Suddenly I got an awful pressuring feeling in my head, my body was engulfed by a freezing cold. Damn it, did I really get into “gravi”? (artifact) My muscles strained, I can’t even breath in. Everything disappeared. Ahh, that feeling of getting your consciousness back… My body is trying to find its position, my eyes are searching for light and my brain is slowly turning on. Yeaa, I really lost my consciousness there, but what happened? I would say I got into “gravi”, but why am I still alive then? Why didn’t the radar indicate anything? I slowly raise my buzzing head. Right, ok, my hands and legs are in place, even my things didn’t go anywhere. I’m checking my head. No bumps, no blood, but it hurts as if someone smacked it… I feel like I was run over. I’m not standing up yet, I’ll sit for a while longer, and I’ll look around. I have a no clue where I am. This is some kind of glade, I should try crawling to a tree. All stiffened, crawling, I managed to reach a tree, it feels like my bag is full of rocks. Leaning on the tree, I observe the glade, no movement, just the annoying mosquitoes buzzing.
The night is chilling, hmmm, I think a few sips will help get our circulation back on its feet. My fingers are frozen and numb, after some exhausting tries, I opened my bag and carefully pull out a bottle wrapped in a cloth. I shake the bottle, all good. You won’t come around these ones easily in the Zone… The first sip is bitter, slowly burning its way to the stomach, wrinkling my forehead. The following sips were friendlier and shortly after my body got overwhelmed by the pleasant warmth, my headache become less unpleasant. I just can’t understand what happened to me and where I am… I can’t remember anything, nor where or why was I going, I can only remember how my body was squeezed… Damn, I have to decide what to do next. It’s night and I have no idea where to go. I look around, ahead of me I can see some glade, behind me there are some dense bushes, and the moon is shining. Crap, all I need now is a target on myself! I’m trying to listen, but I hear nothing. Ok, I turned over behind the tree and laid down in the bushes, I’m glad my manoeuvres didn’t make any noise. I try to listen again to make sure I haven’t caught anyone’s attention, it might look funny, but better be funny and safe than have a stupid death, and we know how it happens… It’s quiet and calm… Seems like I’ll have to wait till the morning. Suddenly I remembered – Radio!… Where is it when I need it? It’s not on my belt and not in my pocket… I’m trying to find it on the moonlight, but I can’t see through the grass. I’ll have to come out from the bushes and find it. I’m already standing on the tree’s shadow, I feel happiness in my heart, the radio is here close to the tree. I come back to the bushes with radio and I listen again – it’s quiet.
– Delta here, searching for friends, over… – A few more tries, but it’s useless, all I get is static noise. Damn… I’m running out of battery, I’ll have to turn the radio off for the night. Well, at least the radiation levels are low now, let’s hope there won’t be any emissions. I pulled my bag closer to me, I need to find the blanket… The blanket is wrapped, not big, but quite heavy and it shines on the moon’s light, but not too much. We can lay it on the ground or cover ourselves… Better cover myself, it might help against a possible emission. I’m still going through my backpack, good, the medication is in a reachable place. I check my cold TT pistol, I should keep this one close, now I regret not taking anything else, well, it’s better than nothing, something bigger would make feel safer though.

<…> I’m still laying down in the bushes, listening and observing the pink sky, the sun is rising. It really is the sunrise, not an emission. To which side are we heading? I look around once more and my empty stomach is gurgling. Right, let’s go this way…Making my way through the thick shrubs, I curse my stomach for choosing this path: Why the fuck are we here? Maybe they’re serving breakfast in the bushes? Why didn’t you offer something better, is it my fault that you brought us here…My hands are being scratched by thorny bushes, but I have a smile on my face due to the stupid conversation I’m having with myself. Stop! There’s something about 10 meters ahead. A road! Looks like concrete. Great, now let’s hope I don’t become somebody’s lunch… I crouched unintentionally. It’s safe. It’s not safe to walk on the road, but it’s easier, I won’t last long walking through those bushes. That’s how I lurch to the crossroad. Oh! I know these areas, there is a lab direction sign, there’s Freedom… No, I need to return to the Bar, I won’t have strength for any useful activity. I don’t understand, where is everybody? It’s day already and I haven’t seen anyone. Anyone… This strange suspicion makes me more and more worried. Really, where is everyone?

<…>

– Igor, where are we heading? Uh? These bushes are getting on my nerves.
– I said already, – Igor stopped and turned to me – At the swamp there’s an anomaly, you’ll like it, you haven’t seen this kind yet. The interesting part is that the “Worm” lives inside this anomaly, exactly in the centre.
– Huh, the Worm, and what did you say, it tells the future?

– No, it uses the anomaly to tell the future.

I’m embraced by a feeling of uncertainty, I feel anxiety inside me. I have heard about many different legends in the Zone… But Igor is not the person who invents stories, and he seems to believe in this one 100%. Really Doc, why do you need this “Worm”… It’s not like I need him, I do very well without it, it’s just some Zone’s larva… I don’t need this creature, but I have to help Igor, he’s saved me many times over.

– Igor, don’t you think it’s pointless to look in to the future, because as soon as you do it everything changes.

– – Kumar..Yeaaaa, good thought… I haven’t thought about it…Well, let’s still go, at least we’ll check what kind of phenomenon is this. After all, the scientists are planning to send a whole expedition there.

– I’m going, I’m going.

… One more morning in the Zone, how many more? I wake up with the sunlight, no living sound and this keeps happening over and over…

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