24 July 2012

Kanzler's Flash Fiction: Deliverance

Image retrieved from pxleyes.com

Note: The following short story is an entry in the July 2012 edition of WritingForums.com's Literary Maneuvers competition, where it finished 6th out of 16 entries. To view this entry as it appears in the competition, click here.

23 June 1941 03:57 AM
Northwest of East Prussia, near Soviet Lithuania

Wehrmachtskommandantur, this is General Erich Hoepner of the 4th Panzer Group.”

“Copy, General Hoepner. This is Commander von Leeb.”

“Sir, we are ready to engage the northwestern front attack of Operation Barbarossa. Any final commands?”

“None, general. Proceed as planned - Take no prisoners, eliminate all targets.”

Erklart, commander. Fur das Reich. Hoepner, out.”

* * *
23 June 1941 07:24 AM
Raseiniai, Soviet Lithuania

Nine-year-old Nikita was playing just outside their hut in one of the small farms of Raseiniai with her favorite doll, hand-sewn by her own Motina. The doll looked rugged and beat, since it was already old, but Nikita treasured it for it was the only toy her parents could afford to give her.

Life hadn’t been easy for them. Purges were held almost every week by the NKVD – Soviet’s SS – and they were lucky to have escaped such brutal tortures and killings. Just two weeks ago, one of Nikita’s friends, Andriy, was shot in the head by a single bullet. His family was killed the same way. Andriy was ten.

While playing with her doll, Nikita heard an unusual, mechanical, rattling sound. It looked as if today was another purge day. Nikita moved to tie her worn shoes, but decided it would take too much time. She quickly ran to her Motina, who was some yards away in the fields. She was tending to their crops.

Motinamotina!” Yelled Nikita as she ran to her mother.

“What is the problem, little one?”

“I could hear tanks! They’re coming! We need to run! We need to hide!”

Nikita could see her mother’s eyes grew wide at the sound of tanks. Her mother quickly grabbed her by the arms and both raced towards their hut. While they did, Nikita saw the laundry basket on the ground still full of clothes needed to be hung and dried. She guessed they could be done later, when the purges were over.

Once inside, she and her mother quickly went to a small spot in the corner. Nikita’s mother knelt and felt the ground with her hands, as if reaching for something. There it was, the hidden door latch that lead to the underground bunker Nikita’s father made roughly a year ago.Motina quickly opened it and both rushed inside.

Once they were both in, Nikita’s mother closed the latch shut, and both waited. Nikita could still remember roughly six months ago during one of those purges. The whole family hadn’t anticipated it, and was caught off-guard. Usually, they heard of news from nearby farms and villages. Not that night. They rushed towards the bunker, but the Soviet NKVD was close on their tail. Nikita’s father had to stall the soldiers so his family could quickly hide.

He was found in the fields the next morning dead with his eyes gouged out.


The sound seems too loud for a couple of tanks. This wasn’t the NKVD… This was obviously something else. Nikita saw her mother smile while looking at the bunker hatch door.

“What is it, mother?”

“I’ve heard it from our neighbors. The Germans were said to be coming, get Stalin out of his post, free us from him!”

Nikita smiled. “No more purges?”

“No more.”

“Then let’s go welcome them!”

Nikita’s mother nodded. Both of them rushed out of the bunker and out their hut. Sure enough, they saw multitudes of tanks with German insignias running through the dirt road of Raseiniai. Nikita’s mother waved at them. 

Suddenly, one of the tanks stopped and aimed its shooter toward them. Before both could react, the tank fired. The shot blew everything within the area apart – the hut, the laundry basket, some of the crops, the frail bodies of Nikita and her mother.

The clotheslines, intriguingly so, remained. 

Hung on them was one of Nikita’s shoes.

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