On July 1st 2017, Unaware of the current going on's in Chenarus, Fin and 9 other English students began their trip to the country in hopes of learning new values and the culture of people who were not as fortunate as them.
After getting off the plane, they began to make their way to the one of the more populated areas in Chenarus, Elektrozavodsk. On their way, they stopped off at a town to get directions as the Journey should have only taken a few hours. They attempted to speak to the locals in broken Russian but this seemed to frustrate and anger them. After an altercation between myself and what I thought was a middle aged man, later being informed they were indeed a woman, who had very unfortunately been gifted with a much thicker beard than my own, we left the town in a hurry.
With only a map and a compass, that was determined to point us in the wrong direction, we attempted to find the city on our own accord. My friends and I had only packed enough provision to get us through the day, so we needed to find our destination soon otherwise we'd risk going hungry. It was clear we would get no help from Chenarusian population so our only hope was to stumble across fellow tourists or find someone who didn't mind our poor attempts to communicate with them.
July 3rd 2017,
After a days travel, miles off course, we found ourselves in a small town called Stary Sobor. We were all starving and had to beg an innkeeper to let us stay after our initial attempts at talking to him in Russian failed. It became very apparent that either our attempts to speak Russian insulted the people that lived in this country or that the reminder of Russia all together put a sour taste in their mouths, we were unsure. Nevertheless, after seeing our the desperate looks on our faces, the inn-keeper must have taken pity on us as he let us stay, at we expected was for an extortionate price.
After resting and filling our bellies, we regrouped and made a different plan. It was clear we would never find our destination without the help from a local of Chernarus. We knew wouldn't get help by asking so we decided to wait until someone came to us. How hard could this be, 9 English students, clearly lost, in a town they've never heard of, this was bound to catch someones interest. This plan didn't take long to work either. It was late in the evening, when a drunk patron walked over to us, attempted to speak to us in Cherno-Russian, looked puzzled, laughed then said "English?". We all nodded and he sat down next to me. After several drinks later and multiple stories told, he agreed to help us find our way to Elektrozavodsk as long as we helped him with a "small errand" he had to run.
July 4th 2017,
Our trip began with going North, to Vybor. As we ventured there, it was clear we were entering a high militarized zone. Our new friend informed us that we were close to a Military Base but refused to answer any of our other questions. We got to Vybor in the afternoon and waited as our friend went into a somewhat suspicious looking building. The windows were all boarded up and the entrance had two men, appearing unarmed, guarding the entrance.
an hour or so later, our friend reappeared, with two men flanking him. They were all carrying large crates and unloaded them into our friends vehicle. Our friend gestured for us to get in the vehicle before getting in himself. We all hopped in, and begun our journey south. an hour into the journey, I asked our friend, "what that all about, back there, what's in the crates?'. He turned to me and said whilst smiling, "are all English people as nosey as you?". I laughed, perturbed by his avoidance of answering the questioned. At this point, I dropped it as it was clear i would not get a straight answer from him. We all decided to get some rest as the trip would take several more hours until we reached the city.
July 5th 2017,
I awoke to lights being flashed in my eyes, as loud sirens were going off all around me. It was the early hours of the morning, the car was pulled up on the side of the round, surrounded by dense forests on both sides. There were three military looking vehicles blocking our way. Our friend was no longer next to me in the car. Instead, he was sprawled out, over the bonnet, with his hands on his head. Unsure as to what was happening, I looked to my friends for some understand, but they all looked as bewildered as I did. The man shining the torch at my face spoke fast at me. I couldn't understand a single word he was saying which only pissed him off more. I repeatedly tried to tell him i was English and did not speak Cherno-Russian but he did not seem to care. Our friend looked scared as I was grabbed and put next to him on the car. He whispered "this is not good" as to which I replied "why?" but he didn't have time to answer before his head slumped against the car and I was sprayed with what appeared to be some kind of liquid.
My ears were ringing, all I could hear was the sound of screams, I opened my eyes to see the body of our friend lying on the floor in an unnatural position, his head gushing blood. My friends screamed and I shouted "what the F**k!" and attempted to break free from the person's detaining me's grip. It was no use, I could not break free. I gave in and let him keep me there. There were several gentlemen standing around, several of my friends were being dragged out of the vehicle, along with the crates. One of the crates tipped over, causing it's contents to spill out. Bullets, thousands of them, poured out of the containers. I stared at them, confused, wondering what I had got us all into. A few of the men let go of their victims to go and clear up the mess. One or two stayed behind to ensure my friends couldn't escape. I noticed the my detainees hands slacken as he was clearly distracted by the commotion going on behind the car. I took my chance and broke loose from his grip but he was quick to react and pushed me over, onto the corpse of our Cherno-Russian friend. As I attempted to get up, I felt something underneath our dead friend's jacket. I reached underneath it and felt a weapon, tucked into the elastic of his trousers.
The man attempted to pick me up and as he knelt down, I spun onto my back and shot him straight through the chest. More blood sprayed everywhere, once again my ears were ringing. some of the men stood there in shock as they watched things unfold. I took advantage of the moments lull in thought and made my escape. Bullets were flying around my head, I could hear other footsteps and noticed several of my friends had also taken this as an opportunity to escape. However, I only noticed a few of them which either meant the others didn't escape or had ran in different directions. The shooting stopped for a moment, before three single gunshots could be heard, not directed at us, I don't think as I didn't hear bullets whiz past, so I could only guess what they were shooting at.
We didn't stop running for what felt like hours. We were freezing, hungry and very dehydrated. We came across a village that looked like he hadn't been inhabited for years. We banged on doors but it was clear no one was in. In complete desperation to get out of the cold, and aware from the people hunting us we broke into one of the houses. We hid for in one of the rooms for hours, not saying a single word to each other, letting what we had just witnessed stew in our minds. Flashbacks of blood and other disgusting images kept entering my head, I could do nothing to stop it. The was fully up in the sky before I spoke, it was just me and three of my friends accompanying me. My voice trembled as I said "what now?". No-one answered for a minute, before one of them said "we need to tell someone what just happened" but who could we tell, we had no idea where we were, we couldn't speak a single bit of their language and for all we knew, the military hunting us down for something we had no involvement in. We were on the run, we had no where to go, no one to turn to, it was just us four, the rest could be dead for all we know.
July 7th 2017,
Some days had passed since what happened. We cleared all the houses out of any supplies they had and were once again low on food. We decided it would be best to make a move, hopefully find a nearby village and pray they hadn't heard of what had happened. We traveled for what felt like miles until we happened upon a village called "Дубровка", we managed to work out it meant Dubrovka. From my memory, this was close to where we had started our trip which made no sense as we were supposed to be heading to Elektro, a city in the complete other direction. Confused and scared, we made our way into the village. We came across a gentlemen who spoke a little bit of English and asked him for some food and water. He could see we were desperate so took us back to his home where we told him an altered story of what happened. He didn't look to shocked and explained to us that there had been civil unrest in the country for years. We sat there listening to him, completely gobsmacked at what we had gotten ourselves into. It became apparent how little we researched Chernarus as we were dumbfounded by everything he told us. Of-course we heard of the goings on's in 2009 but we put very little thought into why and what it actually meant back at the time it all happened. The man carried on telling us more stories about the war and why it all happened. We decided to stay for a few days as he was very hospitable and we had no where else to go.
July 10th 2017,
We awoke in the late morning to the gentleman shouting our names. He had the radio on and was listening intently. From what I could tell, the local news was playing and the presenter was speaking in a distressed and rushed tone. We asked the gentleman what was going on and all he could say was it's no longer safe here and that we needed to leave. We did so immediately and began to make our way south, to Berezino where the man said it would be safe. We bed our farewells and went on our way, grateful for how accommodating he was.
July 11th 2017,
We had been walking for a full day by now, and it didn't seem to be getting any closer. We hadn't seen a single sole this hole time and were starting to worry that we were again, completely lost. After stopping to catch our breaths and drink some water, we begun to hear what sounded like a engine getting closer to us. We turned our heads and saw 5 or 6 cars, packed with people driving towards us. We waved our hands, beckoning for them to stop, which luckily, one did. We got on and they began to drive again. I said aloud "does anyone speak English?" and one woman responded, "a little". Lifted by the possibility that we may have found someone who could help us, I asked her what was going on and where they were heading. She looked nervous as she spoke in broken English "explosion in city, people are dying, we had to run". Looking puzzled I asked "what caused this" and she shook her head. I felt she wasn't telling me the full story but knew her English was too poor to elaborate any further.
We got to a large town, which I believed to be Berezino and got out the car. Everyone dispersed, clearly each having their own plan. Completely confused us to what was going on, the four of us decided to find a shop in hopes to be able to buy some food. We found a shop and managed to get some provisions. as we walked out the shop, we heard someone speaking fluent English and quickly tracked down where the voice was coming from. A gentlemen, trying to find out what was going on looking rather flustered, walked up to us and tried to speak cherno-russian. We quickly stopped him and told him we were also English. Looking relieved, he asked us if we knew what was going on so we told him everything we knew. Now as equally informed as we were, he asked if he could tag along with us which we allowed, seeing as his Cherno-Russian was a lot better than ours.
We found shelter in school gymnasium, along with many other people. It was clear something big had happened, as a lot of these people had nothing but a few belongings on them which suggested they were in a big rush to get away from what was going on up north. It was now late in the evening, so we all decided to get some rest before our journey the next day.
July 12th 2017,
We awoke to loud noises, screaming and gun shots. Confused and scared, I got up and looked around to see that all my friends were no where to be seen, even the gentleman we met the day before. I made my way out of the gymnasium to see all hell had broken loose. People were lying dead all around me, whilst others knelt over them, appearing to see if they were okay. I touched someone on the shoulder, about to ask what was going on before they turned round in such haste that I stepped backwards. They screamed and got up, slowly walking towards me. Without a second thought I turned and ran. I kept running until I was out of the village before I turned around to look at what happened. It was terrifying, there whole place looked like it had been turned on his head. I shouted out for my friends but no one would be able to hear me over the commotion. I could see things moving towards me from out of the darkness, horrible noises being emitted from their direction. I decided that if any of my friends were a live they wouldn't have stuck round to find out what happened here, so I turned and ran again.
It's been two years since this had began. I've been on my own for so long. Everyone I stumble across either tries to kill me or runs away. I don't what to do, I don't know where to go. I can only carry on surviving and hope that my friends are still out there, doing the same.