| 17:15:01 10 August 2007
On forum: 08/10/2007
In the eyes of a madman|
I haven't been around the zone this long, but I allready hardly remember how everything used to be.
The campfire in front of me seems to be the only source of light around, except for those couple of stars which can reach trough the dense layer of clouds above us... it is the first day in a while without rain. I guess we can call ourselves lucky.
And old man in front of me, he seems to be the quite type, is staring into his half empty bottle of vodka. They say it helps to supress the effects of radiation, but I still have my doubts on that one.
Someone's touching my shoulder, in a reflex I look over it, I see a loaf of bread, and a pair of shimmering eyes. It is Natascha, she had joined our group a week ago. She is one of the only things you might want to rest your eyes upon, after a rough day in the zone. A true Ukrainian beauty.
She smiles "You haven't had anything to eat for a while, you must be starving...". I would love to give her a more warm response, but the death of my best friend Kurtov, is still asfixiating me, and sends shivers through my bones. "Are you deaf, or just drunk like that old man over there?" The friendly voice, turned into the tonage of a caring mother.
"Leave me alone... " I didn't had anything else to say at the moment, I knew that she meant well. But I could not seperate myself from the toughts that were haunting me.
"There is little left for me, except the zone... the Zone is nursing me, I don't need you to look after me... beat it". Then the loaf of bread struck my forhead, and she dissapeared in the dark.
I could hear her for hours, chatting, laughing... It hurts, but it is as it is. I am a hard headed old bastard. And she is way too young, and naive... she doesn't yet know what plans the zone has with her life. She hasn't seen what is lying up ahead... where we will move... she doesn't know what Petrov had in mind, the mad man! He is out for the big gain this time, and it's not going to be a walk in the park... I am assured of that.
Hours went past, the old guy on the other side of the campfire was snoring like one of those mutated boars, and a couple of drips of his own puke were slowly refilling the cup of vodka he had emptied hours ago...
"Do you always pass such oppertunities, in an ice cold place like this....?" I heard, while some-one was kicking me rather harsh inbetween my ribs... it hurts like hell!
"Bastard!... who the hell do you... " I tried to finish my sentense... then I realized who this voice belonged to... It is Petrov's best friend, Kasimir.
"That's what I allready thought! Still the same winey little pussy as always, you Northern guys cannot last for 2 minutes without backup... you were not even capable to defend your buddy from a couple of lousy Blood-Suckas!... you're just pathetic!" ... he looked at me like I am a lost cause, and he was kinda right about it.
"What the hell do you care.... and since when did you start caring in general??" I responded whitty.
"Huh, Mr. Smartass is moving his lips... is this the only way to get a decent reaction from you??" - He smiles... and hands me a cup of Vodka.
Ironic, the cup states "Together we shall stand for a new tomorrow". One of the slogans of the comunistic parties, back from the 'better days'.
"Here man, drink! It is good stuff, I have found it in one of the abbandoned shops at Prypyat... not a single soul is going to miss that stash. But for tonight, it shall keep us warm... and will help us clear our thoughts."
He was right... this was mighty tasty indeed. No doubt on this one.
"Why didn't you...?" He asks me.
"What are you talking about..?", "You know what I mean, even you are not that stupid... Natascha, she was willing to make you forget mate..."
"There is little left to forget, and do not call me 'mate'... in the zone we are all on our own... you know that, that's the golden rule."
He turns away his head, looking at the campfire....
"Who is that drunk guy over there? That old bastard looks like he has seen some shit.... You know, I was about to shoot him... It was Petrov who hindered me to do so... he was the one who had forced down the barrel of my shotgun...."
"So? What do you mean with that???" I responded; it is always good to fish for information, and it's easier if you're drunk.
"Petrov must have kept him alive for a reason... Man, think about it... me are moving close to the center of the zone... why would we take an old bastard like this with us?" Allthough Kasimir is a bastard, and not one of the smartest sort, he made a point.
Why would Petrov take someone like him with us... normally he would be concidered a risk... weak, old and utterly useless in combat.
"He has survived for a damn long time on his own, out there in the zone, believe it or not... a man on it's own doesn't survive that long, in general." , "You are a fool, Petrov just isn't a heartless fool like you..." I backfired.
"You want another one?" He asks me, while holding up the bottle of Vodka...
"Nah, I had enough... tomorrow is going to be a rough day. I will have to clean my gun, and get some sleep... otherwise I will end up like that old man over there..." So I did... I stood up and tried to move away...
But he stopped me. "Listen up bub! Do not try to play tough, I know you're about to snap... just like your little dead friend did..." He was almost finishing his sentense, before I ripped the bottle of Vodka out of his hands, and smashed it right into his face... the bottle shattered, and a foul scream emerged from his lips.
"My Eyes, you frikin' prick... my bloody eyes!!!!".
It served him well. No one is pointing his finger on me, not after all I had been trough.
And in order to underline my statement, I kicked him in the back of his head....
"Shut up moron... go to the lake, wash your face, and shut up!!!" - I replied.
"You know, that's your problem you ass! You think that you are alone in the zone!.... But eventually the same will happen to you, as what would happen with any loner in the zone..."
This guy was seriously pissing me off, but again, he made a point.
"You will see who will survive, you'll see.... tomorrow, we all will see if we ever going to make it out of the zone..." - he said, and then left to the lake....
[To be continued].
[If enough votes are givin... I will offer you the rest of the story.]
If it doesn't move, it doesn't mean it isn't a threat to you... keep aiming for the head.
| 15:05:08 11 August 2007
On forum: 08/10/2007
I did not really appreciated any of his words, alltough they made sense, I did not accept that an unbeloved child like Kasimir was giving me lessons. I picked up my rifle out of the sand... not in mint condition, that's for sure. In start reaching down to one of my side pockets, on my trousers, looking for a cloath to polish my gun... |
The cloath I pull out of my pocket, is an old womens nicker... ha, my friend Kurtov used to laugh at me when I pulled out that old thing. "Perv!" He used to say with a smile on his face.
But here in the zone, anything you find what isn't covered in dirt... can be easily re-used for polishing your gun... At least that was my idea.
So I took those black polyester panties, and gave my rifle the attention it deserved. There is a lot of dried blood stains on it... they are a pain to clean. A little spit will do the trick... and I started polishing.
"That Rifle has seen some better days man..." -It is the old man, who was suddenly standing next to me. I didn't notice him, until he spoke. Man, I should try not to let my guard down that easily.
"I got it for free, it was a present of one of a Bandit who came too close to my knive... he accidentally had fallen into it... poor bastard"....
"Sure..." -The old man replied laughing. "Have you ever though about what Pripyat was looking like before this entire mess started to happen? Before the Zone? And even before the first Meltdown?", the Old man's face turned into a stare of some kind of arkward nostalgic depression. "We used to be the fruit garden of Europe. The Ukraine was blossoming in those days, farming was an easy job, as the ground was furtile... now it's just radiated dust that is traveling with the wind, and you have to watch your step not to trap in one of those anomalies, get your brain fried by the radiation... or to be dinner for one of those dammned mutants... I prefer the old beet fields"
"Times changed, old man" - I replied. "And as it seems it will not change back for the next upcoming 500 years.".
"Yes... at least the Vodka is still the same." -He looked like the kinda guy, you just cannot hate. "It's a shame you busted that bottle on that morons skull... could have used a couple of them, it's not easy to fall asleep in the zone... and it's even harder once you wake up in between."
I knew exactly what he was talking about... I guess all the Stalkers and lost souls in the zone are struggeling with the side effects of insomnia.
I remembered that I had a last pack of smokes, I had them put on top of one of the rusty cars that surrounded us... they got wet a couple of times, and as this was the first day it didn't rain... I hoped I could dry them over there... I walked to the blue Lada Niva on which I had them: Damn, I once used to ride a bucket like this... together with Kasimir, we used to scout out the forrests close to Pripyat... just having fun riding this old 4x4.
"You want one?" I asked him, while I was reaching over, trying to offer him some of the delightful tabaco to him.
He was more than willing to accept. "You got a light?" He returned.
I pointed to the campfire... "I lost it..."
He laughed, and moved over to the campfire... When he came back, he pointed to me, and gestured that he wanted another one, which I did give him... In one move he litten the other cigarette with the one in his mouth, and reached the second cigarette over to me. "Here..." he said. I struggeled taking it. "This will be the last thing in the zone, that's going to kill ya...". He convinced me....
"Do you know where we will go tomorrow?" I asked him...
"Up north, that's the only thing I do, and want, to know..." He takes another hit of his molded cigarette..."Petrov has the idea to break trough north... since the millitary has closed down all roads, we are trapped like rats in a sack... the only way out is up north."
He looks directly at me... "You haven't been long in the zone yet, do you...?" This man just reads me like a book.
"Time is irrelevant in the zone..." I replied, as I knew this all too well already.
"Get some sleep..." He said... and moved back to his old spot next too the campfire.
I guess it was also time for me to hit the sack, and as it was the first dry day in a while, I hoped not to get interrupted this night by any kind of unfortunate weather changes...
The next mornign Natascha woke me up... "Coffee?" She asks...
Damn, coffee... that had been a while ago, this time I am not that crazy to refuse something as delightful as coffee...
"Yes, thanks... I guess I will need it..."
She walked over to the stove, which had been handing above the couple of coals left from the campfire... Outside of the zone, this would not directly be concidered coffee... as water is scares, she used Vodka to boild the black brew... but we will not complain, as this will be as good as it gets.
"Thanks!" I closed my hands around the warming cup of brew... it smelled kinda nice. My first sip did remind me instantly that I was still in the zone, and not in a fancy restaurant in Praha.
"You will have to hurry, the other guys are already packed up and ready to leave, Petrov is aking to move forward..." I looked over her shoulder, and there were Petrov and the Old man... in front of a map opened wide up on top of the hood of the old Lada Niva... "They have been over there for almost an hour now..." She says. "... I overheard them saying something about crossing the river...".
I gave her the cup of brew back, picked up my stuff, and moved over to the two... when they saw me approaching, the map disappeared right into the pocket of the old man... he didn't mind folding it first...
"Enough sleep, beauty?" Petrov mokked me. "Fine, let's get moving allready!... let's get walking right now, before the weather will change again..."
The old man walked away, and started clapping his hands, like a wild man, in order to assemble all of the followers.
"We have quite a long trip ahead, my friend, and little supplies left. The military has taken care of the most of the loot up ahead... so we will have to do with what we have got."
These were not the words I had been waiting for, he surely did not know how to put me into comfort. "So what's the plan?" I asked, already knowing that I am not getting an answer, after all.. it is Petrov to who I am talking.
"The Old man, will lead the way... we will just follow."
We started moving... I had the desire to be staying over here at the camp, waiting for the moment that the military would open up the borders again... give us free passage out of the zone. But on my own I would have little chance out here...
We walked for hours on, passing the common scenery of the Zone: Rotten buildings, mutant herds passing the fields hunting eachother. The standard. The eerie fact that all of this is seen as normal...
"DUCK!!!!! Get off the Road!!!" Petrov starts screaming... and we follow...
I ended on the side of the road, in one of the trenches, my head flat onto the grass... just behind a bush...
I hear diesel engines... military engines...
"Keep your head down..!" Petrov screams... while hurling a rock to Kasimir. "You idiot!"
The trucks appeared on the horizon like Hannibal's herd of Elephants. They looked loaded, heavily loaded... The only thing I could hope, was that the weight wasn't shared by soldiers which were sitting in the back.
"What's that smell?"... it was Natascha who first noticed this foul sent. "Smells like death... " The old guy returned.
With each word the trucks came closer, and the disgusting smell got denser. Those trucks were carrying soldiers... but they were not alive...
the 4 trucks that came up... where carrying piles of dead soldiers... most of them seemed horribly burned. Body parts where hanging off the sides, the sight made you just sick and the stench was just overwhelming. Natascha just bowed down, and kept her face covered. The old man was just staring... staring like he all had seen it before...
[To be continued.]
If it doesn't move, it doesn't mean it isn't a threat to you... keep aiming for the head.