(Last week Dean Hall tweeted about the possibility of books being included in the DayZ retail version. I've always liked the idea of writing for video games, so I blatted this sample down and sent it in. I gather the response has been huge, so I expect my small attempt at creating a story probably won't rise to the top of submissions; particularly considering there's others in the community who've been writing DayZ stuff for ages and are better at it than me. But here it is as a curiosity and ... just 'cause.)
Journal of (intelligible)
Something has happened. Something very very good has happened. I scouted a village about six hours from camp and found a truck! It’s a military vehicle, painted green and converted for transporting troops. Almost a full tank and in good condition. This is going to change everything.
Back at camp. I must be happy. As I drove the truck here I was whistling a song by that band Cake. Can’t remember the name of it, goes “no trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine, he's haunted by something he cannot define” I haven’t thought about that song for years. Hannah used to have all their albums. I’d forgotten this but I got so mad when I found out she’d snuck her ipod out when we had to leave home. She said music was a necessity. I was too busy maneuvering around wrecks and Zs on the freeway to argue.
I’ve celebrated with the last can of beans. An extravagant feast, but it’s the first bit of luck I’ve had for a good while. I can widen the search for loot now and it’s just in time; every place around here has been picked clean and it’s been getting colder. I can haul more stuff back here too.
Disaster. Bloody stupid idiot I don’t know what to do. The truck’s gone. I’d hidden it in the gully over the ridge from camp and when I went to collect it this morning it wasn’t there. It’s gone. It’s bloody gone. i don’t know what to do.
OK, I’m packing light and there’s just enough light left to get moving. The truck left tracks. They lead to the road and unless the bastard doubled back it looks like he’s heading south. Maybe he’s stopping along the way to loot places, maybe he’ll be cocky enough to linger so I can catch up to him. Maybe I can get the truck back. It’s a better option than waiting around here to die.
Holed up in the loft of a barn. No sign of anything, just the odd farm building slowly falling apart and Zs shuffling around outside like moronic puppets. And God! do they smell! I still remember Hannah, face flushed and forcing the words out between each breath, describing the odor being like a mix of rancid apricots and burnt plastic. The cities are full of it. It’s probably half the reason we decided on heading for the hills when we ran out of fuel. I thought It was the best option we had, back then the Zs were city bound.
Hope I find some food tomorrow.
The moon’s up. It’s a full one too; everything looks moonbaked. Can you say “moonbaked”? Does that even work? What I mean is all the trees look silver in the moonlight and the shadows are like daggers on the grass.
Started walking since dawn, figure it was mid afternoon when I saw the tracks leading off the road into the trees. I don’t think I really registered it. I’d been running on Mountain Dew for two days, so getting excited would’ve cost more energy than I had to spare.
The tires had bit deep into the soil. He’d weaved in and out of the trees, scraping paint at a few points. I figure he was trying to hide it, instead he’d mixed up a true dogs breakfast. Eventually he’d get stuck and then I’d be on him.
That was exactly what happened. I’d started stumbling over roots and stuff, so I nearly fell into the clearing he’d got bogged down in. His shirt and trousers looked brand new, too new to be worn by someone who’d spent the last three months pulling himself through the hills like I had. Through the trees I could see him walking around the idling truck, exhaling every now and then as if someone had keyed his Audi. I fucking hated him even worse now.
The heart was pumping hard. I used to stay away from other survivors, this was the closest I had ever been. I raised my Lee Enfield and fired. I missed him, of course. Hannah was right when she said I always waste the first shot. At least he got a proper fright. Must have jumped a meter or two in the air. I almost laughed, but he was into the truck and had thrown it into reverse. He must have planted his foot through the floor of the cab, because the truck roared like a trapped elephant and, surprisingly it moved free of its muddy shackles.
Forced to act, I got mechanical. That’s the only way I can explain it. Calm as anything to took aim at the cab window turning my way and let free two rounds. The window shattered and the roaring subsided as the truck shuddered to a halt.
I’d got him. That’s all I could think, I’d bloody got him. If I was mechanical before, I was almost floating like a butterfly now. That’s what it felt like when I walked over to the truck and opened the truck door. The idiot fell out onto the grass smearing blood everywhere. My heart hadn’t got the message to stop pounding in my ears though. I felt as if every nerve ending was exposed. Exposed. I was exposed. If he had friends … scanning the treeline I started moving around the front of the truck.
It happened so fast I don’t know if I heard the gun go off or not. A bit of my stomach was pushed out in front of me like a water balloon filled with offal and mince. When that happens your body doesn’t give you any option: you go down. And if you’re lucky you might get to see who did you in. I was fortunate because the bastard flipped me over onto my back. It was the Audi prick. He had a G17 in one hand and the other holding his shoulder, blood oozing through his fingers. He looked down at me like a man noticing his dog had left a shit in his carport just before he was about to leave for dinner with friends. The dark crawled around the edge of my eyes and he said something.
I’ve passed out a couple of times, but I’ve crawled here to the edge of the clearing and propped myself up against this tree. The Audi prick took off, not wanting to waste a second bullet. He took all my stuff, of course, apart from this journal which he dismissed with a grunt. I guess i should thank him for that. I don’t have much time, but it’s enough to write this down and maybe give anyone reading this a chance to make it.
The forest appears frozen by the moonlight; but that’s a lie. Everything is changing now, often so quietly you don’t realise until it’s too late. Her hand gripping mine and eyes wild with fear, Hannah tried to tell me that. Some of us weren’t made for this world. The hard lessons don’t go the distance and after two chances you don’t get a third.
I started whistling again to chase away the cold, but I don’t think it’s working. “the sun has gone down and the moon has come up, and long ago somebody left with the cup. but he's striving and driving and hugging the turns and thinking of someone for whom he still burns.”
I’m going to stop writing now. The wind has picked up and swung due north. There’s the smell of burnt plastic on the air.