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  11:56:44  22 February 2006
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729

Ryker splashed into the stream, bullets zipping past his head. He had been chased for only a few minutes but it felt like hours. A group of stalkers had been walking past him a few hours ago and Ryker spotted an artifact container. Ryker followed them for a few miles until they set up camp. Seeing his chance ryker killed the artifact carrier and grabbed the container.Before his friends had time to respond he had sprinted towards the setting sun, hoping to escape alive.

Ryker suddenly felt intense, burning pain. He looked down at his leg to see that half of it was missing. He screamed and dropped into the water, the artifact container bouncing a few feet away. He grabbed for his pistol when more bullets splashed near him. The stalkers were only a few hundred yards away now, shouting and firing a few shots at him. Ryker rolled over, gritting his teeth and pulled himself into a sitting position then squeezed off a few rounds towards the advancing figures. As one gave a yell of pain, Ryker shakily got up on one knee. He had no-chance of surviving while lying in the filthy water. Spotting the artifact container, he grabbed at the handle and limped towards the bank. The two remaining stalkers behind him had dived for cover when their friend had been hit, but now had realised that the thief was escaping. By the time they had got to the bank, all that was left were footprints leading off to a few houses. The stalkers looked at each other, shrugging. The danger wasn't worth it for an empty container.

The houses stank of human waste, a mark on the walls showing where it had flooded before. Ryker put his binoculars on, watching the two stalkers walking away into the mist. As the sun set, Ryker looked around. He had to set up camp here, he has was to deep into the Zone to escape with the artifact. He went upstairs and looked into the bedroom. A dirty bed lay in one corner, the sheets were stained with blood, a lump of dead, white flesh lay torn open at one end. Ryker had seen dead bodys, but not one like this. Ryker took a closer look at the twisted corpse and poked at a severed limb. He took out his thermal goggles, flicking them on. You could barely see it but there was a slight heat signature. The body had been killed today. Ryker went for his holster and felt nothing. Horrified, Ryker looked down. He must have dropped his gun near the river. Ryker ran down the stairs, grabbing the container. He took a proper look round. Bones and bits of metal were scattered all around, bricks from the walls looked like they were torn out and thrown to the floor. Ryker rushed outside, spotting bloody rags under a torn-open car. The more he looked around, the more he saw. Bones covered in moss, twisted metal shapes that used to be guns. A house to his right had seemed to have been hit by a bomb, except there were no scorch-marks. Ryker looked back towards the river when he heard the snap of wood behind him. He tried to run, but suddenly collapsed. He looked at his bloody leg then heard more louder snaps behind him, building up as trees smashed to the ground. It sounded like a tank was driving through the forest. Ryker tried to get up, but the pain was to great. He almost passed out, but a tree contracting and squirming brought him back. He sobered up and vomited, looking at the tree thrashing around like a wounded animal. His hands shakily reached for his anomaly detector. As soon as he turned it on, the red light started flashing followed by erratic beeping.

He tried to get up, as the gravity concentration swelled towards him. Small plants writhed under the high forces, stones rocked back and forth. Ryker felt himself dragged towards it, his anomaly detector started to smoke. He started sliding towards the ground more faster, suddenly feeling himself leave the ground. His eyes rolled up into his head, followed by convulsing. Ryker quickly hoped that the anomaly would pass, but his hopes faded when the artifact container scrunched itself into a ball. His armour started to dent, equipment falling then starting to float. Ryker fought away unconscious, remembering his backpack. He tried to look down, and saw he was only on the edge of the anomaly. The deeper he went in, the more his body would start to tear itself apart. With a great effort he reached for his backpack, pulling out a grappling hook. He feebly tried to throw it to a branch about ten feet away. The hook started normally, but floated back towards him. Ryker helplessly watched the grappling hook fly by him, towards the centre of the anomaly, dragging him along. The hook wasn't even a hook any more, just a ball of metal. The rope attached to it started to untwine. Rykers injured leg gave a loud crack as the weakened bone shattered. From his wound the skin started to split, small drops of blood floating away. Ryker vomited into his respirator, then finally passed out.

The next morning the two stalkers that had followed him returned to the site. «I'm sure he went this way!» one said, looking at a rusty car that had smashed into the roof of a house.

«I dunno, this place doesn't feel right!» said his colleague, picking up a piece of rope curiously.

«Bah, he's probably gotten away now anyway. Say…this place looks like a pretty good spot to set up camp!»

«You sure? Perhaps we should scan around first!»

«Yeah, yeah. We'll come back here tonight at sun-down okay comrade? I need to write a report about what happened last night!»

The two stalkers walked back to the river, not noticing the torn stalker suit lying in a ditch near them.
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