The Nevsky Wall
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Chapter 5   -  The Luga Line

“Such a perfect child of the revolution,” Alex thought to himself, and not without a touch of envy. “All she’s known is struggle, but her heart remains pure. She could lead an army into battle, this one. I don’t know whether to love her or fear for her.” He made a note to himself to shoot some extra close-ups.

He turned to the peasant woman. “Baba, would you mind telling me your story?” In a quiet voice, she said, “Oh, you are kind, but my story is not so important. You are kind.” She kept her head low and put her shovel to the dirt. “Please, Baba, you don’t want me to get into trouble with my boss, do you?” She looked up at Alex, who wore a wry smile, and behind him the lieutenant, with a far less amused expression.

“I am the widow these twenty years of Andrei Pavelovich Solomin. Our home is near Zhary, in the south – do you know it?” Alex shook his head. “The land is good for onions and beets and cabbage, and we have a few animals besides. We raised our children there, of which two sons are still with us, God keep them all. My husband, may he be blessed, was killed when the Whites came through our village. An argument over a pig or some such … he was a proud man, you see. I am not proud myself. I do not see the point of it.” Alex saw in her eyes the strength born of such humility.

“Maybe I am simple-minded, but I just want to tend my garden and hold the little ones in my lap. Now we are thrown on the wind. The Germans came and our house was put to the torch. My sons are off fighting, I do not know where. We have cousins in your city, so I made my way there. A long walk – it took the better part of a week. But we were never close to the cousins, and they had moved away some years ago. Now I am here. I am no stranger to work, and they feed us, which is a blessing. When this is over, my sons and I will go back to Zhary and build our home again. God will watch over us. May he watch over you, kind sir.” Alex thanked her for the benediction.

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Chapter 5   -  The Luga Line

3 Responses to “Chapter 5”

  1. G Garcia says:

    “Did you know that I can fire a rifle as well as anyone!””

    My kind of girl.

  2. G Garcia says:

    Powerful. I’M HOOKED.

    Now I am late to work. Damn you.

    So many beautifully written passages to swirl about, making your writing a pleasure to read, because these things I genuinely feel. To quote a few:

    “truth to her, was a performance”

    “But the dread of waiting and the lack of positive news was a disease eating away at the city. The central apparatus of morale, which had sprung into full action in those early days, required heroes. *** And if they could not be found, they would be created.**** ”

    “newsreels were a magic show pitched at the common man”

    “The audience needs to see faces that remind them of themselves.”

  3. Rosli says:

    Hi pip,i love your photos.i raced the SJS this wekeend in Gunnedah. i came 3rd in the swim . 5th on the bike and had a really bad run! i am racing again next wekeend.i miss you guys hi uncle justin. good luck in your next race!i also loved your youtube video.lots of love baixxx

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