Title: Cold and Damp
Pairing: Hanchul, Kyumin, Kangteuk
Warnings: Swearing, Zombie-Geek-ery.
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.intro
Shindong ran his muddy fingers through his knotted, greasy hair, grumbling when they got tangled in the mess of dirt and dry blood, flaking off onto his off-white shirt. He was safe, for now.
He'd been travelling with Jongwoon and Ryeowook. They'd hot-wired a van left in the college parking lot – Ryeowook was more rebellious than he looked – and they'd drove as far away as they could, taking shifts to sleep.
The roads were terrible; for the first day it was bumper to bumper traffic, police barriers on every corner and army Jeeps patrolling every street, ushering people out of their houses with guns. Shindong only saw actual shootings a two or three times, and that was two or three times too many. Buildings were burning, fires spreading through the side streets and looking somewhat like the aftermath of an earthquake.
The second day, Shindong had been sleeping in the back of the van when he heard raised voices from outside. Ryeowook had gotten out to check the petrol station for some gas, finding it bone dry and full of crazed civilians, searching for the same thing they were, and not being able to accept what they found – or the lack thereof..
The van shook a little as Ryeowook slid back into the passenger seat, red-faced and out of breath. 'Drive!' he panted, slamming the door behind him. Jongwoon sped off without question.
When they'd gotten a good distance from the garage, Ryeowook told them why he'd been in such a rush.
Apparently people weren't going crazy because of the gas. Someone in the crowd had collapsed, bleeding out from a wound in their stomach – as if a large chunk had been simply ripped out. People had seen the mess and gone ape-shit crazy, not knowing what to do, especially when someone checked the body, and couldn't find a pulse.
Ryeowook had been watching from behind a petrol pump, not wanting to be caught up in the panic, when he'd seen it move. The person was definitely dead, they were a sickly, pale yellow colour and their eyes were glased over, unblinking. But Ryeowook saw it twitch with his own eyes. He saw the pigment fade from it's glassy eyes, turning an off-white colour, opening wide all of a sudden as its limbs spasmed, its jaw clenching and falling slack in a slow rhythm.
He watched it get to its feet, people too panicked to notice, still in shock of seeing someone die right before their eyes. They didn't notice as the dead body stood on its own two legs, too distracted to realise it was coming towards them until they felt cold, clammy hands clutching at their shoulders, blunt teeth sinking into the soft flesh of their throat.
And that was when Ryeowook ran, heading straight back to the van, hearing the screams and shouts behind him as people saw what was happening. Ryeowook had seen enough.
They'd been more alert than ever that night. They'd ran out of gas, every petrol station either bone dry or destroyed. The streets grew a lot quieter as the sun set that night, Shindong noticed, and it was unnerving to say the least.
They'd found a small farmhouse out in a field, not far from where the van had broken down, completely deserted save for a few chickens. Shindong had first watch , Ryeowook and Jongwoon following his shift. He was so tired that when Ryeowook told him to sleep, he didn't even spare a thought as to why Jongwoon was still awake, or why the shorter boy looked ready to leave. He just collapsed onto one of the beds in the house and fell into a deep, sound sleep.
He'd woken up to the clucking of the chickens outside and the pale February sun shining through the open window onto his face.
Jongwoon and Ryeowook were nowhere to be seen.
At first he'd panicked, running blindly around the small shack, until he found a scruffy, hastily written note on the kitchen table.
'Sorry, Shindong. We had to leave. I wish I could say this in a nicer way, but you eat far too much. We've only been with you two days and we've had to stop six times for you to buy snacks! We can't do this, especially when the shops are all empty and those things are outside. Jongwoon wants to find Siwon, and I need to find my family. It's not like we were close, right? Good look finding Sungmin, who knows, maybe you'll lose some weight on the way! I hope you were watching when I hot-wired that car, it'll come in useful. We're not cruel, we found a bike for you in the shed out back last night when you were sleeping, and we found some petrol for the van, too. You're a heavy sleeper, hyung! We should be pretty far away by the time you read this, so don't follow us. Watch yourself out there.
He'd cried, of course. With his body he was like a five-course meal for those things outside, and even if he was athletic he had a crippling asthma.
But somehow he'd managed it, and he'd got pretty far before his stomach begged to be fed, stopping off outside a convenience store. He hadn't expected there to be people inside, and he certainly hadn't expected them to try and bite him. Thankfully he was quite agile, sharp reflexes surfacing as he turned and slid over the counter, dodging the hands flailing blindly at him, and running back out into the street.
Apparently every freak for at least four blocks heard his little scuffle, filing out of alleyways and the surrounding houses, coming at Shindong in a wide arc; shuffling, groaning.
Someone had stolen his bike.
The thought of being a five-course meal flashed through his mind again, and he ran blindly through the crowd, adrenaline pulsing through his veins. He shrugged off the cold, bony, mauled hands grasping at him as he went.
He managed to run a few blocks away before his asthma kicked in and he had to make for the nearest house, and that's where he found himself right then. Thankfully he'd found it to be empty, and he'd managed to get his breathing back to normal. The house still had running water and electricity – thankfully the grid hadn't been switched off yet, and there was food left in the cupboards. Whoever had been here before must've left in a hurry.
He let out a sigh, relaxing into the settee he was seated in. He was tired, extremely tired. He'd only been awake for a few hours, but he already felt the need to sleep again. He was out like a light, not even thinking about boarding up the windows or barricading the door.
He just sat there, unconscious, like a free meal.
Jongwoon gripped the wheel tighter. They were a few miles away from the farmhouse now, the sun high and pale in the sky warming the early February afternoon.
'Ryeowook, we should go back.'
'He'll be fine.'
'But what if he doesn't know how to ride a bike? I've never seen him on one, he's a sitting duck!'
'Stop worrying, you want to find Siwon right? Then keep driving.' Jongwoon sighed, returning his attention to the road. He'd never been in a situation like this before, and he was stressed. Siwon lived quite far away from college, studying at home instead, and no matter how many times Jongwoon called, he wouldn't answer. He lived with his parents, and Jongwoon could only pray he was okay.
'Ryeowook.' He spoke suddenly, breaking the quiet that had filled the van.
'Why are you coming with me? I thought your parents were on holiday in Hawaii?' Ryeowook fidgeted in his seat, looking down at his hands with his hair falling around his face, 'And I know you don't like Siwon.'
'I just wanted to, okay?' He still didn't look up.
'But Wook-' the smaller boys head snapped up, fixing Jongwoon with a glare unfitting to such an innocent face.
The rest of the journey passed by in a tense silence, and Jongwoon didn't fail to notice how the smaller boy tensed more and more as they got closer to Siwons' house.
As they pulled into the driveway, Jongwoon couldn't help but feel a little reassured. On the drive through the area, it had been eerily silent, not a soul to be seen. No cars park outside, no lights on in the houses. It was the same for Siwon's house. Maybe they'd been evacuated?
He stopped the van and got out, but stopped, holding the door mid-close when he saw Ryeowook wasn't making any sign of movement.
'I'll wait here.' he mumbled, he hadn't looked up from the dashboard for almost half an hour.
'Wook, please.' Jongwoon sighed. The smaller boy twitched and fumbled with his hands, fidgeting awkwardly in his seat. His brows were furrowed and after what Jongwoon guessed to be an intense mental debate, he unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped out of the van, walking to Jongwoons side.
'Only because something bad might happen.' he huffed.
'You talk as if I can't defend myself,' he laughed quietly, walking quickly up the patio steps. Siwon lived in a nice, safe area, so his family always left the door unlocked; but upon tweaking the handle to the large mahogany doors, it didn't budge. 'Something... something's wrong.'
'They never lock the door, we need to find another way to get in...' he turned towards Ryeowook, seeing a small pebble in his hand. Before he could ask what he was going to do with it the boy reared up, launching it through the living room window, glass flying everywhere with an almighty crash. 'I guess that's one way to go about it.'
Ryeowook hopped through the window nimbly, and Jongwoon couldn't help but wonder if he'd done it before, because it was harder than it looked. His foot got caught on the window frame and he flew face-first into the coffee table. If anything was in that house, they certainly knew they were there.
'I smell gas.' Ryeowook whispered, pulling Jongwoon to his feet. 'Breathe into your shirt.' he walked out of the room, his jacket collar pulled over his nose and mouth. He came walking back in a few seconds later when he saw that Jongwoon wasn't following. 'Come on, for Gods sake.' he grumbled, rolling his eyes.
Following the smaller boy into the hallway he thought of how Ryeowook was acting. It was a far cry from how the younger boy usually acted towards him, Jongwoon hadn't seen him like this before. He was usually cheery and polite, always sweet, even when he was hanging around with his no-good friends.
He didn't have time to ask him what was wrong, though. He'd been dawdling in the hallway, lost in thought as usual when he saw who he was looking for emerge from the dining room.
He had bruises all down the left side of his handsome face and his eyes were a pale white, jaw grinding as he inched closer to Jongwoon.
'Siwon, you're bleeding...'
'Hyung?' Ryeowook called from the kitchen, realising he'd lost him again. He could hear him in the hallway talking to someone, and grabbing the nearest thing to hand he quietly opened the kitchen door. He saw Jongwoon on the floor, petrified. Siwon was standing over him.
Ryeowook didn't even have to think.
'Shit. Shit, shit, shit.' he murmured, crawling over to his boyfriends limp body. He'd never seen so much blood. Ryeowook stood over the dead body, panting from the adrenaline rush, the ashtray in his hand still dripping blood onto the beige carpet. 'Ryeowook? What the fuck!'
'That wasn't Siwon!' He was shaking, 'He was going to hurt you.'
'No. No, you've had it in for him all along, stop making excuses!' Jongwoon shouted, getting to his feet and pushing Ryeowook against the wall roughly.
'Shut up! Shut up!'
'He was already dead, Jongwoon.' Ryeowook didn't flinch when Jongwoon struck him across the face, the sound seeming to resound through the empty house. 'Face it.' he hissed through clenched teeth, staring straight into Jongwoon's eyes.
'You're lying, I've seen the way you look at him.' Jongwoon was hysteric. His hands shaking and his knuckles were turning white from the death grip he had on Ryeowook's collar. 'You're jealous of him.' he cried, tears dripping onto the carpet as he shook. Ryeowook was silent.
The only sound in the narrow hallway was the sharp, strained gasps from Jongwoon as he sobbed, followed by the dull thud of the ashtray falling from Ryeowooks limp hand, rolling along the floor till it thudded against the kitchen door.
'Ryeowook?' Jongwoon looked back up at the boy he was holding against the wall. He was pale, eyes closed and body limp in his hands. He was confused for a moment, before he felt a wooziness wash over him, remembering Ryeowook' s earlier words of warning. 'Shit, the gas. Shit.'
He panicked, letting Ryeowook's torso fall over his shoulder hoisting him up and running back through the living room. He scrambled of the broken window, rushing for the van. He sat Ryeowook in the passenger seat, buckling him up before getting in himself.
He squinted as he twisted the key in the engine, a line of blood dripping into his eye from the large scratch on his forehead. It hurt more than it should, and he could feel it going numb. He pulled out of the driveway, trying not to think of his boyfriends body lying there in the hallway, head caved in and his cold, lifeless hands still clutching the rosary beads he wore around his neck.
He tried to forget that the murderer sat only a few inches away from him, unconscious and struggling with the gas in his lungs.
But the further he drove, the more he forgot. He forgot it all as the cut on his forehead turned purple, the skin surrounding it growing numb and turning a sickly yellow. His eyes began to lose focus on the road before him and his hands slowly lost their grip on the wheel. He forgot it all as the van plunged into the large lake at the end of the road, washing the air from his lungs and stealing the youth from his companion.
It was all forgotten in the depths of the stagnant water as Jongwoon's body rose to the roof of the van, Ryeowook still tied down by his seatbelt.
And if Ryeowook could have chosen his death, he wouldn't have had it any other way. To die with Jongwoon was all he could wish for, even if it was years before its time. Even if his love would forever be unrequited.