Belaja Smert

Image Credit: Steve S., Marblehead, MA      Stalin has been paranoid. What a surprise.      This time, he’s been worrying about Finland. He’s been worrying that they’re planning to invade Leningrad, since they’re so close to it. He came up with a “brilliant” plan: to demand the Finns to hand over large swathes of their land, to form a demilitarized zone between the two of us.      Finland’s answer: ei (no).      And so, Stalin turned to the most logical, rational response: to invade them.      Thus, here I am. I’ve been dragged out of my poorly-made shack in the middle of nowhere, to march into Finland. It’s currently early January, the year 1940. We marched for quite a while, down one of the few roads available, and we made it to Kollaa about a month ago. Things have not been going well.      There are very few roads in the area, and they’re all guarded by the Finns, so we aren’t very mobile. The Finns, however, are very skilled with skis, and need not worry about roads or guards. We outnumber them 4 to 1, but they all wear snow camouflage, whereas we wear the brown uniform of The Red Army, making us very visible. All of the good Russian commanders were killed of in the Great Terror, so all of our commanders are loyal to the Party, but incompetent. Furthermore, the Finns have White Death. We don’t know his name. Few of us have even seen his face. Yet, he terrifies us all. He’s killed over 100 of us so far, and with no signs of stopping. Our artillery and tanks still can’t beat a single man with a rifle and skis.      After weeks of fighting without much progress, we’ve decided to attempt to penetrate the Finnish defence line. We’ve tried it before, but we don’t have much of a choice.      I’m marching through Kallaa. Not too much has happened. We still have quite a way to go.      I think I just saw a glint of sunlight out of the corner of my eye. Almost like something metal.      Well, nothing has happened yet, so I probably shouldn’t wor- [At this point, Simo Hayha, known by the Soviets as Belaja smert, marks another tally into his journal, the fifth today, and skis away in silence.]



DANIEL QUILLEN: Death Sentence

Death comes creeping slowly, quietly, closer and closer. My Priest says not to worry about it, that the pain will only be momentary. But what does he know? He’ll still be alive. Ever closer the fatal date creeps, until at last it is here. Time to take my math final. Daniel Quillen is a retired … Continue reading DANIEL QUILLEN: Death Sentence →

AUTUMN BOLTE: Young Adult

Turn on lo-fi music. Drive my car so I can nap. Wake me up anyways to kiss. Roll down the windows, wind tangling my hair. Take me later for a bike ride; take me anywhere. Let me pick scabs off my knees without judgement. Let me be a kid again. Autumn Bolte is an undergraduate … Continue reading AUTUMN BOLTE: Young Adult →

SUSAN GALE WICKES: Harry the Magnificent

“Harry the Magnificent” the sign read. “You’ll be amazed by his magic fingers” it added. “Oh, please,” I thought. “I’ve never been amazed by any carnival magician.” The act was boring, bland. Harry’s claims, however, were spot on. I was amazed to discover my wallet and watch were both missing. Susan Gale Wickes lives in … Continue reading SUSAN GALE WICKES: Harry the Magnificent →

STORY OF THE WEEK: June 23

The story of the week for June 17 to 21 is… The View After the Climb by Bob Thurber

LAURA BESLEY: Her Glorious Face

Every morning, on the 8:04, I look for her face. Sometimes I see individual stars, but never the entire constellation. This is her train. The train that took her face and scattered her stars into the darkness around it. All I want is to see her face one more time. Laura Besley writes short fiction … Continue reading LAURA BESLEY: Her Glorious Face →