I was talking to her many times - pressing myself to the mud in two steps of military patrol, defending myself with entrenching tool against pack of blind dogs, in delirium of wounds I was talking to her. When you lie under the roof of tumbledown building for twenty hours, afraid to move and attract attention of invisible creature swarming and moaning below there are not many ways not to go crazy. Kolya Klin, grinded by whirlgig at the Agroprom, always sang old pioneer s songs quietly, softly. But I talk to the Zone. And I still fear when she answers me.
We all are just pawns on the map of the Zone. Pawns in the game which we don t understand, and don t even try to understand.
There are many people in the Zone all these soldiers, called out from all of the country, scientists, trying to collect fruit punch into the test-tubes, bandits and madcaps, ready to kill for cigarettes all they want money, they fear, hate, burn with curiosity and abhorrence, die but nobody, not a single man, not even try to listen.
And the Zone kills those, who don t want to listen to her. It is only the way of communication for her.
Long time ago I thought that it is something man couldn t create and even understand.
Now I know I was wrong. She was waiting when I ve been taking Ghost out from radioactive heaps on the Dump, she was waiting when I ve been hunting the gang of Wry in Ghost City was waiting, for I could think, for I could understand.
She s alive, and she has the heart.
Now, after thousands of hours passed in the Zone, I, who reached everything I ever wanted tidy sum of money in banks in three countries understand, that won t leave this place so easy. I watch at novices and see myself, I ve lost here more friends than I had in all my life, I killed here more people than in Afghanistan, and even nickname Strelok, which I received not long ago, now is more native to me than my name.
At first, I just wanted to survive. Then I thought I can run away from here. But now it is time for me to know who and why created all this. The Zone has heart, has it s creator and I ll find him, sooner or later.
One of the pawns will make its own move.