It was supposed to be a simple assignment, just a routine news report about some spreading infection in the ass end of the world. Chernarus they called it, just South of the Russian border. We were dispatched because we were already covering some news about the ongoing turmoils in southern Russia, we were the closest team available. Nobody knew at that time how big this was, none of us were prepared for what was going to soon happen. Later that evening, as we arrived at the barricades and improvised outpost, the reality of the situation unfolded.
The Russian military greeted us in a very nonchalant manner, almost ignoring us at first. The seemed very preoccupied and worried, on the edge even. We were to cross South into Chernarus, get our story and come back within three hours. Our identifications were checked and double-checked, and then we were let past the blockade into Chernarus proper. Our goal was a small village on the outskirts of the country, we weren't allowed further in. In any case, time didn't permit us to go more than about an hour from the frontier so our hands were tied.
As we approached the town, I already knew something was amiss, something bigger than what we had been told was going on. There were soldiers gathering the local populace near the markets, Chernarus Defense Force they were called. As we exited the new van, I shouldered my camera and prepared for the job, waiting for the main reporter's cue. She grabbed a man by the shoulder gently and asked him what was going on, why were soldier issuing orders and why was everyone rallied in the marketplace. The man didn't seem to understand what she said, but a female close heard the conversation and raised her voice so that she could be heard.
She said that the soldiers were issued orders to evacuate the region, and that a convoy of buses and military trucks was on its way to pick up the residents. A few were crying, some appeared angry, others just walked away shaking their head in disagreement, the whole of the crowd seemed generally very confused about the reason behind the evacuation. In the distance, engine noises could be heard slowly raising in volume, and dust rising from the many wheels on the road. The convoy was reaching its destination.
As the engine noises died, people could be heard arguing their disagreement with the local militia, and tension was rising rapidly. There was some pushing and shoving from both sides of the gathering. As the conflict appeared to escalate, a rumbling could be heard in the distance, like the heavy jog of a military exercise, or maybe a stampede of bulls. Then the sounds came in clearer, shrieking and wailing, growling and screeching, almost inhuman but not quite. A dark mass appeared beyond the houses, from the direction the convoy came from. Flailing arms and stomping legs could be seen in the horde of almost deformed bodies, and the clacking of teeth could now be heard as it got closer and closer.
Chaos ensued. Some of the locals tried to shove themselves into the buses, others ran the opposite way, panic got the best of most and screams of horror were heard all around. The military men were overwhelmed by the situation and decided to fend for themselves and save their own lives. As the horde of infected started crawling over the vehicles and jumping at people's throat, the villagers realized the futility of their attempt at boarding the transports. Our whole news team looked at each other in disbelief and agreed that now would be a good time to wrap things up. We had to fight through the crowd of panicked townsfolk to make it to our news truck, and the fight didn't end there. A few of them even tried to hold our doors open to get in with us, but in the end we managed to lock the doors and leave somewhat uninjured. Multiple gunshots could be heard in the distance as we took the road North towards the Russian border.
We made the trip back a lot faster than was expected, and as we came closer to the quarantine area at the frontier, bright spot lights were shone directly in our eyes, obviously to stop us from getting any closer. The driver killed the engine and we all came out, one hand shielding our eyes from the blazing light, the other held up high. Our main reporter, who was in front, tried to communicate with the Russian soldiers but she was met with a warning shot near her feet and loud shouts from the Russian soldiers. As she took a last step forward to try and reason with the men, they opened fire without any other warning. As each of us fell to the ground, I thought that it must just have been a bad dream and that I would soon wake up...
When I did wake up, the sharp pain in my shoulder came right back to me as I tried to get up, drenched in thick blood, some mine, but most not. I had no idea how long I was out, but darkness had set in and the moon was high. I could hear the chaos around me that had caught up while I was unconscious, the shots in the distance, the howling, the cries, the end of times. I managed to get up, dazed and weak, still not believing what had just happened. Most of the soldiers had moved slightly west where the infected seemed to try to breach the barricades, and so I walked slowly East, away from the commotion and tried to clear my head to survive this ordeal. I managed to sneak past the few remaining guards and made it to the closest treeline. I would be spending the next few days hiding in the forest and some abandoned cabins and houses, healing from my wounds, but my mind was scarred permanently. I would never be the same, and my mind was so fractured and distressed that I couldn't even care.