“From what I can see, there are over 50 of you and I only have 36 bullets. Also, four of you had guns. There’s no way that I could win and, if I killed some of you, it would be impossible to negotiate.”
“What if you had over 50 bullets?”
“I would’ve shot my way through the spot with the least amount of people and run for it.”
The director laughed out loud and clapped his hands.
“Where did you get the gun?”
“There’s a gun shop near Bucheon station.”
“Are there still guns there?”
“It’s been four days since I was there. So, unless someone else emptied out the place, I’m pretty sure there are still plenty of guns left.”
‘This guy is way too honest.’ The director stroked his chin and thought deeply. ‘He’s not even afraid of me. Additionally, he was someone that obtained a gun by himself and survived until now. I shouldn’t trust him so easily, but it would be a waste to just kill him or kick him out.’
“I’ll give you a chance to work for me.” The director smiled. Yohan made a show of thinking about it before answering.
“I would like to at least be your right hand man.”
“Hahaha, you’re a really gutsy bastard. That’s surprising.”
“If you give me some people who are quick on their feet, I can go out to get the guns and prove my worth.”
“No, no. I’ll send out others. First, I need to check to see if you’re telling the truth. Tell me the exact location.”
“If you’re planning something, I’ll kill you. Understand?”
“That won’t be necessary,” Yohan replied. The director seemed satisfied with that response. He patted Yohan on the shoulder. The force of the pat was enough to shake Yohan’s whole body.
Yohan was planning to escape at the first opportunity, but the director wasn’t falling for it so easily. The director seemed to be well-suited for the turbulent time they were living in.
Yohan’s story was a mix of truths and lies. The location of the gun shop was true, but there were no guns left. He hadn’t been there for three months. However, even if there were no guns left at the shop, they couldn’t blame him for it.
“I’ll come back later. You stay,” the director pointed at one of his henchmen, “and the rest of you grab your tools and follow me.”
“Should we call up the guys currently on guard duty as well?”
“No, let them keep guarding.”
After Yohan divulged the location of the gun shop, the director laughed joyfully and exited the room. The rest of the men were noisy as they streamed out of the room like the tide washing out. The henchman that was assigned to watch Yohan and Sweeper bowed his head until the director was completely out of sight. As soon as the director was gone, the guard sat down near the door and put a cigarette in his mouth. Once everyone had left, Yohan released a small sigh.
“Bro, watching you spin that tale of shit was like a work of art,” Sweeper remarked sarcastically. He sighed inwardly, noting how Yohan’s demeanor could change in an instant. The way Yohan acted towards the director and Sweeper was totally different.
“Try to read the situation.”
Sweeper clicked his tongue at him. He tried speaking with him some more, but Yohan ignored him. He was waiting quietly, trying to find an opening. Two hours later, their guard went outside. Yohan could hear the door being locked from the outside.
‘There will always be an opening if there’s only one guard.’ Yohan always assigned two guards for a reason. Everyone needed to eat and they would need to use the bathroom afterwards.
Now was his chance. Yohan struggled against his bindings to remove his shoes. He had purposefully tied one of his combat boots loosely and it was slowly coming off.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Sweeper asked. Yohan continued to ignore him as he focused on removing his shoe. He wasn’t in a rush, but he still wanted to move quickly.
The director had left and the group only had four guns. The director probably wouldn’t just send his underlings to handle such an important mission, so it was likely that he also went to the gun shop with them. Yohan estimated that, even if they moved fast, it would still take at least six hours. That was enough time for him to go back to his home shelter, restock on supplies, and install traps.
Once the shoe came off, Yohan could see the razor blade in his sock. He flopped around like a fish on dryland, trying to reach his feet with his hand. He looked like an idiot, but he succeeded in grabbing the razor. After that, he progressed quickly. Yohan cut the rope around his hands and feet and stood up to brush himself off.
“Why are you so surprised? Is this the first time you saw someone escape?”
“Wow, I didn’t think that someone would prepare something like that.”
“In this world, nothing is weird anymore.” Yohan pressed his finger to his lips and Sweeper shut his mouth. Yohan then tore off a strip of fabric and wrapped it around his hands. From his other shoe, he pulled out some fishing line. Soon, he could hear footsteps approaching. When the guard opened the door, Yohan moved lightning quick and wrapped the fishing line around the man’s neck and yanked him down.
Yohan strengthened his grip. The guard’s face turned blue and, after struggling for a while, he stopped moving. Yohan checked for breathing. He found a knife in the guard’s breast pocket and used it to stab him in the head. After that, he searched his entire body and found a walkie-talkie.
“Did you have to kill him?”
“I considered it self-defense the moment he touched my body,” Yohan replied. He pulled open the vent grate from the ceiling. It was narrow, but there was enough room for him to crawl. However, Yohan only wanted them to think he was in the ventilation shaft. After leaving the grate on the floor, he moved to walk out the door.
“Forgetting something?” A voice remarked behind him, with a hint of urgency.
“What about me? You’re not going to help me?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Why should I help you?” Yohan looked at Sweeper quizzically, as if he was spouting nonsense.
“Damn, why do you gotta be so cold? Come on, man. Please help me. Bro—no, big bro… sir! If you leave me here, I’ll die. You heard it earlier!”
“Why are you talking to me so formally all of a sudden?” Yohan frowned at how quickly Sweeper’s attitude changed.
“Big bro, please don’t be like this.”
“Be thankful that I’m not killing you outright. I’m keeping you alive because I want you to do something for me.”
“When they ask where I ran off to, say that I went through the ventilation shaft towards the rooftop. If you’re still alive by the time I’m done with them, I’ll let you go.”
“Hey! Big bro!”
Yohan quickly exited through the open door.
* * *
The director and his gang reached the gun shop. The store was indeed where Yohan had mentioned it, but everything inside was taken. There wasn’t even a speck of dust. There were undead corpses and also corpses of those that died before turning into a zombie, still wearing their military vests. They all had several bullet wounds. There were signs of gun fight all over the gun shop.
“Um…director, there aren’t any guns here, right?” One of the henchmen asked, with a troubled expression on his face.
“I have eyes too,” growled the director. The henchman immediately shut his mouth. Their journey here had already cost them two talented members and now they had to return empty-handed. The director’s eyes were filled with rage. It was possible that other people had taken the guns, but the director had an uneasy feeling that this wasn’t the case here. He checked the corpses and examined a bullet-ridden box. There were equal amounts of dust inside and outside the box. This didn’t happen recently.
“We should hurry back.” The director grabbed a walkie-talkie out of the hands of one of his henchmen and radioed the guard he had assigned.
“Hey, is everything okay over there with the two intruders?” There was static on the comms. It could be because they were quite far away, but the amount of static bothered him.
“Repeat. Are you keeping a close watch on those two guys?”
“No issue here.” The voice coming out of the walkie-talkie sounded calm, but there definitely felt like something was out of place. The director angrily threw the walkie-talkie at one of his underlings. Something, something was off.
“We need to hurry back.”
Three hours later, the director returned with his group. They bee-lined for the room that held the two intruders and found it empty save for a corpse. The director searched the corpse and found that the walkie-talkie was missing.
“Director! It seems like Min Gu and Min Seok were attacked!” A henchman quickly ran in to report while trying to catch his breath. The intruders had murdered their guard and then went on to murder two more men. The director knew that he couldn’t just let this go.
There were signs of strangulation on the corpse’s neck. After being choked by something thin and strong, the guard was stabbed. The choke marks were solid and the knife went through a vital point in a single stab. This wasn’t the work of an amateur.
‘No issue here.’
Was that the voice of the intruder? The director thought back on the man that they captured today. He was strange from the beginning. Even though he was in a dangerous situation, his eyes didn’t show signs of fear or anxiety. Thanks to the static, he couldn’t tell if the voice was strange. To be fair, the guard wasn’t someone important and the director had difficulty remembering his voice anyways.
The director’s face started turning red. Veins bulged out of his forehead. Sweeper came back to get his object, but what did the other intruder want? Did he have a grudge against them? The director tried to remember, but no matter how hard he thought about it, he was certain that this was the first time he met Yohan.
He was captured on the third floor, which meant that he was watching them already before getting captured. He was up to something. The director could feel the angry fire inside him start to cool down as he continued to think. His thoughts were more clear now. Before, his judgement was clouded for a bit due to the happiness he felt from catching Sweeper. If Yohan was here for a purpose, there was only one thing. He was most likely here to find someone.
There was already someone guarding the trash survivors. The person in charge was Chief Shin. He was a talented man. Before the apocalypse, he did many different odd jobs. He also had a gun, which meant no one would be able to fight him with just their bare hands. The director hadn’t heard anything from Chief Shin yet. He grabbed the walkie-talkie once more.
“Chief Shin, can you hear me?”
“Yes, director.” A reply came after the walkie-talkie beeped and warbled for a bit.
“Ah, Chief Shin, has anything happened at the trash can?”
“Nothing unusual, director.”
“Is that so?”
“Is there something going on?”
“It’s nothing. An intruder escaped. He’ll probably head to where you are. I’ll send some people. Be on your guard.”
‘So you haven’t gotten what you wanted yet, huh?’ A creepy smile formed on the director’s face. He knew that the bastard was still inside the mall. Just then, the walkie-talkie came alive again.
“Director, the bastard is on the rooftop!” The voice was unfamiliar. The director squinted his eyes. There were only four walkie-talkies in the group. It was highly probable that the unfamiliar voice came from the walkie-talkie that was stolen by the intruder.
“Who are you, you bastard?” The director asked through the walkie-talkie, but there was no reply. The director frowned and repeated the question several times, but the black device in his hand remained silent.
Rage filled the director once more and he kicked over a chair.
“What should I do to this cocky bastard?”
— Ω —
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