Chapter 1: The Beginning of the Story
It was October 27, 1962, Black Saturday had arrived. Tensions in the Cold War had gotten to a boiling point between the United States and the Soviet Union. A U.S destroyer was launching depth charges at a B-59 Soviet submarine underwater, telling the submarine to go topside of the water. The captain of the submarine said to arm the nuclear warheads onboard as he had believed war had already begun. In this situation there are meant to be two officers, they each are to vote on whether the warheads should be launched, both said yes. However there was a third officer on the submarine, in reality he was meant to say no, but he didn’t.
A nuclear war had broken out between the two sides and all hell broke loose. Over a billion people had died within the first week, another half a billion died later after ten years. But these were just estimates, so three billion people could’ve died and no one could know how. The first ten years the northern part of the equator was either hellfire or godforsaken winter. The southern half of the equator wasn’t much better. Places like the Middle East or Africa were already struggling and had perished from however the fallout took them. Like the story of a field somewhere in Central Africa that the ground was only covered in thousands of scorched dead bodies. South America and Australia seemed to be doing the best as the fallout and weather was much more difficult with its harsh winters and summers, but many people still had survived.
Governments had completely collapsed throughout the world. Most either disbanded, were destroyed from the inside out, or the land they originated was completely inhabitable and they all split for their own plans. The only government that was still somewhat functional was the Australian government. The only cost was they lost half of all their land because it too was inhabitable due to its sweltering hot deserts. None of Australia was nuked in the war thus most of its land was kept and used to survive on. The nation seemed like a paradise to many and so a large influx of people tried to go to Australia to live there. The Australian government in response had to set up borders so now the northern part of Australia is roamed in chaos and hell by people living in what many call it Freeside, for its lawlessness and lack of control.
I however live a different story. My family lived in the Soviet Union in a city called Chernobyl. They didn’t fall in love with each other until after the bombs fell in a doomsday bunker. The doomsday bunker was a project that a group of three people who had lived in an apartment building worked together to make a bunker that was meant to last thirty years after the bombs fell. After the bombs had fallen the people got together and waited through the whole fallout, after what they called the “10 Years of Hell,” or the fallout from the bombs. That's when my parents had gotten together and had me a third of the way through the bunker’s lifetime. When I was born they named me Nikolai Petrov and taught me what I needed to know to survive. The basics of reading, writing, and most importantly, how to use a Kalashnikov rifle, more specifically, the AK-47. I fired my first firearm before I even learned to multiply, and I was a damn fine shot as well.
Living in a large bunker underneath a nuclear wasteland gets pretty boring as a child. I mostly sweeped or did minor chores for the people there or for my parents. Once I became a teenager I had to be taught more important things after we left the bunker. I was taught ways to cook food and boil water in horrible weather conditions, how to properly clean and maintain a rifle, learned tactics and techniques for CQB (Close Quarters Combat) in both armed and unarmed situations, along with basic functions of a car and how the insides work. Those were only a few of what I learned in a bunker. We were able to ration enough and decided on my 21st birthday we would leave the bunker to see what the world had become. We looked at the big, thick cellar doors with me and the twenty other people I grew up living and breathing the same air with, and we ascended up to the world above that some of us hadn’t seen in over thirty years.
When we entered the new world it was similar but not exact to what we thought. Most cities were expected to be nuked but not ours, though, there was large and small amounts of radiation throughout the city, making some parts of it dangerous to be around. Some parts of the city were in shambles, some of it from the fallout of the war and what happened afterward. We went to an abandoned apartment building and shacked up there. There we realized what living will be like, our new neighbors and residents in the city are not so friendly towards people they don’t know. We did meet a few new friends who are a part of another group that we have aligned ourselves with. Our allies call these not so nice people, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.S, or Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers. They consist of everything that could be thought of, but most of them were Killers and Robbers. I never ran into many stalkers myself as I was mainly kept at home base to watch and defend the place for the elders who couldn’t go out and scavenge, until the day we were attacked.
Chapter 2: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
It was a boring day at the apartments. There was not much I could doas all of my chores had already been completed. So I sat at a window looking over the forests that I saw for many kilometers. When all of a sudden I heard a gunshot close by, but a gunshot I recognized. It was my father’s double barrel shotgun he always had by his side. I looked out the window and saw a standoff between my group and another right below me, with my father in between laying on the ground underneath a man’s leg with a pistol pointed at his head.
“Now everybody.” The man said, “Let’s all remain calm.”
He looked in his mid-50’s, plain white skin, thick black beard, wild brown hair, gray and black hat, and was wearing biker gear. I chambered a bullet in my rifle back, it was loud enough that they all heard it. They all looked up towards me including the bearded man.
The man looked up at me while I pointed my rifle at him and said to me, “Hello there young man, don’t be alarmed, we were just discussing matters with your people.”
I looked down the barrel and said to him, “If you don’t point that gun away from him I’ll put one right between your eyes.”
He gave a mean look before thinking of something, “Young man I will assume this older feller is your father. I don’t want to harm him or anyone else so let’s start from the beginning.” Everyone went silent, “My name is Yuri Orlov, the people to the left of me are my group that we like to call ourselves The Red Rebels. Now that name originates from before the bombs dropped so don’t feel threatened by it. We are a survivor group much like yourselves and don’t want to be in situations like these.”
Me and my whole group knew that he was likely lying. Then I suddenly heard my mother in the group down below speak up, “If you are like us then why do you have a gun pointed at my husband?”
Yuri looked towards my Mom and told her, “Look I’m sorry ma’am but he had tried to attack me first so I did what I must and defended myself-”
My father suddenly spoke up, “He’s lying! When I turned around the corner he was waiting for me and attacked me!”
Everyone looked at Yuri, waiting to see what he had to say, “Huh, you people never listen. Neither do you understand! The people you see here are only a fraction of what there really is, we own an army! We can easily bring down your whole group within a day. STARTING WITH THIS OLD MAN!”
I yelled at the top of my lungs, “NOOOOOO!”
I fired a bullet right into his left eye and he fell to the ground like a rock. He was still alive and shot back at me, I moved away from the window to avoid getting shot. All I heard was gunfire down below between both sides. I looked back out the window and saw bodies drop from all over. I aimed and started firing towards them, noticing Yuri was gone. I started firing at the Rebels and hit one in the leg, I pointed towards another and placed two rounds into his chest, he died before he hit the ground. I pointed at another and hit him right in the shoulder, he fell behind a wall out of my view. Then the Reds started to fall back as we seemed to be winning the battle. I continued to fire towards them as they fell back and we pushed them, then after they were out of sight I ran as fast as I could down the concrete stairs. I ran outside and turned around the apartment building to the bloodbath that just happened. I went straight to my Dad to check on him, he wasn’t moving at all. I turned him around and saw his cold, dead eyes.
“Goddamnit Dad.” I whispered to myself, realizing what has succumbed to me and everyone else.
I looked in front of me and saw my Dad’s shotgun, I walked over to it and picked it up. It had his beautiful engravings on the shotgun. A baroque style engraving taken from the halls of art in Moscow, with a lettering I couldn’t understand. I heard someone come up from behind me, I looked to see my Mom with blood and tears all over. I walked over and gave her a hug,
“He’s gone.” She cried to me, I continued to hug her while feeling a single cold tear run down my cheek. That’s when I realized my future in this world. And when I did I said to her, “Mom I swear an oath to find that Yuri man and make sure Dad’s death is not in vain.” She didn’t say anything, she only kept on crying. As we stood there in silence I heard the sound of someone struggling. I look over and see the woman I shot in the leg from earlier.
I moved away from my Mom and walked over to her, she looked over to me and noticed, “the hell do you want, rat?” I flipped my shotgun and smacked her in the face with its stock, broken teeth came flying out of her mouth.
“What I want is everything you have to know about your group.” I answered her. She started giggling, “What’s so funny?” I asked.
She looked at me with all the blood on her face and told me, “You think I’m gonna tell you anything? You have a more likely chance of finding a lake with clean water in it.”
I walked up to her and got right into her face and whispered, “You’re assuming that you’re gonna tell me. I’m not the one going to be asking the questions, someone else will.” I got even closer and started whispering, “And when you are in the same room as them I swear, everytime you lie or not answer the question your life is going to be hell.” She got scared, her eyes worried with fear as she knows I’m not lying, and I wasn’t.
Chapter 3: Rise of Nikolai
“OH GOD NO PLEASE STOP PLEASE!” I was sitting outside the room where she was being tortured with my father’s best friend, Dimitri. Dimitri was the one who taught me how to shoot a rifle. He was in the Russian Army during World War 2 and was involved in the Fall of Berlin along with the Siege of Stalingrad, he was the one who flew the Soviet flag over Berlin. After the war he continued to serve until 1949 when he was injured in a hostage situation in Stalingrad. After he was discharged he went to live in Chernobyl, when he met my father in a bar fight over a bottle of whiskey. My father beat Dimitri to a pulp while they were both drunk and afterwards they became best friends and have been ever since. He was a wall made of steel. He was there with me to talk to while that woman was being tortured.
“You glad you’re not the one in there?” He asked me, “Yeah,” I said, “ I’m glad, I don’t want to get in trouble for doing stuff my teacher wouldn’t like.” We both look at you.
I would never want to be in there, whether I was the one being tortured or even if I was sitting to the side watching. I continued to sit outside the room until my Mom came back out, once she did she was covered in nothing but blood and sweat.
She went and told us, “Okay so I got some information out of her. Her base is located ten miles north of us, there are about a hundred of them, and the place they are located is a military base, so they are possibly sitting on a stockpile of guns, tanks, and planes.”
I knew this would be a problem, because if we stay and don’t do anything we’ll all die. And if we go on the offensive, we might die.
“Dimitri, who is technically in charge of the group?” I asked him, he looked towards me and told me, “Well your father was technically in charge since the elders needed someone that can do most of what they can’t. But since he has passed, you’re technically in charge now.”
I was stunned, confused, bamboozled. How could I be left in charge? I was the youngest person in the group and now I’m left to be in charge of 15 whole people.
I needed to ask him, “Why am I supposed to be in charge instead of anyone else?”
My Mother spoke up to answer, “When it was decided that your father was to be left in charge, the elders made the decision that at some point you would be left in charge. However they never expected the change to happen so soon.”
I sat there in silence, thinking about what would be best for the group and for our survival. I realized what needed to be done. I stood up in a boost of confidence and said, “Well then, as everyone’s new leader, sorry Mom. We all need to hold a meeting to discuss the future of the group.”
Exactly 5 Minutes Later
Everyone got together in the Main Room where we have open discussions on the very top floor. The group got together and were all silent waiting for me with the elders sitting in the back. I stood on top of a tall brick to have the high ground so everyone could see me. I was nervous at the time since people who I looked up to had to look up to me.
I took a deep breath and began, “Everyone, times here are changing and we need to change with it in order to survive.” They all stayed silent. “With this new group that we are faced with we cannot stay or run from them-”
“Well why the hell not?” I looked to see Jonas, he was only 9 years old when the bombs fell so he was the youngest person in the bunker at the time and now he’s an angry, black, 40
year old man with a drinking problem and a gray goatee. But does have a soft spot for me at times.
“Well Jonas.” I responded, “The reason is because their leader Yuri will hunt for us if we stay or if we go, which is why I am taking this on the offensive. We are going to go to their base that is north of us and kill their leader.”
Everybody was chatering with each other before others started speaking up like “Why should we?” or “We’ll all die!” I had to calm everyone down, “Everyone let’s calm down!” They didn’t calm down except for 2 people, I had to almost scream, “EVERYONE!” It went silent.
They all looked at me with a sign of respect. I continued talking, “If you choose to leave the group and run away, you can, I won’t stop you. But if you leave, these people will hunt for all of us and won’t stop until each and everyone of us is dead. If you choose to stay with us we leave tomorrow morning.”
Then I heard it, it sounded like the generator in the bunker. This one was just as loud though, only one other thing I could think of that could make that loud of a sound.
“Everyone, we need to go now!” I exclaimed.
I jumped off the podium and started grabbing supplies and putting them into the bag. I turned around and saw nobody was moving, “Guys they have a bomber searching for u-” I was knocked out immediately.
Several Hours Later
I woke up jumping from the ground. I looked around to see it was dark out, and everyone was sitting around a fire somewhere else in the city. My head suddenly felt like it was kicked, pounding harder than a punching bag.
“God, what happened?”
My Mom spoke up, “Well you were right about the bomber, as it destroyed some of the apartment and more in the surrounding area. You were the only one that was hit by any of the bombs.” Great, I was the only who knew about the bomber and I was the only one that was hit by it. “After that,” My Mom continued, “We got everyone out and most of the supplies with it, right now we’re about half a mile away from it.
I went to ask, “And the prisoner?”
Dimitri told me, “Right now we think she’s dead as part of the building that collapsed and fell right on her room. It was completely demolished”
I needed to ask him, “And if she’s alive?”
Dimitri didn’t look worried when he told me, “Your gun is more likely to jam then if she’s alive. And you know that is low.” I never thought anymore of it, if her chances are that low then let’s hope her death was short.
I stood up with my head banging even worse. With me being the new leader I still had to make the decisions, “Okay everyone, we are still going with the plan… But right now we are going to stay and rest for the night.” I felt horrible, and I could hardly move. I layed down by the fire and fell asleep almost instantly.
When I had arisen in the morning I felt a lot better waking up. I was always the one who woke up before everyone else except for Dimitri who I saw on the night shift.
He looked at me and said, “Good morning Nikolai.”
I responded back, “Good morning Dimitri.”
I got up from off the ground and looked around, the air felt nice and crisp, was cool, but not too cool for it to be cold. There was no wind to be felt, only the sound of radioactive birds chirping in the distance. It was perfect. I had to ask Dimitri a question,
“Dimitri, are you going to stay with me and whoever comes along for this?”
He looked at me with fire in his eyes,
“Your father was my greatest friend, I will stay with you not just for him, but for us.”
I thanked him, “You can sleep now.”
Chapter 4: Destiny Awaits
I went over to the pile of supplies there was lying around and found my rifle. It was a little dirty but still looked just fine and I know it would work just as well as it looks. I picked it up and holstered it on my back, then I saw it. My father’s shotgun was lying there behind my rifle, I picked it up and holstered it as well. Then I saw the box that always sat besides my father’s bed, I never knew what it was and was told never to touch it.
I opened it up and saw what I needed, a pistol case and shotgun shells. I grabbed the pistol case and looked at it. A dark wooden box with a baroque finish on the front. I opened up the box to see a revolver in pristine condition, looks to have never been opened before. Along with 12 silver bullets laid side by side, the gun uses .45 ammunition. I picked up the revolver and opened up the cylinder to see 6 more silver bullets loaded into it. The gun never had any baroque engravings on it, it had a simple wooden grip with a simple steel material, but it sure looked as fine as a hot bowl of oatmeal.
I already had a pistol holster on my waist but with no pistol in it. I took the revolver and slowly slid it into my holster. I took each bullet and put it into my pack that was laying right beside the box. While I opened up the pack I saw the map I had in there. I traded the bullets for the map and threw the pack on my back, like it’s some sort of backpack. I opened up the map while walking back towards where everyone was sleeping. The map shows all of Cherobyl and its surroundings of up to 30 miles. However what was strange was that there was no military base anywhere north of the city. So I started thinking of the possibilities: Was she lying? Is it hidden? I started thinking of any other answer before I realized,
“There is no pre-war base.” I whispered to myself, “They created the base from the ground up.”
I came to realize their base won’t be as secured as it could be, unless they’ve been working on it since after the 10 Years of Hell. When I went back to the group most of everyone was awake and waiting to hear what I have to say next. Right before I spoke to the group I realized looking at everyone, us alone we would be slaughtered against them. We needed allies, people who we knew that could help us.
I stood in front of everyone that was standing like walls, looking only at me, not moving at all. I stood on top of a tall, flat rock, and gave what seemed to be a speech. “Right now I’ll be honest, people will die. I don’t know who will, maybe one of us, maybe all of us, but someone will.” Jonas went and questioned me, “And?”
I looked at him directly and responded, “And Jonas, I want to lower those chances by asking for help. Our allies to the west are our only chance to survive this debacle.”
Our allies to the west go by the name of The Harlingtons. They have been around since after the fallout and are the only business in a 100 mile radius. They run a restaurant and bar open to anyone not trying to rob or kill them. They trade in bullets and other supplies depending on the condition and size for food and alcohol. They use those bullets and supplies to trade with other groups or to protect their own. Robbing the place is almost impossible as they have guards everywhere as the eye could see ever since the last bartender was shot in the head because a crazed gunman came in and robbed the place.
Now nobody has tried anything with The Harlingtons and only a bar fight has happened in the past few years and it was between the owners over a bet one of them lost. Never knew what the bet was but from what I heard the fight was pretty funny to watch. We became allies after finding out a raider group was going to assault the place, we then told them and the raider group ceased to exist like dust. They said we were in our debt and if we needed anything we just ask.
“They said if we needed anything we just ask, so that’s what we’re going to do.” I stated.
Then I heard one of the elders speak up, “So what will happen to us?” We all turned to them, the three elders sat in the back in silence until one of them spoke up. “What about you?” I asked back.
The elder who asked, asked back to me, asking back, “Are we supposed to be coming with you? Or are we going to wait for you all nice and tidy waiting for you?”
I never thought of them once. “I suppose, because of your age, you will reside back in the bunker with one or two people that volunteer to go.” Then suddenly, all three of them stood up at the same time. I was in shock, I never saw them stand up before, always saw them sitting in silence.
The elder in the middle then spoke up, “As decided by the leader, Nikolai, we shall follow your orders and will stay in the bunker until you return. Vlad you’re staying with us.” Vlad turned to them in question, “Why me?” The elder responded, “Because you’re one of the only ones that actually know how to cook eggs.” Vlad didn’t say anything after that, he crossed his arms and stood in silence.
Everyone else trained their eyes back onto me, I continued, “Well then, the elders and Vlad will be given most of our supplies as this mission should take less than a few days. We will grab all the supplies we need and at noon we shall go and meet with The Harlingtons. I need a raise of hands for those who will choose to stay or leave the group permanently.” I had expected 2-3 people that would want to stay or leave, not one person raised their hand.
I finished, “Okay then, everyone we shall meet here at noon.”
Noon came and we all got together and were ready. Vlad and the elders were safe and barricaded themselves back into the bunker with most of our food and supplies. We headed out west across the city to our allies. There wasn’t much life around except for animals prancing around. So I and the 11 other survivors went across the city seeing things that I have never seen before, like what Dimitri calls a “movie theater” or a “auto shop”.
We reach the place and it has apparently changed drastically since the last time Jonas saw it. It looked a lot more run down and outlandish while now it looks like what it apparently looked like before the bombs fell. Aside from the fence line behind the fence line with the stupidly sharp blades that were on top of it. It looked colorful with a ruby red and sharp yellow stripes all along the place. There were at least 20 guards just on the outside of the place. We followed the line of fence that took us to the front doors of the place and walked in. There we could see the inside, the place was a huge restaurant with tables all around the walls and in the middle was the bar, with booze that could last Jonas about two birthday parties.
Someone came up to us dressed in a uniform of sort that had the same colors as the walls of the place and asked us, “Hello my name is Ivan and I’ll be your waiter for this afternoon. How may I help you?”
I’m unsure what to do as all of this is new to me, then Jonas spoke up, “Yeah uh hi, can you sit the 10 of us down to eat while having this young man sit down at a table by himself with whoever’s in charge.” He pointed towards me and Jonas yelled to everyone to follow him as there was a big table across the room.
That left me and Ivan to deal with each other, “Okay then sir,” He continued, “if you just follow me I’ll take you to a table. He walked towards a corner of the restaurant away from the 6 other people at the place who were all at the bar. “Here is your seat sir.” Ivan said to me, the table was in the corner so it faced towards the bar instead of being parallel to it. I sat on the side farthest to the wall so I could see everything. When I sat down Ivan asked me,
“Is there anything you’d like to drink sir?”
Drink? I was somewhat thirsty and did see some rum that I recognized that tasted really good. “Yeah I’ll have that coconut rum that’s over at the bar on the corner please.” Ivan looked at the bar and I could tell he could recognize the drink that I was talking about.
“I’ll have that right with you sir.” He answered, then went and walked away towards the bar. I took off my backpack and looked inside for anything I could use as money. There was a pocket watch, pocket knife, some bullets, and some random 9mm ammo I had laying in there, I picked those out when I heard a voice,
“So what’s with you?”
Chapter 5: Tarantino
I looked up to see a girl, I can tell she is about if not my age. She had dark brown hair with light skinned like me, however she had a somewhat tanned skin, with body armor on her chest, sitting right across from me.
“What’s with me?” I asked back,
She responded, “Yeah, why does Ivan come and tell me that 11 whole people show up and one of them wants to talk to me?” I looked straight at her and asked,
“Sorry to be rude, but I need to ask a question before I answer yours. Are you the one who’s in charge here?” I can tell that there’s fire in her eyes, as she didn’t like what I asked her. Then suddenly I heard the sound of a hammer pulled back and the feeling of the end of a barrel pushed against my crotch.
“You better listen here you damn donkey, only I ask the questions here.” She berated, nobody noticed what was happening as we spoke mean, but toned down. Even with the fire in her eyes, I sat up straighter and leaned in towards her and told her in a whispering voice,
“The last time someone looked at me with those eyes they ended up dead.”
Her fire didn’t go away, she responded with a snarky response, “Is that supposed to scare me?”
I looked at her with a smirk of confidence and told her,
“No, this is.”
I cocked the hammer on my revolver back.
The fire in her eyes started to go out, but not completely. So I went and ranted,
“See I had heard such good things about you guys since we saved you from that raider group. But right now what my father told me about you must be mistaken for someone else. Because right now, you owe my people, and I ain’t leaving until I get what I want. And if I don’t get what I want, things are gonna happen, and those things won’t be pretty.”
The fire in her eyes had burnt out, I pushed the hammer of my revolver forward and holstered my revolver, she did the same. “Let’s start from the beginning.” I declared, “My name is Nikolai Petrov. And yours?” She leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms. “Sofia Harlington. Some people call me Sofi.” Pretty name, I thought.
“Well Sofia, it’s nice to meet you. I came here because me and my people are still owed a favor by your people.” She seemed a little more relaxed when she responded,
“Yeah, we do. What do you need help with?” I described it to her,
“There are these people that came to Chernobyl, and are a danger to the whole ci-” She interrupted,
“The Red Rebels.”
I responded, “So you know of them?”
She sat up straight and leaned in towards me to reply,
“Course I heard of them, everybody in this whole city is afraid of them, even my parents. Nobody has the guts to go and confront them. They have a whole army of people and have weapons that no person on this planet holds except for the Australian Government. Also quick question, what’s with the hair?”
My hair is weird, when I was young and right when I became a teenager, I was considered a ginger. It was a pure orange with a little red in the mix, then overtime the orange started to go away as more brown started to come in along with a little bit of blonde. Now it’s a strange orange color and no one can say what one color it is. Not to mention my gray eyes.
“It’s a weird orange. And I’m guessing by you mentioning your parents that they’re in charge?” I asked her.
She gave a slight nod.
I continued, “See I don’t believe that they’re as dangerous as most people think they are. I have reason to believe that they are a lot more vulnerable than most people think they are.”
She raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
“I have reason to believe that their base isn’t some highly fortified pre-war base, but a base made up of only metal sheets and wood.”
Her attention towards me had grown as I can tell she has had problems with the Rebels before.
“How would you know?”
So I explained to her, from the day it all happened to now. The first confrontation with them, and interrogating the woman to find out more about them. At first I had her curiosity, but now I have her attention.
“So you’re saying with enough people we can actually take on the Rebels?” She asked,
I nodded and told her, “Yes, we need the people of course and yes people will die, but it’s possible.”
I noticed a sort of color in her eyes, something I couldn’t put my name on. She got up from the table to tell me,
“Come with me, you can leave your stuff here, it ain’t going nowhere.”
I did as she asked and got up and left my stuff, she grabbed my hand and led me towards the other side of the restaurant. I looked towards the table of where mine sat and looked at Jonas, I raised my eyebrow in questioning. All he did was smile and raised his glass. I had no idea what she wanted to talk to me about, but I would soon find out.
5 Minutes Later
“So you think we can get your help?” I asked her, as we were walking back into the restaurant.
“Oh you’ll definitely get our help.” She told me, “I think I could also get the help of a raider group that is close by.” I looked to see my people were still sitting where they were before, eating food I have never seen before. We both sat back down to discuss details, she went first.
“So if they’re about 10 miles up north, I can get my people to be there at about dawn tomorrow. However If you guys leave at about now, you can get there at about midnight.”
She kept going off about what’ll happen while I was distracted. I keeped looking at her and nodded to seem like I was paying attention, but I couldn’t. I could sense something but I couldn’t figure out what it was, I kept on thinking of what it could be, then I realized what I sensed.
“He’s here.” I stated.
I turned my attention to the door, looking at the door and only the door. I can tell Sofia was confused by what I said.
“Who’s here?” She asked,
I turned back to her to see nervousness in her eyes. And right before I could even tell her who, he already noticed me.
“Well if it isn’t my favorite nephew!”
Chapter 6: The Bomb Under the Table
I turn back to see Yuri standing by the door with his arms open like he’s about to give me a hug. Last time I saw him he was wearing biker gear and had two eyes. Now he’s wearing a thick grey coat with a black shirt and blue jeans instead and has an eyepatch on his left eye. I decided to play along with whatever he’s trying to do.
“Uncle Yuri! What are you doing all the way down here?”
He walked up us and sat down by a table besides me and told me,
“I was in town and I heard you were out and about at this fine place. So I wanted to stop by to say hi.” He got in close to me and whispered, “If you try anything I’ll have this place destroyed before you can even pull your gun out.”
I had my hand on my revolver when he said that. I slid my hand away and laid it on the cold seat. He gave me a smile and pulled his attention towards Sofia.
“Sorry if it seems rude to ask.” He stated, “But who is this fine lady I have the pleasure of meeting?”
She gave a nervous look before answering, “Anna Victor, sir.”
He gave a happy look, I quickly glanced over to see all of my people looking at us with their hands on their guns ready to fire. I gave a tiny but noticeable shake no towards them. Yuri continued to talk,
“Anna, what a lovely name. Say nephew?” He turned his attention towards me, “Is this your new girlfriend I heard about?”
I responded to him, “Well she is a girl, and I suppose she is a friend. But… I wouldn’t say she is my girlfriend in any romantic way. Just somebody I recently met.”
He gave a nod, he got up from his seat and put his hand on my shoulder to tell me, “Well nephew, I won’t waste anymore of your time. I have important business to get to, I need to speak to some people as they are in a bit of trouble.”
He started walking to the door before he turned around to ask one more question, “Hey nephew, will I see you later?”
I gave back a fake smile and told him, “I’m sure we will see each other soon.”
He gave a smile and left, I looked at the door and waited, I don’t what, but I was waiting. Then I turned back around to see Sofia. She looked a bit pale and was shaking.
“What’s wrong.” I asked.
She looked up to me and told me, “He killed my sister.”
Chapter 7: A New Perspective
I, Sofia Harlington, was born in a world of hell. My parents were young when they had me, both were only 20 when I was born. They lived in an underground city underneath Chernobyl. When they were 20 the place was attacked by a group of crazed raiders. They both met each other as they were escaping and stuck together ever since. When they had me I was born under a bridge by a field of radiated red chilli peppers.
We roamed in and around the city before we moved into the restaurant. When I turned 5 my parents had my sister, Anna. It was hard, and it was dangerous, the four of us living together having to fend off against stalkers that want to kill and eat us. My parents hardly had time to teach us basic things like reading and writing so for most of my life I was in a way by myself, having to take care of Anna. I never held any grudge against my parents, they got about 2 hours of sleep a day to find supplies so we can survive. I would forever be in their debt.
As me and Anna got older, life got easier for us as we were able to take care of ourselves more and more. Then one day I gave my father the idea of making food and selling it for supplies. My father growing up was raised by the chef of the city, so he knew how to make foods that hardly anyone has heard of. So we started selling food for mainly ammo and was able to trade that for more food and supplies. As we started to get into a routine everyday I was able to make spare time to learn basic needs for survival like cooking, reading and writing, and how to fire a rifle.
When I was 21 we got a tip from some group to the east that a raider group was going to attack us, so we went onto the offensive and tracked down the group. I myself was never there but I last heard the group wouldn’t be any threat to us. After that we improved security and made the place look better after they scavenged the raider camp.
When I laid my eyes on Yuri Orlov for the first time I was already in fear. I was 14 years old while Anna was 9, me and Anna were outside the restaurant exploring a building nearby that was abandoned. It looked to be as my Father put it, an “office”. We went up a flight of stairs and saw a bunch of desks laying about. Then we saw a man who was looking through a drawer of papers. He had a thick beard, was wearing ragged clothes, and looked starved. He stopped and turned around to notice us.
“Hello young ladies.” He said, “What are you doing by yourselves?”
He slowly got up and stood like a giant.
I told him, “We aren’t alone, we have each other.”
My Mother told me never talk to people I don’t know unless I’m right by the restaurant. So we started to waddle our way backwards towards the stairs, he only got closer as we walked back.
“That’s nice, but we really need to get you back to your parents.” He stated.
Anna had spoken up, “We know where to go. You don’t need to help us.”
He gave a smile and gave a quiet laugh, “I should stay with you just in case. It is a dangerous world.”
He got even closer as we got right to the stairs before I told him, “We’ll be on our way now.”
Something snapped in him and caused him to turn into a demon. He lunged at me while yelling, “No you’re not!”
He tackled me to the ground and put his sweaty hands around my neck, then started to choke me. I tried to punch his arms away but he was too strong. At first I couldn’t breath, it felt like my throat was sealed shut, then the pain started to set in, finally the blackness started to come. Then out of the blue I heard him yell in pain when I see Anna smacking him with a pipe. He flew backwards letting go of me, I catched my breath and got up. I looked towards Anna to tell her,
But before I could finish what I was saying I was kicked down the stairs as a force of strength booted me down it. I was in tremendous pain but was able to get up, I looked up the stairs to see Anna close by.
I saw a bullet placed into her head as she fell to the ground dead. I saw her eyes close before me as she fell to the ground. I moved what worked in my body and I ran all the way home as fast as I could. I never left the restaurant for months. Both of my parents went into a depression as well as me, I stopped eating and even almost starved myself to death as I felt responsible for her death.
Then was the day Nikolai came to the restaurant. When Ivan first told me someone wanted to talk to me I wanted to know why he isn’t just a customer. Then I knew he was more than just some guy when he pulled his gun on me. I had heard of The Red Rebels before by drunks coming into my bar and even Yuri’s people coming into my bar. Then when he explained to me I took an interest into him, and decided that he would be much use to me. And now that I know that Yuri is in charge, I want his head.
Chapter 8: The Journey To Hell
Me and Sofi finished up our conversation and her history with Yuri. Me and my people herded out of the restaurant as I talked to Sofi.
“You need to be careful.” She told me.
“I can’t promise I will, but I’ll try my hardest.” I said to her.
She went to look at me dead in the eyes to tell me one last thing,
“Listen, when you see Yuri, make sure he suffers.”
She leaned in and gave me a long kiss, her lips tasted like my dad’s homemade bread. I felt something when she did that, something I knew I wouldn’t feel for a very long time. She leaned away and walked back into the restaurant, hoping to see her face again in the future. Once I couldn’t see her I turned north, towards where my journey lies ahead.
“So is she not coming with us?” Jonas asked.
I looked towards him to answer, “No, she must stay to watch the place.”
We went north, we travelled the ten miles towards the most dangerous place in the world north of the hemisphere. There we didn’t encounter much, and saw stalkers of all kinds, but they were smart enough not to mess with a group of 11 people. We mostly just saw the beautiful nature for large portions of the trip. The tall, brown, strong trees. Along with grass that is as tall as short buildings, and are as thick as logs. The most interesting thing that happened while we were walking was Jonas tripped over a rock and spilled his whiskey.
When we arrived my estimate was correct, their base was made and isn’t built off any pre-war base. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t well guarded. Their base was shaped like an L with two runways. With a square, wooden hanger by the middle. All around there were houses all along the base. It may have been midnight but they had plenty of spotlights around to make the whole base light up. We were up on a cliff facing the whole base, with a clear view to just about everything. I opened up my backpack and got out a pair of binoculars, I never had any use for them until now. I looked towards the hanger with the binoculars to see the bomber plane was parked inside of it.
There were people moving in and out of the plan moving what seemed to be bombs. They all seemed to be in a rush, like something will happen if they don’t get what they need to do. Their walls around the base were surrounded by 5 people on each long side of the base, so about 20. There is no possible way we can take them directly in a full on assault. We would need to scout the place for possible entryways or rat holes to get into the base.
So that’s what we did, for a few hours we went around the whole place from the distance to find any entryways to get into without being detected, and we found two. One way located close to the hanger, a little ditch sitting underneath the main fence that surrounded the whole place, which is just made of sheet metals that were 10 metres tall. The second one was located by where most of the wooden houses were. A man-made sewer tunnel to deal with the plumbing I suppose. So one hour before the sun rose, we created a plan.
Me, Dimitri, and Jonas were to go underneath the fence by the hanger. There we would plant explosives Jonas picked up from the apartments while he was drunk, set the timer on it, and blow up the plan. Right before that would happen, 4 others and my Mom will sneak their way into the sewage tunnel and get into a house. There they would light it ablaze causing a commotion among the place, then as everyone is trying to deal with the fire, we predict that the hanger would be more empty and we can plant the explosives on the plane. The rest stay and fire from a distance while the battle goes on.
“Okay, everything here seems good.” I stated, “Are there any questions?” Dimitri spoke up, “Yes, if we all get split up where do we go?” I thought for a moment, where could we all go that we would be safe? “The restaurant.” I declared, “That’s where we’ll all meet.”
I picked up my guns and backpacks and said to the rest of the group, “Everyone, if I don’t see you after this. It’s been nice knowing all of you.”
Chapter 9: Rats
The three of us crawled like snakes towards the fence. We moved when the wind was moving, which was quite frequent. Once we got to the fence we stayed low and crouched, and waddled across the end fence and around towards the hanger. In the process Dimitri was telling me and Jonas stories.
“This reminds me of the Siege of Stalingrad.” He stated, “We moved around buildings to try to flank the Germans. I worked about half of the time, the other half we got shot at and had to retreat.”
We had to tell him to shush everytime. There have been times where I felt like I would die if I kept listening to his stories, now I might actually die.
After almost dying repeatedly we finally reached the hole under the fence.
“It’s tight but it’s doable.” Jonas said, he looked towards Dimitri and they both started quietly laughing. I never got why they were laughing.
We got through underneath the fence and were surrounded by a bunch of building materials like bricks, wood, and even concrete. It was perfect cover for getting to the hangar. The hangar itself was only about 25 metres away. We moved from cover to cover even though the nearest person was at the hangar before Jonas stopped us part way through.
“Guys.” He said, “Someone needs to help lead the way for the assault once dawn comes.”
I was confused, “What do you mean?” I asked him.
He got up close to me and put his hand on my shoulder to tell me,
“They need to get in the base somehow. I brought an extra charge with me to destroy part of the whole wall at the end of the runway. I need you to take the other charge and blow up that plane.”
He handed me the charge and his flask of whiskey he always carried with him. He turned around and started moving back to the hole. I had to ask him one last question.
“Jonas!” He turned back towards me, “What if you die?”
He gave a calm smile before telling me, “Then I died how I wanted to. A hero that was a complete mess.” He turned back around and started moving, I almost shed a tear.
But there was no time to cry, we had to blow up a plane. We continued to move towards the hangar and noticed a back door towards it. We made our way to it and slowly opened up the creaky door. Inside we saw men moving in and out moving bombs into the plane and on the wings of it, we had to wait as the fire hadn't started yet. But once it did, it did more than I had hoped for.
The fire not only burnt up one building, but several. People everywhere started running towards the houses, giving us the chance to get to the bomber. We both got inside of the hangar and checked to see if it was clear, it was. Then we quietly shut the door behind so no one can get in. We turned our attention towards the plane and started moving towards the plane. Then we both heard a hammer on a gun being pulled back.
“Put your hands where I can see them.”
It was Yuri.
Chapter 10: Red Dawn
Yuri made us get on our knees with our hands up in the middle of the hangar. He had both of us at gunpoint and if we did anything we would die. He kept asking us the same question,
“Where’s the rest?”
We kept silent everytime he asked.
“Where’s the rest?”
He got up close to me ear to ask me, “If you don’t tell me where they are I will kill all of them.”
I looked up at them to ask, “Hey Yuri, what time is it?”
He looked confused, but he knew the answer, “10 minutes from dawn.”
I started to laugh, it was a hysterical laugh, something even I found disturbing, but still funny.
“What’s so funny?” He asked.
“If it’s 10 minutes from dawn then it’s already too late.”
I don’t know exactly what happened in Yuri, but I know fear had settled in him. He told a guard to watch us while he goes into the plane through its cargo door. We can’t do anything or we’d be dead, all we had to do was wait for the opportunity.
We waited for about 2 minutes when Yuri suddenly came back, and once he did we heard two gunshots coming from where Jonas was supposed to be.
Then suddenly we heard the same phrase being yelled along the wall by guards. Each of them yelling, “1-42!”
It kept going until Yuri heard it loud and clear. He looked at the both of us and bragged,
“You know what that means? It means somebody was by the fence and is now dead.”
Jonas was dead, and all I can do is hope he went to do what he needed to.
“Well, that doesn't matter too much.” I stated, “Even if Jonas died, you can’t stop them all.”
Then I broke him, he ran up the bomber and I heard him telling the pilot to start the plane. He ran back out to confront us.
“What in Stalin’s name is going?” He asked.
“What is going on…” Dimitri started, he stood up and put his hands down, “Is that this whole place will succumb to an army of people. And you can’t do anything about i-”
Yuri then shot Dimitri in the chest. He fell to the ground, I couldn’t do anything or I’d get shot too.
Then Yuri went and yelled at everyone in the hangar, “Everybody get on the fence and watch for anyone! You two come with me!” He pointed to two other guards who followed him onto the plane. One of them went to ask, “What about the boy?”
Yuri yelled back, “Forget him, let’s go.”
They ran onto the plane which then started to move slowly. I turned my attention to Dimitri, he was bleeding out and I knew I couldn’t save him.
“Dimitri, I’m sorry for all of this.”
He looked at me with a smile of confidence, but he needed to say one last thing to me.
“Promise me you’ll kill him. I want to die knowing me and your father didn’t die for nothing.”
I, with tears in my eyes, went to keep his promise.
“I promise Dimitri, I promise that he will be dead.”
He leaned up and got in close to me to say one last thing,
‘Then go and get him.”
I stood up straight, looked towards the plane which had only moved about 10 metres. And I started running towards it.
He did it, Jonas set the explosive down and activated it. The fence that was touched by the explosive crumbled to the ground like it was wet paper. Then I started seeing them, what looked to be a horde of people coming through. Ranging from all types of stalkers, but mostly Sofi’s guards with machine guns. Right behind all them I saw the beauty of dawn. The sun was as large as I’ve ever seen it, with red spewing all across the sky. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
The sun didn’t stop me from running, the plane started to pick up speed and I suddenly saw two people step onto the cargo door still dragging along the ground. I got out my revolver and pulled the hammer back, they started shooting at me but weren’t accurate, I was. Each time I pulled the trigger one man fell dead and onto the runway.
Once it was clear I used my legs to the full capacity to jump onto the cargo door. I barely made it the plane, and then the plane started going up. If I had been one second late I would’ve missed it. I looked down to see the horde of people coming onto the runway, and I shouldn’t have. As Yuri was pointing his gun right at my head.
“Look at what you did.” He stated, “The chaos you brought to my place, you’re gonna be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people.”
How could I? Some would die but there aren’t hundreds here.
“How?” I asked.
He put his gun down and walked down the plane. I turned around to see boxes, they were all filled with food and water. Not a single explosive in sight.
“I know you’re gonna kill me.” He claimed, “You thought this plane had only explosives, and you are right. But you’re thinking for the wrong reason. See I may be crazy, but I’m still human. All of these foods are going to a village that is in need, their people are starving and dying. And the bombs? We were going to destroy a raider base south of Chernobyl, they were responsible for the destruction of the city underground.”
I pointed at my revolver at him and said, “You killed my father!”
He responded, “Yes, and I did act a bit immature of what I said, but I’m not lying when I said he attacked me.”
I raged at him and claimed, “You’re lying!”
He nodded no, “I’m sorry but I’m not. I hardly ever lie, the only time I lied to you was when I said if you did anything at the restaurant you’d be blown up. I lied because I was by myself, with no one with me. I only did it for my protection.”
He kept on rambling, “You know when your father said that a raider group was to attack The Harlingtons? Yeah he was lying, he only said that so he could ally himself with them. The raider group? The village this plane is heading towards.”
I needed to ask him, “How do you know all this?”
He gave me a not so good look and told me.
“Because I knew your father, I knew him since even before the war, and he’s always been the same. A lying, manipulative, garbage man.”
I shot him right in the shoulder. He fell to the ground groaning in pain. I grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the cargo door, I looked out and saw something I’ve never seen before. We were above the clouds, it was all blue everywhere, and the clouds looked like white puffs of a cigarette. I noticed a slight lack of air but was still breathable. It was strange, but pretty.
“What about that time you killed that young girl about 7 years ago?” I asked him.
He put his hands up and told me, “At that time my wife had just been killed. I was confused and had gone crazy. Since that day, I have only tried to help people. I got a bunch of people together and worked to help only those in need. This here was supposed to be our biggest project yet. And you messed it all up.”
He got up on his knees and sat right on the edge of the cargo door. I decided to get out my shotgun and point it at him, I pulled both the hammers back on it.
“That shotgun.” Yuri said, “I recognize that writing on it.”
I looked at the writing, I never understood what it said, but I needed to know.
“What does it say?” I asked him.
He looked at it for a moment before telling me, “It says “I am the captain of my soul”, it’s based on this old English poem from the 1800’s. I don’t remember most of it, all I remember is that line and the one before it.”
He told me, “I am the master of my fate. And I guess that describes you now. You’re in charge of your own fate, and you get to decide what happens with your soul.”
We both remained quiet for a moment before he asked me, “Say, I never actually learned your name.”
I decided to tell him, “Nikolai Petrov.”
Yuri just sat there calmly and said to me, “Thank you. Oh, and tell your girlfriend I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.”
I put my finger on the trigger, then I slowly started to squeeze the trigger.
Yuri’s body fell dead off the plane, it flew not like a bird, but a dead bird. It glided into the clouds and disappeared, never to be seen again.
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”