The Nevsky Wall
First chapter Previous chapter Next chapter Last chapter

Chapter 12   -  The Yellow House

November 12

A series of cold, autumn fogs drifted through the city, with bands of snow falling in between. Weather like this chilled a person to the very marrow, but it also provided some merciful relief from the daily bombing. Knowing this, people lingered in the streets and sought out the makeshift stalls that sprang up in the dvors and back alleys, hoping to supplement their diminishing rations. Potatoes, onions, and dried beans could be had for a price, and there were even reports of meat being sold in the dark corners of Leningrad.

On quiet days like this, when the brigade was not in action, the Captain sent Viktor out to trade on the black market. Viktor’s intimidating size and his easy manner made him the perfect choice to deal with these sometimes desperate characters.

The Captain had a lockbox in the wall of his office where he kept the items for trade: jewelry, packs of cigarettes, bottles of vodka, even rare books or small works of art. Members of the brigade would occasionally stumble across these items in the course of their duties, and if the situation were right – that is, if the building were abandoned or the residents dead – they were expected to bring them back to the station where they were added to the box.

They told themselves it wasn’t stealing, but merely a means of survival. No one was being hurt. Better them, they thought, than the gangs – the ones who dogged them on their rounds, waiting in the shadows – gangs that could strip a fire-damaged building in a matter of minutes. It was assumed that all of the brigades engaged in this sort of scavenging. The police, for their part, turned a blind eye.

Pages: 1 2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10         show all (printable version)

First chapter Previous chapter Next chapter Last chapter
Chapter 12   -  The Yellow House

Leave a Reply