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Smith    1

The cover of this battered notepad reads

IF FOUND PLEASE SEND TO SMITH FAMILY, AUCKLEY, DONCASTER, ENGLAND

Inside the pad are scrawling, handwritten notes, in blue ink. The writer seemed to struggle to stay between the lines and made a lot of errors which were crossed out.

Writing was always therapeutic for me. I had loved writing stories in school, and a huge part of me wanted to keep doing it. But my parents said I had the potential to become a doctor, so I tried doing that instead.

Now look where I am. I haven’t finished my degree, and I’m sitting in a barn in the middle of Cherno-fucking-Russia, writing in the firelight. Ryan is asleep, so I’m taking the first stag, but honestly this far north is so desolate - aside from the runners we haven’t seen a soul for miles. So why not return to my roots and write?

I want to at least document some of what happened to me here, and Mum - I’m sorry for swearing. It’s part of my vocabulary, I can’t help it. I love you all if you’re reading this. If you’re some scavenger reading this then I’m sorry but I don’t know you well enough, I’d rather we stayed friends.

I feel like I should give some sort of a recount if anyone finds this journal on my body. Like, a ‘how I got to be here’ or a ‘previously on’ whatever tv show. I’m not even sure what the date is so I can’t go from that, but in the past two weeks a lot happened since I was forced to leave the bunker. We had no food left and Sasha got sick, and insisted on us parting ways, even though I know pretty much fuck all about this country. She said she didn’t want to ‘turn’ on me. I later realised she thought she was infected. I’ve been boiling my water since.

I found the coast pretty early on, and followed the main roads to the bigger towns that I can’t pronounce. Food was what I mainly needed, but finding a scoped rifle and some other shit was nice. I hadn’t seen anyone ‘til I got to Chernogorsk, if that’s what it’s called, and even then I only saw them from afar. I was sat on an apartment block’s roof, trying to catch the attention of cars going by, but they were turning off before they reached me, heading north. I stayed in that building a couple of days, taking pot shots at runners. It was lonely.

Heading north seemed to be where most cars went, so I tried to follow that road. I came across a village and was getting pretty torn up by the infected before some guy called Eddie helped me out. We escaped into the woods and sat and talked for a while. I was happy to meet someone, and he mentioned a survivor settlement in the area. Runners came screaming out of the trees at us, and I dropped my rifle and they tore my pack from my back. Fuck knows what happened to Eddie - I hope he made it but I’ve not seen him since.

* * *

Running for your life takes it out of you, and before long I passed out in a field, next to a haystack. I got woken up by vehicle engines nearby, and I followed the sound to a little village… that fucking village. Some other guy was there too, armed, and like me was hoping to wave down a car. That guy had a crazed look in his eye, and was so skittish. He creeped me out but he was armed and I needed someone to drop the pack of runners that we had attracted. A car did stop for us with a talking fucking bush inside. How he managed to drive with that suit on I do not know. The crazy dude said he was injured, and sure enough he was leaking all over the seats, one of the infected had taken a chunk out of his leg as he tried to get in the car. Bushman drove a little further before bandaging him up, and the crazy dude said ‘Ta!’ before jumping into the sedan and driving away.

Bushman wasn’t pleased, understandably. He cursed and pulled me by the arm to the ground; a pack of runners passed right by us, following the car. I didn’t get to talk to Bushman long before the crazy guy came screeching back around toward us - I’m surprised Bushman didn’t shoot him. He just told the loon to take me somewhere safe, and I jumped in naively.

Sure enough, crazy eyed guy was a fucking lunatic. He stank of piss too. Driving wasn’t a strength of his as we teetered around the country roads, and fucking bandits made it worse.

“This is the Volki, stop the vehicle and drop your weapons in the car now, or you will be shot!” I heard them over a megaphone or something, that or one of them has a very fucking loud voice.

Trapped between a crazy cunt and bandit cunts, it was a shit situation. I do not have fond memories of that day - crazy cunt insisted on driving away, even though I told him not to. Sure enough a bullet pierced through his chair, into his back, and he crashed the car in a town. I jumped out and ran into a church, and he limply followed. Sure enough the bandits turned up and dragged us out into a field, to question us. I blamed the crazy guy but they didn’t care.

They just fucking headshotted him. I don’t even know what happened next, but I remember being shot in the chest.

* * *

How I survived? No fucking clue. They didn’t even check my pulse, just stole the other guy’s shit and left. I passed in and out of consciousness a few times, but was able to stem the bleeding.

I don’t remember the next few days, it’s just a haze to me now. All I know is that one night I found some soldier, I think he was called Sten, and we threw some flares by the road. A fire truck, of all things, came up to us and gave us a lift. A hunter named Akadi was driving, that guy pretty much saved my life. He took us to the settlement and a once-infected doctor (scared the shit outta me at first but he’s a nice guy) sorted me out.

The settlement… I’m amazed that there is actually a safe-ish place to go to. A lot of pricks go there but there are good guys too. A group called Cerberus gave me an AK and some ammo, and one of them took me on a hunting trip. BACON. I hadn’t had bacon in years. I stayed in the camp a few days, hunting in the surrounding area and trying to learn the politics of the region. Whatever, I just need to know who not to piss off, and who are guys I can trust. I’d been living literally under a rock for two years so I knew fuck all. I can’t be arsed to write it all down, though.

I actually met Ryan there too, and Alcatraz as well. Before that some Chernorussians had… well... been a little passive aggressive towards me, so I ‘donated’ them some food I’d hunted. This guy called Anton and his quiet buddies, he took me on a road trip, kinda. He fucked off after a while and some of his ‘comrades’ called Dima, Malik, Alina, Alexandria and Vasily were with me. I was scared they were going to just shoot me in a field and I really didn’t know why I even agreed to go, but they were actually nice when you got to know them, just untrusting of foreigners. I still don’t know what group they were, they deflected all questions about that topic. Later that day I met Alchy, and we went on a hunting trip. Said he was trying to find his brother. Not far out from the settlement is when Ryan met up with us and joined the little hunting party. We spent that day together, and it was fun. I feel I can trust those two. For the first time in a while I felt comfortable.

I’ve spent the last few days around the trade post, hunting and chatting, and I’d learned of an incoming horde headed its way. The local group, with fucking tanks and shit in the trade post, the CTC (no one has even told me what it stands for) - they organised a ragtag band of survivor militia to help fend off this huge horde.

* * *

Fuck… last night… I’ve tried to not think about it, because it was horrible. I don’t think I could have been a soldier before the outbreak, in a huge battle like that? It was utter chaos. I was scared shitless. I don’t even know how to describe it. I volunteered to help, and by the time I reached the base that the CTC had set up it was pitch black, with headlights and flares everywhere, and gunfire in the distance. Apparently other areas were thin on men and a lot of us were recruited to go reinforce ‘em - a chopper was taking us but I got stuck on my belt before I could jump out and the pilot didn’t know I was still there. He was making a few passes with the guns on the helo, and needed gunners, so I volunteered. It took me a few minutes to get to grips with how to use the thing - good god it was powerful. We were flying over a barn, it was illuminated in a fantastic red hue from the flares, and I poured down lead from above as the pilot made a fly by. The other gunner dropped out somewhere but I was too cowardly - I felt safer in the chopper, out of reach from the infected.

There were just so many of them. One by one the flares were going out and the trucks were getting swarmed. I couldn’t see anymore and the pilot couldn’t hear me when I asked if the barn was overrun. I could see survivors running for their lives away from it, and the pilot brought us low to allow some of them to climb aboard.

I’m not even sure what happened. I must not have buckled my belt properly because I slipped out and dropped about ten feet into the field. I could see people running past me and hear the chopper overhead, but I was in so much fucking pain. I couldn’t move.

I think I passed out for a second but I was terrified. The horde was not far from me, I could hear their ungodly screams as they tore into the flesh of anyone who had slipped in the retreat. My vision was swimming so when figures approached me I panicked and reached for my gun.

It was angels though, fucking angels. Some guys grabbed me under the arms and pulled me out of there. They risked themselves to save some dude they didn’t know, and we managed to make it back to the base. I was seen to in the medical tent, and then we were told the horde was almost here - at our last stage of defense. I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking when I was at the walls. There were SO MANY infected. I saw so many survivors die, swarmed individually by packs of the bastards. I fired round after round but sometimes the infected just WOULDN’T go down.

That wasn’t even the worst of the chaos. Choppers appeared above us and took our support helo down. ‘Enemies’, people cried, ‘the Council!’. Who the fuck are the council?? Whomever they are, they came in full force with air support and armour - I saw the CTC tanks get blown to shit.

A full retreat was called. We ran into the dark fields, abandoning the base behind us. Back to the trade post. It was chaos there too. The CTC had lost too many men and volunteers were needed to man the tanks. RPGs were handed out. The council cunts were about to hit the settlement in full force.

I barely even saw anything. Snipers were taking potshots at us inside the walls, sat on the hills. Tanks were appearing through the trees, enemy choppers were doing fly bys.

I hid. People were dying all around me in the streets and I didn’t want to join them, their blood mixing into the trodden mud as survivors ran by and ignored them. I didn’t even see what these council dicks looked like, only a hostile tank as it rammed it’s way into the back gate.

With daybreak came the cries of victory. We won, somehow. Heavy casualties, but we won. Claims were made that there is a mole in the tradepost, and one of the groups left looking shifty. I don’t know who they are but I heard some of their members getting shit afterwards.

I needed sleep after all that. I slept for a long time.

* * *

And now to today. Day One. Numero Uno. That doesn’t mean day one but I didn’t do spanish at school so whatever. A lot has happened today, too.

I met Alcatraz again, and he said he knew his brother was nearby, so we set off to find him. In Stary we heard gunshots and some guy came running out wanting our help. We were wary but followed him to his crazy fucking brother. Ragnar and Rollo, they were called.

Cunts.

We’d helped them out, and I thought we were doing good by trying to guide them to the trade-post, but they fucking turned on us. I took a chance to turn around and lay some rounds into them but my fucking AK was on Semi-auto. I hit them but not enough.

I woke up hours later, Ryan had found me, he said he was nearby and heard the gunshots. Patched me up and gave me some kit, since the viking brotherfuckers had stolen everything off me. Alcatraz was gone too, I don’t know where.

Ryan took me back to the trade post where I was able to get patched up and to trade for another AK. I feel comfortable using them, now. I also traded a hunting scope to an old guy in a UAZ who gave us a lift to the nearby airfield, in the hope of getting more gear. It didn’t go swimmingly. We found some stuff but it got dark so quickly; we almost got swarmed in a building and Ryan had to use his pistol, drawing in even more of them. I nearly died then, too, a fucking zombie took a chunk out of my shoulder. A car was outside, it’s headlights nearly blinding us. Ryan didn’t want to risk running into whoever it was in the car, and me neither. I’ve heard awful tales of cannibals in the nearby hills.

We escaped into the woods, me barely limping behind Ryan, and sorted ourselves out. I took some antibiotics, just to be safe, in case I was infected. Ryan said he knew of a UAZ nearby that needed a wheel, which he possessed, so we went and fixed it - but there wasn’t enough fuel. We drove around in vain, searching where we could for a jerry can, but eventually the beat-up old thing couldn’t run on the petrol fumes. On foot, we kept searching, and found this camp by a barn. It’s about 3 in the morning, and enough is enough, so we set up a fire and stopped here for the night.

It’s eerily quiet. I heard a runner scream just before I started writing but it was very far away. It’s just so… silent here. I’m reminded of going camping as a child, and how nice it was to escape the city. Now, I’m wishing I could go back to a city that is safe. With warm showers. And burgers.

A lot has happened since I left the bunker. I still think about Sasha and her father, and how kind they were to take me in. I want to go home though. I want to see my family. I was told that the outbreak is now all over the world, and I try not to think about it. I’d rather my family were hunched around the tv, hearing a ‘previously on’ for a good show - and I am in the back of their minds, that little shred of hope that I’m still alive.

The thought of that helps me sleep.

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Smith    1

Another few pages, hastily written.

We were pretty tired after hiking most of yesterday, so we stayed at the camp around the fire all day, eventually setting off at night. I got to know Ryan a bit more - he’s from Yorkshire too, but was here with some PMCs that he lost contact with, now he’s just looking to survive.

It was about 3ish in the morning when we set off, fully rested. We found a jerry can before long and returned to find our jeep exactly where we left it, but the fuel didn’t give us much - enough to get to the nearby airfield and refuel. We had to leave before long, though, a horde of infected were passing through the area and we didn’t want to risk it.

We were headed to Berezino when Ryan accidentally drove us into a ditch, getting the jeep stuck. To be fair, it was almost pitch black and Ryan was still wary about putting headlights on, even though we hadn’t seen anyone. We had to leave the jeep for now, and wait until it was light so we could assess the damage.

Berezino is huge, I didn’t realise a city so big was so far north. It’s weird how there aren’t any people living nearby, there’s still quite a lot to scavenge. We found a few things, not much. By this point we were low on ammo though, so Ryan dropped his FAMAS for a silenced Bizon he found, and used that instead. The sun was rising at this point so we headed back to the Jeep.

Pushing it out of the ditch wasn’t easy but damn was I happy we managed to. I’ve gotten sick of walking everywhere so it’s nice to just sit. We also decided to set up a little camp in the North, in case we get separated. There’s food and weapons there too, in case we’re mugged. I won’t say where in case someone reading this tries to find it. Anyway, with it being lighter we went back to the airfield to try and find some gear.

Sure enough we got some stuff but we panicked when we heard a vehicle get close - I was in the barracks, listening, when some guy with an axe comes rushing through the door. I nearly crapped myself, but was wary. He was almost as scared to see me as I was him, and he quickly left to rejoin his friends in the van he arrived in. I didn’t trust him, not since the last two people I tried to help, so me and Ryan bugged out to the hills to watch the area. The van left and soon after another guy comes creeping into the airfield. He began shooting some infected, and eventually leaves. Ryan wanted to just see who he was, as he didn’t look threatening. He was also headed to where we parked the jeep, so I intercepted carefully, making him drop his weapon. Turns out he was some kid called Carlos, nothing interesting about him. Ryan directed him to Berezino and we went back to the jeep.

We later went to Berezino after leaving more stuff at the camp, but didn’t see carlos. We found a lot more shit and pretty much piled the Jeep full - we had about 5 AK variants at this point, but not much ammo. To the trade post, we decided.

Which didn’t go well. No one was interested in our AKs, and we were packed full. I was asking around for any buyers when there was a broadcast inside the camp - a council chopper had been shot down not far from there. We fired up the jeep and headed there straight away, but were downcast when we saw the amount of infected. I tried throwing a smoke grenade to distract them but nearly died when they mobbed me and knocked me to the ground. I started driving the jeep whilst Ryan grabbed what he could - an M420, an M4A1 and a pretty shitty shotgun. They’re just not useful in the apocalypse, contrary to what the films would have had you believe. But ah well.

We took everything back to camp, and tried to hide the jeep. A great day.

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