Long Winter by Night
by D. Elizabeth Wasden
â€œItâ€™s settled. You will go.â€ Iosif Stalin tapped on the bowl of his pipe as he spoke. He pointed the tip at Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria and jabbed it towards him. â€œDonâ€™t fuck up.â€
The thick scent of sweet wine permeated the air, lined Beriaâ€™s nostrils, the back of his throat.
Beria licked his lips as he stared at the map that covered his legs. A red triangle in the Ukraine, southeast of Kiev, marked his destination. He pinpointed where the line of engagement had been an hour ago and calculated where it would stand now based on how fast the Germans had been advancing since Operation Barbarossa began. â€œThe Ukraine. That is Khrushchevâ€™s territory.â€
A match scraped against a rough surface, and then the bowl crackled to life. Stalinâ€™s yellow eyes flared with red as they captured the flame. He puffed away at his pipe, smoke plumes expanding and multiplying. It reminded Beria of a lamb roasting, of Minsk on fire.
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"Long Winter by Night" is roughly 3500 words.
D. Elizabeth Wasden studied in Moscow, Russia several years ago and holds History and Russian Studies degrees from Syracuse University. She occasionally dreams of samovars, sturgeon, civil wars, and lemon trees and writes about them in her LiveJournal (ghost.livejournal.com">oktober-ghost.livejournal.com). Her fiction has appeared in Talebones, Electric Velocipede, and Fantasy Magazine.