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The Early DayZ

I open my eyes and see nothing but the vast open sea. I look around – no trace of survivors, only me.

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Day Z

I look at myself: Afro-American, male, 30-something, no ID, no phone, just a flashlight and a battery to be combined together. I’m lost in a land far away from home, without knowing who I am. Nobody tells me where to go, or what to do. I’m absolutely, undoubtedly, terrifyingly alone. Nothing is to be heard – there’s only silence. Dead silence.

It starts raining on me. I start getting wet. I rush inlands, to a small village. I find nothing but empty houses. Whatever passed through, it left no survivors. I start coughing. My clothes are soaked, and I start getting sick. I find no clothes to put on, just some rotten cucumbers. I eat them anyway, because the hunger starts kicking in. I can’t stay here for long – it doesn’t look like anybody is coming to rescue me, anyways. Where could I go? Maybe there are cities nearby. Maybe there are survivors. Maybe, just maybe, they have some answers to what happened to me. To what happened to the world. I need to get moving.

I go hiking into the woods. I traverse the mountain, alone: only my breath cuts the silence. I see a little lake and a harbor in the distance, and start running towards them. I’m hungry and thirsty, and the coughing is intensifying every minute. When I reach the harbor, I notice a small industrial unit with its gates open. I take refugee inside, away from the everlasting rain. I find some useful things: a screwdriver, a backpack, some ropes, some sticks – and a hat, a haunting hat. It looks phoney, but I have no choice. I hear something: someone’s nearby. I crouch and slowly walk out through the back door. I see two men fighting each other with knifes. One of them dies, and the other scavenges its corpse. I barely hold back vomit, and rush over to a house. What the hell is happening here? Why is everybody either disappeared or a fucking maniac? I have no clue.

I open the main gates and hide inside. I look through the windows, holding my breath: the murderer comes right at me, and then turns towards the mountains. I am safe, for now. I search the house, and find a rusty saw. It could come in handy, if I were to meet another murderous fellow. I also find some beans to calm my hunger and a canteen quench my thirst. But it’s not enough, so I dare to drink from the lake, now that I know that I’m alone. I get near the water, and try to drink from the surface – but I fall. I swim towards a little staircase, on the other side of the lake, and start hearing steps. I run into the forest.

Next thing I know, I’m inside a little cabin. There’s a map, but I can’t tell where I am. Next to a road, I find a sign, but I can’t decipher the name of the place, since it’s written in cyrillic. Nearby, there’s a railway. I follow it into a little village, and, thankfully, I find some food and water. I’m not hungry or thirsty anymore, but I’m getting ill, and I have no medicines. I pick up some rags and spare clothes. I tear a page from a book – I could take notes, but I’d need a pen. I start to feel more confident: I’m alone, but I’m moving. I walk to a hill, and notice a distant barn. It starts raining again, so I run upwards. Inside, I find some more food, a better backpack, and a pair of pristine boots. I climb a staircase into the upper floor. I get too confident, and start running up there – and fall. I scream in pain. My leg is broken, and I start bleeding. I lie on the floor and almost lose conscience.

I can’t die here: I manage to heal the bleed with some rags, and put my leg into a splint made of sticks. I’m very sick, and walking is getting harder every minute. The broken leg doesn’t help. I need to find answers. I walk – I couldn’t say for how much, but I find a larger village. The largest I’ve encountered so far. Still, there are no survivors. Or… are they? I see a figure on the middle of the street. I start walking towards it – and it nearly notices me. I feel something’s wrong, and hide behind a nearby house. Whatever it is, it’s not human anymore. It walks slowly. It growls. And it stinks – I can smell it from where I’m hiding. It smells rotten. It smells trouble. I ought to remember not to deal with its kind.

I get into the house. I manage to build a fire-kit, but I don’t know how to light it. I find a coat, some more books, food, another canteen, and a huge trident. I’m ready, now, to fight whatever gets in my way. I’m determined to find out what happened – to me, to everything. I go out and run towards a little cabinet, in which I find, at last, some medicines. I sigh in relief: everything seems to start falling into place. I’m prepared for this world. Yet, I don’t notice the creature behind me. I don’t smell its putrid breath. I don’t hear its rabid murmur. I turn, only a second too late: and it hits me like a roller-coaster. I can’t even hold my trident up. It hits me. It bites me. I fall to the ground. My bones are breaking, my blood is flowing. I die in the middle of nowhere – lost, in a land away from home, without knowing who I am. I see nothing but the zombie. I finally lose conscience, and close my eyes.


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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Narratologist and life-long gamer. Lost journalist. Lore masochist. Thinking of videogames in terms of interactive experiences: play, don't tell. Want some cake?