The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 13   -  Karelia

“When would you start?” Elena asked, still not fully convinced of the idea.

“Tomorrow. I’m supposed to report in the afternoon.”

“So soon? Oh, Viktor, are you sure this is the right thing?”

“If I thought there was another way …”

“Have you spoken with your brother about this?” From Viktor’s expression, it was clear that he hadn’t. “Viktor, you must speak with Alex!”

“I’ve only just found out, Mama. I’ll try to get in touch with him.” Viktor could see the realization beginning to wash over his mother’s face – the full understanding of his decision. Their parting would be uncertain, just as it was when his battalion was sent to Karelia almost two years before. That time, she cried when he told her the news, and she reminded him of his responsibilities and made him swear again and again to be careful. Now, she simply looked at him with the eyes of a mother, and everything she might have said was quietly understood.

Elena crossed the room to the piano. She ran her fingers across the dusty surface of the lid. “My hands never seem to get warm these days. I try to play, but it’s no use.” She flipped through the sheet music on the rack with one hand while the other moved unconsciously, following the notes. “If we leave, Vitya, I’ll tell Nicosian to keep an eye on my piano. I don’t want the Krapotkins to get their greedy paws on it.”

Viktor spent the night with them, sleeping on the floor near the stove. Trying to sleep, it would be fairer to say, because the effects of his decision kept turning over in his mind. Would his mother and Vasha be better off as refugees? Were they up to the dangerous journey? Anything was better, he thought, than this slow descent into starvation. But could he trust the authorities to keep their word? In the end, he felt he had no other choice. He woke every hour or so to feed pieces of wood from Vasha’s tidy stack into the fire.

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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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