Anxiety can get exhausting after a while. Can’t say the same for whatever the hell was messing with my chi. It is persistent I have to admit. And right now, it occupies the bulk of my attention. The haunting whispers echoed on and for the umpteenth time I would whisper back.“What do you want?” As if expecting a response.
I crouched down and leaned against the doorway. I alone occupied that main shelter. The other stalkers were either socializing or wandering around doing military things. Harboring all that stress was taking its toll and worse, I wasn’t making any friends here at this camp. Some of the officers still eyed me with suspicion. They did not seem at all affected by that ominous sound. Then again stalkers never show emotions. Good training I suppose. Looking at a bunch of hard core Slavic killing machines right here.
I inhaled deeply from a hastily constructed spliff. This weed came from the corpse of a fracture that would not accept no for an answer. Who the fuck is selling weed to mutants I wondered. I Held the danke cloud in then exhaled with the same intensity. This weed was good. Wouldn’t mind growing some right here in the zone. Could do with some vegetables too. Quality zone produced goods. Cordon seems a fine place for that kind of activity. That fantasy was short lived as the afternoon overcast took a turn for the worse. The zones chaotic weather pattern was not at all conducive to gardening.
I now find myself running an amateur assault pattern back and forth along rows of derelict military transports. I would dash through the muddy path from one rotted out bumper to the next. Scan the area. Then repeat. I must admit that the sensible decision would have been to: Take the same fucking path back that I took to get here. This of course, was not that path. Back at the camp, I grew weary of excuses. Decided to nut up and venture forth. Face the fear, Sempre Fi or whatever. The echoing whispers are now competing with thunder and lightening. The rainfall, relentless.
Blind dogs charged at me from a few rows up ahead. I counted two before I jumped on to the roof of the armored tank next to me. Rain soaked and brandishing my sidearm. I let loose with cautious abandon. The dogs were fast and with the deluge running interference, targeting became a struggle. My pistol jammed. I reloaded and kept shooting.
Early this afternoon, on my way to the northern camp. I met a pair of lurkers, a chimera and a number of its associates. It was a surprise meet and greet and I was fortunate to have been able to negotiate my way with barely a scratch. In my experience, Lurkers often hunt in packs of three. I remember at that time killing two. The third? Well that bastard was now standing right in front of me. Ever wondered about the abundance of soiled underwear left in hidden stashes? Pretty disgusting huh? Well I am here to tell you that at this very moment. I became a star contributor. Not even ashamed to admit this one.
As today’s cuisine warmed itself throughout my rain soaked cottons. I searched frantically for anything to crawl into. Problem though, the row of tanks I elected to defend offered none of that. No safety for you the rusted out machinery chorused in unison. The lurker tore a chunk from shoulder as it flew by. Blinding pain and profuse bleeding encompassed my entire world. Meds will have to wait I muttered, then scrambled from the top of the tank and hobbled over to the other row. The blind dogs of course were not having any of that nonsense. They began gnawing and ripping at my every step forward. The truck closest to me offered a bit of shelter. I greedily accepted and crawled under as the feral beasts continued their moment of joy. That lurker, well it vaulted in and out of sight, perhaps relishing that chunk of flesh it stole from me.
Barely had time to settle and apply bandages when a blast of psi-energy engulfed my every being. It Infected my vision with a toxic reality I fought to reject. Nausea overwhelmed me and my energy slowly drained away. Whispers grew intense. I began feeling weaker. Can’t stay here much longer. There is only so much protection my gear can offer. I began to blindly consume random items hastily fished from my backpack
“It’s moments like these,” I lamented, “that keep the role play interesting.”
My vision began to blur. My thoughts swam through thickened irradiated fog.
“Never ever consume zone produced.” something preached from within the ether. I nodded in agreement as my eyelids grew heavy. A quick nap I thought. The blind dogs continued to dig and scratch in my direction. I have some time before they reach. Just need to rest for a moment. Just need a little peace. I began to let go and embrace the psi.
I sucked air into my lungs greedily then stared perplexed at the muddy driveshaft directly above. The drugs were finally kicking in. Panic set in as I remembered where I was. The bleeding had slowed but Mutants were still there growling and digging out a passage towards me. Pain? a distant annoyance. Health? are you fucking kidding me. These scientists know their shit and my resolve hardened. I quickly dispatched of the dogs with my sidearm. The lurker proved impossible as it was nowhere to be found. Armed with my blade, I crawled from the safety of the truck and began an uncomfortably spaced out jog towards the northern camp and as far away from this psi-field as possible. The rain continued unabated. My mind, erratic from the bouquet of enhancements. What I am trying to say is: I’m high as fuck, and I want to go home.
Suddenly. Up ahead and far beyond my field of vision. Excitement erupted from the northern camp. All kinds of weapons heard discharging. There were cries for help and that familiar howl rang out. The lurker had paid that camp a visit it seems. Another change in plans was in order. I quickly broke left to find that familiar path I took to get here. Network chatter lit up with announcements of the passing officers. They did not fare well. And hell no I wasn’t about to go back for any of that loot.
The feint stench from my zone produced mishap permeated the air, as I rummaged through that storage box just outside the path to Garbage. I was looking forward to freshening up and changing outfits. I pulled my sunrise suit from the box and proceeded fulfill that need. Storm broke when I reached the Dark Valley and taking the same path back was indeed one of my better decisions. The afternoon waned on leaving a beautiful sunset. I took a moment to enjoy. Just a few kilometers left and I’ll be among friends. I left the soiled underwear behind with the armor. And began that trek to friendly factions. Next on my to do list. That tech at the Freedom base. I have something he needs.