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The Worst the Zone Has to Offer

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  03:44:08  13 March 2010
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On forum: 12/07/2008

Message edited by:
03/13/2010 3:44:42
Messages: 53
Well, I felt bad about not writing for a bit, so I decided to dish out two chapters. Although Chapter IV is short, it probably took me the longest to write.

Anyways, without further ado, I present Chapters 3 and 4

Chapter III

The four unmasked men slowly walked down the stairs towards their captors; their future unknown. As they walked, Pat nudged Victor and patted his right thigh, pointing down with his index finger. Victor nodded and kept walking. Mike noticed the event and looked at where Pat had been pointing. As he worked his way down Pat's leg, he came to the top of his right combat boot. On the side, Mike saw a hardly noticeable knife just poking out of its sheath.

They were halfway to the group of stalkers when Mike heard one of them yell. “Hurry up you stupid Americans! We don't have all day, you know!”

Ben let out a small, concealed laugh. “Bloody idiots don't know the United Kingdom from the United States. That's what generations of Ukrainian inbreeding will do to you.”

The other three tried to stifle their laughter as well.

When they reached the group, Mike noticed that the group was far better equipped than the normal stalker. All of them wore suits of black and gray camouflage and a type of gas mask he had never seen before. Although he couldn't identify all of their weapons, he noted that the majority of them were AN-94s – most with heavy modification. He also noticed that there was a lot of them. Assuming there weren't any others around, Mike counted twelve in total; thirteen including the sniper.

“Check them for weapons and then tie their wrists.” A different voice shouted. “We don't need more unexpected surprises than the Zone already gives.”

Almost simultaneously, four men came out of the group and began patting down the mercenaries. His inspector was satisfied with his job and began to tie Mike's wrists behind his back with plasticuffs; not unlike the ones he remembered using for years during his tour of duty.

“The fuck is this?!” Mike turned his head towards Pat, who had just been on the receiving end of what looked to be a powerful right hook from one of the stalkers.

The one whom Mike could only assume was the leader of the group and had ordered the men to pat down the mercs shouted out. “What happened? Was he resisting?”

“No” The stalker replied. “But I found this little toy in his boot.”

“Toss it” The leader looked up towards the sky “It's late, we've got to move. Now”

As soon as Pat got back up to his feet his hands were tied behind his back. Mike felt a shove from behind him and saw that the group was moving. Pat looked back at him and nodded. Mike followed.

He heard one last voice before entering an almost trance-like state. “If any of you talk, you die. Got it?” He couldn't help but oblige.

It seemed like ages before Mike heard a sound other than the wind blowing through the dilapidated buildings. “Alright, we're almost out of the Wilds. Get the blindfolds and put them on our little angels. We wouldn't want them knowing the way, now would we?

It was far too dark for anything to be recognizable, and Mike couldn't imagine being able to re-find his way around the area. Nevertheless, he saw the hand of a guard reach out in front of him. Mike took the black blindfold, put it over his eyes, and kept walking.

After even further walking, the group came to an abrupt stop.

“It's about time we reached the damn thing.” Mike heard the voice from his left. “That walk seems longer and longer each time.”

The voice of the leader came up once more. “Quit your whining. Once we pass through you can pop open a bottle of vodka and relax. We all know how ancy you get when you're out and about.”

“Fuck off.”

“Pass through?” Mike thought to himself “Pass through what? A tunnel? A area filled with radiation or anomalies?” Mike couldn't get the various ideas out of his head.

“Move!” He felt a strong shove as he started to move forward, hearing the footsteps of his friends alongside him.

The ideas continued through his mind. What if he slipped and fell into an anomaly? What if the radiation had been worse than expected? What if a mutant found it's way to the group. It'd have four perfectly nice meals delivered on a silver platter. What if they were being fed to mutants?

He knew he had to stop thinking and just keep moving, otherwise he might stop altogether, and he knew damn well that that would only result in pissing his captors off.

What seemed like hours was only around thirty seconds. When he could hardly bare it any more, he stepped into what felt like a hole. He let out a loud scream and heard Ben and Victor do the same.

Before he know it, however, he was on solid ground again.

“What the fuck was that!?” He continued thinking. “Did I just pass through some time and space vortex? Christ almighty, this place has way more than I originally thought.”

Behind him, he heard the sounds of footsteps and laughter.

“Look at 'em. That one over there is shaking!”

More laughter.

“The first ride is always the scariest; and these fuckers went through blindfolded!”

The laughter grew.

Mike turned towards the group and quickly felt a hand grab him by the armpit and pull him up.

“Alrighty now.” The same hand went to Mike's eyes and ripped off the blindfold. “You can see again. Enjoy it while it lasts”

With his sight returned, Mike looked around at what he could. Although it was still late in the night, the area the group was in was almost fully illuminated. He looked up to see what the source of the light was. About fifty feet in front of him was a large watch tower. Mounted on that tower was a massive searchlight pointed directly at them.

He heard a new voice shout out from behind him. “Uli! It's us. Open the gate and let us in already. It's been a long night!”

After a few moments, Mike heard a loud screeching sound in front of him.

“C'mon. Get moving.” The same voice prodded the four of them through the gate.

Even after passing through the gate, Mike could hardly make out anything. As he continued following the stalker in front of him he heard others behind him begin to walk in other directions. Before he knew it, he was led down a small flight of stairs and into what he could only imagine to be a bunker of sorts.

The masked figure that led them turned to the left almost immediately and flicked a large switch. Instantly, the room was filled with a blinding light. After adjusting, Mike saw five different cells on the right side of a long hallway. To his immediate right, he saw a table with orange shirts and pants laying on top.

He looked around at Ben and Victor and then to the stalker. Mike watched him as he shut the door and shuffled towards the table.

It then struck him that Pat was missing.

Mike quickly turned to Ben and Victor and was met with similar worried expressions.

Before he could do anything, he heard the door open again. He turned to see a second stalker walking through. The unmasked man was cleanly shaved and had short, cropped blond hair. If not for his heavy Russian accent, Mike could have taken him for a neo-Nazi.

The man looked at the three of them and started to speak. “Take off your suits. When you're out, find a shirt and a pair of pants that'll fit you and put them on.”

They all did as they were told and in little time the three of them were dressed for prison; their suits lying on the ground in three separate heaps.

The blond stalker spoke again. “Open the cells. All of them. Each of 'em gets a separate one.”

The other stalker, still masked, made his way to three of the cells and opened them. He looked back and beckoned them to come. Victor took the first cell, then Mike, and finally Ben.

After the cell doors closed the lights soon left as well. Before the two guards left, the blond spoke once more. “I'm not going to tell you to not talk. I know 'yer gonna. But, please, do try to keep it down. Some of us need sleep.” He looked at his fellow guard and the two of them let out a huge laugh that echoed down the hallway.

Then the door shut and there was silence.

Victor was the first to speak.

“Michael, I saw them lead Pat away after we got through the gate. I didn't see much, but it looked like he was under heavy guard.” He sighed, “I have no idea what the hell they're planning on doing with him, but I seriously doubt that it's any better than this.”

Before Mike had a chance to reply, he heard Ben.

“Well, I don't know about you two... but I sure as hell know that I'm way too tired to do anything right now. That fucking walk felt like a marathon.” Mike heard the sound of Ben hopping onto the bed. “You two can stay up all night and share ghost stories, but I need to sleep.”

“He's right, you know.” Victor continued, “We need to regain our strength. God only knows what's ahead of us tomorrow. There is nothing we can do about Pat for now. I'm going to follow Ben's lead and go to sleep.” He forced a small chuckle. “As a licensed medic, I give my professional advice and suggest you do the same.”

Mike sat down on the old bed; its mattress ripped in several places. There were far too many thoughts in his head to sort out. At the current moment he knew that the two most important things were finding Pat and escaping. The idea of being trapped in an unknown prison in the harshest place in the world sent a shiver down his spine.

Slowly, his sit turned into a relaxed slouch and eventually a full sprawl. In little time, he was fast asleep.
  03:57:49  13 March 2010
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On forum: 12/07/2008

Message edited by:
03/13/2010 18:41:37
Messages: 53
Chapter IV

Mike looked down a long hallway; it was longer than any he had ever seen before. Each side of the hall was lined with cells, but when he turned to look inside one he saw nothing but an empty bed and a blank wall. The cells were unlike the one he remembered. They were clean and neat; the bed was new, and the mattress unblemished.

He looked down at himself and saw that he was wearing his old military uniform. The jacket and pants were pressed neatly and his shoes looked as if they had just been shined. On his heart, however, were medals that he didn't recognize. They were gold and silver, but lacked any shape that could signify something meaningful.

As if a force was making him walk, he continued down the hallway, glancing in each and every cell, hoping to find something. As he kept walking, he noticed that the hall started to change - becoming more and more dilapidated, with large cracks slowly forming along the walls.

Eventually, he saw what appeared to be a final cell at the end of the hallway. As he began to approach it, he started to hear the sounds of gunfire and screaming. Warily, he continued to approach the cell. As he drew nearer, he saw that it was the same as all the others except for a single body laying in the middle of it.

When he finally reached the open cell, the sound was so intense that he had to cover his ears with his hands. He entered and slowly approached the body lying on the ground. The body was that of a face down naked man, his body scarred all over. The hair of his head seemed to have been burned off and there were several bullet holes in his back. On closer inspection, the man appeared to have lost both thumbs and pinkies as well.

The sound was almost unbearable now, but Mike knelt down next to the body and began to roll it over.

Almost instantly the noise stopped.

He continued rolling the body over until it was face up. He stared at the face. Though the rest of the body was badly disfigured, its face was easily recognizable.

It was his.

Mike woke up in a sweat, the dirty mattress soaked due to his nightmare. He sat up and looked around, half hoping that he was back home, and that his whole experience had been a dream.

“Vic, Ben, you guys there?” He called out, but was met with silence.

“Shit.” He thought to himself, “Is this another nightmare?”

He didn't have much time to think, however, as the door flew open and three masked men, all wearing the same outfit, marched to his cell door.

“Awww, he's awake.” One of them sighed, “I was hoping to scare the little shit out of bed.”

Before Mike realized what was going on, the cell door was open and he was on his feet, being led out the very same door he had entered through the night before.

The sunlight caught him by surprise. When he had last been outside it had been nearly pitch black. Now, he could finally see the area for what it was.

As he was walked up the concrete stairs he saw that he was currently in what seemed to be either a military boot camp or a concentration camp. All around him were what appeared to be white bunk houses with sheet metal roofs. The whole installation was surrounded by a large metal fence topped with barbed wire, separated every few hundred feet or so by a large tower. He never could have imagined that this was what he had been led through the night before.

He had been right about one thing though. The building he had been led to was little more than a bunker leading down. As he was led through the twisting labyrinth of longhouses he lost sight of his prison from the night before.

Eventually, he reached a clearing amongst the buildings. Had this been a military boot camp like he thought, it'd have been the drill grounds, as it seemed to be in what he could only perceive as the middle of the complex.

They continued walking him to the middle of the clearing where he saw three wooden pikes protruding from the ground. Attached to two of the pikes were the limp bodies of Ben and Victor, both still wearing their orange prison garb.

“What the fuck did you do to them?!” Mike yelled at his captors, desperately trying to break free of their grip.

One of the men elbowed Mike in the ribs and laughed. “Don't cry about it, they aren't dead. Not yet anyway.”

As they reached the pikes, the man picked up Ben's limp head and let it drop. “No, these guys are just out cold for a bit.”

Mike, still feeling the pain from the elbow to the ribs and knowing that his chance at escape wasn't very high, didn't resist when he was tied to the third pike.

“Well if you're not going to kill us.” He stammered, “What the hell do you want?”

The man looked back, “Oh, you'll find out soon enough.”

“Find what out?!” Mike yelled at the three men walking away, but to no avail.

“FUCK!” He yelled at the top of his lungs, the expletive echoing throughout the area.

More thoughts began racing through his head. What the hell was going on? Was he some sort of living sacrifice? Were there mutants around the corner, ready to eat the three of them? Hell, were there really even three of them here, or were Ben and Vic already dead?

His thought process slowed to a grinding halt when he saw the figure emerge from across the clearing.

It was human, to his relief. As the figure drew nearer, Mike saw that it was a man wearing a long, black overcoat. He wore a black mask that covered the lower portion of his face, reaching just above his nose. From what Mike could tell, the man carried no visible weapons.

With every step, Mike's heart beat faster and faster as he anticipated the approached of the hooded man. The race of thoughts and ideas started running through his head again, and despite his best efforts, he couldn't put them to rest.

In a short time, the man was no more than five feet away from Mike and slowly turned his gaze towards his face.

That's when Mike noticed the gruesome looking scar running down the man's right eye.

“Pat!” Mike looked up at the man. “Is that you!? How did you escape?! What are you doing? You've got to get us out of here before we get caught!”

The cloaked figure took of the mask to reveal a very familiar face to Mike.

“Aye, it's me, laddy.” Pat smiled as he looked down, his Irish accent ringing in Mike's ears.

The punch caught Mike by surprise, coming from the left and knocking his jaw out of place. As he looked down at the dirt he could see two of his teeth and a pool full of blood. He tried to bring his head up, but he lacked the energy or will, and soon passed out.
  05:37:36  24 March 2010
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On forum: 12/07/2008
Messages: 53
If anyone is still interested, I hope to have the next section up by the end of the week. The next section will probably be a bit longer than usual, as it will close the first section of the story.

I've been thinking about changing the style of writing (possibly even to first-person) after this section is done. We'll have to wait and see.
  09:08:35  24 March 2010
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Cake Muncher


On forum: 01/08/2009
Messages: 4114
Still interested here. Always looking forward to new chapters of good stories.
  16:22:07  24 March 2010
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Senior Resident

On forum: 01/15/2010
Messages: 3940
I like it.

Keep it up.
  00:51:21  31 March 2010
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On forum: 03/30/2010
Messages: 5
i too find myself very much interested in the story.
keep it up
  22:30:30  6 April 2010
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On forum: 12/07/2008
Messages: 53
Sorry for the massive delay, guys. Life has been hell the past few weeks. I've had a lot of work to do for school, so my writing has taken a bit of a break for a bit. I'll try and get the next section up as soon as I can, but no promises for a set date yet; I'm sorry.

I promise you this though - the next chapter will be very interesting.
  02:07:09  15 April 2010
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On forum: 04/08/2010
Messages: 10
can't wait fot the next chapter
  00:00:29  1 May 2010
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Messages: 53
Sorry about the extremely long wait. Between school and other crap I've had little to no time to do any of this. This is the end of the first part (in my eyes) of the story, and I'm going to start working on the next section in a bit. Enjoy, and again, sorry for the wait.

Chapter V

He couldn't move. He tried jerking to the left. Nothing. He tried it to the right. Nothing. He couldn't move.

The tile floor was cold, as if it had been iced over at one point in the past. It was a sharp contrast from the air, as it felt like a humid summer day. He couldn't move his head but he was able to look up at the corner of his current room. The walls were concrete with white, chipping paint and various cracks and scars. The place oddly reminded him of home.

He heard the footsteps only faintly at first, the sound coming from behind him where he was unable to see. As they grew louder, he began to feel pain rippling down his body. Every step brought another agonizing wave of growing intensity. His eyes ran around frantically, as if trying to escape from his head and flee. The pain grew. He tried, with every fiber of his body, to move, even just a little. He wanted to scream as loud as he could to release his agony. The pain grew. It rippled from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, as if gravity was squeezing him harder and harder. He wanted to pass out; he wanted to escape the agony. The pain grew.

When he couldn't bear it any longer, when he thought that his life would finally end in some horridly grotesque way, the pain stopped. He felt a hand on his right shoulder, and was gently pushed over. He realized where he was.

He stared up at the man. At first, not to his surprise, he saw his own face. He almost laughed at the ridiculousness of the pseudo-lucid dream. Then it changed. It became dark and unrecognizable. It became Demyan's, then Victor's, and then his own again. It continued changing its appearance every few seconds until it finally became Pat's. It stopped. He stared at the face intently, anger and confusion flowing through him. He tried to budge again, to escape his invisible bonds and break free.

He looked up at the face again. Wait... No... That's not right. That isn't Pat's face.

The face changed back into its dark and unrecognizable form again. He stared intently, hoping for it to change once more.

“Wake up! Wake the fuck up! Jesus cock sucking Christ you're loud!”

Laughter echoed the room

“Man, he must have been having one dream. I've never seen anyone thrash that hard in their sleep. Fuck!”

“Maybe he dreamed he was being attacked by a bloodsucker. I know that would scare the living shit out of me.”

“Maybe he dreamt he was being attacked by your mother, Amyov, I know that would scare the living shit of out me.”

“Shut up, you idiot”

He was sitting. His hands in cuffs behind a metal pole. His entire body ached - his jaw especially.
He opened his eyes and saw that he was inside what appeared to be an old, now defunct, freezer. In front him on the floor was what remained of the door, its metal rusty and corroded. He was accompanied in the room by three other men, one of which he recognized as the blond jailer. Mike looked down at his torso and legs. He was drenched in sweat.

He heard a voice come from behind him. “Here, I've got the key to the chain. Let's get him out of here already. He's smelling up the damn place.”

The blond jailer looked behind Mike and nodded.

With a jerk, he was stood up and walked through what he could only image as one of the various buildings he saw before. The roof seemed to fit the bill. Old, rusty metal sheets – the standard.

Outside, he saw that it was just before evening. The sun was close to setting and cast a yellow and orange glow over the buildings. The short aisles between buildings were shrouded in shadow. He imagined all of the insects hidden in the dark grass and vegetation, their lives only a concern to themselves and themselves only. No one bothered to worry about what was going on in their little world, even though it was deep and full of wonder. He wished he could be one of them, to escape into another realm. He, however, was being led down one of the long aisles. The sun was in his eyes.

He tried to make out approximately where he was, but the twisting labyrinth of buildings confused him. Eventually, he was told to turn left and entered into what appeared to be another clearing, though this time much smaller. In the middle of it was a large, glowing sphere about double his height.

“What the fuck is this?” he yelled.

“Shut up and walk forward.”

The guards continued to lead him closer to the sphere. To Mike, it looked as though it was as hot as the sun. As he slowly approached it, however, the air began to seem cooler.

A strong, Irish accent pierced the air from the other side of the sphere. “Good, he's finally here. Tie him up next to the others.”

“PAT!” Mike yelled. “You piece of shit double crosser! When I get free I'm going to rip you limb from limb!”

“And for God's sake, put the duct tape over his mouth.”

An elbow connected with the left side of his head. From the right, duct tape was being placed over his mouth and around his neck twice over.

He was led to what appeared to be pull up bars, although as of now they were bent and twisted. Their surface was covered in some sort of black soot and rust. He noticed that the rest of the area appeared the same way – dark and deformed. Any sense of nature that this place had once had was long gone.

They shoved him to the ground next to Victor and Ben, both in the same predicament.

The three of them looked at each other, unable to speak even if their mouths hadn't been taped. Mike noticed that Victor looked especially distressed. He started squirming, apparently trying to get free of his bonds. Ben noticed and tried to shove his body towards him. He stared at Victor, his face saying “knock it off”, but Victor continued.

A voice rang out. “Looks like they're getting anxious, Pat. Perhaps we should hurry this up.”

The accent, now poison in Mike's ears, responded. “I suppose. I wanted to wait until it got darker, but in the end, it really won't matter.”

A pair of large, gloved hands picked up Ben and Victor by their necks. Pat walked over to Mike, still on the ground, and did the same.

“Alright, laddie.”

He turned Mike towards a now kneeling Ben and Victor. Behind them were two men, each holding a pistol to the kneeling man in front of them.

“Ok, now it's one blink for the one on the right. Two blinks for the one on the left.”

Mike looked at him, a mix of anger and disgust in his eyes.

“Ha! I'm just kiddin' ya.” He smiled and turned back to the men. “Kill them.”

The one on the right fired first, killing Ben instantly. On the left, the man's gun jammed. Pat and the mean on the right started laughing.

Mike and Victor locked eyes. Victor continued trying to squirm free of his bonds, but to no avail. He shuffled his shoulders relentlessly, trying to get his hands out of the cuffs. He was crying.

“Got it!”

Pat turned Mike back towards him.

“Alright, now don't worry, Mike. We've got something special for you.” He led the two of them closer to the sphere, its light radiating the whole scene with a bluish-green tint. “This thing is what we in the Zone like to call a portal. Now, we personally have no fucking idea where it leads, but it certainly does make a nice, one way garbage chute.”

He felt four hands grab his arms.

“Now, it's not an definite death by any means. Really, we're giving you one last chance to live. Hell, it's better than being shot in the back of the head like those two.”

Pat squatted down and grabbed Mike's legs. He was now fully at the will of the three men.

They slowly walked him, like a battering ram, closer and closer to the sphere. Although it was brighter than he could bear, Mike felt no heat. The men grabbed him more tightly and took a firm footing in the ground. Pat unlocked the handcuffs.

“Alright, on three”



“Oh, and Mike, if you see any of my ex-girlfriends down there. Do me a favor and say 'hi', won't cha'?


He flew headfirst into what he could only imagine as a pile of garbage and filth. Both of his arms and his left leg felt broken, or, at the very least, dislocated. He could barely breathe.

He moved around as best he could and noticed that his first assessment was wrong. There was more than garbage here. As quickly as he could, he tried to squirm out of the pile of death and onto the solid ground. He was starting to loose consciousness.

He managed to get out and onto a dilapidated deck. Its wood was either missing or rotten. He crawled his way into the middle of the deck where he saw a limp suit. He looked at it and the skeleton that it once harbored and protected. It appeared to be far older than anything in the pile. It had been here long before the other bodies. He knew he was going to pass out.

He looked at the suit. At one point in time, it may have had a blue shade to it, but now it was barely more than a dirty, disgusting piece of clothing. He examined one of the sleeves. He looked at the patch on its shoulder. Before he lost consciousness, he managed to read what it said.

“Clear Sky”
  07:55:22  1 May 2010
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Teh Soul Eater
I didn't do it.


On forum: 03/21/2010
Messages: 1667

You should keep this up, its the best i've ever read!
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