Fiction: Oprichnina and Zemshchina

I sit in the chill alone, another mile further down the road, staring up at the sky and watching my breath as it forms puffs of vanishing clouds. The air is the way only winter can make it, sharp and crisp, cutting at my lungs as it goes down my throat. Clouds are gathering, distant on the horizon, foreshadowing the storm I know is coming. Wind, snow, and tumult; the storm of our humanity will not even register.

I hope he feels as tired as I do, as hopeless and alone. Is he worn out and ready to quit, the strength to keep fighting drained by these endless hardships? No, not him. For him, the privations and difficulties are merely proof of his righteousness. The blood on his hands only demonstrates the justness of his cause and the lengths he will go to stand by it.

For me, I do not enjoy the apocalypse that he and his kind have wrought. That it is him, of all people, that I am forced to reckon with only makes it all the worse. If it were someone else, someone I did not have such a history with, it would be another matter. It would not cut so deep.

As these thoughts flit through my mind, I finger the sepulchre tome that I carry with me. It has only the dead in it now. The incantations here that my kind once worried over are now only the words of a dead tongue. He and his kind have seen to that.

He has the silver and the gold, and our lives, so many I cannot even bear to count. And now he will take this last thing too, to bring an end to this all.

There is no sense waiting further, and so I get to my weary feet and make my way to him.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

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