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DayZ Days - Day 1

I shot my brother today. I didn't mean to do it, but I shot him, and once the bullet left my gun it couldn't be taken back.

Staying Alive

The two of us had come ashore together, but had been separated for a few hours in our quest for survival. We rendezvoused in a barn about a mile outside of Cherno, the sprawling former Metropolis of pre-plague days. Now, of course, Cherno is a bastion of infected zombies and unethical bandits that rob and kill other survivors for little more than sport. Having only arrived on the shores of this land that day, my brother and I knew we were ill equipped to handle the dangers in front of us. Without weapons there was no way we could hope to survive in such a hostile environment, where a lack of medical supplies means any injury could lead to death. But before we could worry about weaponry, we had more basic problems to solve - hunger and thirst ravaged our minds and kept us from more rational thoughts. We knew from a map we found in a ransacked home near the shoreline that there were several suburbs outside of Cherno that were filled with apartment, though we weren't sure if there would be any supplies to be found there - surely other survivors would have looted them ad infinitum and we would be lucky to find even a single damaged can of baked beans in their midst.

Instead, we had to head north to a small town that seemed far too insignificant to attract any real attention from any but the most desperate of survivors, ourselves included. As we approached the outskirts of the town we saw with relief that the doors of the homes were closed. While this was no guarantee that there would be worthwhile goods inside, it offered us the best hope of finding the contents of these homes undisturbed. We split up and rummaged through building after building, gathering up anything we could find. We stuffed newfound hoodies and small backpacks with cans of soda, boxes of cereal, and even the occasional piece of unspoiled fruit, the presence of which suggests that others may have been near here before we arrived. We were even fortunate enough to find a working water pump near the center of town outside a church, and the pump let forth a cleans stream of delightfully cold water that allowed us to feel fully hydrated for the first time in days.

While the town was awash with basic necessities, there was little in the way of weaponry to speak of which was no surprise considering the rural setting in which we were not alone. We did manage to find a few small axes meant for splitting wood, and a single shotgun with only two shells remaining. We knew that if we were to run into another band of survivors we could never survive a firefight, but we hoped that this small bit of firepower would at least dissuade a confrontation from people wandering on their own or lacking in bullets. In the attic of one home we were even able to find a working compass, which, in conjunction with our map, was our key to locating caches of more valuable goods that could allow us to become true survivors, able to handle any threat that might approach us.

Gathering Darkness

Our map suggested that there was a giant antennae to the Northwest, whose pre-infection function was lost to us, but which appeared to be located on the top of Green Mountain. While it was a bit of a long shot, we felt that such a large structure likely played some sort of important role that may have been worth protecting, and hence might be a place to locate a few guns with a bit more range to them than our shotgun could provide for us. As we moved through the woods between our destinations, we encountered not a soul save for a lone rabbit whose passage through this bleak landscape was unperturbed by our strange presence. In the distance the monolithic outline of the green mountain tower became clear through the mist, and its size became ominous and left us ill at ease, though we pressed on in our journey. As we climbed the hill, we were set upon by a pack of infected that seemed to have sensed us from a nearby town. Fortunately we were able to dispatch them with our axes, though I was scratched and had to spend several minutes patching up my wounded knee with some makeshift bandages made from torn scraps of a Tee shirt.

As we drew near to the tower it became clear that it was part of a gated compound, with a few small military styled buildings located within, bolstering our hopes of ballistic deliverance. While my brother stood guard in the woods, I edged along the wall towards the only gate offering entrance into the fortress. In a stroke of luck, the gate was locked with a rusted padlock, which seemed to be a good omen for our hunt for undisturbed treasures in this post apocalyptic world. The lock had been weakened by age and neglect, and I was able to split it in two with my axe, granting us passage into the site we had journeyed for miles to explore. We first chose to clear the two smaller buildings flanking the large tower, in case there might be some signs of this area's purpose, or any other trinkets that could aid in our ongoing and interminable quest. In one of the two buildings, we found a pair of 45 caliber pistols and a handful of rounds that gave us the confidence we needed to enter into larger areas of civilization, knowing that we would at least have a chance at surviving should we come upon any other unprepared survivors. We also found a pair of respirator gas masks that imparted a sinister air to the environment and hinted at the fear and panic that must have been abundant when the infection first began to spread throughout the land.

Once the low lying buildings were cleared, we set our sights on the monumental prize that we had been seeking all along, and we entered into the tower. Its hallways were surprisingly cramped considering its size, and they led to a single ladder that extended upwards into darkness. I chose to climb first, wary of every step I took and afraid that a run might give way and spell out my inevitable doom. Fortunately this was not the case, and I was able to reach the platform that lay about halfway up the tower's height, ten stories or so in the air. As I inched onto the exterior platform that circled the entire structure and called down to my brother to come join me, I heard the first gunshot.

Shots Fired

The crack split the silence that had become commonplace in this world, and while it sounded distant it also sounded deliberate. My brother scrambled up the ladder, as we both knew that if we were to be surrounded we were likely to be better off in an area with a single entrance to bottleneck any foes, provided they weren't planning to besiege us. We crouched in the central room of the upper tower level, out of the sights of any rifleman that might lay beyond, but knowing full well that our pistols and shotguns would never be able to rescue us from this situation.

In a moment of desperation, I rose onto the balls of my feet so I could just see through the windows encircling our prison, and I made a mad dash across the room to see if there was anything on the platform that might rescue us from this fate. To my amazement I saw what appeared to be a high powered rifle perched on the edge of the railing on the far side of the platform, perhaps a remnant of a former sniper's perch. Before I could get another look, another pair of gunshots, now closer, tore through the silence and a window shattered a few feet from my head, raining down shards of glass. There could be no doubt now that we were being hunted, and likely by more than on survivor. Who they were, what they wanted, and why they were here was not clear nor was it important. What was clear is that the only escape for us was going to come at the cost of their lives.

With the rifle being the only chance for us to escape, we knew one of us would need to get it, and that doing so may prove to be lethal. Our best chance was to try to distract the gunmen and hope that we kept their attention long enough to enable us to grab to gun and retreat to a more defensible position. To that end, my brother elected to dash across the room as I had done moments earlier, only to duck behind a collapsed shelving unit as shots rang out towards his side of the room, leaving the doorway hopefully clear. Taking the only chance I was likely to get a ran through the portal and around the circular metal walkway, crouching down as far as I could. I snatched the rifle and a nearby box of bullets and leapt over a wall through a shattered window back into the central room where we were relatively shielded from our unknown foe. To our dismay, the box only held seven bullets, and the scope on the rifle was cracked rendering the optics useless for aiming purposes. The rifle itself seemed to be in good condition though, and I chambered a round while we tried to concoct a plan that might draw our enemies out of the forest.

Lacking in better ideas, we hoped that a few erstwhile shots from a pistol might be enough to confuse our opponents into thinking we were better armed than we truly were. We each fired three shots in the general direction where we thought they were hidden in the woods, and we were greeted with three short bursts of return fire, none of which found a mark. Amid the commotion we saw a orange streak dashing through the woods at the base of the compound. Following the streak with our eyes we saw the man duck behind a set of trees that were still within the reach of our rifle. A look through the remnants of the scope on the rifle confirmed that this man was likewise armed with another high powered rifle, though his appeared to have a functional scope if the shots fired earlier were any indication. A scan of the surrounding are revealed that there was at least one other man in the group. The other was more sensibly dressed in a camouflage vest and coat, meaning that we would be likely to lose sight of him if he were to move again amid the looming pines.

Both wore masks of a frightening clown visage that suggested they were crazed and intent on spilling blood, although perhaps one can't really read that much from a mask. The more eccentric, orange-clad member of the pair worse a large brimmed black cowboy hat, while his compatriot wore a ballistic helmet that was undoubtedly more functional. The cowboy knelt and aimed his rifle in our direction, and so we had to move back away from the edge and out of sight. It was clear that we wouldn't get a good shot with the rifleman trained on our position, and firing our pistols blindly would only get us so far before we ran out of bullets and time. Instead, we had to try a new approach that was more likely to distract the rifleman, if more likely to get one of us killed at the same time. A quick glance over the railing confirmed that the pair were still in the woods and had not moved into the compound. My brother thus began his descent down the ladder.

Firefight

The plan wasn't complicated; while he climbed down the ladder I would get as close to the edge as I could with my rifle. Once he reached the doorway at the base of the tower, he would fire two shots towards the vicious pair. Ideally, the sound of gunfire coming from not from the platform but from below would be what we needed to draw away the eye of the rifleman just long enough for me to get off a shot that would remove him from our list of concerns. As the two shots rang out, a hail of gunfire erupted at the base of the tower and it was quite clear that there were more than these two men hiding in the woods surrounding us. Even so, I moved forward just far enough to see that the orange cowboy had moved his aim towards the ongoing firefight, and I set him in my iron crosshairs and squeezed the trigger. He crumpled backwards to the ground and the gunfire was momentarily silenced amid shouting between at least three other voices. My brother clambered back up the ladder unharmed, while to my dismay three grinning clowns ran out of the woods and through the gate of the compound, ducking into the closest of the two low lying buildings.

By the look of things, the camouflaged clown was leading the group, and his two companions each bore rifles like those held by the fallen cowboy. Neither of the others were remarkably dressed, wearing ballistics helmets and black hoodies that were unlikely to provide much protection against a persistent projectile. The building they had entered was two stories tall with a slew of windows on all sides, giving them cover while still affording several spots to take up rifle positions. Fortunately for us, the close proximity of the building to the foot of the tower made their angle of fire very steep, which would make it more difficult for them to hit us than vice versa. I kept my rifle trained on the front door, while my brother watched the windows and the surrounding area to make sure no more members of their clan were about. As time drew on, it became clear that we were in a standoff without any hope of immediate resolution, and we began to alternate jobs while eating some canned tuna we had found in one of the adjoining buildings.

After several hours of waiting without any sign of movement, we heard a noise in the woods surrounding the compound. Out of the clearing and onto the main road came a man dressed entirely in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet armed to the teeth and holding an assault rifle. Our hearts leapt into our throats for fear that this man might be here to finish what the other three had started. That fear was quickly put to rest when he stepped into the line of sight of the front door on the building where the three men hid. His body was instantly pierced by bullets in at least two places and he fell to a knee and fired dozens of rounds from his automatic weapon in an arc towards the source of his pain. As quickly as it began, the incident ended and the helmeted soldier lay in a growing pool of creeping blood a yard or so from the entrance of the robber's den that hid our enemies within. We hoped that the helmeted man had managed to take at least one clown down with him, but with no way to verify this our predicament failed to improve. The assault rifle, a rare thing in this post apocalyptic wartorn land, was too valuable a prize to be left out in the dirt, so I shifted my rifle towards its location and prayed that one of the clown soldiers would come to try and claim his just reward.

All Things End

It was our lucky day; a grinning visage peered out from his shelter and made a run for the rifle. One shot and I dropped him where he stood, inches from that automatic death dealing weapon. Now we knew that in the worst of cases, we were equal in number, and if the helmeted man had found his mark with any of his shots then we were likely to be able to take down the remaining soldiers without any casualties for ourselves. I stood on rifle duty while my brother climbed down the inside of the tower and drew his pistol. Once he was in position I followed him down and took up a position on the other side of the tower door. We shouted out a warning call to any surviving clowns.

“Game over, come out with your hands up or you aren't leaving here alive.”

“Okay, damnit, I'm coming out” came a wounded call from within the building.

A man, no longer wearing his clown mask, came crawling out of his hiding place, one of his legs clearly broken. His hands were empty, and there was still no sign of the camoflaged ballistic helmeted soldier that had been their apparent leader earlier in the day.

“Where's your buddy with the helmet and the rifle?” My brother called out.

“He's dead, alright? That crazy motorcycle masked man ruined us. We had you, and now look at us.”

We eyed him warily. As he crawled, he drew ever closer to his fallen comrade and the assault rifle. We called out a warning to him to stop where he was. He paused for a moment, then looked up at us with a desperate sneer on his face and made a lunge for the assault rifle, putting all his energy into forcing his shattered legs to lift him up. My rifle shot went wide and landed in the dirt near his body, but my brothers shot from his pistol pierced the man's shoulder and blood spilled out onto the mud in a macabre fountain as the man tumbled to the ground on top of the rifle. My brother broke cover and dashed across the courtyard to the man, who spit at us in a last act of defiance as his skull was obliterated by a point blank gunshot. Then everything went wrong.

A gunshot came from inside the building, and my brother screamed and dropped his pistol in the mud, his hand seeping blood. He ran towards the entrance of the building in which our evidently living assailant remained and jumped to the right of the door out of the line of fire. The army clad warrior was not content to wait us out any longer and came charging out of the door in my direction. It would only take him seconds to close this distance between the two of us. My brother ran at him, holding an axe in his uninjured hand. In a fierce rage, he swung the axe into the base of the man's neck at the same moment I fired my rifle at the man, who was mere feet away from me. As the gunshot echoed off the surrounding hills, both the man and my brother dropped to the ground and ceased to move. My gunshot had found a home in my brother's skull, just as his axe had found a home beneath the ballistics helmet of my would-be killer.

I shot my brother today. I didn't mean to do it, but I shot him, and once the bullet left my gun it couldn't be taken back. I was broken. I couldn't fix the damage, and he had fallen so quickly that it was likely a nearly instantaneous death. I dragged his body into the building where our assailants had been hiding, and I propped it up in a bunk. I then collected all the supplies that worth taking from all of the surrounding bodies, as well as the assault rifle, and I returned to my perch atop the tower for the night. When dawn broke, I returned to my brother's body and dragged it off into the woods, where I buried it beneath a stand of looming pine trees. It was the most fitting thing I could think of to do, and it was the closest I could come to making an apology that would mean nothing to the endless forests and plains around me. Filled with a mixture of spite and crushing sadness, I returned to the compound one final time in order to close the rusty gate. Others would no doubt visit the tower in the coming days and months, but all they would find to greet them would be five decaying bodies and signs of struggle. I journeyed off down the mountain, without a plan, and without a destination. My only remaining goal in this world was to survive.


Video Games | Fiction | Flash Fiction


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