A story by /u/AgainstArchitecture about his character’s recollection of his first moments landing on the shores of Chernarus.
He’s on a lonely stretch of beach, waves lapping at his boots. He struggles to sit, wiping sand off of his face. He remembers the boat, the night, the waves. The rocks that jutted out of the darkness like a villainous hand. He remembers Case, screaming for him, or at him, and he remembers the lights in the water, the oil-slick sheen that illuminated the valleys and peaks of the frantic ocean in a sickly green glow. He remembers the moment when he accepted it all, when the boat tipped and Case stopped screaming. He remembers the sound of absolute stillness the moment before he was thrown into the tempest sky, tasting blood and salt and inertia.
He stands, unsteady, and his hands instinctively, compulsively, feel for his bag. It’s not there, in a panic he spins, trying to see for himself, for his eyes to find what his traitorous hands could not. He scrambles over his pockets, taking mental note of the shapes of the objects secreted within. Lighter, rags, emergency flare. He remembers Case’s emergency flare in the night, ricocheting off of a rock and shooting back over his head, spinning the ghastly green glow of the algae around the forms and planes of his face like that of David being bio-scanned. He thinks about Case’s nose and how the bend of the tip used to inspire him into fits of furious scribbling in his sketchbook. He thinks of his sketchbook. He thinks of Molly and his knees go weak. He collapses, her sweet face lulling him back into the depths, and he tastes the cool grain of the sand as his face makes contact and he is swept back into the warm ocean of her deep purple sleep.
Winter wakes. The sun is starting to set over the beach. Deep, hazy pinks and languid, translucent greens dance into the indigo of the night sky, the color of a bruise. He sees stars, already. He remembers everything. From before. Molly in her Buzz Rickson MA-1 and Ben Sherman. Her severe bangs pointing a perfect arrow to the bridge of her nose, which Winter always understood as somehow intensely Germanic. Her face reminded him of a Renaissance painting, stoic, resilient and proud and almost never smiling. All the women that he drew and they all had some trace of Molly in them. She was archetype. She was Muse. And she was missing.
As was his sketchbook. The one that Molly made for him, pressed the pages by hand. She rebound it in an antique hardcover copy of Neuromancer, which she had told him she had secreted from an abandoned library at the edge of Detroit. The inscription read “To Winter, and our Nation of Two. Love always, Molly.” Nation of Two was a Vonnegut quote, although he hadn’t known it at the time. Molly introduced him to Vonnegut, as she had so many other worlds, and notions, and desires.
He forced himself back to the beach, back to reality. His mind was rambling more and more recently, and that scared him, although he didn’t dare allow himself to dwell on it. He rocked on the beach, and as he rocked, he rubbed his palms on the thighs of his pants until they burned and then buried them in the cool sand, taking hand fulls and sifting it through his fingers. The act calmed him, centered him, and if it didn’t the grumble in his belly certainly did.
It was getting dark. He needed to find food, water. A weapon. He needed to find paper and a pen. He needed a fucking drink. He needed to find Molly and he needed her to tell him what had happened that night, that first night when it all went to shit. When they did what they did, and then when the dead did what they do.
Winter wakes. He stands, brushing the sand off of his knees as he catches the silhouette of a lumbering figure at the edge of the hill. With the last of the stray light turning the world pink, he turns, and heads inland.
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