It is clear to me now that the zombies aren’t my enemy. Yes, they’re deadly. But when I’m armed with an axe I can take them out one at a time with relative ease. I know just the right distance to swing at them so that I catch them when they lurch and stop them before their arms or teeth can make purchase.
So, the first thing I do when I find myself on the ground in Chernarus is make a b-line for the places most likely to have an axe or two laying around. Construction sites and large industrial buildings seem like the best spots. The trick is to stay alive and unseen until then.
I’m haunting the scaffolding in a multi-story warehouse when I spot him. Now that I have my fingers wrapped around the comforting wooden handle of a fire axe, I set my mind to next steps. I’m leaning against the dirty glass panes in the building’s rafters, peering out at my surroundings to scope out my next move. I slip from window to window, assessing the neighboring buildings. Any sooner or later to this particular window, I would have missed him. He’s crouched, hugging the outside of a neighboring warehouse and moving quickly with his rifle drawn.
And like that, he’s gone. Ducked inside a gaping garage door. I follow.
By the time I follow his footsteps through the garage door, my quarry is long gone. But this place seems like a good spot. The warehouse is tall and airy inside. Walkways and scaffolding close to the ceiling make it feel very defensible. In one corner there’s a set of stairs littered with useful stuff like ammo and flares. I follow the breadcrumbs upwards, filling my pockets with everything I can carry. A single ladder leads upwards to an enclosed concrete crow’s nest. Like an idiot, I climb.
My hands hook the final rung and I look over the edge to find two survivors crouched against the far wall. The last thing I see is the muzzle flash. I am dead before my body hits the floor.
They were right to be wary. Most survivors I encounter shoot first and ask questions later. When I hear gunshots in the distance my first impulse is to head the other direction. But there’s also strength in numbers. If I can find an ally there will be somebody to watch my back when I’m hacking at zombies. And cutthroat survivors will think twice in trying to kill us for our loot.
I head towards civilization – that industrial town overrun by zombies – where I hope to find someone like myself. Someone more interested in surviving than creating more death.
I’m picking my way through abandoned bars, looking for handgun ammo, when I hear the church bells. Someone must be pulling that rope. Between me and the sanctuary are a lot of walkers, so I take my time. I pick my targets and hack them to death one by one, hoping that a bloodthirsty human doesn’t catch me with my guard down.
I am fooled once when someone in fatigues runs up along side me and just stands there, like they’re sizing me up. But when I look up at his face, I see dead eyes and blackened skin. I hack the thing to pieces.
I find the church doors open, but protected by a curl of razor wire. I camp for a while in the building across the way, hoping to see signs of life, but there are none. The church bells remain silent.
It is nearby at the firehouse that I make my first acquaintance. He’s hauling ass through an alley with a mob of zombies behind him, but he doesn’t seem too concerned. I watch from the bushes, ready to help if I can. But his words give me pause.
“Is anybody up there in the Firehouse,” he shouts. “I’m coming up and I’ve got my Makaraov locked and loaded!”
I can’t tell if his words are a threat or a warning.
He enters the building from the front, leaving two dozen confused zombies outside. If I don’t want to tangle with these creatures as they lose his scent I’ll have move. I climb a ladder on the firehouse exterior. I move across the roof to the firehouse tower and spot him through the window. He sees me as well. I climb the outside of the tower and take a position at the pinnacle, looking down at the roof where I was just moments before. He’s there, on prone on the tar paper with his rifle pointed at me. There’s nowhere for me to go.
“Are you friendly,” he asks.
His voice seems kind to me. Not cruel or stupid.
“I’m friendly,” I say. But he doesn’t hear me.
“Do you know how to talk,” he asks. I put my gun away. Hoping the gesture of peace
He shouts. “ARE YOU FRIENDLY?” I nod broadly hoping that he gets the message.
I am disappointed when he fires, but I understand why he did it. You can never be too careful.
About the Author:
Gus Mastrapa is a freelance writer from Apple Valley, CA. He doesn't believe in zombies.
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