A/N This is just a little something I wrote up after the ending,a sort of epilogue type thing, if anyone wanted to see whether Josef really did get his happy ending. As always,thanks to everyone who read and reviewed, its been a pleasure! If you want anymore horror like this,check out my other fics for the Walking Dead and Twilight. Anyway, thanks for reading,and I hope you enjoy it...
25th June 2013
It took me a few days of stumbling through almost pitch black tunnels before I saw anything resembling civilisation in anyway. Luckily the dim electric lights in most of the tunnels were still working, although the only real light came from my head torch. I was breathing heavily the entire time, even the stuffy underground air better than the recycled shit in my gasmask, which is now safely strapped to my hip, along with my trusty revolver.
There was no noise in the tunnels, beyond the odd drip of water and clatter of pipes. At one point I thought I heard voices, but they turned out to be nothing. Probably something in the pipes.
The weird thing though wasn't the lack of noise, the absence of the familiar rattle of trains along the steel rails, not even the strange mushrooms already beginning to sprout from the black ballast. It was the lights.
At first I thought I was hallucinating, when I first saw the weird shadows on the walls, illuminated in my torch beams like ghosts.
Then they began to speak.
I was running after that, sprinting for over an hour through gloomy passages and abandoned Metro trains, surprisingly empty for some reason.
Then I saw the light up ahead, and I felt my heart race.
Not crazed madmen or monsters. Just normal, living, sane men and women.
When two unshaven men with hunting rifles challenged me by a crude barricade, I practically fell into them, almost embraced the two stinking guards, who only waved me through with a sigh of relief.
Beyond that was the station and, as soon as I stepped into the warm glow of oil lamps and charcoal lanterns, I knew I had finally reached somewhere I hadn't been in a long time.
The station wasn't exactly huge, only a few platforms and a warren of offices and stroerooms, but to me it was perfect. Here I knew there were no mutants or crazed soldiers. The packed station buzzed with conversation, people somehow getting on with their lives, only a month after the fall of the old world. I saw families gathered around campfires, solemn faced men with scavenged AKs keeping watch, whilst others hurried past, carrying heavy crates of supplies or talking to one another, speaking of scavenging and farming, guns and ammunition, warm beds and firewood.
It almost seemed alien to me, after the fascist dictatorship I had suffered under for what felt like forvever, to suddenly see this new world built under the ruins of the old one, it was actually very calming. To think that, above this weird scene of normal life in an abnormal setting, was nothing but radioactive wasteland and skeletons.
After the nightmare of D6 though, it was perfect.
As I walked down the main platform, past men setting up tables and building crude shelters and tents, I felt eyes upon me. Not in a sinister way, there were no FSB agents or Spetnatz thugs here. These were eyes wide with curiosity, and a bit of fear, but no malice. I was merely a new arrival and a soldier at that, something I doubted many of these people had seen for a long time.
But I ignored the stares, the whispered comments and giggling children, as I walked down the platform. I had eyes for only one thing. A figure, huddled by a campfire with a group of others, a ragged green coat wrapped around her slight frame, laughing as an old man strummed a tune on an old guitar. I would have recognised her anywhere, the long, jet black hair, the pale and pretty face, the high pitched laugh. The one person in the whole world I thought I would never see again, and there she was, only a few metres away.
She hadn't noticed me yet, and I practically ran over, tapping her lightly on the shoulder. As she turned to look at me I was already in heaven. Apocalypse or not, I was alive, and she was alive, and that was all that mattered.
The rest of the day was a blur of new people, new places, and a new home. And now I sit writing this all down, a cracked mug of mushroom derived vodka in my other hand and Katerina by my side, staring down a quiet tunnel, lit by hundreds of tiny candles like some post-apocalyptic fairy tale. There are a few other guards here, which I seem to have suddenly become leader of, mainly because everyone here is convinced I'm a former special forces colonel or something, a promotion I've been quick to take up. Now I outrank my entire old battalion.
For the first time since I left my apartment at the beginning of June, I can finally say I am happy. Of course I'm not complacent. Anything could happen in this new world, but I've already seen enough horror to know that nothing can be worse than what happened in that bunker. Still, anything could happen. Antonov may be dead, but others, just as crazy, may have escaped that hellhole. Maybe one day I'll return there and finish the job, destroy it and reclaim its secrets.
And that leads me to my final point of today, because my shift is almost over, and my rest tonight will be all the better with Katerina beside me. Already someone's strumming a tune on a guitar, and people are playing a hand of poker by the fire. I've decided that, now Katerina is with me, I can't risk being found by some crazed D6 survivor with a grudge, and the best way to do that is to get a new name. I never liked Videnski anyway, too pretentious for my liking. And a new name is exactly the thing I need to start a new life down here. It took a bit of negotiation with Katerina, because she's getting the same surname too, but I finally decided on one, after I remembered the insane Spetnatz commander, and his opposite principled younger brother, lying dead in the ruins of the Lenin Library. I guess I'm taking up his mantle now, and making it official as I finish. So now I'm signing off as my new name, my new life begins.
Colonel Josef Miller.
Has a bit of a ring to it…