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  08:42:02  12 July 2008
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On forum: 01/05/2008
Messages: 74

The evening encompassed his vision, obscuring the corners of the dimly lit room. The flickering florescent lights revealed moldy, deteriorated wallpaper, barely clinging to the surface of the spongy drywall. tarnished furniture lay strewn about across the concrete floor. Mars sat in a small wooden chair, resting his head against his hand, in front of a wooden table, gazing out the window. All that could be seen were streaks of white pushing down from the sky, glazing the window with a thin sheet of ice.
Mars only answer to the blistering cold was to shiver violently and rock in his chair. Exhaustion had gotten the better of him. Food had become a luxury since the time he entered the zone. The blizzard had made such a prospect laughable. Forcing himself to release his arms from the tight hug against his torso, he rummaged through his backpack adjacent to his feet. Despite already knowing his supply had already been depleted, restlessness still pervaded his actions. Hoping sustenance would materialize out of sheer will, he was once again disappointed.
Cursing out at his own insanity, he bashed his arms against the table, only to be reminded of the presence of his numb limbs with a sharp pain reverberating through his arms. The pain was so shocking, his feet gave way below him. He crashed to the ground, sending yet another shock wave through his spinal cord. Splayed like a ragdoll on the floor, Mars doubted his ability to lift himself to his feet. Pain and exhaustion pleaded him to remain. Blackness consumed his vision before he could close his eyes.

(More later)
  09:31:29  17 July 2008
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Thoughts returning from an incomprehensible dream escaped from his memory. Even the barely luminescent lighting in the dank cabin forced him to squint after waking. Returning to consciousness, he could still hear the harsh weather beating against the tin roof. He still couldn't see through the icy windows. Orienting his mind, he realized he had to move, it was his only option. His light clothes had felt cumbersome. Rest had only worsened the situation. Moving even a single limb had become a chore. Hope had drained out of the situation, and all that was left was luck. Realizing the futility of his efforts, he gave in, and rested his eyes once again.

Thoughts rushed through his mind. Images of his family milling about their house, mother serving breakfast, his father's wrinkled hands lending Mars his knife from World War 2. Grieving his mothers early death at her grave site. Lifting his sister to bed after a long night, so many thoughts, reminiscent of his life before he entered the zone.

He thought he had felt open to his death, but now all he felt was anxiety from wasting his life in this hell hole. He had even forgotten why he had entered in the first place. Images of his father slamming the door in front of him flashed through his mind. It was shockingly loud, his eyes opened. He now saw a man resting with his back against the door, panting heavily, sliding down the wall to a sitting position. Gasping in relief, he scanned the room, and spotted Mars, laying strewn across the floor, adjacent to the collapsed chair.

Eyes wide, the mysterious man fumbled for his pistol. Grasping for it in his holster, he quickly returned to a standing position, scanning the room, pointing his weapon every which way, looking for threats anywhere in the room.
“Wh-wh-who are you?” The man asked in a terrified voice. His weapon was shaking violently.
Mars tried desperately to form words, lisping almost silently. His tongue was almost completely dry.
“I said who are you?!” His voice raised, he was almost yelling now.
Mars tried to lift his face to get a better view of the man. He wet his tongue with saliva.
“I don't care about your fucking name! Who are you with!”
“Nobody” Mars began coughing violently. He was too tired to be afraid.
The man, arms still shaking, began to lower his weapon. Dropping his weapon, he hunched over, hugging his torso. Vomit spewed from his gaping mouth.

“You have any food?” The words barely escaped his mouth. The man gave Mars a puzzled look.
“Oh, oh right. Sorry about just a moment ago, you know.” Rummaging through his bag, he pulled out a power bar. It was partially eaten, but Mars wasn't thinking at all about what it was, so much as the sustenance it brought. Mars rolled onto his back, barely nibbling on the morsel of food the man had slid over to him.
“Jeez, barely even met.” He rolled his eyes, grasping the water bottle from the side pocket of his backpack. He was still shivering violently from the cold.
“Don't worry about the water, I've got plenty of that. What was your name again?”
  09:34:39  17 July 2008
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Several hours had passed. Mars had gathered the strength to lift himself to his feet. He had a blaring headache.
“Ahhh, sleeping-beauty.”
Mars hadn't even realized he had fallen asleep again. Sleeping seemed to be his primary mechanism for survival in these harsh conditions. Mars rubbed his eyes open, looking at the man sitting in the chair in front of him. He was a gaunt man. He had bony facial features, a wide smile adorned his face. His eyes seemed half-open. He seemed quite relaxed.
“What brought you here anyways? I mean besides the storm obviously.” He asked inquisively.
“I don't remember.”
“Oh how... Convenient” The man said, a thin smile gracing the end of his mouth.
“You just don't know what to think of me do you? First you point a gun at me, then you give me food and water, and now your pulling this suspicious shit on me again. What exactly are you so paranoid about?”
“You should be more thankful Stalker, I saved your life.”
“I wish I knew why.”
“You know, you're really starting to annoy me Stalker.” His smile drained from his expression.
“Didn't I tell you my name?”
“You're pretty feisty for a man who had just been begging my help.”
“Look, just tell me why you're so cautious about. It's not like I'm in any position to retaliate anyways. I've never even met you.” Mars said with a genuine expression.
They paused, staring intently. The air was thin, snow still pounded against the tin roof.

“Well?” Mars said impatiently.
“So you really don't know.” The man said.
“Fuck, what do I need to say!” Mars said angrily.
The man relaxed. Resting his head against his hands.
“Can you tell me what the hell is going on now?” Mars said.
“It doesn't concern you alright? Besides, you'd be much better off not knowing. All you need to know is that I've got information that... People, don't want me to know, and they want my head for it.”
Silence once again filled the room.
“.... You do realize that every happening in the zone is something that that can get you killed just for knowing right?”
The man erupted in laughter.
“Oh god, you don't know the half of it. You're pretty good.”
Mars had only become more confused by his response.
“Oh, I've already said to much.” His laughter died off a little.
“Now that I've said that much, it's only going to make you more curious. Almost symbolic, don't you think?”
“Of what?”
“Oh look at me, I've done it again. Look, I saved your life. Whether it be deliberate or not, you owe me. All I ask is that you shut up about this, alright? Besides, it's for your own good.”
Mars gave him an annoyed look.
“Fine.” He grunted at him.
“Can you at least tell me what your name is? Or is that confidential information.” Speaking in a frustrated tone.
“Actually it is.”
“What the fu-” He stood up in from his chair.
“Relax, it was a joke. My name is Irvan. Well look, at least you've gotten your energy back right?” Irvan's smile returned to his face.
  09:37:34  17 July 2008
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“The zone certainly is a strange place.” Irving glanced out the window, almost completely obscured by frost.
“It's been going on for hour upon hour. It would be an abnormality here if the weather didn't act so strangely.” He laughed at his own joke. Mars still sat in his chair, still visibly angry at their last conversation.
“Jesus Christ, you know it can't be that much longer that you have to be stuck with me Mars. Why don't we make the most of it. This is almost like forced contentment.”
“Are you going to do something about that rotten pile of shit lying at the doorway?”
Irving's vomit was still emanating putrid fumes from the doorway.
“Are you going to thank me for saving your life?” Irving retorted.
“Thank-you.” Mars said, rolling his eyes.
“Now would you do something about that shit over there?”
Irving got up and scanned the room. He saw some deteriorated wallpaper and tore it from the wall. He threw it over the vomit.
“That should do the trick.”
Mars grumbled, continuing to peer through the window.
“Well now that we've got my story out of the way.... Mostly, what about you Stalke-.. erm, Mars.”
“I was just looking for food. I was near the south on 23rd I think. Heh, I don't know why I remember that... Anyways, I saw a spotted an old market on the side of the road. Then all of a sudden, the sky turned red, and the clouds started swirling, my head felt like shit for some reason. All these dogs started barking from somewhere. I just ran back across the bridge and... Well all I know now is that I'm here. I assume it couldn't have been far.
“You mean to tell me you were at Pripyat, at the time of the blowout?” Irving said, with a startled look on his face.
“Blowout? Well if that's what you call it, then yes, I suppose I was.”
“Hold on there for a second.” Irving started to fumble through his bag. He picked out something that resembled a battery level indicator. Irving held it out, arm outstretched, and held a button on the side of the indicator. The meter immediately started screaming, beeping in an almost gap less tone.
“Christ!” Irving dropped the indicator, the sound ceased.
“Can you fill me in here? What just happened?” Mars asked, a little shocked.
“Fuck this just keeps getting stranger. It's like a bad dream. That was a radiation indicator, the frequency of beeping serves as a meter for radiation levels.”
“So I assume that is bad.” Mars said.
“It's remarkable. Your bloodstream must be saturated with it. I can't even fathom why your still alive.”
“So, it's bad.”
“I need to sleep.” Irving said, slumping to the floor, now on his back.
“Alright?” Mars said in a confused tone.
  09:38:08  17 July 2008
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On forum: 01/05/2008
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In a matter of moments, exhaustion had gotten the better of Irving. He began snoring. Mars glanced outside the window. He still couldn't see past the blizzard. The snow, or hail, or whatever is was still beat against the roof.
“This is fucking ridiculous.” He mumbled under his breath.
He had become bored now. With nobody to talk to, he was reminded of his intense hunger. He walked over to grab his bag at the corner of the room. He picked it up, just then remembering that he had been long since depleted of any form of food or water. Glancing around the room again, he saw Irving's bag lying in the opposite corner. Irving still lye in the center of the room, his snoring persisted. Opportunity flickered in Mars eyes. Mars tip-toed across the floor, careful to not make any sound that could wake Irving from his slumber. Mars was all too aware of how quickly Irving's mood could change. Moving very slowly, Mars now kneel in front of Irving's bag. Quietly unzipping the flap on the top of the backpack, Mars began perusing the contents that lay within his bag. He saw a black notebook, about a dozen power bars, several bottled waters, some 9mm Makarov magazines, and various other items. Mars took a power bar. The wrapping stated “Bull Strength: Protein Power Bar”. Mars, hadn't heard of that brand previously. Looking at the back of the label, he scanned the back for an expiration. “Sell by July 9th, 2010”.
“That's pretty long for a power bar.” Mars thought to himself.
Now curious, Mars continued to observe the back of the label.
“Bull Strength: Copyright 2010“.
“Huh, that's pretty odd. Must've been a typo or something.” Mars continued to think to himself.
Mars let out a muffled snicker.
“Power Bars from the future.”
Mars pocketed the Power Bar, and continued to browse through Irving's bag. Mars picked up one of Irving's water bottles. Out of curiosity, Mars began to read the label on the back of the bottle.
“Aquafina: Copyright 2010”
Mars dropped the bottle, and picked up the Makarov. Reading the manufacturers note engraved on the side of the gun.
“Copyright 2010”
He dropped the gun in the back, and grasped the notebook and read the manufacturer's note on the bottom left.
“Copyright 2010”
Mars heart began to pump. He glanced at the words, handwritten on the front of the notebook.
“Journal of Travis Markman”
Mars was now terrified. Hands shaking violently, he opened the notebook to the second page and read the writing.
“Date July 23, 2010,

Today is my first da-”

Loud thunder reverberated through the tiny cabin. Mars stopped reading the journal. Mars stopped to listen for the now unknown man snoring. He had stopped. Mars silently placed the notebook back in the bag. Hurriedly he sneaked to the other side of the room, opposite of where the man lay facing the wall. Mars laid down against the floor opposite the bag, and pretended to sleep. Mars could hear the man rising from the floor, and listened to him walk across the room
  00:29:57  23 July 2008
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On forum: 01/05/2008
Messages: 74
Not story related:

I would appreciate any feedback on the story thus far.
  00:58:38  23 July 2008
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On forum: 03/04/2008
Messages: 50
yea its a good story, im waiting for more parts to figure out whats going on, things like who is Irving what is he (soldier, scientist, Stalker) and what the deal with Mars after the blowout. I dont doubt youll explain all those things though but i just have to be patient.
  08:38:43  24 July 2008
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On forum: 01/05/2008
Messages: 74

yea its a good story, im waiting for more parts to figure out whats going on, things like who is Irving what is he (soldier, scientist, Stalker) and what the deal with Mars after the blowout. I dont doubt youll explain all those things though but i just have to be patient.

Non story related:

Terribly sorry about the delay. I put quite a bit of thought and effort into my short stories. It takes me quite a bit of time, and I like to release parts in larger segments.
  20:12:46  24 July 2008
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On forum: 03/04/2008
Messages: 50
oh no dont worry about it i usually put that in all the replies about the story that i think is good, its usually cause i dont really know what else to say afterwards. Just take your time cause your the one writing the story, i can wait as long as it takes.
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