_Judas_

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Poland 1941. Brutal Nazi control has swept over the country like an ominous storm-cloud. How does a vigilante survive in a nation gripped by fear?

One must keep their friends close, but their enemies closer.

Submitted: February 28, 2012

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Submitted: February 28, 2012

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Judas

 

We all kept our distance from Igor, occasionally meeting each other’s eyes in a hope that one of us will express words of comfort. But consoling was not on the cards today. It felt like nothing any of us said or did could help him. He was broken, he was distraught, and he had just watched his best friend die. It was Prozorov who eventually broke the ice.

‘Igor, it’s not your fault, if you stayed to help him they would have killed you too.’

Prozorov bent down to his knees leaving his arm outstretched awkwardly, unsure if he should wrap it around Igor’s shoulder.

‘You did your best you know, and that’s all a friend can do’

The tension endured, all eyes locked on the sobbing mess that clung to the floor. After what seemed like several painful minutes, Igor lifted his head up from the floorboards, revealing a face distorted by streaming tears.

‘Soliony … was … my … best friend.’ Igor sobbed. ‘And … I just … I just watched some Suka bastard kill him.’

Sympathy flooded through me, yet death never came as a shock to me anymore. Ever since Nazi soldiers began occupying the streets, violence, rape and murder became a natural theme in my life. Fear had gripped our nation like a leach, sucking out the happiness from our faces, injecting a new, paranoid look into every eye. Few dared to resist, and those who did rise up against the guards were wiped out; deleted from existence.

In dark corners, whispers are occasionally heard. Whispers of a secret society that plan to overthrow the ‘New World Order’, and reinstate freedom back into the world. It is something I can only hope for. Yet one lesson the tears of war have taught me is that hope is a dangerous thing - so what choice did I have? I had to run away. 

 As I stood in the room, watching Igor sprawled over the floor, I was reminded of the friends I had lost back in my old life. A thought suddenly shot me like a bullet.

‘Are my family still alive?’

I felt my throat swell as I desperately tried to hold back tears; visualising horrific and vivid images of my loved ones slaughtered by the hands of the Nazi’s. Snapping away from my minds nightmare, I turned my attention back to the room. Igor began to splutter uncontrollably; shooting a string of saliva across the room, leaving a bubbly trail of slobber dripping from his chin. This was all too much for me; I needed to drown the tension.

‘Igor. Come with us into the kitchen and we’ll get you a glass of water. We can’t have you lying there all day my friend.’

The three of us made our way into the kitchen, carefully avoiding broken glass implemented by Igor’s earlier rage. The kitchen worktop was covered with chipped mugs, dirty cutlery and empty soup bowls. They were always empty here. When I set off on the run, my survival instincts intrinsically kick in, and it became natural for me to not to just eat all my food, but to lick my dish clean like a dog.

 As I walked towards the kitchen window, I gazed out across the Karwno Valley, soaking in all the muddy autumn colours that stained the scenery. I let my eyes wander towards the sky, stopping on the crescent moon that hung in the air. It looked phantom like, only half visible in the daylight.

‘You know’

I said thoughtfully

‘I wonder if God is looking down on all of this. If so he should feel guilty. He should feel guilty for making so many evil people in this fucking world.’

 

Soliony was the man who I owed my life too. After running away from the Nazi’s, it was he who took me into hiding. When I first arrived at the house, I was close to starving. Igor and Prozorov were already living here, having been close friends with Soliony since before the German invasion. Although they all agreed to help me, Igor was sceptical, afraid that because of the Nazi’s growing vigilance, I could be found at any time. This made me cautious of Igor, yet right now I couldn’t help but empathise with him, for Soliony truly was his closest friend.

That evening we sat around the kitchen table. It was crafted from an old and rich mahogany; Soliony really did have a rich taste. It felt strange not having him sat with us anymore, and for the first few minutes we all ate in silence. The only sound that escaped came from the clinking of cutlery as we scraped away, digging out stew from our bowls. It was Prozorov who eventually spoke.

‘You know Igor, I know you are hurt right now and you probably don’t want to talk, but we need to sort out a new plan. The Nazi’s will come and repossess the house soon, so we will have to move elsewhere, especially you Vershinin’

I looked up sharply, afraid that this topic might slide into conversation. This was my new life. I was safe living here, and if there was one thing I feared above anything, it was going back on the run.

‘Yes I know. We will discuss it later. But for now I want to know something. Igor, erm, why, why did they, you know, kill Soliony’

A strange look filled Igor’s eyes. I noticed grief hidden somewhere in there, yet I sensed something else, something peculiar. He looked down.

‘There was this man, and he was running. I think he had stolen something, I’m not too sure. He ran all the way down the street barging past Soliony. Eventually two guards caught him, killing him right there and then.’

Igor shuffled in his seat awkwardly.

‘And then one of the guards walked over to Soliony, pulled out his gun and BANG. I came running out the grocery store to find out what the commotion was, I guess they think Soliony should have stopped the man from getting away.’

I stroked the bottom of my chin. Something didn’t seem right. My instincts burned me; Igor was hiding something and I knew it, yet my logic couldn’t fathom what. From the corner of my vision I caught Prozorov’s eye, and in that split second, there was an understanding between us; Igor knew something and he didn’t intent on sharing it. Curiosity eventually got the better of me.

‘Igor what are you hiding from us?’

‘What do you mean? I’ve told you what happ…’

Prozorov interjected.

‘You know exactly what we mean Igor, now come on and tell us. We’re your friends, you can trust us. Did the guards speak to you?

There was a moment’s pause where Igor looked concretely into Prozorov’s eyes.

‘No.’

Their eyes stayed firmly locked together.

‘So you’re not denying that you’re hiding something then?’

Igor jumped up from the table in a fit of rage, knocking over his bowl as he rose, smashing it onto the floor. His voice bellowed wildly as he paced around the room militantly.

‘So you both think I killed him do you! You think I would just kill my best friend, who I have known for so long! Who the fuck do you people think you are?’

The tension in the room thickened. Igor’s reaction shocked us both, and we stared up at him in an amazement of disbelief. My instincts already told me Igor knew something, but now a sharper instinct screamed at me; Igor killed Soliony! I could feel adrenaline surge right through me, every muscle in body tightened, preparing itself for attack. Simultaneously, my awareness flashed to a new level, every colour intensified, every sound became more acute, even the smells in the room became clearer. Prozorov then spoke.

‘We never suggested that Igor. We would never have suggested that, ever. But now you’ve mentioned it, I’m starting to get a funny feeling. Perhaps you just let slip a guilty conscience’

It all happened in an instance. The sound of gunfire blasted at the back of the house and then without realising, I was under the table. I saw Prozorov leap across the room, pressing his body against the bottom of the kitchen worktop, desperately trying to gain cover. Amidst the sudden mayhem, wild screams bellowed from Igor as he collapsed onto his knees.

‘I’m sorry! I’m so fucking sorry! I’m a coward I know! They bribed me with money for information about you Vershinin! God forgive me please!’

He pulled a pistol out from his jacket pocket, directing it towards the back of his throat. We both screamed out in desperation.

‘Igor no’!

He pulled the trigger, the sound sending a shockwave through my ears. The gunfire outside stopped and the sound of raised voices were heard - the guards had entered the house.

‘Come on Prozorov let’s go!’

Prozorov just lay there frozen, defeated by his adrenaline.

‘Prozorov come on move, the guards are coming inside!’

Still he lay there, eyes wide, petrified, unable to move an inch. There was no time to waste. I got up and sprinted for the door.

_

1 - Suka is a Polish word for dog and is as a slang word by the characters to refer to Nazi’s.

2 - Karwno is an area of Poland where the story is set.


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