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Tales of a Mercenary

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Michail tread through the dead city’s frozen surface. He always watched his step, slowly creeping around the ruins of old. The mercenary was only armed with his trusty AK and a short revolver on his side, protected also by some modified heavy armour.

The irradiated surface was always a challenge to any man no matter how skilled in combat or survival they were. Many never return from their exhibition, those who do often cling to the underground prison they call home.

“Michail! Michail are you there?!” A voice on the radio called. It was the mercenary’s friend, Sacha, who was responsible for keeping contact with him whenever on the surface or perhaps taking a short separate job, the man never had the guts to go outside. Other times he goes on him with missions if based in the metro.

He sighed, “What do you want Sacha? Perhaps you’ve forgotten that I’m on the surface where mutants infest.”

“I’m sorry. The commander wants to know if you have those supplies yet,” Michail didn’t like taking jobs from Hansa. But nevertheless they paid good money for such jobs, this time he was coming back from getting petrol and whatever was mechanical.

The mercenary entered a 3 story building that seemed like it was about to collapse. “I’m arriving back to Tulskaya station, and I have the supplies too. Tell the commander he owes me double for that job, I almost got f*cking killed back there.”

There was a small silence, during that time Michail already moved through the building and onto the lifeless street. Barren cars were scattered everywhere filled with , it was perfect for cover. The entrance to Tulskaya station was only a kilometre or two away.

As he moved through the cars he decided to scavenge some things, anything he did he put in his backpack. Books, car parts, anything useful that wasn’t atomised by the explosion.

Sacha came back onto the radio, “The commander says he’ll pay you a half more bullets but no more raises.”

He sighed, “Fine. Michail out, I’ll contact you when I’m near the station.”

The mercenary decided to stop searching the dead vehicles. As it was almost the hour when watchmen and demons scour this area. He moved quickly to the furthest building nearest to the route to the station. This one was around 6 stories tall. The mercenary assumed it was an office building as there were computer carcasses everywhere.

But what it once was no longer matters, the only thing that does is the structure and what you can make of it. He came across a small camp, a tattered sleeping bag, a campfire and some bones.

Michail didn’t care much, one man’s death is another man’s treasure in this new world. He was fortunate enough to find some clips for his AK. “My lucky day,” he said to himself.

This type of ammo was not common on the surface unless you go to a military sight. But the only ones were on the outskirts of the city, no man has ever left the metro or even Moscow itself. No man has done that in 20 years.

There was a back door to the building, he slowly crept towards it aiming carefully with his rifle. Emerging from the building, he looked on all sides for any threat.

It was peculiar, there didn’t seem to be any sign of any watchmen or any other mutants in general. Just the small mutated critters. It was quiet, just the sound of the irradiated wind could be heard.

“Oh ho ho. Seems it really is my lucky day. Or probably my lucky afternoon,” he said. The entrance to Tulskaya wasn’t far. There was a metro entrance just around the corner past a crashed plane.

The mercenary rushed through the streets of what was once a row of shops and other services. There was no point in scavenging for food, they would’ve already been looted or no longer edible.

Michail thought twice before turning a corner, peeking round there was yet another road, the back half of a plane blocked it with building rubble preventing anything from going around it. This wasn’t a well known route for those who scavenge the surface, and those who did know it didn’t care much for it.

“Can’t go around it, can’t go under it, can’t go above it I have to go through it,” said the mercenary, he sometimes told himself old nursery rhymes to help himself think or to just keep his sanity, it was almost impossible to control it in times like these.

He cautiously continued on to the crashed half plane, there was a door on the plane almost sealed shut with rust.

Michail attempted to open it with all his strength. “Come on. Open up you piece of… gah!” He failed, the door still stayed in one place.

Michail tried to think of a way through. He looked back at the lifeless street making sure there were no mutants, he concluded there were none. He aimed his revolver at the lock of the door.

Bang! Bang!

The shots loosened the door mostly unsealing it. He used all his strength to rip the door off it at least make it open, he grunted as he did it.

“Finally,” he told himself succeeding in his actions.

All of a sudden, there were loud howls coming from the destroyed buildings behind him. The watchmen heard the gunfire, awakening from their slumber.

Michail quietly cursed. He pulled open the aeroplane door open more. He looked once more behind him, as a large pack of watchmen started to pounce towards the plane. Once he went inside he shut the door and blocked it with one of the broken chairs.

“Son of a-” The mercenary ran to the door on the other side of the plane. His luck may have already ran out. For it was sealed as well. “Not again!”

A dozen watchmen pounced onto the side of the plane. Some trying to get through the cramped broken windows and others foolishly trying to rip the metal off the plane.

He once again took out his revolver seeing if what he did last time still worked for this door.

Bang! Bang!

The door still did not loosen, he tried it again.

Bang!

Still no progress.

He grabbed his AK, deciding to not go down without a fight. Aiming at the mutants, he pulled the trigger taking at least 4 or 6 down. But the sound of the gunfire only attracted more mutants.

It really wasn’t his day, it was unknown if he would get out alive.

Using both his guns, he was able to take a couple more down. Mutant blood was spilled all over the side of the plane with some oozing inside. But no matter how many he killed, or how many bullets he wasted, they just never stopped coming.

Instantaneously, the freaks all ran off. Michail did not have the slightest idea what it was. Nevertheless he breathed a sigh of relief.

But his nerves were no longer calm. The day got even more intense.

There was a loud explosion. An explosion Michail or perhaps no other had not heard in 20 years.

A nuclear explosion.

The mercenary rushed to open the other door, he already survived one nuclear apocalypse he wasn’t going to die in another.

The door was open, he ripped straight through it and ran to the nearest manhole into the revolting sewers in fear of getting affected by the incoming shockwave. His heart rapidly pounded.

Michail contacted Sacha, “Sacha! You mind telling me what the hell was that?!”

“Michail? Oh thank God you’re fine! I was worried when I heard that explosion, sounded like it came from miles up north, I’m guessing near the botanical gardens,” Sacha said, he was a demolitions expert construction worker before the war and had much experience in maths and physics. He was a man who belonged in Polis where all the experts like him lived, at least that’s what everyone says about him.

Botanical gardens? The mercenary was confused, who would decide to bomb that place?

“Whatever you say smartass.” Michail looked at the tunnel around him, analysing the structure. He knew the tunnels of the Metro like the back of his hand from before the war, “Listen, I’m going to be a while. I just got into the sewers, seems like I’m near Nagornaya judging by these tunnels.”

“Nagornaya? That far out, huh? The way back shouldn’t be a problem since it’s abandoned and there’s no reports of mutants. So you’re fine,” he assured.

Michail took it as bullsh*t, with everything he’s been through today there was no end to this nightmare. Last time he was in an empty region it turned out to be a nest of freaks, and he’s in the metro inside a row of abandoned and unexplored stations with God knows what lurking through those tunnels.

“Are you sure there’s nothing here? There has to be something in this hellhole, Sacha. Has anybody actually explored these stations?”

“Well there was just one guy who went beyond Tulskaya. It’s said he saw no creature at all, not even a rat. Weird right? Anyways, the rest of the story are just ghosts ‘n sh*t. So you should be fine,” Michail calmed a bit, but there was a slight chance of actual ghosts in the metro. Rumours all over the stations talk about sightings of strange silhouettes killing people or whatever the hell.

He moved on into the main station, hopefully the stories weren’t true. Hopefully he could just get back to Tulskaya and have some mushroom tea.

But this was the metro.

A prison of many horrors.

Participant

Written by Paras Acharya

Just a noob on here since this is a new website

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