The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

December 5

A hungry stomach has no ears. Viktor’s father was fond of this saying, and now he had come to understand its meaning. Hunger is a drumbeat. It insists upon itself, pushing away all other senses and desires. It consumes both body and mind. Hunger with no foreseeable end, day upon day, is like a slow drowning. A drowning man will climb over his own brother for a single breath, while a starving man will take the food from a child’s mouth. And a father or mother will kill to prevent that from happening. This had become the cruel reality of daily life and Viktor felt powerless against it.

The food stores were empty, and because of the blockade, few supplies reached the city. By the beginning of December, thousands were dying each day. The bodies piled up in morgues and in basements. Viktor had seen the stacks of shrouded bodies in the hospital courtyards. Since there was no one to dig graves in the frozen ground, the stacks rose ever higher.

He had nightmares of a small, swaddled body being thrown on the heap.

Viktor’s shift at the firehouse was over. He wrapped some bread and beans in waxed paper, stuffed them into the pocket of his greatcoat and set off for Elena’s. With the trams no longer running, it was a long and difficult walk. He hadn’t seen Vasha in almost a week. The snow, tapering now to an icy mist, was no longer being cleared from the streets or sidewalks, and he walked right down the middle of the Prospekt, past the barricades and the dragon’s teeth that led to the river. He stopped on the crest of the Kirovsky Bridge to catch his breath. The river was frozen over, earlier than usual, and he watched two figures pulling an empty sled across its flat, white expanse near the shoreline.

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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

2 Responses to “Chapter 13”

  1. Robert says:

    This is the right blog for everyone who wants to undsretand this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  2. This piece was a lifejacket that saved me from drowning.

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