A/N: This is a dark story, with disturbing theme and content; including rape and violence. Please consider this before reading. However, the purpose is not to glorify the violence by any means. This focuses more on the madness of war and it’s innocent victims. It is also a story about love.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
It was the winter of 1942. I was 16-years old, turning 17 that Spring. I was living with my mother and my two younger siblings; Aino, who was 7, and Olavi, who was only 5. Our father had died in the war, the letter telling us so, had arrived six months earlier.
Mother was sick with pneumonia. I myself was still too young to join the army and my family needed me there. Those hard times forced me to grow up fast; I was the head of the family, the man of the house now. It was up to me to take care of all of them and I hardly got any rest. I had to keep the house warm, had to make sure that everyone had enough to eat from the little food that was left.
During my 14th year I began to grow taller, during the winter I had reached the height of 5’5, I was still growing. Mother said, that I’d probably grow to be a tall man like my father had been. This was my wish; my father had always been my hero, someone I looked up to. My body was not yet a man’s, but not too boyish either; hard work had sculpted the muscles of my arms, stomach and thighs to be more visible.
This winter felt unusually cold, or perhaps it was just because of the war, of the exhaustion and the fact that food was running short. Fear was our daily company, part of our lives then. We lived in a deserted village, a village that most have seen fit to leave behind in order to survive to see the day when the war would end. Would it end? I often found myself questioning.
And every day I prayed for someone who would come and take us to safety as well; it was not as if I hadn’t already begged my mother. I had expressed the wish to leave our home, I tried to convince her that it would be the best for all of us but she did not see it. She was too reluctant to leave our home behind, the one she and my father had once built for us, and now her illness prevented leaving.
So we stayed. We stayed in the village that had been labeled as a danger zone, so close to the enemy’s border.
And every day I feared that they would come for us, that they would find us. If they had, I would have no hope of surviving. As a 16 year old male, too young to join the army perhaps, but not a child either, I would most likely be just shot right on the spot. I kept praying, each morning, each night. Maybe the war would end soon? Please God let it end soon.
The nights when we heard the sounds of a battle, were the worst. At the sounds of bombing we would all gather up close together and just hold each other; I would try and sing for them until the terrifying sounds stopped. I had no idea just how close they were, but I knew that they weren’t far and knew that it could be only a matter of weeks until we were discovered. We couldn’t stay lucky forever, could we?
I tried my best to comfort my siblings who kept asking ’Would we all die? Would our mother die?’, and I didn`t know what to answer them. It seemed that everyone had already forgotten about us.
Early on, I heard that there was a possibility to send small children to Sweden, to families willing to take care of them until the war ended here. I tried suggesting my mother that we could send Aino and Olavi there, to safety, but she refused. She wanted us to stay together and she couldn’t quite see how bad our situation here really was; perhaps she didn’t want to see it. And as her illness grew worse, she forgot all about the war; perhaps it was a blessing, perhaps not; she would also forget that dad was gone, and she would ask for him, refusing to believe me when I told her that he was dead. That he would not return.
The days went by; I was beginning to lose even this little hope that I had. It was hard to see the day when it would all come back to normal, in my heart I knew that it never could. Too much had already changed.
I tried my best for Aino and Olavi; they needed me. I was only their brother, but they depended on me as they would on a parent. I tried to play with them and keep them as happy as I could. It would be the worst thing to happen, to let this war rob them of their childhood like this.
It was the end of January, the coldest time of the year, when I brought my baby sister and baby brother into the sauna. We all needed to get clean, I felt so dirty and I hated that feeling. I remembered happier times, the times when the village was full of laughter and friendly faces.
I remembered my dad, his laughter. I remembered the last time I saw him, the last words that he said to me, and the way he smiled. I remembered how it had felt to have enough to eat, how the food tasted. We were all getting sick of the plain food that tasted of nothing. Always the same; porridge and bread, sometimes eggs from chickens. It did no good to remember the way the things were before, it was long gone now.
Aino laughed as she played with water, and I didn’t have a heart to tell her that we should use the water carefully. She was happy now; her smile made me smile, and soon we were all laughing.
I washed their hair, they didn’t like it; children never do. I tried to be careful, not to have the shampoo in their eyes. Then I washed myself, my body and my hair. I watched as dirt was washed away, revealing the milky kind of tone of my skin. It felt so good, to be clean again. And the heat in the sauna felt good as well, after being cold for so long.
We walked back inside the house, I brushed Aino’s hair; she always liked it. I lifted her up to let her look at herself in the mirror.
“Now just look at us; so clean, that we could go meet the president.” I told them and they both laughed. It felt weird to see myself in the mirror; it had been a long time since I had last washed. My blond hair was glimmering, and my skin had a healthy color. It was a little surprising to see me still look so healthy, I had expected worse.
The sun was beginning to go down and I went out, chopping more wood to keep us warm. Then I heard something in the woods and I froze. I thought I heard a voice, but in a language that I couldn’t understand. It was Russian, I realized, when I heard the voice again. Did they see me? I wondered. I was beginning to panic. I took some wood pieces in my hands and ran back inside. I locked the door, knowing that a simple lock wouldn’t keep them outside if they wanted in.
“Elias, what’s wrong?” Aino asked, looking at me with worry in her blue eyes. I was breathing fast, leaning against the door. Sometimes Aino seemed so much older than her six years, just like now. I walked farther in and placed the wood pieces down on the floor, near the stove.
I looked at her, and I didn’t know what I should do. Then I walked over to them.
“Come here, both of you.” I told them and I tried to smile. I walked into the kitchen, their small hands in mine. “Let’s play a little game; you need to go down here and be as quiet as you can, the one who is quieter, wins a price.” I said forcing a smile. Olavi looked excited. I opened the door to a small cellar under our kitchen floor. “Now, just remember that whatever you hear, you must stay here and be very quiet.” I told them.
“What’s the prize?!” Olavi asked eagerly.
“I had saved a small piece of chocolate, the winner will get that. Now you must hurry.” I helped Olavi first down there, and then Aino, who didn’t seem to believe me. “Take care of our little brother, I need you to do this, Aino, I know that you’re a big girl already.” I whispered to her, sensing that she was about to ask me some questions. She looked at me, knowledge written all over her angelic face, and nodded her head.
“Be careful Elias, I love you.” She whispered back.
”I love you, too.” I told her. I placed a finger on my lips, shushed them, and I smiled to my little brother, who had no clue of the reality of things.
Once I had closed the door I hurried into the bedroom where my mom was.
“Mom, wake up. They’re coming, you need to hide.” I shook her arm, and she opened her tired eyes, looking sicker than ever before. She was sweating all over, and her face looked so white; her long, blond hair was damp with sweat.
“I can’t, I’m too tired, just save yourself, Elias, and leave me. They need you more.” She said; I couldn’t believe that she actually understood what I was telling her.
“No, mom, I can’t leave you at their mercy. Please get up, we have to at least try.” I was so tired that I had tears in my eyes as I tried to lift her up.
“Elias, just go and leave me, I’m dying, I can feel it…” She said. But how could I leave her? My own mother!
”No mom, you’re not dying, I won’t allow it.” I told her. My dad had made me promise to take care of her and I would, even if cost me my own life.
Then I heard it; the front door was forced open and people came inside. The door slammed shut behind them, leaving the cold winter wind outside. This was it, I would die, I thought. There was nothing left.
“Hello, anyone in here?” The voice asked with a Russian accent. I looked at my mother and she looked back at me, her blue eyes widening in fear. She took my hand as I was about to reveal myself to them.
“Elias, I love you.” She whispered.
“I love you, too, mother,” I replied with sadness. I released her warm hand and walked out of the bedroom. There were three men; one who was in his early twenties and two that were over thirty. They had brown winter army-jackets on and fur-hats, with the Russian flag on them. They all looked at me and I didn’t know what to do or say, so I just stood there, looking back at them. Waiting for my death, I tried to hide my fear.
“Well, well. So, there are people in here, is there anyone else here, boy?” One of the older men asked smirking; his Finnish was quite bad but at least he spoke it. I gritted my teeth, refusing to answer them. The man neared me and took a hold of my shirt collar. “Answer to me, boy!” He yelled in anger. One of the other men went into the bedroom and came back, saying something in Russian to the man that was holding me.
“It’s just me and my mother here.” I spoke then quickly. The man looked around and saw a few toys on the floor, I had forgotten all about them.
“What’s this then, don’t tell me that you’re still in a playing age?” His smile was amused and cruel at the same time.
“My younger sister and brother have just died.” I lied. He was still holding me.
He looked at me from head to toe.
“How old are you?”
“I’m sixteen. Please don’t hurt my mom, she’s sick, she needs me,” I pleaded. He smiled, turned to look at his friends, said something to them, and they laughed. I was scared, didn’t know what they would do.
“Is there something to eat here?” He asked then.
“We don’t have much, but I…I could give you something to eat, please just don’t hurt us,” I asked; he looked at me in a strange way.
“Vladimir will come with you into the kitchen,” he said then, and spoke to the younger man who came to me and pointed at me with his gun. “And you better not try anything stupid, boy; Vladimir here has a quick temper.” The man said and smirked.
The younger man followed me into the kitchen. I took some dark bread from the food closet, dried meat and a water can, hoping that Aino and Olavi would keep quiet, and they did. I brought the food to them into the living room, Vladimir following me close behind. I didn’t like the look of him nor did I feel comfortable about the way they were all looking at me. I placed the food on the table and then I noticed that the third man was missing; soon enough I heard my mother’s scream.
He dragged her into the living room with him and dropped her onto the couch. She was crying.
“Please, don’t hurt her, she is sick, for God’s sake!” I cried out. The man turned to look at me, smirking. He came closer and took a hold of me, he was touching my face and looking at me carefully. He said something in Russian to the others and smiled in a way I didn’t like. The way he was looking at me and touching me didn’t feel quite right.
“He said that you are pretty, pretty almost in a way that women are. Your lovely blond hair and bright green eyes…hmm, yes, I quite agree with him.” The other one said and laughed.
I looked at them in confusion; this was really starting to get too weird for me.
”I’m not pretty, I’m a man, and men are not pretty.” I said and once again gritted my teeth. I looked straight at the man who spoke my language. They could not scare me, I thought. The man laughed, and seemed to tell the others in Russian what I had just said. The others laughed too.
”You’re still a boy, and a very beautiful boy you are.” He said, and this only confused me more.
The man dragged me to sit on his lap in front of the table. His arm was around my waist. I looked over at my mother, and she looked back at me, seeming just as confused as I was. This definitely didn’t feel right.
“We wouldn’t hurt a sick woman, don’t worry, pretty one.” The man said as he took a piece of bread and ate. His eyes never left mine.
“Please, can I get a blanket for my mother? She’s cold, she has a fever,” I asked carefully. The man who understood me, nodded his head and told his friend in Russian to let me go. I rose and walked into the bedroom to get her the blanket. I came to her and covered her shivering body with it.
I knelt down on the floor, touching her face gently as she looked at me with worry. We both knew that there was something very strange going on, something odd in these men, but we weren’t sure what it was. They hadn’t killed me yet; the one thing I always expected to happen if we were found didn’t happen, and now I felt at a loss as to what to expect next. Maybe they were just prolonging it, maybe this really was my last night, our last night. What a strange feeling it was; I could be dead in less than an hour and all I knew was that I wanted to live.
I heard as one of them stood up, but I didn’t turn to look. I screamed when the man pulled me up and pushed me towards the table. He forced me to lie against it on my back. He grinned looking at my frightened face.
“Let my son free!” My mother tried to shout, but her voice was much too weak due to her illness to have any real affect.
“Shut up, bitch!” Was the harshly spoken response. He ran his hand over my face, down on my neck, further to my chest. My heart was beating wildly, I didn’t understand his reason to touch me like this. Of all the things that I feared, this had not been on that list and yet it felt more terrifying than any of my previous fears. I didn’t know, didn’t understand.
“Get off! Get your hands off!” I screamed, unable to care whether or not it was wise. His face was dirty, his beard was unshaven, he didn’t smell nice, either. I tried to squirm away and I might have screamed again, because the next thing I heard was my little brother’s crying.
The men looked towards the kitchen and I froze; my mother looked scared. The crying went on, and Vladimir rushed towards the room; the door flew open. I closed my eyes; Olavi and Aino were found and all I could do was to pray that my siblings wouldn’t be hurt by them.
“No! No! Go away, bad man!” It was Aino who screamed. They were dragged into the living room. Olavi was crying in fear and Aino was kicking and screaming against the young soldier.
The man who held me down looked at me.
“Well, well. You lied to us…bad boy.” He smirked.
“Please, they are just children, don`t hurt them.” I pleaded. He looked at me closely.
“What do you think of us? That us Russians are total barbarians? Children murderers?” He asked.
“I… No… but please, just let them go,” my heart was hammering in my chest, death seemed to linger somewhere close, but not close enough to make it clear. They were stalling, maybe they’d enjoy to see me bleed? To see me tortured? Maybe death wouldn’t come with a quick shot of a gun?
“This does make us mad though, your lying….” He started, then looked at my brother and sister and then back at me. My eyes met his, with a silent plea I looked at him, searching for the human that, to all my understanding, should have been there. Please, please let me live, any little that we have – take it and go, but let us live. It was all that I could think.
“Tell me, what would you do to save them?” He asked after a silence that had seemed to last for minutes. I turned my head towards my siblings; they were both crying silently now, understanding even less about this situation than I did. And my love for them… Their lives meant more to me than my own.
“I…I’ll do anything for them, please, just don’t hurt them,” was my answer.
“Anything?” He asked, one eyebrow raised.
“Y-yes.” His smile grew and he looked at his comrades, speaking to them in Russian, and their answers were followed by evil smirks. Vladimir was still holding my siblings.
He released his hold on me and I stood up carefully.
“Take off your clothes.” He said then. I thought that I didn’t hear him right, I prayed that I didn’t.
“You heard me, boy. Undress, now!” His voice was demanding. I stood there, trembling and looking at my family. My mother was crying, as were my small siblings.
“W-why?” I asked then.
“You`ll find that out soon, so don’t ask stupid questions, just do it.” They all had weird looks on their faces, they were waiting and watching. Would they force me naked and then shoot me, or what? I wondered.
“But my family is in here.” I tried. The man looked at all of them. My mother was too shocked to speak. Then he looked back at me.
“So I see, now do what I told you!”
I couldn’t believe this was happening. I started to remove my clothes slowly. First my socks, then my overshirt. I tried to buy some time, doing this as slowly as I could. I removed my undershirt, I looked at him; he smiled, nodded his head, and with the move of his hand told me to continue. My hands were trembling heavily as I removed my pants and underwear. And soon, there I was; naked like on the day when I was born. I tried to cover my private parts with my hands. I kept hoping that they would stop looking at me, but they didn’t. Why? Why? I questioned in my mind. Why this? What’s the reason? Only to humiliate me in front of them? In front of my family?
The man in front of me moved now behind me.
“Now, there is nothing to be ashamed of, pretty one.” He said and took a hold of my wrists, lifting my hands away to my sides; insecurely I followed this movement with my eyes. I felt like I was on display. His body was very close to mine, too close for my liking. I was in complete shock, I didn`t understand this, any of this. The other man moved closer and touched my chest, my stomach, his hands felt so rough on my skin. I cried silently. They talked to each other, I didn’t understand what they said.
“Don’t hurt my brother! Stop it!” Aino screamed as she saw my tears and distress.
The man looked at her and laughed.
“It’s all right little one, your brother likes this.” He said.
“No! Let him go!” She kept saying. The man moved his hand around me, pressing me harder against him. I could feel something hard pressing to my lower back. He forced me to lay my head against his shoulder. He was smelling me, I could feel his breath on my neck. His other hand was on my chin, keeping my head back as he kissed my neck. I swallowed back a sob.
“Now, I think this is not something for little children to see, should I sent them away, pretty one?” He asked me, whispering. My lips were trembling, eyes too filled with tears to see right. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I guess I already knew, but the knowledge didn’t want to reach my conscious, it was much too horrifying, much too strange and new for me to fully accept.
“Y-yes.” I finally forced the answer from my lips.
He said something to the younger soldier, and he dragged my siblings with him into the kitchen, closing the door behind them.
“Better, pretty one?” He asked.
“Mmmh…” It was all I could manage to say. He sat down, holding me on his lap.
“Can you feel that, pretty one?” He asked, his voice sounded so odd, he was pressing me harder against the hard thing and then it dawned on me what it was. I gasped in surprise. He was hard, he was aroused? By this?! But I was a man!
“Please…” My voice was already broken, his lips moved on the skin of my neck, a tongue that traced the line and I shuddered in disgust and fear. Moans, his breathing, the tongue in my ear and my eyes were tightly closed and my mind desperately tried to assure me that it was not really happening. It couldn’t be happening, not to me.
“Let him go! Let my son go, don’t touch him.” My mother cried, she tried to get up and get to me, but she only fell onto the floor. They just laughed at her.
“Help her…” I tried, but they did not listen.
I felt his hand move down on my front, on my crotch. He took a hold of my penis and started massaging it roughly. I cried out in pain and shock. He laughed against my ear, holding on to me, preventing every attempt to escape.
“Yes, scream for me boy… do you like it?”
I shook my head desperately and felt as the other approached, my eyes flickered open. A cruel smirk on the dirty face of the enemy. A click of a belt when he unzipped his pants and pulled out his hard organ. He walked even closer, until I was face to face with it.
I looked at it; the scary, horrible thing. I had never seen other man’s organ like this, looking like that. I turned my face away from it as the assault on my own limp penis continued. My head was forced to turn back
“Open your mouth…” The man holding me whispered. The other was pressing his cock against my closed lips and I tried to turn my head away again. “Open.” He said again and pinched my nose shut so that I couldn`t breath, and I had to part my lips. As soon as I did that, the cock was pushed in. It tasted salty, it tasted horrible. I was too shocked to think straight, he was pushing in and out, using me, and I thought I would choke, throw up, die, something.
“No…stop…no…” My mother was crying, she could see all of this and she couldn’t do anything to help me, and I couldn’t protect her from seeing this. It was the most horrible part of it. The man holding me said something to the other and he took his cock out. I felt relieved at first, but then I felt it, something down there on my ass, pushing in, something wet; his finger. It hurt and I tried to squirm away, but to no avail. I cried out in pain and soon another finger went in, and it hurt even worse. I was gasping.
“Take them out! Stop! No, no…!” I cried, but he just laughed and added a third finger. I was throwing my head side to side, I thought I would go mad from the pain.
“You think this is bad, pretty one? Just wait and see what comes next.” He whispered and laughed. He forced me to turn around on his lap, my face against his, my legs on either side of him. He opened his pants and then he lowered them, my ass meeting his naked skin. Then he lifted me up slightly, holding my hips up, then lowered me back down a little. I felt the big, hard thing against my opening and I tried to move away from it, but I couldn’t. His comrade helped him, taking a hold of his friend’s cock and guiding it better against me. The other one lowered me more and it started to go inside me.
The pain was terrible. I screamed, I couldn’t think anymore. I distantly heard my brother and sister’s crying and my mother’s crying, but the pain was all that I could concentrate on.
“Stop, stop! Hurts, stop! Oh, God make this stop!” I screamed. He pushed me all the way down. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I never thought that something like this could happen. Another man was using me, taking my virginity in this brutal way. He started moving me up and down, not caring about my cries of pain. He was moaning and I felt helpless. I couldn’t stop this, and this was much worse than death, I thought.
He pressed me firmly against himself and groaned from sick pleasure. His hot seed was released inside me. He pushed me onto the floor like I was nothing and at this point I was silently praying that I would just die, that they would just shoot me. There wasn’t much time to rest. Soon the other lifted me up, shoved me roughly against the table onto my stomach, and thrust his cock in. I screamed again and then cried. The horrible slapping sound, his moans, my family’s cries. I tried to tell myself that I was just in a horrible nightmare, but I wasn’t.
The kitchen door opened. I heard little running steps nearing.
“Stop! Bad man! He hurts! Stop!” I heard my little sister’s panicked voice screaming. She had no idea of what was really happening, what they were doing. She just saw me pressed against the table and this Russian soldier moving on top of me, moaning, as I was crying. She just knew that I was hurting because of him.
“Now, now. Don’t cry little one, let’s play with your toys. Your brother is fine, don’t worry, my comrade is just playing a little game with him.” The man who had just raped me spoke to them gently.
The man who was raping me now squeezed my neck hard and moaned from pleasure as he came inside me. He pulled out and I could feel the semen dripping down on my legs. I just didn’t have the strength to move.
Finally, weakly, I tried to pull myself up, my hands going against the surface of the table, but then the youngest man, Vladimir, came to me and stopped my weak efforts. He said something to me in Russian and he turned me around to face him.
He pushed me back to lie on the table, this time onto my back, my legs hung in the air, on each side of him.
“Vladimir just wants to play with your brother, too.” The man said to my sister when she started crying again.
I was once more penetrated, and this man was different. He kissed my lips as he was fucking me. I was too tired to resist anymore, it would happen, he would use me and then it would be over. I didn’t scream anymore, though the pain was still horrid. I just cried with no sound, listening to his moans, listening to the sound of the Russian who comforted my siblings and tried to play with them, with their toys. My mom; I heard her quiet cries on the cold floor somewhere. It would be likely that she would indeed die soon of her illness, and this was the memory that she would go to the grave with. I felt sick.
When the third man came inside me, I let myself fell onto the floor and I curled up as small as I could. I thought that I would die simply because of the pain that they inflicted on me. There I lied, glazed eyes staring into the emptiness, on the cold floor of my childhood home and everything was forever changed.
I distantly heard my sister as she called my name in despair, but it almost felt like it was coming from another room, no strength to move, no will to think of what I had just gone through and what it would mean. I was dying I thought, surely I would die here, and I almost prayed that I would because of course it must have been better than my current state where all I could feel was pain.
“Elias…” The voice was broken with a sob, but determinedly the name was repeated over and over again, followed by a sorrowful cry. I turned my head, towards the voice of my sister. She was screaming, desperately trying to free herself from the hold in order to get to me. They needed me, ‘they need you Elias’ must get up, must continue, must survive. They needed me; slowly I forced myself to move, my hands against the floor, slowly lifting myself. A pained cry escaped from my lips. They needed me, I couldn’t give up, it was for them I forced myself to move and for them I would take the necessary steps. One day the war would end, would I get to see it? I doubted, but for them I wanted to try.
“Dress yourself!” My clothes were throw onto the floor in front of me whit the harshly spoken command. My hands were shaking, a pile had rose to my throat and I couldn’t swallow it down. Trembling lips, salty tears. What just happened? My mind kept asking, but I wasn’t sure if I could ever find a satisfying reply to give myself.
Was I a man anymore? After they had used me like a woman? What am I now? I kept asking, but still, no answer came to my mind. My eyes were stinging, the whole room was blurry but yet I concentrated to the only thing I could; dressing, covering my body from the beasts that had torn it.
A feeling of weariness, helpless despair, was there no one that could come to our help?
I was pulled up, only seconds after I had finished dressing.
“Put on your coat and shoes on too, you`re coming with us.” I looked at the man in fright then quickly at my siblings that were crying helplessly, my mother, who could hardly keep her eyes open anymore
“Please, no,” I cried weekly, “you already had me, please, my family, they need me, please.” I didn’t care anymore, I was already broken, what use it was to try and act brave?
“The children will have their mother.” The man laughed as he took a strong hold of my arm.
“I won`t go, no!” My siblings would die whithout me, I though, they needed me.
“I can shoot your family too, would you like that?” He was not a man, he was a monster. I shook my head, there was nothing, nothing I could do.
“L-let me at least say goodbye to them.”
“Fine.” He said, releasing his hold on me.
My mother… forcibly I swallowed my tears down as I approached her. We were dying, it was not the way it was suppose to end. My feet’s felt heavy, pain was stabbing me inside, but yet somehow my feet’s moved me, somehow I found the strength to lift her up on the couch from the cold floor. Mother deserved better, she deserved honor, she deserved… Her eyes hardly stayed open, her face almost white, darkness under her eyes, she had been beautiful, she had been warm, loving, her laughter… her arms, her warmth… and as I touched her, I knew it was the last time. How hot her skin felt, almost burning… a choked cry, I hardly realised that it was my own. Her breathing; slow, uneasy, her lips opening, trying to speak, but the voice was already gone. Her hand touched mine, her fingers… she was trying to squeeze it, but her strength was much too weak. She didn’t however, need to say it, for me to know.
“Sleep mother, father will come home tomorrow, you’ll need your strength.” I finally whispered, forcing a smile, my hand brushed the damp hair that had clued to her forehead and I saw her smile, as weak as it was, it was a smile.
“Armas…h-home” She spoke my fathers name, whit a voice that was hardly loud enough to hear.
“Yes, the war is over and people will return, it won’t be cold no longer,” What were lies now when she was already on her way to heaven to him? And had I not felt that my lips were stained, I would have kissed her, but I could not stain her whit what they had done to me. “Sleep,” I whispered and when she close her eyes, I closed mine. Reluctantly, I let go of her weakening hand. She was a sleep and I doubted that she would wake again.
I turned my face to my brother and sister, they were still, watching me, the fear so obvious that it broke my heart even more. I somehow made my way to them, somehow I managed to smile. They still had hope even though ours was gone, but what a small hope it was! She was six, he was four, they were so small.
Her hand reached forward to wipe the tears away, and her touch felt so soft after being violated by them, her blue eyes…
“Elias…I`m scared.” She whispered. I brought my hands on her small shoulders.
“I know. We need to be strong now, okay?” she gave me a nod of her head. “I have to go, and…” I started.
“No! You can`t go! No, don`t leave us!” She screamed in panic, her small hands wrapped themselves around me. I did not want to leave them, if there had been a chance, I would have made a run whit them, but had I done it, we all would have been killed.
“I do not want to leave you, but sometimes we do not get to choose. Just remember that I love you, okay?” I whispered instead, “if I haven`t returned back here in two days, then you need to leave here, understand?” I lowered my voice even more, so that they could not hear us. She gave me a small nod, but did not let go.
“I have hidden some food, remember when I show you where it was?” I asked, another nod. “Take as much as you can with you, dress as warmly as you can. When the sun rises on Wednesday morning, leave then. Head to southwest, you remember where it was?” Another nod. “Stay a way from open places, travel throughout the daylight. When you reach to another village, or into a town, go find people, and ask their help. If you see soldiers on your way, listen what language they speak, see their clothing, if they are one of us, then go to them, but make sure. I trust on you Aino, I know you can do this and take care of Olavi.” I placed my hands on her small shoulders to look at her, waiting for that firm nod that I knew she would give me and she did.
“But where will you go Elias? These are bad men, I do not want to loose you.” She said.
“I’ll go with them, but I`ll be alright, don`t worry about me. Remember that I love you two, always. The ones we love, are never truly gone, even if we can`t see them. I`ll always be with you.” I whispered and took off my golden cross necklace. I took her hand and closed it inside her palm. “This is yours now, keep it until we see again.” She looked at it and threw her arms around me once more, soft innocent lips gave a kiss on my cheek and I knew that it was the last time we’d see each others in this life. I expected to die, after the men would take me outside, I expected them to shoot me and leave my body to the cold forest for the wild animals to take.
I turned my eyes to my brother, and reached to take him to my arms, the small boy was still sobbing. “Hey, it`s alright little fellow. You be a good boy now, and listen to your sister. We must be brave like soldiers now.” I offered a small smile to him, smile that I hoped to be comforting.
“It`s quite enough now.” The man said pulling me up. And as they pointed me and my family whit guns, I slowly and reluctantly got dressed in my outdoor clothes. When it was done, the youngest man came to me and bound my wrist tightly behind my back. I was saying goodbye to my childhood home, to everything I had known. I would not return, it was the last I’d see my family and inside I felt… What did I feel? It felt hard to breath, I felt like I was choking, my head was pounding, and my heart… My heart was racing, I was going to die, they would kill me and I had hardly started living. I was roughly forced forward, forced out whit them and the last I heard leaving home was the voice of my sister, calling my name out in despair.
The snow on the ground was heavy, flashlights guided our way in the darkness of the forest.
I would have fallen over several times, if the man hadn`t keep such a firm hold of me
I felt numb, weary, death seemed to be lurking around the corner, watching me and I wondered how far I would have to walk, before it would take me. I feared for it and yet called for it to come and take the pain away. My eyes searched for comfort from the surrounding darkness, I found non. The coldness, on my toes, tingling on my cheeks, my fingers. The pain that they had left me with was the worst. How long would I have to keep walking?
My sense of time had disappeared, I grew more tired, more weary, finally my feet’s failed from under me and the man lifted me up on his shoulder like I weighted nothing at all. He laughed, spoke something and slapped my sore bum. They all laughed, and strong wave of hate flashed through my heart, but I was helpless, too numb and too weak to fight.
The light of the camp woke me. I didn’t know how long we had walked, but I knew, that we were on their side now, my home was close to the boarder. I saw the warm orange light of the camp fire, big army tents near.
The man threw me onto the cold, snowy ground and I struggled to get up on my knees. Someone grasped my hair into a strong hold. I felt the warmth of the fire on my face, I moaned from pain, tears filling my eyes. The men gathered around the fire and looked at me in wonder and curiosity.
”’Look what we found.”’ The man spoke to the others in Russia. They all looked me closely, my eyes widened from fear.
”’Where did you find this one?”’ A man with dark face and an unpleasant smile stepped closer than the others. He looked at the man holding me and smirked, his attention was drawn back on me. A harsh, dirty hand reached out to touch my cheek. I shuttered, breathing fast, blinking my eyes and tried in vain to escape the touch. The men laughed and what a cruel laughter it was! Cheering for my missery, my misfortune!
”’Pretty, such soft skin…”’ The man touched my hair, smelled it, I trembled even more. ”’Mmm… So clean, a pretty, young piece of meat.”’ The man caressed my lips with his fingers. I close my eyes and cried, not understanding the words that were spoken, but knowing that I had ended up in a place far worse than death. They would want to play their sick game with me and I would suffer. I kept hoping that I was only seeing a nightmare and that I would soon wake up in my own bed, but I felt cold, I felt pain and I could smell them clearly; for a dream, I felt too much.
”’He`s a civilian, isn`t he?”’ I turned my face to other strange voice, a voice of a man who sounded angry. I saw a young man, with dark eyes, looking at me and then to the men who had brought me here. He was tall, fit and handsome.
”’Why yes Volkov, he is.”’ The man holding me spoke.
”’My God, he`s just a kid, how old is he anyway?”’ He stepped closed, the fire showing his face more clearly and I could tell that he wasn’t happy at all.
”’He`s sixteen, in perfectly good age, I think. We already had a little fun with him, thought that he could keep us warm during these cold nights. We`ll take him with us when we leave here tomorrow. ”’ ¨
”’Say what you will, but this is not right, I will not have any part of this. What if someone finds out? This would not look good for our army.”’
”’You should think more carefully of how you speak to your superiors Volkov, no one will talk about this, this is war, we can take what we want… However. I am willing to let go your insolent attitude for now, but do remember your place in the future. Now, I command you to take our prisoner inside the tent, bind him, if he runs, it`s your neck on the line.”’ The young man was silent, his dark eyes flasing in the light of the fire, angry, yet helpless frown on his handsome features. And then, finally, he spoke. Gave an unknown answer to an unkown question.
”As you wish Lieutenant.”
He dragged me inside the tent. There was a stove, keeping the inside warm, he forced me to sit down, and bound my hands around the pole in the middle. Then, still kneeling in front of me, he sighed, looking at me more closely and I found myself unable to look away.
”This war creates sorrowful victims out of the innocents.” He whispered. Understanding nothing, I only blinked my eyes, scared out of my mind of what would happen now that I was here. ”You must be scared, I know, poor boy. I wish I could help you, but I can’t. I’m sorry…” He said then, smiled weakly and left.
Alone, left alone, but seeing the sleeping bags on the ground, seeing their bags, seeing… I wouldn’t be alone for long and the thought scared me more. What would they do to me? How long would I have to suffer? And I cried, hung my head down and cried. Why me? Why was it happening to me?