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Simple Words of a Simple Man

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Ivan Karlovich Ulyanov, son of Karl Ulanov, is but a simple man.  A young man, unmarried, without significant other or children.  A man with very little, but proud of what he did have for he worked for it, earned it, and called it his own.

That was...before the infection.

This is his story.


Before the outbreak, I lived with my Father in the village of Gorka, due approximately 2 km east of Berezino.  Father never liked going to the city.

[align=left]"Too many people", he would say.  Gorka was small, but closely-knit.  Our neighbors were like family.

“Father and I had a small plot of land which we tended to.  A glorified garden to most...but it was ours.  It kept us fed and in good health all year around.  Whatever surplus we grew, we took to market for a fair price.  Father taught me to never rely on money, but instead, the mind.  To learn how to build things and create things rather than buy them.  Money was finite and its value never stayed the same.  Knowledge, however, only grew more important with age and experience.”

“I distinctly remember the day we learned of the outbreak.  Across the country on the eastern border, it was nothing more than a brief topic of discussion with neighbors in passing.  Then the infection spread, more and more people became infected.  Horrible stories and images on the news forever burned into memory.  More death.  More destruction.  Cheranus found itself embroiled in an epidemic.  Concerned neighbors with family in the east left to find their loved ones...none of them returned.  Gorka became more and more quiet over the passing days.”

“Father and I spared what we could to help refugees passing through to Berezino.  Food, water, and whatever extra clothing.  Always a kind man, if not an opinionated one, he would give the more vocal, able-bodied men tools instead of necessities.  Things for them to provide for their families, just as we had to our own.  Very few found sobering lessons in the experience.  I could not blame them after being displaced by the chaos and the solemn, forlorn looks of mourning...of loss.  The last time I felt such was when Mother died.  For the first time, I am glad she passed before she saw all of Cheranus fall apart.”

“In the coming days, the tide of refugees grew larger and larger.  By the final day, it was a steady march for hours.  Men, women, children...entire families.  Cars backed up on our small road through town as far as the eye could see.  Thankfully, they cleared out by nightfall.”

“The next day, however...there were no refugees.  No cars.  Only the panicked, terrorized cries of those being chased by the infected.  Gorka's serenity was shattered as these rabid, crazed men and women assaulted and attacked innocent people.  Tackling them to the ground, biting, clawing, scratching...even eating their flesh as they cried for help.”

“Father and I barricaded our home with what lumber we could secure from behind the shed.  For two weeks, we remained still...quiet.  We watched and listened for the chaos to subside outside.  Occasionally an infected screeched and howled at the door or windows.  The glass broken and door splintered, the barricades held...for now.  With nothing but a side-by-side double-barrel shotgun at our disposal, fending them off was out of the question.  There were too many.”

“Our supplies waned...but so did the carnage outside.  With nothing but the sounds of the wind and occasional rainstorm pelting our roof, Father took our shotgun and the yoke we made to carry two water jugs.  He said he was going to the neighbor's well to refill them and would be back shortly.”

“He did not return that day...or that evening...or in the morning.  Each hour that passed, my heart grew heavier after witnessing what those...things were capable of...and the fate he likely suffered.  I did not want to make assumptions...but even I was not so naive to believe otherwise.  My throat dry from thirst and on the last day's of rations, I gathered the rest of our supplies into an old backpack.  Dressing warm with layered clothing beneath, I left our home.”

“Gorka was never a busy metropolis like Berezino...but the silence was unsettling.  All save for the decomposing, sun-baked bodies of infected and victims alike.  The noxious, nauseating fumes and angry swarming of flies were difficult to stomach at times.  I called out to friends and heard no response.  My father's name, much of the same.  I found Father near the well...what was left of him.  The shotgun lay beside him with two unfired shells in its breach.”

“To this day, I wonder why he had not fired at whatever killed him...or whomever.  Given the nature of this infection...he saw someone familiar possibly...hesitated...and it cost him his life.  I miss him greatly, knowing I am alone against this hellish landscape.  Taking the shotgun, I filled water bottles and set out for Berezino in hope of finding more people.”

“Father always said Berezino had "too many people" for his liking.  Now...I think there aren't enough.  I alone walk these bloodstained streets.  The silence is deafening.  Everyday I hope this is only a dream and to wake up from this madness.  Every day, I find myself in another living nightmare.  I question why I keep going with the world around diseased, ruined, and decomposing before my eyes.  Then I remember...other people like me are out there still.  People that escaped the infection, only to be thrust into this living hell.  Maybe I can find them and with them, solitude.”

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Always enjoy to read stories that happen right after the infection started, it's my favorite part of any movie, book or story about zombies. +1

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"There is a certain beauty that can only be found in Cheranus. I do not know how far this infection has spread or if it has left our borders, but this place. My country. My home...it feels empty. Neither dead, or alive...just empty. Lacking. Missing something. Missing people."

"Today, I was reminded of what we once felt. Reminded of what we once were. Not a farce of broken hope, but real hope...that maybe a future still lay out there for us all. I met not one, but two men in my travels along the coast. A kind man provided me transport north to Berezino from outside of Kamishovo in his truck. Whether it belonged to him before the infection or not mattered very little. It came into his ownership and he used his transportation for good. He said he was in search of his brother. I hope he finds him. Family is important. Especially now."

"The other was a man by the name of Sam. Sam was looking for a market in the North in Novodmitrovsk. I am not terribly familiar with the area, but I offered my guidance and companionship for the long road ahead of us from Dolina. He told me of his life before the infection and how he came to reside in Chernaus. A most unlucky fate if any believes in it. A very smart, intelligent man, an engineer for a permanent carnival. He wants to use his knowledge to repair the radio tower at Green Mountain...to call for aid...help...anything in this living wasteland. I wish I was smart enough to help him beyond knowing the land and where to go. I only hope others will follow in his footsteps."

"After several hours on the road, we finally reached Novodmitrovsk. Like Berezino, I found it unsettling with the absence of people. Reminders of life coming to a screeching halt as we knew it...but no more. Only silence. We found the weather to be cold, but the traders we successfully reached were warm and inviting. Their wares had been wiped out in a storm a few days ago. I donated what I could to spare. Greed, vanity, and gluttony are the traits that got us in this mess. Just because the apocalypse is upon us does not excuse a lack of manners. Father taught me to treat others with respect and kindness to earn it in return. All I have to remember him by is this shotgun in my hands and the lessons instilled upon me as a boy."

"I intend to carry both with me for the rest of my days."

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"Today has been...difficult, to say the least.  I wish I had a more profound way to express what I am feeling now.  Sadly, I do not.  Words alone cannot do justice the hollow, aching void in my heart as it hangs heavy within my chest.  It hangs heavy as I stand, isolated, in the square of Gorka.  Home.  My home.  It hurts to breathe as my insides are knotted up, the cold air tearing at my lungs.  Anxiety, I think it is called.  I am not nervous to be home...just...empty.  Sad.  Sad and empty."

"However, I was not alone.  Once more, fate has allowed me to cross paths with others struggling to survive in this beautiful wasteland of Cheranus.  Once more, Fate has smiled upon me as these strangers turned out to be friendly in nature.  Through my conversations with Sam prior, I came to know Gorka held infamy across the countryside in being favored by those that sought to do harm to others.  To take their things.  To steal...and possibly kill.  Bandits, he called them.  I confirmed this in Berezino as I rest my feet for a little while around a fire with Jake and Jimmy.  When I told Jimmy of my desire to return home as we shared stories, the look in his eyes changed.  Maybe it was my determination...or my desperation for something familiar...but he offered to accompany me as there was strength in numbers."

"Unfortunately...maybe due to my own eagerness...or mental coping, I led us to the wrong town.  Neighboring Polina to the south as I took the wrong turn at the petrol station.  I informed Jimmy of my mistake, but he didn't mind.  Instead, we rest for the night after a long day of walking.  When I awoke, he was gone.  I wish him luck and safety wherever he may be now."

"With warnings from multiple people fresh in mind still, I was cautious...paranoid, even.  Unhealthy?  Maybe...but it keeps me alive.  It is better to be paranoid than dead.  Every uncertain sound garnered my full attention to its source.  I avoided the roads, kept close to treelines, and remained low enough on hills to not silhouette myself against the horizon.  Not everyone in Cheranus is friendly.  I have had fortunate luck in finding those willing to offer a hand in aid rather than a fist in anger and greed."

"Thankfully, these people offered a hand and shared with me their story.  Audrey, the lady with the beautiful voice.  Jay, their leader of sorts and affectionately called "El Capitan", or "The Captain" as I was told in my confusion.  Jay was not fond of this name.  He seemed very angry...but in a comical sort of way as a term of endearment.  It was...warming to witness humor despite everything once more.  To see people acting like people and not opportunistic savages.  John and Matt rounded out their group of 4.  My arrival made Gorka have a population of 5.  A record since the outbreak.  They said they were waiting for more friends to arrive.  Understanding their apprehension, I kept my hands far away from my weapons and joined them at the courtyard of the church, near the graveyard.  Morbid, but fitting as I cannot be the only one that feels a little more dead on the inside with each passing day.  However...people like this remind me to never lose sight.  To never lose hope as we all may overcome this...and hopefully ourselves in the process."

"I excused myself briefly from their company to travel up the road...to home.  Seeing my childhood home against the clear blue sky again made my heart skip a beat.  A lot of good memories of life before the infection flooded my mind...but the closer I grew, the more my heart sank.  Mother Nature had begun to reclaim what was once hers.  The windows shattered, the shutters broken, and the door hanging on by a thread.  Memories of those long nights spent in silence, waiting for those...things to clear out...the clawing and scratching at the painted wood of the exterior walls.  I still see faint gouges made by fingernails.  Standing before this place...memories of life before...and Father...I could not bring myself to venture further in.  I dried my eyes with my filthy sleeve before making my way back into town near the square to rejoin Jay and the others.  I will return home one day...but not today."

"No sooner than I rejoined the others at the graveyard, we took refuge as a truck thundered past.  No intentions of stopping and laden with at least four men with military-grade equipment.  I try not to make assumptions or pass judgement...but given their disposition, I hardly believe they held noble intentions for others.  It was wise to hide from their view even if we outnumbered them.  I do not know these people, nor myself under duress.  I do not know if I could take another human's life.  I have never been pushed so far before to consider it and I pray to whatever God that has forsaken us that I never be forced to raise my weapon in self-defense against another of desperation and greed.  I fear that despite my wishes and attempts to do unto others as I wish to be treated...that day will come.  I only hope I am ready to do what is necessary to survive.  Then again...I question if it will be worth it."

"I may have only just met Audrey and the others.  So many people.  The most I have seen yet in one place since the infection.  I do not know them well, nor their stories...but they seem like nice people.  Just like me, they try to make the best of it and get by.  They offered me aid and sanctuary.  Until I am ready to return home...there are worst places to be in this country.  We may be similar, but they have something I do not:  each other.  Maybe they will come to accept me...maybe I will come to accept them and instead of having nothing, I will finally have something again."

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