by Anatoly Belilovsky
read by Tatiana Gomberg
Originally published in the Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk.
Lying on the riverbank in a puddle of blood and melting snow, she listens for the sounds of gunfire, the roar of engines, the clatter of tank tracks, anything to say she is not alone. She no longer feels her hands, though she can see her right hand on the trigger of her Tokarev-40, the index finger frozen into a hook. She no longer feels pain where the shell splinter tore into her belly, only cold. Cold comfort, too, in the bodies scattered on the ice beyond the riverbank, eleven black specks against relentless white, eleven fewer Waffen SS, eleven plus two hundred and three already in the killbook makes two hundred and three fewer who could threaten —
Her mind’s eye projects a glimpse of Selim’s face against the night, then all is dark again.
She listens, and hears a friendly sound.
The little dog Ohori is barking.
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Anatoly Belilovsky is a Russian-American author and translator of speculative fiction. He was born in a city that went through six or seven owners in the last century, all of whom used it to do a lot more than drive to church on Sundays; he is old enough to remember tanks rolling through it on their way to Czechoslovakia in 1968. After being traded to the US for a shipload of grain and a defector to be named later (see Wikipedia, Jackson-Vanik amendment), he learned English from Star Trek reruns and went on to become a paediatrician in an area of New York where English is only the fourth most commonly used language. His original work appeared or will appear in the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, Ideomancer, Nature Futures, Stupefying Stories, Immersion Book of Steampunk, Daily SF, Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, and Genius Loci anthology, and has been podcast by Cast of Wonders, Tales of Old, and Toasted Cake; his translations from Russian have sold to F&SF, Year’s Best SF #32 (edited by Gardner Dozois,) Grimdark, and Kasma. He blogs about writing at loldoc.net.
Tatiana Gomberg is a New York City based actress of stage, screen, and of course, the audio booth. Learn more about her at tatianagomberg.com.