Sam’s adventure comes to an end now.
If you missed the previous entry in Sam’s saga, click here.
The Long Dark‘s latest sandbox update, The Faithful Cartographer, added a plethora of new features and introduced a redesign of the UI, among other things. Unfortunately, the update also eliminated save files, which means that I lost my saves of Sam’s playthrough. Don’t worry, Hinterland Studio warned everyone well in advance, so no hard feelings.
Well, there are some hard feelings. I mean, Hinterland Studio killed Sam, after all.
So since I lost that save, I’ve decided to conclude Sam’s branch of the stories I’ve been writing. I intended on using a Twitter poll to help me decide if I should kill him off or try to carry off from where he was with another playthrough, but Jennifer broke the poll by leaving it tied.
To those that voted for me to kill Sam: y’all are a bunch of sadists. I love it!
So in the interest of not stalling anymore, here’s the conclusion of Sam’s journey through the frozen wastes of the Canadian apocalypse.
Sam Heads South
After spending the night in the Marty McFly enthusiast’s home, Sam hit the road south again. He knew that he needed to find his way further down the highway, but a rockslide had blocked the entire road. Climbing gear or not, he still needed to get over the debris.
A long walk later, Sam found himself at the base of the slide. It didn’t look impassable, but looks can be deceiving. The entire obstruction had a thick layer of ice covering it, and a stray breeze could likely cause another collapse. Regardless, Sam realized that to stay on the coast would lead to a numbing, uneventful death.
Just as he began contemplating the idea of looking for another way through the pass, he heard the distinct sound of claws scratching the pavement behind him. Too slow to be a wolf… While turning to face the new threat, the realization hit him. Apparently, an emaciated female black bear had followed him down the road from the house he stayed the night in. Once the two made eye contact, the bear froze.
She knew he knew, and her predatory instincts kicked in.
Still over a football field away, the bear charged as quickly as possible towards Sam, attempting to ignore the icy asphalt. She stumbled a few times in her furor, leaving Sam with a tiny window to get away.
Sam stared down the starving bear, then glanced up at the mountain of icy rocks, contemplating his options.
He started up the slope, scrambling to find handholds. Not every grasp found purchase, but for every foot that Sam lost to gravity, he managed to claw his way up another foot or two. Of course, the bear didn’t lag too far behind. Bears being natural climbers, Sam knew he couldn’t count on beating the mother at her own game, especially when her feeding was at stake. So as Sam scurried up the slope, he started dislodging anything that could be knocked loose.
She managed to close the distance between the two of them to the point that he could smell the blood in her fur, and the stench of rotted food in her maw. Sam’s attempts to fend her off had slowed him down. The end came near for Sam, and he felt death closing in.
But as he made a leap of faith upwards with the aim of extending the gap, her claw scratched at his boot. He succeeded in grasping a rock, but as he gripped it, the bear’s claws tore into his boot, pulling him down. Sam hung on with all of his strength, but that only resulted in the massive stone coming loose. The stone that looked to weigh as much as him swooped past his right side and struck the bear with enough force to stun her.
She groaned and roared as she tumbled down the pile of debris, knocking rocks, trees, and branches loose. Instead of taking stock of his luck however, Sam kept climbing, the pain in his right ankle growing worse by the second.
He collapsed upon reaching the top, taking a moment to collect himself. His muscles ached already, as if he had just finished running a marathon. The reality was less impressive; he had climbed less than 50 ft. By the sound of things, the bear had begun to collect herself as well, and had already started climbing the slope again. Luckily for him, he had gravity on his side this time.
After sliding as gracefully as possible down the opposite side of the the pile, he looked up just in time to see the bear coming over the crest of it. It locked eyes with Sam, as if to confirm that she wasn’t quite ready to give up, and she glanced around to find a path down. Instead of seeking to continue the chase, Sam made a break for it down the road, the searing pain in his ankle making it clear that the blood on the snow and ice was his own.
Sam was done focusing on his pursuer, but it was hard to ignore the impact of a large animal crashing to the ground behind him, accompanied by the telltale sound of bones giving way. If she hadn’t been trying to kill him, he likely would’ve felt terrible to witness an animal coming to such a grisly end.
Sam hobbled along for what felt like hours in the frozen wastes, along a barren highway littered with brand new family sedans, station wagons, and pickups. Some of the owners never had a chance to leave their vehicles, while others apparently felt better off on foot.
As night fell, Sam came across a old farm a ways off the road. The open front door made it obvious that knocking would be a pointless endeavor. Of course, upon closer inspection, it looked as if the previous visitors weren’t invited in either. One of the intruders lay against the kitchen’s doorframe, shotgun in hand and surrounded by shells. His partner met a similar fate at the foot of the stairs, though his immediate surroundings were littered with a pistol’s bullet casings and soaked in frozen blood.
The owner had collapsed at the top of the staircase, a hunting revolver in his hand. It appeared as if he wasn’t interested in going down without a fight. After searching the homeowner for anything of value, Sam retreated back down the stairs to inspect the invaders. That’s when Sam noticed something peculiar; the man at the foot of the stairs had two holes in his jacket where no rounds had gone through him.
Whoever wore it before him hadn’t given it to him willingly. Sam searched through the thief’s pockets and found a number of wallets. One was from some guy named Nathan McGregor, meeting the dead man’s description. Another only had an ID for someone named Charles Finley. The last was Olivia Durham’s…
Sam slumped down at the foot of the stairs and wept. He was glad to have the knowledge that Olivia’s killers had been cut down as well, but he couldn’t help but feel reminded of his failure to act when she needed help most. His sorrow eventually gave way to exhaustion, and he faded to sleep next to the killers on the floor.
When he came to, morning had come. The light peeking through the kitchen window had begun to reflect on the blood and ice in the hallway. Sam understood that he couldn’t stay. Surely there would be more heartless murderers on the loose, like Nathan and his buddy. As Sam shuffled towards the front door, he noticed the glint of metal in the corner of his eye. Once he honed in on the source, he found an old set of keys for an F-100.
“Worth a shot, I guess.“
Sam walked out into the crisp air to find a beautiful winter morning. The sky had cleared to reveal a sky so blue that it could be mistaken for an ocean, with a sun in the east that filled the horizon with shades of red and orange that even an artist couldn’t describe. Once he snapped back to his physical body, he spotted a small barn alongside the farmhouse.
The doors came open with such ease that it felt as if it was meant to happen. And there it sat: a pickup that looked like it belonged in a country music video. Beat to hell, covered in rust and mud, but somehow still appearing as if it was well cared for. Whatever it was that stopped the world in its tracks didn’t seem to affect this old farmer’s truck.
Perhaps it was luck, or maybe his vow to get to Montana needed to be honored. He took the journal from his pack and laid it on the dashboard, opened it to Olivia’s first entry, then flipped to his own.
“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Durham,
Your daughter died trying to get to you. I don’t know how to put that any better. Still, she loved you both enough that she thought of you in the end. The men responsible for her death met their own justice though. I wish I could claim the credit, but they died at the hands of someone they clearly shouldn’t have messed with.
I didn’t know Olivia, but I can tell from her writing that she was a good person. I made a promise to get this journal to you.
You should be proud to have raised someone like her.
He placed Olivia’s driver’s license in her journal, and spoke a silent prayer as he turned the key in the ignition. The morning sun blazing in the distance appeared to be calling him as the starter motor churned.
“Please start!” he bellowed as a pounded on the steering wheel.
The truck roared to life…
Thank you for reading these stories, as I genuinely enjoy writing them. I will try to continue along these lines with more writing, as time allows. I didn’t have the heart to kill Sam, but Twitter didn’t leave me much of a choice! If you’re interested in the rest of the series, please browse through them to your heart’s content. You can find them all by clicking here.
Did you like this post? You should click “Like” if you did. Feel free to follow Falcon Game Reviews as well. You can also find Falcon Game Reviews on Twitter and Facebook, or even send a direct email to FalconReviewsBlog@gmail.com!