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May. 11th, 2009 | 10:22 pm

Lynx stood outside, having a cigarette in the warm mid-afternoon sunlight. He wasn't outright hiding, not today, although he'd been doing a lot of that lately. Making himself scarce, observing events from a place removed.

The chill in the air was growing less by the day, even here in the high mountains where the snow never truly vanished.

He'd been leaning against the wall, surprisingly inconspicuous, for some time now, alternating between drags of harsh tobacco and pure, crisp air.

Earlier, from his vantage point on the yard, he'd seen Volgin storm by in the distance, with lightning chasing his mammoth thighs in spiral vortices.

Preoccupied and on a mission of his own, though clearly not one of mercy. Yevgeny was feeling much, much better of late, and that fervent gleam was back in his eyes.

Lynx needed a holiday from zealotry every now and again. A quiet space. It helped him to be a better soldier. A better comrade. A better mentor.

He thought about a lot of things in the intervening moments. None of it earth-shattering, but all of it relevant.

He wondered idly if it was time to disappear.

He could disappear here, from the rest of the world.

Or he could disappear somewhere into the rest of the world, from here.

Lynx raised the cigarette to his lips again and closed his eyes, feeling the sun on his face.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {27} Telling silences |

Recapturing rapture

Apr. 14th, 2008 | 01:33 am

I'm looking at a face that is still new to my eyes, in a strange room, and yet I feel he is familiar, and that the room is home.

We're sitting here, in a moment of companionable silence. On this monstrous, ludicrous bed- that somehow becomes a lot less ludicrous when you see Zhenya and I entwined upon it- but it seems lavish now, and almost surreal.

Here we are, Longshot and I, sharing a bed where before we'd shared only a rock. A camp. A cave. More recently, a hammock. And a spotter.

We haven't crossed any lines since we left camp, and he saw me in my unfortunate element, hurting Lemsky like god.

Reticence. And who can blame him. Who can trust a man like me, who can bring agony in seconds- on wings far faster than rapture.

...Remember, I can bring that too, Longshot. Of the two, you only need to worry about the latter.

I don't know how much will linger, or how long. I won't press until he gives me a sign.

Or maybe I will.

Maybe the lack of a sign will be my sign.

You're here, after all, aren't you Viktor?

Link | Speak into the blizzard {10} Telling silences |

Veils between.

Sep. 14th, 2007 | 01:40 pm

Who I am and who I have to be, for everyone.

Sins of omission.

They aren't that hard, really, so long as your intentions are good.

You don't need to know it all.

It's for the best, Zhenya.

It's for the best, Viktor.

Aryol. What the hell are you doing, kid?

Can I let you do it?

Viktor, I can't let you kill Zhenya.

Aryol, I can't let you kill Viktor's spirit the way he tried to kill yours. You're made of tougher stuff.

Zhenya...I'd do anything to keep you safe.

But I'm realizing...I can't let you take out my men, either.

Especially not Leshovik.


So I go on juggling flaming samovars. And give comfort where I can.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {3} Telling silences |


Aug. 14th, 2007 | 08:50 am

V pizdu.

It had to be Lemsky.

Of all the people you don't want to see while getting your rocks off in a way your mother wouldn't prize.

For such a slight bastard, he sure crashed in like a meteor. But let's not forget that little thing like that can throw greater planets out of alignment, like a game of celestial billiards.

It's all about velocity.

I remember a sniper showing me the low-caliber rounds he used to make his kills. 22, and that was all. Nothing more was needed, he told me. Not when it was traveling that fast- and not when it had been zeroed to a vulnerable point.

"Anything else would be overkill," he said, with a little bit of smugness. "I only need kill."

A vulnerable moment, and an efficient, concerted strike.

Guess we all work the same way after all.

Even Lemsky.

Touché, you twig of a prick.

Link | Speak into the blizzard |

Atlas of Mtsensk

Aug. 7th, 2007 | 11:16 am

I could say something ruminatory or profound. About seeing a former pupil, and a shadow of yourself. About hearing the word 'sir' again, and the sense of pride it gives you, that what you've tried to instill in them still resonates and guides them. That you've made a difference.

Or Leshovik. I could say something about that. How he moves me, even when I don't want to be moved. How I should keep him at arm's length, where he pretends he wants to be. I should have pretended to believe him, gone on about our tentative peace. But I don't do that. And I won't ever do that.

I couldn't. Not when I look at him, bitter and disillusioned, cast aside like Mordred in Mallory. Aware of his own faults, and cursing his sabotage, but dealt the crushing blow by the one who felt justified in taking what he wanted from Leshovik's self-wrought wreckage and adding insult to injury.

Who am I to say Kasya didn't deserve his pound of flesh?

I can't say that, of course. I've seen how Leshovik treated Aryol. I denounce it. Yet I see in Leshovik the same deep trauma he inflicts on those who try to love him. He hates them for loving him, sees them as weak and flawed for loving someone as damaged as he is.

It's not hard for me to love. I have arms big enough to hold all of Russia, which includes Viktor the sniper.

I have a hard chest for him to beat his head and fists against until he exhausts himself, and falls into them.

But it goes beyond that, if I'm honest, and I have no reason not to be.

I think we could love each other, like men, given time. Given place.

I may never say it aloud, even if I feel it, show it, act it. It's blood in the water to him, and incites that vicious temper.

Poor bitter Viktor, who sees love as a weakness to be savaged and exploited, and not as a strength beyond even Atlas, with which a single man can hold the world gently cupped in his palm.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {7} Telling silences |

The Aftermath of Overdrive

Jul. 24th, 2007 | 11:46 am

...It's too quiet over there.

I'm not regretting what I did. Eyes Adrift was in need- aid and comfort, men in war. And Leshovik never gave him anything he could hold onto.

Hell, life never did.

I don't feel bad about that- showing love to a young soldier. My guilt is professional- did I ruin a working symbiosis?

And personal.

I know what it's like to be replaced while you aren't conscious of what's happened.

I should have told him to stay. To take one for the team. Let Leshovik abuse and belittle him. He'd survive.

Sure. And watched his wounded dark eyes pass over me, just another man who would treat him like a toy to be put in its place after a hard night's play.


I can't take it back. I wouldn't take it back, so it's useless to ruminate.

It's too quiet. Never bodes well.

...I'd better hear something soon.

I don't want to have to go over there. But I will. And once I do, things are going to unbend.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {2} Telling silences |

Unattributed ruminations.

Jul. 17th, 2007 | 10:25 am

I like hoping that maybe Lemsky got eaten by a bear. Except we haven't seen any bears here.

Not one.

The thing is, when you're very quiet, you see a lot of things.

One of the perks of my trade was always that kind of observation- I've seen bears, wolves, all kinds of birds.

Lynx, of course, who are notoriously shy of mankind.

Bears less so, but all the same, you probably won't see one unless you happen to be in the right part of the deep woods, or, you happen to spend a lot of time hanging out in a blind.

Welcome to what I do.

So the idea that I haven't seen a single bear in those woods, when we'd been bivouacked on a ledge for three weeks, is somewhat unusual. Contrary to expectation.

Of course, if a bear did come across Lemsky, I'm not sure he would eat him. Animals have a sixth sense about these things. Whatever Lemsky is, I'm pretty sure it's fatal.

In nature, things like that are colored red and yellow.

We ought to dye people.


The days are lazy. Our work is mostly at night. Sometimes I sketch the terrain and the fauna. Right now, we're being cautious and staying out of sight of the morning patrols. The regular GRU come through, and no one worries about them- but somewhere between their rounds there's a streamlined team from a specialist unit, like the one I used to head when I was stationed in Tselinoyarsk.

If they're anything close to what my men were, we should definitely worry about them.

At the moment, I'm not worried about anything.

I have a book, and a chess set, and a deck of cards...though for some reason I've never broached the subject of a game. Lemsky would enjoy it too much, and I'm pretty sure Leshovik thinks chess is some kind of rural Romanian fermented beverage.

Reading it is, then.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {11} Telling silences |

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2007 | 05:09 pm

The Horseless Horsemen. Isn't it quaint.

The apocalypse is cooling its heels at the moment, suffice it to say. That's not a bad thing. It gives me time to think.

Lemsky is still missing. I don't doubt he's collecting samples, down in the lowlands. Seeing if he can thaw out any fun new viruses that might be lying dormant under the snow to add to his collection of bioweaponry. He may be known as a poisoner, but his heart lies in plague.

I've never let it show, but I hate the guy. Hate him and everything about him.

He's the cruelest son of a bitch I've ever seen, with the most unassuming smile.

A kid like that should never have been allowed to live. If I could go back and throttle him in the cradle, I would.


The other kid is all right. He thinks I'm to blame for antagonizing Leshovik. I don't have the heart to tell him Longshot manages to do that fine all on his own. He's still at that wishful thinking phase, making excuses for the guy, and dutifully trying to make himself into whatever the hell it is the sniper thinks he needs to be.

I predict some day he'll take a quiet, perfect bullet from that kid, if he doesn't stop toying with his emotions.

But you never can tell. Knowing Leshovik, he might deem the kid a liability and take him out before the kid ever gets a chance to realize how little of him Leshovik sees, when he looks him over like a piece of licorice candy.

Either way, unless it ends well?

But with Leshovik, what are the odds of that?

He's not the most attentive student in life's classroom.

Link | Speak into the blizzard {3} Telling silences |

Undated, unsigned

Jul. 8th, 2007 | 01:56 pm

Neutralize. The objective is clear.

My mind is not.

Never had that problem, did you Longshot?

He's like a prism; channeling a single shaft of knifelike intent.

His eyes, the sidearm- nice kid. Doesn't get it. Never will.

Never will.

Eyes Adrift, Longshot and I.

Number four isn't quiet like the three of us.

That's a problem.

Link | Speak into the blizzard |

Undated, unsigned

Jul. 8th, 2007 | 01:52 pm


...excellent. She'll hold.

Link | Speak into the blizzard |