don’t you think Yohan is being unfair?”
“Yeah, Jung Hwan. You know I have pneumonia…”
“I have a slipped disc in my back…” The survivors immediately began appealing to the other members of the group once they realized that threatening and reasoning with Yohan was out of the question. To their chagrin, the group members did not respond. The memory of the locked emergency exit door greeting them when they returned was still on their minds. Yohan lowered his gun to watch this development. However, as the stalemate continued, the men started getting aggressive once more.
“We heard six shots not that long ago. He probably doesn’t have any more ammo.”
‘Impressive. Someone actually counted the shots? I guess they’re not completely clueless.’
“Let’s kick him out. We can’t let him boss us around like this.” Under the assumption that he was out of ammo, mob mentality started taking over. People moved towards Yohan with venom in their eyes. Yohan pointed the gun just in front of the closest person and shot at the ground. A loud gunshot filled the entire floor, followed by a deathly silence. The forwardmost person stared at the bullet embedded in the floor, his jaw dangling.
“All of you must be delusional. I’m not here to play. I’m not a volunteer worker, nor am I a refugee that fled here asking for help.” Yohan was more like an invader. However, he didn’t say that aloud. Instead, he put on a savage smile and said, “Don’t make me waste good ammo. I’ll be nice as long as everyone shuts up and follows my orders.”
After Yohan finished speaking, the crowd was silent. It was the end of the conversation. Byung Jin was put in charge of the supplies. He nervously followed Yohan’s orders and began counting up the food and water.
All of the volunteers were given a specific amount of supplies. Supporters would be given half that amount and dissenters would get nothing. The amount of supplies given to volunteers was more than enough for one meal, but not enough for two full meals. For example, a bag of ramen, one can of food, and two biscuits.
After organizing the supplies, Yohan started the first distribution. People begrudgingly got in a line. The mood of the camp was heavy and many people gave Yohan dirty looks, but Yohan knew that this wouldn’t last long. He wasn’t planning on being this harsh all the time. Once he established order, he would focus on improving living conditions.
First, it was important to give people access to sunlight and fresh air. They had already spent six months underground. Spending that much time in a dark, cramped place was bound to make people languid. Additionally, he needed to address the hopeless atmosphere. Many people had already given up on life. They needed some comfort.
Once the mall was secured and additional supplies were acquired, the camp would be much safer and people would become more loyal. Yohan knew that people would gladly offer their kidneys as long as you could guarantee safety and supplies. Unfortunately, for now, Yohan had drawn their ire.
“Seo Jun Hwang will be part of the management team. Give him the same amount of supplies that volunteers get.”
Along with those who volunteered to fight zombies, Yohan included Seo Jun in the management team. When the group headed out, he locked the door behind them in order to keep the camp safe. Even if the underlying motive was selfish, as long as the action was beneficial to the camp, Yohan would reward it.
Seo Jun accepted his rations with a surprised look on his face. All the camp survivors were watching the exchange. Seo Jun had previously complained and gossiped about Yohan with the other camp members, but now he was approaching Jung Hwan and Byung Jin to see if they needed help with anything. Yohan smiled to himself. It was difficult to sway an entire crowd, but changing the mind of one person was really simple.
* * *
Not too long after the first distribution, some people approached Yohan saying that they wanted to learn how to kill zombies. Yohan had already anticipated that a few people would volunteer. Even though everyone got their rations, there were still luxury items such as chocolate, cigarettes, and alcohol. Additionally, as supplies start to thin out, more people would be pressured to ‘volunteer’.
Yohan happily welcomed those that stepped up earlier and assigned them to Min Seo and Byung Jin. He could have taught them himself, but he wanted the newlyweds to gain some more confidence. Despite their courage and determination, confidence was still something they lacked. The couple had already survived two deadly missions. If they gain this experience, they would become stronger.
Yohan took out both of his guns, placed them on the table, and rubbed his chin. He wasn’t concerned about people management. Instead, there was a more troubling issue.
‘If things went according to plan, I would have given Gunn the revolver and make him the camp leader…’ Yohan didn’t know if Gunn was going to ever wake up. Even if he did, his ability to contribute was dampened by the loss of his right hand. In all honesty, the chances that Gunn could become a long-distance fighter was almost nil. A leader with no fighting power was pretty much useless.
“Sigh, damn it. I think I’m in trouble.” He needed a new plan. Yohan thought about other leader candidates.
‘Elder Park is too old. Min Seo and Byung Jin are brave, but indecisive. Jung Hwan has the initiative, but isn’t reliable enough for me to trust my back to him. Hyuk is Gunn’s brother, so I can rely on him, but he’s too dependent on his brother.’
‘This camp really doesn’t have any good candidates. There’s no one I can trust.’
‘Saeri?’ Yohan shook his head immediately, dismissing the thought.
“I must be losing my mind thinking about this.”
‘She’s too unpredictable. There’s no way.’
After pondering for a long time to no result, Yohan stood up. He decided that the issue wasn’t immediately pressing. There were other things that he needed to do anyways. He made his way towards the emergency exit.
“Yohan, where are you going?” Jung Hwan and Saeri saw him heading out and approached him.
“Hunting. I’m going to clean up some zombies.”
“Right now? By yourself?”
“No point just lazing around here.” Yohan replied. Saeri and Jung Hwan shared a look before speaking up at the same time.
“I’ll go too, Yohan.”
“I want to come too.” Before their first mission, Saeri had to use the restroom. Now she already seemed like she was used to fighting.
“Thanks. It’s enough that you’re offering to come. You guys should rest, you need a break.”
“What about you? You’re not a machine. I think you’re probably the most exhausted out of all of us.”
“When I’m hunting zombies, I don’t need to think about anything. I’m not going too far. I’m just shooting them with my crossbow, so don’t worry.”
“Did something happen?”
“It’s not like that. I mean, I don’t like it when people talk shit about me. Don’t worry, I’ll be back.”
“Just rest! You really don’t listen.” Saeri pleaded. Yohan frowned.
‘I said I’m fine. Why are they acting like this?’
“If you listen to me, I’ll let you do something fun.”
“…” Jung Hwan, hearing Saeri’s bold statement, became red in the face. Saeri simply smiled.
Yohan laughed out loud. He had already said no to her before. This was borderline sexual harassment.
— Ω —
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