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Ouromov

Once on the field, always on the field

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"Ey! Jaro! Might want to use duct tape next time for that scope, idiot"
"Oh fuck off, Milan, ya?"

They shared a quick laugh, soon drowned by the echo of gunfire bouncing off the walls of high apartment buildings and narrow alleyways.
A quick jab like that was the base of their friendship, prodding for weaknesses and utilizing them when your friend was at his most vulnerable state.
To them it mattered more than proclamations and long winded speeches, or the ever repeated word "love" that used in the context of friendship was 
fervently avoided, but even when repeated, it quickly lost it's shine and edge.
No, to trust another to exploit and reveal your weaknesses, knowing they would never go deep across the line. Insults for them were even more valuable a currency than those speeches. For they knew that singular truth, when someone stopped making fun of you, they did not give a damn about you.

"We're falling back!" 

Amidst the chaos, the car had already parked to extract them. The doors shut and they were on their way, that uneasy first breath of partial relaxation filled the the air as the car propelled itself towards the city exit. Milan mulled over his earlier thoughts, the way they made him feel. It was warm, cozy, even safe... a sense of belonging... a sense of crackling glass.. the iron-coated whiff of blood.. the smell of gasoline and gunpowder... bullets...gunfire... fear..panic... hostility.. shock..... field hospital.. flat-line.



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It hit like an anvil, like the feeling of waking from a nightmare of falling. That tremendous jolt at the moment when you hit the ground in the dream coursed through him tenfold as he woke with that deafening array of images, scents and sounds. His whole body marred in cold sweat, his amber eyes darted from corner to corner in the empty room he had hauled up in. His heartbeat racing through his chest as he laid on the hard floor where he had napped, a habit he had not quite shaken off since his childhood.

As the sound of his pounding heart gave room for other noises to settle in, the house began making it's presence known. The floorboards and stairs creaked while the pipes rattled like someone was trying to crawl through them. Milan took a deep breath, clambering up into a sitting position. His fingertip featherly stroked the dusty floor, curious of what had once laid beneath. How the floor had been laminated and finished off, in any part that was not deteriorated by the ongoing hostilities. Perhaps another coping mechanism, bringing him back to his work from the recurring nightmare that haunted him, so it would not step into the waking realm.


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He stretched his neck from side to side and glanced through the gaps between the boarded windows after he rose up. His radio stirred to life, a plethora of voices ringing out. He dusted off his purple jacket.  "You sure had quite the fashion sense huh, Jaro.."  Milan smiled, before pressing the button down.  

"This is Jaromir..."

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Thanks man, appreciate it.  Just a bit of a mood piece for my PTSD character 😄

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The room was small, cramped even. Two chairs, no windows, a shut door. The lack of sound made Milan focus on even the slight shift in sound. The drag of air through the other man's nostrils amplified it's presence with every passing moment of silence, before it turned obnoxious. Like a small droplet of water falling atop your head every ten seconds, no matter where you moved. He tried to cover the sound by shifting in his seat, but it only delayed the inevitable. This had gone on for too long, it had been a straight forty minutes of silence. There was a limit to maintaining discipline.

"Why the hell am I here? This is ridiculous, with all due respect can we get to the point!?" Milan grunted as passions flared up.

The man smiled, finally showing Milan that it was an actual human that was sitting in front of him.  "There it is. You can't be out on the field if you don't act like a regular person. Feel, get mad, get sad, act a coward, act arrogant, make mistakes, perfection in this case is the worst thing you can do."

"Sometimes there will be times when you get caught in something real, embrace it, use that. Don't shun it as weakness, but as an asset to further your steps. That is your first lesson. Mr Straka."  The man continued.

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The reality he had experienced, had shuffled quite an unsuspected hand of cards to deal with...

@isaac lineheartDoctor Isaac Merko, befriended within those same frames as he had once before solidified as the only possible means he could trust a person. The same laughter shared in a plethora of shared insults, the same vibe as back then.. It had been nostalgic, he had been caught by the feeling and rode it too far. The game of dark hooded men in the forest and cheap scares to catch the eye of some ladies @Aiko, like a ploy of bringing your date into a horror movie or a haunted house had quickly moved from the playground into a mortuary.

He was an accomplice in the end, the mistake was his, the responsibility was his the moment he had stepped into even one part of the game to prove that he was human, that ended up as a twisted carnival leading to the death of an old man due to his naivety. A thought crossed his mind, was he really feeling all of this guilt or was it just him immersing himself.
He habitually began squeezing his flat cap in the room of the cabin as the whole weight of the situation fell upon him with every word from @MademoiselleDoctor Hope like an hammer upon an anvil. Every "Jaro", every question flowing through him like a flash of hot and cold, as if a callback to reality. The confusion, the disappointment and exhaustion in her voice and the way it made him feel showed him that he was here as himself and not some piece of a mirror he had picked up along the way to fill in a bigger picture.

@Brayces Perhaps Ellie had noticed that reality in his face, in his gestures or voice, all he knew that he was going to need to return a favor to her. If not only because her words vouched for him, but because she seemed like she had the best intentions in mind. The partial numbness he experienced through the years of defending his homeland made Ellie's vibrant emotions seem almost foreign like it did not belong to the current reality, but it was something that was sorely needed around.



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He began musing to himself..."Mistake" that word brought him back to that cramped room. He could use this, yes, but the main solace in his mind was that he did not find any similarities between the thought process of the Deranged Doctor and himself, perhaps it mean't that at least he was not going to go insane. But there was yet many a psychopath in Southern Zagoria he could square off his feeling against before the end came..

 

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Just like with the young girl Ellie, @Isaiah Cortez The Old man had proven himself to be the vibrant backdrop to the otherwise dreary reality at hand. His quick wit and warmth, the utter disregard for his safety when it came to the safety of his friends and family.
That strength of character was a weakness as well though, the thought of manipulation by the drug pushers flowed through Milan's mind, could they get to him through his granddaughters, definitely... Could they manipulate him against the doctors, definitely... But it dispelled as soon as he saw the broken body at the factory. The wheezing coughs, nigh incoherent speech. The situation in his country had reaped another victim, a victim that had only the best for his family in mind. The stubborn stubborn.. old man. Toting his granddaughters around until he gave his final breath in the chaos of the game that had gone too far, that he let go too far.

All of this wracked through his mind, on that long journey with a companion down to the place where it had all come down to an gruesome end. The casual conversation en route had almost fallen to deaf ears and his joviality was offered in a half-casual manner. The meaning from his words and voice stripped, that numbness flowing in once more. 
"We oughta do right by the old man, and deliver this"  The traveling companion, a man named Sonny exclaimed. A bystander in all of this that had seen parts of the story unfold. Or maybe he was not a bystander at all, only time would tell.

"Ya.. It's the right thing to do."



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The floor beneath was a horrid reminder of what had happened, that robbed him of any numbness. The dried blood on the floor, the thought he might've had a chance to intervene. Sonny placed the hat on the surgery table and exited the room. The purple cap bared similarity to the one the old man had worn. 
The color itself was a precious thing to Milan, it was the first subject he had talked to the old man about, them sharing the same taste in headgear. It made him smile as he lined his finger along the brim of the hat featherly. 

"If I ever do start up that bar, Old man. Like I told your grand kids, they will always be welcome. Just need that one to brush up her lines on convincing a bouncer to let her in. I'll name a drink after you."

"
odpočinek snadný starý muž, vaše práce v tomto světě je hotová."   
    (Rest easy old man, your job in this world is done)



 

Edited by Ouromov

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POOR JAROOOOOO

It's okay, Ellie believes him! She has too much faith in the kindness of people but not enough to trust them fully. A favor is a favor, specially in a time of need! ❤️ 

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"It's going to be fine, @Brayces Ellie. He is going to be fine... I just need you to stay calm and clean the wounds, while I get to work hmm?"

The words repeated like a mantra, over and over. At this phase he did not know if he was trying to comfort her or himself. Everything down to his very last fiber was trying to blot out the scene from his mind, his constant movement distracting him from the memory that he revisited nigh every time he closed his eyes.
Every crimson stain on the floor, every new thread linked through flesh to knit it together, every panicked breath, hesitant remark and mumble from the young girl by his side watching her mangled friend..

It all brought that heartbeat again, pounding so harshly it blotted out his hearing. Lights flashing at the corner of his amber eyes. It all made the scent of gunpowder and blood in the air sickeningly thick, like a tarred trap for his mind, that only extended further wherever he stepped without breaking. He was so near to the brink.. It forced him to hurry up his work with the stitching instead of risking getting swallowed even deeper into that abyss again, following Ellie's trails on where she had cleaned up. 

 

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@Dino Nikolai suddenly jolted up, and perhaps, just perhaps that was the spark to keep Milan from drowning in fully for now. The young man's groans, though sullying the air with dread for some, were a sign to Milan that the man was alive and still very much in the fight. Along with his breathy weak laughter when he remarked the ladies would appreciate his new scarring. 

"Look at Ellie mm? focus on Ellie while I seal these final wounds, it's going to sting a bit, ya?" 

His hands had already began to shake, but luckily their gazes were set on each other and not him. One more final loop was tied haphazardly against a wound...  He nodded with as much firmness as he could, mustering out a quick remark on him heading out for a while. It came with urgency. As soon as he had closed the door, his breathing became laced in hoarseness, rapid with minimal intervals in between. His digits scraping against the marred wallpapers for just something to hold onto and control the shaking. Cold sweat running in pearly droplets against his facial features. Flashes reeling over and over in his mind, like some twisted slideshow all up until that single image of a flat-line before his mind was regained.
Wandering in looking like a ghostly image of himself, he smiled faintly. 

"I'll keep watch until the Doctors arrive, mm?"


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He had half forgotten there was still life around in what had become the tatters of his homeland. And yet there was the pregnant doctor once again in front of him, discussing being tended to from a gunshot wound. Courtesies, principles or decencies did not extend to most people out here anymore, that was just a simple fact. No child, no innocent was safe unless they had the wits to deal with the madness that South Zagoria had descended into, that the world had descended into...

It took only a single radio call to bring that madness right back into center stage from the prospects of respite. The necessary mistake he had planned to take part in to strengthen his cover, a single crooked cog in the harmless game had ruined it all.. A completely unknown factor when he began yet now distant friend called "madness" had started to rear it's ugly head in every calculation he was going to make from now on. He could not count out another Dr Merko from happening, the mistake had nearly cost him his life, perhaps it would now and not just him.


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He had failed, a single detail left unmentioned in the whole Merko ordeal, he was sure he had spoken of it... He was so sure he had mentioned it, and maintained control. This was already beyond a controlled mishap. Was he really beginning to slip on the field? Trust broken even further, why did he care. Had he slipped too far into the role of his dead friend, his mannerisms... No, this was him...

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As he struggled to piece this all together, two familiar voices rang out. They began to arrange the scattered pieces together for him. Ellie's voice in front, spoken in swift shaken uncertainty, yet there was that foreign vibrancy he had felt the first time he had met them. That flow of emotion that had not yet jaded over from the harshness of Chernarus. It shone a light into that abyss, these two.. Damn these two. He thought to himself as he pinched the bridge of his nose hard to hide any form of emotion. In normal circumstances he would've shown it, it was his cover after all.  But no, this was different, this was something real and he felt ashamed of showing it to anyone.

"I-I'm going to have you make good on that promise, alright, Jaro?  We need to stick together..You made a promise."  Ellie's words once more rang. Part of it a blur, but the message was clear.

Milan nodded firmly, weighing it on an equal scale to his task. This was important, that vibrant echo of the old world that these two carried. It needed to be protected just as much as his country did. What substance would the world have on just a mere plot of land if the people did not follow in lieu. No, perhaps it was more simpler than that, it was his word that he had given to Ellie and Nikolai. He would keep these two out of harms way to the best of his ability. He would not break his principles on this one. Not to the two that were to each other best represented with the Chernarussian saying: 



"Snesl bych ti modré z nebe"  
(I would take the blue out of the sky for you)

It reminded him of his bond with Jaromir back in the day, but maybe these two outshone even that.. 

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That promise was fading as fast from reach as it had been forged. Surrounded, no escape from that hellhole that was of all places set in a church. What a place for karma to finally reap it's due. The ramblings of madmen, the stage was set so far against them that any form of negotiation would have to be set on a dice rather than any coherent diplomacy or deals. Lives hanging by the thread of what the men might feel like doing at the very moment a single sliver of a thought flowed into their broken minds. Anything might set them off, any small thing. A glance at the wrong time, a word at the wrong time.

Milan reached deep, his earlier experiences had steeled his nerves for today. Do not give them an excuse to harm them. "Do not play the hero, remember your mission." After an extravagant show of terror the questioning began, who knows what their motives were at this phase, but he did his shtick to the best of his abilities. Stress rising, it felt cold to the touch. This was a different monster, this monster he could handle better than his memories that he wrestled with. "Don't get angry. Don't get up." They could sniff it, he knew they could sniff out any shift. They were designed to, designed to look for any excuse to just get it over with.

"Well, unfortunately I made a promise and I intend to keep it."  Said the madman, as the message from the old man came to mind, a promise to kill "Jaro" just by association. It was so fitting that it almost made Milan sink into the same level of madness for a blink of an eye. He almost smiled at the situation, but kept it inside. Another man of principle stood in front of him, but this one was bat shit crazy about to make good on his promise.

"Any final words?"

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He stood against the wall, he had always pondered on his final words. Would he be defiant in the end, shout something along the lines of "Slava Chernarus". Go out like a cowboy sneering a "Fuck you". Or piss his pants in fear. But nothing came out, was it his training that simply locked his mind in place, to not give anything of value. Or was he really feeling that sense of fear creeping in. He wanted to give a look towards Nikolai but locked his head firmly in place.  "No.. don't give him a reason." he thought. Swallowing and looking at the man, the floor, the orthodox cross. The gun...

"I....hmm.."  He sighed. Quite a piss poor choice of last words stuck in his throat as the bullets rained, visibly scraping his neck and entering his abdomen as he fell to the cold floor unconscious.

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A jolt of pain hit him, he woke as if a lightning bolt lived inside his gut. A pressing excruciating pain, his amber eyes getting used to seeing again as the clouded silhouette worked above him. @DrMax  Jesus?... no.. probably a more handsome sight and welcome one. Dr. River. The pain spiked again, as Milan squirmed as much as his body would let him. Groaning out, before the morphine took effect and alleviated his senses enough for him to take a closer look.

This man did not trust him, far from it, he probably despised him. Was it his oath... yet another principle guiding the sinners under this church they had stumbled upon. The presumed kill shot had only scraped his neck, while the more dangerous gut shot had been dug out and sealed by the Doctor. 


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His hazed amber eyes tried to make sense of his surroundings, spotting a distressed Nikolai. It was rich in his voice, despair. He was trying to make sense of the situation to the best of his knowledge. To carve some reason into it, a path forward. Calming someone, Ellie... Her face, her voice, it seemed dulled. Like all life had been sucked away. They had done something to her, fed her that... drug. But she was alive, they all were alive. Perhaps that same divine providence that dealt karma had been their salvation as well. 

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Providence or not, the fact was that they had to move. Milan could not move, his strength had not returned. Carted around on a sled until they were forced to rest near a well. Trust was not a commodity shared in this situation, Nikolai and the Doctor were forced to turn away the helping hand of a stranger.

The dazed out Ellie sat next to Milan, her hand heavily resting on his shoulder. Must've been the drug, in the little time he had known her she had not dabbled much in contact like this, but where words could not answer to her. His amber eyes locked onto hers, any sense of worry or encouragement, apologies were simply uttered by that look. His digits wrapping around the tip of her boot, squeezing it and letting her feel the weight through, that would be his answer to which she wiggled her boot a bit. The meaning of words gets lost in their plentiful nature, this felt more honest. A little thing that might have held it's worth against a thousand words.. Unless she was too drugged off her gourd to even understand. 


He witnessed the urgency in Nikolai's voice as he mushed the group on to continue, confusion took over as they settled in a house. The small village was out of sight, but clearly something was chasing after them already. Ellie and Nikolai had vanished. A familiar yet not welcome voice rang from outside. "Holy shit, he's still alive?". 

The rest fell on deaf ears, the company of @GreenySmiley @Lyca two familiar faces watched over him. A hardened little girl beyond her years, and her sister whom filled the air with promises of baked goods and better days. Questions arose, and stories that he was equipped to listen to now better than ever, his voice would not protest as it could not.  His smiles were weak, his nods even more so, but his grip produced that same weight to show that he was still there. 

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Morning came fast, and so did the pain. But that police car had been on his sights the whole evening the day before. He dragged his rear against the ground, slowly using his arms to maneuver. Not the most graceful sight, but it would have to do.. Clambering onto the backseat he scoured for a radio, locating one beneath the seat.  He took a look around, and shut the doors. The radio fizzled to life.

"Nikolai... Ellie?"
 

No answer yet...He took a deep breath, before lying down and covering his face with his coat. His voice lowered further as the frequency shifted.


Chernarussian words "
 

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Such a good story!!!! AHHHHH all the feels ALLLLLLLL of them! Makes me wanna write the situation from Ellie’s perspective as well!! 

Good work Ouromov and keep it up!!! ❤️

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Part 1 - Fear and Loathing in Chernarus

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The initial anger directed towards Milan was striking his core, albeit his cover he was biting back any emotion bubbling to retort. Just like he did with the same madmen who had shot him less than week ago in the church. Like a puppet on a string, during questioning. Following and submitting.
He knew how this dance went, the music and the steps fresh in his mind from the last encounter. Any form of backtalk would only result in his wounds being re-opened along with possible new ones being created. He could not afford it, not now. 

Even when the harmless looking small capsule drifted down his throat. Such a small thing it was.. Driving lives of more and more people down.

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Bravado would only make things worse, as much as his every fiber screamed out for him to pronounce his love for his country, show that the flame inside him was burning just as bright as his countrymen's. Their fiery yells defiantly and sternly pushing back at the madmen.
No, pushing to the front was not his duty, he was but an ember in a sea of embers that would light the country again. A small flicker, unnamed, lost in the annals of time once his job was completed or he died on the field. His actions alone would have to be that defiant yell, that single part in something bigger. His only solace that kept him going on.

Threats and harsh words from his countryman kept flowing though, suspicions and connections drawn to the very men who had shot Milan. The angry frothing yell right at his face had started to shift out from Milan's hearing. All he could give out was one final etch towards redemption mumbling about his connections, before nothingness...The sweet lull of nothingness... coursing through his very being. The yells were not much more than regular speech to him now, as he was ushered away.

A limp jog began towards the darkened woods.... the absence of light usually tore at the very foundation of anyone even without it being a phobia. The fear of the unknown, but not this time, he felt a part of it.. A part of the forest itself. He felt nothing, yet everything


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The bright rays began to flow through the treetops as minutes turned into hours. He absentmindedly stopped in his tracks. His digits reaching out towards the treetops as they danced naked against the warm light, curling in an attempt to reach a feeling. Even as the backdrop had lit up with color, he felt nothing. That same void that had persisted throughout the darkness was still haunting him in the most pleasant way ever...

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His memories tore at him the worst during the night, yet this particular night he had felt nothing. Not that black tar grasping at him, filling his lungs. Not that panicked fight or flight that made him curl against the hard surface of the floor, just to have something to hold onto. That feeling made him stop again, nay it made him smile, genuinely. It snuck up on his lips as they curled upwards, his lids falling over his amber eyes to take it all in. 
Relief, serenity, peace.. Maybe comfort was that holy grail he had looked for all these years, a single sip removing all those specters that haunted him. All gone with one bright flash of red and calm.

He flowed limply along the coastline, with no real destination in mind. Two travelers passing, each regarding the monotone Milan with suspicion and weary jovial attitudes. Quick to move away from him when the opportunity offered itself. Perhaps that serenity he felt inside traveled outwards in an unpredictable manner. The lack of care in his eyes and voice, signaling that he might do anything.

But still.. there was something still left in him, an inkling that drove him forward. That same ember that had been planted in him since the day he started his training. It guided him to his destination, an old shack by the coastline.
His body worked slowly, but with purpose. Barring the doors from within, before he crashed onto a soft bed for the first time in ages..  Succumbing to the relief and comfort. The void.. without fear.


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And then... the cage came down...

 

Edited by Ouromov

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I need you to write the rest, okay?? HELLO?? Okay, yes please thank.

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Posted (edited)

Excuse me. Excuuuuuse meeeeee.  Where is Ellie's tripping in writing form?   

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Edited by Ouromov

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Part 2 -  Fear and loathing in Chernarus

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The first strike jolted on Milan's body like a hammer upon an anvil. His very core being worked on like a piece of stubborn metal, each hammer blow dissipating that ember from within him. Letting heat escape from his body. That safe warmth he had grown accustomed to was now turning into a biting chill that was wracking him down to the bone. That very familiar feeling of the specter that had been hanging over him each night was creeping in, louder than ever before..

His body instinctively curled on itself. A breath taken in, a feeble attempt for control, yet nothing happened. His digits squeezing tight hold on the bed sheets, until his knuckles turned white, yet.. nothing happened. His heart was racing out of control, that thick tar now was rising into a lump in his throat forcing all the blood to pool into his head. He was drowning into himself. The beast was ready to be fed in a bountiful feast to come..

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No.. No, this time there would be no calming down...

The scent of gunpowder filled the room. That iron tinge sickeningly invading his nostrils as the smell of blood soon followed. That thudding heartbeat that clogged his ears at times like these, now made room for voices for the first time. They ringed out all around him, but for some reason he felt that it was right behind him. Like a presence he felt, but did not dare to confront. If his gaze shifted even once towards the corner of the room, his fears would be realized.

"Milan..Oy.."


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He barely turned at the familiar voice, yet he could already see the still silhouette lying on the floor. A near stifling flat-line began beeping in his ear, the flashes of that fateful day now clear as day. The gunshot that snapped through the glass of the car, into the temple of his friend. There was not much to be done on the operating table.. 

He scrunched his lids over his amber eyes tightly, up until he felt weight on the other side of the bed. A whimpering noise escaped his throat, his heart jutting up into his throat as his eyes slowly opened. The dead eyes of his friend staring right at him, glassed over, that blood still flowing from the wound on his temple. Before they moved, staring right at him....

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"Jaromir..!!"  His amber eyes shooting wide open at the sight

The rest of his words glued stuck into his throat as he rolled onto the floor, crashing down, holding onto his head as if it would shield him from having to see or hear. A pained wailing sounded out, it echoed in the small fishing village in an attempt to drown out his thoughts. His lungs dry with the constant scream, tears flowing freely. "I'm sorry.. I'm sorry!  I'm sorry..!" 

Like a dying animal he trashed on the floor, as if it would help him etch away from the pain. The constant motion served no remedy to his state, the beast was reveling gluttonous against his pain. Dining on it, as his pained cries filled the cabin. Continuous for whenever he was not nestling curled up into himself, breathing in and out in such a pace... like that was going to be his last chance to taste air in his lungs.


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Sweat marring his visage in beads throughout his whole body, clawing at his purple outfit, like it was another layer of skin that he should shed away having rolled into a corner, reduced down to a sobbing mess. Repeating that simple phrase he had started with. "I'm sorry."

Every time he thought it had settled like before, another wave passed through. Another dead hand grasped his shirt, his hair.. Another cold stare from his dead friend.. The man whose identity he had claimed and kept. There was no escape now, nowhere for him to retreat from his thoughts. 

His amber eyes staring at the holster of his pistol by his vest, every now and then turning to the cold corpse of Jaromir. His fingers flexing on themselves, his head ducking and hiding against the floor, as his forehead pressed harshly at the dusty floorboards. "No no... no no... Nhh... mhh.." 

There was an easy way out, there always was...


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THIS IS GOOD, AND YOU'RE GOOD AT MAKING THIS.

THANK YOU.

JARO I MEAN MILAN I MEAN JARO BETTER NOT SUICIDE!!

>:C

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It's the little things

 

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It took him a while to settle again after his nightly dream. That biting draw of the abyss that pulled him in with a gasped in breath. That singular moment of drowning in yourself and trying to run away with your feet unable to carry you.
It had all become routine now, under control yet always present. Perhaps that night of terror coming down from the drug had been a blessing in disguise. Allowing him to face the beast that haunted him, head on.

The sun rays caressing his face reminded him of the reason he originally signed up for all of this, all those years ago. Loyalty and duty were paramount, but it all paled against the little things. The insignificant yet irreplaceable minor details. Actions mattered more especially during times like these. But he could not escape that warmth that hugged his visage, he basked in it as his lids shut over his gleaming amber eyes. Digits greedily enclosing against the grassy patch he was perched on. That slight crackle singular blades of grass made as they were separated from the soil was like it's own little music. The wind rustling against treetops as the Chernarussian sky opened in full blue, kind on the eye. Not too bright, not too dark.

He could be anywhere in the world. But he knew already in his mind even if that was possible, those little things would not be the same. The birds would sound wrong, the leaves would be wrong. The sky would be another shade of blue. The crisp air that filled his lungs would be foreign.. No, this was his home. Where each of those little things had a memory connected to them, like a finely weaved silken web..



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He remembered that time, the momentary hesitation he felt when his heart beat up to his throat. Every tinge of nervousness had escaped his actions in an instant the moment he had decided to press forward, walking firmly with steps that knew exactly where they were going. All the hustle and bustle around them had faded into background noise. As if they were stuck in a singular moment, he could practically hear the brush of his finger against her skin. 

Eyes painted against each other's, like fine brushstrokes against brightly colored canvas. Each with their own story to tell, but they both were now sharing in a mutual tale. The presence of skin now becoming familiar as trust folded effortlessly into the scenery. Her delicate fingers mapped his features in return, seeking to find details her eyes could not focus on, in lieu of them falling on his amber gaze.

Those kind of moments...

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"káva, čokoláda a další káva"  ( "coffee, chocolate and more coffee") He smiled as he answered the radio. It had been months since he last enjoyed a cup. He could practically smell the dark gold in his nostrils, relishing in the idea of finally having a taste after such a long time. Perhaps his leg was just being pulled, but just the mention of the possibility had his morale soaring 

The smoothness of the chocolate melting in your mouth after that first sip of hot brewed coffee. Such a simple thing, available. Gone in the blink of an eye due to the state of the world. But that feeling had not been forgotten, it was a part of those intricate strings pulling him back up again every time he fell down.

He watched the garage in the distance where the two still slept, humming a laughter under his breath, shaking his head in disbelief at his own situation. 

"It's the little things, huh..."



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But reality knocked on his door, as a hatchet had found itself buried onto a wooden shed not far off from where he was resting. Just the seal on the letter embedded was enough for him to know it was meant for him. A dead man haunting from beyond his grave, scheming another play that might just start up a brand new butterfly effect all across South Zagoria.

This time he would not be caught in his web.

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His gaze traversed along the rickety floor of the shack they had chosen to wait out the night. Not a wink of sleep had reached him, but time passed, perhaps faster than he had anticipated. Logic, duty and gut instinct wrestling with each other, trying to make sense of everything he had gotten himself into.

Ranging from doubts to childish reasoning like the whole case was about a single candy being stolen from a pile. It was much bigger than that, but perhaps he wanted to hide that naivety in a veil of action. Out of sight, out of mind. Just his feet doing his decision for him.

But one thing was for certain, no matter how much he wrestled with it. He would have to do it now or never if he was going to, the timing would not be better anytime soon. 

 

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He gave the two one last glance, a pat on the shoulder, a shake of a cap. The sun rays had not reached the house just yet, but were threatening to soon pass beyond the treetops.
He was not good with farewells, it would've been blunt, perhaps even resulted in shouting. It was better this way, to let them both loose in a daze. They were strong enough now, strong enough to take his note and walk away.

Words, more words huh. Actions always rang the loudest and what he was about to do was to be louder than any measly note.

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His fingers hesitantly tore at the jacket that had hanged on him like a second skin, taking it off and neatly piling it on a desk. He stared at it, as if expecting himself to feel different. As if he had shed the visage of Jaromir, and would feel duty bound once more, forgetting everything he had gone through. Firmly taking the necessary steps needed to continue along what he had always been doing for his country. 

To no avail, it was him and not some imitation, not some specter wearing the skin of his dead comrade. It was him all along. Milan Straka. 
Jaromir had left his mark, just like the stories of these two.
Hesitation left his body in an instant, like sweat wiped off on a hot summer day. He set his hat atop the neatly piled jacket and turned for the door, walking out.

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Old instincts returned, without limitations of company, prying inquisitive eyes and minds alike. His movement was firm and relaxed. His raincoat followed the line of forests up until Central Kopec . Days gone just as fast as that night he had pondered on passed. He was no longer a prisoner of doubt, he had a mission and he would complete it.

Two guards awaited by the front gates, guns raised. Milan walked forward with his arms raised, complying.
"What business do you have in Miroslavl? Do you have any documents?"

"State Security Directorate business."  He bluntly stated, before producing the card from his sleeve, the name covered, but the rest of it making it painfully obvious that he was speaking the truth. It would buy him time, anonymity among the peering eyes of his supervisors who would expect him to be still in South-Zagoria.

The guards
 coughed, nodding fervently. "Very well, sir."
The gates opening soon after.

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Miroslavl was fortified, in quarantine through and through. A relic of past days, doubtfully any infected inside. The hustle and bustle of an actual safe zone under martial law.

He wandered the streets, covering his head with the ragged raincoat. His eyes keenly watching people go about their tasks. The bar was a popular spot, and perhaps the best place to start. He shook the excess water out and sat by the counter. Waving the older barkeep over.

"I'm here for information.."   He made sure his amber eyes locked onto his, as he moved his gaze down to his sleeve by the table, where his card was. "And for job and housing opportunities.. Understand? Nod if you do. Then look at me like I'm a perfectly normal customer and say "One vodka and a pack of cigarettes" so the rest of the bar can hear you."

The barkeep nodded, looking shook, but maintained his poise.  "O-one vodka and a pack of cigarettes, 
kámoš! Coming right up." 

He smiled to himself with a "hmh" of laughter rumbling in his throat, acceptance that the situation might lead to his capture, possibly death after one wrong move. Depending on how much he would push his authority around, how much he would make use of his training and his duty for this "excursion."
The possible fate was not the thing that made him laugh though, it was the fact that he had picked the perfect words to die with this time if it came to that.

His own brand of humor caught him smiling genuinely, gripping the barkeep perhaps even further in the web of temporary fear he had stumbled into.

 

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I keep missing these, Lovely Updates per usual Jan! 😄

WRITE MORE, MORE!! ❤️ 

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It wrestled against his senses, in any other situation he would've turned away. Even taken the wheel to guide them off the path that was going to be taken. Just a single name given by the emergency broadcaster, even when directly spoken to about it. There were too many variables where this might go wrong, that pressure upon his stomach and neck. As if the butterflies in his belly had turned into light-crazed moths. Darting all over the place, making him feel uneasy.

But there was that voice again, that nagging voice in the space of his mind that lulled him into taking the steps forward, to not raise any qualms and dance into whatever boon was being dangled in front of him, in that small little village. The boon of being able to aid when such help was a rare commodity

"It's going the okay, the people might be confused and scared. Maybe they don't want to tell, because someone might be listening, maybe they are thinking of the variables as well..."


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His gut had struggled against that line of thinking, but his heart and head refused to let go of the hold. And that is exactly when the men got a hold of them, there was no time nor space to wiggle in any plan anymore. It was too late, the trap had sprung and caught them in a vice hold. The perfect bait for doctors, patients in need...
A small window was left for him to contact his associates though he merely went over protocol in his native language. "Last known location, number of hostiles, number of captives and any names he knew." in hushed murmurs when he deliberately trailed behind to the culmination of their entrapment.

It was hard to figure out what these men wanted in the end, was it truly information? Just that.. with them remaining stable and professional. They didn't give the same vibe as the drug fiends. Dealing with instability and unstable people is like playing chess with a cat, you might be able to coax a reaction and move accordingly, but in the end, the cat might just decide to suddenly walk all over the board and the pieces. Making you the loser of the game by default.

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That gut feeling returned again, this time in an even more unsavory manner. A familiar feeling that finally drew out a reaction from his somewhat defeated visage. His amber eyes widening to regard the man jogging in front of him as words began turning into a mush in his mind. That immense butterfly effect that had started with a simple choice towards trying to get closer to a Chernarussian doctor for intel, had resulted in an explosion in South Zagoria.
Deaths, ends of friendships, starts of new ones, justifications for more dealt bullets, and to him a promise he never thought he'd give out and that he still was focused on keeping. A single choice took wings. Everything was a slur after that truth the man in front of him revealed. It all boiled down to a simple sentence.

"I am his son, I am Merko's son."

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Their long journey lead up to an island he had heard about only in recalled tales of former glory. Impenetrable walls with no escape. That was not even the worst part, beyond the prison bars the shoreline and the mountainside taunted with it's warmth, with freedom. But the only thing reality gave was cold floors and even a colder breeze for those same fingertips that sought out and reached for salvation.

The questioning came in waves. Separation and bargaining, the more this was done, the more sure he was that this truly was not about them. They were trying to get to people through them, he was even convinced Merko was not too keen on pushing his grievances too harshly. Perhaps this paranoia was their goal, yard time.. alarms.. plenty of food and water.. carrot and the stick, good cop.. bad cop. 

As the theories ran through his head, he realized that they were perhaps the only routine that kept him from losing it inside there. The lynx preferred open forests. Places to hide and run into from others and himself. Cigarettes helped too, but those were a dwindling supply. He began to pinch himself every now and then, something taught by his instructors to remain collected when captured or tortured. Routine was the key, but the irregularity of the island's routines, alarms and questionings was breaking into that haven slowly.


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Waves washed against the rocky cliff-face of the fortress that was their prison. Like mosquitoes into a large net.. People trying to push their own foot into the fray, or to claim something in the process. The failures of these would be saviors and opportunities for escape stung more than expected, as if it was planned all along to prolong their torturous stay, to break them further. Perhaps with more time, this place would have finally broken him, but..

Eventual salvation came at an odd angle, a messy angle with potential to branch out into disaster. It was wrong and looked like it from any angle you tilted your head at. A former drug fiend who owed a favor, yet somehow also talked of turning a leaf. It was odd to behold and even odder to listen to, yet one does not look a gift horse in the mouth if it's a question of freedom. 

Promises and reassurance from the wolf in sheep's clothing, yet.. it felt somewhat genuine, up to that moment when the wolf was nestling against the lap of perhaps his own savior. Perhaps the one that had originally put the clothing on him, Milan thought. Whatever laid on the lap of that woman was docile, but the shadow that was cast on the wall behind him was a beast. And perhaps it would only take his savior being taken away from him to unchain that same beast once more into an even worse state of chaos.

He was help, but he was another cat on a chessboard.

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All these thoughts had been bothering him, sleep was a rarity he grasped on with his idle naps against the tree trunks when he escaped the sun's rays each morning. Yet he heard the same stirring from upstairs, from Ellie. That same drag into the abyss he was going through, that same gasping attempt for air that always fell short until you calmed yourself. The feeling that made you rush outside even if the air you dragged into your lungs was the same inside.

It's why he preferred the outdoors, the air seemed easier to breathe in times like those, or perhaps like she was convincing herself for the first time, he had already made it reality in his mind throughout the years and now accepted it as the truth. 

He frowned, as his amber gaze trailed the steps, pondering on his approach. She was witty and knew how to guard herself with her words and push herself away. But he did not want her to create an abyss of her own to drown in. He bit his lower lip down as he adjusted his cap and wandered out, eyeing over his shoulder again. The orange hue of the lit cigarette the only thing visible now as he picked a tree to continue the plan he had began to formulate, but that would have to wait for now.. As the radio crackled to life

"This is Rys, I am out of the predicament, here's what I found out.." 

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This is fantastic stuff man. I wish I was as good as you at writing the thoughts inside somebodies head and doing PoV stuff.

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POOORRR JAAROOOOO!

I'm glad you're writing again! >:D Always a joy to read your posts. ❤️ 

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I really like this, the retrospective POV stuff is challenging for everyone but I think you're on the right path here.

 

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Posted (edited)

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Milan watched over his sister Petra, folding his arms over his chest with that ever-sour face he donned. Petra knew what was going through his mind, she always did. Her doting brother showing his concern with the only way he knew. Those nigh glimmering amber eyes scanning the water, the ground she stood on and her movements. Not a word coming out of his mouth, his lips still. But she knew, and that was all that mattered.

"I'm not going to slip, Milan. You should know that, you and Jaro slip all the time" She beamed a toothy smile

He huffed some air through his nostrils and folded his arms in tighter, shuffling his digits further beneath his elbows. Even though it was a fact, that she knew. He did not, he never quite formed it into words.
Never when she was slowly becoming the bookworm know-it-all little sister with reins on both him and Jaro.
Never when the dashes away to the forest became more frequent after their father had drank too much.
Never when they met up for coffee discussing their lives
Never when that first needle sunk into her arm. 

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Those beamed smiles had turned into the same venom she had spewing through her veins. That knowledge of his way of caring, now a weapon used against him.   "You never say anything do you!?"   "Just that stupid look on your face, I hate you!"   "This is all your fault!". Even when he had silently but precisely shook the dealers with his CDF-comrades, making sure the oasis she had supped on ran dry. The words of a doting brother perhaps more needed than ever, but he had protected her in his own way.

But just like that she was gone, she slipped. Like a thief in the night to the west where her thirst could be quenched again.





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But in camaraderie he had found his words. Jaromir had always been there. His endless jabs, being a smart-arse and poking fun at situations that innately should not be anything close to humorous had an effect on Milan. It had drawn the sour out of him, like sunlight breaking through the treetops. Confusion had turned into genuine amusement, ever since they were children.

"Peachy keen, jellybean, no? Isn't that how the Amerikanski say it?"  Jaromir grinned

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That same stupid grin was pasted on his face, as he noticed the glint of the scope. Pushing Milan out of the way to duck against the front seat, as the bullet swiftly took that grin away permanently. So Jaromir slipped.

But he was not gone, he lived on in that same stupid grin that Milan now donned, those same stupid jokes that he told. That unbelievably stupid purple jacket. Milan kept doubting, if he had lost himself within his cover...



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But the more time he spent on the field, on his mission. The more it dawned on him that they were his stupid grins and stupid jokes now. The purple jacket could go take a hike, but the strong words he now had mustered to the @Braycesyoung girl we're the same he never got to say to his own sister, that he never quite got out finally took their first breath. Words of integrity, values and inner strength that he himself lived by. 

The jokes, poking fun and calming firmness he tried to push the @Dino young man with, granting him space the best he could to make him lead and flourish. Like he had done with Jaromir, watching from the sidelines.

Promises had been made, pacts solidified. His mission so far had gone swimmingly, the only thing he had to do was to stick to the same sidelines he had done for so long.

But his own principles began warring against his duty, as the young girl was finally set upon by a pack of hounds again and again. Their own agenda pushed out from infertile soil, blossoming into an ugly flower that could call no land home, except this one.  South Zagoria. 

It was home for these ugly blooms, laced in weird shapes that made the logical part of his brain spin. He could never figure out where which piece went and where what root began.. Perhaps it was that confusion that was a part of it... part of that decision

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Multiple angles, plans galore, advancement.  It was all planned out, but then.
Then it all came down to one single moment. One mistake, one unfortunate meeting with the hounds

As the man next to him raised his hands above his head
His words of not bowing down from earlier rose to mind, but he surrendered again
It pestered like a thorn against Milan's logical side
The consequences, they could use this to manipulate her further
If we give in now, they can use this
A single hand from Milan came up, it bought him more time, more time to sink into the temporal madness
His mind was no longer in his mission, it was only on her now, on his own principles, the promise, the blood pact, his sister, Jaromir
His head swimming in the deep end, but the years of training, of muscle memory were there to guide his blind steps
"Take away the head of the snake, take away the cause", his bright amber gaze shifted to Radek as his hands reached out for his gun in one swift motion, the trigger pulled back in a controlled fashion as he felt the pressure of the bullets shred through his own side, watching his target go down as well. The last bite the Chernarussian Lynx would ever deal as his own gun had roared out it's own fill, before he fell...


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The young man began administering help to the lung-shot Lynx, he swatted the hand away with the last strength he had and dragged him by the collar firmly. Close enough for him to hear his final drags of breath invoked into words. 

"Tell the kitten to stay strong..."     As his eyes began to glass over just slightly..   "Petra... Jaro.. I slipped..."  as the firm grip fell from his collar, his strength allowing the corner of his lips to form one last crooked grin and then Milan was gone. Having chosen his principles and his word, over his duty. Emotion over logic.





 












 

 

 

 

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Edited by Ouromov

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I'm not crying, you're crying. Rest in peace, Jaro.

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Rest in peace purp, only good memories to be told

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Rest in peace sweet prince

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*21 shots echo through the north and a bottle of vodka is being spent*
My favorite chernarussian - I will miss our english explanation lectures 😞

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RIP Jaro ‘Snake’! 

But.....

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