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Sergey Series (BYPASS)

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  19:47:15  5 September 2004
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Sergey Series (BYPASS)

I was thinking of anything that I should post on the forum when I think of this: Sergey! It is the very first story to get posted in the contest, yet for some unknown reason "The loss of innocence" seems to get more attention than this does . Nevertheless, a fine story with great description in my opinion.

The author's part 2 was sent to GSC by me after GSC failed to collect them last year, but so far no news... the same goes to The Inhuman Condition and Prey of One (Part 5 and Part 6)...


Sergey [Part 1]

(taken from website)

The damp air inside of the room had softened the wood on the floor--every step causing a soft squeak on its planks. Above and around, the chatter of the rain on the rooftop and the attic caused the house to take on a very surreal, if not threatening, character. Slightly glistening on the floor, a brownish-red substance had trailed its way around the corner. Sergey looked up to the ceiling of the house, noticing the dark brown rain stains on the ceiling where it had entered in through the roof. Wallpaper had peeled away in most places, and in the few where it was left intact, it took on an unnatural, yellowed tone. He continued walking forward into the kitchen, careful not to make too much noise as he walked. Unfortunately for him, each step brought a maddening, squishing creak along with it. To his ears, it sounded like the thunder outside of the house. The cold steel of the wet metal on the AK-47 was of no consolation through his shaking, gloved hands. His breath exited his nostrils in short, uneven breaths, bringing small tufts of steam into the air. Ahead of him, the doorway into the kitchen loomed. The windows had been long boarded up, but the little gray sunlight that was left from outside filtered through inadequately. He paused. A second, much more audible drip reached his ears through the threshold. Was it just rain? He swallowed hard, afraid that even that sound would give him away to whatever it was that he was going to give himself away to. Drop. It was too uneven, the second drip. The rain couldn't be making that noise. Serge slowly put his right foot forward, towards the kitchen door; feeling as if each step he took made him even heavier--more vulnerable.

Around the threshold, he could see pots and pans strewn everywhere. A disastrous mess had now replaced what was left of the kitchen cupboards. Wood splinters jutted out of the framing like so many little teeth. On the floor ahead there was a sickening display of innards, kitchen utensils and dry goods all mixed together like some demented recipe. Up on top of the cabinet he could faintly make out a grisly sight, but dared not guess what it really was. Soggy with what appeared to be blood, the curvature of the top of a human head and hair dangled slightly over the edge of the cabinet. The table in the center of the room had been smashed into a confusing array of jumbled wood shards. Nothing seemed alive; and in a strange and distant way, it was almost a small consolation to Sergey. He relaxed his grip on the gun slightly, slinging the weight of the strap a little further to his shoulders. The brief intermission was instantaneously shattered as he heard a loud thump from the other end of the house. Now his shaking was almost uncontrollable, causing a slight clattering as his hands shook the gun. Swallowing hard again, he attempted to calm himself down. He could feel the small hairs prickling on the back of his neck, and his heart was beating at a marathon pace. His stomach was a roiling mess, threatening to burst its way back up his throat at a moment's notice. Slowly he moved another foot forward, back out of the kitchen towards the foyer. Rain fell incessantly on the house, occasionally spattering on the broken glass and increasing the stifling, suffocating atmosphere.

Sergey slowly rounded the corner, gripping and re-gripping the gun tightly. His heart nearly burst as he saw a faint orange glow coming from around the corner of the basement door. Like a specter, the faint smell of wood smoke wafted above the oppressive wet, musty odor of the house. It clung slightly at the eaves of the basement doorway, and slowly curled up as it rose around the mounting. Sergey's knuckles felt stiff through the thick fabric of his gloves, but he didn't dare take them off for fear of letting go of the gun. Dark sweat stains had made their way all through his thick winter garments, despite the biting cold and wetness from the rain. Carefully putting his back against the wall next to the door, he squinted as he slowly pulled back the slide on the gun, loading it. The loud clack of the first round entering the chamber resounded down the hallway. Two more steps forward took him through the basement doorway, into the soft orange glow that ebbed and waned from the bottom of the staircase. Smoke rippled up the slanted ceiling above the staircase, creating a bizarre, waterlike effect. He aimed the gun ahead of him, with his body slightly tilted sideways as he slowly made his way down the staircase. The flicker of the firelight didn't seem to have a direct source, casting strange shadows on the wall in front of the bottom of the staircase. The staircase sharply turned left just before it hit the end, preventing Sergey from seeing directly into the basement. His eyes slightly watered from the smoke in the air.

At the bottom of the staircase, he could tell that the smoke was masking a much more malevolent smell--rotting meat. The acrid, sour aroma was faint enough that it didn't overtake the smoke, but present enough that it still made his eyes blurrier and watered. In the corner of the windowless basement, another smaller door opened into what appeared to be the root cellar, but the layout prevented him from again seeing what was inside. The light seemed to be coming from inside there. He cautiously made his way across the muddy, earthen floor; but each footstep brought with it a soft sucking sound as he pulled his feet out of the mud. Cringing at the noise, Sergey slowly made his way over to the wall perpendicular to the root cellar doorway. Around the corner, he could make out the discernible sound of water droplets fizzling as they hit the fire. The tension was almost unbearable, but he was able to steel his resolve enough to move his gun ahead of him as he rounded the corner.
Inside the low-ceilinged room a small metal barrel had a steady fire burning, the lazy smoke rising up and around the corner of the doorway. From this position, it was difficult to see past the light of the fire. The floor was drier in here, perhaps from the fire and the thicker earthen insulation. On the floor was a small plastic gallon jug of bleach, two rusting upturned aluminum cans and a yellowed, torn mattress. Sergey could only see the end of the mattress as it reached the fire, but as he came around the barrel he could see a figure curled in a fetal position on the end by the wall. He nearly jumped, and had to use immense self-control to regain his handle on the gun.


There was no answer to his greeting. He inched forwards, the gun shaking almost violently in his hands. He could make out the detail on the figure, and a sudden draft from the staircase pulled the stench up from it to his nostrils. Sergey retched, but maintained to keep it in his mouth. The stench of rotting meat was overpowering from the figure, from all looks it appeared to be quite dead. Almost unrecognizable from the significant decay, the details faded in as his eyes adjusted to the flickering light. On the top of the head, mottled patches of hair sparsely covered the paper-like scalp. The face of the figure was rested into the knees, but bone showed through in parts of the leg through the sagging chunks of flesh, showing him that the face was probably better left unseen. From the left-hand side, it appeared that half of the figure's head had been badly burned, fusing the ear into the rest of the head like melted plastic. There were some ragged pieces of a red stained shirt and tattered pants above and below the knees, but the corpse was shoeless. In a distant way, he was relieved--but he had still not found what he was initially looking for.

His feet making a slight scraping noise on a patch of dried earth on the floor, Sergey turned his back on the room and began heading out the door. For no apparent reason he suddenly stopped in the doorway, as if he had been compelled to do it. The fear that he had thought left him had now resumed tenfold, as if some basic gut instinct was telling him: something is wrong. A burning warmth reached the tops of his ears, and his neck hairs stood up on end again. The warmth was not from the fire, however, but rather from the feeling one gets when they feel something is behind them. They say that the devil is in the details; the realization of this dropped in Sergey's stomach like a lead slug. Why was there a new fire burning in the basement if everyone in the house was dead? Shivers rankled up and down his spine, his knuckles turning white from the intense grip he now had on the gun. He could hear a faint sigh in the background, slightly rasping like wind on wet cloth. There were a series of creaks like bone snapping, and he could hear two footsteps scrape across the dry floor he earlier passed over behind him. The tension was now so unbearable that he couldn't even make himself turn around, though he now felt a cold, putrid breath on the back of his neck. Sergey swallowed hard again, and slowly turned around.

In front of him was the most bizarre, horrifying sight he had seen in his life. Standing there in the doorway behind him he could make out the outline of the corpse he had seen crouching a minute earlier. He couldn't make out most of the features very well, as the light was coming from behind, but he could see that there were no eyes in the sockets of the head. The figure swayed slightly in the door, as if it had unsure footing. Pop. The loud crack of the AK-47 startled Sergey, not aware that he had even pulled the trigger. Taking a precarious step backwards, the corpse appeared that it was about to lose its footing and fall over. Firelight now shone brightly through a new hole in its chest, and a small chunk of the concrete wall had fallen to the floor behind it. It bent back slightly, and then stood straight up again, taking another step forward. Though the shock was almost too much for him to handle, instinct took over. Sergey switched the gun over to automatic fire and emptied the entire remainder of the clip into the corpse. Crackling around the small room, the roar of the automatic rifle was deafening. The hollow click of the now empty gun signaled him to take his quivering finger off the trigger.

Lying on the floor in the doorframe, the corpse was now a jumbled pile of body parts--fragments of bone and decaying flesh splattered onto the wall behind where it once stood. Shockingly, the greenish tongue still lollygagged in the jawless mouth like a dead fish. All the horror that he had just seen finally spilled over, and Sergey threw up all over the horrible mess on the floor. He wiped the corner of his mouth and popped out the empty clip of the gun. There was another loud clack as he pulled the slide after inserting a fresh magazine. He turned around again and began to walk back upstairs. Just as his first foot hit the first stair, he heard a muffled moan and a decaying hand shot up through the mud to grab his other foot. Sergey screamed, randomly firing into the ground now before breaking free and running up the staircase. He was panting frantically, aware that his heart felt as if it were about to burst from the immense strain. At this point, he didn't even care about finding what he had originally come to look for. He slammed through the rotting wood front door of the house, easily giving way in front of him. Stumbling slightly down the steps from the porch, Sergey ran into the rain of the waning light in the gray afternoon. Sometimes even the money isn't even worth it, especially if you don't know what you're getting yourself into.

Up ahead in the clearing through the trees, Sergey could make out the outline of his pickup helicopter. He almost laughed, happy to be alive. As he ran closer to the helicopter, his stomach sank again. Though the helicopter's rotors were spinning, there didn't appear to be anybody piloting it or in the open passenger area in the middle. Finally reaching the helicopter, the engine noise was now louder than the thunder that cracked across the darkening sky. There wasn't a trace of anybody. The engine's rotors had been left on, but there wasn't anybody in the pilot's seat. He whirled around, eyes darting back and forth to the bushes and trees outside the clearing. He raised his gun to eye level, staring down the sights to the shadows on the border of the clearing. Abruptly, the helicopter motor cut out and the rotors began to slow down. His heart pounded in his chest, but he'd had enough already. As the sound of the rotors died into the background of the storm, he could see shadowy figures slowly moving out of the bushes and into the clearing. Black ops. Small, beady little infrared goggles could be made out on the tops of all their heads, MP5's raised and trained on Sergey. They were all wearing full body armor with Kevlar helmets and utility vests stocked with grenades.

"Lower your weapon!" a voice clearly yelled out in clear English from somewhere in the trees. Reluctantly, Sergey lowered the AK-47 to ground level and slung it on his shoulder.

"What is this all about?" he yelled over the rain and thunder. Nobody answered him right away, but the black ops closed their circle in tighter around the chopper and stopped about 20 feet in a circle around the chopper. They didn't lower their guns.

"Good. Now slowly place your rifle on the ground and turn back around, hands behind your head." His heartbeat slowed down, and a somewhat peaceful uneasiness crept into Sergey as he slowly placed his AK-47 onto the muddy ground in front of the chopper. He placed his hands behind his head and turned around to face the black ops again.

"Now I've put my gun down. Can somebody please tell me what is going on here?" He was afraid that perhaps his English wasn't what it used to be, and that they didn't understand him. But from what he remembered, it didn't get much simpler than that.

"Nothing is going on here. That is what is going on." Sergey couldn't see the man, but could hear him come up next to him and place the gun on his temple. "Right?"

"I'm not sure what you mean?" Sergey turned to look at the man standing behind the gun. With slightly graying red hair and wrinkling at the corners of his eyes, he appeared to be a forty-something old man wearing a white coat and black dress slacks with suede shoes. Around his neck dangled a strange looking object, a twisted metal pendant of some sort.

"Well, I can't say that they chose you for brightness--" he looked Sergey up and down for a second, "--or looks for that matter, but you did pass." The man slowly let the hammer fall back into place and lowered the gun. Realization swept over Sergey. He slowly let the corner of his mouth crinkle into a half-smile.

"Ah, you're Dorian, aren't you? How did I pass if I did not retrieve the object? I was not even informed what the object specifically was, for that matter, only where to look for it." Dorian smiled back.

"Well, perhaps I should rescind that statement about the brightness part. There was no object in the first place. We knew what was in that house, and we wanted to see how you reacted to the situation. Everything went completely by protocol, right up until the end there. So there's no payment now. But if you keep working for us in the Zone, there could be very lucrative arrangements made in the future for both of us." He gave his words pause for effect. "Deal?"

"This sounds like blackmail to me. What if I say no?" Sergey tensed after his response. Dorian frowned slightly.

"There is the case of transportation. And since this helicopter happens to belong to us, if you decide not to work for us, then I guess you would be happy to find your own way out. Of course, we are about 60 kilometers inside the Zone. So if you do decide to walk 60 miles back to the border, in this storm--at night--be my guest. I'm sure you'll find some sort of traveling companion." Sergey frowned and furrowed his brow.

"Just get me the hell out of here."

"Is that a yes?" Dorian chided.

"Whatever gets me out of here. After that, we can talk." He picked up his AK-47 and hopped into the passenger area. Dorian signaled his men to lower their weapons and get in.

"Well then, it's great to be doing business with you." Dorian gave a wicked smile to Sergey. The pilot came running out of the bushes, hopped into the cockpit, and started the engine. They closed the passenger door and everyone strapped in. As they passed over the house, Sergey looked out the window onto the ruined Zone alone, wondering about his decision.
  19:50:30  5 September 2004
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003

Message edited by:
09/05/2004 19:51:58
Messages: 1729
Sergey Part 2 : My Father's Keeper
Dirt. Freshly turned. I knew that smell without a doubt, and yet I must have imagined it. I whipped around in my chair, looking behind me. Nothing. Nonetheless, a chill still ran down my spine, making me shiver slightly as it passed. Rain pounded against the thin, cheap glass on the windows, clattering almost like a snare drum. Every once in awhile, brief spurts of hail would strike the windows and threaten to break them. It always seemed to be raining here this time of year. I turned back to my dimly lit desk and returned to filing my bankruptcy papers. This damn weather, I could've sworn I heard something.... That smell, again. I spun around in my chair again and squinted to see past the feeble light from my desk lamp. My heart stopped, I drew in my breath sharply and fell out of my chair onto the floor. I quickly stood back up again and backed towards the windows. Standing no more than 10 feet in front of me, right where there had previously been no one, was my dead father--in the flesh. But what ghastly shades of flesh. Pale, unnatural white--and something had chewed through one side of his face! For what seemed like minutes, he stood there, his blank eyes apparently registering nothing of his surroundings. Bits of earth and grass clung to the once-handsome suit he wore on the day of the funeral. His body had a slight sway to it, as if some invisible breeze was blowing him back and forth. Or, it could simply be that his equilibrium had begun deteriorating along with the rest of his body? After all, I only buried him this morning. What did he want? Was he a creature even possessed by will anymore? Was he looking for his son--his wife? I'm sure that he didn't know now that his wife (my mother) had died, any more than he did in those final five agonizing years as the Alzheimer's slowly killed him. "Where is Patricia? Bring her to me, Sergey," he used to say, sitting up in his armchair.

Technically, I should be frightened beyond all reasoning.

Technically, I should be running right now.

"She's out at the market, Father. She'll be back tonight." Then Father would sigh contentedly and slouch back down again. He was picking at my scabs every time he said those words, but I couldn't blame him. He did not know any better. Masya had died ten years ago.

A familiar soft sighing noise, almost like wet cloth flapping in the wind, issued from my father. His lips didn
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