I - "Liliya."
The tapping was all she could hear. That and, of course, her own breathing. He tapped against the table with that fucking spoon every night. Every dinner, if you could call that dinner. Hannah’s desperation and fear turned into apathy. If at first the stench made her stomach twirl, it now fueled a new feeling, stronger than anger. Stronger than hate, definitely. Tears no longer rolled down her cheeks, a ghostly trail instead permanently rested against the skin of her face.
“Eat,” the man grunted, “daddy gets angry if children don’t eat.”
The man’s russian accent was thick, but manageable. Though not much was thicker than the so-called soup the girl had been forced to eat for the last couple of weeks. Was it the soup that radiated the stench that haunted his cabin, or was it the others?
“Liliya, deti ne yedyat,” he grunted, without raising his gaze from his plate.
Liliya was probably his wife, Hannah thought. He grunted her name constantly, always grunting, always speaking through his gross, swollen lips. Regardless of who she was, her remains sat to the left of Hannah, destined to dine for eternity. To her right sat a smaller corpse, all dried up, of a child. It was hard to tell when they had died. The kid seemed to be dead for much longer and was probably buried at some point - his only remarkable features were a bite mark on his left leg and a hole in his forehead. The woman, Liliya, was much fresher, relatively speaking. A bullet wound marked her right temple, probably self-inflicted.
Across the table, of course, sat the man. He was Russian, that’s for sure. Not much else could be gathered. His diaries, the scribbles on the walls, the table, they were all in Russian. Their only form of communication was his broken, grunted English, which consisted mostly of orders and calls. He couldn’t be any younger than 50, though his overgrown beard and hair hid most of his features. Scars were visible all over his hands and arms, going all the way up to his shoulders, where many more were probably covered by a dirty old vest.
Something was missing, however; there was a fourth chair at the table, and a half empty bunk-bed. Photos of the family often depicted four people: a mother, a father, a son and… A daughter. There were no signs of this daughter anywhere.
Before Hannah could think any further, the man slammed his hand on the table, disturbing the remains of his family and turning most of the silverware airborne for a very brief moment. “You will fucking eat,” he growled at the only other living guest.
Her gaze remained fixed, even though her hands were shaking. Her soup had flown off the plate, but that was far from her focus. For the past twenty minutes or so, all her eyes could seem to be drawn to was the man’s knife, sitting tidily next to his plate. She could see it already, her mind played it all time and time again, her plan to finally end this torment: a swift movement up from her seat and towards the weapon, then towards his throat. Regardless, it was unfortunately too far from reality. It would take her took long to reach for it.
“EAT,” he roared. If it were not for the rain that quickly followed, one would think his shout aloned summoned thunder. “You had to fucking leave. Run away. You will never run away again, no.”
“Is that what she did?” Hannah asked, finally moving her gaze up to the man’s furious eyes. “Did she run away from you? Was that before or after your wife blew her brains out?”
“ENOUGH.” The Russian slammed the table again, now with both of his fists, almost breaking it in half. This burst of anger disturbed the entire cabin. The corpses fell to their sides, the plates were thrown towards the ground and that precious knife fell to the floor, ever closer to Hannah.
This was her chance. She swiftly got up from her chair and stood aside, taunting the man. “Or… Did your wife help her escape, and when she was left alone with you, her only hope was to take that revolver to her head?”
He could not handle any more. The man stood up, seemingly doubling in size in a second. His sudden steps towards the small girl were wide and swift, each with a thud that rumbled her chest within - it was now or never. Once she was within arm’s reach, he swung for her head in an attempt to grab the girl by the hair. Her agility and size, however, allowed for a successful dodge, followed by a run for the hunting knife that had dropped to the floor. It was big, heavy and old, but sharp.
“I will leave. Tonight,” she demanded, standing with her new weapon pointed to the brute in front of her.
For the next few, long seconds, they remained in a stalemate, circling the room around the table. Each step closer to the door was a step closer to freedom for Hannah. Rain began to pour stronger than ever before, making its way through the roof in the form of tiny drops falling in between the adversaries. It was another lightning strike nearby that broke the stalemate once again: the flash convinced Hannah to run for the door, dodging her captor’s grasp once again. The wife’s corpse blocked the man’s step, tripping him onto the floor, almost as a last attempt to save another girl from the monster.
Hannah’s freedom, however, was short lived: her escape was only a small head start. Being quickly chased by the brute, she found herself sprinting deep into the unknown forest, attempting to follow what was left of the trail once used to find the cabin. Regardless of how agile and small she was, her strides were still no match for the man following her steps. Hannah was no match for his speed or determination. Becoming aware of this, she stopped and turned towards the approaching threat, preparing for a harsh impact with her knife. Moments before the collision, she swung low, aiming towards his fat stomach.
The man hit her like a truck, her body did nothing to stop his inertia. Their bodies, entangled, flew back another five feet before finally resting on a mount of mud. No movement could be seen on the aftermath, except for Hannah beneath a mount of flesh struggling to free herself, covered in mud and blood - his blood. Her blade had pierced deep into his belly, slicing many organs on its way and swiftly bleeding him out. It was as if nothing, not even nature, conspired for her escape. The heavy rain turned the forest ground into a stream of mud and rocks. Each time she felt stable footing, it was swiped away by mud and debris.
After much struggle, Hannah escaped and walked South through the forest, finding herself by the coast. Her safest bet was to follow it, unknowingly heading towards the Green Sea peninsula and, eventually, Chernarus.