* * *
That night, the mood around the camp was better than usual. The survivors even lit up some of the candles, not worrying about saving them. The large candles reflected the bright atmosphere.
They had brought out all of the beer they found at the loading docks and were drinking it. It was fine to consume it all, since alcohol wasn’t considered a necessity. The gangsters from H Mall had previously stolen all their booze so, when they managed to secure some more from the loading docks, it improved morale.
“Anyways, what do we do about the water tank?” They had discovered that one of the water tanks still had water in it, but they didn’t know how to hook it up. For now, they left it alone, but they would need to find a way to use it soon.
“Yohan.” Elder Park approached Yohan, who was also drinking beer.
“Oh, Elder Park…”
“Gunn woke up.”
Yohan and Hyuk stood up at the same time and sprinted to the infirmary. When they entered, they saw that Gunn wasn’t in great condition. He was now sitting on the side of the bed and his face was pale and drenched with sweat.
“How are you feeling?”
“I feel like I’m going to die.” Gunn’s voice was weak. It was low and hoarse and made the pair feel uneasy.
“You have a high fever.”
Thankfully, it looked like he didn’t get infected by the zombie virus. If he had, he would have already turned. He definitely wasn’t infected, but his condition wasn’t great. He had lost a lot of blood and, since they couldn’t treat the amputation wound properly, it was festering. That fact that he was still living was already a miracle. However, Gunn was exhausted and could pass out at any moment.
“I think I’m done for. I keep falling unconscious.”
“Don’t say that.”
“I’m serious,” Gunn was barely able to shake his head. Hyuk liberally shed the tears that he had been holding back until now.
“Yohan, I apologize. I’m going to have to ask for another favor from you,” Gunn took several labored breaths before continuing, “take care of Hyuk for me.”
“Got it,” Yohan answered without any hesitation. A small smile appeared on Gunn’s face.
“For some reason, it feels like we’ve been friends for a long time, even though we only just met recently.”
“Oh yeah?” Yohan didn’t think that Gunn had memories from the previous timeline. There was also no way that he knew that Yohan came back to the past. Gunn was probably sensing something from the way Yohan treated him. Did he unknowingly treat him as if he was an old friend?
“Hyuk,” Gunn turned towards Hyuk.
“Brother, *sniff*, Gunn…”
“I love you little bro.”
Hyuk’s only response was to continue sobbing.
“Please don’t lose hope,” Gunn’s voice was starting to fade. He mustered up all his energy and spoke a bit louder, “Survive. Man, stop crying like a baby. Your dick is going to fall off. I know it’s clichéd, but now you have to live for me too.”
“Hyuk… no matter how hard things get, don’t lose your humanity. Don’t just focus on surviving. Live to help others, that’s what makes us human. Remember these words, Hyuk.” Gunn’s words were met with silence, intermittently interrupted by Hyuk’s sobbing. Gunn grabbed Hyuk’s hand and held it tightly.
“Yohan. Let me use one bullet. I’m really tired. I’m cold and dizzy. My arm feels like it’s on fire.”
“Nope. It’s a waste of ammo.”
“… You’re joking right?”
“Dude, you just told Hyuk not to lose hope,” Yohan couldn’t say any more. He couldn’t tell him that it was too early to give up; that he should hold on until his last breath. Gunn had a grim expression on his face which made all of Yohan’s words get caught in his throat. It was the look one had once they realized that death was coming and was unavoidable. With a heavy heart, Yohan let out a reluctant sigh. He had no right to deny Gunn a peaceful send off.
“Let me go comfortably.”
“… Want me to do it?”
“No, I can’t let you carry that burden. I’ll do it, but… let me have a moment to myself…” Gunn trailed off. Yohan nodded and handed him a revolver.
“Let’s go,” Yohan pried Hyuk away.
“Gunn… Gunn!” Hyuk fought back frantically. Gunn gave his little brother a small smile as he was dragged out. A moment after they left the room, they heard a loud gunshot.
* * *
3. Zombie Wave
Three months after the zombie outbreak
Three months prior to Yohan joining Gunn’s camp
Yohan surveyed the area outside his first shelter from the rooftop. He was holding a pigeon that was skewered by an arrow. It was still bleeding.
He threw the pigeon towards the largest gathering of zombies. From far away, zombies approached and joined the growing crowd near Yohan’s shelter. This was exactly what he wanted. Having zombies gathered near the shelter was a boon as it would deter intruders. Unless someone was courageous and had serious skills, they wouldn’t be able to get through this many zombies and ransack the shelter.
Yohan had set up a zipline between two rooftops. He tugged on the cable a couple of times. Even though he had already used it a few times, he still doubled checked to make sure that it was still sturdy. The zipline was the only safe way to get into the shelter from the outside.
Even if someone managed to get past all the zombies and enter the building, there were traps installed near the entrance and ground floor windows that would prevent them from advancing further. Needles were embedded on windows, door handles, and steps. They were coated with zombie blood. If someone managed to get into the building, they would most likely succumb to the infection. Even though he was the one who set up the traps, Yohan hoped that they would never be needed.
‘Well, who would risk their lives to enter an ordinary-looking place anyways? It’s not like it’s a mall or convenience store.’
Yohan turned his thoughts towards a more important issue—obtaining a gun. He had already prepared a few weapons with which to fight zombies, but he needed a gun for a different reason. While guns were generally useful against zombies, pistols and shotguns—which were the most common weapons found in a gun store or police station—were cumbersome to reload. When you had to take care of a big group of zombies, they were less than ideal. Additionally, they made a lot of noise, which was a huge problem.
This was why he had spent so much effort procuring a crossbow. The weapon barely made a sound and bolts were easy to craft and use. However, a big battle was a different story. The side that had more guns typically had more power and resources. Additionally, guns were directly correlated with protecting lives and were recognized as a symbol of power.
To Yohan, the most dangerous opponent was a human with a gun. To Yohan, a gun was a weapon used to kill other humans.
With that in mind, Yohan had to decide when to venture out for a gun. There was a large firearms dealership and a police station all the way back near Bucheon City Hall. However, if he ventured out too early, the place would be packed with survivors and the undead. It would be too chaotic and there was a good chance that he would get roped into something with the survivors. On the other hand, if he went out too late, someone else would loot the buildings and he would be left with guns, but no ammo.
Yohan had decided that three months was the sweet spot, and so he bunkered down in his shelter until then. As he walked away from the zipline, his footsteps felt heavy. The future seemed overwhelming. There was a limit to how many guns he could acquire. Transporting them would be difficult as well. He knew this would be a difficult mission. As he slung his duffle bag over his shoulder, Yohan let out a sigh.
* * *
Yohan crossed the boundary into the Wonmisan mountain region. His duffle bag was light, but was also large and often got in his way. Getting to his destination was going to be easy, but going back would be cumbersome, since he would have to carry a bag full of guns and ammo up the mountain range.
As the roads were packed with zombies, Yohan decided to take less populated routes. While this took longer, he didn’t encounter anyone along the way. He only had to take care of a few zombies.
Yohan sat down on a rock near the boundary and chewed on some beef jerky. If he took his time, it would take roughly four days to complete the round trip. This was the amount of time he gave himself to secure guns.
Yohan heard a growl behind him. Instead of turning around, Yohan simple whipped out a knife and stabbed behind him. He felt a familiar sensation as the growling guttered out.
Pulling out a map, he checked his location again. Gyeonggi Firearm Store… Bucheon Police Station… it would take around 20-30 minutes by foot. The firearm dealership was his first choice and the police station was the backup plan. This was an obvious choice, as the police station would inevitably contain either survivors or zombies.
After walking for a few minutes, Yohan went from a four-way intersection to a T-intersection. After taking a few more steps, he stopped and looked around. There weren’t any zombies. In an instant, he dashed off of the street and disappeared.
The people that were watching his progress from the rooftops were shocked. Chatter erupted from their walkie-talkie.
“Rainbow here. Rainbow. Lost visual on the target. Over.” A hooded figure with a sniper rifle had been following Yohan from on top of a library. The figure quickly stood up and looked down from the building, but could not see their prey anywhere. The sniper looked disappointed.
“A crossbow and a duffle bag. Seemed like he would be good to mug, but he hid like a rat.” The figure went back to the lookout. Suddenly, the sniper felt something cold and sharp pressed against their head.
“Quiet. If you move even a little bit, I’ll shoot.”
“I’m going to give you three seconds for each of the following actions. First, put down the gun and take two steps forwards.”
The sniper did not hesitate. Even though the person giving orders was behind them, there was an overbearing killing intent that was almost palpable. The figure took two steps back.
“Next, get on your knees, lock your fingers together, and put your hands on top of your head.” As the figure followed his instructions, Yohan stuffed the gun into his duffle bag and grabbed the walkie-talkie.
“How did you know we were here?”
“Quieter,” Yohan growled. The figure obeyed and lowered their voice.
“How did you know?”
“It’s a big street, but there weren’t any zombies.”
“Are you telling me that you figured us out just from that? How did you know that I was on top of the library?”
“The fact that there isn’t a single zombie on this big road meant that someone was monitoring this area. I took a look at a few dead zombies and noticed that they were shot accurately in the head. Also, this is the tallest building in the area.”
“Impressive,” said the sniper. Yohan pulled out some fishing line from his shoe and started tying up the sniper’s hands and feet.
“Oh gross, do always keep stuff like that in your shoes?”
“I don’t have athlete’s foot, so don’t worry.”
“Oh, that’s a relief.”
“How many of you are there?”
“I don’t rat out my friends,” the figure stared at Yohan and smirked.
“Oh yeah?” Yohan didn’t bother asking again. He searched the sniper’s body and took everything useful.
“I’m going to find you and kill you,” the hooded figure spoke just as Yohan started to leave. Yohan stopped for a moment and then turned around.
“I see. Then I should just kill dangerous people like that so that they don’t kill me in the future.”
“Wa—wait! I was just joking!” The sniper tried to take back what they said, but Yohan’s crossbow was already aimed at their forehead.
“I’m sorry. I’m just not the type that leaves trouble lying around,” Yohan said as he unloaded the crossbow bolt. It flew and pierced the sniper’s forehead. The figure’s hood fell down and revealed the face of a woman. Yohan turned around once more to leave, clearly not bothered at all by this revelation.
He looked at his new gun, noticed its tag, and walked away. It seemed like the gun shop had already been looted and those that looted the store were nearby.
Yohan had a decision to make. Hunt down all the looters and commandeer their weapons, or change direction and go to the police station instead.
It didn’t take long for him to decide.
— Ω —
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