Here’s the latest addition to Snow Can Kill! Stay tuned for updates about Iron and Ice once this chapter is finished.
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Snow Can Kill Pt. 8
The Roxolan pilot stirred and turned his head to face Dimitri. They regarded each other in silence for a moment before the wounded man spoke.
Dimitri frowned. “What?”
The other man nodded to his wounded arm. “Thank you for patching me up. It would have been much easier to just shoot me and be done with it.” He smiled weakly. “A lesser man would not help an enemy.”
“Let’s not get too cozy. You’re still an enemy prisoner, and I’m still going to take you back to our base.” He smiled tightly. “You may not be thanking me after the intelligence officers get a hold of you.”
The Roxolan shrugged. “It’s better than being dead. Where there is life, there is hope. The smallest chance to continue forward is better than no chance at all.” He adjusted his wounded arm before continuing. “Besides, this will not last forever.”
Dimitri snorted. “It’s lasted a pretty long while so far.”
The Roxolan shook his head. “It will end. Sooner or later, someone will decide to stop fighting. When that happens…” He leaned forward and towards Dimitri. His eyes were bright now, full of conviction. “When that happens my friend, it will all fall apart. It only takes one to step down and say, ‘This is ridiculous.’ We could be the most powerful nation on this planet, but we kill each other over frivolous differences.” The Roxolan frowned. “He is a communist. He is a Jew. He comes from the East. It all means nothing. We are killing for nothing.” He sighed and settled back against the hatch. “You’ll see. Someday this will all end and we will realize what fools we have been.”
Dimitri stared at the swirling eddies of snow as they danced across the surface of the mech. This conflict had started long before he had been born. It had been hundreds of years since there had been real peace. Of course there were cease-fires, truces, and alliances, but in the end they all broke apart, and the violence continued. Sometimes the face of the enemy changed. Sometimes it was a former ally who had gotten mistrustful of the other’s power. The Roxolans hadn’t always been his enemies. They had been allied against the Cossacks once, but as soon as victory was in sight, fear of the Roxolans new power brought about betrayal and war between their people. The Roxolans had not suspected that their allies would launch a crippling sneak attack. Crushing the Roxolan’s was supposed to be quick and easy, a sure path to securing his own country’s dominance. Dimitri had been a boy of seven years at the time.
Dimitri found it impossible to believe that all the hate and anger could be dissipated as easily as the other man said. If it was that simple, then surely it would have happened by now. But, the desire for an end to the conflict was real enough. He truly wanted to believe that during his lifetime, the war would end, and there would be peace. But he knew that everybody thought that. Everyone who had ever lived wanted to believe that their generation was special, that they would be the ones to finally end the conflict. New generations always imagined that they were smarter than their predecessors, and that they would succeed where countless others had failed. It was a foolish and naive belief.
But Dimitri still hoped that it was true.
Beside him, Yanin began to stir. Dimitri touched his shoulder lightly. “Yanin, you awake?”
“Mmm. Nope. I’m dead,” he slurred. Yanin giggled and then groaned from the pain it caused. “Had a little drink.” He shook his head slowly. “Don’t feel so good.”
“I know. We need to get you back to base. You need help. In more ways than one.”
Yanin looked up sharply, but his anger quickly melted into a lopsided smile. “Well let’s go then. What are we doing out here? My ass cheeks are gonna be stuck to the metal if we don’t move.”
“I’m trying to figure out what to do with our transportation problem.”
Yanin frowned. “We can squeeze into your ride. It won’t be comfortable, but I guess I’ll have to sit on your lap. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody.” He giggled and winced again. He began to push himself laboriously to his feet.
Dimitri stood, brushing snow from his pants. He walked over to the Roxolan pilot. “That’s not it. There are three of us. I was thinking that if we tossed out some of the equipment and spare ammo from the storage rack and pack it with my overcoat, we might be able to put him-”
With a smooth movement, Yanin pulled out his service pistol and fired. Dimitri hadn’t even realized that Yanin had moved before the shot rang out. The Roxolan pilot’s head snapped back, bouncing off the hatch. He slumped over, a neat hole in his temple. The hatch was painted red with blood and clumps of hair mixed with brain matter. Dimitri stood frozen, looking back and forth between the smoking pistol and the bloody corpse.
Yanin stuffed the pistol back in its holster and flashed a toothy grin. “There, problem solved. Let’s go.”