Part Four: Relapse
Was he really going to shoot me? That’s always the nagging question. Who can pass judgement on whether you’re good or evil? I can tell myself that I am the good guy, but it’s all relative. Who knows what drove those bandits to the life they lead. Who’s to say that group you call friends won’t turn on you when the pressure cooker blows and the zombies swarm in around you. You’ll see the backs of their heads as they flee. It is easy to imagine their prying hands as they loot your still warm corpse.
Or maybe they won’t.
I continued to play along with my caring nature, through towns and forests, proud of my survivor, kitted out and surviving on nothing but honesty. I would spend most of my time in the north, roaming with honest friends I could trust, but I eventually found another group of players as well and I welcomed them with open arms.
I healed them and fed them, but some hours into our journey I began to feel nervous. They stopped randomly without reply and they looked at me strange. Paranoia set in and I felt my itchy trigger finger twitching. One of them turned to me suddenly and I did it, I killed another player. Then his friends killed me, and I lost the newest incarnation of me, the one that I had spent so much time crafting. I felt anger.
I’d received a dose of my own medicine, all of my own doing.
I started fresh again, both in character and in play style. I started to toy with new ways to kill. I ran everywhere with zombies at my back, turning the undead attackers into both an offensive weapon and a defense. I was the Pied Piper, spreading death to all those in my path.
I only hope that when we meet under the clouded sun, lost and alone, with zombies breathing down our necks, that I find the better half of you. You better hope you meet the better half of me.
“Please, don’t do it.”
An angel sits on my right shoulder, whispering in my ear.
Gun raised, steady in my grasp, I’m holding a survivor in my sights, watching the back of his head while we sit atop a building in Cherno. We’ve been together for at least half an hour. He’s talking to me with his voice – not chat, not text-to-sound – his real voice. He asks me to climb down and clear out the zombies below us.
He didn’t see me switch out my axe for the Makarov I’ve had concealed in my backpack this entire time. Just before I decide to lower the gun, I hear another whisper, this one in my right ear, soft and sweet.
I turn and see the devil there.
“Go on, just pull the trigger.”
But, now, I turn to face this player and ignore the angel and the devil both. They are far too black and white for a place like this. I hear a third voice, the one in my own head, me. It says, “Do what you need to do.”
And so I do.
Follow Jamie Dalzell on Twitter, @Sir_JD.