My thoughts were constantly with him, hardly able to focus, sooner or later someone would notice. I admit I was afraid; by trying to save him I would be taking a great risk that might cost me my own life and yet in the war nothing was certain; every day was a risk, everyday you could end up dead.
Finally I admitted to Sergei what I was planning to do, of course he thought I had lost my mind, desperately trying to persuade me into giving up my plan; it was a suicide he said and in away I knew he was right.
They’d call me a traitor, they’d haunt me down, unless somehow I’d be able to get back early and yet I know the boy was too weak to be left alone to struggle his way back to his own people; I would have to get him as close I could and take the risk of getting shot… It was complicated and my head was aching, I could only hope that somehow it would all turn out for the best.
Moments I spend alone made me rethink, was I ready to give up my life so? And yet, I felt, I really felt like I loved him and knew his days would shortly be running out, eventually we would move on, they could not risk dragging him along, it would cause trouble, most certain….
Vladimir might have sensed that something was going on between me and the boy, later I would wonder if he had in fact seen us, but then his odd behaviour had gone unnoticed by me; too busy in trying to find the right solution.
Then one night I found him in the room with Elias, he had already stripped the boy, trying to smother his cries, his hands on the boy’s throat as he was about to rape him, I got there just in time to stop him and without thinking I pulled him away in possessive, protective anger for trying to harm the one I loved.
I held him from his uniform jacket,
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I snarled at him and for a moment he looked utterly scared and in shock, breathing fast, until his lips twisted in disgusting grin.
“He is not only yours Alexander…” he whispered, “…oh my… you really have fallen for him? Haven’t you?” He asked looking overly delighted over his discovery. I tried to control my breathing, Elias had curled in the corner, covering himself with the blanket his green eyes wide and filled with fear. Slowly I released my hold of Vladimir, glaring at him.
“Don’t talk nonsense, you just should be here, you have no permission of being here.” I said trying to calm down.
He smiled at me, unnerving sweet and disturbing smile at the same time, then he looked at Elias,
“He’s as good as dead soon, did you know Alexander?” He asked, looking back at me, “Lieutenant told me….it’s a shame really, so pretty, I just wanted to fuck him while I still can.”
“Get out…” I pointed towards the door, barely able to control myself.
“I get it, you want to give him a goodbye fuck yourself, well fine, I can come back later.” I shuddered as Vladimir walked past me touching my shoulder briefly. In any other situation I would have beaten him up into a bloody bulb, this time I knew I couldn’t afford it.
When the door closed after him, I could barely breathe, I watched the boy in the corner unable to keep the tears from rising as I approached his shivering form.
“Are you okay?” I whispered, touching his face; they couldn’t kill him, he was too young, innocent, good, no… I couldn’t let them kill him. I wrapped my arms around him, holding him and like before he seemed to relax,
“Sascha?” He whispered suddenly, his hand reaching to my hair, unknown words with soft tender voice; Sascha, he kept whispering and I smiled in confuse; he was using my pet name that only my family and some closest friends had used.
I kissed him gently,
“We’ll get you out Elias,” I whispered to him; there was no other option for me at that moment.
I was dangerously getting attached to him, my feelings of longing must have been a sin and over and over again I tried to persuade myself or comfort myself into thinking that those feelings were only because my desperate situation. I had allowed him to take me, my body and my soul and not only once….
The monster had not asked for me and every single moment alone I thought of Alexander; Sascha… The name seemed fitting, pet form of his name, so soft and gentle as he was, in my mind I began to call him Sascha.
One night as I waited for him, my light and my comfort, the door opened but instead brought the one I feared and loathed. Seeing his sneering face made me whimper and tuck the ropes that were binding me. The door close after him with heavy creak, his steps drew near, threatening shadow casting over, I knew what he wanted, it was why they had brought me here and yet somehow foolishly after my closeness with Alexander I had thought to be spared and safe while in the room that was my prison.
He knelled down grasping my throat, chuckling darkly, as his free hand rose upon my face, with mock tenderness he stroke my cheek.
‘’’Alexander’s own slut now; are you?’’’ I blinked, not understanding what he spoke, ‘’’oh yes, I’ve seen you two, and you are quite willing, cheated us didn’t you? You been wanting it all along….’’’ He slapped me hard across the face, making me shriek and gasp, too stunned at first when he started yanking the ropes that bound my wrists and ankles together. Another slap; ‘’’I can give it to you now whore…’’’
I wanted to call for Sascha, call for his help, Vladimir pulled at my clothes, tearing them from my trembling form, smothering my cries, choking me and in my mind I kept begging for Alexander to come for me, help me, get this disgusting beast off, and just as I was beginning to lose my hope, he came.
Anger shone in his eyes when he pulled the man off of me and I quickly crawled away to the nearest corner, hugging myself, covering my nakedness.
I watched them, shivered, not understanding the words, just seeing Alexander’s anger that melted away when the man was gone and he locked his eyes back on me.
When he held me I felt better again, I felt safe, but had I known his plan I would have stopped him; I never wanted him to risk his life, not for me, not when I already deep inside knew that there was little chance that I could be saved, I was broken and he was the only thing that kept me from drowning, my lifeboat, if he died, what would have become of me?
But I didn’t know, he didn’t tell me and so I couldn’t stop him before the risk was already taken.
“It’s a suicide!” Sergei shrieked late at that evening as I was getting ready; some food, my gun, some blankets, “Alexander be reasonable, you’ll never survive this,” he tried to talk me out of it, but my mind was already set.
“You suppose I would just stand by and watch them fill their disgusting plan then?” I asked tensely looking at him, “He is 15! Innocent and…” my voice trailed off, I rubbed my face, “if I won’t take him away, they will rape and kill him before we leave this place…. don’t ask me to just let it happen.” I looked at him tiredly, pleading for his understanding, he knew, the only person I felt I could trust, who understood in some level and in this time it meant a lot. His trembling hand lowered on my shoulder,
“You are so young… this war…. we have to do what we can to survive it… Don’t you see how little chance there is to safe him? You get caught and they kill you both… Please Alexander think of it.” He pleaded; I gritted my teeth and shook my head, looking away from his face.
“I love him…” I whispered, knowing how ridiculous it would sound to him, but for me it was the truth, I forced myself to look up, saw him looking back almost disbelieving, almost as if he thought I had lost my mind, perhaps I had?
“You don’t know him, few notes aren’t enough to….”
“Love doesn’t always need words, I feel we understand each other…I love him, those feelings are true and they are my own, only I can tell….”
He sighed heavily, shook his head, he didn’t understand even as I tried to explain.
“So you’re killing yourself, it’s senseless…foolish…”
“I want to try, I know the risk, I rather die knowing I at least tried than die regretting I didn’t…. Maybe I can bring him to safety? My reward would be to know he’s living, if they kill me then so be it.”
“Foolish,” he repeated,
“I have better chance if you help me, we both will… It’s your choice, but I am doing this with or without your help.”
He was silent for a while looking at me sadly before finally he nodded,
“I’ll help you,” he promised with hoarse voice.
My heart was beating madly as I entered the room, my palms sweating and my throat felt dry, there wouldn’t be much time to waist. Elias gazed up at my face, tilting his head, frowning as if trying to read my troubled mind. I gave him a nervous smile, knelled down and started to unbind the ropes around his wrists and ankles.
“We’ll take you home now,” I whispered and placed my finger to my lips to remind him to stay quiet. The boy had no shoes, I put on a pair of boots from a dead prisoner; one size too big but they would have to do, then I wrapped a blanket over him to shelter him from the coldness that would attack us outside.
I urged him to wrap his arms and legs around me before I carried him out of the room. I could feel and see his confusion as we left the room; I held him, he felt so warm against me, heavy, but I had carried far heavier things than him; so weakened by his captivity and my determination gave me strength.
Sergei waited, waved to let me know the coast was clear, my heart still racing, had to be fast. The look on my friends face revealed how troubled he was over my decision,
“You have to be fast,” he whispered, I nodded stiffly,
“Go… be careful…” He added quickly, pointing the road I should take.
“Thank you, goodbye my friend, take care…” He shook his head sadly,
“Go, you can’t stall….” He said and as I went I heard his mumble; may God protect them both.
I sighed with small relief once we reached the looming shadows of the woods, darkness; at the same time frightening and comforting, my arms trembled under his weight but it only made me secure my hold of him. My enemies and his allays could have been lurking anywhere, they could be have been here, watching us behind the trees, the thought alarmed me, made me look around frantically as I hurried my weary steps, I could die; which each step I took I realised that surviving this would be mere fools luck.
I was on foot and carrying a weak boy who must have weighted at least 50-60 kilos, I realised we couldn’t get very far, I simply wouldn’t have the strength, I needed rest.
The boy started to wriggle; he looked at me worriedly and spoke,
”Laske minut alas,” He said and soon after repeated with more effort, I allowed him to lower himself down on his feet’s. “En totisesti tiedä mitä olet tekemässä, mutta olet hullu.” He sighed and shook his head. Having no idea what he said I simply smiled and reached to kiss him, before taking his hand, pulling him close to my side,
“We have to hurry and find safety,” I told him and so we continued to walk side by side not able to move fast even like this; his legs were weakened by being bound so long, by not having as much to eat as a boy his age should. Seeing how tired he was made me almost hope we’d find his people soon, no matter what it would mean to myself.
At times I found his questionable and worried gaze upon me, I smiled wanting to comfort him,
“Don’t worry Elias, soon you’re back home, I’ll get you there,” I told him and continued. After some time a humble cabin came to our view, I looked at my exhausted companion and decided we needed to rest to be able to continue, either way was a risk.
I didn’t understand why Alexander had taken me out of the room, was it because he had been ordered to do so? When he carried me outside, hurrying in the darkness, I began to worry knowing the risk he was taking; he was trying to save me, he had promised to try and find a way, but this was madness!
I started to feel slightly upset, I didn’t want him to risk his own life so and this could not have a happy ending, there simply was no way for one. I struggled to get down, feeling his trembling hold, “put me down,” I said when sensing he wasn’t about to at first and it seemed to make him understand. “I really don’t know what you’re doing, but you are crazy.” I sighed and shook my head sadly, the man only smiled softly, unaffected, of course he couldn’t know said. He took my hand and we continued to walk.
I felt exhausted, my legs were weak and trembling, but I didn’t voice my discomfort. I wasn’t sure if he thought we could somehow survive this, but no matter how I wanted to believe we could, I knew how impossible it really was.
The darkness was still heavy upon us when we reached the small deserted cabin; I clung to the blanket around me more tightly shivering as the cold wind blew past us. The door was unlocked much as I suspected; who ever had lived there, had left in a hurry.
Inside was humble, just one big room, table, a bed, a stove, few shelves, torn curtains, a painting that looked as though a child had made it and it made me wonder of the person or people who had lived there.
The coldness still surrounded us, yet at least the wind was left outside, I looked at Sascha, gave him a weary sad smile and he walked closer, his strong arms wrapped around me in a gentle hug and I held on, tears welling in my eyes, clutching his uniform jacket, my breaths short, strangled almost; you foolish man – I thought to myself – you dear foolish man, why did you risk your life for me?! It was a painful thought that tore my heart; one of us would have to die, it seemed clear to me and I wondered if he realised the same thing?
I finally looked up to meet with his eyes, my hand reaching to touch his face and my tears must have worried him because he frowned, leaning down brushing his lips against my forehead.
‘’’Don’t cry Elias, it will be okay, I promise…you get back home, back to your family… I know the risk, so do not cry…’’’ He whispered, his voice so gentle, I realised how I had began to love his voice and his warmth, this closeness, I did not have to understand his words to understand HIM.
“You shouldn’t sacrifice yourself.” I whispered, stroking his neck, down to his shoulder, tears; I couldn’t keep them from falling, part of me felt angry, I cared for him and I felt angry that he was in danger now, I wasn’t angry at him, but to the hopelessness and cruelty around that had brought us in this situation. “I can’t let you do that Sascha, I can’t let you be killed…” I kept on, not caring if he understood me or not, I looked in his brown eyes, “Let it be me, it has to be me,” I whispered, “if you die I am surely going insane, too much pain, I could not bear it, I can’t have back what I had, it will never be normal,” I close my eyes and laid my head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat, “you can make it…” I whispered, “You are strong Sascha… I love you…you can make it…my foolish, dear Sascha… I can’t go back, don’t you see?…I’m scared…”
I listened to his voice as he spoke, detected the fear and sadness, tears that fell from his eyes, made my own watery and I continued to hold on, desperately hoping I could hold this moment, this quietness, him, I didn’t want to lose him, the thought made me uneasy. I feared the morning, the daylight that would reach us eventually. I planted a kiss upon his head, stroking his back soothingly.
“I wish I could keep you with me always… I wish there was a chance, I wish that it could be normal and I could speak to you and you’d understand…I wish…” I sighed heavily, “it’s cold, maybe we can light a fire in the stove,” I said after awhile, reluctantly releasing my hold of him.
I looked for some wood; but there was none, so I broke down a wooden chair and used it, made the fire with some matches I had with. I could feel his eyes on me and I stole few glances; he looked heart warming holding that big blanket around himself, his soft hair falling on his forehead, the fire that I lit danced in his thoughtful eyes. Eventually I reached for him; we sat on the floor next to the stove, trying to get warm. Gentle kisses and touches grew bolder; it was a bittersweet moment, we would always have that memory and it was by far one of the most meaningful in my existent.
We made love that night, soft, slow and sweet; I embraced his warmth and softness, our bodies joined sharing something I could not describe in words that would do it justice. We had those few hours just for ourselves, where the rest of the world was forgotten and meaningless, where the night was still and we were the only two people existing; how I wanted for that moment to continue, to last forever but eventually, like everything good it ended too soon.
I didn’t sleep that night, just held him in my arms naked under blankets, I watched him, memorised his beautiful face, even without words to share I felt more close to him than any other being ever before, it was frightening feeling, confusing and strange. That morning the sun rose, the warm rays illuminated his face, making him look even more like an angel, and when he opened his eyes and smiled softly, holding my hand in his I felt that I could die right there, last kiss, soft and gentle, had I known it would be the last I would have held on longer. It was a beautiful morning; it started out so beautifully, if only it could have lasted…
Web published: April 9th, 2009.
My Secret Shore