A Witness to the Quiet Apocalypse - A collection of Journal Entries ((ON HOLD))

Recommended Posts

((The series is currently on hold until I can find time to sit down and write. Once things settle down in Real life here I'll continue!))

I've always been a writer/role-player and since starting the Long Dark, I've had a thousand ideas of short stories in my head. Sadly the last 6 months have also left me with a massive writer's block, so all of the writing I wanted to do just wouldn't come out. Finally though, thanks to a lot of free time and a burning desire to write again, I decided to kick myself back into it with a story/series based upon my journal entries of a playthrough of the game. The goal will be to have survived 200 days and provide copies of the journal entries here as I go along. This will all be seen through the eyes of a character that has come together through 300+ hours of sandbox play. I normally play on Stalker difficulty but for the added enjoyment of the game as a writing exercise, I will be playing this in Voyager Mode. If this goes well I plan to attempt a second run with a different character on Stalker. Let's see if I can make 200 days and write about it all the way! The story will end on Timberwolf Mountain if all goes well.


Please be aware of spoilers! I cannot guarantee they won't pop up from time to time! They are even in the Prologue!






 Prologue - A Story with no Voice



  Scattered crates and twisted wreckage was all that remained of what was assumed to be GrizzlyAir Flight 613, a cargo flight that had lost contact with the aviation world when the disaster struck. With the destruction of nearly all technology post mid-1970 thanks to a CME-event the likes of which the world had never witnessed, had plunged everyone into a darkness that now, even months after, stifled all efforts for recovery. With much of the population gone, No one was willing or able to make a trek hundreds of miles into the wilderness to track down a lost plane, no matter how valuable the cargo. The search for the plane was called off when bigger problems emerged on Great Bear Island nearly 6 months prior and now, and with the winter at full bluster, there was certainly no hope for any of those on board either. Someone had, however, made the attempt to find out and the evidence remained, even if she had not.

  Halfway up the steep approach, the frozen silhouette of a woman clutched a journal close to her broken body, as if in her last moments she had attempted to protect it from the very bitterness that had petrified her in it's frozen breath. How long had the journal been there? Who was the person who wrote it? Why was she on the Mountain in the first place? The journal, well preserved, had been diligently filled in with hundreds of pages of details. The weather, her thoughts, her findings, and sadly but not unexpected the supposed identities of the other unfortunate souls she had encountered in her search. Her story and her reasoning would surely be found within the pages and would serve as one of the most personal and profoundly human accounts of the coming of the quiet apocalypse that many had dubbed 'The Long Dark'.

  In small, rounded script etched in indelible ink was a small information page:

 My name is Ilia. Ilia Lansfield-Kerner. I was a biologist before the darkness, now I am on a mission. My husband vanished in this region and I am the only one who has any reason to search for him. He was a pilot, like many of the other good people who's crafts were lost in the great disaster. There is little hope of finding him, but with nothing else left to lose and nothing left behind me to go back to I've come to Great Bear Island. Maybe I will find him, Maybe I won't. One thing is certain though. I will catalogue my findings as I did in my research years, though instead of numbers and facts, it will be the stories of those who are no longer able to tell them. I don't expect to return home, and if this journal is found someday still intact, let it stand as witness to history and perhaps, if I have recorded any deceased I encounter, may it bring closure to those who may still have been searching for loved ones out here.

  Ilia's presumed signature is neatly signed at the bottom, though the date of the writing is smudged. Beyond the introduction, in the same neat script was her account, numbered in days since her arrival, rather than dates on a calendar. Each day recorded the temperature in the morning day and evening, along with details of meals and points of interest she had come across. Several pages even contained what looked to be a rudimentary fingerprinting system, perhaps in the hope of identifying those she had found who hadn't survived the event. Recorded sightings of fauna and small sketches of flora dotted the pages. This Ilia was diligent in her records, even in the hopelessness of it all. Now, after her own passing, it served in it's entirety exactly what she had intended. 



((Journal entries will begin in the next post!))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 71
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Apologies for the walls of text. I tend to write in a more formal, novel-type format with long paragraphs. I'll try to break it up more if I can. It a style that's hard to break when you're used to long-form writing. I can't promise anything though guys, sorry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 1
Morning (-13°c) Clear Sky/Sunny

I'm either lucky to have survived or unfortunate enough to miss out on death. The only aircraft able to take me out this far was an old bushplane. We were supposed to touchdown at a small town several kilometers out from here, but engine trouble forced us into a nasty plummet. The pilot, rest his soul, didn't survive impact and I'm surprised I did either. All I remember is stumbling out of the smoking wreckage with most of my gear in tatters. It took several hours for my head to stop spinning, and will be a few days before I'm back to my old self.


Late Morning (-13°c) Clear/Sunny

Found my first traces of civilization, though no sign of anyone living here. The three trailers here look to have been used during the logging season as lumberjack camps. There's little left and it's near freezing in here, but I made the effort to search them thoroughly even if any sideways movement at all made my head spin. There wasn't much left behind, but at this point I'll take what I'm given.

I think I'll start recording the things I find and their locations. I doubt I'll find many survivors and writing everything down,no matter how inane, may just let me keep my sanity a little.

Items Found: Down vest, jeans, 2 flares, 2 books, storm lantern and kerosene, sport socks, MRE and some mittens.

Note: While the jeans are far too tattered to be useful, the vest is far better than what I have now if I can repair it.


Afternoon (-10°c) Clear Sky/Windy

I still have no idea where I am. Walked a good distance from the logging camp and found the path to this forestry lookout.

Unfortunately, I came across my first victim. I noticed a small knapsack sitting by the edge of the path railing. It seemed out of place, so cautiously I made my way over to the edge. The owner lay below, at least a twenty meter fall. It looks like he slipped, or lost his balance. I will make sure to head down in the morning to see if I can figure out who he was, since a quick search through his bag produced no identification.

Note: I recovered a can of grape soda on the path to the lookout. I'm sure it's more of a popsicle than a drink right now but perhaps I can thaw it without a resulting explosion.


Evening/Night (-21°c) Overcast/Windy

Seems like bad weather is headed this way. The wind has picked up and the sky is ominously dark. I'll be spending the night here at the lookout. I have enough wood that I managed to collect along the way to keep a fire burning for the night. I only hope this place isn't too drafty, given the howling that's picked up outside.

I should note I came across another body at the base of the tower here. Looks like the poor fellow froze to death while searching for wood. No ID on his body either. I'll have to figure out some way to record something about them to aid in identification should they be found later. I'll sleep on it for now once I've eaten. I don't have much left on me thanks to the crash and I'm not particularly hungry so perhaps just a can of soup will do.

A quick look around the forestry hut provided me with a few valuable tools and some food, at least enough to keep me through the night. A sewing kit sat on the upper bunk of the bed in the room so at least I've now got a way to repair that vest I found, along with what's left of my clothes. It's a little big for me but at this point I'm just grateful for another layer. The wind out here is bitter in the early morning and late evening.

Items found: Hunting knife, antibiotics, painkillers, can opener, sewing kit, can of beans.


((I'll admit this feels strange to me to space it out like this but let me know if it's easier for you guys to read this way. the formatting I have it on doesn't transfer to this forum well.))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, this looks pretty good. Formatting wise it's fine.

I did a fan fiction on another site. Over 400,000 words later, this is what I've discovered: go heavy on dialogue. It makes even walls of text go faster. Especially when you start a new paragraph with each speaker. Multiple times I've apologized in advance for the length of my posts (especially if they went over 2,000 words) only to have more than one reader say they didn't notice the length, they were so engrossed in the story.

That said, it won't work here, since our gameplay experience is pretty solitary. And it's hard to write dialogue with just one person. Though I certainly would like to give it a try, if I had the inspiration!

Nice work here, @Felli. I think you're on the right track with the formatting. And I like the voice. Very much, indeed. So I'm looking forward to many more days . . .

*hint, hint*

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Day 2



Morning (-27°c) Clear Sky/Sunny


I awoke to a breathtaking sunrise after a needed night's sleep. My worries about drafts were unfounded. with a proper fire, the place was pleasantly warm and dry. The view from the lookout here treated me to the moment by moment effect of the rising sun, turning the pre-dawn blanket of indigos and blues into a dazzling pink and orange. I admit for that short while I forgot the dull throbbing of yesterday's crash.

I wish Nick were here to see it. He was in love with the sky and all its temperamental glory. When I find him again I'll make a note to describe it to him.

I have at least one energy bar that survived this mess and it will make a light breakfast. I'm still a bit too dizzy to really have an appetite yet. I went to be thinking to myself about how I was going to identify the two men I found in the snow since I'm doubtful there will be any ID on them, and if there is it's most likely unreadable anyway. My idea came to me as I was taking inventory of the pitiful remains of what was once my well-stocked pack. In the tattered mess there were still a few things, mostly some energy bars, 2 extra notebooks and more ink pens and mechanical pencils than anyone would need. (I used to do a great deal of field work and now I'm glad I stayed in the habit of physical note taking rather than relying on technology.) I decided that I would use the ink from one of my pens to 'fingerprint' the bodies.

It wouldn't be perfect but it would at least give me some record other than their physical features. I will try it on the man at the base of the tower and if successful, I'll do the same for the man at the base of the cliff. The only downside is finding some way to protect the ink once it dries. Regardless, I've decided to keep moving. I've found a rope that I can use to rappel down the side of the cliff facing, and once I'm down, there's a small frozen creek I can follow. Hopefully, it will lead me to a better shelter, more supplies, or someone who can tell me where the hell I am.


Note: The first test was a success, I have some base prints. I will record the victims details alongside the prints to keep everything together.


Victim Information: Found at base of Forestry Lookout.  Male - approx. 30-35 - brown hair - stocky build - approx 5'8" - Seems he collapsed in the snow. His clothing was tattered and not of suitable quality for the temperature. Blue jeans, brown hiking boots, grey down vest wool sweater. No hat, no mittens.



Mid-day (-10°c) Light Snow

I investigated the other corpse that I had mentioned the day prior. He had some form of identification on him but it was far too degraded to pick out anything but the surname Turnbull. Fingerprinting was successful.


Victim Information: Found at Base of mountain trail leading to Forestry Lookout. Male - Approx 50 - gray hair - thin build - Approx. 6' - Slipped from the upper edge of the footpath leading up the mountain to the forestry hut. Black jacket, Black cargo pants, brown hiking boots, gray wool hat. Not dressed for the weather. Possibly died before the deep cold set in.

The frozen creek fed into a small pond. Several deer grazed along the one side, seemingly unconcerned with my presence. Still, I didn't want to spook them. I have no doubt there are animals much more dangerous out there and there's no better indicator of danger than a prey animal’s instincts to run. Keeping my distance I took a bit of time to look around at the nearby trees and plants. Botany was never my strongest area of study, but I remembered enough from field trips in my youth, to watch for edibles and medicinals. Mind you, our trips were never in the middle of dead winter.

I did notice, as I approached the edge of the pond, some Typha (common name: Bulrush/cattail). The seed heads were still intact and much of the stems were still above the sheet of ice. I grabbed several of them as far down as I could, using the new-found knife to slice them off cleanly, rather than rip them out forcefully. I may be in a dire situation, but I've never forgotten to respect the land, and the less wanton damage I do the better. I gathered 8 of them, leaving the rest for the animals.

There was a hunting blind on the opposite shore that I took the time to investigate. there were supplies there, but it was clear the owner hadn't been back to claim them in some time. A bottle of pain pills, the label long-faded, a tension bandage, and a beat-up toolbox, along with an old Handmade bow. Most of the items I found room for in my bag, but the bow gave me pause.

I was never any good at archery. Nick was a hobby archer and when he hunted preferred the bow. He'd tried to teach me but I was always hopeless, and with only one arrow to go with it, I'd be likely to lose it completely. Would I ever use it or would it just take up space. A howl, a long distance off answered my question for me. Better a weapon I'm terrible at using, than no weapon at all.

I noticed as I headed away from the pond, several old tree stumps with shelf fungus on it. Upon a closer look, I found what looks to be Ganoderma. (common name: Reishi or Lingzhi) They were used in Chinese medicine for centuries and science backs it up. From what I could recall, (other than being terribly bitter tasting), they were good as an anti-allergic, and antibiotic. Handy in the case I run out of the few antibiotics I've found. I grabbed a few to prepare later, and continued on my way, in the hopes of finding shelter before nightfall. My clothing is in no condition to remain outside.


Evening (-18°c) Clear

I was worried I'd never find shelter. Luck must have been on my side for this one, as I crested the steep hill that hid a small cabin. I approached cautiously and knocked on the door several times. No answer and looking into the windows showed no signs of movement inside. I opened the door and called out a greeting, just in case.Looks like this place is a small hunting or trapping cabin. It's still well-stocked, but the amount of dust on the shelves and the supplies suggest that no one's been here in awhile. small but warm and well-lit. I doubt the cabin owner will be returning any time soon so I will shelter here for a few days to rest of the last of my injuries from the crash, and repair my clothing. I also plan to open up the toolbox I grabbed at the hunter's blind as soon as I've settled down. Hopefully there will be some usable material.

Found items: Kerosene, storm lantern, 2 flares, Hardcover book, MRE, tin of coffee (5 cups worth?), wooden matches, sewing kit, newspaper, toolbox, BOOTS!

The old safe in the cabin contained a pair of insulated boots. They're a bit too big but an extra pair of socks should solve the problem. I'm recording this little note more as a laugh at myself. Funny in a rather embarrassing way, that on my feet right now are a pair of -running- shoes. Why on Earth did I decide to wear running shoes in the first place? Clearly I was thinking of changing into winter gear when I got there. Maybe if I had worn my damn jacket and boots on the plane they wouldn't have been destroyed in the wreck. Proof that even the ‘scientific minded' can be surprisingly daft.





((The Hinterland Forums doesn't seem to like my formatting for some reason, so apologies in advance for any strange spacing!))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 3


Morning (-23°c) Snowy/Overcast

Breakfast was simple, a granola bar and a can of tomato soup. There's a bit of wood here in the cabin but I should make an effort to find more before the weather gets any worse. Who knows how long I'll be stuck out here before I find my bearings. At least this tiny cabin is warm and rather safe. A small herd of deer were grazing when I arrived yesterday and if things get too desperate I can attempt to hunt them. The tiny lodge also had a few rabbit snares, so that's another option should things get dire.

I should note I did open the toolbox I found in the hunter's blind. There were some basic tools in decent condition, but nothing overly valuable. However, there was a second toolbox under a crafting bench here in the cabin that held a better toolkit. Among the tools and supplies, I found the answer to how to preserve those fingerprints I took.

There was a roll of clear tape. The kind you use when packing boxes. It's not perfect but it will serve as a makeshift lamination. I can only hope that I don't run out of the stuff before I'm finished recording the information. I have a feeling I will find more people dead than alive.


Noon (-11°c) Stormy

There's plenty of wood to be found outside the cabin along the hillside. I can still hear the wolves in the distance but I've yet to see one. I had to cut my wood gathering short though, as a storm rolled in. I've got enough for a few days though so I can wait out the storm inside. I also have enough food, if I'm conservative about how often I eat.

Seems it's not just deer and rabbits in the vicinity. I watched a large bear lumber dangerously near to the cabin before circling about and heading back in the direction it came. This complicates things. I'll need to be careful outdoors. I'm not sure if the same phenomenon that's causing the wolves to become aggressive, is also affecting the bigger predators too. From here, I'm sure it's not a grizzly. Most likely a black bear.

There's a lot of work to be done around the place. I think I can clean it up and make it a little more like home. Besides, keeping it as clean as possible seems proper, since I don't know if the owner is going to return. I will leave a letter though, as I've taken some of his supplies.

I set up the snare I found outside near a rabbit trail. As much as I'm a non-violent person, I'll need food. The hides may also come in handy. There were a few books in the cabin on curing and crafting with animal hide. 



Evening (-??°c) Still stormy

Well, the storm is still raging out there, so I finished cleaning up, stacking the wood I gathered, and laminating the fingerprints Of the first two victims. I also made sure to keep an eye on the wildlife outside as best I could through the two small windows. The bear made another circle back but didn't really seem interested in anything. Odd that it isn't hibernating in this cold, but it's a possibility this species doesn't hibernate deeply.

I spent the evening reading the survival books tucked in the shelves here. I'd like to think I'm pretty good with common sense survival, but at this point any kind of knowledge is a bonus. Hide preparation and crafting is going to take some practice, but the payoff in warmth will be worth it. This is, providing I can gather the various animal parts needed. The idea of hunting a wolf is a terrifying concept.

I will admit I'm starting to question my ability to move forward, and this is only the third day. Here's hoping that a good night's sleep will improve my outlook. I think the storm is blackening my mood.



Approximately Midnight - Stormy (-??°c) - Not about to check.

It feels like I've been lying here for hours, but sleep evades me. The wind is still howling and the creaking of the place is keeping me on edge. My head's no longer swimming from the crash, but now that the shock of that's worn off, reality is starting to sink in. All of this lying here has got my mind spinning every small thought in circles.

I should have apologized for the pseudo-scientific drivel and the halfway formal tone at the beginning of my logs  I suppose even after 20 years, I'm still stuck in the habit of trying to be objective. I suppose as time goes on the tone will change. Isolation will change a person. Let's see, a few weeks from now if I'm still recording things in the same way.

I always thought I was fine on my own. Nick was away frequently given his line of work and I was used to being on my own for long periods. I may have missed his company but I had no issue with being alone until his return. We always had a way to communicate if needed. Knowing that he was only a letter, e-mail or call away, solitude never bothered me. Now, I have no way of knowing his fate, or the fate of the world I knew.

This new silence is unnerving. Not the natural world mind you. The sounds of nature are as loud as ever. I think it's more the knowledge that unlike in the past where you leave nature and return to civilization when you've had enough of the solitude, there's nothing left to go back to now.

No electricity, No satellite, No phones, no radio broadcasts. No advanced medicine. No technology. At all. 

I haven't heard the sound of a plane engine or a motor of any sort. Normally, even this far into the back of beyond, you would encounter other hunters, anglers or hikers.

Other people, Living people.

So far, all I've encountered in regards to humanity are abandoned places, as frozen in time as the corpses scattered about them. It's sobering.This darkness is here to stay and if I don't adapt, I will fade into that dark just like so many in this disaster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Patrick Carlson said:

Enjoying these, especially the honesty in the face of all the bleakness the character encounters. Good stuff!


Thanks Patrick! I'm doing my best to keep Ilia as real as I can, since it's easier to relate to someone who feels human.


 It means a lot to hear people are enjoying it. I should be thanking you guys at Hinterland for giving me the visual, audio and atmospheric kick I needed to slowly move back into writing again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a quick heads up to anyone following this. I'm in the process of playing through several days worth of entries as I'll be opting into the Test Branch for the new update. I don't want to posy anything involving spoilers so I'll be making an effort to get enough done to cover the next week or two and by then the update should be live for everyone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to keep everyone waiting but I have some kind of bad news.

I have a rather old way of writing. I actually write in a notebook usually, then type it out later once I've got my thoughts together. I decided to not be so 'old-fashioned' and this time just straight type it out and save a copy to hard drive and cloud later.

I had written up 30 days worth of journal entries to post here on July 2nd...

TL;DR I lost all of it. =/

Murphy's Law. Every.Damn.Time. :insanity_fluffy::insanity_fluffy::insanity_fluffy:

((EDIT TO ADD: Entries are still being rebuilt but the project is updating again!))


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

((Sorry for the delay guys! It's back, and after a bit of fighting with myself to get back on track, I think I'm ready to start putting out one or two of these entries a week!))


Day 4


Morning (-8°c) Heavy Fog

Despite the questionable weather, I decided to branch out further from the cabin. There was no sign of the bear and the deer herd had moved farther off into the hills. The fog was heavy but it was mercifully mild. The relief of less biting temperatures seems to have softened my dour mood and despite this situation complicating my original goals tenfold, I am finding time to appreciate the harsh beauty. I laid out a snare that was in the cabin in hopes that it might catch me something.


Noon (0°c) Light Fog

I found a partially frozen deer carcass in decent condition, just beyond the ridge leading back to the cabin. I tried my hand at harvesting and skinning the unfortunate creature, but I can say the results were abysmal. A small steak, some gut and a ragged pelt. Not ideal but I think I can still use it to practice my leatherworking. Better to cure and ruin scraps of a hide than a good quality one.


Evening (-9°c) Cloudy

On my way back to the cabin, I gave myself a fright I won't forget anytime soon. The day had been so calm aside from the fog that I'd dropped my guard. Just as I crested the hill again I caught out of the corner of my eye a grey flash and a heard a yelp. A wolf, barreling straight in my direction gave me a moment of panic. I had naught but a knife on me as protection. However, it seems his target wasn't me. In fact, the old bear was back at the bottom of the ridge, near a freshly killed deer. Seems like the bear spooked the wolf off its kill. I never thought I'd be thankful to the old beast for preventing what might have been a bloody encounter, but I found myself sending a mental thank you in it's direction. (From a very safe distance above mind you.)

I decided to wait and see if it was going to eat anything before making my way to the base of the hill. The old bear had sniffed at the carcass but seemed to largely ignore it, instead, ambling back in the direction I assume was his den. This left me with three-quarters of a freshly killed deer, a definite improvement over the tattered remains of the earlier carcass.  With not much daylight left to spare I set to work quickly carving out a few heavy chunks of meat and yet more gut. I did much better this time, but when it came to the pelt, I still struggled though this one had far less holes than my first. I left some of the meat behind, for no other reason than for the wolf who brought the deer down. He may have ran in fear, but it was his rightful kill. I took only enough for myself for two days or so.


Night (-18°c)

After a bit more reading up on the basics of curing, I laid out the hides to dry and for the first time since the crash, I ate well. The venison was a little bland, but filling and nutritious. The remainder of the meat I didn't consume, I placed into a metal container and after moving it outside by lantern light, buried in a shallow pit in the snow. Let's hope it's deep enough to avoid detection. The last thing I need is visitors.

Sitting here, watching the fire flicker, I'm aware now, that I wasn't prepared for this journey at all. Finding Nick is going to have to wait. I cannot rush this like I had foolishly assumed. How naive of me to think I would just fly into the region and hike out to locate him. I should have taken the advice of the pilot before we took off. Pack for a long journey. As used to studying the wild as I am, I'm a city girl. I don't know how to survive here. I Don't know the first thing about how to get where I need to go or even where I am now. What I do know though, is I have to keep writing. I have to keep documenting and laying out my thoughts. In this isolation, I'll go mad otherwise. I'm going to need to pay a lot more attention to everything around me. So far I've not seen another living human so it might be wise to assume I'm alone in a large area. So for now, I have to place one foot in front of the other in the hopes that it will lead me eventually back to civilization and the answers I came here to find.

Found Items: Venison, gut, tattered hides



Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some of it yes, the rest I'm going back through the areas I had been to and the things I recovered to make up the lost entries. It's been really hard, but I have snippets of the story (like point form notes) In the in-game journal so I've got a little help. I actually have a condition that affects my memory so I'm thankful now that I wrote the little notes down as I went in the journal. But it's taught me to back up everything more than once and keep writing on paper then transfer it. :) I've been averaging out the temps during different types of weather for the days I didn't write it down in the in game journal. I'ts times like this I'm super grateful that the journal is there, along with the tracking of where we've been.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 5


Morning (-16°c) Blustery

So much for heading out to explore. Another day of confinement I suppose.My brief time outside confirmed that the snare I had laid a few days ago had been successful. I'd caught a rather large rabbit and preparing it went well, all things considered. I laid the pelt and gut out to try and added the meat to my small 'freezer' outside. I could probably make a basic rabbit stew if I were to cook the rabbit meat with some of the cat-tail I picked up when I first arrived. It wouldn't be flavourful, but it would be filling.

Items found: Rabbit 1.2 Kg, rabbit pelt, gut.


Noon (-9°c)

The wind seems to be dying down and giving me a chance to take a better look around without freezing to death. I headed in the direction that  I had seen the bear going in the hopes I could see where it's den was. The sooner I figure that out, the safer I'll be in knowing how to avoid it. Unfortunately there was no sign of the creature, but I did see bones and droppings in a small cave, suggesting that this would be most likely the place. It's possible the old bear wandered off in its search for food and hadn't returned yet, but I wasn't about to wait around to find out.

I thought I'd caught a glimpse of a wolf over the hill nearby, but if I did, it didn't take any interest in me.


Evening (-26°c)

On the way back, I'd taken a more roundabout path. Close to the bear path, near a lone tree, was yet another unfortunate soul. He was face down, clutching a small hatchet in his hand. The animals had strangely left him alone, and the quality of his clothing suggested that the cold wasn't what killed him. The injuries on him seem to be more consistent of being attacked by a human more than an animal. I can't think of an animal in the area that would mercilessly cave one's head in. 

That thought it much more unsettling to me, than an animal attack. Animals are instinctual, primal. They do that they must to survive without the worry of conscience, or morals or laws. The law in nature is simple: Survival of the fittest.  While we, as humans put so much emphasis on respecting and not harming each other. We have rules, expectations and laws that protect our own from each other. For the most part it works.

Until you see this. Take away our laws, the other people watching, the safety of civilization and you end up with many abandoning humanity. Killing another human to survive, to cut down competition, seems to be the norm now. It's unfortunate, it's cruel, but the world isn't how it was. Humanity may be in it's twilight and in that fear of the unknown we can do horrible things. We truly are animals, at our best and our worst.

 A storm blew in while I was recording the victim's information so I wasn't able to make more detailed notes, but he had no I.D. All that might have pointed to his identity was a scrap of paper in his pocket, with a note hastily scrawled on it, addressed to 'Max'. Was this the mans identity? Or was he trying to deliver it to someone named Max? For now,  I will use the name as an identifier. Fingerprinting was successful.

Victim Information: Found at base of tree near bear den/trapping cabin.  Male - approx. 40-45 - brown hair - slim build - approx 6'2" - Potentially killed by another person. Blunt force trauma to his head seems to be the only damage. His clothing was in good condition and suitable quality for the temperature. Heavy pants, Insulated boots, Heavy parka, wool sweater. Knitted wool hat and scarf. No I.D. Possibly nicknamed 'Max'. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites



Day 6



Morning (-31°c) - Blizzard

There's no point in even trying to go out in this. The snow is so heavy you can't see 5 feet in front of you, and blowing almost horizontal with the wind gusting out there. It's bitter cold out there as well, simply poking my head out left me with chill immediately. Being stuck indoors means more time to focus on repairing my torn jacket and boots, not to mention organizing and cataloging what I've got and deciding where to go from here. The more prepared I am, the easier it will be to venture further out from the cabin. I don't want to get too comfortable here. I will eventually have to keep moving.

Noon (-21°c) - Still Stormy

Well, the storm hasn't let up yet. I also reminded myself while trying to make my clothing repairs, just why I'm a scientist and not a seamstress, It took me well over an hour to repair my boots, and it wasn't without breaking several needles and stabbing my fingers repeatedly. I eventually resorted to using a heavy fish hook and line. The leather on the boots was so heavy nothing else seemed to want to pierce it at all. Repairing my Jacket was almost as frustrating. Trying to sew around complicated seams and edges is rage-inducing to say the least. I took a break to drink a cup of tea in the hopes it would at least stop me from throwing the project against the wall in anger. I suppose I'll get better as time goes on but like anything new, it's rough to get started.

Evening (-14°c) - Gusts of wind/snow

By the time the storm had let up there was no daylight left to reliably explore. I did find a few birch saplings nearby. I think I can probably turn them into something once they've been inside to cure a few days. I reset my snare, and found more Old man's Beard. Carrying bandages combined with that will be worlds easier than trying to carry the large bottles of antiseptic. With food getting low, I'm going to have to strike out to see if I can find any other buildings or people. (preferably living ones).

Honestly though, I feel with each day that passes, my chance of finding anyone alive dwindles. Whoever was staying here before me, perhaps it was even 'Max', is not coming back. The greatest debate now is whether to look for supplies and return here, or take extra supplies in the hope of finding shelter somewhere else. Depending on how far I travel, I may not ever come back here.

I will sleep on it and make my decision in the morning. For now, I plan to read a little more of the books I have ferreted away in the cabin before perhaps retiring early. I don't know why being inside for most of the day left me feeling drained.

Items Discovered: Birch Saplings

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Day 7



Morning (-16°c) - Cloudy

I slept the full night with no interruption. I suppose I wore myself out more than anticipated. I have made my decision though. I will stock up the cabin with firewood and water, in the event that I find myself back here. I will decide what to pack and what to leave behind, then head off to search for supplies and new shelter. This little cabin is so quiet and inviting, but it is isolated. resources would be scarce here, even if it is safe.

I took a quick look around the cabin this morning to gather some sticks that had fallen from the nearby trees, along with several more pieces of Old Man's Beard. The sticks may not be idea fuel, but you never know, in an emergency, they still burn.

The blizzard from yesterday seems to have let up, but I'm not too confident in the grey clouds that still hang over the area. I need to make a priority of gathering firewood. It's incredible how well this tiny cabin can keep heat. In less trying times, this place would be a welcome escape from the noise of the city. I can understand why hunters and trappers spent so much time out here. Most of us balked at the idea of someone 'living off the land' or having more interest in being away from the city, than being in it. Now, ironically, it's those who we mocked for their 'outlandish' and 'old fashioned' views that are more likely to have survived this disaster. Quite possibly they might also be the only people left with the knowledge to save what's left of us now.


Noon (-9°c) - Snow

The deer are out again in the little valley beside the cabin. Watching them is almost therapeutic. They go about their natural lives as if the even didn't affect them. Perhaps it hasn't. For now they are content to forage among the trees in a small group. This area is sheltered and aside from the old bear, not much in the way of predators have been seen here, aside from that one wolf that found itself on the wrong end of the bear.

After gathering the sticks from this morning, I took the hatchet with me in search of firewood. The storm brought down some large, dead limbs that would be easy to break up and carry back. The snow seems to be growing heavier so I don't want to travel too far from safety, but I should be able to at least bring back an armful or two before long.


Evening (-14°c) - Heavy Snow

Making my way back from gathering wood I managed to take a tumble near the bottom of the embankment. Rolled my left ankle and now it hurts like hell. Managed to get the wood back to the cabin with a great deal of not-so-silent cursing. I'm surprised the deer didn't flee at the noise. I'll admit though, there's something strangely comforting about talking out loud. Perhaps it's because it's been a while since I last spoke to someone. Perhaps as humans we're just conditioned to find comfort in the sounds we make. I have a feeling by the end of this, I will have had conversations with myself more often than I'd like to admit.

After a closer look, I'm glad the injury is minor. There's no sign of anything more than a little swelling. If anything I've twisted it and rather than take painkillers for an injury that's minor, I'll just stay off of it. There are plenty of things that need doing and I can do them without standing on my bad ankle. I still have to do a few last minute repairs in my clothing, sharpen my tools and set aside supplies for tomorrow.

Items Discovered: Various twigs. branches and small logs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Day 8



Morning (-14°c)

Thankfully my ankle has stopped throbbing, and I can put pressure on it again with no pain. I'll still be careful in my travels though, since all it takes to put me back at square one is to simply twist it again. After a night of making decisions and packing carefully, I managed to fit everything I care to take into my bag. What was left, I organized neatly. If I find nothing out there beyond this cabin within a few hours, I will make an effort to return. Ideally though, I don't want to be back. Yes, the cabin is inviting and warm, but it cannot sustain me forever. And I can't continue my search holed up in this tentative 'safety'. This is a risk I must take.

Noon (-2°c)

I never thought I'd be so happy to find a railway line. It may be half buried and who knows how long it's been since it carried the overturned railcars scattered about the entrance to the tunnel, the important part is, I can use it to find my way out. Clearly the tunnel here isn't going to provide that escape since it's blocked up with fallen rocks. However, there may be something in the opposite direction. The tracks have to lead me somewhere and it's much more likely I'll find shelter along the tracks, as opposed to fumbling my way through the trees. Much easier to walk as well, given that I'm less likely to step into a hip-deep snowdrift. Train tracks are pretty consistent in being level surfaces.

A cursory look around revealed an old prybar and a few containers, full of mostly junk save for a granola bar and a bottle of water. Just beyond the overturned railcars, was a small backpack, though it contained nothing I could use at all. I hope for my own sake, that any of the shelters I find haven't already been looted of anything valuable. Just because I haven't seen anyone alive, doesn't mean they hadn't raided the place beforehand.

Evening (-0°c)

After spending an hour or two following the tracks, my persistence paid off. A large wooden cabin sat just off the tracks, a sign outside designating it as a 'Camp Office'. Looks like a campground or a park. A look inside confirms it. It's been abandoned and there's no sign of anyone having been there in a while, much like the cabin I found myself at earlier. A large map, slightly faded tells me I'm in a place called 'Mystery Lake'. Normally a large park situated around a lake, used by hunters and campers during the summer and ice fishermen during the winter, if the pamphlets pinned to the corkboard on the wall are any indication.

I now know where I am, and judging from that large map, this whole region should be dotted with cabins and logging camps. I'll drop off my extra supplies here and perhaps take a look around the area for more food and warmer clothing before searching for the way out. For now, This place has warm beds and two wood burning stoves. With a little effort I can gather enough wood to keep in warm in here. I rummaged around a bit and found some food left behind along with a can of kerosene and a warmer sweater. There was also a very old guide, dating back to the 1800's about shooting. I'll probably give it a read later when I have some time. I have no gun at the moment, but it will still be a good idea to educate myself just in case one shows up in my travels. For now, I plan on studying the Mystery Lake map for a little longer, before getting some sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites




Day 9



Morning (-7°c) Sunny

I slept for what feels like longer than usual. Either I was overly tired, or I'm starting to lose track of time. It's easy to do that here. Breakfast was a packet of jerky, some canned peaches and a granola bar. That should give me enough energy to do a little poking around outside. I don't hear much in the way of wind outside so I'm taking that as a sign I might have good weather for travel. A brief look out the frosty windows gave me a glimpse of some ice fishing huts on the lake, along with what looks like a few cabins along the far shore, fairly accurately where the map on the wall indicates them to be. I'll head in that direction. If I can gather a few more cattails and perhaps find another deer carcass that isn't too badly ravaged, I'll have a decent meal for a few days. I want to avoid eating the packaged food I have since that tends to last longer and attracts less attention from animals.

I took the curing skins and gut with me when I left, and I've since laid them out on the nearby workbench. A few more days and I should be able to work with them a little more. There's not enough to make anything substantial, but I can certainly practice my technique before attempting anything with good hides.

Noon (-4°c) Sunny with gusts of wind.

I found another corpse today. Just to the side of a fishing hut. His body was too badly mangled to really make heads or tails out of what happened to him. Nor was there any way to get prints from him. he was here for a while though by the look of what's left. Rest his soul.

The fishing huts held several pieces of tackle in good condition, along with a few cloth scraps and the occasional can of peaches or beans. Upon investigating the fishing holes, it looks like if I were to attempt to catch fish, it would be best to stock the hut with a good supply of wood and a few basic supplies. The ice has long since frozen over the original hole so I'd need to use something to break enough ice to be able to set a line.

The sun is warm but the wind is picking up. I'm hoping that's not a sign of impending bad weather. I need to get to the other side of the lake before nightfall.

Evening (0°c) Clear

My plan of getting back to the camp office before dark is delayed. I suffered my first run in with the wildlife that didn't turn in my favor. I had made it to the cottages at the lakeside and had stepped inside one to warm up and gather what supplies were inside. Upon coming out I didn't see the wolf up on the hill behind me and it wasn't until I heard the snarl that I was alerted to its presence, far too late to stop it.

I thought i would die. It was relentless as it tore at my clothing and snapped at my face. I fought it off only by swing my knife wildly. I must have hit it in a vital area though, as it yelped and released me, sprinting off across the ice. It managed to tear through my jacket and grab my arm with enough force to break the skin and leave some nasty punctures and bruising. Nothing is broken and I can still move my arm, but it certainly hurts. I'm hoping I was able to clean out the wound enough to prevent infection. I'll know by morning I have a feeling.

I'll stay the evening in the cabin here then set off in the morning to finish my rounds of the lake. My mind keeps returning to the wolf attack though. It's so out of character for a wolf to be so aggressive. Normally they avoid humans. It couldn't have been desperate for food since the deer are abundant in the area. It isn't the right time for wolf pups and it doesn't seem like a territory thing. It was actively stalking me. Perhaps there have been more changes to the wildlife than we think. This also means now, that I have to consider all wolves dangerous. I will be avoiding confrontation with them if I can. While I could eat the meat I'm sure, and use the skins for clothing, I'm not a fan of sport hunting and needless animal murder and the idea of killing them indiscriminately would leave me with more guilt than I care to bear. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.