Of course, Yohan knew that Saeri was half-joking and was actually just worried about him.
“You said to rest. Would that be resting?” Yohan flicked Saeri on the forehead, causing her to let out a soft whimper.
“What? You would enjoy it. So don’t go, okay?”
“If you’re feeling the urge, deal with it yourself. You have hands right? You mischievous brat.” Yohan said. Saeri scowled fiercely, it was actually quite an intimidating look. Yohan shook his head and continued.
“Even though the entrances are sealed, if we don’t do the next step soon, then all our efforts will be meaningless. That mission might have costed Gunn his life, so we can’t let it go to waste.”
“When you say next step…”
“Glass doors are not ideal. We have to cover them so that zombies can’t see inside. They react to movement so, if they see other zombies inside the mall, those stupid zombies will keep coming. We have to clear out the trash on the first floor quickly before the glass breaks from all the zombies pushing on it.” Yohan quickly turned away to leave, but then suddenly spun around again as if he had forgotten something.
“Oh, Saeri. Do you have neat handwriting?”
“Huh? Um…” Saeri stammered, but Yohan didn’t wait for her answer. He pulled out some letter-sized sheets of paper and a plastic page protector.
“Write this down. ‘Come to the parking lot if you have business with us. If you break the glass or cause a ruckus, you will be shot.’” Yohan dictated.
“If you have business…you will be shot…” Saeri muttered as she scribbled down Yohan’s words. As Yohan watched her work, his eyebrows furrowed.
“Saeri, I don’t want to be rude but…”
“Shut up Yohan, I know.”
“A five-year old probably has better handwriting than you. It’s like you’re writing with your feet,” Yohan complained. Saeri punched him in the shoulder, but ended up hurting her hand instead.
‘Why are you hurting yourself? Don’t you know how many layers I’m wearing?’
“Yohan, what are you going to do with this message?”
“I’m going to stick this on the glass doors at the entrance. We don’t want people to break through after we worked so hard to seal it. It’s also a warning.”
“A warning?” Saeri asked.
“That we have guns and aren’t scared of other guns. If someone is looking for trouble, it might convince them to go look for it somewhere else.” Yohan replied. Of course, revealing the fact that they had guns might attract a different kind of trouble if people came looking to steal their weapons. However, it was typically better to flaunt this kind of power rather than conceal it, especially in their current situation with the camp integrity being unstable.
It was a bluff. No one would suspect that a 30-person camp occupying a huge mall would only have two guns. Unless the invaders were really brave or stupid, they would most likely want to avoid a confrontation. In this period of time post-outbreak, no one would be at that state of desperation yet. It was too early.
The bigger problem was…what if they can’t decipher Saeri’s handwriting and think the message is some sort of secret code? Yohan contemplated this as he stared at the writing on the warning sign.
* * *
Ultimately, Saeri and Jung Hwan managed to persuade Yohan to stay. He instead went over to the furniture section in B1F. As he got there, he noticed a young man and woman vacating the area. He was being shunned.
Yohan grabbed some bed sheets and a pillow and found a storage room with a lock. Just as Saeri and Jung Hwan had suggested, he was going to rest. Even though he still had some energy left, the time wasn’t great. It was going to get dark soon.
In the afternoon, the sun provided light. However, in a zombie apocalypse scenario, the evenings were pitch black in the truest sense. While Yohan’s home shelter had solar power, the camp at the mall had candles and similar equipment that provided some relief from the darkness. However, when night fell, the majority of the survivors simply cowered away and prayed for morning to come soon. As Yohan pondered these idle thoughts, he eventually fell asleep.
He slept lightly, however, and was awoken by someone pounding at the locked iron door of the storage room he was in. Yohan rubbed his eyes, wondering how much sleep he managed to get.
“Yohan! Are you in there?”
“Yeah, coming.” Yohan replied. He opened the door to see Saeri standing in front of him.
“What? Did something happen?” Yohan aked.
“They said the water isn’t coming out.”
“Yeah. They said the water hasn’t been coming out since this morning. I checked both the men’s and women’s restroom and there’s no water.”
“The water tank must be empty.”
Yohan checked the restrooms himself. He turned the faucet. Nothing. He tried flushing a toilet. Still nothing. He stared at the toilet lid in destitution.
‘The good days are behind us now.’
People would soon realize that they had been living a life of luxury and had taken it for granted. Yohan joining their camp was probably the only positive development in their post-apocalyptic lives, even if they would never admit that to themselves.
“Tell everyone to gather ‘round.”
Saeri brought all the camp members in for a meeting. The survivors had gloomy expressions on their faces as they muttered amongst themselves, wondering what was going on. Yohan did a quick headcount and noticed that five people were missing.
“He refuses to leave Gunn’s side.”
Yohan sighed to himself. That makes two fighters who were currently useless.
“Should I go get him?”
“Leave them. It’s probably better to have someone at Gunn’s side.” Yohan patted Saeri on the head twice, praising her for a job well done before gesturing for her to join the crowd. Yohan turned to address the camp and everyone became silent.
“As you all know, the water tank has run dry. I was going to go check to see how much water was left, but there’s no need for that now. Until we resolve this issue, we can’t waste water. Don’t flush the toilet, just do your business. Wash yourselves with a wet wipe or pour some water on a napkin.”
The camp members had looks of discontentment. Yohan didn’t know if they were reacting to the water situation or to their general dislike of him. There was no way for him to know.
“Do you think I’m being unreasonable?” Yohan continued, carefully, “Think about it. If you guys had properly assessed the situation and were frugal with your water right from the beginning six months ago, everyone would still have clean water. Right now, even though we’re rationing food and it sucks, we’ll still run out of supplies eventually. However, even if we exhaust all the supplies in this mall, I’m still going to help everyone survive.”
Yohan decided to make protection the key focus in his speech.
“I’ll prove it to everyone, one step at a time. First, I’ll secure the mall and make it so that we can see the sun again. After we take care of zombies, I hope to come back to the warm smiles of a supportive camp. Jung Hwan, if you guys are ready, let’s go.”
Yohan marched with a group of fighters towards the emergency exit doors leading to the first floor. He made Elder Park and Hyuk stay behind and watch over the supplies. Even then, this time he had eleven volunteers.
Once again, Yohan split the party into two teams of five, separating them by experience. He himself would be a solo operative, covering the teams from high ground. When forming a team of five, Yohan’s system still had four people watch over each cardinal direction and the fifth member would simply stand in the center and support whichever side had the most zombies.
Teams of five were much safer than teams of four. Additionally, they would be operating in a safe area and would have long-range support from Yohan. This mission carried minimal danger. Even if they ran into an unforeseeable and dangerous scenario, they would still be close to the emergency exit door and would have that option available as a safeguard. This way, even the new volunteers, who were nervous at the start, would be able to build confidence and gain experience killing zombies.
“Two on the right!” It was Sung Bae’s first time fighting a zombie. Jung Hwan quickly took out the other zombie that was approaching them.
“Got it. It’s down!”
There really wasn’t a need for Yohan to provide support. He began shooting down zombies further away. The clean up mission proceeded smoothly. The teams fought for nearly three hours, throughout which zombies only approached intermittently and never en masse. They killed so many that the pile of corpses were starting to impede their vision. Finally, zombies stopped appearing and the sound of undead growling in the mall went silent.
“Is it over?” asked one of the new volunteers. Yohan shrugged and tossed a knife at a metal door handle. The loud clang would surely draw out any nearby zombies, if there were any. However, everything was quiet.
“I think it’s over?”
“Just wait a bit.” Yohan made more noise. Finally, they could hear the growls of a far away zombie. Moments later, an arrow through the head silenced it. Yohan continued making loud noises. As the noise got louder, they could see the zombies outside the glass doors turn to look at them and push up against the glass. However, there were no movement to be seen within the mall itself.
“I think we’re pretty much done,” Yohan said. The volunteers rejoiced. “Good job everyone. Especially the newbies, you guys did well even though it was your first time. Why were you hiding like scaredy cats before?”
“Seriously. No idea it would be this easy…”
“It’s because of Yohan, idiot. Stop showing off,” Saeri criticized the newbie. It really wasn’t necessary, but it did bring a smile to Yohan’s face.
“Jung Hwan, check to see if anyone got injured. Saeri, you check the girls. Even if there is a tiny scratch, let me know,” he instructed, “I’m going to go check out the parking lot real quick.”
Yohan went up the emergency stairwell to the second floor and exited into the parking lot. Beyond the door, which was slightly open, there were cars in all directions. There were also still a lot of zombies and plenty of hiding places for them, making the area dangerous.
There was only one way to go from the ground floor to the parking lot, which was a relief. If the parking lot had separate entrances and exits, they would need to do another two entrance blockade mission. Yohan made a rough measure of the car entrance. It was wide enough that they would need a 2.5 ton truck and another 1 ton truck to block it. After making his calculations, Yohan quietly closed the emergency exit door.
The volunteers were resting when he rejoined them. When they saw him, they immediately moved to stand up, but Yohan motioned with his hand that they could stay resting.
“Anyone injured?” he asked Jung Hwan.
“How’s the parking lot?”
“Not bad, but not good either.”
There were a lot of hoops to jump through before they could use a vehicle to block the car entrance. First, they had to find a vehicle that still had its key and then check to see if the car battery was working. If not, they would need to see if it could be recharged or replaced.
The mission wasn’t exactly clear cut, but the longer they waited, the more difficult it would be to complete it. It might even turn out to be more dangerous than the double entrance blockade mission.
‘However, if we can do this, I think things will be okay.’
Yohan pulled out large black curtains from his backpack while thinking. He moved to cover the glass doors. Of course, he put the warning sign up first, and then covered it with the black cloth. It wasn’t necessary to cover everything. In the end, Yohan only covered three-quarters of the glass. The gap at the top would give guards some visibility of the outside and, in order to keep the area bright, the gap would let light come in. It was enough just to block the zombie’s line of sight. Once he was done, Yohan turned back to the volunteers.
“Since we’re already here, I want to clean out the parking lot too. You guys are still good to go, right?” Yohan asked calmly. The group stared at him.
“Stop being such babies. Oh, by the way, does anyone know how to fix a car?”
“Oh, that’s my major.”
“Automotive Engineering major?”
“That’s great. One less thing to worry about. When did you go to school?”
“I started in ‘08.”
“And how much work experience?”
“Four years.” Ki Moon Kim was tall and handsome. He was a bit timid and he didn’t have much of a presence, but him being here washed away many of Yohan’s problems. He had to restrain himself from giving the guy a high five.
“Great. Hey Mr. Diploma, do you know how to hotwire a car?”
— Ω —
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