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brostoevsky

The First Three Days, featuring Fluffy the She-Beast

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This is just the beginning of a little story I started writing based on one of my sandbox playthroughs, using the log as reference. I love the unique emergent narrative that unfolds in every sandbox game. I'm on day 55 in this life and I don't know if I'll keep writing anymore - this only goes halfway through day 3 - but if you guys like it I might consider continuing with it.

Day 1

I remember the cockpit alarms screeching their shrill alerts as our small plane's engine coughed and sputtered out and we fell towards the desolate Canadian landscape looming precipitously beneath us. I don't know what went wrong - some kind of inexplicable instrumentation failure. Only a few half-remembered moments of desperation and terror as the treetops approached impossibly fast; then nothing but the fathomless darkness that followed.

I awoke as if drunk, eyes unfocused and brain in a fog as I surveyed my surroundings, dim memories of the plane crashing and of an extraordinary display of dancing pastel aurorae in the sky the likes of which I had never seen. Every part of my body ached. No sign of the airplane or any survivors. I checked myself for injury but nothing seemed to be broken - just a hell of a lot of painful bruises and sprains that made me groan as I sat up. I was on some sort of rockbound alpine ridge. There was snow everywhere and my only route was down.

I must have ejected from the plane because my basic survival kit was still with me. That means I had a bedroll, some matches, basic first aid items and a little bit of food and water. It was cold though. Far too cold for the meager clothes I was wearing. The weather was clear but I knew I needed to find provisions and shelter quickly before nightfall.

I trudged down the ridgeline and found myself near the imposing concrete facade of a river dam with a small frozen pond and road bridge in front. The whole place looked abandoned. I saw little to dissuade me as I scanned the vicinity so I crept up and tried the door handle. Finding it unlocked, I cautiously walked inside.

Carter Hydro Dam

I found myself in a dimly lit anteroom leading to a main chamber that had other doorways leading off from it. I crept forward into the dark main room, noting even in the low light an abundance of supplies I could make use of scattered around. As I moved carefully toward one of the side rooms a snarling creature erupted from the shadows and leapt on me, slavering jaws snapping at the air inches from my face.

I fought desperately to repel the vicious attack and managed to throw him off after striking him several times in the face as hard as I could. The wolf retreated into the darkness to lick his wounds. He had bitten my leg pretty good and I was losing a lot of blood. I tore open the little first aid kit from my survival bag and hastily cleaned and bandaged the bite as best I could, swearing at the pain as I staggered back to my feet.

The wolf was nowhere to be found so I hastily gathered as many supplies from the room and its two small side rooms as I could, including a lantern and some kerosene. Judging from the control room this was a hydroelectric dam but none of the electronic equipment was functional. I found a lot of rifle ammunition but no rifle. Emboldened by the visibility my new lantern afforded me I decided to go down the stairs to the lower level in hopes of finding a rifle or other supplies despite knowing the injured wolf was lurking down there somewhere.

I carefully walked down the stairs and down a long hallway afterwards which opened up into a large room that housed the massive hydroelectric turbines, now eerily silent. Just as I was coming into the turbine room the wolf ran out of the shadows and attacked me again. As we struggled I got the upper hand and slew the fell beast with my bare hands despite my weakened condition. Once again I patched my wounds, exhausting what was left of my meager first aid supplies.

With a hatchet I found after exploring the turbine room I crudely skinned and dressed the wolf and harvested all the meat I could, saving his pelt and gutstrings in case I could use them later. I had grown up hunting but had never expected my life to depend on those skills. By the time I was finished darkness was gathering outside so I spread out my bedroll and built a fire in a metal barrel using pieces of crates and wood furniture I found around the dam complex. After cooking all of the wolf meat and boiling some melted snow for safe drinking water I ate my fill and slept until dawn.

Day 2

The next morning I spent combing through the building and found a considerable amount of supplies ranging from food to some useful tools and spare clothing. After picking the place clean I resolved to continue onward to see if I could find a hunting cabin or some other place that might have a rifle. I bundled up as best I could and set out.

I was severely underdressed for the frigid weather but the day was clear so I followed a nearby railroad track through a winding valley for a few hours. My spirits were raised when I saw in the distance a pair of derailed box cars that looked like they might have something worth scavenging but as I drew nearer I saw two wolves eating from a deer carcass next to one of the boxcars and was forced to give them a wide berth. I made a mental note to check again later when the wolves were gone or I at least had some way to protect myself from them and detoured around the derailment on the steep slope to one side of it.

As I returned to the railroad tracks on the far side of the derailed boxcars the wind began to pick up and within minutes a blizzard was raging around me. The gusts pierced right through my woefully inadequate clothing and I felt colder than I had ever been in my life. I could scarcely see ten feet in front of me in the heavy wind and snow. I was sure I was going to die. I considered turning around to try and shelter in one of the boxcars but freezing to death seemed preferable to being eaten alive by hungry wolves.

I stumbled forward along the tracks, snowblind, feeling more sluggish and numb with each passing minute as hypothermia set in. I could see nothing but the railroad tracks disappearing mere feet ahead of me into the fierce white snow. I was so tired. I wanted to give up and lay down, curl up and die. It was in this near dead state that I noticed the silhouette of a building in the distance, barely discernable through the blizzard.

Mirage or not, seeing this gave me one last rush of hope and I dragged myself through the snow towards the dim shape. As I drew nearer I saw a Canadian flag flying out front and my heart soared, hoping I might find people inside and be rescued. I stumbled into the cabin and collapsed exhausted and half frozen onto the floor, hardly managing to push the door shut behind me with my ice-encrusted boot. To my dismay this place was abandoned too, but at least it was shelter.

Gathering my energy I picked myself up, shaking snow and ice from my clothes and stomping my boots, and looked around. It was a large, comfortable cabin with a wood stove in the middle and a workbench in one corner. Upstairs were several bunk beds, another wood stove and a desk. Reading a note on the desk I learned this was the camp office for a nearby lake popular with ice fishermen. I went back downstairs and started a fire in the stove to warm up by and then searched the entire cabin. I found an abundance of useful supplies, most importantly food and meds, but still no rifle.

Now that I had more stuff than I could reasonably carry, I decided to make the camp office my temporary home until I could find rescue. I sorted my possessions into the storage containers downstairs and ate a quick dinner of cooked wolf meat and soda. Wolf isn't half bad, particularly when you're starving - but I won't say it tastes like chicken. I felt a particular satisfaction as I chewed knowing that this wolf had tried to kill me and I had killed him with my bare hands. If I survive this I'm sure going to have one hell of a story to tell. I made one of the beds upstairs and fell sound asleep, having survived my second day alone in the wilderness.

Day 3

I slept until late in the morning and debated how to spend the day - my main goal was to be rescued, but if the camp office was abandoned there probably weren't any people around the lake. I decided to concentrate on surviving. I still had about 15 rounds of rifle ammunition and I was itching to find a rifle. Without one I was a sitting duck for the ubiquitous wolves and I needed some way to hunt game anyway since what canned food I had found wouldn't last for long. I resolved to explore the wilderness across the train tracks in hopes of finding a hunter's cabin with a rifle in it.

After a hearty breakfast of canned peaches and wolf meat I set out. From the cabin's porch I could see the beautiful frozen lake off to the east, dotted with ice fishing shacks and a few distant wolves. It was a clear day but I knew all too well how quickly that could change so I wasted no time heading west into the forest across the tracks. I followed the forested slope down into a small valley with a derelict shack in it and walked up the ridgeline beyond it. I continued exploring for some time before I came across the frozen corpse of a man seemingly killed by wolves beneath a small dead tree. I couldn't resist searching him for supplies and found a can or two of food but nothing else.

As I came to a saddle in the next ridge, I saw a small cabin in the distance across a large open field.

To be continued?

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