The past few days
have been filled with mechanics work. Scappers work, truly. Mob and Nix murdered while a convoy of gaffers attempted to join their repairs. Hours of driving. Navigating these towns, the ramparts and checkpoints of humanity's near final stand against shambling death now impeding our steps towards rebuilding. Gunfire warns me to stay at outskirts. Although I prefer straight through. Winding, weaving. At times these ramparts prove fatal, although it is our fellow man that offers more death than do the shamblers. In one small town, BS was forced to back up. But not before a red sedan pulled behind our truck. A man armed with an assault rifle and grenade launcher stepped out. Drizzle and I jumped, rifles at the ready. And as happens so often in this world, the world shifted and our vehicle was free, sitting in a field. I now behind a house rather than facing our assailant. Drizzle dead. I pledge to pursue, but BS cannot leave me behind. Later that night, BS would be torn limb from limb, twenty meters from the truck.
One morning, I stumble across a bus. Attempt to drive it towards the airfield. I am rebuffed, as Abby is lost to a sniper. I return the bus, Gibs and I without view of Abby's murderer. I rush the field, Gibs' plan in my head. Checking buildings, staying in cover. I shatter the windows of the tower. Watching the tree line. Gibs watching over all. The tower cleared. Abby and legacy, a victim of the post-plague world, lay dead before the tower, untouched.
Often I've wandered the north. Feasting upon animals. Staying watchful of my fellow man. Secluded.
Yet my fellow gaffers are who I'd prefer to join. So we are pursued by bandits. Shamblers. Men that shout traitor, spy. We seek parts, supplies. Struggle with killing in this world. Not wanting to fell a gaffer, shouting moreso than shooting. Heller described it far better than I can manage.
Tents. I'd set out in search of Abby, Gibs, legacy, wizzard, Osteo and Stunt. Yet tents are what I've found. Not ours. Yet too close. I halt. Wide eyed. Two men stare back at me. No friendly dances here. All of ten meters separates us. Death hangs in the air between us. My rifle finds my shoulder and fire bursts forth. One man is hit several times and tries to run for the woods. His friend ducks behind the tents. I cross to trees adjacent the tents, firing. My grenades find the rear of the tent. I watch, listen. No death here. Foes lost to the wind. No bodies to be found.
Abby, Gibs, legacy, Wizzard, Osteo and Stunt join me. We head towards the airfield, Gibs and Abby take to the hills. We cross to the communications tower. Legacy, Wizzard, Osteo and Stunt begin to clear the comm tower. I run along the fence to join them.
"There is somebody here!"
An explosion. Silence. I alone outside the tower. Abby and Gibs still above. Then this world, with all its quirks in the wake of the shamblers, takes hold.
I fall. Conscious, but unable to move. Satchel charges line the ground in every direction. The comm tower destroyed. The shamblers's moans grow. My rifle and trusted revolver useless. The shamblers tear at my flesh. Their frenzy is sickening. I hear Gibs die over the screams and shrieks. Hope lost. Death is freeing, but so much yet to accomplish.
Elektro. A town of betrayal and death. Salvation lays to the east. Here I stand, on its western bank. I creep through its docks. Shamblers seemingly subdued. A man, shamblers in pursuit. Weaving between buildings. He runs towards. I offer advice, of these docks. I shout. The friendly dance he must provide.
This stranger obliges. We dispatch his followers. I offer help. Food, ammo. More than I plan to use. Rifles and parts my goal. As I talk, he vanishes. As do his dispatched pursuers. Like the last ten minutes had not happened. A test? A spirit, now with the wind. It takes little time to stumble across more supplies.
Osteo and I cross paths near Kamyshovo. We run together. Clearing towns. Searching, surviving. The plague bearers swarm. Osteo their preferred target. He falls as they swarm. My pistol finds their heads. Osteo now surrounded by the dispatched on this coast. Trees perhaps concealing those that would eat our beans, but only after our lives had ended.
A...boat. From the ocean, a boat. Racing towards us.
Abby! Now a sea faring sniper. North we head. Airfield bound.
Nix and Mob have joined Broken by land. Assembled at the airfield. We drive, spare parts our calling.
We race towards the factory. Crawl to its walls. Nix feels as though someone has been here. The building cleared, we depart.
A man running through a field. None too surprising for our numbers. Yet...
I shout for my fellow gaffers to hit the ground. They scream that they are one with it. Nix, Mob and others near the truck. Osteo and stunt somewhere in the field. My rifle raised, watching as all are accounted. I shout and ask who I am walking towards. "Its me!" Stuntman. Relieved, but I continue, rifle trained. I tell him to stay there and let me confirm. He jumps up and fires. Not stunt. Falling. Yelling that it is not stunt. Mob and Osteo pursue. Osteo keeps pressure. Mob flanks my assailant. I hear gunfire. Mob, triumphant. Peace I've found in this field.
Cherno. Northward bound. To friends. Each barn I shall hit. Already I've found a wealth of car parts. A suspended man, clad in camo with death across his face, provided me with pack and bow. I run across fields. Bushes I avoid. But not too carefully.
Unbelievable is my luck. Bushes that annoy, yet bestow a bicycle. Working! A road bike. I fly, north by northeast. Upwards of sixty kilometers per hour. Positively beaming. I fly past Broken. He having to settle for Abby and his motor bike. Others in pursuit of a man lost to the woods, he having attempted to carjack Wizzard. My bike parked, I climb towards the comm tower. Abby inside, collecting.
A man, crouched. Always a man. I signal to Abby to take refuge in the tower. I armed with crossbow, and russian sidearm. I exchange friendly dances with the man. He shouts, asks if I can provide blood. No hospital I've been near. I take his blood, but he does not truly need it. Suspicions. Few innocently sneak to the tower. And this man, feigning need. His back to Abby, I cautiously step away. Abby lets loose with his rifle. The stranger falls. I tell Abby of this, and that the shamblers run towards him. Yet Abby comes outside. The man rights himself. I let my arrow fly. It finds nothing. The stranger fires at Abby. Believing trap, or defending us both? I empty two clips from this damned pistol into him. A stranger still, even in death. Mob runs up. Carnage before him. Mob, Wizzard, AJ and Broken had been running since the stranger appeared.
A night of discovery and glee capped by loss, death. I retreat to the woods. Silent against this night. With all the lives lost over this month, it ought to discourage. Strangely hope prevails. Once we wandered town to town. Often lost, always pursued. No fortifications exist, but more permanency we've found. Where we find ourselves, always in a better place.