June 2017 (Present Day)
Six months after the zombie outbreak
Yohan noticed a shadowy figure creeping around the grocery section on B2F.
‘But there’s nothing valuable there.’
The figure turned out to be a middle-aged woman in her late 30s or early 40s. When Yohan was admonishing the camp survivors earlier, she was holding a baby and threw a soiled diaper at him. Currently, the woman was hastily grabbing baby formula.
“What are you doing?” Yohan asked. The woman gasped and dropped the formula. It rolled to Yohan’s feet. Yohan bent over to pick it up and handed it to the woman.
“I ran out of baby formula…”
When the volunteers tried to organize the storage room, they found that they didn’t have enough space for everything, so they left the formula outside with the intention of bringing it back in when there was more room. They also chose not to ration the formula because they knew that there was a baby in the camp.
“Baby formula isn’t something that we’re currently rationing.”
“A—are you saying that I can just take it?”
“If we didn’t have any food, it would be different. However, I don’t think there’s anyone here that’s planning on surviving on formula. Don’t worry about it and just take it.” Despite Yohan’s words, the woman’s eyes were still filled with fear.
‘Why is she so scared?’ Yohan reflected on his actions just now, but didn’t think that he did anything intimidating. In fact, he thought he was being quite the gentleman right now.
“Oh, there was a pallet of baby formula at the loading docks. If you need more, I’ll get it for you. Or you can ask Jung Hwan to get it for you.”
Yohan shrugged and walked away. There were people acting as sentries at the first floor main entrance. There wasn’t much to look at, they had simply placed a metal ladder there so that they could look over the paper-covered windows and see outside the mall.
Aside from the main entrance, there were sentries at the parking lot entrance and on the rooftop. A total of three. Each spot had two people so that if something happened, one person could race over and report to Yohan immediately. It was an old-fashioned strategy, but it was the best they could do currently.
“Yohan, what are we supposed to be looking at anyways?” asked Ki Moon, who was currently on guard, “No matter where I look, all I see are zombies.”
“Look out for other survivors, if there’s a sudden increase in the number of zombies, or if the glass looks like it’s about to break.”
“You don’t have to look outside constantly, it’ll just wear you out. If something happens, you’ll hear it first.”
It was nice to have sentries to help better defend the camp, but it was more important to give the survivors something to do to keep them from being lethargic. While Yohan conversed, another woman approached him. Her name was Ji Hye Sohn. She was a 24 year old college student that didn’t stand out much.
Yohan recalled that she was the one that was vomiting uncontrollably after seeing the undead corpses on the first floor. Yohan briefly entertained calling her “puker”, but shook his head. It was too harsh of a nickname to give to a young college girl.
“I made this with some of the newer canned food, wanna try it?” Ji Hye handed him some sort of fish dish. It was rare to be able to enjoy a properly cooked meal. They usually had processed food, canned food, or ramen.
“Oh. It’s good,” Yohan spoke honestly. The food was really good. Even if you ignored the fact that it had been a long time since he had a decent meal, Ji Hye’s cooking skills were exceptional.
“You must be a good cook.”
“It’s my major. Culinary Arts.”
Yohan mentally crossed off the “puker” nickname he had in mind and replaced it with “cooker”. Of course, a chef was extremely valuable. Yohan finished the dish in a flash and handed back the empty plate, making sure that he thanked Ji Hye for treating him to such fine delicacy. She looked as if she was walking on air as she headed back to the camp. Ki Moon and Sang Min watched the scene and started grumbling.
“We have mouths too, but I guess she only has eyes for you.”
“Yeah! The world is too cruel to us!”
“Just keep watch, Mr. Diploma,” Yohan smiled, as the pair grumbled harmlessly.
“My name is Ki Moon, Yohan!”
“Until you figure out how to hotwire a car, I won’t acknowledge your name.”
“That’s not fair!”
It had been four days since they reclaimed the entire mall. The camp was buzzing with life. Everyone had gotten used to working and rationing food.
After Gunn died, Hyuk asked to leave the camp temporarily. He wanted to bury his brother with their parents. Yohan contemplated going with Hyuk, but simply nodded his head and approved the request. He could see vigor and determination in Hyuk’s eyes. He didn’t need his help.
Those who were brave volunteered to hunt zombies in the parking lot. Those who didn’t have such confidence where given random jobs within the camp. Skilled workers contributed their abilities towards improving the camp while non-skilled workers were tasked with cleaning and other menial labor. Thus, four days passed. By the fourth day, since everyone was contributing, no one was denied rations.
The signs of an incoming zombie wave disappeared. Before, there were zombies that looked like they were going to storm the camp at any time, but now they were quiet. Yohan felt some regret that he had rushed the camp into action, but rescinded that feeling quickly. If there was something that needed to be done, it was better to do it immediately.
He watched two kids run around. They were bickering about something, but then started a race with each other, which ended with them running into Yohan.
“Hey kids, you’ll get hurt if you run around like that.”
“Oh, it’s that guy!” The younger boy yelled as he hid behind his brother.
“Don’t hurt my little brother!” The older boy was holding a small paring knife.
“Got it.” Yohan sighed gently. Even though they were kids, they were now living in a world where they had to fend for themselves. “So you’re the older brother.”
The boy nodded. Yohan approached the boy slowly and gently took the knife in order to teach him how to wield it.
“Hold the knife like this. That way it’s easier to stab with two hands and it won’t slip from your grasp easily.” Yohan smiled as the boy nodded. He patted him on the head.
“Protect your brother.”
“Mom said that you might be a bad guy.”
“I am a bad guy.”
“She said that it’s hard to feed the baby because of you.”
There was only one baby in the camp that drank formula. Yohan immediately thought of the soiled diaper thrower. She had three kids. Even a super human would struggle to take care of all three kids and herself. Yohan finally understood why she was so hostile to him.
“I think you’re a good person,” chimed the boy.
These were the peaceful days at the mall.
* * *
That night, Jung Hwan called him. Yohan entered the meeting room in front of the storage room on B1F and saw that many people had gathered. It seemed like something had happened. This worked out for Yohan, as he was going to call for all the staff anyways.
“What’s going on?”
“We need your… opinion on something,” Jung Hwan replied.
“Ah, nice timing. I also have something to discuss.”
Now that the camp had settled into a nice routine, they needed to start preparing a few new things. First, they needed to group people up in preparation for a zombie wave. Currently, they had almost 30 camp members, which was more than what was dictated in Yohan’s golden rule. In order to reduce the camp size to under 20, he had to expand their territory.
Second, they were still lacking a medical professional. In order to prevent deaths like Gunn’s, it was absolutely necessary to find medical personnel to join the camp. Finally, they had to prepare for the gangsters that were occupying H Mall across the street. Regardless of what the camp survivors wanted, Yohan didn’t plan on sitting idly by when there was danger right next door.
As Yohan entered the meeting room, everyone looked at him. Seo Jun, Elder Park, Byung Jin, Jung Hwan, and Min Seo were present. They made up the group of leaders that Yohan appointed.
“You seem pretty happy to be here.” Byung Jin chatted with Seo Jun, who now fitted in well with the group.
“Oh, ahem. Well, I realized that Yohan didn’t actually have any bad intentions. So, I began cooperating.”
“You made the right decision.”
Yohan sat down and nodded his head at Elder Park, who began speaking.
“The reason why we called for a meeting was because we encountered two problems.”
“Did something happen?”
“First… Soo In has been infected.” Soo In was someone that participated in a recent hunt.
“Oh no, how did that happen?”
“While she was killing zombies in the parking lot, she lost her balance and fell.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Death was normal and infections couldn’t always be avoided. However, this particular case was a senseless death. It had been six months since the outbreak, people should not be dying because of a mistake or lack of skills.
“Because of that, the fighting group’s morale is low. I was thinking you could go and help them.”
“And the second problem has to do with order within the camp…” Elder Park paused, seeming to have trouble finding his words. He cleared his throat several times before continuing, “Three people tried to rape Ji Hye not too long ago…”
A frown appeared on Yohan’s face.
“That’s not all.”
“Saeri was nearby and heard her scream, so she ran into the scene. However, the three tried to throw themselves on her and rape her too. And then…” Elder Park paused again, “Saeri stabbed one of them in the groin with a knife.”
Yohan couldn’t hold in his laughter, but he quickly got control of himself. After all, the whole scenario wasn’t a joke.
“Is he dead?”
“His life is in danger. However, we need to decide what to do with the three men, as well as Saeri.”
While the others discussed amongst themselves, Yohan was silent. He didn’t have to think about it for too long. The answer was quite obvious, but there was an issue with the timing of it. Seo Jun and Byung Jin were in a heated debate, but Elder Park interrupted them with his own opinion.
“How about a majority vote? Anyone can propose an answer and we’ll vote on it. Since there are six people here, if any idea gets more than four votes, that will be the course of action we take. Alternatively, we can add another person to this group.”
It was a reasonable and civilized suggestion. Seo Jun and Byung Jin had stopped arguing and were looking at Yohan. Yohan immediately shook his head.
“I’m sorry Elder Park. Democracy will not work in this world.”
“I’ll be making all the decisions. If I’m not here, I’ll appoint someone to be the leader and they’ll make the decisions. The rest of you just have to follow them. In an emergency, we won’t have time to do majority voting.” Yohan spoke firmly, leaving no room for dissent. However, nobody seemed to want to argue with him.
“We’ll create a few general rules and make decisions whenever something comes up that is outside of those rules. However, I don’t expect there to be that many exceptional scenarios…” Yohan wanted to collect his thoughts for a moment, but ended up speaking off the top of his mind.
“We kill the infected. Rape, violence, murder, or any other acts of violence towards a fellow survivor are prohibited. That is unless someone puts you in danger, in which case it would be considered self-defense. We’ll manage essential supplies as a group. Those that don’t contribute will receive no supplies. Those with better skills or performances will get bigger rations. For that last point, we can discuss further and figure it out exactly.”
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