First of all, thank you all for your kind words about my Mum.
She says she has improved again today, and will go in to town to see her doctor tomorrow.
To say I am relieved is an understatement!
Changing subject I have managed to get to the end of another draft of my WIP.
As I said a while ago I have split my MS into two books which has meant developing some of my character’s stories more.
In celebration of another milestone here is another section from Petenka’s viewpoint. This is set a year after the scene I shared last time after my characters have been at war for almost a year.
Resignation: Russia - May 1942
‘I hate to say it, but I don’t see how we can survive until the end.’
My words dropped into the well of light around a single precious candle that flickered on rough timber walls. The dugout was one we shared with Lena Kominskaya our regimental surgeon. Maybe five years older than us she had been a surgeon at the Moscow orthopaedic hospital before the war.
Svetlana froze, her spoon halfway between her mess-tin and her mouth. Incredulously she asked, ‘Have you really taken that long to think about it?’
‘No, of course not. We did get interrupted earlier.’
‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.’ A click on the rim of the tin as she put down the spoon, ‘It’s an uncomfortable subject to discuss.’
I kept my voice light, ‘Why is it so difficult?’
Her brows knotted, ‘I don’t find it pleasant to contemplate my death.’
‘I don’t worry too much, but I do not believe death is the end.’
‘Because of faith?’
I peered at her through the flickering light. Even with all we had faced she looked as relaxed and as sure of herself as the day we met. I shifted uncomfortably.
Svetlana smiled gently, a knowing smile.
I threw a crust of bread at her, ‘I know, you’re a Communist, you think I’m deluding myself. We don’t need to have that argument again.’
Retrieving the scrap of bread from her shoulder, she flicked it at my head. ‘It doesn’t serve any purpose does it?’
‘Children,’ interjected Lena from the shadow of her bunk, ‘play nicely!’
As Lena went back to the letter she was writing, I felt for the crust and tugged it from where it had caught in my hair. I thought about throwing it again but dropped it on the floor, someone had to feed the poor rats. ‘That argument is tired.’
Sveta frowned, serious again, ‘I asked the question, because I realised how much I was afraid. I thought you must be too.’
‘You’ve been afraid?’
‘How could I not be?’
‘You always seem so calm.’
She looked at me impassively, ‘That’s not how I feel.’
‘How do you feel?’
‘I am terrified of dying. More afraid of being wounded. But…’
‘I am frightened of losing you. Frightened of how I would be if something happened to my Petenka.’
‘Nothing will happen to me.’
‘You don’t really believe that.’
‘I’, suddenly unsure I paused to consider ‘no, I don’t see how we can survive. Yet, somehow I can’t really imagine…’
‘I can, but I don’t want to.’