I wrote this story to imagine what people would do in an area that was heavily radiated. When there’s no way out, how will you cope with it?
Some thanks to:
My parents for support and help with the story
Iris Springvloet for the character “Misha Amaranth”
Astrid Ubbink for the animal character “Malik”
Aurelius for the general military help.
Everyone who is going to read it.
This story is based on the Chernobyl nuclear accident site, also known as the “Dead Zone” or simply “The Zone” (See S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). I have great respect for people who have lived, still live or have lost family in these areas and do not wish to insult anyone with the story. If you feel offended by any references and/or descriptions in this story, do not read it. Everything in this story is fictional and any resemblances to real-life people are purely coincidental. The author takes no responsibility for any actions that may be inspired by this story or the characters in it. If you are offended by anything in this story then simply don’t read further.
With so many destroyed buildings everywhere and debris lying around it’s hard to notice the vegetation... or what remained of it. Yet there are some plants here and there, growing like nothing has happened. There is even a small field of grass near a half-destroyed apartment complex. While looking as normal as it could, there is something unusual about it….something strange….
“Zulu Home, this is Lavant 2, over.”
“Lavant 2, here Zulu Home, go ahead.”
“No activity near the border, what are the orders?”
“Are you positive? Our intelligence noticed movement recently.”
“Positive. There is nothing here but dust and rubble.”
“Copy that. Pack up and wait for the extraction.”
“Roger that, Zulu Home, ending transmission.”
A small lump of grass on the field started moving. Gradually, a figure rose from the field and made its way towards a nearby building. The cold wind and snow did not seem to bother its movement towards the entrance. Inside the building was a small bunk and some supplies indicating somebody’s presence on site not the first day. In the light of a small gas lamp the grassy suit dropped on the floor revealing a brunette of average height. The woman sat down on the bunk and took something from the sack resembling cheese and bread, then started eating.
“Hey, where’s this LZ we’re supposed to be at?”
“Change course to 250, you’ll see it. It’s near that Ferris wheel.”
“Roger that. Who are we picking up anyway?”
“Can’t be bothered with it, really. It’s some agent or something. I just want to go home to my wife and kids. It has been nearly 2 years since, and this is my last Op.”
The increasing roar of the helicopter interrupted the conversation as they approached the Landing Zone. In the middle of a ruined city stood a lonely Ferris wheel, surrounded with some trees and buildings. The pilot slowed down and hovered. The city was extremely quiet. Not a single sign of life. A few trees were the only living remains in this once sprawling city center. As far as one could see, there was no movement, not even birds or insects. This was a truly dead city…
“Is it clear Sgt?”
Sammit appeared in thought and didn’t notice anything for a moment.
“Sarge! Wake up!”
“Is the LZ clear? Can I set this thing down?”
“Yeah, there’s nothing there. Set her down.”
Slowly the helicopter descended onto the surprisingly clear square in front of the Ferris wheel and gently touched down. Sammit and two more Lancers from the group jumped down and checked their surroundings. There was nothing…
“Luk” – answered a figure standing near the entrance of an apartment complex.
The voice of this figure seemed soft, almost infantile. It approached Sammit.
“Roger, we’re your extraction. Hop on”
The figure boarded the helicopter and one by one the Lancers did the same. Sammit was the last one to board and chose the seat opposite the mysterious agent. The machine roared and slowly rose into the air adjusting its course. The whole crew seemed to be intrigued by the new passenger.