Based off my first experiences in playing Killing Floor, a computer game available on Steam.
I was all alone in this world, its seemed only a few days ago, everything was perfectly normal. What had gone wrong? There were more of them today, they were different. Stronger, larger, uglier. I couldn't run. They had taken over the abandoned city, they crawled out of the sewers, walked down the street, jumped from the roofs of the houses. They were coming for me.
There was no time to aim; each shot rang in quick secession. A pistol in each hand, I shot at anything that moved around me. They didn't let up, I was backed into a corner and running out of ammo. A sea of ugly, distorted faces, remains of bio engineering gone wrong, Claws ripping at my make-shift armor, and in a few minutes I would be torn to shreds.
"Im surrounded! Get 'em off me for heaven's sake!" I screamed hoping another soul would hear me, if they weren't already dead themselves. Please let someone hear me. "Where is everyone?!" I kept shooting, always shooting.
Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. A stalker, that ugly excuse for a women, dug her four-inch claws into my stomach. I dropped the pistol in my left hand, and grabbed at my side. My vision blurred and I was on the ground, still trying to pick off the swarm of monsters with my other pistol. I was losing too much blood and I knew it, but I wasn't about to give up. I wouldn't stop shooting until I was dead.
"Click, click" Or until I ran out of ammo…
"Im out! Im out of ammo!" I said, probably to myself. So there I was, back against a wall, gripping my bleeding side, swinging blindly at the horde with my knife. This was the end.
I heard gun shots. The creatures around me fell to the ground, and I could make out a figure in the background. He was running towards me, shotgun in hand, blowing to bits the creatures that got in his way.
"Daniel help me out here, we got an injury" He yelled over his shoulder, still running towards me. Another man came from the distance, this one equipped with a AK47, running not far behind the first.
They reached me and in a panic I screamed, "My side, im bleeding! Please…" Everything when black.
When I came to, my side had be bandaged and the two men were there, still fighting the waves of mutants.
The second man, whose name was Daniel, turned to me. Brown hair, cocoa eyes, he was dressed in a standard military uniform and boots.
"Hey Henry looks like your little friend woke up, quite a scratch you had here, good thing old Henry was here, guess all that medical school finally paid off."
Henry, who was the first man I saw, smirked. He had light blue eyes that turned down at the corners giving him a sad, thoughtful expression. He had short, spikey, blonde hair.
"You alright now?"
"Yea im fine, just a scratch after all" For the first time in a while I actually smiled. I picked up both my pistols, they were now reloaded. There was no reason I couldn't still help fight. We worked together and the horde didn't have a chance, there was only a few left now.
"Im going to start scouting out the path to the trader, you guys stay here" said Henry, "Stay together and be safe"
"Henry, no…" Daniel began to object but Henry had already turned and run away.
Daniel shook is head, "That guy, He just loves to push his luck, guess someone have to be the brave one though."
"You guys saved my life"
"No, Henry did. I thought we should just run, but he insisted on staying till you were ok"
"Why? I mean…" I stared at the ground, "Why risk his life for me?
"One thing you need to know about Henry, He has had a tough life. He told me he watched his father die in front of him when he was just seven. He doesn't like to talk about it… But ever since then he decided he wanted to be a doctor. Of course when this epidemic broke out, he dropped out of medical school and signed up as a field medic."
We just sat in silence for a while, enjoying these brief times when we didn't have to worry about things trying to murder us.
A few minutes after Daniel had dozed off I saw Henry running up the hill in the distance. I smiled, we would survive this, Henry had probably found a safe way to the trader. But there was something wrong…
Trailing after Henry was scrake, a mutant with a chainsaw for an arm. As well as a dozen other mutants Henry was stumbling and he fell. I shook Daniel awake.
"Look! Henry, he needs help!"
I started running. They were all swarming Henry, I ran as fast as I could but I knew. It was too late.
The chainsaw ripped through Henry's flesh.
Daniel caught up and grabbed me.
"Let go! Let go! We can save him!" I tried to push away, but he didn't let go.
"Im sorry… he is dead. There is nothing we can do"
"We can try!"
"No! If you go over there you will die too! Its suicide! Henry wouldn't want you to be stupid."
The screams. The screams as they ripped him apart was too much for me to bare. I fell to the ground, covering my ears. His screams rang in my head.
Daniel was able to kill the rest of the monsters, they were all dead. This was the end, for now.
When I was able to pull myself together, I walked towards Henry's remains. Daniel tried to stop me, saying I don't want to see it, but I kept walking. He was right, I didn't want to see it, I didn't want to see the river of blood flowing down the hill. It took all my strength to not vomit. But I saw what I had come to get. Henry's medical kit, drenched in blood, I picked it up. I figured he would have wanted me to have it.
I promised myself, right then and there, that I would do my best to use it well. Henry saved my life, I could return the favor to him, but I could try to help others. I thought Henry would like that.
As we walked toward the trader, I tried to talk to Daniel.
"Did you know him well?" I asked
"What do you mean who? Henry? The man that just died." I said in disgust.
"Oh sorry, guess I was trying not to think about it… No. I guess I didn't know him very well, we meet a few days ago. Just focused on surviving and mostly talked about why we decided to come here, and how we regret it every second."
He was silent for a bit as we continued walking. The gravel path crunched beneath our feet, I noticed that there was no wind, no birds chirping.
"I guess the worst thing here is being alone, no matter how strong you are, you need other people. I realized that pretty late though… I have been pretty selfish, I didn't care much about the people here with me. There was twelve of us in the beginning, but just me now. I guess im just afraid of getting attached to someone then watching them being gutted alive."
He stopped and covered his face with his hands.
"I never wanted to be here!"
"Why did you? Why did you come here?" I asked carefully, I wanted to know, but I was scared the question would break him. He just stood there, he seemed so strong and solemn before, but now he looked like a kid. Was he crying?
"Lets walk" He continued walking then said, "I joined the army at 18, I was young and wasn't ready for war, but I was strong and could shoot well. I joined because I thought I was a man. Not to mention the look on my parents face when I told I wanted to join the army, the first time they were proud of me. I did well and earned the rank of corporal, but then… all hell broke loose. They told us our mission was to 'Dispose of bio hazardous waste and eliminate the threat of further disease' like I knew what that really meant… The pay was good, It seemed so simple."
"Im sorry to hear that, it's terrible, all of this is terrible" I said, I hoped he wouldn't ask, but of course he did.
"What about you? You can't be older then 18. Why are you here?"
"It's a long story" I walked quicker.
"Hold up, listen I told you my story and I want to hear yours. You definitely aren't in the army."
"I lived near here, was visiting my older brother when it happened. Such a normal day, we were planning to see a movie, but I decided I wanted to go camping. Gosh, if only we went to see that movie, everything would have be fine…"
"What happened?" He prompted me to continue.
"Well we when on a hike, my brother and I, and… Wait let me tell you about my brother first. He is just great, he has always looked after me, being six years older, he kind of took the position of my father went he… well passed away. Cancer. Anyway, my brother always looked after me, and he suggested we spend the night in the forest, just him, me, a tent, and some canned beans. We set up camp about three miles away from the city. It was fun. If only we would have known what a terrible idea it was. That was the night they evacuated the city, the night they dragged families out of their homes telling them to go anywhere, anywhere but here. Of course no one thought to check the forest. I woke up and he wasn't there. The note on his sleeping bag said, 'Heard screaming in the city, something is wrong, stay here and I will be back soon." I waited there all day… he never come back."
I looked Daniel in the eyes, "He would have never left me, something happened to him" I fought back tears.
"Anyway, I waited the rest of the day, but got scared. I also heard the screaming. The next day I woke up to footsteps nearing the tent. There young soldiers. They told me they would take me back to my family, and one of them took out a walkie-talkie. There was no signal. So I was there in the forest with three young men who had no idea what to do, and no connection to help. They hadn't seen my brother either."
Daniel wiped the sweat from his brow, "We are almost to the trader, are you thirsty?"
I took a drink from his canteen and he asked me to continue, I studied his face, tried to look into his eyes.
"You really care don't you. I mean you really care about me. Aren't you afraid of what you will feel if something happens to me?"
"Nothing is going to happen to you, now go on, I want to know what happened next."
"Of course I was stuck with them, followed them around, drank their water, and ate their food. They explained that there was some sort of biohazard here, but specific information was confidential. They would find a way to get me home quickly so they could continue without me as dead weight. It took them a while to realize that I wasn't going home soon and neither were they. The third day we saw the specimen, scariest things anyone had ever seen. They ran like hell, nobody looked back when I tripped. They all left me there to die. But somehow I didn't, you see this was just the beginning of the mutants, just babies compared to the ones now. I was able to climb a tree and stayed there till the mutants gave up and just left."
"I made it back to the city without seeing another mutant; went a couple days in the city with no sign of them. I ate food from the supermarket and found two pistols off a dead body. But today they came… and they were stronger. I would be dead if you and henry hadn't come along."
Daniel cleared his throat and said, "We are partners now, we need each other, I wouldn't leave you like they did. I want you to know that."
"I trust you, I have to trust you." I let a few tears escape, there was a rock in my throat. God please help me, I don't want to die.
We stopped outside the broken down shack, missing glass and chipped paint. The sign said, "Trader" in messy white paint. I Noticed blood spatters on the wall. I also noticed something else in the distance.
"Do you see something over there? By the gate." I pointed for Daniel to look.
"I think those are people! Well bloody hell, we have company"
He cupped his hands over his mouth, "Hey! Over here!"
There were two people who came rushing over to where we were. One was a man dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, armor vest, and fingerless gloves. He carried a kukri with a pistol at his side. The other wore a complete flame resistant suit and gas mask, it carried what looked like a flame thrower.
"Well im glad to see you both, always nice to run into other humans, stick around with us will you?" Daniel said to them.
The jeans man told us his name was Aaron. He was loud and energetic, motioning with his hands as he spoke. He told us he was a construction worker sent to block off the city, so everyone would know to stay away. He had a fight with his wife before he left. He talked about how he missed her, how he regretted saying what he did.
"So then I ran into her" he nudged the Other.
Had I hear correctly? Did he say her?
The Other took off her gas mask. Beneath were two sparkling gray eyes and small pink lips. She was beautiful. She looked through me, passed me. She was almost phantom like.
"She doesn't talk, I found her by the bank just a few hours ago covered in blood, but its wasn't hers..." Aaron continued. "Kinda strange she is… but she kicks ass with that flame thrower!"
"What is her name?" I asked smiling at the beautiful phantom.
"Beats me, like I said before, she doesn't talk" I didn't like how everyone was staring at her, like she was a mutant herself. Daniel tried asking her what her name was but she didn't answer. Something told me she was not talking by chose, something especially bad had happened to her. Aaron insisted we just call her, "Mute". I refused.
I grabbed a stick off the floor and held it in front of her. "Here" I said, "Write your name in the dirt." She just stared at the stick. "Take it, im not calling you 'Mute'." It took a bit of a stare off, but finally she snatched the stick from my hand and wrote in the dirt.
"Avery, that's a beautiful name" I said.
She brushed her foot against the dirt until the name disappeared.
Inside the traders were massive amounts of ammo, guns, armor, and other supplies. But I quickly found out it wasn't free.
"I don't have any money…" I said to Daniel.
"Don't worry," he said, "my salary is automatically given to me with this." He pulled out a card. "Pretty much the way this works is I slide my card in this machine, that proves that I was here to 'exterminate', then I'm credited with some money. I can then use that to buy what I need to survive when the mutants come again."
"What about me, I don't have a card." I said nervously. Daniel smiled and handed me another card he had. He made a comment under his breath about the former owner not having a use for it anymore. I slide the card in the machine. $320. I gauged the options. It would cost $300 for armor or $250 for a handcannon. Daniel must have noticed me weighing my options because he came over, bought a handcannon and gave it to me.
"Not a problem, now buy the armor, you will need it." He turned to answer Aaron's question about what to buy.
The four of us were sitting on the roof of a Hotel, by the fire, eating cans of beans. It was an average night, chilly and dark. If I closed my eyes I could pretend everything was ok for a while. I sat closer to the fire and counted the stars. I wondered if anyone was as scared as me, no words had be spoken for a while, suddenly the cracking fire seemed so loud. Daniel was writing in a journal. I wondered what he was writing, but felt like it would be rude to ask. Aaron was deep in thought, he made no sound, but I saw his mouth moving in the dark. Maybe he was thinking about what he would say to his Wife if he saw her again. Avery was staring into space, rubbing a gold locket. It was decorated with an angel on the front, very pretty. Avery must have felt me staring because she looked at me with a worried expression. I smiled. "I like it" I mouthed, pointing at the locket. She smiled back at me, then looked away.
An hour later, everyone was sleeping except for me. I heard the mutant screams.
I know that they would be here tomorrow, more of them then last time. It was four versus an army. I hoped we were ready, because the mutants were.