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|05-22-2013, 02:37 AM||#1|
I wrote this today because I got bored.
The world is seen in a shade of red. The sky is cloudy with a haze that reeks of woe, and the bullets that cascade to and fro leave permanent cracks of terror. No one is safe anywhere, and at any minute, someone could die at the hands of another, or of something more sinister. The world is a wasteland, and cities have been subject to raiding caravans, or been controlled by bandits and cut-throats. In the city of Moscow, a settlement known as ‘Wither’ has been established, run by a man named Alex, and protected by a squad of men and women willing to risk their lives to save the innocent.
A man awoke with a gasp, and panicked to sit up. He had a thin sheet over him, and as he looked around, the room he was in was dark. He heard the faint snoring of others around him, and tried to make his deep breaths less noticeable. He straightened the sweater he was wearing, thick and dark grey from dust and dirt, but it kept him warm.
“Ah, I see you’re awake.” A voice came from his left. The man recognised the voice as his friend and mentor, Pavel. “I take it that you had that nightmare again, eh?” There was a faint chuckle in his gruff and strong voice, as if he had become used to this spectacle by now.
“Y-yea… Yet again…” The man managed to utter back. His voice was weak, like a cat compared to the voice of Pavel.
“Remember, comrade, what happened at that facility, it was not your fault.” Pavel said back. He struck a match and lit a candle, adding a small amount of light to the dark room, and a faint smell of vanilla. “The government wanted anyone who knew anything about the project to be… Dealt with… and he was, well, he was unlucky.”
Somehow, Pavel’s words managed to calm the man, but he was unsure why. After all, his friend was killed without a word by armed soldiers, military soldiers, nothing like those seen in the wasteland that is the Earth now. He felt that is was his own fault that his friend had died, that somehow he should take the blame, but there was no telling why.
“Come on then, comrade, grab your supplies. We’re on patrol in The Dead District this evening. Grab some beer from the table on your way out. While you’re at it, grab a few extra filters for your gas mask.” Pavel spoke as he stood up, and grabbed some objects from a table, probably extra bullets. In the faint light, the man saw light reflect off of some metal item, which he assumed was Pavel’s AN-94 assault rifle.
The man stood up, and reached beneath his cot, pulling out a small backpack, a box, and an assault rifle not unlike Pavel’s. He opened up the box, and pulled out a pair of heavy boots, a thick jacket, and a gas mask. The boots were a little bit loose on his feet, but they worked as they needed to. The coat was heavy on his torso, being as it was thick, custom made with material to keep it thick and tough, but still allow for mobility. He zipped up the inner zipper, and fastened the outer buttons, bottom to top. His backpack was thrown on nice and quick, and, grabbing his gun and gas mask, he ran down the corridor Pavel had walked down. He stopped by a crate on the floor, lightly illuminated by another candle, this one smelled of cinnamon. There were several glass bottle full of a deep red liquid, and a few bullets alongside a gun clip. The man grabbed a bottle and shoved it in his pocket, and kept moving down the corridor.
“Ah, about time you showed up.” Pavel called out to him.
As the man stepped out, he took a deep breath, and saw the world once again for what it really was. The city that they called home was a barren landscape, lacking any plants, and bearing soil the colour of stone. The sky was black, and covered in thick clouds, hiding the moon like he himself had hidden his weaknesses with armour. The city he once had dreamed of visiting, Moscow, was a barren mess of destroyed buildings, abandoned vehicles, cracked roads, and of course, bandits.
Two men stood beside Pavel, and the man knew of neither of them. They weren’t the usual two soldiers that accompanied him and Pavel. One was a thinner man, wearing the usual thick jacket and boots the soldiers have, as well as a pair of damaged glasses. The other man had similar equipment, though his jacket had a series of patches sewn on, each being a symbol of the lives had taken. That is how soldiers in the wasteland work. Get a kill, and show off that you did it. Gain respect. Get feared. Become a warrior in the world. This man had no less than two-dozen patches sewn onto his jacket, and he seemed like it meant nothing to him, that he did it because he wanted people to know of his skill, but not because he needed reassurance. He knew how skilled that he was.
“This is our troop for the evening. Vitaly took our usual troop to the hospital with him this morning.” Pavel said to the man. “This is Vladimir. He’ll be the pack captain.” He pointed to the man with the sewn on patches. Vladimir spat on the ground, and looked away, saying not a word. “And this man here is Ivan. He lived in Moscow before The Fallout happened, so he knows how to get around. He’s our guide and pack support.” He pointed to the man with the glasses. Ivan waved, and gave a reassuring smile. “And gentlemen, this here, is Nikolay, our local scientific expert.”
The man, Nikolay, nodded to his fellow soldiers, and then turned to Pavel, his friend and mentor. “So, we’re heading out then?” His voice was still as pathetic in comparison as always.
“Now you listen to me, you little sewer rat.” Vladimir spoke up, directing his booming voice towards Nikolay. “I’ve heard nothing about how good of a shot you are, and to ME, that’s a bad sign. So just stay back, and let me do my job. Got it?” By now, Vladimir’s face was right up to Nikolay’s, his rank breath making Nikolay want to gag.
“Alright, ALRIGHT.” Pavel cut in, and pushed Vladimir away. “We are a community here. We help each other. Remember that.” He brought a bottle of the red liquid to his mouth, and swallowed a big gulp of it. “Now, let’s go and make sure that none of those cut-throats make it to Wither.”
The men started walking down a crumbled road. The clouds in the sky were dispersing, and the moon let out a faint glow, illuminating the city before the soldiers, exposing the carnage of the city more so than before. Vladimir took the lead, surveying the area ahead of the others. For a while, the pack continued on its route, and eventually hit an area where the air was thick and cloudy.
“Masks on.” Pavel called out. Each of the soldiers put their masks on, and fastened them tight. “Gentlemen, welcome to The Dead District.”
“Looks like some bandits had a bad encounter here.” Ivan said, motioning towards a crashed bandit car, easily recongisable by the modifications, a spiked front-bumper, and metal bars on the windshield. “I wonder if there’s anything worthwhile in there.”
“Nikolay, go check it out.” Pavel called out, and waved Nikolay over. Vladimir walked ahead instead, and shoved Nikolay out of the way.
“I’LL look and see. Or is that a problem?” Vladimir said, glaring at Nikolay, but obviously speaking to Pavel. Before Pavel could even answer, Vladimir walked over to the car and grasped the handle. He pulled hard, but the door wouldn’t budge. Without a word, he raised his gun to the window, fired off a few rounds. He reached into the car, and unlocked the door. “Just some dead bodies.” He called out.
“No useful supplies?” Nikolay called out.
“IF THERE WERE ANY ****ING SUPPLIES, I WOULD HAVE SAID SO, WOULDN’T I, GENIUS!?” Vladimir called back, a very hostile tone in his voice.
“CALM DOWN, VLADIMIR, OR SO HELP ME GOD I WILL-“ Pavel began, but was cut off by the sound of gunshots in the distance. “Damn it… Come on, stay close and stay low.”
The pack continued down their route, and reached what was once a large building.
“This building… It was once a bank.” Ivan said softly. “Down the street there are a few more businesses, and I believe a convenience store. Perhaps some bandits stopped by for some supplies?” Pavel and Nikolay pressed themselves against the bank wall, while Vladimir and Ivan ducked behind a car that, along with about four others, was crashed into the bank about ten feet away from the corner.
“Uh… Pavel…” Vladimir said softly. “You might want to have a look at this…” Pavel looked around the corner, and saw a sight that made him stare in utter shock. His comrades and fellow militant commanders, Marina and Boris, and on the ground, the dead body of one of the other commanders, Oleg, bullet-holes all over his body.
“Did… Did they…?” Pavel muttered to himself. Nikolay had remembered these commanders from back in Wither. Oleg was a very religious man, preaching the word of Jesus Christ to all of those who would listen, while Boris was a man who reveled in the prospect of war, and took glory in his battling. But Marina was the one that worried Nikolay. Ever since Nikolay had known of her, Marina was struck fear into his soul. She was distant, and had an ominous flow to her personality, constantly fluctuating from sympathetic, to spiteful. Vladimir said nothing, and hopped over the car he was using for cover, ducking behind another one about fifteen feet ahead.
“God damn it, Vladimir, get back here!” Pavel snarled, and ran forward to the car Vladimir was behind prior to his venturing forward, taking a position next to Ivan. “What the hell are you doing? Get back here now!”
Vladimir ran out from his cover, his gun aimed directly at Marina, and he held down the trigger on his gun. Shot after shot fired out, but just as soon as the commanders, they had their guns aimed at him, and within seconds, Vladimir was a bloodied body upon the ground, marinating in its own crimson life.
“VLADIMIR!” Pavel called out, not thinking to keep his position hidden. Within a second, Marina and Boris had their guns trained on Pavel’s location, and they fired away. Pavel ducked behind the car once again, and kept low. A few stray shots managed to find their way into Ivan’s skull, and he collapsed to the ground.
“Alright, alright, STOP!” Marina called out to Boris. Both of them ceased fire, but Marina kept her gun focused on Pavel’s location. She began taking strides forward, still focusing her gun on the car that Pavel was behind. As he peered over to try and survey the area for her location, Marina fired off a single round directly at him, striking him in the shoulder.
“GAH, ****!” Pavel yelled in agony, and ducked back behind the car, but before he could collect himself, Marina had run forward. She rounded the car, and brought her boot to Pavel’s chest. Nikolay watched in horror, too afraid to act as he watched Pavel, a man who had trained him, a man who had risked his life countless time just to help the citizens of Wither, helpless at the hands of a woman who had once called his comrade.
“Well if it isn’t Pavel. Pathetic fool, why are you even wasting your time trying to help those people back in Wither, eh?” She asked him, her gun trained at his chest. “You spend your time walking all over this once beautiful city, crawling on your hands and knees to find any scrap of food or material that you can, for those... Those leeches… They just sit in the town, expecting everything to just fall into their laps.”
“Dammit, Marina… Those people look to you for, agh, for safety… FOR HELP!” Pavel growled back at her. “There is still hope for humanity with what we do. We help people go on, ack, we help them survive, we help them build society from the ground up! How can you not see that!?”
“Hehe, you’re funny, Pavel.” Marina chuckled back. Boris had walked up at this point, and was making sure that no one was coming up to shoot them, though, from his vantage point, he couldn’t see Nikolay, still pressed up against the wall of the bank.
“Listen to me, Pavel, I’m tired of those peasants taking my skills for granted. Any day, I could die, but would those people notice? No. They’d give my position to someone else, and then they’d go day to day, putting their life at risk.” Marina preached, waving her head about as she spoke. “I’m sick and tired of how much work I put in, and how little recognition I get. So listen here, I’m going into Wither with Boris here, and a few of my new cut-throat friends, and we’re taking everything, and killing anyone who tries to stop us. Understand?”
“Damn it, Marina, don’t do this!” Pavel yelled back.
“It’s too late now, you old fool.” Marina uttered back, and kicked him in the chest once again. “If I died, all of my equipment would go to people who don’t need it, who don’t deserve it. But listen here, Pavel, if YOU died, your equipment would go to another commander.”
“Marina… What are you-?” Pavel tried to exclaim, but before he could finish, Marina had grasped his gas mask, and ripped it off of his face. He scrambled, grabbing his throat, and reaching for his mask that was now in the hands of Marina. She stood still, staring down at her ex-comrade who was gasping and choking to death on the thick, polluted air of The Dead District. Within seconds, he fell to the ground, motionless.
Nikolay stared, without a word, struck with terror at the sight he had just witnessed. As Marina and Boris were taking the supplies from Pavel’s corpse, Nikolay turned back towards Wither, and ran full speed, never looking back, never stopping to catch his breath, leaving the horrible scene in The Dead District behind him, along with the body of his mentor, and one true friend in the wasteland.
Such is the way of the world these days. People scavenge for supplies every day, just to make it until tomorrow. People kill each other without so much as a second thought, and even your closest of friends can become enemies…
Just like that.
But still, people have given each other hope through these hard times. People still help one another, for no reason other than they want to see each other make it through another day. And even in a world full of death and despair, people find a way… To have hope.
|apocalypse, russia, story|
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