The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

He exited the building, and the cold wind hit him square on. His face was flushed. He stood there, not knowing whether to go right or left. There were no street signs – they were taken down months ago – and the map in Viktor’s head had gone blank. His internal compass spun wildly.

There was no escape from the feeling of helplessness, the idea that he had failed his friend. He had failed them all, in one way or another – Marina, Vasha, the men of his battalion. He’d had the same feelings in those months after returning from Karelia – lying in the army hospital, more dead than alive, helpless as a child. There were weeks of fevered dreams. Of comrades lying in the snow. Of Marina alone and disconsolate. Of Vasha crying in the night. In his dreams, he pulled a sled down the middle of a frozen river, steep banks on either side, walking without end until the ice beneath his feet began to crack, then shatter, and he felt himself falling down and down into the cold, dark water. Looking up through the clear ice, he could see the faces of those he had left behind. The faces fell away as he sank deeper into the darkness.

He had become the man in those dreams, walking through the cold darkness of a dying city, the faces of his past drifting away.

The snow was falling again. When he’d regained his bearings, Viktor continued on his journey. On one of the side streets near the Admiralty he passed a news board which stretched across the damaged window of a tailor’s shop. It was boxed in at the top and sides, but the wind tore at the pages tacked to it, tattering them at the edges. Figures huddled together to read the latest reports from the front and to scan the casualty lists for the area. Handwritten notes offered goods for barter. Posters called for vigilance against enemy infiltrators. Viktor glanced at the board as he passed. An official notice with the title ‘DRIVERS NEEDED’ in block letters caught his eye. He stopped to read it.

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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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