Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. These are the opening lines of the second chapter of my alternative history WIP, And Aleksey Lived, depicting the morning after that never happened in real life. Thirteen-year-old Aleksey wakes up to a much different reality than he’s gotten used to during the last 78 days of captivity, and doesn’t realize at first that this isn’t make-believe.
This has been slightly edited to fit 8 lines.
Bright sunlight streamed in through the two windows in Alekséy’s room the next morning, along with the fresh air his family had been denied since their arrival. He became aware of strange new voices drifting through the house, and the absence of the familiar voices of the dreaded Red guards. It also seemed later than eight, the hour at which he usually arose.
“Would you like breakfast in bed or in the dining hall, Your Majesty?” an unfamiliar soldier asked. “We thought it best to let you and your sisters sleep late, after the ordeal you had last night. And wherever you choose to have breakfast, there’s a veritable feast waiting for you, since we ordered all the grocers, restaurateurs, and well-off citizens in the city and nearby villages to give up their best food to you. Now that you’re the Tsar and don’t have your own heir yet, you need to stay as healthy as you can. You’re our only hope.”
All the windows at Ipatyev House were sealed under strict orders, and only one of the house’s numerous windows was unsealed after much begging. The liberating White soldiers have unsealed all the windows to let the summer air and sunlight circulate through the house. The Imperial Family were also forced to eat on limited rations, with their own family ration card like ordinary citizens, and all that has just been reversed too.
There was a severe famine in Yekaterinburg at this time, caused by the new Bolshevik rulers confiscating all the city’s best food for themselves and forcing the increasingly small population of free citizens to wait in food lines and keep to ridiculous rations. They had also closed most of the city’s hotels and chased out or imprisoned Yekaterinburg’s middle-class and upper-class citizens, so that also took much of the formerly ample food supply. Many people had had to resort to getting food from the nearby villages to have anything decent to eat.
Our future Tsaritsa, Arkadiya, is away at Kazan University at this time, so she’s spared the civil upheaval and food shortages racking her native city. Yes, this is the first Imperial couple where the Tsaritsa is older than the Tsar.