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Rated: E · Short Story · Death · #1963869
Another thing I wrote for English, short snapshot of the battle of Stalingrad
Through the snow covered streets of Stalingrad, five soldiers marched, dragging their feet upon the frozen ground. Wrapped in grey winter coats, the Russian insignia, the hammer and sickle, present upon their tattered fur hats. They were deep in the enemy heart of the city, supplies low, and death imminent. In the distance the Nazi flag, its black swastika presented against the vivid white and red, flew above the central plaza. It was a sign of the dire situation of the crumbling Russian resistance. Rubble littered the streets; bodies buried beneath it. At the end of the street the burnt out shell of a Panzer tank; part of the German 14th panzer division surrounding the city. The Russians marched in silence hoping to reach the stronghold of apartments on the west banks of the river Volga where reinforcements and supplies where being transferred across. As they were walking gunshots echoed from the buildings at the far side of the street behind them.
Division commander Igor Maksin didn't even flinch as shards of concrete and brick fell upon him from the buildings above. He had seen and felt it all before. He was 53 and a veteran of the Russian-Finnish war in the north. Short, stocky with a thick black beard flecked with grey. A solider all his life and a stark communist, he spoke little and when he did it was of his deep hatred of the enemies of the motherland which his eyebrows danced enthusiastically to.
Sergeant Viktor Reznov was cut from the same patriotic Russian mould as his commander, short, stocky veteran of the Finnish War, communist views and aged four-and-thirty years. He had fought on the far western reaches of the soviet empire and had been assigned to defend factories in Moscow before being called back to defend the city.
Nikon was acting as the group's guide. He was the youngest of the group at only eighteen years of age and had enlisted to serve his country. He had grown up in the city and knew it well, at the end of this street was the small grocery shop his uncle used to run before he was arrested and taken to the Gulag in north Siberia for anti-Stalin views. Nikon shuddered as he remembered the dishonour of his uncle's betrayal.
On their way down the street they took cover under the overhanging buildings as fighter planes and bombers flew over. They did not care to see whose they were, as even if the plane was Russian; that did not mean its pilot was...
They were just passing a wrecked bar when the gunshots rang out towards them. Flashes of the German guns spluttered from among the wreckage ahead. The Russians scrambled to cover; rats among the over the mutilated remains of the burnt-out buildings. Nikon threw himself behind a Russian DK-12 sofa and hid like a block of cheese. Reznov slid across the frosty ground and hugged the cold barrel of his PPSh-41. Fumbling fingers found the bolt and pulled it into place; lifting his gun to shoulder height and squeezing the trigger. The firing pin inside the weapon struck the first round and launched it out of the barrel; the recoil powered bolt blew back, locking into place, ejecting the spent cartridge and pulling the second round into the chamber. This deadly shard of copper coated steel shot across the street and splattered German blood across the shop fronts. Creating a fabulous display of Russian art.
Adrian was the new blood of the group called up to fight a mere three months ago and thrown straight into the bloodied streets of Stalingrad. He was proud of his country but had no desire to die for it; this belief was shunned and mocked by his comrades. He had a wife and a young child to support; defending the 'motherland' was not high on his list of priorities.
As the piercing sound of rifle shots echoed into his ears Adrian panicked and ran. Dropping his gun and making it only half a dozen yards before heavy lead ripped up his leg and he fell the few feet to the bottom of small and grimy crater. Pain filled his vision and red flashed through his brain, the bullet had ripped his thick trousers and tore the flesh through to the bone. Ragged breath hanging in the cold air; steam rising from the crimson slash upon his upper thigh. Coughing in pain and fear Adrian pulled his knife from his belt and gripped it tightly in his hand and clutched his small silver cross in the other. Eyes wide with fear and pain he cried out:
"Comrades help me! Where are you?!" His voice thin and shrill in the cold heavy air. Darkness closed in around him, his legs felt numb beneath him and he felt unaware of the approaching boot-steps. Into his decreasing vision stepped Reznov who crouched before him in the crater.
"It's okay Comrade, for you the fight is over," taking the knife and laying it across Adrian's lap Reznov pressed the discarded rifle into his hands and closed his cold fingers around the weapon. A single tear rolled down the dying Russians face pale face. He made and awkward gesture to the knapsack at his side.
"L-letters to my f-family, ma-make sure..." Adrian spluttered, Reznov cut him off and wiped the tear off his comrade's face.
"Of course, now save your breath, Saint Sergius will be here for you soon," Adrian seemed calmed, he sighed and closed his eyes, his ragged breath left him.

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