01 Feb Journal of a Spetsnaz Commando: The Dead World
Lt. Nikolai Smirnov, Spetanaz commando
October 2, 1987
It’s been a long time since I’ve made an entry here. A lot has changed. I have a new Spetsnaz team now. There’s me, the leader, Anton, who’s finally healed well enough to return to combat, Roman, the sergeant and second-in-command, and Ninel, our medic and scientist. I got promoted to first lieutenant back in June after the mission in Pripyat. Since then, our team has focused almost exclusively on the paranormal. Unfortunately, the missions I’ve been on are either too disturbing, too classified, or both, so I won’t be writing about any of them.
Right now, we’re on a helicopter en route to investigate an anomaly in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine. Other than that, they’ve told us nothing. Of course, it’s possible they know as little as we do about what we’re facing. I don’t know which is worse. But then, this is standard operating procedure for these kinds of missions. Get the job done, even if you’re not even sure what exactly you have to do. Just perfect.
October 3, 1987
As per usual, everything’s gone to hell. The helicopter’s instruments stopped working not too far from the LZ. The pilots tried to keep us in the air, but the best they could do was a controlled crash in a part of the mountains with fewer trees to crash into than the area around it. ‘Controlled’ might be too strong a word, though – the impact still knocked us all out.
I was the first to come to. The helicopter was damaged but upright, and most of the weapons and gear we’d brought was scattered in and around the copter. I checked on everyone to see of there were any injuries. All of us, including the pilot and copilot, are okay except for a few bruises. Unfortunately, although the copter isn’t badly damaged, it still refused to start. Our radios have stopped working, too. Not even static, just silence on all channels. It was late in the afternoon by the time we got everything sorted, so we’ll stay here for the night. Tomorrow, we’ll walk to the base we were supposed to land at and have them send somebody to clean up the crash site. I can tell which way we need to go from the maps we brought and my compass, so there shouldn’t be any trouble finding the place.
I let everyone know what the plan was just before we turned in for the night. “I guess nobody bothered to send a search party out once a whole damn helicopter goes missing.”, groused Anton. “Oh my god. Could you bitch a little more, please?”, said Roman. “Oh, shove it.”, Anton replied as the rest of us howled with laughter. “Can’t hear you.”, said Roman cheerfully. Anton said something different this time, and though it was lot more creative, albeit more offensive, than “Shove it.”. This crash is a pain, but it’s not the end of the world. We’ll be back at base and on the mission in no time. That’s all for today. I need a good night’s sleep for the trip to the base tomorrow.
October 4, 1987
Well, I did have little trouble getting to the base. But it looks like our troubles have only just begun. Our hike to the base began soon after dawn. We brought as much gear as we could with us, just in case. About halfway through the trip it started to snow, lightly at first, then wet, heavy flakes that covered the landscape in white. Visibility dropped to just a five or so meters in each direction once it got windy and the snowfall got even heavier. Nobody knew how close we were to the base until I literally walked into it. Cursing and rubbing my nose, I stepped back from the rusted fence I’d walked into. I radioed command, then the base. Neither responded.
We went in through a downed section of the fence. Once inside, we explored further. The base consisted of around half a dozen crumbling concrete buildings and a small airstrip with cracked pavement and weeds sprouting from the cracks. “I don’t think anyone’s home, boss.”, said Roman, scanning the area uneasily. Aside from the whistling of the wind through the buildings, there was utter silence. “Maybe this is an old base? Not the one we’re looking for, just one nearby that was abandoned?”, suggested Anton. The pilot shook his head. “I’ve been here plenty of times. This is the place In fact, I was in contact with them just before we crashed. Plus, there’s no other bases out here. Only one place like this.”. “So what, everybody on the base decided to take a break at the same time? And I wouldn’t even call this a base! Look at it!”, said Anton, pointing to the buildings. I noticed now that some even had broken windows, and one – the barracks by the looks of it – even had an entire wall caved in. “This place is a dump!”
The copilot looked around at the now-empty base before saying, “Yeah, but this place was nothing like this a week ago. Me and Vaz here-”, he gestured to the pilot, “-we dropped off supplies here and the place looked nothing like this. I mean, hell, it was built just last year. We’ve been running supplies and ferrying troops there ever since.” Vaz nodded at the copilot. “Mal’s right. This can’t be the same place.” I held up my hand for silence. “I don’t know what’s going on either, but standing around talking isn’t going to solve anything. Split up into pairs and search the buildings, then meet back here in two hours. We’ll stay here overnight, then try to contact someone and find out what’s going on. Keep an eye out for anything we can use to patch up the helicopter, too, otherwise we might be stranded here till they send someone to pick us up.”
I went with Roman. It didn’t take long for us to realize nobody had been here for a long, long time. The base had must have been abandoned for years, if not decades. No remains not even skeletons, so it wasn’t from anything violent. Once everyone got back together, we set up camp in the old hangar. The pilot and copilot are dismantling one of the helicopters for spare parts and siphoning fuel from the rest of the aircraft. We’ll go back to the crash site tomorrow and head back to central command in Moscow. Still silence on all channels, unfortunately. Ninel says the snow storm might be interfering with the signal. I’ll try again tomorrow if the storm lets up. It’s thundering now, too.
October 5, 1987
Still nothing on the radio. The storm did let up, though, aside from the occasional thunder in the distance. We got back to the crash site without any trouble. The helicopter got fixed and everything we had brought, plus all the fuel we could carry, was loaded on board. It was late in the afternoon when we got back in the air, and the pilot headed east.
After we had left the mountains, and it had long since stopped snowing, in the fading daylight, I saw craters and what looked like vehicles scattered about the landscape. I ordered the pilot to fly lower for a closer look. As we got closer to the ground, I saw crashed jets and helicopters, knocked out tanks, and burnt out armored vehicles of every shape and size. All looked more advanced than anything I’d seen in my military career. Scorch marks and craters dotted the land, too, evidence of airstrikes or possibly artillery. They didn’t look all that recent, but clearly a massive battle had taken place.
We moved on, sometimes going over small towns that looked deserted. Occasionally they, too, had evidence of a battle. I tried the radio again. Silence. There’s no good places to stop for the night, so the pilot and copilot will take shifts flying. I’ve talked with the others, and they know as well as I do there’s no way war could break out overnight. Something’s not right here, and I’ll suspect it’s got something to do with that anomaly we were called in to investigate.
October 6, 1987
Today, we found a command post in the remnants of a huge tank battle. It had a flagpole, atop which flew the flag of the Russian Federation, rather than the USSR. Near the border between the Russian and Ukrainian SSR, we touched down to investigate. Inside, we found news bulletins, maps with troop positions and movements in the area, and several skeletons, mostly wearing officers’ uniforms. Roman found a world map and took it off the wall. He stared at it for a long time before speaking. “Nikolai, I don’t think we’re in the USSR anymore.” I examined the map. Most of Europe and North America were outlined in blue, and Russia – not the USSR, the countries that formed it were split off – China, Brazil, India, and South Africa were all in red. Lower Asia and parts of South America also had bits of red and blue. In the map key, blue was marked as ‘NATO’, which we all knew, but the red were marked as ‘BRICS’, apparently our side’s faction.
After looking around for a bit longer, we took off and continued towards Moscow. “I think”, said Ninel, after a long silence, “That we have somehow stumbled into another dimension. Are any of you familiar with the concept of the multiverse?” Everyone shook their head. Ninel just sighed and didn’t bother trying to explain himself any further.
He was about to continue when the pilot interrupted him with a cry of shock. “My god! What happened to Smolensk!?” Everyone peered outside. I felt my stomach drop. Below us, Smolensk was a massive crater, buildings knocked flat and even those on the outskirts of the city reduced to ruins.
“Nukes.”, said Ninel. “Nothing else can tear apart a city like that.” Everyone nodded in solemn agreement. We had all learned Hiroshima and Nagasaki in school. “I think I like our dimension better.”, said Anton. “Me too, but we don’t know how to get back there. We just have to hope someone in Moscow can help.” No one asked what we would do if Moscow and most other major cities had been nuked as well, but I could tell they were thinking it. I’m glad they didn’t ask. I’m not sure I could have given a good answer.
October 7, 1987
Once the helicopter arrived at the outskirts of Moscow in the morning, I saw to my relief that the capital had been spared from nuclear annihilation. Still, bombing raids had devastated the city on their own. As we got closer to the center of the city, I saw literal paths of destruction. In more or less straight lines, buildings had been knocked flat and ground down to rubble. The ones that still stood were sleeker and more modern than our Moscow, and stretched up to dizzying heights, but they would have been more impressive had they not clearly been abandoned months before. With no one to perform upkeep, they decayed as readily as any corpse. In the distance, scattered across the horizon, I spotted massive craters of which I could see no bottom.
Once at the LZ, Roman, Aton and I had to go in on foot. Vaz, Mal, and Ninel stayed behind. “I’ll be in touch”, said Ninel over the radio as the helicopter took off again. We discovered that our headquarters was a few blocks from where it stood in our world. It was still hard to get to, with old barricades, destroyed or abandoned tanks, and vast amounts of rubble filling the streets. It was as quiet as it had been in Chernobyl. Aside from the whistling of the wind through the dead city, there were no noises except ours as we picked our way through the ruins. Skeletons were everywhere, in cars, buried under mounds of twisted steel and concrete, in the ruined buildings, wearing tattered army and civilian clothes alike.
When we finally got inside, the elevator to the sub-basements had a keypad that none of us knew the code for. Roman planted Semtex on the doors and blasted them open. Next to the deafening silence around us, the explosion seemed even louder than usual. One by one, we rappelled down the elevator shaft. No one was here to help, but if we were going to get information on this portal, or whatever it was that took us here, this was where we would find it. No lights at the bottom worked, obviously, so we used our flashlights. Unfortunately, most of the tech that might have held records we needed were either too advanced to use, too badly damaged, or both.
Eventually, I came to a room with faint light coming from a corner of the ceiling. Some of the water pipes must have burst, because a thin layer of filthy water coated the floor. I found a hole big enough for a man that looked like it twisted all the way up to the surface, from the sunlight shining through. I called the others over. I decided we would investigate, and as Roman and Anton climbed into the shaft, I looked over the room one last time. In a dark corner, I spied a skeleton in a major’s uniform. I saw something else, too. A book was in the skeletal fingers’ grasp. I picked it up and flipped through it, glancing at the pages. It was a journal. Perhaps it might give us answers about what happened here. I squinted at the dog tags around the dead major’s neck. Roman called, “You coming, boss?”, his voice echoing through the shaft. “Yeah, I’ll be right up.”, I yelled, slipping the journal in my backpack. Once I got to the surface, I radioed Ninel to pick us up.
We’re headed to Leningrad now, so it will be much longer trip. The journal appears to have some water damage, so I haven’t read it yet. Best to be careful so I don’t destroy it. This is the best lead we’ve got, and we can’t afford to lose it. As always, the radio is silent. We’re flying through another snowstorm, worse than the others. The thunder is the worst it’s ever been. I hope lightning doesn’t strike the helicopter. Visibility is awful, and the howling wind, even inside the copter, makes it hard to get any sleep. That won’t stop me from trying to, though.
October 8, 1987
Rations are running low. There’s enough for another three days or so, but we still have no idea how to get back to our own dimension. Time’s running out, and everyone knows it. It’s late in the afternoon, and there’s about another day’s worth of flying until we reach Leningrad. As always, empty towns and battlegrounds full of destroyed or abandoned war machines, and the skeletons of the men who crewed them.
This morning, Anton, Roman, and I searched another battlefield for supplies while the copter circled overhead. A snowstorm kept us from seeing very far, so we kept close so nobody got separated. Every now and then I would find rations in packs or a burnt-out supply truck, but everything looked as if it had already been picked over. If nuclear war had caused the government to break down, I could easily see people looting once food got scarce. The absence of ammunition and guns made it clear they’d been willing to fight for it, too.
Later on, we passed tanks crushed into the ground, howitzers crumpled into scrap metal, and the remains of downed fighter jets. The wind started to pick up, and snow started to fall again. Vaz and Mal couldn’t pick us up till visibility was back to normal. It only got worse as time went on, though, and I almost walked into the wall in front of me. Instead , Roman did.
“What the hell is this?”, he exclaimed angrily, rubbing his nose. I turned my attention to the wall. It was a pale, bleached white, which explained how none of us had seen it before now. It looked to be a couple stories tall at least, and stretched out as far as I could see in both directions. That didn’t change as the storm let up and visibility got back to some semblance of normal. Finally, my radio crackled. “This is Vaz. The storm looks like it’s passed. We don’t know where you went, though. Lost you in the storm.” I had Anton send up a flare. As the heli circled lower, I heard gasps of surprise over the radio, followed by silence, then excited talking in the background.
“What’s the matter?” I asked. “….you’re going to have to see it for yourself once you’re on board.”, Vaz said, sounding shaken. Once we were up in the air, I saw what the commotion had been about. Lying across the vast plains, surrounded by what had to be hundreds of wrecked tanks, planes, and the like, was an impossibly massive skeleton. With a shudder, I realized the “wall” Roman had walked into, the one that was so long I couldn’t see any end to it, was one of its
leg bones. Its humanoid shape was partially obscured by the snow, but the sheer scope of the thing was clear, as by the time I could take in the whole thing at once, the wrecked war machines surrounding it were impossible to spot. Ninel had no theories as to how such a monster could have existed or why. What he did say, though, did nothing to pt us as ease. “I hope there’s not more than one.” he muttered distractedly as the helicopter fought through yet another snowstorm towards Leningrad. I think it’s almost midnight now. There’s been thunder all night again, but that’s not what’s been keeping me up.
October 11, 1987
Yesterday, Anton found an old cache of rations in a bunker near a good-sized city that had been reduced to rubble. I don’t know what city, or where it was – with the blizzards that are on and off all the time now, Vaz and Mal got lost pretty easily. We’ve also scavenged fuel from downed helis and supply dumps near the battlefields that seem to be everywhere in this world. Now that the team’s well supplied, we can keep an eye out for a landmark or something else to try to find out where we are without worrying about getting stranded or running out of food. Unfortunately, we haven’t found any people yet – not alive, anyway. I’ve decided to keep going north. Maybe we’ll have an easier time finding a route to Leningrad that way. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the journal I found to pass the time. Most of it has water damage, except for parts of the second half, and there are some pages that are missing, but what I have read is…unsettling. The first complete entry I found was dated January 22, 2027. I copied the entry into my own journal.
“NATO launched more nuclear strikes against us last night. We were listening to the reports when suddenly the radio cut out. When it came back again, it was much fainter, and was sometimes cut off by bursts of static. Later this morning, we were told the Americans had nuked Moscow. After the cyber attacks that pretty much shut the internet down, it’s a wonder that news reached us at all. Retaliatory strikes destroyed Philadelphia, Washington DC, London, Paris, and others I’ve already forgotten. Berlin, of course, has been radioactive ashes for weeks now.
Christ, I wish they’d never used the Tsar bomb. Nobody should have that kind of power. Besides, however unpatriotic it may be, I know we’re losing. With so many cities gone, our logistics have been thrown into utter chaos. Our advance into eastern Europe has been checked, and now we’re slowly losing ground. China has been a great help, but the troops they sent us are all but gone now. Sure, the tide can turn, but even if we do win…..will there be anything left standing?
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Who knows, maybe both sides will agree to a ceasefire and end the madness before more nukes are brought into play. I’ve seen what radiation exposure can do to people. After 3 years of war, the last one with nuclear exchanges between almost all the major world powers, I’m not sure how much more my Russia can withstand. Eventually, something’s got to give.”
Some parts I don’t have any context for, but some of it, like the “cyber attack”, I just don’t understand. The next few pages are missing. The next two entries are incomplete, but they do seem important.
“…gas attacks, too, but even that hasn’t stopped them. Every day I hear about another road closing, another town going dark, another unit overrun. Soon we’ll be run out of Belarus and Ukraine, and then they will drive deep into the motherland. To make matters worse, the earthquakes have started up again, too. The epicenters always seem to be at or near the major cities, as if the nukes and carpet bombings haven’t been enough already.
On the bright side, the new headquarters I’m stationed at is much better than its predecessor. It’s much better protected against bombing raids and quakes, and they’ve even managed to get most of the malware and other viruses off our computers. The satellites are supposed to be up and running in a week or so, so orbital strikes are back on the table. If only it were enough to turn the tide. I can hope that it will, but I fear it will only delay the inevitable.”
March 1, 2027
“With the blizzards that are sweeping western Russia reinforcements, we’ve managed to stop NATO’s advance before it got too far into Russian territory. Unfortunately, the blizzards also show no signs of letting up anytime soon. With the roads constantly blocked by snowdrifts and visibility either bad or worse, neither side can bring supplies and reinforcements up to the front or bring their air force into play. As long as this continues, we can’t begin a counterattack to drive the enemy out of our country. To even the odds, some of the generals suggested using bioweapons!
Thankfully, they were dismissed immediately, but I hope that things don’t become desperate enough for some idiot with stars on his shoulders to get clearance to deploy them. It would be so easy for it to go horrifically wrong and send the 21st century equivalent of the Black Death through not only Europe, but the whole world.
Some people have argued that things have gone too far, and that we should ask for peace. They were dismissed as well, though I wish people took the idea more seriously. I think- “
And the rest of the entry is cut off. The next page is soaked with rainwater, and so are the rest of the pages in the book. The last few pages are with writing are less damaged, though. The entries are partially readable, with some words or whole paragraphs too smudged to tell what was written.
June 14, 2027
“-only got worse. The nonstop blizzards make it hard to get an idea of how tall they are, but there are reports of some up to 30 stories high. One of them came up right in the center of Moscow, and apparently it wasn’t just an isolated incident. It’s happening in most major cities in Russia, and our spies say the same is happening in Western Europe, and the Americas as well. Our allies’ reports are the same. The earthquakes seem to signify where they’ll come up.
-tunneling under us the whole time. They think – drew them to the surface. Nobody knows how long they’ve been down there, but it was a hell of a long time. -hard to take them down without air support, but the units we pulled from the front haven’t had too much trouble. Problem is, there’s just so damn many of them. Our department’s the one that’s supposed to handle this, but with air travel impossible and moving on the ground only slightly easier, we aren’t doing well. -radiation doesn’t affect them, and it just brings more of them to the surface. Missile strikes do the job fine, but there aren’t enough of them to go around.
-ceasefire on all fronts, but with our militaries so weakened, it will be tough even with ours and NATO’s combined strength to fight back. Riots, food shortages, and evacuation of most major cities are spreading our troops and resources thin.
It’s getting harder and harder to find time to write in my journal these days. There’s too much going on, and too few people to handle it.”
The rest of the entry is cut off. The final entry is short and hastily written.
July 1, 2027
“Moscow is in chaos. Even as I write this, the city is being torn apart. A dozen of those things came up yesterday, when I was in the sub basement of our headquarters and the elevator isn’t working. The stairs collapsed, too. Even from down here, I could hear the muffled cries of the crowds as they ran through the streets. It’s quiet now, and anyone who’s left up there is probably dead. I’m going to die down here. Nobody is coming to help us. I won’t wait to starve to death. There’s some cyanide capsules in the lab down the hall I’m going out on my own terms. Goodbye.”
And that’s how it ends. I hope we get out of this place soon. We can’t survive here forever. We don’t know how we got here, so I’ll be damned if I know how we’ll get out.
I’m trying not to think about that.
October 13, 1987
We’re back. But I’m not any less worried. Yesterday, as we neared the outskirts of Leningrad, the snowstorms and thunder were at the worst I’d seen yet. As Vaz and Mal took us in lower so we could get our bearings, the rest of us talked – shouted is more accurate, with the muffled thunder and howling wind. As we got low enough to be just above the tops of the buildings – or rather, what was left of them – a sudden burst of thunder just ahead of us shook us in our seats. Moments later, Vaz swung the helicopter to the right in an almost 90 degree angle. It was so sudden, it threw anyone who wasn’t strapped into their seat, including me, into the left side of the copter.
As I pulled myself up, movement outside the window next to me caught my eye. I turned just in time to see a structure that had to be an easy 50 stories tall pitch forward toward us, crashing down just behind where we had been. I jumped back from the widow, while everyone else rushed to it to see what had happened. Then, another bust of thunder – this one from just behind us – and the helicopter swerved left and picked up speed. As we headed deeper into the dead city, the buildings that were still upright rose in height, and so did we. We had to go even higher as the snow swirling around us got thicker and made it harder to see. For a little while, it was mostly quiet outside, and we talked about what happened. Nobody, not even Ninel, could completely explain it. “No lightning strike can bring down a building like that.”, he said.
“Maybe it wasn’t,” I spoke up. “What if it was one of those things we saw 4 days ago? It could have knocked down the building easy enough.” Ninel nodded, “That’s what I was thinking, too. It would have to be a lot bigger than the one we saw, but that isn’t too hard to believe considering what we’ve been through so far.” “What was the thunder, then?”, asked Roman.
This time, Anton answered. “Could have been that thing moving around. After all, something that big is gonna make a hell of a lot of noise.” Ninel was writing in a notepad he’d pulled from his pocket. He looked up with dread on his face. “Thunder during snowstorms in vary rare, and with the constant thunder we’ve heard this whole time….it’s possible none of it was thunder at all. And with the snowstorms, we could have had them all around us and never even seen them.”
Mal called from the cockpit, “Makes sense to me. I’ve flown through thunderstorms before, and this sounded different. Not too different, and It didn’t seem that important at the time -” He was cut off with curses and a startled yell from Vaz. The copter turned sharply, narrowly missing a building that had appeared suddenly out of the dense snow flying through the air.
As I looked back, it suddenly turned and moved after us. It easily outpaced us. As it got closer, I saw four huge, bulbous eyes staring down at us. Its catlike pupils followed our copter as we gained altitude.
“Hold on!”, yelled Vaz. He jerked the copter around, heading straight toward the creature. As we zoomed past it, it roared in anger. It was loud, even through the walls of the copter. It picked up speed as it turned and gave chase, pushing buildings out of its path with ease. Its massive size meant it wasn’t agile, but then, it didn’t need to be. A huge six-fingered hand bigger than a house swung past the copter. Its long claws seemed to miss by only meters.
Another roar, but this time right in front of us. “Another one!”, cried Roman as the copter swung this way and that. I was sure this was the end of the road. Then, the new giant roared and charged the first. As they fought, we zigzagged between buildings to make sure we lost our pursuers.
After a while, Vaz slowed to a stop in between two towers that were mostly intact. We hovered in the air for a few minutes while everyone calmed down and made sure that nothing was after us. “I think we’re safe for now, anyhow.”, announced Mal. “Famous last words.”, Anton said under his breath. I gave him a pat on the back. “Chin up. We’ve made it this far, haven’t we?”, I told him. The building to our left trembled slightly. With a deafening crash, a massive arm punched through it, swiping blindly at the copter. Vaz tried to accelerate to get out of its path, but he was too slow. I could hear the sound of steel being torn apart as the helicopter was wrenched backwards.
“It clipped the tail rotor! We’re going down!”, cried Mal as the copter began to spin crazily and sink towards the ground. “You just had to open your mouth, didn’t you?”, yelled Anton as we were tossed around inside the copter. I saw the arm withdraw, leaving a gaping hold in the building. We fell slowly at first. Then, the building’s structure finally gave out, and it fell toward us. Vaz used what control he had left to get us out of its path, but in doing so, he drifted too close to the opposite building. The main rotor tore into the side of the building. It snapped, and the copter tumbled out of the sky.
“Brace for impact!”, screamed Vaz, and then…nothing. The helicopter slammed into the ground, and everything went black.
I woke up some time later in the ruined husk of the helicopter. I checked on the rest of my team first. Everyone was unconscious. All of us had plenty of minor cuts and bruises, and Roman’s arm was bent at a disturbing angle – obviously broken. Mal was dead, slumped in the copilot’s chair with a chunk of glass from the shattered windshield lodged in his chest. I went outside and looked around. To my amazement, not only was there no snow falling or thunder, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The next thing I noticed was that we weren’t anywhere near where we’d crashed. There were no buildings in sight, only what looked to be miles of forest and mountains in every direction.
Behind me, I heard Ninel exclaim, “My god. We’re exactly where we crashed the first time, nine days ago.” I spun around and saw him leaning against a tree, staring at the mountains. “…are you sure?”, I asked. He nodded. “Does that mean we’re back home?” “I think so, yes. I hope so.”, he replied.
The rest of the day was a blur. Anton and I hiked back to the base, which we found to be not abandoned. We really were home. After the rest of the team and the remains of the helicopter were recovered, we were sent to the infirmary. I got the best sleep I had in almost two weeks that night. When I woke up today, I asked one of the medics how long we’d been gone. He looked confused and said, “Your helicopter crashed just yesterday. You were only missing a few hours.” “But we were out there for almost two whole weeks. That can’t be right.” He shook his head. “No, You crashed yesterday, October 3rd. Tomorrow’s the 4th.” I don’t know how that could be. I asked Ninel when I saw him, and he told me, “I think… I can’t be sure, but I think that it might not have been an alternate dimension. I believe we were thrown first forwards, then backwards, in time. The anomaly we were going to investigate may have been a wormhole of some sort. It would make sense.” We didn’t talk much after that. If that’s our future, we can’t really change it, can we? Maybe we can. But if we can’t…
October 4, 1987
It turns out I have two cracked ribs, so I can’t go anywhere just yet. They brought me my bag, and I went through it to see what had survived the crash. It was open when the helicopter went down, so a lot of things were either lost or destroyed. Of the journal I had found, only the cover was left. It must have been torn off, but where the rest went, I don’t know. I had really hoped that it would be intact, since I was the only one who ever read it. I was thinking about that as I turned the cover over in my hands.
I stopped. I stared in shock. I grabbed my own journal and looked at the inside of the cover. I looked back at the torn-off cover. “No.”, I whispered. The ink was smudged, but the handwriting was still legible. I saw now, too, how similar it was to my own.
In the center of the torn cover was a signature: “Nikolai Smirnov”.