WeWriWa—The River Bug

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, where participants share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m sharing from my current WIP, the third saga-length novel of my Russian/North American historicals. This comes from Part II, in the thick of the chapters devoted to the fates of the characters who remained in the Soviet Union and weren’t expecting to one day be betrayed by the Revolution.

It’s now June of 1937, and Inessa Zyuganova, a 27-year-old former orphanage girl who was adopted by her de facto single parent uncle, is making her way into Poland to join the rest of her immediate family. She has her two children with her, 7-year-old Andrey and 3-year-old Veronika, named for her parents, and her old friend Inna’s 5-month-old half-orphaned nephew Damir.

While crossing the River Bug in the middle of the night, Inessa found five NKVD agents shadowing them and made a run for it, with Damir fastened to her back in a cradleboard. During her flight, she was shot in the leg and tripped. Though Inessa hasn’t had anything to do with religion in a good 20 years, she’s so frantic she calls out for Divine mercy. Her prayer is speedily, unexpectedly answered.


Through her fuzzy senses, she can hear ten more popping noises, followed by loud splashes.  She’s barely cognizant of anything by the time she feels a soft hand on her shoulder and another hand on her hand.  She can only dimly hear Veroníka and Damir crying hysterically.

“This is your cousin Matviyko.  You’re safe now.  You’re in Poland.  I’m going to drive you to the hospital in Lublin, the nearest large city.  It only takes about thirty minutes if I speed.”


If you’re wondering, Matviyko isn’t the man who shot the NKVD agents.


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