Title: Cold and Damp
II [Dead Seoul]
Pairings: Hanchul, Kyumin, Kangteuk
Summary: After Seoul becomes infested with the living dead and the government abandons them; it's only natural that they realise hidden feelings in the midst of disaster - but where are Heechul and Sungmin? What happened to Hankyung? Did Youngwoon and Jungsu escape? And is Kyuhyun really
Notes: Short chapter~prequel 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Kyuhyun awoke slowly, as if he was floating to the surface of a deep pool. His mind was murky and his limbs were weak. He couldn’t move. When he opened his eyes, he was in darkness.
Where was he? The last faint memory he had was of Sungmin’s arms wrapped around his neck as they kissed. Where were they when that happened? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember anything but that word. That name. Sungmin.
He was cold, he realised. Incredibly cold. It was terribly quiet; and he knew that wherever he was, he was alone. There was a strange taste in his mouth, like copper. He licked his lip on reflex and found he liked the taste. Blood. Had someone hit him? Had he fallen and cut his lip? It was sweet and bitter all at once. There was no feeling of horror or revulsion at the satisfaction he got from the taste, only calm acceptance. He wanted to taste more of it, this blood.
His mouth suddenly felt dry and he longed for something to drink. A cup of water, maybe.
Or maybe blood.
He lay there for a while on the cold floor he’d woken up on, still and silent. After some time he realised his arms and legs were bound together behind is back; and no matter how much he wriggled they wouldn’t come loose.
He fell asleep then, exhausted from squirming about. He repeated his name and tried to remember the taste of Sungmin’s mouth.
He awoke countless times after that, but he could never remember falling asleep. He was always in that dark, cold space; and he was tied up every time. Whenever he opened his eyes there was a fresh taste of blood on his tongue.
This went on countlessly, but one time he did not wake up in darkness. The room he lay in was dimly illuminated with a deep red light, spilling in through a steel door left ajar only a few metres from his feet. His bonds were cut and thick lines of rope lay severed beside his hands. They were pale in the red light and he could see the blue of his veins beneath the skin. There was dried blood beneath his fingernails.
The room was small, maybe only six feet in both width and length. It was empty. There were no windows. The only exit was that door, the red light glowing ominously on the metal. He stared at the exit; the door was the only thing separating him from the safety of this room and the red world outside of it. He was like a newborn babe opening his eyes for the first time. He had no recollection of anything but this room and the feel of Sungmin’s hair as he ran his fingers through it.
His instinct was to leave, but he was scared. He hesitated, building his courage, before getting to his feet. He fell over countless times before his legs found strength again. He felt as if he had never walked before; every step was small and awkward.
He ran his hands along the rough wall beside him to steady himself; and with wide eyes he pulled the door open wider, letting the red bleed out and colour his pale face.
It made him think of blood. He started to salivate uncontrollably, his spit running down his chin and spotting the floor at his feet. He was naked but it didn’t bother him, in fact he didn’t even notice. For all he could remember, he’d always been naked.
He became dizzy as he walked out into the redness. His legs wobbled beneath him and he fell to the blood-coloured floor. All around him was a whirling world of cold, bright red. His eyes rolled back and the red was replaced with the almost familiar blackness once again.
When his eyes opened this time, he was surrounded by red again. He lay on a floor and he was wet. All around him was wet. His nostrils flared and burned at the sickeningly strong scent of blood. He lay in it, he was covered in red. A sharp, high pitched roaring in his ears grew louder with every moment and he brought his hands to his mouth, licking and sucking the blood off every finger, every inch of skin he could reach until he was clean.
By the time his thirst was quenched his mind was clear enough to take in his surroundings. He wasn’t in the same room as before, nor was he in that roaring world of red. It was dimmer in here, the red. It flickered on and off, from a bright white to a deep crimson. There were metal tables all around him, trays and worktops and medical equipment drenched in blood.
How did he get here? Had he done this?
There were smeared, bloody handprints along the walls. There was a bright white glowing in the corner of the room and he crawled towards it on his hands and knees. It was a refrigerator. The door was open and six or seven packs of blood were left inside, the rest lay empty on the floor.
He reached inside and picked the closest one up, holding it in the light. There was a label stuck to it and he read it aloud, his tongue feeling large and unfamiliar in his mouth from lack of use.
‘Specimen A, Lee Sungmin.’
Sungmin. The word felt good on his tongue, just like the blood. He checked the other packs, but they weren’t what he wanted. The others read‘Specimen B, Kim Heechul’. He remembered the name, faintly, but he didn’t care about it.
He wanted Sungmin, not Heechul. He held the packet of blood tightly in his bloodied hands, close to his chest, and got to his feet. Sungmin. He needed to find this Sungmin. But what did Sungmin look like? He knew it was a person, just like he was. He remembered short, jet black hair, silky beneath his fingers, plump red lips against his own.
He walked out of the room, back out into that blinding red. It was a long, narrow hallway he stood in. There were doors lining both walls and almost every single one had a hazard symbol pasted on.
He walked down the red-tinted hallway and watched his feet paint bloody footsteps on the floor. He felt cold again. He needed clothes. He kept walking, his wet feet slapping against the linoleum and echoing in the ghostly silence around him.
It was only minutes before he came across an open door and he went inside. It was dark in this room apart from a big, square window of white at the front. There were lots of small screens around it, each showing different shots of empty metal tables.
All apart from two.
Kyuhyun came to stand before the large window in the centre. It showed a long, brightly lit white room filled with rows of metal operating tables, each one attached to a machine. Only two tables, right at the back of the room, were occupied. Those were the only tables whose machines were beeping.
The two smaller screens showed faces that made his eyes bulge. The force of memories rising to the surface made his head ache violently. The first face was familiar, but not as striking as the second. It was a man, his feminine face clashing with the dark hair growing from his defined chin messily. His pouty red lips were parted slightly, dark against his pale skin. He had long, thick eyelashes, closed and casting shadows. His jet black hair was greasy and unkept, fanning out behind him on the table.
The other screen made Kyuhyun’s heart skip a beat. He recognised this face more. He knew it better than the other mans.
‘Sungmin’ he whispered. Yes, this was Sungmin. He looked older with facial hair; but his pale, babyish face was just as he remembered it. He could almost feel those plump red lips against his own once again.
He must’ve stood there for hours just watching him sleep, mesmerised, before he looked away. There was a control panel in front of him covered with buttons and switches he had no idea how to operate. He ran his fingers over them, searching for something he recognised. The feel of buttons beneath his fingertips felt familiar and comfortable; and as he brushed against an illuminated red switch, he regarded it for a second. The word ‘null’ was written beneath it. He flipped it.
He watched and waited for something to happen, but they only lay there still, motionless.
He glanced around the room again, searching for something to cover his bare body with. There was a chair tipped on its side beside the door and he pulled it over before going through the drawers beneath the control panel.
Torches, keys, an old sandwich, paper, pens, pencils and in the last, clothes.
Lots of clothes, actually. They were folded and covered in clear plastic, labelled just as the blood sat in his lap. He pulled the plastic covered clothes out, looking at every label. There were a few he didn’t know, names he’d never heard, but then he found his own.
‘Specimen Z, Cho Kyuhyun.’
A clean, white shirt and a pair of black jeans were inside, and he dressed himself quickly. He felt better with clothes on. He wiggled his bare toes before sitting down again. He’d have to find some shoes later.
He looked back to the main screen. They were moving. He watched them silently, entranced. They were talking about beards and being naked. He could hardly hear them, but the sound of Sungmin’s voice was like electricity. He watched them sit up and pull the wires out of their bodies in turn, standing on wobbly legs.
Sungmin padded over to the corner of the room, taking one of the coats that hung there and wrapping it around himself. Heechul, however, came straight towards Kyuhyun in all his naked glory; and when he pressed his face against the glass with a manic, crazy look in his eyes, Kyuhyun almost thought he could see him. He started to slam his fists against the glass and he growled in frustration as Sungmin handed him a coat to cover his nudeness.
They couldn’t see him. Sungmin was so close; if the glass wasn’t there he could’ve reached through and touched him. But when they left the room, the lights died out. The room went black. His reflection glowed on the dark glass.
His curly hair was tousled and messy atop his head and his face was bloody. He seemed to glow, his skin was pale enough that he almost mistook himself for a ghost. His face was thin and his lips were cracked, but his eyes were what shocked him the most. So blue, terribly blue. And so pale they were a mere shade off white. They glinted off the glass, menacing, and he was scared.
He looked away. He didn’t want Sungmin to see him like this, he thought. He didn’t know why. Maybe he’d never want to press his plump, red lips against Kyuhyun’s again? Or maybe he’d never let him run his fingers through his inky black hair?
He sat alone in that chair, in the darkness, and he sobbed.
The door clicked shut behind them, a loud noise in such thick silence, and Heechul got the feeling they were not as alone as they had first thought. He glanced at Sungmin stood beside him; a dim red light casting an eerie glow on his pale, frightened face. His eyes were wide and glazed, unseeing as if the shock of waking up in this alien place had shocked him into another world.
Something caught Heechul’s eye and he looked beyond Sungmin to the hallway behind, feeling a raw pang of horror strike him at the sight of bloody footprints leading to the door beside the room they’d just left. Fresh, wet blood. He stopped breathing for a moment, stopped thinking. He simply listened. A shrill, manic sound echoed in his ears. Was someone crying? It was almost hysteric, slipping into a humourless laughter, a wailing. His skin turned cold.
‘Do you hear that?’ he breathed, noticing the way Sungmin snapped out of his daze to look at him with panic in his eyes.
‘Nothing, never mind.’ He turned away from the footprints, settling a hand gently on Sungmin’s back to nudge him in the right direction. ‘Let’s get out of here.’ Sungmin gave a timid smile, a shaky nod, and let Heechul lead him down the hallway.
The hallway was long and seemed to wind round in a circle; a high ceiling and bare, white walls accented with the clinical scent of antiseptic. Operating tables stood empty and abandoned along the way, some overturned with their wheels spinning and spinning endlessly. They walked past door after door, some open and some closed. They’d stopped at one of the open doors, risking a glance inside only to be met with the overpowering stench of blood. The walls, the tabletops, everything was drenched in red. Sungmin had been ready to faint, but Heechul slapped him back to his senses and pulled him along. They didn’t dare look inside the other rooms.
They turned a corner, the only corner they’d came upon so far, and found themselves looking down a dead-end. There were no more doors here, only an elevator, and the buttons glowed a dim orange. Heechul found it terribly ominous, for some reason, though it may have had something to do with what surrounded it. There were drag marks along the floor, leading up to the doors but originating from nowhere – they started where Heechul and Sungmin stood. The walls were pocked with holes that made it seem as if there’d been gunfire – and lots of it. Bloody smears glistened on the metal doors of the elevator, bloody fingerprints on the buttons. A wheelchair lay on its side, its rusted, blood-splattered wheels spinning with a squeak that echoed too loud in the silence.
‘I don’t like this.’ Sungmin whispered. Heechul held a finger to his lips and shushed him. He walked toward the elevator with slow, cautious steps; his feet making wet sounds as they met the floor. Slowly, warily he reached out for the down button, the orange glow illuminating his fingertips.
He drew in a sharp breath and leapt back half a metre at the sound of movement, a groaning behind the doors. The numbers above the elevator started to ascend.
‘What’s wrong?’ Sungmin asked, struggling to whisper over the panic that threatened to raise his voice to a shriek.
‘I didn’t push the button.’ Heechul said, and he looked at Sungmin, watched his eyes grow wide with understanding and the fear that accompanied it.
Heechul felt his blood rush with the pounding of his heart, his muscles tensing beneath his skin, ready to pounce. Adrenaline coursed through his veins and he realised something was different, wrong. The feeling was lost, though, as the doors opened with a loud ‘ping’, replaced by the animalistic instinct to tear apart whatever stood inside.
He sprung at the doors as they opened, hitting something heavy and knocking it to the ground. He felt a body beneath him, and he straddled its chest, his eyes clouded with unreasonable rage. He punched and scratched the body beneath him with a strength he had never before possessed. He could feel the blood on his knuckles, a distant voice in the background dulled by the sound of his fists meeting flesh. All he saw was red.
The voice grew louder in his ears, clearer. Screaming, pleading.
‘Stop it, hyung!’ Sungmin wailed, and the rage receded. His fists became leaden and heavy, pulled tight to his sides. Sungmin’s arms were restraining him, pulling him away. ‘It’s Hankyung, hyung, It’s Hankyung!’
His vision cleared, his blood cooled, and he was straddling a man’s chest once again. Blood foamed at his bruised, split lips; swollen cheeks started to turn a bluey-purple and blood trickled down his forehead. He looked down at his hands, felt the ache in them, saw the skin torn on his knuckles and he trembled. What was he? What had they done to him?
He looked at Sungmin, saw the terror in the teens eyes, and he swallowed shakily. ‘I didn’t mean to.’ He said weakly, ‘My body just moved… I didn’t mean to.’ His eyes rested on Hankyung’s swollen face and he whispered to himself this time, ‘I didn’t mean to.’
Sungmin let go of Heechul slowly, moving to Hankyung’s side. He pressed two fingers to the side of his neck, checking for a pulse. A shaky sigh of relief left his lips. ‘He’s just unconscious.’
Heechul would’ve been relieved at that, but his attention was elsewhere. There were eyes on his back, cold eyes, dangerous eyes. He felt them watching him, felt them leave him to fall on Sungmin and he turned sharply to look behind them. A shadow retreated around the corner, pale blue eyes flashing for a second before they were gone completely.
‘We need to leave,’ he said, still looking away. He turned back to Sungmin; eyes filled with urgency and hissed once again, ‘We need to leave!’
Kyuhyun stood around the corner to Heechul and Sungmin; his pale, clammy face pressed to the cold smoothness of the wall. His blue eyes watched Heechul attack the figure in the elevator. The stench of blood was all around him but he felt no compulsion to taste it as he had before. This wasn’t the blood he wanted, the blood he thirsted for.
He gazed upon Heechul with awe, finding the strength in those pale, weak-looking arms frightening. The way in which he hit with such abandon shocked him to recall how Heechul had appeared in his memories; skinny and feminine with a sharp tongue and brittle personality. But not violent, at least not in this way. He had seemed full of empty threats before, using anger as a defence mechanism, but this seemed like an entirely different person.
A voice penetrated his thoughts, a plea from the other figure before him sending shivers down his spine. This was who he wanted, this was Sungmin. Pale and petite and delicious, he watched him tugging on the lab coat Heechul wore, watched him calm Heechul with a simple command. He watched him move, watched him breathe, watched his pulse beating where his neck joined his slender shoulder and he lusted for a taste of his blood, of his soft flesh beneath his fingers. He let out a shaky breath, ran his tongue over his cracked, dry lips and took a step from behind the wall. He could almost taste Sungmin in his mouth, could almost hear him moan in agony as he bit into his flesh.
A cold sensation seemed to rip through his core and he froze, every muscle tensing, every hair standing on end. He felt like a hunted deer and Heechul was the one holding the gun. He was seen and he was sensed. He retreated, seeing Heechul’s head swing toward him, wide eyes following him as he stepped back into the darkness.
He realised then that there really was something different about Heechul. He was the same. The same as Kyuhyun.