Joseph ‘Wölfe’ Hudson, from a young age I’ve been obsessed if you like with the armed forces. Through my childhood I played ‘soldier’ and ended up joining the Army cadets in my early teens and stayed in until my late teens. From this I earned many distinctions in firearms training, survival training and forced my body through vigorous exercises to make sure that I was in shape and ready for any situation. The moment I turned eighteen, against my mother’s wishes I signed up for the army, through my mother’s eyes I had just signed my life away. It was two thousand and fourteen, and the UK army was years deep in what appeared to be a never ending conflict, the Afghanistan war. Fortunately for my mother, I was stationed as a UK peace keeper within Takistan. This was my home and it would be until I heard of the outbreak.
A little while before the outbreak, the UK Government had initiated a drawdown in Afghanistan meaning that military presence was scarce and most forces in Takistan were leaving for home too. I was one of the few left behind and when the outbreak happened, we were kept up to-date on the situation by the BBC news, to which we were then told to reposition to make sure that we could assist in the quarantine of Chernarus by protecting a small portion of the border.
My unit and I were stationed at this border for only a few months, but during this time I was scared, I never felt so detached from life ever before. It was silent, the occasional gun shot and scream could be heard echoing from deep within the country, piercing any sane man’s soul. We were confused, I mainly wanted answers, this was more than a viral infection as some had proclaimed. After roughly five months at the border, our small unit had its first encounter with the survivors of this disaster, we were contempt on letting them through and making sure they had the medical aid and food that they required. But as I went to beckon them over, before I could raise my hand and open my mouth, the commanding answer quickly pulled my arm and with a stern look, speaking with a calm tone had told me that no one was to pass. This begged even more questions about what the hell was happening and as I tried to get answers I was shrugged off, ignored and told to report back to my post or receive the consequences. My stomach was turning at this point, had we really just sentenced survivors of this disaster to death? Are we now the judge of who can live? I had to know what was happening inside the quarantine zone.
I would never find the answers to these questions until I saw it for myself. It wasn’t until a month later that it was reported that a UN Supply convoy had ‘gone off the radar’ and no one was able to reach it, we were the closest forces stationed towards where it had disappeared. A Russian detachment was briefly called forward to cover the sector we were in, we were about to embark on mission that none of us would return from, we couldn’t have known this at the time or I don’t believe we would have gone.
Within days of the Russian detachment arriving, we were sent into the zone to find this convoy, we were travelling for a few hours at most by car until we reached the convoy by Balota – this was the first time any of us had seen the horror of what was going on, the moment our vehicles stopped and we got out I had to be sick, the site and smell of the convoy was disgusting! It wasn’t until further inspection that we noticed that the UN Soldiers who were in this convoy had literally been torn from their vehicles and appeared to have been eaten, I didn’t have the strength to fathom the scene we were looking at, nor did I have the time as we were shortly attacked from what became known as the ‘infected’ – within seconds of the attack we were embarking back into our vehicles to escape and head back to our border, trailing behind us were the bloodcurdling screams of our fallen comrades.
The long drive back was filled by deadly silence, no one peeped a word, we just wanted to head back to the safety of our border, we now had little understanding of what was actually happening, this was no tiny viral infection like the news had claimed, this was a major outbreak of a deadly virus that appeared to turn people into ravaging monsters. We had to get back quickly and inform those that were there.
A few hours had passed until we were once again outside the safety of our compound, the doors hadn’t been open although it was clear that we were military personnel due to our UK uniforms and militarised vehicles. As the gate had not opened to allow us through, we stepped out and approached the gate, a Russian guard that was on guard duty had asked us about the gunfire and made sure to ask for a thorough explanation. As if it just happened, we recalled every detail of how we were attacked by these creatures, and how we managed to get away. The Russian had vanished, a few moments later he came back with more of his detachment who then questioned how close the infected got to us, we explained that they attacked our fellow unit members but had left us untouched as we quickly made our escape, they whispered to one another for what felt like eternity before raising their weapons at us, they ordered us to head back and not return until a cure was created or face the consequences. My entire unit shared glances of confusion, we had no idea what was happening, we asked to get let in and speak to the commander in charge to which they barked their demands once more, only to allow a few seconds to pass before they shredded the air with gunfire. I was hit in the thigh and fell to the floor, a friend of mine being fatally wounded falling on top of me, concealing that I was still alive. I was angry, I was confused and I wanted answers but this was neither the time nor place.
I waited for hours, until night fell before I made my move, I didn’t know who to trust or how many of my unit members were still alive but I made a run for it, as fast as I could with the wound to my leg. I made it to what appeared to be a hunter’s lodge; I quickly entered searching for a light source and blankets so I was able to inspect my leg. The electricity was out; I expected that, all I had was bed sheets and the moonlight to examine my wounds. To my luck it was not a fatal shot and the bullet had passed straight through on the edge of my leg evading any arteries.
After I had finished sorting myself out, it hit me, everything that had just happened to me. My mind was racing all over the place, I was frightened, alone and had no clue where I was or how the hell I would get out of here.