"being physically able to speak but refusing to mentally. Elective mutism is often attributed to defiance or the effect of trauma. Children with elective mutism are characteristically immature; most of them have average or above average intelligence."
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
Father: Andrey Strakova
Mother: Kim (Maiden name: Dijkstra) Strakova
Brother: Mikael Strakova
Uncle: Drahomir Strakova
Aunt: Eva Strakova
-Find good, honest people
-Convince the people to take me in
-Find a fishing rod & a gaslamp
-Decide what to do when the UN leaves
-Make sure Elizabeth recovers
-Find a safe place
-Stay with Elizabeth
-Learn to shoot
I was born on Skalisty Island in 2001. My mom took care of me and my big brother while our father worked on his fishing boat, earning money for the family. My father and my uncle ran a small business in fishing on Skalisty; we didn't have a big house or many things but it was enough to get by. My brother, Mikael, was 10 years older than me. When I got older, my mom took a job as a tour guide for castle tours in South-Zagoria. She often took me with her and, for the most part, I liked it, but who doesn't like a good story? I had a pretty normal childhood; working parents, a caring big brother, the usual life a kid leads. I didn't have too many friends since there weren't many kids my age living on the island. If I wanted to meet up with my friends I had to cross the sea to the main land. Despite that, I was never bored at home, usually I could be found playing outside in the woods or reading big books about all kind of history. My mom originally came from a different country, where she studied history during her years at university. Sometimes she would tell me bedtime stories from memory, using her knowledge of history to tell me stories that actually happened long ago. Ever since that, I had had an infatuation with history.
I was 8 years old when the civil war broke out. It was the most horrible, horrific experience of my life. There was a lot of unrest on the mainland but, thankfully, not on the island. We didn't have any military presence or police stations. My dad said we had nothing to worry about as everyone knew each other here but my brother enlisted that year. He was deployed in Chernogorsk when the civil war broke out and, even though my parents tried to hide it, I knew that they were worried. The Chedaki were occupying a lot of towns quickly and pushed the CDF back all the way to Balota. They also came to our island... I remember being woken by my mother in the middle of the night, a panicked look on her face. I had to pack my clothing but no one explained what was going on... Within 15 minutes I and most of the children and women were in the woods on the hills. My mom told me that the Chedaki was coming to the island. I didn't understand, what would they want with our little island? My mom said something along the lines of defensive positions or so. To be honest I do not really remember, I was waiting for my dad to come to us. She said that he'd be with us shortly, he just wanted to make sure everyone was out of town. More people arrived but still no sign of dad. I noticed that my mom started to get nervous. She asked my aunt to look after me so she could go down into town and find him. My aunt looked pretty stressed as well, just like everyone else. My mom left, I didn't want to stay and do nothing, so I waited till my aunt was distracted by someone, then I snuck off. I snuck down towards the town where I saw a few military men. They weren't wearing the uniform my brother had so I guessed that they were the Chedaki. They were talking in Russian with each other and I saw a few of them in some houses down the street. I snuck towards our house and found that the door wasn't locked. I opened it and whispered quietly; "mom? dad?". The hallway was empty besides mud of boots on the floor. I remember thinking by myself that my mom would be annoyed when she'd see it. She always yelled at me if I didn't take my shoes off before I entered the house. When I opened the door to the living room I saw them on the floor. I wanted to look away but my eyes kept looking back to their bodies, over the gaping gunshot wounds, the pools of blood on the bodies and the floor. I couldn't move, it was like I was frozen to the ground.
Everything that followed is blurry in my memory. I remember feeling a firm arm pull me back and a rough hand covering my mouth. It was a Chedaki soldier, I tried to scream and I kicked at him but his grip was too strong, then the Chedaki soldier spoke to me quietly in a familiar voice. I then realised that it wasn’t a Chedaki soldier, it was my uncle. He got me out of the town back to the others. I remember vaguely seeing my aunt and other people trying to talk to me. Their voices were blocked out by my memory of the nightmarish scene in our living room. I don't remember if I cried or screamed, I was in shock. I just sat all night against the same tree until people moved and guided me away when the group was moving. I remember feeling lost, feeling alone even though I was surrounded with people. I don't remember much else from that night. At one point me, my uncle, aunt and some more people were in a boat for a long time. It was cold and it took a while before we reached a village that I had never seen before. We were guided to a school where a lot of beds were laid out in neat rows and other people like us had hunkered down. I don't remember falling asleep but I woke up late the next morning, next to my aunt. She was trying to get me to eat something, but I didn't feel like anything. I stayed in bed and I barely spoke to anyone. My aunt took me to a doctor in a room nearby and he wanted to know what happened but I didn't want to talk about it. My aunt did the talking and looked after me the next few days. 3 days after we arrived at the school, my uncle and aunt told me that my brother did not make it out of Chernogorsk. It felt like I had been hit by a train. Not only did I lose my parents, my brother was gone too.
I kept to myself and didn't reach out for contact anymore. In the following weeks I started to speak less and less until I stopped entirely. My aunt and uncle made me go see a nice doctor who talked to me a lot about how I felt and stuff. She made me go to a school where I learned sign language and I made a few friends there. I had a lot of nightmares the first months after the death of my brother and parents, I still do but not as many as in the first months. Years passed and it didn't become any easier. I found a way to deal with the depression and anxiety though; through distracting activities. I'd only think about it if I was alone, so the solution was simple; don't be alone and keep myself distracted. Since then I've just stayed close to people and constantly kept myself busy.
My life started slowly getting back on track when the conflict between Chernarus and Russia happened. Not long after, the papers talked about weird sick people who attacked others. The sickness spread fast and my uncle and aunt wanted to go to family in the west. My uncle thought that it was smart to take his fishing boat instead of a bus to avoid other people. We packed our stuff and started to get the boat ready as the night fell. The neighbour and his son came to the ship with some bags, they begged for a lift as the son was coughing alot. We didn’t have a hospital on the island so my uncle offered them a lift. We took off and the son was sleeping in the cabin. He was around my age but I never liked him too much, he was kind of a bully. Everything after it went so fast. It started with screams from below deck, followed by a growl. My uncle moved downstairs to see what was going on, then he yelled out with what sounded like surprise and panic. I peeked down the stairs and saw the neighbour on the ground, his son putting his teeth in my uncle’s neck. I remember stepping back as a shiver went down my spine. My aunt let go of the steering wheel and looked down herself as the son was running up the stairs. I didn't know what to do and, in my panic, I jumped overboard. The water was cold and I had trouble keeping my head up as the sea was wild. The boat kept going her course and didn't turn around to get me, so I started to panic. I could see the island so I started swimming back, if my aunt made it out she would come and pick me up there. The island was pretty far back and my body started to get tired in the cold water. I tried real hard to keep my head above water but after what felt like a century, I gave up. I tried my best...
The next thing I remember is waking up on the wet sand, coughing and gasping for air. I was soaked and it was still dark outside. I washed up on the island, I knew I was close when I started to drown but I did not expect to make it. I made my way back home and waited there for days until I ran out of food. I started borrowing food from the other houses since everyone left the island or turned into one of the demons. Now it is a few weeks later, I've been checking the coast ever since but besides a huge explosion I did not see anything interested. I think my aunt died as well, she wouldn't leave me... or would she? I'm out of edible food now and my anxiety attacks happen more frequently. Tonight I will swim to the mainland in the hope to find some nice people who can help me. If I don’t leave now, I may never leave Skalisty alive…