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Shadow Zone

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Chapter II

 “So, sir, what exactly is our mission here?” Dmitry asked his commander

“To recon the area deeper into the zone and try to make contact with a nearby Bulgarian base, supposedly left almost intact.”

They first went through Hayredin. The lack of life killed any optimism that may have been left in them. All those empty streets, all those empty houses…A miserable view. You could shout all you want and still nobody would hear. The only one speaking back to you would be your own echo…

 The group walked on the old, probably not maintained for 30 years road, looking at the gradually decreasing floral life as they got further and further, trying to avoid any radiation pockets they encounter. Before night came, they found an old farm house not far from the road and decided to stay in. You never know what night might bring, even if it’s in the middle of a probably lifeless region. Dmitry was the one who was lucky enough to stay on watch. Yeah, like anything’s going to happen, he said to himself. And even if something happened, you wouldn’t see it. The farm’s windows hadn’t been cleaned in years. When looking through them you got the feeling that you were in a fog, disoriented, not knowing where you are, having no idea what lies beyond, so Dmitry just kept looking at the floor, avoiding any missing or loose planks as he walked. Thinking that nothing’s going to happen, he sat in the corner of a room and got to sleep, hoping that nobody will notice in the morning. During the night it started raining acid, nothing unusual for the zone, destroying even more of the dying ecosystem. Dmitry was first to get up and wake the others, completing the illusion that he started in the night. Having packed everything, they walked out of the farm and continued onwards. Petrov took a can of beans from his backpack and opened it while looking at a tree that was nearby:

“I’m pretty sure that thing had branches and leaves yesterday. And everything around seems more dead than usual.” He said before putting a full spoon of beans in his mouth.

“Why do you pay attention to it? It’s a tree. It probably got hit in the outburst and your memory’s now playing tricks with you.”

“Nou, aam pity shuua.” Petrov slurped with some pieces of the haricot flying out of his mouth.”Uant shum?”

“Gross…” Lothar frowned and took a huge bite out of his chicken sandwich.

“You know what I’m sure? I’m sure that I need a woman, or two…You know what Pooh says – “The more, the merrier!” That little pervert. And they let children watch that show.” Johnson shared his thoughts.

“They let children watch it because there aren’t any psychos around them to interpret it in their own way, like you. Besides, he’s cuddly. Kids love such things.” Catalin added.

“Shhh! Get down…I see movement up front.” Lothar ordered.”Petrov, you still got that scope? Use it.”

The Bulgarian looked through the scope and tried to steady it on the object in front of him. The zooming wasn’t much but he could make out at least five people. In the meantime Lothar got his binoculars out and looked through them. He could see six people, four women and two men, all civilians. The squad leader ordered the soldiers to continue moving with caution and when they were about fifty meters away from the people he shouted at them to stop and not to move. They didn’t know English, so Petrov translated. They were citizens from Butan. According to them there were many survivors waiting to be rescued.

“They say that there was an EMP blast shortly before the explosion and they haven’t seen anyone come from Kozloduy since then. What are we going to do with them?”

“We’ll give them some supplies and you tell them to go past Hayredin and then to Mihaylovo. There should be a checkpoint somewhere.”

Petrov told them where to go and gave them his Geiger counter, hoping that he didn’t make a huge mistake. It was getting late but Lothar insisted that they continue and lead the group on the road to Butan. A little before the village they went right, through Ogosta river and into a forest or at least something that had been a forest before.

“We should be nearing the base, stay alert.”-Lothar ordered and everyone crouched. You could see some of the watch towers from miles away. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t see you. Johnson heard a noise on the left and everyone turned to the side, exposing their right flank.

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Chapter II

Cast

Ivailo Zaharievas Petrov
Richard Dean Andersonas Colonel Stanchev
Nathan Fillionas Johnson
Nicolas Cageas Lothar
Jewel Staiteas Ivelina
Adam Baldwinas Stephenson
Konstantin Khabenskyas Dmitry

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