I was still in the stage of the game where I was exploring the map around my planned safehouse area and gathering supplies. I was not particularly well-equipped or armed (my best weapon was a hammer at about 50% condition). I was checking things out to the north, following a small paved road. About 3:00 PM, I reached a point where the road hit the river and turned east. Along the river to the west was wooded shoreline, for as far as I could see.
Though I was low on food and already “peckish,” I decided to go west along the shoreline, in hopes there would be something along the river I could explore or loot. I knew there was a road on the other side of those woods (though it was a rather far from the shore) – so I figured if it started getting dark, I could cut through the woods to the road and circle back to my safehouse.
So I’m walking along the shore, and after going a ways, I notice that there are zombies in the woods. Like, a LOT of zombies. Looking back, I can see quite a few wandering out onto the previously-empty shoreline. So, I’m starting to some quick figuring in my head. Do I turn back now, fight my way through the few I can see, and backtrack along the road to home? Or do I stick with the original plan and keep going, hoping to find something worthwhile and/or reach a point where I can safely cut through the woods to the road?
I decided to keep going (foolishly, in retrospect), and before I know it I am a LONG ways down the shoreline with nothing in sight up ahead and no way to backtrack before the sun goes down. The whole way, the woods have been heavily infested – I can see groups of them wandering among the trees. There are scattered zombies along the beach now, and I’ve had to shwack a few in order to keep going. To add insult to injury, I’m now quite hungry and have no food.
As darkness starts to fall, I quietly take out the 2-3 zombies in the open that are closest to me, to get a little breathing space. I get as close to the water as I can, sit on the sand with my back to the water and face to the woods, and spend a cold hungry night with a hammer in my right hand and a flashlight (off) in my left – ready to quickly and (hopefully) quietly take out anything I hear coming close, or possibly at least have a semi-heroic last stand if a large group finds me.
Thankfully, the night is uneventful, but I am now VERY hungry and “ridiculously tired” on top of that. I keep moving along the shoreline and after what seems like an eternity of creeping along next to a forest that looks PACKED with zeds, up ahead I see a paved road appear along the shoreline. I cut over to the road through a patchy area of trees and keep going – hoping that the road, at least, will lead me to a place where I can find food. But, no – I keep going for what feels like forever, and only find a few car wrecks and scattered zombies (which I try to avoid, as killing them in my starved / tired state has become a bit dicey).
Finally, I reach a point where the road turns and continues north along the shore, BUT there is a tiny overgrown dirt road – a trail, maybe? – that leaves the road to the left / south. Do I keep following the road, figuring that it’ll take me to SOMETHING – a home, a rest stop, anything – or do I go down the trail, hoping that it’ll lead to a cabin or camp –and not just dead end in the middle of the woods? On the plus side, the woods now appear quiet / zombie-free ...
I decide to take a chance on the dirt trail. After a longish walk through the woods, darkness is starting to fall again. It’s beginning to look like another hungry night out in the open when – miracle of miracles – I see a couple of rooftops through the trees: a small shed, and what looks like a large cabin or a lodge. I peep through one of the shed windows – no zombies, and a couple of wooden crates. The window is unlocked, and I crawl in. I am carrying a sheet, which I hang over one of the two shed windows, and I hunker down behind the crates, hoping I am not easily seen through the other.
As darkness truly begins to set in, I look in the crates, hoping for something—anything—that will better my situation. I find … a newspaper; a trowel; and … a can of dog food. Fortunately I am carrying a can opener. I crack open that can and eat every scrap of that Alpo as though it were Wagyu-grade filet mignon, and settle in for a night’s sleep on the cold concrete floor of the shed.
The next day, I looted the cabin for more supplies and was able to cut through the woods to road, and I did make it back to my safehouse. The events above, however, gave me some of the most tension I’ve experienced in this game, and though I’m not sure they’re terribly exciting to read, will always be some of the most memorable moments in this game for me.