The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

“I’d hate to imagine the worst,” she said, trying as best she could to maintain her composure against the thoughts of her son’s last moments.

“You should know that when the end came, he was surrounded by his brothers.” Viktor did what he could to comfort her, but he knew the truth to be otherwise. He knew that a soldier in battle lives and dies in solitude, alone in the confusion of his own thoughts. Under fire, the mind of even the most seasoned man rebels against the possibility of death, and it draws inward for protection. This is only natural, he thought, but not something easily told to those who have not shared the experience.

“I’m glad to hear it,” she said in response to his words of comfort. “He would mention you that way … like a brother. He missed you.”

Viktor looked again at the photograph. Brothers, he thought, and he sighed and lowered his head. “Yes, I’m ashamed that I couldn’t be with him,” he said softly.

“I didn’t mean … no, that isn’t how I meant it.” Her tone was apologetic. “Kiroshka would be so proud of what you’re doing. We all are. The city needs men like you, Viktor, as much as it needs soldiers. And you have a family of your own to care for, don’t you?”

“Just my son. He’s staying with my mother.” Viktor’s thoughts were elsewhere, and he was in no mood to offer explanations. “In fact, I really must be going. They’ll be expecting me.” He rose abruptly from the chair and nodded, somewhat anxiously, to her.

“Oh, of course, I understand. Family is everything. Let me–” She began to rise to show him out, but Viktor touched her hand in a gesture of thanks and quickly left the room without saying another word.

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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

2 Responses to “Chapter 13”

  1. Robert says:

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

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