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Storm Clouds

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  01:55:08  13 December 2008
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combiner81
(Novice)
 
On forum: 12/08/2008
 

Message edited by:
combiner81
12/13/2008 1:56:07
Messages: 28
Storm Clouds

Ok, this is a story that I have been doing on another forum, and I decided to copy it here. The chapters are relatively short, however.

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Chapter One



The man stood alone in the barren field, the cool morning wind swiping at his light leather hood. He was staring off into the horizon, the sun was rising, casting a fiery orange glow onto the dark and foreboding clouds. It was quiet and tranquil, save for the sounds of grass and leaves rustling gently in the breeze. The man's face was hard and weather beaten, a weary look rested in his gray-green eyes. Light scars were etched into his pale skin, some were recent, while others were older than he could remember. He stood completely still, savoring the rare moment that somewhat resembled peace. He was wearing a pale green suit that was interwoven with kevlar plates, and he wore a respirator that covered the lower half of his face. An AN-94 was slung over his back, which was equppied with a tactical scope, and forged with custom rifling. A Colt .45 pistol was slung into a holster on his right hip. His trusty companion, it had never let him down, not once since he had come into the Zone. He had forgotten how many people he had killed with it.
Salokin was one of the few American stalkers, but, just like the rest, he had gone foolishly into the Zone for personal gain, and just like the other stalkers, it was the biggest mistake of his life. Or what remained of it, he wasn't exactly sure that living in this place qualified as a life, not when death took it's form in every animal, every person, and the very place itself. He had once been a United States Marine, but after his tours of duty ended, his life took a nosedive from there. He thought he could have redeemed himself by striking gold in the Zone, hearing the rumors of untold fortune, just like everyone else did. But what worth was it? He couldn't leave, the Zone wouldn't let him, every time he tried to, he was stopped by something, emissions, mutant hordes, military patrols, and so on.
He let out a deep, regretful sigh, he had been here for a few years now, and there was no going back. The sun escaped behind the clouds, casting the last of it's warming rays onto the barren wilderness, before complete and uniform gray covered the whole countryside.
Salokin started to walk down the hill, training his ears, as usual, on any sounds that could be movement. There were many trees, but most of them were dead and just mere husks of what they once were. The wind died down, the only sounds was that of his footfalls, an eerie silence feel around him. Then there was the everpresent feeling of being watched. Salokin had grown to tolerate it, but he would never be comfortable with it. He heard a twig snap, and he froze. By instinct, he slowly drew his pistol, and turned his head toward the source of the noise. At the edge of a still-alive forest, was a tiny wolf pup, shivering in the cold morning air. He stared at it, it was barely standing, looking around with squinted eyes. It howled pitifully, it was such a tiny thing. Then another shape appeared from the forest, a full grown wolf, menacing and powerful. It look like any ordinary timber wolf, except that one of it's eyes was horribly enlarged and disfigured, giving the wolf a hellish and alien look. It stared at Salokin, before emitting a low growl, and leading the wolf pup away, back into the forest.
It was going to be another long day.



After hours of hiking, he had managed to find a lonely dirt road. He followed it for some time, occasionally looking around for any signs of danger. Over the years he had spent in the Zone, he had developed a sense of paranoia, but it was well placed, if it wasn't for his over-cautious attitude, he would not be alive. He figured it was just a few hours before noon, but it was dark, the clouds adding to feeling hopelessness. There was another figure on the road, heading in his direction, it was another stalker. Salokin lowered his head, and positioned his right arm so that he could draw his pistol at a moment's notice. The other stalker's body languaged suggested he was doing the exact same, he was wearing a suit not unlike Salokin's, but he was wearing a balcalva and had an MP5 strapped accross his back. To an inexperianced observer, it would've looked like a casual stroll for the both of them, one ignoring the other and vice versa. But in reality, it was the exact opposite. Salokin tensed up his muscles, ready for an attack. When the two stalkers passed by eachother, they both lifted their heads up just a little, and their eyes locked for a brief moment. In that moment, there was silent agreement to not kill each other. They continued walking, Salokin keeping tense, listening for the sound of footsteps stopping and the click of a safety switch clicking off. It never happened, but Salokin didn't relax untill the sound of the other stalker's footsteps faded away into the distance.

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  02:00:04  13 December 2008
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combiner81
(Novice)
 
On forum: 12/08/2008
Messages: 28
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Chapter Two



It had begun to rain. The quiet trickle had grown into a thundering downpour. The blood of the Zone was being washed away. Cleaned, refreshed, ready for more slaughter. Salokin just kept his head down, and kept walking. He would often reminisce of what could have been. If he had just stayed home, instead of hunting for false glory and riches, but the lies were just too tempting. He had wanted to just settle down. To find a nice girl, buy a nice home, and raise a family, but that was all just a distant memory, a shadow of a dream. It was cold, he guessed it was somewhere around mid-fall, although he could not be sure. Silent flashes of light streaked across the dark sky in the far distance, illuminating his surroundings. Something caught his eye. A hint of movement, he turned his head to double check. There was nothing, just shrubs. He continued on, but staying on alert, something feel different. A rustle of grass, but there wasn't any wind, it was very faint, Salokin thought he imagined it. But he knew better, he unslung his AN. Jogging up a small mound covered in wet, dead grass, he looked around, there was an empty field, save for two broken down cars, and a few long dead, half eaten corpses. He raised his rifle up to his shoulder, sweeping it slowly back and forth, looking for the slightest sign of life. A flash of lightning. There. He pulled the trigger. Once. Twice. The cracks of his rifle matching the thunder. The Bloodsucker dropped dead in the middle of the field, without so much as a scream. Salokin kept his rifle trained on the alien corpse to ensure it was dead. It didn't move. Satisfied, he continued on, without a word.


Up ahead was a desecrated homestead. Cumbling walls and lichen growing on the roof, it seemed like the perfect spot to rest. The wind howling at his back, the sun had started it's gradual descent into the horizon, casting a dim glow and long shadows across his surroundings. There was a familiar scent of the destroyed home, it smelled like burnt wood, a sign of recent life. There were dusted over footprints around a dead campfire, there seemed to be only one pair, but it was fresh. Before he could even turn around, powerful arms swung around Salokin's neck, clamping off his airway, restricting oxygen. Instead of panicking, Salokin elbowed his assailent in the ribs, hard. He could hear a faint crack as one of his attacker's bones gave way, and there was a yelp of pain, and the arms flew off him. Salokin turned around and, without thinking, tackled the bandit to the ground.
Fumbling for his knife on the way down, Salokin landed on top of the man and pinned him to the ground. It was just a young boy, barely even twenty, his features completely devoid of marks or scars. The was desperate fear in his blue eyes. Salokin brought his gleaming dagger up, attempting to plunge the hungry blade into the boy's throat, but his attacker grabbed Salokin's wrists, trying to stall his death. The struggled silently, they were equally matched.
The fear in the boy's eyes turned into terror as he realised his strength started to wane, the knife inching closer to his vulnerable neck. He started to plead in Russian, begging for his life.
Tears formed at the edges of his eyes, and streamed down the sides of his gaunt face. The pleading instensified as the blade came closer, which then evolved into screaming, and then half-sobbing. Saloking willed with all his heart to stop himself, but it was kill or be killed, and you were dead man if you did not live by that code. The man sobbed and screamed at Salokin, the blade just millimeters away from his neck. "No! No! Please no! Please!!! I'm sorry! Please!!!" The knife pierced his skin, and the man made a strange sound in his throat as the dagger plunged deeper into him.
And then he was silent.
Cold, unseeing eyes stared up at Salokin, they were as dead as the eyes as any man he had killed, no different than the others. No different.
Salokin rolled himself off the boy he had murdered, and began to cry.

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  02:03:50  13 December 2008
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combiner81
(Novice)
 
On forum: 12/08/2008
Messages: 28
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Chapter 3



It was cold. So very, very cold. Salokin wrapped his arms around himself, trying to stave off the freezing wind. The ground had a tint of frost to it, and the grass was frozen. It was a dry day. The sky was a uniform shade of light gray, which cast itself down unto the land. The air had the scent of winter to it. Long dead trees pockmarked the sides of the road. Husks of long broken cars lay in the pavement. Whenever he passed one, he glanced into it, hoping to see some supplies. But there were none, probably looted years ago. He trudged on, hoping to reach the facility before sundown. His breaths came out in light, wispy clouds. There was a slight wind at his back, but other than that, the Zone was dead still. The unpleasent feeling of being watched still lingered, as it always had these past few years. He could hear the occasional howls of beasts and monsters in the far off distance, and every time it sent a chill down his spine. The greenery thinned out as he hiked onward, the occasional skeleton of a house or some building standing alone. He could spot some ammunition near a pile of bones, but the house was surrounded by air distortions, signifying physical or gravitational anomalies, so he steered clear.
As the terrain became more and more urban, he unslung his AN. He would be entering Rostok in about an hour, which he needed to pass. Passing by more and more ruins, and the odd remains of human occupance, he surveyed his surroundings for any sort of movement, but he was being paranoid, they wouldn't be out this far. But not being paranoid is what killed stalkers, and he intended not to join their nameless numbers. He had no idea where the sun was, the clouds were too thick. Nothing cast a shadow.
Something rustled up ahead. Salokin froze, and dropped to a croutch, and ran over to a nearby stack of cinderblocks, rounding his steps to minimize the noise he made. Pressing his back against the cinder blocks, he hugged his rifle close to him, and slowly peeked around the corner. He saw a lone stalker with his back to him. He was wearing a brown-green suit with oxygen tanks hooked onto the back. He was walking away from Salokin, an M468 hung from his hip. Salokin surveyed the horizon ahead. There were a good amount of buildings, and some smokestacks. Something caught his eye. From a building in the distance, he saw a flash, which was immediatly followed by a loud crack. An instant later, the stalker's left leg exploded at the knee, showering the ground with blood and fragments of bone. The stalker was knocked onto his back, and shrieked a horrible scream. Crows scattered out of trees and fled to the sky, as the stalker wailed with inhuman pain. Mixed in were pitiful sobs, which were followed by more screaming, his lower leg laying next to him, and a pool of blood spreading out before him. Salokin jerked his head back at the crack, pressing himself against the cinderblocks. He hugged his AN tightly to his chest, and but down on his lip and he listened to the stalker's unearthly wails. There was another crack, and the screaming stalker was forever silenced. As Salokin fought back the tears, he made an odd sound in his throat. He closed his eyes, and waited for nightfall to continue on.

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