Want to read previous chapters of Revolution? Click here!
“And so, as we all know, Tsar Nicholas II was then executed along with all of his family, thus ending the Romanov dynasty that had ruled Russia for centuries…” On and on droned Isaac’s voice as he lunged into yet another lecture on the Russian Revolution. Sometimes I think Isaac’s really annoying when he’s normal, but he’s even worse when he’s bored. If he’s bored, he either starts annoying others or otherwise starts launching his long speeches about something that particularly interested him at that time. Before the revolution he had been fascinated about the French writer Voltaire, and kept telling us about how amazing a writer Voltaire is, and he was even starting to write to try to imitate him. After the revolution, however, Isaac started to recall all his knowledge on all sorts of revolutions. He’d already given us lessons back in the national park all about the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the American revolution and even the Magna Carta which led to the fall of an unfortunate King of England who was deposed by Oliver Cromwell. Admittedly some of it was interesting, but the fact that Isaac seemed to talk with a robotic, monotone voice did not help the subject matter shine. I gritted my teeth. How I wish we could row our boats faster so that we would get to the supply building, bomb the hell out of it, and return. Anything would be better than listening about the Bolsheviks. Anything. Well, except for death, of course. And frankly there’s a pretty high chance I’d end up dead, or Toby or Sophie or Isaac for that matter, because what we had embarked on is pretty much a daredevil’s trip.
“Stalin famously said something along the lines of ‘one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic’. This properly describes the drama and tragedy of the years that he ruled as a dictator.” We continued paddling silently.
“Do we have a map or anything that shows how long we have to go?” I asked.
“No, we only have the mayor’s word that it’s beside the river.” Sophie sighed. “Nothing more.” I groaned. Thanks, Mayor Philip. You certainly did the best you could in providing us information.
“Well, you know, here’s the thing about our plan.” Toby said. “When do we decided to stop one boat and row the other, if we don’t even know where the enemy is?”
“Oh damn it. How didn’t we think of that?” We all stopped paddling immediately. “So how do we decide?”
“This means we need to send an advance guard out first, doesn’t it.” Isaac said. He took out a piece of paper and a pencil from his bag and started writing. “Two of us need to walk over by land carefully and locate where the building is, then come back and tell us, so that we know where to stop the boats.” His tone of voice made me once to push Isaac right over the boat. That I’m-the-smartest-man-in-the-world tone.
“Well, sounds like a good plan.” I forced out of my mouth. “Who volunteers for this?” No one spoke after me.
“Fine, we’ll do rock paper scissors. The pair that loses goes.” I said.
* * * * *
Me and Isaac. Great. There cannot be a better partner than this, can there. A lonely dark night, on a dangerous mission, with the best person in the world. Fabulous. I would never have dared to ask for this.
“Gorbachev tried to introduce changes that would help the Soviet Union reform. Alas, it was not to be, for…”
“Isaac, shut up.” I grumbled.
Isaac turned back to look at me. “Did you just tell me to shut up?”
“Yes, I did, Isaac.” I said without looking at him. “We’re in a dangerous war zone here, not a night safari. We gotta be as quiet as a mouse.” That did the trick and Isaac shut up. Thank god Isaac could be sensible when he wanted to be.
We continued walking slowly, sticking close to the river banks, but moving from bush to bush. It was another heart-thumping time. I was really tired of these. I didn’t want any more heart-thumping moments. All the heart-thumping moments were always the I-could-die-any-moment situations. I had no idea where the guards were, if there were any, and how I could escape them if they found me. I guess I was dead meat if I crashed head-on to a guard. There was no way I was gonna escape a guard with a rifle or something. They’d give me tons of holes before I could even raise both my arms up in surrender.
The insects buzzed in the night. Oh, the insects. How I thanked them. I wonder how freaky it’d be if I had to walk in a silent night. At least I didn’t have to bother so much about trying to walk quietly. The noises of the insects helped to cover any footstep sounds I made. I stared at the ground, looking at the dry sand and the leaves that covered it.
“John.” Isaac said.
“No, Isaac, enough with Russian history.”
“No, no. We’re here.”
“What?” I looked up. Yes, we were ‘here’. I’d been so busy looking at the ground I didn’t even notice the small wooden building that seemed to rise in the middle of nowhere (because we were in the middle of nowhere). “So let’s see.” I whispered to Isaac. “Where should the boats stop?”
Isaac said quietly, “Hmm. You see how the river seems to bend here?” He pointed to a bend in the river. “Behind the curve would be nice.
There’s some pretty long grass that will provide cover.”
“Okay.” I whispered back. It’s funny how my voice always seems to go quiet every time danger is in my face. Perhaps it was a natural instinct for me.
Because suddenly danger was in my face.
I guess I’d thought at first that a tree suddenly sprouted in front of me. Weird was my first thought, but suddenly I realized that it wasn’t a tree.
It was a soldier.
Yes, camouflage did work.
“Oh sh-” I started to say, before instinctively turning back to run away. Isaac had already turned tail.
“You’re not going anywhere, boy.” the soldier said. He grabbed my collar and held me there. He then used his leg to push me down to the ground. “Get off!” I shouted, to no avail.
“You rebels. You stupid rebels. You think you’re gonna resist the Great Leader’s will?” The soldier’s feet was directly on my back and he pointed a gun to my head. A gun at my head. Oh damnit. Oh just damnit. A gun at my head. Please, don’t fire. Please. No bullet accidents. Please. Oh lord. The soldier then slowly proceeded to tying me up, hands on the back. It was extremely uncomfortable, and it didn’t help that the gun was still at my head. The soldier pushed me up to a standing position and pinned me against a tree. “Move and your brain will be blasted to pieces.” he warned. “Why are you here?” I didn’t say anything. Not gonna give anything away, sir.
“Why are you here?” the soldier asked again, more forcefully this time. I still remained silent. He then proceeded to land a punch right in my stomach and I nearly fell over.
“Listen. This can get bloody very soon if you don’t cooperate. Why are you here?”
“They sent me” was all I said.
“Be specific. Who sent you?”
“Who sent you?”
Oh Toby, please get here and rescue me now.
The soldier raised his gun up to my head again. I groaned. “The council in Greyville.”
I realized that he probably wouldn’t have many more chances left to give to me. “Well, we were tasked to try to get out and find some people that had been sent out to get the people still hiding out to come to Greyville. Finding recruits.” I lied. “The people who were sent out from the city hadn’t been in contact at all. We’re presuming they’re lost. Which is why we need to find them.”
The soldier’s face was totally emotionless. “That doesn’t sound very believable.” he said. “This whole area’s pacified. Your councillors should already know that. They’ve got some pretty darn good lines of communication themselves. They know what’s going on. I assume you’re lying.”
I tried to remain as calm as possible. “No, I assure you I’m not lying. I’m not. I…I was really sent on for this. The councillors had told me that…the river banks were still unexplored.”
“Not true.” said the soldier. “Your boats have been passing through and we’ve been shooting holes in them quite a few times now.” I gulped. I had not prepared for an interrogation.
“Well…” I started to say.
“I don’t believe a single thing you say.” said the soldier. “I’m going to lock you up in the building until dawn. Then, I’ll get one of the soldiers to take you to the prisoner camp at main base. Now move.” He kicked me and pointed a gun at me, forcing me to start walking.
As I walked I tried to think of ways to escape this situation. I came up with nothing. I could think of nothing. It was hard enough trying to walk without your arms to balance, and the soldier behind me was trying to make me walk as fast I humanly could. God. I hope Toby and the rest haven’t abandoned me to my fate quite yet. I tried to slow down. Perhaps Toby would come in time.
We were pretty near the building now. It was a small wooden house. That’s a good description. Another soldier came striding towards me.
“Who’s this, master sergeant?” he asked.
“Some damned spy.” said the soldier behind my back. “Take him away. We’ll sent him off to main base tomorrow.”
Then I heard an explosion.
The wooden house literally blasted apart in front of my eyes.
The two soldiers with me swore. They quickly ran away, while I fell to the ground and tried my best to roll. I glimpsed to see the soldier running away turning back for a moment to shoot at me, but I rolled quickly and he missed. The bright sparks of fire was lit and smoke went up in the air, corrupting the night sky.
“John!” I heard voices shouting. I recognized that it was Sophie’s. I tried to stand up but couldn’t, but I saw her running towards me.
“Wow John. Are you okay?” she asked, quickly untying me. I stood up.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Nearly died quite a few times tonight, but I guess I’m alright.”
Toby came running. “John! You alright?”
“How did you guys get here so fast?” I asked.
“Let’s answer the question later. For now, let’s get out of here.”