Mikhail Weiss was born to a Nathalya and Ahren Weiss on the 19th of November in the city of Simferopol, Ukraine.
Mikhail was a regular sort of kid, to be quite frank, quite boring in comparison to the hijinks his peers got up to on a regular basis, breaking into abandoned military barracks to vacant construction yards. The only truly interesting thing that happened to Mihkail in his childhood was at the age of ten. A construction site suddenly appeared on their field, a new apartment complex the adults said. But, he and his friends were pissed, the field was not looked after at all, they’d spend ages running around and after each other in the tall unkempt grass, but now? No more.
So. Soon, but almost suddenly. Someone climbed the fence, opened the gate and the rest pushed. Mikhail pushed and the car careened down the hill, aiming straight for the construction site wall.
It left a nice bump that would stay there till the end of the construction, but this wasn’t the only victory the kids would have. After a while of prying and pulling, they slowly pried off the doors off the abandoned “Kopeyka” and slowly dragged it to the scrapper. Once they got the money from the scrap metal, they quickly ran out and up the creaking metal steps to the internet cafe. The third and fourth victories were for those who won at the silly childish games of Counter Strike 1.6 and Quake.
With rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia the Weiss family decided to move down to the coastal city of Yalta to the apartment of Ahren’s mother until she died in 2013. The Parents of Mikhail set up a quaint book store called the “Knizhnoe Gnezdo” - the book nest - and worked there till Mikhail was done with school.
After taking over the bookshop business from his parents for just over two years Mikhail grew accustomed to the quiet life in Yalta, far from the fighting between Ukraine and Russia over the annexed Crimea.
Then it all came down like an avalanche: The riots. The fighting. The yelling. The screaming. The shooting.
He barricaded himself in the back room of the bookstore, smothering himself with layers of cotton, gauze, bandages. The cold war might’ve ended just before he was born, but the militaristic teachings of the educational system stayed, anti-fallout masks, grenade tossing, rope climbing… He knew the mask wouldn’t help him, but the Devil made work for idle hands, and he wouldn’t entertain him in this living hell. The shutters were down, the doors were deabolted.
Days passed, nights passed. Mikhail stayed in the bathroom of the bookshop, waiting till the sounds stopped, like a stagnant lake, rotting and smelling of death. Slowly he got up, grabbing his bag and any canned goods he could scavenge from the cupboards. Water was collected from the toilet cistern and bottled. Slowly opening the backdoor to the bookshop Mikhail made his way out. The gate over the door creaked and in return the city reeked. He slowly made his way down to the shore, he knew everything was either dead or a part of “them”, he thought Chernarus was a localised incident, a new form of rabies, some viral strain. He knew there was nobody around him, so he forced both his head and eyes down and made kept walking.
Tossing his bag into a small boat he paddled out into the black sea, only daring to look back on the lost city when he was starting the small engine.
Waking up on the shore. Mikhail groaned, his jacket was heavy with seawater and his unkempt hair covered his eye along with the radar cap. Crawling further onto the beach he fell onto his back, squirming out of the uncomfortable jacket, like a drunk out of a steam room. After traveling from country to country, mostly on the outskirts of cities, Mikhail decided to paddle out to an abandoned ship, navigation lights flashing helplessly, mimicking the final emotions of the crew. And there he found it, a small library, filled to the brim with books and a stash, a small wooden box filled with bottles full of the clear tantalizing liquid.
Then he realised. His backpack. His rifle. But most importantly his books, he got up in a drunken stupor and threw water side to side as if his possessions were simply buried under the frothing water of the sea.
Then he realised, he was alone yet again, the books brought him back, back to a time when it was quiet and safe.
Then he fell down, just like his tears.