Misadventures in the zombie apocalypse: Day 1
DayZ is a hardcore multiplayer game of survival based on ARMA II. These are the stories of my absurd, tragic, and admittedly hilarious deaths.
I awaken, as usual, somewhere on the coast of Chenarus: a post-Soviet country in a parallel world, 225 square kilometers in size. It seems like a nice place, really -- there's plenty of coast, rich forests, and rolling hills. Fortunately, the whole world's gone to hell, and my challenge is to survive a mess of irate zombies, bands of crafty human bandits who'll take my life for a Band-Aid, and the usual threats of starvation, dehydration, hypothermia, falling, drowning, and, well... you get the picture.
The good news -- if you can call anything in this hell of a life good -- is that it's nighttime, so the Bath Salt Army won't easily be able to detect my presence. Face-eaters are crafty enough to spot you running from a good distance in daytime, which means most of life in Chenarus tends to be an excruciating adventure in crawling.
But at night, I run free.
My first goal is to get the hell off the coast, and grab whatever I can, as fast as I can. Human bandits like to patrol the coast or camp out in the most valuable areas in the big coastal cities, either to amass equipment or to pick off under-equipped scavengers. I'd really rather not run into anybody at all, at least not before I have something to defend myself with.
I quickly run up from the shore to survey the road: usually there's some sort of clue that will help me pinpoint my whereabouts.
Hmm. This looks familiar.
As I cross the road, I spot a small town.
Where am I?
As I spot some familiar buildings, I realize I'm in Prigorodky -- a small town between the two large coastal towns, Chernogorsk and Elektrozavodsk. It's not really a place I want to stay for very long.
As I approach a small cluster of houses, I spot a sizeable gang of face-eaters.
I turn around and set out for another barn.
There's got to be something in here.
This can mean one of two things, as far as I know: another person was recently here and cleaned it out, which is possibly an oh-god-there's-someone-right-behind-me situation, or I've just got bad luck and nothing's here right now. Sometimes it's difficult to know which scenario you're in until there's an axe in the back of your head.
In any event, there's no point in sticking around here.
I have to push forward before the sun rises. I quickly exit the scene, and make way through a long field towards a promising location: a cluster of three barns that's nearly guaranteed to have something I need.
I can feel the anticipation -- an equal mixture of fear and excitement -- rising in my chest.
The grass crunches under my feet as I hurl myself toward the first building.
So far, no zombies that I can see. That's not always a good thing.
I hug the first barn and check the outhouse. There's nothing inside.
That's not a good sign either.
I decide to forget about the barn to my back -- usually the ones with animal stalls don't have weaponry. The brown barn like the one up ahead, though, is known to have a rifle or two.
I peek my way around the corner to the street. No zombies.
Still not a good sign.
Shit shit shit.
At the end of the world you have to deal with a few problems: zombies, murderers, and empty Jack Daniels bottles.
I have no choice now but to inspect the other barns quickly -- but I'm not expecting much.
Plus, there's always the chance that there's someon--
A faint blue light in the distance bedazzles me, stopping me in my tracks. It's just a dim chemlight, but it's hitting me like the brights from a truck on a pitch-black road.
Only other humans throw chemlights.
There is another human nearby.
Was this here before? How long was this here? How did I miss it?
Oh god, why did I go inside?
There's nothing here, but I'm compelled to investigate.
Maybe -- just maybe -- there's a survivor here willing to help me out.
There's nothing but chemlights in here, and the bushes are rustling outside.
I can't stay long.
I run to a side room in the barn, and spot a pile of useful things. I quickly lean down to grab what I can.
Something grunts loudly behind my head.
Panicked, I run to the corner of the room. The zombie, perhaps unaware of me before, is certainly onto me now. He inches closer in the dark. This is it. This is where it ends. I quickly cycle through my throwable items... maybe there's something here that can hel -- what?
I picked up a grenade?
Nothing to do now but throw it.
I press myself against the back wall and close my eyes.
When I open my eyes, the zombie lies motionless.
If the chemlight thrower hasn't known of my presence, they certainly do now. Figuring there's not much to lose, I run outside to check the third barn.
A chemlight trail leads the way...
...to more zombies.
At this point I'm pretty desperate to find anything I can grab and get the hell out of dodge, so I foolishly dart to the next barn at full speed. As I round the corner and rush through the barn's double doors, three shambling silhouettes appear on the other side.
I hope they haven't heard me.
I dash up the steps to a the barn loft, hastily grabbing items along the way. I think I have a can of soda, and maybe some beans. There's a small ammo pouch but I'm not sure what's in it. I'll just dash to the other side quickl--
Stunned, I simply fall to the floor, heart beating loudly, waiting for the zombies to just turn around and forget they heard anything.
As they ascend the first flight of stairs, I realize that's not happening.
I have no choice now but to drop down while they're climbing the final ladder. If I wait too long, they'll trap me up here and my short adventure will be over.
This is a great way to break a leg.
I fall to the planks below, taking a few seconds to recover. No damage. But they've heard me.
The closest brain-eater rushes to me, bashing me.
I'm dazed, but I quickly stand up and rush down the steps. As I leave the bar, I run away to the forest.
I'm not taking any more chances here.
As I turn around, the sky appears brighter to me than it did minutes earlier.
The damn dawn is approaching and I've got little more than scraps.
Nobody's following me. I wonder what happened to the bastard who threw those chemlights.
I make way to the forest.
As I begin to notice the sound of my breathing, I stop to rest momentarily.
I'm stopped... but things are blurry?
It turns out that I've been bleeding since I left the zombie bar, and in my rush to escape, I didn't even notice my gushing wound. At this point I've lost nearly 60-percent of my blood -- multiplying my desperate need for supplies. Until I can slowly recuperate my health with food, I'm stuck with blurred vision and the threat of passing out without warning. It's not likely I'll find someone to offer a transfusion -- I'm more likely to be shot dead.
My only chance for survival now is to grab as much as I can while the moon is still on watch.
I bandage myself up, and march inland to Mogilevka.
Normally I'm terrified of the forest, but there's a soothing quality to Chenarus' wilderness. Zombies tend to linger near remaining scraps of human civilization, and not in untouched lands. It's always more frightening to come across a cabin or barn in the forest than another lonely tree.
Unfortunately, I also need food and water, and lonely trees won't help me out there. More importantly, I need a damn gun.
After stumbling in the dark through pine canopies, Mogilevka appears.
I'm quickly losing the moon, and I need supplies now. I run into town in search of survival.
The undead are everywhere, and I don't have much room for error at this point. If I lose any more blood I'm as good as dead -- even if I can manage to see straight, and lose my next attacker, it'll be an hours-long crawl to the nearest city hospital, and probable death at the hands of a prepared predator.
I duck across the street to an open house.
Please for the love of all that is holy, give me a gun.
These damn houses are all pretty scary.
What's this? More tin cans? Great.
Well, maybe I spoke too soon -- there's an untouched can of pasta which sounds pretty damn delicious right now.
There's still a chance that I'll find something. A couple more houses to go at least, and there's still one more spot in this ho-- oh my.
Could it be?
Now we're talking. A Colt 1911 and five magazines: the perfect cure for feeling completley vulnerable. I may have barely enough blood to stay awake, but I'll fill you full of lead.
Overconfident with my newly acquired hand cannon, I duck outside and practice my aim with the local wildlife.
It's tempting to put this guy out of his misery, but I can't afford the extra attention.
I spot the next building I'm going to raid and advance.
The only problem with this building on the right is that it's got two rooms on opposite sides of the main hallway. Do I look left first? Do I look right? How should I enter the building? Should I crawl?
Now's not the time for debate. I run inside.
All I really need now is something to drink: everything else is a bonus.
I see a pile of interesting stuff in the room to the left.
YES! A compass! That's an unexpected bonus.
I am totally adding this to my toolbel--
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Without much time to think, I've killed him.
And I've probably attracted a lot of new friends in the process.
I run out of the building and rush across the street. It's time to head for the hills again.
Just keep running. Just keep running.
I'm now a good five minute run from Mogilevka, but I'm not really sure where that is on a map. I had quite a scare in the house back there and I have no plans to go back any time soon.
The forest is my warm bassinet.
As I regain my wits, I remember the lightness of my pack. One can of pasta and a Pepsi aren't going to keep me going out here for long. Maybe someday I can live a quiet life in the woods, far away from here, with a book or two to keep me company. But for now all I want is a goddamn can of Spaghetti-Os.
Thirty minutes pass until I find a clearing: a small village -- somewhere I've been before.
I haven't had much luck here. The last time I visited, I broke my leg and slowly died under a large tree. There was plenty of time to consider the absurdity of continued existence in an apocalyptic world, but I have no time for frivolous thinking right now. I'm still standing, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the residents of this crappy hovel ruin my day.
I sprint along the outskirts of town, heading north.
I chuckle to myself as I pass a familiar tree.
Then I think about my luck so far, and I turn around to see if I've got an entourage.
Yep. That's about right.
I turn around and run.
I've had about enough of this.
BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG
How are you not dead yet?
I reload my gun as the zombie recovers from my last barrage.
He's coming closer.
My hand lets go of the slide as he raises his arms to strike me.
I'm happy to be rid of the jerk, but I'm pretty unsettled that it took eight shots from my handgun to bring him down. If anything else had been around to hear that, I'd probably be an early morning snack right now.
It's time to find a real weapon.
I run along, heading North once again. I study my map for the most logical next step, and decide on a town called Novy Sobor: it's smaller than other towns nearby the airport, and has nearby deer stands which are easy to raid for supplies.
As I run through a small patch of forest in-between fields of tall grass, I look up at the sky. My vision may be technically impaired due to my blood loss, but the barren landscape still looks beautiful at night. A sense of calm overcomes me when I realize I've once again conquered my own fear and gained confidence in my ability to survive.
Suddenly, my horizon vanishes from sight.
I re-appear in mid-air, probably two-hundred feet above the ground where I previously stood. Before I have time to comprehend what's happening, I am falling.
I hit the ground and die.
A hacker has just killed everyone on the server.