As I entered the lab through the rusty door, the cold, stale air met me in a chilling embrace. The whole place was exactly as Sakharov told me - a hellhole, a dark, ruined, haunted relic that hid secrets so horrific, noone dared to enter - and whoever was brave or foolish enough to do so, never came out. I slowly proceeded forward, treading through the muck on the floor, 3-4 fingers of slime created by years of leaking water that mixed with the debris, dust, and remains of whatever died in here. I froze in fear as I heard a low roar - an unearthly sound somewhere between the scream of a raging warrior and the gurgling of someone dying from rabies as his mouth foams up - then a long series of footsteps. This... thing must have been massive, because dust started falling off the ceiling, and the whole place was rumbling. I remained still until all the noise stopped. Old, rusted machinery lay on the ground - consoles with endless rows of dials, gauges and switches; storage units filled with broken vials and bottles; complicated machinery that, long time ago, served a purpose I don't even want to know. Old papers everywhere, streams of data filling them from end to end. As I slowly moved forward, a familiar smell filled the air. I slowly turned around, shining my light in a corner, my eyes falling in horror on the corpse lying in the corner, his back propped against the wall, his lower half crushed by a piece of wall that obviously didn't belong there - probably thrown by that thing that roams the dark halls of this forgotten place. Arms were ripped off, there was a huge hole in his chest, and sprays of dried blood on the slab of concrete served to mark his horrible death. His spherical visor - this guy must have been one of the scientists from the bunker lab - was smashed, and I could see his half-mummified face, his head tilted up in agony, and his jaw hanging only from one side, gaping monstrously as it immortalized the poor soul's screams of pain and fear as he was torn apart by whatever burrows in this forsaken dump... I stay there for a few minutes, contemplating his fate, when I suddenly have a strange feeling, as if I'm being watched... I hear something like a struggled breathing... Fearing the worst, I slowly turn to look behind me, and my light falls on-...
I wake up in the middle of the night, and I let out an almost inhuman scream of pure fear. Cold sweat was trickling on my face, and icy shivers were shaking my body. As my head cleared, I slowly realized I was back in Cordon, in my sleeping bag, safe from any dangers - fellow stalkers had gathered around the house, and Wolf peered into the attic: "Marked One, what the hell happened? You screamed loud enough to wake up the dead!" - when he noticed my expression, he immediately frowned and asked me "It's, uh, another one of the nightmares. Right?". Still unable to speak, I nod my head at him. He reaches out and gives me a pat on the shoulder, saying "Don't let it break you down, fella. It's over, remember?" then goes down and ushers away the curious mob of snickering rookies - "What are you staring at? If you were inside that place, you'd be rotting in a corner, ripped to bits! Now go off!"
As the rooks return to their usual state of fooling around, I finally relax enough and drop my back on the sleeping bag. As I sit there, I remember how many nights I've been woken up by these nightmares, and how much they can tear down one's morale. I tell from my own experience - if you go inside the X16 lab, you don't come out alive. And if you do, you always lose a part of your mind in there. If the Zone has a Ninth Circle of Hell, then the labs at Yantar are the place.