The mist spread over the bombed out city. It was low level and gave an eerie look to the landscape. This area of the city had been bombed out so much that no building stood intact.

He hid behind a slab of concrete. His rife and scope were barely sticking out. His spotter was in the field. He had known Ivan for two years. He was good and had now outlived most of the other spotters. The average lasted six months. The spotter was out there trying to make the enemy expose their position. The enemy in this case and to his knowledge was Dmitri Karamazov. On the side of the Red Army he was considered a hero of mythical proportions. He supposedly had twenty-six kills. He also had a spotter somewhere out there. Boris’ mission was to kill Dmitri   there might have been others out there but in the past six months this area had become barren with less and less active activities. At this point the game if you wish to call it that had dwindled down to the two best. Dmitri versus Boris. Boris was no novice.   He also had twenty plus kills.

It had been a long and the war had caused the men in it who had survived to be smothered in death. No longer was there hope, just despair. Boris did not care anymore. He had become a fatalist and calmly awaited the bullet with his name on it. He allowed his concentration to waiver just for a second. He heard the shot and for a second recoiled. He had not caught where it came from. He heard Ivan scream in pain as the bullet hit his leg. The enemy knew not to kill Ivan outright. The screaming might make Boris unnerved. Dmitri had become cold to screams but he counted on Boris still having a conscious. He was wrong. The war had taken away his moral objectives. When the soul is dead the flesh will soon follow.

The bullet had gone through the upper thigh and the pain was immense. Ivan knew he was eventually going too bled out. He was a dead man and he knew it. He pulled his side arm and calmly pulled the trigger. His part in the game was over and with his last thought in his mind he was finally at peace.

Boris thought of what a waste. If Ivan had to die at least he should have died for a purpose. But nothing came out of his sacrifice. His job was not fulfilled and Boris still did not know where the sniper was. Then he noted the enemy’s spotter. He was in white and slowly moving between two large rocks. He lined him up. He was about ready to shoot when the dogs came.

In this area the pack of dogs roamed going from rotting corpse to any food source available. The dogs, a group of five, spotted the spotter and smelled fresh meat. The dogs could detect fear and obviously this person reeked of terror. The dogs appeared to be a mixture of wolf hound and Siberian husky.   Big and hungry. Their teeth gnashed as their thoughts were only on tearing the one in white into shreds and hungrily devouring choice pieces of meat. The person in white could see the danger. The dogs were close now and he stood up putting up his arms in a defensive stance. One dog was super aggressive and grabbed a hand. Shrieks peeled through the afternoon. Boris felt a surge of hate for the dogs. A few moments ago he was going to put a bullet into the spotter and let him suffer the same fate as Ivan. Now the concept of allowing this person being destroyed and ravaged by dogs disgusted him. He aimed and fired. Even as he did he realized he might be giving his position away. He just did not care anymore. He actually welcomed death as long as it was quick and efficient.

His bullet hit the dog hanging on the spotter and made it jump. Its jaws were still attached to the material of the jacket but the animal was now limp and dragged the persons arm down. The second dog attacked. Boris could not understand why he had not been shot. Then he heard the recoil but to his amazement it hit the second dog in midair. The dog went down with a thud. Boris had now reloaded and got the third dog which was in the process of thinking whether to attack or not. A fourth shot came out and the fourth dog was dispatched. The fifth dog ran away and Boris did not bother with a final shot. The spotter had literally sat down in plain sight. A dog attached to his arm. Boris was sure he had suffered damage but what happened next amazed even him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a white flag attached to a rifle. Dmitri had called a truce. Dmitri stood up and was heading to the spotter. Boris did not know what to think. He crawled away not joining the other two. He headed back to his safe area confused. On the way he buried his extra ammunition. This was always a good excuse to return to the safety of home base.

Getting back took six hours. When he finally returned he could see joy on some to the faces. The war was over. Peace was in the air. He was debriefed and told of the sacrifice of Ivan. Maybe something could be sent to his parents to make up for his death. As he was being interviewed word came in that he had dispatched Dmitri. It was not true but since it was the end he went along with the rumor. His side needed a hero and this fit the bill. Weeks later he was awarded the League of the Lenin Star. This was indeed an honor and to keep his mouth shut also gave him a stipend of money per month for the rest of his life. It was strange because the other side did not challenge the rumor. Dmitri seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth. His body was not found but then again there were so many bodies in such bad condition that identification was extremely difficult. They did find his gun near a body but it was so deteriorated that identification of the corpse could not be made. It was assumed to be Dmitri.

Years and years past. Boris got old. He never married and in fact became a recluse. Finally he was put into a facility that took care of the old who had been in that conflict so long ago. He had few possessions and no family. Three years later at the age of eighty four he received a visitor. It was his first visitor and he had no idea who he was. The young man explained that his dad had made him promise to look up Boris. His dad was the mysterious Dmitri. Dmitri had gone underground wanting to escape the recognition of being a killer. He just wanted to go back to the farm and live a normal life. He was hidden by his friends in the back territory. Boris did not care. He felt the young man was just an annoyance and told him so. “No, you have me wrong, I am here to thank you.”

“For what?” Boris hissed.

“For not killing my future mother.”

Then Boris understood the spotter was a woman, Dmitri must have made her his woman and the young man?

“I am the grandson of Dmitri. Without you I would not exist. That is all I wish to say.” He stood up to leave.

“Wait, I have something for you.” Boris had the young man go into a drawer and take out a small package. “You might as well have this because it will probably be thrown out after I am gone.”

Boris died a week later. But in a room near Moscow in the house of Dmitri’s grandson is an award. A slice of the war that makes as little sense as the war itself.


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