As the three stalkers near the village the peaceful sound of a stalker playing a guitar is heard over the ponding rain and thunder. Thats one hell of a dream Death says Wolf as we come down the hill.I nod my head at him. I will tell you about my plan to increases our hold on Cordon in the morning seeing as your little meeting with the sniper has put a stop to any chance of moving tonight He says then goes down to his room.
I continue over to the fire with the kid the stalker playing the guitar stops as he sees me."Why you stop I ask him" he looks at me for a moment and starts to play again I take out a few bottles of vodka and hand them to the kid" pass them out to them I will be right back got to go talk to the fat man" He takes them and dose as I said as I slop threw the now boot tall mud in the road.
I reach the Pits of Hell as many a experience stalker call's his bunker nothing really gets to me other than this fat ass way of doing business to all the rookies its a wonder any of them survive long enough to become a stalker I climb down the soaked steps nearly falling once as the water fall like water pours down them. The steel bulkhead door open with a hiss from the old nematic opener struggles to push it open. Welcome Death I am surprise to see you in this neck of the woods anymore Sidorovich says threw a mouth full of what I can guess is a ham sandwich.
I smile at the thought of how everyone calls this man the devil of the zone since you could get anything you want but if you got in debt to him his jobs would more than likely be the death of you and he would send someone to get the gear off your body so he could sell to the next poor bastard who came to get something from him. " I need a gun fat man" I say with as emotionless as a zombie he smiles a greed filled smirk as he gets up and goes to the back and brings up three rifles that looked like they had been threw so much shit that they probably didn't even work I pick up the first one as he turn a light on by his computer I see that its a really really old lee enfield that my the amount of ware that it was probably from WWII I set it down and pick up the third and see that it was a real peace of crap it had holes it its mag the stock of the old ak was slit so much that it would probably bust from the force of it being shot I toss it down.
The last one is in the best shape for being a 1903 springfield rifle on it I pick it up and work the action a couple of times " how long has this one been in the zone " [I] Only a few days got it last week sometime " I thank a minuet I al take it with four hundred rounds and a scope he grins at it and goes back gets the rounds and a scope that probably came with the rifle I look at just shake my head "3000 rubles " he says
I pay him with out saying a word and head back to the fire I see that all of them are drinking from my vodka and singing I go straight to the basement and put lay down and thank about what the hell I was going to do with such a old rifle when I know wolfs going to have me lead something in his plan tomorrow as I drift off to sleep I hear the rain slowing up.
I am awoke the next morning to a stiff kick to my boot by Wolf I get up and follow him outside to a house with three men and a table thats covered in maps. Wolfs starts
You four know how the bandits have started to become a major problem for us here since we abandoned our northern headquarters last year well we need to start fighting them coordinated attacks instead of our speratic ambush but before can even hope to drive them out we need seal the ones that our in here from being able to get out or get reinforced.
he starts pointing out deferent points out three points on the map where we need to attack and hold one being their old base the other the entrance to Dark Vally and the last the entrance to the Garbaged he tails the others to leave. Death those three know their point two are going to take and hold the DV entrance while the other takes our base I need you to take a group of of our finest shooters he says with a smirk to take and hold the Garbaged way.I laugh at the thought of having to lead a group of loners but I figured it would be this " When we begin" "right now figured be hit them while there sleeping"
We go outside to a crisp morning wind I see the other stalkers taking there men out I see who I get to lead five very green looking stalker one I smile at as its Kid Wolf give them the general speach a solder going into combat would be proud to hear with that he goes back into the house. I look at them and see that some dont have bags " Make sure you take every thing you have as we probably wont be coming back here for awhile" they scatter to there quarters as I go down and get all my gear together.
I go back up top I see that none of them are back so I figure get my rifle out and decide I al test its accuracy I walk out to the middle of the road and shoot down it at a old bus. To my surprise it dead on as I reload my squad returns " Yall ready" a weak acknowledgement comes back to me "lets move out then" we move pass the fat mans bunker.
nice Ghost the only thing I have a bit of a qualm with (don't take it the wrong way) is that Death could buy A springfield with a scope and 400 rounds for around about 110 Australian dollars. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't wait for more.
We reach the top of the depression that the village sets in as the morning sun begins to faintly glow on the horizon I look out over the hill as the knee high grass it tossed about by a breeze like a field of wheat back home in the states."lets be carful here ten foot spacing I don't want to become food for some mutant or anomaly". As we walk threw the grass I look behind me and see that we are leaving a easily trackable trail threw the wet grass but theirs nothing I can do about it for if I spread us out one of them sure to walk into the one of the anomaly clusters all around us.
As we begin reach a small thicket of tress I decide to let them rest a minuets and get all their nerves settled as I know we probably want make all the way up there today and be able to attack as the attack on their old headquarters is right in our path we need to take. When we get with in a few feet of the thicket I stop as I thought I saw something move "Stop eyes front something moved in the thicket" I say to the stalkers behind me I hear a echo of their weapons going off safety I hear one coming up behind me "What you thank it is" I hear the now courage filled voice of Kid.
"I don't know I just saw a quick glimpse of movement in between those two bushes over their" I say pointing to two bushes to the left of me. The kid looks at where I am pointing and says with a hushed voice to a stalker behind me "Sparrow take Chimney and go check it out" I look at them and see that they both have shotguns I smile as it the right people to go check something.
They ease up to the brush and ease into it all of a sudden I hear a shot and see them running back as a roar of sheer brutality and bloodlust comes from the brush as Sparrow yells "BLOODSUCKERS" as they run shooting into the brush we open up as soon as they are clear one is dropped right as it comes running out after them from a hail of lead sent in. The other one basically runs over the stalker to my right pinning him to the ground he yells for us to get it off him as we pound rounds into it flesh of the monster.
Chimney runs over to it and put four shells into it before it finally releases its hold of the stalker it turns to Chimney as he's franticly trying to reload his shotgun. Kid grabs the fallen stalkers gun and
empties the mag into the side of the bloodsucker's head turning it to mush as the beast fall to the ground in a lifeless heap.
Kid yells for Cross a stalker comes running up to the fallen stalker caring a a large bag on his hip.I yell for the remaining stalkers to set up a perimeter as something was sure to of heard all the shots or smell the blood around us.I go to the stalker and see he's just a bloody mess deep cuts all over him dark red blood coming from ones near his neck he tries to say something but all we hear is him choking on his own blood.
Finally after a few minuets of trying to stop the bleeding Cross gives up.We looked at the now dead stalker for a minuet then grab what left of his gear and start heading threw the thicket.We pass threw the thicket with not a word being said amongst us we reach the other side and come into a small valley just bellow the old mill the suns now fully over the horizon. I send a message to Wolf telling him about the lost of a man he says to carry on to our objective but to attack at night and that he will post pone the attack on the hq till we attack our point.
We move down the little valley till we come to the tunnel under the railway embankment the eerie glow of the fruit punch anomalies is there to greet us along with the overpowering smell of sulfur."Put your mask on if you got them if not wet a rag or something and cover your mouth you don't want to breath in the fumes from all them "I tell the other stalkers as I take mine from the side of my bag and put it on I look at them and see that they all have some form of a gas mask.
We wind our way threw them having to jump over one that had grown across the tunnel. We reach the end and immediately head towards the old way to the swamps before a blowout sealed it shut to a old camp me and a buddy used when we did our regular trips in the swamps for the long forgotten faction called Clear Sky.
When we reach the camp a big smile comes over my face as it looks like no ones been here since the last time we had been as the old structure we built around the fire had partly collapsed.We go into the camp and I have them start a fire and get some rest as we would move out as soon as it starts getting dark. I head up the hill for the first watch I look out from my hilltop perch see that the old hq was guarded by about fifteen men I send a message to Wolf.A few hours of watching I go down and send kid up to watch so I can get some rest for the long night ahead.
I awoke about a hour later to my pda going off I fumble threw my pockets till I find it. I look at and see its a message from Wolf I read and with a frown I thank "Stupid indecisive Wolf going to cost these loners their home yet" as I close the message and get up from our sleeping quarters inside the little camp.
I go outside and see that the sun had now become hidden by a growing line of clouds. I go over to the camp fire " Men got a little hitch in our plan Wolf has decided that the entrance to the garbage can remain in their hands for now he thanks that the hq over there is more important so he is going to have us help them when they attack it"Sparrow looks at me and says "When they going to attack" " At nine o'clock tomorrow morning "
With that I send a message to Kid and send Cross up to take his place I hear Chimney say something about me "What was that Chimney" I ask him while sending a message to Wolf telling him we will comply to the new plan " I was just saying that you don't seem like the legend that follows your name " I smile at him as I go back to the fire and sit down (Well that depends on what you have heard of me I have never actually heard the entire thing someone usually notice me listing and stops talking thinking I am some nose guy.)
He smiles a uneasy smile"Well how about you tell us what is true and then we will tell you what has come around in the zone" he says as Kid come into the camp. I look into the fire for a minuet then say(Alright where you want this little story to begin) I say still looking into the fire. They thank for a minuet "How about from the very beginning" Kid says.
I take a deep breath and and begin as Sparrow puts a big log in the fire.(Many many years ago I was in a hotel room in London trying to drown my self with whiskey so I could join my murdered family after about my third bottle I see my sons gun on a table I take it out of the evidence envelope it was in and load it and go into the bed room and sit in a chair just looking at it. I take my last bottle and proceed to drink it as fast as I could tossing it to the floor as I drop out of the chair to my knees crying I take the gun and put it to my head and squeeze the trigger all I hear is the dry click of death mocking me with the sparing of my tormented soul from joining my family.
I throw the gun against the wall in front of me smashing the cheap dry wall as I hear two people in the next room arguing about something called the zone how its full of things that could make you rich beyond you wildest dream. I didn't really listen to it for I didn't give a shit about being rich if I didn't have my family with me but then he starting telling about wildest creatures areas that would rip a man apart and about something that would grant a man anything he wanted. I listen to them for about five minuets before the alcohol in my body takes its toll and I pass out.
When I awoke I was like a new man I felt as if the past years of my life never happened
all that was there was the faces of the men who killed me.I went over to the wall and dug out my pistol and took it into the the kitchen and start cleaning it.After cleaning it i went back to the bed room and dug out all of my gear I brought for when we were to go to the range the day after we arrived I put my holsters on and dig out a very old duster I use to ware when I work on my uncles farm. I go back into the kitchen and find a map of Europe and find the country of Ukraine.I put my duster on and head out the door leaving every thing of my past life in the room. I head down to a car rental business and rent a car telling them I want to go to France they bring my the papers I sign them and I headed south few days later I arrive in Kiev.
I parked the now falling apart car in a back lot behind some factory building the shear size and emptiness of the building was quiet eerie for someone who never seen it before.I walked out to what I figured was a tourist area of some sort as it had a lot of hostels.
I noticed many on the far end of the street were in English so I head down to them and enter one that looked like it could collapse any time the paint was badly cracked the sign hand a lot of holes in it and the door I went threw to get to the lobby nearly fell off its hinges.
I went up to the desk and rang a little bell after a few rings a very old lady came up to me and greeted me. I asked for a single room she handed me a key I signed her book and ask her where I could get supplies she said there was a surplus store down the street.Went there bought a ak and some supplies when I went back to my room I been down to unlock the door when I noticed it was open very slightly.
I eased the door open with my foot keeping my hand near my knife as it would be the only thing I would be able to get to quickly if trouble was there to greet me.I went in the room and saw three men two were about six foot the third was probably barely five five.The little man spoke to me in russian when I just stood there he cleared his throat "American" he said with a thick russian accent I nodded my head.
"You looking to get into the zone" I looked at him with a slightly puzzled look "Why do you thank I do" he laughed a booming laugh half muffled in a beard that would of made Black Beard proud "All americans here want to get in the zone" I set my bag down on the bed and pull out a chair from the dining room table and sit causing the old chair to creak "Seeing as you know my purpose of being here how about you tell me your purpose of being in my room"
"We need a fifth member to go with us into the zone so far everyone turned us down so we are begin to get desperate we saw where you signed your name did a quick background check on you sense you were stupid enough to use your real name."I look at him wondering what the hell they are if they do background checks "Are you in with us" He says with a rough tone.
I sit there for a minuet finally I nod a yes " Great now we can tell you who we are my name is Ox the man to my right is Hawk the man two my left is Crow the third is Eyes he is waiting at our vehicle. "We will thank of a name for you when we get in the zone if you live long enough when" hes says with laugh. "Let move out to are truck it will be dark before we get to are staging ground closer to the zone"
With that we go out to the street and head north towards a large section of what looked like abandoned apartments buildings. After about a hour of walking we are on the far side of the complex. To a pile of rust that was their truck a real skinny man siting on the hood smoking a cigarette hops down and climbs into the cab and starts it the old diesel comes to life with a big cloud of dark smoke out the stack like a old steam train.
Me Hawk,and Crow climb into the back as Ox climbs into the cab.It slowly winds forward and out on to the road several hours in to are trip as it starts to get dark we arrive at a house.Ox Yells for us to get out that we were at the staging area we went inside and started a fire and started cooking supper as the last ray of sun shine disappears over the horizon.